Residential developments need to ensure back-up electricity

In light of South Africa’s unstable electricity supply and recent warnings of power cuts this summer, David Rebe, chief executive of Sandak-Lewin Property Trust, urges property managers or bodies corporate of residential developments to ensure that the necessary contingency plans are put in place so that tenants are equipped accordingly when these outages occur.

“With load shedding becoming a regular occurrence in the country, bodies corporate need to evaluate each facility in their developments that relies on electricity to ensure that residents are prepared for the various challenges that come with power cuts, such as inoperative security booms and alarms, electric gates and lifts.”

Rebe says there are not many buildings higher than three storeys that don’t have lifts, so lift failure is a major concern that bodies corporate need to ensure they are prepared for.

“Lifts can be very costly to repair, and residents and visitors can get stuck in a lift, or worse – get injured as a result of lift failure.

“Power outages can also result in security breaches. Security gates and booms can malfunction if the power is cut, leaving the complex vulnerable to trespassers. Moreover, no lighting in the complex during a power outage can also pose a safety threat to residents and visitors. The need for physical security barriers such as burglar bars and security gates on apartment doors and windows must seriously considered by owners.”

Rebe says that to avoid issues such as these, bodies corporate and property managers should consider installing back-up generators to ensure smooth functioning in the event of a power outage. However, he says that the cost of installing a generator in a complex can be as high as R500 000, which is excessive for some bodies corporate to pay. Also, he says that in some cases there may not be suitable areas for a generator to be stored on the common property.

“Bodies corporate should alert residents about scheduled power cuts, and highlight what facilities will not be available or working when the electricity supply is switched off. This could include motorised security gates and garage doors, lifts, alarm systems, electrically heated water supplies and appliances.”

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