Con­tainer homes are le­gal and can be small, but per­fectly de­signed

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

TINY HOMES are an al­ter­na­tive for build­ing in Cape Town, and John Ven­ter, di­rec­tor of Um­nyama Ikhaya, which of­fers space-sav­ing, eco-liv­ing, mi­cro, off-the-grid con­tainer homes, says the com­pany has had more than 3 800 in­quiries this year.

Its first homes have al­ready been de­liv­ered to An­gola and KwaZu­luNatal; the next batch is go­ing to the Gar­den Route and Western Cape.

“( Peo­ple) love the fact these homes are trans­portable and com­pletely off the grid. They also sim­ply love the in­ven­tory, fin­ishes and high-end ap­pli­ances. Some peo­ple need to get used to the idea of a wa­ter­less toi­let, but it re­ally works.”

The av­er­age cost of a 30m² pod home, in­clu­sive of de­liv­ery, crane ser­vice, full in­ven­tory and off-the­grid sys­tems and ap­pli­ances, is about R350 000.

They can, how­ever, be scaled to any size by con­nect­ing or stack­ing them to cre­ate multi-level homes or apart­ment blocks, Ven­ter says.

Oth­ers in the in­dus­try agree, but the idea does take time to be ac­cepted.

Cape Town and the rest of South Africa were hes­i­tant about con­tainer homes, says Ali­cia Kalil, man­ag­ing part­ner at Sus­tain Abil­ity Prod­ucts, for­merly Ber­man-Kalil Hous­ing prod­ucts.

“I think the mis­con­cep­tion is that it is what is says – a ship­ping con­tainer made of cor­ru­gated iron and look­ing like the site of­fices on many build­ing sites. How­ever, three years on peo­ple are be­com­ing more ac­cept­ing of these homes be­cause of how they are fin­ished, their cost and the time­frame for de­liv­ery.”

Kalil says they have two homes in Bot River, one in Fish­er­haven, and an­other in Pringle Bay.

“I think most peo­ple love the in­no­va­tion and once they’ve seen them in per­son, it’s the af­ford­abil­ity, time­line and how the unit ac­tu­ally looks that they love.

“What did take a while to get used to was the idea of a ‘ship­ping con­tainer’ as most peo­ple see them be­side the road or on the back of a truck, and they would never think you could do what you can do with them.”

She says prices for turnkey one- con­tainer units range from R110 000 up to R230 000, keep­ing in mind one can use 6m or 12m con­tain­ers.

PIC­TURE: UM­NYAMA IKHAYA

A mod­u­lar off-grid, eco-friendly, tiny home from Um­nyama Ikhaya.

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