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Pandemic is seeing a move to touch-free access systems

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Estates will undoubtedly remain in demand in the post-Covid South Africa but their design – and even the homes in them – will change.

Estates will undoubtedly remain in demand in the post-Covid South Africa but their design – and even the homes in them – will change.

“Biometrics have gone as quickly as they came. Now rapid hand scanners or tag systems to open gates will be the new normal,” says Evergreen’s Cobus Bedeker, adding that some well-known estates in the Western Cape are also using hand scanners.

“Automatic, sliding entrance doors and hand sanitising has, of course, become standard when entering any buildings of a public nature within estates.” In addition, he says all service providers will need to be professionally managed, ensuring they have the correct protection equipment to safeguard themselves and those who live in the retirement estate.

“We are moving rapidly to incorporate artificial intelligence into the security elements of estates, moving away from manual paper sign-ins, where pens and surfaces are touched, to number plate recognition. We will depend more on cameras, letting the infrared do the work for us.”

Design of homes within retirement estates will also need to be reconsidered, specifically the main access to the front door which will need to change to a scanning offering instead of manual items like keys.

“Other elements will play a role in the design of retirement estates: landscaping, catering, village management and healthcare, all of which now require that we limit physical touching, making the processes a lot more clinical.”

Echoing this, Horizon Capital’s David Sedgwick says the biggest change to the design of housing estates will centre on reducing touch points and ensuring common areas incorporate features that allow for social distancing. Estates will need to be more sterile environments.

“This starts with entrance security. Measures already being incorporated in some high-end estates include facial recognition instead of fingerprint identification and sending visitors a QR code which can be scanned on arrival in addition to thermal scanners.

“Where fingerprint identification is used, estates are placing automatic sanitiser dispensers at the entrance.” In addition to social distancing measures for common facilities such as gyms, restaurants and club houses, UV lights can be fitted which are activated when the premises are not in use. “This would be supplemented by thermal scanners scanning people entering in addition to the employment of extra hygiene staff.”

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