Photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – A recent survey of 104 built-environment professionals by the Western Cape Property Development Forum has found that the tender and procurement processes in the city’s departments are further crippling the under-siege property development and construction sector.

The survey was partly undertaken to provide research with which to persuade the city to unblock some of the obstacles faced by private and even public sector projects, and to stem the consequent high loss of jobs in this industry.

A member of the Association of SA Quantity Surveyors, Chris Steffen, said: “There is a lot of dissatisfaction in the industry with the way built- environment goods and services are procured by the city. However, without research of the actual problem and having the science to support the evidence, one cannot lobby the authorities to change the way they do something.”

As a result, Steffen compiled the survey comprising 11 questions, which was completed by 104 professionals - including quantity surveyors, architects, engineers and project managers - in the Cape Town area in record time.

Chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum, Deon van Zyl, said: “Not only do we welcome the initiative taken by Chris Steffen for the value this research will give the forum in engaging with the city, we are astonished at the level of feedback that was received. 

"In addition to 104 respondents answering the Q&A format survey, these respondents also provided 88 additional comments outlining their levels of frustration and fear at the general impact something like tendering was having on our industry, and in turn the economy of the Western Cape.”

Dissatisfaction was expressed by the vast majority of respondents (84%), who said the city expected submissions to reflect prices far below what was considered to be fair and reasonable within the industry.

“When comparing fees offered in a tender to the various accepted guidelines for fee tariffs of the various industry professionals, it has been experienced that discounts of anywhere from between 50 to 80% need to be offered if the tender applicant is to be in any way competitive when compared to the other tenderers. Unfortunately, the city’s adjudicators appear to accept that super-discounts are acceptable,” Steffen said.

Last month the city said it had approved building plans to the value of R20.4billion over the 11-month period ending May 31, 2019. 

The city said a further 8760 land-use applications had been finalised during this time, as more people were relocating to Cape Town in search of a better life.

The city said it had to find a balance between urbanising Cape Town and meeting the demand for well- located housing, while at the same time protecting the unique qualities and natural environment that made the city a sought-after destination.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “The approval of development applications usually takes longer when a submission is objected to, or opposed, as the city is compelled by law to notify interested and affected parties of applications that may have an impact on adjacent property owners and residents.”

Cape Argus