Rehavia: Your Ideal Neighborhood in Jerusalem

Tama 38 Construction Background 

Israel sits on a major fault line between the Arabian plate and the African plate. This fault line makes scientists believe that a major earthquake will one day hit Israel. The last devastating earthquake that hit the region occurred in 1927. This quake caused massive damage in Jerusalem, Nablus, Jericho, Ramle and Tiberias and killed at least 287 people. In response, the government created an initiative called Tama 38.

What is Tama 38 Construction? 

Tama 38 aims to strengthen existing buildings, so they will withstand the next massive earthquake in Israel. Tama projects do not receive any funds from the government. The responsibility actually falls on building residents and private contractors to take on Tama projects.  Either residents or contractors can initiate the process by requesting a construction permit from the government. If 66% of the tenants in a building agree contractors can begin construction to strengthen the building.

These contractors will strengthen the foundation of buildings. They also renovate and improve the units of existing tenants. Contractors often install elevators and add a balcony and reinforced room to every unit. Reinforced rooms are meant to provide a shelter against missile attacks in times of war. Adding a balcony and extra room to these apartments gives homeowners a more spacious apartment and typically increases apartment values by around 30%.

Tama 38 Israel-Before &After

Above you can see the before (right) and after (left) images of Tama 38 construction. Notice the addition of balconies and the additional floor that was added. Photo courtesy of http://www.ashdodcafe.com/.

Additional Advantages of Tama 38 Construction

In addition to strengthening older buildings, Tama 38 construction also creates jobs. More jobs and construction stimulate economic development which leads to more tax revenue for the government. Most importantly, Tama helps to combat Israel’s significant housing shortage. Many of the country’s residents gather in the central cities of the country which are close to the major industries. Tama construction creates more homes for these Israelis who move to the more densely populated central region of the country.

The construction of new apartments provides a major incentive for contractors who have permission to add floors on top of these buildings. Upon completion, these floors would contain multiple, brand-new apartments that the contractors can then sell. Tama also provides a more affordable option for individuals looking to purchase brand new apartments in Israel.

In Tama 38 construction projects buyers typically sign an agreement to purchase the apartment before construction begins. This allows buyers to save significant sums of money, as apartments cost far more once they’re built.

Disadvantages of Tama 

Although many parties will continue to benefit from Tama 38 construction these projects also bring some less desirable effects. The tenants living in these apartments typically stay in their units during construction. Most projects take 18-24 months to build. During this time residents must deal with the noise, dust and structural changes to the building.  Owners of existing units will also receive less rent during the construction period. In addition, monthly maintenance expenses for the building normally rise following the completion of construction. Although sometimes unpleasant most residents choose to accept these annoyances, as the end result is a renovated, more valuable apartment.

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Michael Steinmetz

Jerusalem Real Estate