Initiatives in the field
29.06.2006

Extreme makeover in Reunion Island

The public housing stock in Reunion Island is often run down, dilapidated and no longer compliant with building standards. It requires a complete overhaul, but for traditional refurbishment or reconstruction operations, there is nowhere to re-house the residents temporarily because of a shortage of public housing.

For the “Chaudron II” contract, GTOI had an innovative solution for a 120-apartment project – all work was to be carried out keeping not only the residents but also their possessions on site! The various contractors were working in people’s homes on a daily basis.

This extreme makeover was a technical and organizational feat, because the contract called for:

  • installing balconies on the facades
  • complete renewal of internal and external doors and windows
  • full refurbishment and upgrading of all wiring and plumbing
  • upgrading bathrooms and installation of a separate toilet rooms
  • tiling bathrooms, toilets and kitchens and laying new floor covering in the lounge
  • repainting all rooms
  • refurbishment and redecoration of common areas and surroundings
  • Work had to be completed within 4 weeks for each apartment, with water, power, telephone and TV reconnected every evening.

This project is located in an inner city area. Working among people many of whom have lost all contact with the world of work and social norms, GTOI teams found the right style of communication and brought work ethics into this complex environment. This successful relationship was cemented with a bouquet of flowers, highly appreciated, and a small GTOI gift for the tenants each time the work was completed in an apartment.

On an environmental level, a centralized solar hot water production system was installed for all the apartments (partly funded by the EU and the Region), while a selective waste disposal system separates out metals, inert rubble, ordinary industrial waste and bulky objects.

This was a considerably cheaper solution than demolition and reconstruction, with a high rate of occupancy maintained, the social fabric strengthened and full technical and environmental compliance achieved.

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