Nieuwoudtville is on Site! Print

After a lengthy process of negotiation around how to handle the tender process, Nieuwoudtville Caravan Site Upgrade is officially underway.  This project went to public tender in the normal way, being advertised in four newspapers.  It received only one response from a Cape Town based contractor whose quote was grossly overpriced. 

The Nieuwoudtville Caravan Site Upgrade took the Silver in the Regional Holcim Foundation Awards for Sustainable Construction 2005, Africa and Middle East.  During the planning phase of the project, the ethos had been one of partnership and equity, whilst conserving the environment and celebrating the local heritage.  Due to the nature of the project, Eco Design believed that appointing a big contractor from Cape Town would have been gravely narrow-sighted.

Glenn Havemann, the DBSA’s Knowledge Management Division’s Construction and Development Specialist, recommended a community-based procurement process that involves the community in decision taking and implementation processes and forms the basis for a construction based social contract in line with the principles of sustainable development. The first step was to prepare terms of reference which outlined the roles of those involved in the project, most notably the role of a Clerk of Works or On-site Mentor, or On-site Mentor. 

“In effect this person should be viewed by all parties as carrying the interests of the communities, small contractors and entrepreneurs and those of the client- in other words, a hands-on ombudsman. “ – From the terms of reference.  The role of the on-site mentor was to be a cross between a skills development facilitator for natural building techniques and a foreman.  He or she is to be responsible for recruiting labourers from the community and small-scale, local contractors and helping them to set labour prices so that they can quote for the jobs in a way that is fair and equitable.

On the 14 June 2006, a community hand-over meeting was held to inform them of the job opportunities and potential for their involvement on-site and to introduce Dave Roberts, the appointed on -site mentor to the community.