Sunday, October 17, 2021

Property developers urged to consider skyscrapers

The government is currently on a massive campaign to encourage property developers to invest or build high rise buildings especially in urban centres.

This revelation was made by the Director in the Ministry of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services in the Department of Country and Town Planning Peter Moalafi in an interview with the Sunday Standard last week.

 “High rise buildings are very important as they can save land space while accommodating more people in seemingly small plots. Nonetheless, more education is necessary to promote such kind of living while also encouraging private property developers to choose that option to house more people. In that regard government will continue to educate people to develop high rise apartments especially in urban centres,” said Moalafi.

Commonly known as skyscrapers, a high rise building is a tall building as compared to a low rise building and is defined by its height differently depending on various jurisdictions. It can be used as a residential, office building or other functions including hotel, retail and other multiple purposes. The tallest high rise building or skyscraper in the world is the Burj Khalifa which  is found in Dubai, United Arab Emirates(UAE). It is over 800 metres.
Moalafi said high rise buildings are a trend in many developing and developed countries and it is high time that Botswana follows suit. He said it is part of the Ministry of Land Management and Water and Sanitation Services, through the Department of Town and Country planning in their , National Spatial Plan to promote multifamily occupation within a high rise developments. He said this is particularly relevant in urban settings.

“Other benefits with this kind of buildings include use of existing infrastructure (shorter infrastructure lines, promotion of short distances to work, reduction in traffic congestion through mixed uses, living and working in one neighborhood as more people access facilities in close proximity and concentrating more population in space facilities like rapid bus transport viable as travel option,” he said.
He also explained that in all settlement development plans, it has been emphasized that high density development should be promoted by government through allowing specific plots to be high density development. Moalafi explained that the Gaborone Central Business District has demonstrated feasibility of high rise development where some plots where of mixed uses. He gave example of the I- Towers, a mixed high rise building which is the tallest building in the country with 27 floors.

“Francistown’s new CBD in Gerald Estates location is also prepped for that kind of development. Even the services being developed would easily accommodate high rise developments including residential,” he added.

However, he said high rise developments have their own challenges despite the fact that they have long term benefits. The challenges, he said include the high costs associated with extremely deep excavations during construction, high costs of strengthening all floors for a load bearing. He also said other running costs include the need to ensure water pressure sustenance in such buildings by providing pumps for higher floors. He also said there is need to install lifts or elevators throughout the life of the apartments in in such buildings which can be a bit expensive.
‘The other challenges that haunts this kind of method of buildings is that there is perceived skepticism on firefighting capacity, selling property, culture and uncertainty as regards Batswana ready for skyscrapers. However above all, there is need to educate property developers on the importance and long term benefits of the high rise buildings,” he said.

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