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Working With Us

Technical Advisors

Working With Us

Short Term Technical Advisor Required in South Africa 
Life Cycle Costing and Capital Replacement Planning for Social Housing
Volunteer Position – Five Weeks Total - March and September 2017



The Equal Spaces: Social Housing to End Spatial Apartheid in South Africa Project is a four year initiative that started in April 2016. It is part of the bilateral development program between the Government of Canada, represented by Global Affairs Canada, and the Government of South Africa. The intent of the Project is to revitalize inner city urban communities using well-managed, affordable and secure social housing developments to provide access to socio-economic opportunities that will both alleviate poverty and contribute to economic growth.


The Project will work with national, provincial and municipal governments, social housing institutions (SHIs), community organizations, financial institutions and the private sector. Rooftops Canada – Abri International is the Executing Agency for the Project. It is the international development program of social and cooperative housing groups in Canada and has been providing technical assistance in South Africa since 1992.


The Project will help this diverse group of South African stakeholders to develop, operationalize and manage social housing and urban regeneration initiatives in at least four South African metros. It will also focus on the institutional strengthening of the sector to ensure that SHIs are financially viable and can scale up their ability to develop and manage inclusive social housing developments.


The Project will help create the conditions for the construction of 4,500 social housing units in regeneration projects and 6,700 or more social housing units in other well located urban areas. Gender equality will be enhanced through initiatives aimed at women’s inclusion within institutional dialogue, enhanced leadership and economic opportunities, while environmental concerns will be addressed through a “green building” strategy.


At present, 48 SHIs have been accredited by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) to undertake social housing development and management with government support.  Some 18 of these SHIs have about 30,000 social housing units under management. Most of the SHIs are very experienced in undertaking reactive repairs. Some are actively managing preventative maintenance programmes. A few have properties that are ten or more years old that require substantial new investment to refurbishing this stock.  In general, the social housing sector does not have a systematic approach to life cycle planning. Many SHIs have not established and maintained dedicated capital reserve funds for long term replacement and repair of major building components.    


Tasks and Outputs

Rooftops Canada is recruiting a short term technical advisor (TA) to work with South African SHIs over two phases of work. The first phase will require approximately three weeks in South Africa and should be completed no later than March 31, 2017. The second phase will require approximately two weeks in South Africa depending on the recommendations from Phase 1 and should be completed by 30 September 2017. The TA will work with Rooftops Canada staff and South African social housing experts.


Phase 1 will involve work with three or four SHIs to help them implement replacement reserve planning including a life cycle costing methodology, and setting up and maintaining a dedicated capital reserve fund.  This work will entail:

  • Reviewing each SHI’s current policies and practices related to reactive and preventative maintenance, capital replacement and life cycle planning 
  • Reviewing what software, if any, that each SHI is using for long term planning. 
  • Assisting each SHI to address both prioritization of work and risk management issues related to asset management 
  • As appropriate, providing information and support, and developing a process for each SHI to address any gaps in its current practices, including the use of simple off the shelf spreadsheet software for life cycle planning (e.g. the manual and spreadsheet available free of charge from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) 
  • Preparing a brief report compiling the situation report and recommendations for each of the SHIs
  • Limited long-distance assistance to the SHIs between Phases 1 and 2.


Phase 2 will require developing and facilitating four regional workshops each of which will be one or two days in duration and involve several SHIs. The workshops will review the rationale, process and outcomes of life cycle costing and capital replacement funding.  They should be practical and hands on in nature drawing on both global best practices and the results of Phase 1



The ideal Technical Advisor will have the following qualifications:

  • multiple years experience working in large, complex social housing organizations in Canada with responsibility for asset management, capital replacement reserve planning programs,  reactive and preventative maintenance
  • specific experience with four storey walk-up buildings and older high rise buildings typically 12 -14 stories which were originally converted and refurbished would be ideal 
  • experience in making priority decisions with limited or inadequate reserves and resources 
  • working knowledge of life cycle costing software and comfort with Excel software platforms 
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in a cross-cultural context with the ability to both coach one on one and present complicated material in a straight forward manner  
  • Ability to develop and facilitate workshops related to life cycle costing methodology.


Terms and Conditions

This is a volunteer position. Rooftops Canada will cover all direct expenses according to Government of Canada standards including: international and local airfares, accommodation in South Africa, local travel and per diem for meals and incidental expenses, and overseas health insurance.


If interested in this position or if you would like more information, please contact Jo Ferris-Davies at Rooftops Canada  - Jo@rooftops.ca

The deadline for applications including a resume and covering letter explaining your interest in this position is 11 January 2017.