Step-by-step guide to building a home

W hen it comes to building a home, there are different methods used by contractors all over the world, based on the climate of the country and the residents’ lifestyles. In the USA for instance, houses are usually built with wood and the rooms are made quite small in order to contain the heat in the winter months. In South Africa, it is more common to have a wide, open-plan living areas so that the air can flow through the home and keep it cool during our hot summers. Read on to find out the step-by-step guide to building a home in South Africa.

Step one: Ensure you comply with the relevant building regulations

South Africa has certain regulations for building homes that all contractors must comply with. Amongst other things, these rules ensure structural integrity, compliance with environmental regulations, compliance with relevant town-planning rules and regulations.

Step two: Arrange for the preparation of building plans

Find and consult with a decent architect or building designer who can work with you to come up with a design for your new home that you are happy with and which is architecturally sound.

Step three: Find a building contractor

Approach your building designer and the Master Builder’s Association and ask them for names of reliable building contractors. Ask them for recently completed projects and addresses, so that you can contact the owners and find out firsthand how well the contractor worked. You will receive honest feedback that way. Try to get three quotations from three contractors so you can compare. Once you are happy with your contractor, it is time to move onto step four.

Step four: Drawing up the building contract

Once you have your contractor appointed and agreed on a price, it is time to agree on a program and have the contractor commit to this program. Agree on a realistic schedule on progress payments. Try to avoid going on merely a handshake, make sure you get everything in writing with a signed and sealed contract. Standard documentation can be obtained from the Master Builders Association.

Once you have completed these steps, it is time to break ground. Specialised assembly tools are used to build your home. At the end of the project, ensure that a defects list is drawn up and that all defects are attended to before you as the owner releases the final payment. If you release payment before any defects are attended to, it could be difficult to get the contractor back in to fix anything without incurring additional charges.

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