All Construction Studies students of the University of Cape Town are required to undertake three months of work experience as an academic requirement for their three year undergraduate degree. The Department of Construction Economics & Management uses one of the twelve weeks to organise a community outreach project which allows students to utilise basic construction related skills for the betterment of a community. In so doing, the Department commits to delivering a social responsive curriculum which brings home to future construction managers and quantity surveyors the realities faced by people involved in construction, how people benefit from the results of the construction sector and what challenges students will face in industry one day.
The initiative was first rolled out in 2005 with Habitat for Humanity, where the students built a house for Grace Ndlovu in Gugulethu. Between 2006 and 2011, the department partnered with the Niall Mellon Township Trust to participate in the construction of RDP houses in locations across the Greater Cape Town Metropolitan Area such as Mfuleni, Netreg, Freedom Park, Wallacedene, Mbekweni and Witsands. The student organisation, ABES, took up the challenge of organising community build projects on behalf of the Department between 2012 and 2016. The project sites included Thembalethu School of LSEN in Gugulethu, Sports fields at Imzamo Yethu in Hout Bay and the Athlone School for the Blind in Bellville.
Recently, the department returned to the model where students participated in the construction of BNG homes by partnering with VHP Holdings - an opportunity relationship facilitated by BlueMoon Projects. In 2017, students were involved in the construction of four homes in Bardale, Mfuleni, and for the last two years worked on a City of Cape Town housing project in the Hague, Delft.