Recently I was asked to be part of a panel on regulation at the Human Settlements Indaba and Exhibition in Kwa-Natal. The Indaba aimed to provide policy direction and validate approaches being developed by the Department of Human Settlements.
Our panel discussion with the audience generated good questions and debate. These were some of the questions:
- Given the recent flooding, what should municipalities be doing to prepare for climate change?
- Why do the Temporary Residential Units (TRUs) being developed to respond to flooding take so long to build? Do these comply with building regulations? Would it not be better to provide materials to people and let them build their own houses?
- Conventional housing projects implemented by government take a very long time, what can be done to speed these up?
- How can you access climate change and green funding so that you can improve the sustainability performance of proposed housing?
- I have a new building product that I am developing and have built a prototype. What regulations apply to this? How can I get this product scaled up and used more widely?
- Where can we see buildings built of innovative building materials (IBTs)?
- Where can I see alternative dry sanitation examples?
- How are water scarcity and flooding being addressed in the building regulations?
The discussion indicates that there is a strong interest in climate change, flooding, more resilient buildings, sustainable materials, green finance, water scarcity, entrepreneurship and developing and implementing innovative approaches.
The questions suggest that government, finance and research organisations need to share information on existing mechanisms and initiatives that support the development of new products and enterprises as well as more resilient buildings.
In addition, the debate revealed potential areas where new research and work could be undertaken to support more sustainable buildings and settlements. Photo credit.