Construction inconvenience

Electrical fencing damaged by netting covering scaffolding.

Concerns have been raised about a development in Scholtz Road, Three Anchor Bay, where residents say they are at risk of being hit by falling debris.

One Scholtz Road resident also complained that builders’ scaffolding encroached into his property and that development was taking place up against his boundary wall.

The developers, however, say they are within their rights to build up to the boundary line and that they had dealt with individual complaints from residents as they were raised.

Francois Potgieter, who lives in one of the units in a block called 124A, on the corner of High Level and Scholtz roads, showed Atlantic Sun rubble which had fallen into his property and cracks in tiles and walls which he said had been caused as a result of excavation on the construction site.

Mr Potgieter, who has been living in his apartment for the past five years, said work on the seven-storey development had started two years ago, but before then, he had never had cracks in his walls.

While contractors repaired his walls and tiles after he had raised his concerns with BLOK Developments, he said he was unhappy with the job they had done – and that they would only repaint his property when they started paint work on the development site.

“The construction has been going on for two years and I have not been able to use my outside area. We (also) can’t have kids or pets playing outside because of the stuff falling,” he said.

When he raised this with BLOK, he said, they had installed protective netting to prevent rubble from falling into his property.

However, he added, this had been ineffective.

Mr Potgieter also has a problem with the traffic congestion being caused by heavy machinery and trucks parked in Scholtz Road. “We cannot get into our garages. When I leave to go out I have to drive over the sidewalk and pass the trucks to get out.”

This concern was echoed by Morris Muller who said that while he had not suffered problems to the extent that Mr Potgieter had, he and his wife were often affected by the congestion in the road.

“And the noise is not an issue for me,” he added. “I expected the noise.”

Michael Heullenhagen, owner of Bayflowers Guest House which is on the other side of the development from where Mr Potgieter lives, said noise had been an issue for him, but he had raised this and other matters with BLOK Developments.

“There is a passageway where cement pieces have fallen and I expect them to clean up once this is finished, gates were damaged but they know about this and I expect them to rectify things,” he said.

Secretary of the Built Environment Committee of the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents Association, Stuart Burnett said while excavations required to provide adequate foundations for multi-storey buildings “need to take place at the boundaries, the cavalier attitude adopted by the developer towards both the planning approval process and the substantial impact of this development on the immediate neighbourhood has compounded what was always going to be a contentious situation”.

When Atlantic Sun contacted Lior van Embden, sales and marketing manager at BLOK Developments, she said residents’ complaints about falling rubble, cracking walls and building up against the boundary wall had been addressed when they were raised.

“The cracks have been filled and are currently being monitored and if any new cracks were to arise, we will repair at the end of the project,” said Ms Van Embden.

“Debris is unfortunately a by-product of construction. However, we have done our best to assist whenever neighbours have complained.

“We have also offered to do regular cleaning at the neighbour’s convenience and at our cost. Kick-plates, shade net and boards have been installed to assist in minimising construction incidents. We also conduct a thorough survey of neighbouring properties pre-construction, documenting the state of properties on our boundaries so that if any damage is caused, we can repair adequately.

“We also offer pool and car covers for those in the immediate vicinity.”

When asked about building up against the boundary she said: “We are well within our right to build up against the boundary, as per the zoning regulations for this site. This can easily be verified with the City of Cape Town.”

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said if people believed the development went against regulation, they should raise their concerns with the City.

“The developers submitted a building plan which the City assessed for zoning compliance, and subsequently approved. If the complainant is of the view that there are portions of the building that contravene the Development Management Scheme, they must point out the portions of the building and we will investigate.”