Eksom to resume work on 123km power line in KwaZulu-Natal
Eskom, the South African electricity public utility, is set to resume work on the construction of the final leg of the approximately 123-kilometre long transmission power line running through the uMgungundlovu and uThukela district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal province.
In a statement, the company says that the towns impacted are Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, Howick, Richmond and Mooi-River. The final construction of the 47-kilometre leg of this power line will start from the existing Venus substation in Estcourt and end at the existing Ariadne substation in Pietermaritzburg.
Eskom adds that it has been engaging with governmental, environmental and all relevant structures in the area, laying the groundwork for the construction to begin.
“It is important to note that this project will enable Eskom to fulfil its mandate of electricity provision to users in the area, as well as the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal,” says Bob Naraghi, the grid manager at Eskom Transmission.
“Since 2005, Eskom has been expanding its infrastructure through additional power stations and power lines, as well as strengthening and upgrading existing electricity infrastructure. This in turn will ensure that electricity users experience reliable power supply and that we meet the country’s electricity demands.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, the utility aims to make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially within KwaZulu-Natal,” Naraghi states.
Highlighting the impact of COVID-19, Eksom says the project could not come at a better time. The utility provider says that the power line will contribute to bringing about economic change within the communities of the five affected local municipalities. The project has created 190 job opportunities, ranging from professional, skilled, semi-skilled and the unskilled workforce, benefitting communities within the municipalities impacted by the construction.
It states that 70 percent of the employed workforce has come from the local communities within the relevant towns, with the entire team completing induction at the beginning of October 2020.
“On completion, the project will not only contribute to improved stability of the transmission network but will also create a more flexible network that will enhance electricity reliability. More importantly, this line will also contribute to the economic growth of the province,” says Naraghi.
Eskom has also shared its Transmission Development Plan (TDP) for the period of 2021 to 2030 with various stakeholders during an online public forum. This process is part of Eskom’s Transmission licence requirements issued by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), which calls for Eskom to publish a TDP annually.
Eskom in Gauteng has injected R41 million on an 88kV power line upgrade to strengthen the electricity network infrastructure in the northern areas of Johannesburg. Sylvester Barei, Asset Creation Senior Manager in Gauteng, said: “This double circuit twin turn 88kV line which is capable of delivering over 200 MVA is one of our flagship projects aimed at realising economic activities and improving the quality of life in Gauteng."
Research reveals 164% rise in searches for loft conversions
Market research conducted by building supply specialist Insulation4Less has revealed that searches for ‘Loft Conversions’ rose by a staggering 164% between May and June of this year, while searches for ‘Loft Conversion Ideas’ jumped by 186% as people spend more time on home renovations this summer.
The company also found that the most popular use for a loft conversion is for an additional bedroom, while an extra bathroom was the second-highest search term. Walk-in wardrobes came in third, beating out a home office in fourth while converting a loft into a home cinema round off the top five.
According to a recent study, a loft conversion can add roughly 20% to the value of a property. With the average UK house price standing at £267,000 in January 2021, this represents an average increase in value of more than £53,400.
Johnpaul Manning, Managing Director of Insulation4Less, said: “If the last year has taught us anything, it's that having space is essential to our mental health and wellbeing, so it's no surprise that people are taking the time to focus on home improvements to help them make the most of their home.
As one of the most under-utilised areas in any property, loft conversions represent a great opportunity to maximise the use of space that not only improves quality of life but also has the capacity to add value to the home”, he said.
Manning added that it's important to remember that a loft conversion isn't just your average DIY project, and should never be done on the spur of the moment. “A significant amount of planning needs to happen to make it a reality, and an understanding that life can be disrupted while the build is taking place.
“While it's definitely a worthwhile project, I'd recommend that anyone considering a loft conversion should do some in-depth research to really understand what's needed to make it a reality”, Manning said.
Is Your Loft Suitable For a Conversion?
While loft conversions do look amazing and add an extra element to a property, not all homes may be suitable. Insulation4Less says that this is due to a variety of factors.
“It's important to make sure that your roof is structurally sound enough to handle a conversion”, the company said. Although there are different types of roof structures, they mostly fall into two distinct categories: a traditional roof, and a trussed roof.
A traditional roof: was typically found in pre-1960s houses. Rafters on traditional roofs run along its edges, leaving a good amount of free space. However, they might still need new or extra support. Trussed roofs, on the other hand, have ‘W’ shaped rafters that support the roof and the floor structure. Even though truss roofs may appear to be harder to convert, it’s not impossible; the ‘W’ shaped rafters can be replaced with an ‘A’ shape structure which creates a hollow space. While this can add additional costs, it could be a worthy investment, so take this into consideration during your planning process.
“Another thing to consider is the roof's height and pitch, and how that will impact the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll need a minimum height of 2.2m to ensure proper clearance. While you might be happy to settle for something a little shorter on paper, make sure your happy with the height you have and the effect it could have on the enjoyment of the space”, Insulation4Less advises.
The company recommends doing research before going to an architect or contractor. “Ultimately, look for other conversions on your street or in similar properties, and if you feel comfortable, ask if you can have a look and discuss how their project came together - you’ll find a wealth of information that could really help your own project in the future”.
Information credit: Insulation4Less.