Searching for sites online

Hi there!

I would like that we reopen the discussion on looking for sites online. I feel a bit uncomfortable doing it, but I feel it’s in the interest of the group. I’ll try to express it in the best way I can, so I will NVC it a bit :blush:

Recently I went on one of the websites that we said we wanted to check regularly, and I found at least 3 or 4 potential sites that haven’t been reported and that I think could potentially be of interest. I know of at least one cohousing where they found their site through immoweb, so it can definetly be quite a successful way to look for sites, that we need to pay attention to.

In general, around that specific task, I feel that there is a need for transparency and efficiency, and at the moment I feel that these needs are not met. Personally, it makes me feel anxious that I dont know that this job is being done, and that we may be missing opportunities, frustrated because I feel that we are not moving along in a way that is efficient, and worried that we will get demotivated if we don’t keep the ball rolling with ongoing new opportunities.

So here is my request: could we try and think of a plan that would make this process more efficient and transparent?

Personally, I believe that we need some kind of tracking system, that will let us have a clear vision of what has been and still needs to be done, the same way we are keeping track of our progress with the fiches. Such a system would help the people doing the job to remember where they are at, and also help ensure some kind of continuity ( if a person is sick for a week, we know what needs to be picked up without having to bother them). It could potentially also help us see if our frequency of checking each site is adequate: we will be able to be alerted if some sites are not being checked regularly enough, and if maybe it’s too much to deal with and we need more people on the job. It will also help us report back to the group as to what we are finding online, and give us a shared understanding of what is being done and where we stand…

I have drafted such a table that we could use for that (here). Maybe that’s not the way forward, but at least it’s a proposal to discuss :blush:

My other request is for the people doing the search to also make a fiche, and let team building know as soon as they find something, so that we can be reactive and not miss an opportunity.

What still needs to be done/decided:

  • Who is ok to take this task on? @Lea and @Janet you said you could take care of it, is it still possible for you with the proposed new format? Or not compatible with the time you have available?

  • How to divide the work (one person responsible for one site, or alternating…?)

  • What to search for exactly (for instance we should definitely include offices and existing building, not just empty plots)

  • Rethink the system or reorganise the table as necessary

Let me know your thoughts!


Hi @Sarah I share your feelings and concerns, and I am very grateful that you are bringing this up.

Also: kudos for your :giraffe: !

I’m picking up signals here and there that there may be similar concerns on related issues, so I am reflecting on whether it is not one of these moments again to slow down for a moment, to see how things are going and how we want to move forward. It may be a bit tight to still get that one the agenda of this Tuesday’s plenary, but I’d like to have a look this afternoon at whether that would be possible and desirable. All input and feedback welcome of course!


Sounds like a good idea! I think it really helps us when we have these reflection sessions


Hi @Sarah,

I gave this some second thought and I am no longer sure whether this is the way forward.

I still fully agree with the fact that this is super important, and that we can’t afford to not do it, or not know who is doing what.

That being said I think we are missing out here on two things from our governance and working methods, namely using role descriptions and the doer decides principles. I say that without any criticism of course.

So I what I would suggest is to try to solve it the sociocratic way, by creating a very concise role description. Elements that could be included:

  • What needs to be done
  • Why it is important
  • What needs to be reported, so that we get transparency and the possibility to take over if someone drops out

Having clarity about what is expected, you could then do a selection process or else look for a willing volunteer, and more importantly, set a term (go as short as 4-8 weeks?) and do a quick performance review. In the performance review you can tap into the collective intelligence to improve things that could be going better and/or you can also follow up with a new selection process.

How does that sound?


hi @Sarah , when i read your post, the part on ‘need of a tracking system’, i thought of ‘miro’. I see you suggested ‘excel’. If it works, no problem, if it doesn’t work, i could propose sth in miro. It has its pro’s and con’s off course. One of the pro’s i find: it’s very visual and gives you a quick overview who does what. So just an idea and if you/the group would want to try it out, let me know…


Hi @Sarah, I’m so sorry I missed this post!
I set up an automatic alert for immovlan and immoweb, but only for empty lots. So I think getting more clarity on the search criteria is definitely a good idea, and the table you propose also seems good to me from a quick look.
Checking the other websites on a regular basis doesn’t seem like a huge task but I’m realising that I cannot commit to it at the moment. Sorry I cannot be as reactive and reliable as I’d like to be (as I was before a tiny human arrived and required all my time and energy ;)). So if @Janet can take this over, I’d be very grateful.


agree with the slow down now and re-think priorities during Dec. to then fully engaged in Jan. I might need more explanation on this thread before jumping into action. just FYI similar to @Lea i have like 3 alerts for online sites. qq - Will the part of reaching communes via online enter this threat scope?

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Thanks for your responses!

I don’t know this tool but it seems interesting and might be worth looking into! I’ve proposed a point on online scouting in the agenda of our next meeting; if we decide to pick it up and talk about it, and if we have enough time, maybe you can quickly explain/show what it is? Or else we’ll find another moment to do so, definetly.

Yes I can imagine that managing another human being full time doesn"t leave much time! That’s very understandable! Thanks for letting us know your limits! And thanks for your feedback, will get back to you with clarifications and the process we propose to go with, once we have discussed it in team building.

Ok, I hope you can get to a place where you can evaluate what you can and can’t do with the time you have available; I know it’s not necessarily that easy to do, I struggle with it often myself. Just be realistic, and as always, let the group know if you can’t to do a task for one or the other reason.
And yes, there is definetly some more work needed on what the process should be; let’s see where we get to and we will get back to you once we have ourselves reached that clarity!

I’m not sure what you mean exactly, but in my head, no, this is a different process.


hi @reef-building . This probably is not in the right thread but didn’t know where to post this.
I talked briefly with Maarten Roels, who is/was quite active in Bxls in several projects (chant des cailles, terre en vue, débuts des haricots,…) and talked a bit about The Reef, who is searching for a plot.
He talked about ‘Constructiv’ with a site in Berchem St Agathe, that they don’t know yet what to do with yet, it’s part ‘zone verte’ and zone ‘mixte’ (i assume for building).
Can anyone tell me if there is allready a fiche for this / do you know this organisation Constructiv?

Terrain de Constructiv.pdf (197.6 KB)


Hi Els, thanks for this info.
This site has not been scouted and no fiche exist.
We could build along the street Grand Bigard.
Were you thinking of making a fiche ?

@sebas: i’ve made one: BER - rue grand Bigard 613.

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Hi there @reef-building ,
Els and I have prepared the role description and manual for online scouting (internal link). We can discuss it tomorrow, but don"t hesitate to already make comments/suggestions where you see fit (with track changes).
Els hasn’t had a chance to review the last bit of work that I’ve done, but we thought it was best to share it anyway to give you a chance to have a look at it. But she might make some last changes, in which case she will ping you to let you know.
See you tomorrow!


Thanks a lot @els & @sarah!

I read both documents and I only have a couple of points, which I’ll mention during the weekend.

I see that there are a couple of points in the manual that come with question marks. Is this something you would like to discuss during the meeting, and if yes, would it be possible to make sure that you have an overview on the questions that you’d like to ask?

On the question about the email address: yes, it should be possible to create as many Reef email accounts as possible. Best is to contact Team IT, and ask for instructions.

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yes indeed, these are things that we would like to discuss during the meeting. As for the overview, I’m not sure what it is you mean exactly? For me what need to ask it’s just the questions in blue, so that is the overview!

Ok, will do!

Hi @sarah,

For me there are more questions in blue than we can meaningfully discuss at a meeting with so many people around the table, but I’m sure we’ll manage.

The key question to me is how to get organised in terms of the link with Team Building. All the other questions to be are very practical questions that either fall under “doer decides” or else will have to be figured out learning by doing.
So by all means let’s do a couple of rounds to collect all the collective intelligence that we have, but I’d be reluctant to go into the detail of each and every question. Does that work for you?

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@reef-building .
Made some changes (with track changes), mainly with some answers to the questions and cleaning up some questions. If you wouldn’t agree with my answers, bring it up in one of the rounds…
So the questions are limited now:

  • excel or miro for follow-up
  • collaboration with team building

Thanks a lot for that @els and @Sarah!

I had made some small notes that I didn’t share during the meeting:

  • Recommendation from my notary: don’t overlook the “upstream” source of sites, and actively check sites like Trevi, Era, Chatelain and the like.

  • My personal recommendation: when you find an agency that has a very good building site, don’t hesitate to contact them by phone or email, because it’s not excluded that they have stuff that they don’t put online.

  • We have been in touch with Miss Miyagi before (maybe searchable, I don’t know). They are an agency that links difficult sites with people willing to take on difficult sites. It’s a low probability thingy, but nevertheless maybe worth a shot? (so to be clear: this should probably start with a one-off “hey we are The Reef, you have any sites?” message, but you do you of course.


@SimonDelch : interesting remarks of lee above… I added the sites in the manual…

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And I would even say that we should be in the books of this agencies, so that they come to us before putting something on the market… For info, that’s what I’ve done with structura biz already

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One more thing I forgot: in the Excel sheet that you created, you are duplicating the same columns for every website, which is likely going to lead to a very “wide” file, which may cause you to lose the overview.

As an alternative you could just keep one copy of these four columns, and add a fifth one to specify the site. I have created a quick-and-dirty template in “sheet 2”. This may lead to a very “long” file, but then I think it’s going to be much easier to navigate and extract meaningful data because you can use filters.

Just putting this out here, feel free to do anything that you like with this sheet 2 of course.