Policy exemption allows SA investors to buy into Swiss property

Q&A with property expert Toni Enderli

South Africans can now buy property in Switzerland. Why couldn’t we before?

Switzerland has strict restrictions for foreigners buying property, so depending on your background, your options were limited in that you could only buy property in Switzerland if you were an EU or EFTA national with a Swiss residence permit or if you lived in Switzerland.

Now, at Andermatt Swiss Alps, South Africans seeking to diversify their investment portfolios can buy property in Switzerland for the first time, with significant tax incentives, highly attractive tax returns and with very little red tape. The process to own property can take as quick as one week to conclude.

What makes the ski resort Andermatt different? Why is it so attractive to SA investors?

Andermatt is one of the world’s most sought-after, affordable, safe and secure, year-round property investment destinations. The development is exempt from regulations restricting foreign investors from buying property in Switzerland and buyers also benefit from attractively low tax rates. The Swiss government has declared Andermatt exempt from restrictive property acquisition laws. In addition, all Andermatt’s apartments are exempt from the Swiss Second Home Law, which limits the construction of second homes to 20% of the number of homes in a village.

Other attractions include one of Europe’s best ski and hiking facilities, a championship 18-hole golf course, a fitness and wellness centre, mountain biking, top quality restaurants and luxury hotels, apartment buildings, chalets and shopping facilities. The village centre is a car-free zone, contributing to a harmonious community environment.

How does investing in Andermatt compare to investing in comparative property in SA. Surely it’s much more expensive over there?

Pricing in Andermatt is on par with certain property on Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard and at the V&A Waterfront. The resort offers full turn-key investments in one-bedroom apartments from around R5-million, all fully managed and serviced by the Radisson Blu group with a guaranteed net 3% annual return. Luxury chalets start from about R90-million, similar to the cost of some luxury apartments in the Waterfront. The apartments range from studio to five bedrooms. The majority are one or two-bedroom units in a variety of sizes while several of the larger units are maisonettes.

How can a SA investor, thousands of kilometres away, be sure the investment is secure and that the property will not be damaged or abused?

The resort offers comprehensive turn-key investments, fully managed and serviced by the Radisson Blu group. Owners are recommended to rent out their apartments to generate an income and great returns. Andermatt takes care of and services the property while owners are away.

What is the future of the SA property market – does the current land policy uncertainty mean we shouldn’t invest here until there’s more clarity? 

Diversifying mitigates risk and is a common practice the world over. This is why Americans, Europeans and others are flocking to Andermatt. In an unstable global economy, Switzerland is a popular safe-haven for investors due to its political neutrality, policy stability, strong currency and low levels of inflation and unemployment. South Africans can now invest in this stable year-round destination for the first time, easily. It’s a great legacy investment for families as there are no death duties. Andermatt provides property opportunities for both high end and middle class investors and the process from signing to name change can take as little as one week to complete.

 

 

Five-point security plan to secure business premises

Security remains an issue in South Africa as crime levels continue to pose safety risks. Keeping your premises safe by means of security service requires a multi-faceted approach. It’s not only about ensuring your valuables are safe, it’s also about creating a safe space for people to visit and trade. This five-point plan (designed by a professional security company) covers each of our five senses, representing eyes and ears on the ground.

Assess your risks

Criminals have developed the ability to spot opportunity where the rest of us wouldn’t. A professional draws from experience, they have worked with many people who have experienced trespassers, burglaries, and other forms of crime. This has given them insight into the way criminals think and operate, where they see opportunity and how to deter incidences.

CCTV  ̶  eyes open

CCTV is capable of wirelessly feeding footage to you from the filmed location to you, anywhere in the world, in real time. CCTV cameras deter criminal activity and provide valuable evidence, should it be needed.

Alarm systems and beams  ̶  ears to the ground

Access Control  ̶  stay in touch

Only authorised persons are able to enter, and a record of all entries and their times is also kept. Touch is our tactile sense, it gives us a feel for our environment. Access control ensures only people you trust can enter and get a feel for your premises.

Guarding  ̶  the muscle

Security service guards with training will know how to evaluate each person entering a property and at which point to report suspicious activity. You can’t beat the eyes and ears of a human (trained and passionate) that’s present.

Other services to consider:

  • Corporate, retail, industrial and residential guarding services.
  • Residential and cluster guarding (estate).
  • Alarm monitoring and armed response.
  • Roaming area patrols.
  • Weighbridge control.
  • Receiving and dispatch control.
  • Checking functions of Reception functions – visitor control.

 

 

Unfinished business: what to do when construction halts due to a contractor’s liquidation

By Diana Burger, senior associate, Bowmans

The past year has been challenging for South Africa’s construction industry, with some of the country’s best-known construction companies facing business rescue or liquidation. The unfinished business left behind when this occurs can be problematic for project employers in the private and public sectors alike. Although their options are limited, the financial exposure for employers can be mitigated through immediate action, says Diana Burger, senior associate in Bowmans’ Construction Dispute Resolution Department. Here are the crucial steps to take.

Step one – Await the liquidator’s decision: As a general rule, liquidation does not suspend or put an end to a contract. Once a final liquidation order has been made, the appointed liquidator steps into the shoes of the liquidated contractor and must either abide by or repudiate any pending contracts. More than likely, a partly finished construction contract will be repudiated by the liquidator (due to factors such as a lack of expertise) and consequently terminated by the employer, unless there is an extremely good prospect that the project can be viably completed by the liquidator in terms of its obligations under the contract. The liquidator must make such decisions within a reasonable period, which is determined by the specific facts of each contract and the provisions of the contract.

Step two – Principal agent to prepare the final account: If the liquidator repudiates the contract, the employer will be entitled to terminate the contract. In this event, the principal agent or engineer generally needs to prepare a final account, to determine whether the employer owes monies to the liquidated contractor or vice versa. The starting point is for the independent principal agent or engineer to conduct a detailed valuation of the works and prepare a final account in respect of the works executed by the liquidated contractor.

Step three – The valuation: The principal agent or engineer must inspect the works on site to quantify the work that has been completed, the outstanding work and any damages for purposes of preparing a final account. Damages could include penalties associated with any delays in completion of the works, defective work (work not done according to specifications) and outstanding work, among other things. Quantification is necessary for any claim that the employer intends to lodge against the liquidated contractor’s estate or that the liquidated estate may pursue against the employer.

Step four – Start appointing a new contractor: The employer needs to appoint a new construction contractor to complete the construction project and should therefore call for quotes or put out a competitive tender, depending on the procurement process required. The contractors taking part in the bidding process will generally visit the site themselves to do their own assessments and quantifications of the work to be executed and submit their quotes or bids.

Employers should be aware that if there is scope creep (in addition to the original scope of work), the additional work required can be included in the bid documents for pricing by the new contractors but the price accepted for the additional work cannot be part of any claim against the liquidated contractor.

A contractor’s quote or bid accepted by the employer for completion of the liquidated contractor’s outstanding work could be useful in accurately quantifying the additional costs the employer may incur in relation to the outstanding works, for inclusion in a potential claim against the liquidated contractor’s estate.

Step five – Claim against liquidated estate: In the event of an uncompleted project, the bulk of the claim amount that the employer may have against the liquidated estate relates to the additional costs that the employer will incur for the appointment of a new contractor. It is invariably more expensive to appoint a new contractor to pick up from where a previous contractor left off, as the site has to be established all over again and the cost of materials will almost certainly have increased in the interim. However, employers should not pin their hopes on receiving a full claim payout.

For one, the liquidated entity probably has very limited means to repay creditors. For another, the employer whose construction project has ground to a halt is probably one of many creditors hoping to be paid. Under liquidation law, employers will be on an equal footing with other concurrent creditors and will not receive any preferential treatment, regardless of what the terms of the construction contract provide.

While it will be cold comfort for employers who have already seen their contractors go out of business, the best advice for any employer contemplating a construction project is to do proper due diligence before the appointment of a contractor and commencement of the project. Financial difficulties on the part of a contractor seldom begin overnight and employers who properly assess the financial situation of prospective contractors are less likely to find themselves contending with a half-finished building and mounting construction costs.

Is your building safe from fire?

Reprinted with permission by www.instrumentation.co.za

Fire safety in high-occupancy buildings is critical. Large numbers of people produce greater activity within these environments, which can lead to things going wrong. In particular, fire can escalate quickly into a catastrophe. This eventuality needs to be confronted in the design and protection of buildings and their occupants.

Smoke inhalation too can be fatal. Smoke visually obscures escape routes that can prevent fast and safe evacuation. It also inhibits the performance of fire rescue responders. These are just some of the dangers surrounding fire within high-occupancy buildings that place hard emphasis on early detection of fires and alerting occupants to the threat.

Fire sensing methods

The traditional method of sensing fire is to detect smoke by means of light obscuration within a sensing chamber. This is known as optical smoke sensing. However, there are challenges to sensing fires within rooms in high occupancy buildings using such methods. This is because of the human activity that occurs within these areas. Often bedroom applications result in unwanted fire alarms with many people believing that the smoke detector is too sensitive.

This is not the case. Spraying of aerosols such as deodorants, hair sprays or air fresheners mimic the obscuration caused by smoke. Similarly steam from showers can also do this. The key is to separate these unwanted phenomena from a genuine fire, while providing an early and stable alarm signal.

Alien Systems & Technologies utilises Protec 6000PLUS detectors that can discriminate between aerosols, steam and genuine smoke by utilising multi-sensor technology governed by an algorithm that makes the fire alarm decision. These detectors must have all three fire phenomena present – smoke, a rise in temperature and a rise in carbon monoxide.

Testing shows that even with hot steam or aerosols, the problem of unwanted alarms is solved. For example, in one such test steam was allowed to fill a Perspex test chamber with three detectors present: an optical detector, an optical/heat detector and an optical/heat/CO detector. The steam filled the test chamber and after approximately 35 seconds the optical detector produced a fire alarm. The test was allowed to run for a period of five minutes and the other two detectors ignored the steam and did not produce any fire alarms.

In a following test, steam was used to fill the Perspex chamber and after approximately 40 seconds the optical detector produced a fire alarm. Then after one minute, a small smouldering piece of towel is placed within a test chamber with the steam still present to simulate a small fabric fire that is common in a bedroom. After another minute, the optical/heat/CO detector produced a fire alarm because it sensed a genuine fire was present.

This is because it sensed the obscuration of light, a rise in temperature and a relatively high amount of carbon monoxide and the algorithm monitoring the sensor was able to make an accurate decision that a genuine fire was present. The optical/heat detector produced a fire alarm one minute afterwards.

Correct selection of detectors is vital

These tests show that the selection of fire alarm detectors in buildings is vital to prevent unnecessary evacuations from erroneous fire alarms. The disruption to occupants as well as the fire brigade is severe. Such unwanted alarms can lead to apathy, which then further increases the risk.

Detectors avoid this scenario as only genuine fires are sensed, and sensed early. There are also enhancements that can be added to the detector range. Programmable speech messages can also be added over and above standard audible tones. This allows for clear fire alarm evacuation commands to be broadcast without the need for extra annunciators.

 

South Africa: Why co-working? IWG plc – Regus and Spaces

Prepared exclusively for CIPN

Co-working spaces have grown in popularity over the last few years, and it is no surprise that many companies are now exploring the option of moving their business into the hub of a dynamic co-working environment. But what exactly is co-working? Typically, co-working allows entrepreneurial-spirited companies, teams and individuals the freedom to work in a collaborative environment.

  1. Why is demand for flexible workspace increasing in South Africa? There are three principle reasons why more people are using flexible workspaces:
  • Digitalisation and new technologies
  • Better connectivity means everyone is connected digitally
  • People are more mobile and can access their work from anywhere
  • Artificial intelligence, automation and cloud technologies are changing the nature of work
  • People want the benefits of flexible working
  • Geographic benefits – the choice of where and how to work and live
  • A better work-life balance, ie easier access to good workspace either close to home or close to where like-minded individuals are
  • Businesses want the financial and strategic benefits
  • Financial benefits:
  • Outsourcing of corporate real estate is replacing insourcing to create a more flexible on-demand model for businesses resulting in lower start-up costs
  • Strategic benefits:
  • Increased speed to market
  • Increased productivity
  • Collaborative communities and networking
  • Attract and retain talent
  1. What are the latest trends in terms of co-working?

Demand is accelerating:

  • Up to 30% of corporate real estate portfolios could be flexible workspace by 20301

Note: The commercial real estate market is currently worth about $29 trillion2

  • The flexible workspace industry itself is projected to tally a nearly 24% compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 20203
  • Over the past decade the global market for flexible offices has been growing at an average of 13% per annum4

Business benefits:

71% of occupiers believe that productive and flexible workspaces are vital to delivering corporate real estate objectives, up from 57% in 2016

  • 84% believe flexible workspace disruption is a permanent trend4
  • The global mobile workforce is set to rise to 1,87 billion people in 2022, accounting for 42,5% of the global workforce5

Technology:

  • 80% of the world’s adult population will own a smartphone by 20206
  • Over 50% of internet traffic could come from internet of things sensors by 20257
  • Public cloud services spending will increase by 20,4% CAGR between 2015 to 20208
  • Global data centre IP traffic per year will be 10,4 zettabytes in 2019, up from 3,4 in 20149
  • 4G connections will represent 61% of the total by 2020 (up from 34% in 2016)
  • 5G connections will represent 31% of the total by 2025

Personal productivity:

  • 69% of millennials will trade other work package benefits for better workspace10
  • 53% of professionals globally now work remotely for at least half their working week11
  • 64% believe flexible work hours improve productivity. 94% feel strict work hours do nothing to aid it12
  • Location-independent work has increased 103% since 200513
  1. What does the space have to offer?

INCREASED PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY

  • Work how, where and when you require
  • Join a global community of 2,5 million like-minded professionals, access to networking knowledge sharing events
  • Find, manage and book workspace instantly, with easy-to-use apps

THE RIGHT SPACE FOR YOU

  • Benefit from national and global networks, with an unparalleled choice of ready-to-use office, co-working and meeting spaces
  • Access business-leading, cloud-based and secure IT infrastructure, support and backup, Including high-speed internet, IP telephony, and on-demand solutions

GREATER FINANCIAL EFFICIENCY

  • Pay only for the space you need, a dedicated account manager and 24/7 customer service
  • Add or reduce workspace when you need to, without capital investment
  • Protect your investment with world-class infrastructure, physical and digital security, and back-office support from a proven global leader

MORE STRATEGIC BENEFITS

  • Operate anywhere in the world. Scale up and down quickly, and with ease. Be closer to your customers, suppliers and employees
  • Access national and global networks as you require
  • Attract, retain and engage employees
  • Members have access to our business clubs around the world
  1. Who is it designed for?

Corporates looking to establish a local office without massive capital outlay, start-ups, SMMEs, freelancers, remote working teams, international workers, project teams and well-established corporates, business travellers, call centres and entrepreneurs.

Sources:

  1. JLL research
  2. Savills Research
  3. Forbes 2017 (quoting Emergent Research)
  4. CBRE research, ‘The Flexible Revolution’, 2017
  5. Strategy Analytics
  6. Workspace, Reworked, JLL, 2017
  7. Workspace, Reworked, JLL, 2017
  8. Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide, IDC, 2016
  9. Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2014-2019
  10. The Flexible Revolution. Insights into European flexible office markets, CBRE, 2017
  11. The Workplace Revolution – a picture of flexible working 2017, Regus, 2017 – independent research
  12. Protein Audience Briefing 2016
  13. Global Workplace Analytics 2017 Location Independent – The Modern Way of Working

 

 

Growthpoint signs Altron for campus at The Woodlands

Growthpoint Properties has secured JSE-listed technology group Altron as tenant for a sizeable 29 000 m2 head office situated at The Woodlands Office park, in Woodmead, Sandton. Altron will take up occupancy at The Woodlands in November 2020 with the group’s nine operating companies under one roof, enabling greater efficiency, collaboration, innovation and cost-saving.

The space was occupied by Deloitte which left the park at the end of March 2020 to make way for Altron. Before the Altron group moved in, Growthpoint invested a significant amount to modernise, customise and connect eight buildings to Altron’s requirements.

Estienne de Klerk, CEO of Growthpoint South Africa, says, “We are pleased to sign a business of the high-calibre of Altron for The Woodlands and look forward to working closely with them. Growthpoint has secured a strong listed entity with a solid track record on a long lease, and accomplished this well before the Deloitte tenancy is up.”

Commenting on the move to a new campus encompassing all Altron’s businesses, Mteto Nyati, Altron group chief executive, said: “Our intention is to have a workplace that caters for our needs as the employer in creating an environment that promotes employee excellence through collaboration, creative thinking, visibility of leadership and the free flow of communication. We also want our workplace to meet the needs of our employees who don’t only want a modern workplace but appreciate additional lifestyle services such as on-site gym facilities, creche, concierge services and the like.”

Altron will occupy roughly a quarter of the 125 000 m2 office park, which offers a lifestyle centre incorporating a gym, Mugg & Bean and creche. The Woodlands is unique in that its tranquil setting includes its very own game park which is home to springbok, blesbok and other smaller animals.

A key feature of the Altron project is constructing a new walkway to create a spine linking all the buildings together. Growthpoint will also deliver a turnkey internal fit-out solution, beginning with a workplace study, to ensure the space is tailored for Altrons’s people and optimised for high performance. The upgraded campus is designed to receive a 4 Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA)  ̶  an independent certification of the campus’ resource  ̶   and cost-efficiency.

“We are happy to enhance our assets in the Woodlands as we are seeing demand in the node. Altron’s commitment to the Woodlands is a vote of confidence for the park, as well as for Woodmead as a whole,” adds De Klerk. Altron will relocate to its new premises in three phases; November 2020, March 2021 and April 2021.

About Growthpoint

Growthpoint is a leading international property company that provides space to thrive with innovative and sustainable property solutions. It is the largest South African primary listed REIT and included in the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index. Growthpoint owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 512 property assets including 454 properties in South Africa, a 50% interest in the properties at V&A Waterfront, 57 properties in Australia through GOZ and 48 properties in Romania and Poland through its 29% share in LSE AIM-listed Globalworth Investment Holdings (GWI) and 21% holding in Warsaw-listed Globalworth Poland Real Estate (GPRE). Growthpoint is a constituent of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index and the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index.