Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF)

According to professionals involved in property development and construction, it currently takes an average of between four and eight years to complete a development in Cape Town – double the time when compared to a few years ago. This expanded timeframe, largely due to a long, complex and uncertain regulatory approval process, is now severely curtailing the development of much-needed private and public infrastructure, and has come to undermine the construction industry significantly.

In response, academics from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) Urban Real Estate Research Unit (URERU) and industry members representing the WCPDF have joined forces to produce a Property Development Process Model in a major effort to determine why the development process now takes so long, the objective of which is to identify the blockages and find solutions to shorten the unwieldy timeframe.

The model displays an indicative graphic timeline of the property development process in Cape Town, and illustrates the complexities of the process from start to finish, from the initial three-year project initiation phase to obtaining land rights, and then through procurement, construction and ultimately project handover. It also enables users of the model to access regulatory, up-to-date documentation and information on legislation governing the industry.

As the model enables the industry to see what the timelines should be, against what they have now become, the model is to be used as a tool to facilitate engagement with the relevant roleplayers in order to unblock the blockages.

The model was revealed to the public at the annual conference of the WCPDF, held at the Century City Conference Centre on Thursday 16 May 2019. It was originally conceptualised in 2014 by project management firms, Mitchell du Plessis Associates and its consultants Jedd Grimbeek and Johan Slabber, and Alwyn Laubscher & Associates’ current CEO, Deon van Zyl, to graphically identify their own firms’ experience of the protracted development initiative timeframes.

In 2017, noting the impact that the long development process was having on housing affordability, Rob McGaffin from URERU agreed to further develop the model with the assistance of (then) recently graduated student Lewin Rolls and, later, Mida Kirova, a town planner with Nigel Burls & Associates. Chris Steffen, a quantity surveyor with Talani Quantity Surveyors, later incorporated costings into it to highlight the time-related financial implications. Further valuable input was also received from various professionals in the industry along the way.

The model itself is housed on the URERU site, so that it can also be updated as legislation and documentation changes, and can be accessed here.

To see the press release on the model and for more information as to its relevance, click here.