Safe and Dry Foundations



Creative solutions to a real life problem. Our task for this project is to research low cost foundations that can be used to build housing on in low income areas our client for this project is the BLC (on behalf of the department of human settlements).

Our task is as follows:

  • To research; low cost materials.
  • Accessibility to materials and what types.
  • Skill set needed to erect structure.
  • Research alternatives to what is currently being used.
  • Re-blocking.
  • Site inspection - Sweet Home, Philipi

Group members:

  • Ganda
  • Jaqueline
  • Werner
  • Caroline (Group leader)
  • Mustafa
  • Khaliq
  • Stephan

31 Aug 2017

Information gathered:

There are local manufacturers and suppliers that can supply us with the necessary foundation building blocks, of preferably recyclable material.

Planned site inspection date: Confirmation for Tuesday 26th of September in line with Area Representative.

We are planning to include a visit to a local Recycling Manufacturing Company.

Current planning:

  • A basic frame concept with "Add-on" options we are working on.
  • Modeling up our innovation in Sketch-up and Solid Works, thanks to Mustafa and Ganda!
  • On our site visit Khaliq will be making video clips/ take pictures of external and internal informal settlement structures.
  • Jacqueline and Caroline will interview the locals on their current living situation.
  • Collect data such as the amount of occupants in each house, the needs of different families.
  • Usual problems that arise within current structures, for how long they have been living at their current site and if they will be staying permanently or will be relocating in the near future.
  • Take simple struggles and improving them, such as water access individually, waterproof living conditions, safer for kids and women.
  • Looking at concepts that is quicker, no-skills and no-tools needed, quick to build, cheaper, waterproof, fireproof, "relocate-able" and Eco-friendly!

Possible foundation frames

Pre-cast foundation blocks

Cinder Block foundation

Frame Drainage

Water Containers

The gutter system from the roof should feed into the M15 inlet at the front.

Any pump can be used to pump water out of the container once its connected to the nozzle at the back.


The following text comes from the Community Risk Assessment Report undertaken by the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, UCT, July 2009.

Sweet Home Farm was well known for many years as a dumping ground for builders’ rubble, and the first informal residents began earning a living by recycling dumped used bricks and selling them by the roadside. This activity continues today and is clearly in evidence on Duinefontein Road. In 1992 a gradual influx of people began, and by January of the following year 52 dwellings were spread out over a large area. By May 1996 this had grown to 373 dwellings, and this number more than doubled over the next two years to 886. A survey undertaken by the City of Cape Town in July 2003 recorded 2 217 households and estimated that there were 7 045 people living in the settlement. Today there are reportedly over 17 000 people living in the settlement and the number of dwellings has increased rather quickly to nearly 4000.

Initially there were no municipal services because much of the settlement was located on private land. However, the settlement continued to grow and as the density increased conditions worsened, especially during the winter months when flooding occurred. Eventually the City was forced to take action and they negotiated to buy the land. They were able to purchase all but a large middle section and a thin piece of South African Rail Commuters Corporation (SARCC) land. Thus, today Sweet Home Farm is situated on a number of different erven, some private, some belonging to SARCC, but most on City land. Negotiations with the private land owner failed completely and he refused the City Council permission to provide basic services on his land, maintaining that he wanted to develop the area, which reportedly has industrial zoning. However, SARCC willingly agreed to allow Council to provide services both on, and over, their land. After a report covering three informal settlements commissioned by the City, one of which was Sweet Home Farm, the City undertook a rudimentary services upgrade for the provision of “temporary and rudimentary services in order to maintain an acceptable degree of health and hygiene” (City of Cape Town project brief).