City of Johannesburg approves draft Green Building Policy

A view of Johannesburg's skyline.
A view of Johannesburg's skyline.

The City of Johannesburg’s Mayoral Committee for Development Planning has confirmed the approval of two key draft policies that are set to improve and to transform development within the city.

Members of Council approved the draft Green Building Policy: New Buildings on the 27th of October 2020 along with the draft Development Contributions Policy. These two policies will undergo a public participation process, upon public notice, to give the public the opportunity to engage with the documents and submit their comments or input.

The public participation process is important; in that it gives members of the public a voice to raise their concerns throughout the policy formulation process. I encourage residents and stakeholders to use this opportunity to engage with the City on how best we can implement our policies” commented Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning, Cllr Lawrence Khoza who welcomes the approvals.

The first draft policy, the Green Building Policy, forms part of the City’s objective to achieve low to net-zero carbon performance for all new buildings in Johannesburg by 2030 and 100% buildings by 2050. This policy will guide the development of green, low energy consuming buildings within the City powered by cleaner and renewable energy sources.

It is aimed at promoting resource energy efficiency and set mandatory and voluntary high-performance standard for all new buildings within Johannesburg’s built environment on a pathway towards a low carbon future in line with the City’s carbon neutrality goals within the buildings and energy sector by 2050.

The City of Johannesburg faces challenges exacerbated by rapid urbanisation and population growth while still struggling with the legacy of apartheid social planning. The urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts, together with increasing non-renewable resource scarcity, is driving the change to a more sustainable built environment.

The draft policy stems from a partnership with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) with key deliverables of the New Building Efficiency programme which aims to support cities to go above and beyond current building energy performance plans through the accelerated implementation of low to net-zero carbon actions within the built environment.

The adoption of the policy will benefit plans examiners, inspectors, designers, developers, property owners, occupants and energy consultants who wish to submit building applications to the City.

The Development Contributions Policy, which seeks to simplify and integrate the Development Contributions process, with the intention to speed up the rate of development, by providing greater clarity around an existing capital funding instrument, for the timely provision of essential bulk infrastructure required to service the needs of new developments.

The draft policy is further intended to speed up the rate of development by providing greater clarity around an existing capital funding instruments that allow for the timely provision of essential bulk infrastructure required to service the needs of new developments.

Engineering services are services consistent with the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA), namely: water, sanitation, electricity, municipal roads, storm water, and transport.

Development Contributions are a once off charge levied by a municipality on the landowner, as a condition for approving land development application. They are levied to cover the costs incurred by the municipality when installing new infrastructure or upgrading an existing infrastructure.

As part of innovation and promoting the ease of doing business in the City of Johannesburg, the draft policy is developed with a progressive calculator for calculating development contributions. The calculator will be readily available to the public on the City’s Development Planning e-service platform.

The City currently has a fragmented way in which it determines and calculates engineering service contributions for engineering services.  Each of the City’s municipal entities responsible for the provision of engineering services have their own internal policy and approach to determine engineering service contributions and figures, which are often not simple to understand with varied approaches and complex technical input mechanism.

This lack of a uniform approach in the determination and calculation of development contributions unfortunately resulted in general confusion and concern raised by the City’s development partners and potential investors.

The draft policy, therefore, seeks to integrate and streamline processes with an aim of improving customer experience and attract more potential investors.

Once available, details of the public participation process of the draft policies will be shared with the public