CTS News Update, September 2015

CTS, in collaboration with Asha Consulting, recently concluded the specialist heritage assessment of five strategic electricity grid infrastructure corridors identified through the Electricity Grid Infrastructure (EGI) assessment conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).


The project led to a number of technical achievements by the CTS team:


  • First nationwide use of SAHRIS for handling > 35 000 heritage sites data on GIS

  • First 4-tier heritage sensitivity map which incorporated survey coverage, areas of sensitivity identified through specialist knowledge, declared sites, gradings by type and by formal grading, and palaeosensitivity

  • First team to extract data from previous Heritage Impact Assessments onto SAHRIS


Click here for more information about this project. The process for obtaining input and comments from the various stakeholders is being run by the CSIR.




After spending a number of months on the development and refinement of the Heritage Screener, orders for our first screeners have started coming in. We have been in touch with many EAPs, heritage authorities and heritage practitioners around the country to get the timing, methodology and pricing model right. This has led to various adjustments to our model since we first launched the screeners back in February. We have therefore started the newsletter to keep all of you updated regularly:




Our original business model included the extraction of data from Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) and research work. This necessitated an enormous expenditure to carry out the data capture and moderation of data onto SAHRIS which influenced our pricing model. Our heritage team has captured over 12,000 heritage sites onto SAHRIS since September 2014 but we have found that the market has not responded to the idea of covering the cost of data extraction as part of the screening process.


  • We have moved our data extraction team to our non-profit company, OpenHeritage. Data extraction will now rely on the donor funding and income raised through OpenHeritage.

  • We have capped our pricing model. A screener (up to a reasonable size - eg not an entire municipality) costs R5 000. Small screeners for projects < 1.5ha or only triggering s. 38(1) of the National Heritage Resources Act cost R2 000. We no longer calculate the number of screeners based on 2000ha segments.

  • We have bundled the application service free of charge with screeners. We now handle the NID and SAHRIS applications at no additional cost.

  • We offer bulk screening discount rates for more than 10 applications per calendar year (ie from January to December every year).


Simplifying the process


In August 60% of our screeners resulted in green recommendations (HIA exemptions) and 40% resulted in orange recommendations (HIAs with reduced scope of work screening out of certain specialist studies). 0% resulted in red recommendations (full HIAs).


While we are certainly encouraged by the uptake in screeners since August, it has become apparent that there is still confusion about the timing of the screener and what it actually does. We have had a number of requests for quotes at the tendering stage by various EAPs for an HIA. This is causing confusion as the Heritage Screener is not an HIA. Screeners are designed to present a robust and coherent presentation to the heritage authorities of the heritage resources recorded in an area proposed for development and provide clear terms of reference for HIAs when they are necessary.


We have therefore decided to trial the following approach as we believe all applications should be screened as a matter of course before drawing up the terms of reference for the specialist studies:


  • CTS will screen applications at the tender stage at no upfront cost. As time is of the essence to obtain quotes from the various specialists, we will produce the outcome of the Heritage Screener’s recommendations (green, orange or red) and the amended terms of reference for the heritage specialist studies (when applicable) within hours of commissioning the screener. CTS will then continue to finish the screener and will hold it on file.

  • CTS will be paid for the screener if the tender proposal is successful. CTS will then release the screener to the client and will make the application to the heritage authority to endorse the approach taken for the heritage component.

  • By default, the Heritage Screener will be available to any of the bidders for the tender. CTS would then be paid for the screener by whoever is awarded the contract (unless one of the bidders won the bid without commissioning a screener).

  • CTS will offer the option to hold exclusivity for the Heritage Screener if payment is made up front. Other bidders not be able to access the screener and whoever commissions the screener first with their proof of payment will be granted exclusivity.


The following positive outcomes are achieved for EAPs when screening proposed developments as part of the application process to the heritage authorities:


  • They speed up the application process. CTS handles the whole application process to the various heritage authorities and produces the screeners within 24 hours

  • Screeners lead to more HIA exemptions as they build on the data available on SAHRIS

  • Screeners tighten up the terms of reference for the heritage component

  • Screeners cover much of the background work required in any HIA (site inventory and grading lists, heritage report references, level of survey coverage, high quality and detailed heritage mapping of the proposed developments and heritage resources).


For developments where the contract has already been awarded, particularly for large developments, screening will significantly improve the EAP’s ability to project manage the heritage component of the environment process. We have already successfully proven that we can bring significant cost savings to projects beyond the tendering phase and the heritage practitioners are provided with clearer guidance and the necessary heritage data for their work.

In addition to Heritage Screeners, we have added several new services to our portfolio, including mapping and permit application services, spatial planning services (eg Spatial Development Framework audits), and Heritage Impact Assessment background work for heritage practitioners. Please see our heritage services page for more information.