Timour Hall baulks at girder house

Steel beams protruding from this building site in Timour Hall are to be clad in grey corrugated iron sheeting.

An industrial-style home – complete with a steel-girder frame that will be clad in grey, corrugated iron sheeting – is being built in Timour Hall, and nearby residents are fuming.

It’s out of place, totally inappropriate, looks dreadful and spoils the whole neighbourhood, they say.

Angela Clark, who lives in nearby Doordrift Road, regularly passes the building site.

“I cannot believe the council could have given approval for it,” she said, adding that it was out of character for what she maintained was a quiet, attractive suburb with single-storey homes on small plots.

“It looks dreadful, spoils the whole neighbourhood and the residents on all three sides must be livid.”

Dr John Cornell, of Doordrift Village, said he was horrified each time he passed the construction site. “It’s totally inappropriate in an area zoned SR2 (single residential 2), for which the height restrictions are 6m to the wall-plate and 8m to top of the roof.”

However, according to City records, the area is zoned single residential 1 and the height permitted for primary use is 10m to the top of the roof.

Neighbours Melindy and Matthew Martin say the heights of the neighbouring homes have not been taken into account.

“And no consideration was made to the general aesthetic look of the area,” said Mr Martin.

“A house of this magnitude and architecture just doesn’t belong in this area. The biggest concern is the lack of any consideration of the neighbours’ privacy for the surrounding houses. The new build and its new windows look directly down onto our entire house and garden, taking away any form of privacy for us as a family with young kids.

“Our home should be our sanctuary and a safe place for our children, not a public viewing area. The surrounding properties have all depreciated in value as a result I question whether this is really in the best interest of the area and the City who need revenue from rates.”

Ward councillor Carol Bew said the house was legally compliant, according to the building inspector.

When we visited the property on Saturday June 12, the owner, Chris Mulder, was perched on the metal frame with his father, Mike Mulder. They gave a tour of the site.

Chris and his wife, Radinka, are architects and say they had a good relationship with the neighbours until new residents in St Joan’s Road posted pictures of their house on social media. Since then, they said, they had been harassed and labelled as corrupt.

Mr Mulder said they bought the property in 2015. From the road, it had looked like an empty plot but there was a pool and pool house tucked away at the back. They had lived in the pool house while designing their new home, considering the view, the slope and the neighbours’ locations, he said.

Mr Mulder said residents thought the house was three storeys but there was a 1.8m difference in the slope from one side to the other and a basement – which he claims is big enough for three vehicles – had been put in to level things off.

The next floor is the living area and will have tinted glass with views from Constantiaberg to Devil’s Peak. The top floor will be bedrooms, bathrooms and a study. Mr Mulder said the house would have a flat roof and City regulations actually allowed for them to build higher, which they were not planning to do. The house would have a 100m² footprint, he said.

Mr Mulder said neighbours were only asked for consent over new structures if an owner deviated from building regulations. “It can take two years or more for plans to be passed, therefore it’s best for designs to be compliant,” he said.

Regarding the style of the house, Mr Mulder said the factory-style look was a quicker, more efficient building method, and he expected the outside of the building – to be clad with the corrugated sheeting – to be finished in about two months.

The house is two storeys with a basement.
The owners say they designed the house taking notice of the view, the slope and the neighbours’ locations.
The living area will have tinted glass with views from Constantiaberg to Devil’s Peak.
Chris and Radinka Mulder bought the plot in 2015.