Home Building:How to build a House in South Africa Step by Step

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Owning your own house is an exciting adventure and possibly the dream of many of us.
A house is both an investment and a form of saving.

Life is unpredictable and, having your own shelter you can call a home is responsible thinking. Even in an emergency situation, let’s say you get laid off from work or you retire and you can’t afford to pay rent any longer, still, you will have some peace of mind knowing your battles are much lesser, as you won’t be forced to stay in the streets.

There are steps to be considered before we start building our own houses, but the reality is that most people jump right into a building project without first learning or doing thorough research about the critical elements involved in the home-building process.

Building a house can be pretty demanding, building a house involves many resources and is a time-consuming process.

Today we are going to discuss in more detail the step-by-step decision-making processes needed to build a house in South Africa.

1. Planning

It is extremely important to carefully evaluate our finances and our lifestyle situation.

It is no a secret that we can dream of everything in life but it is also obvious that we can not have what we can’t afford. We need to ensure that our final decision is within what our pocket can afford.

First, we have to establish the general cost estimates of buying land and the prevailing cost to build a house.

To do this, we need to go to several offices of local estate agents who operate in the areas where we wish to build our dream homes.
They will show us a list of vacant land properties that are up for sale for you to build a house on.

This will give you a clear idea of the type of properties and the price options that are available in the market. Thereafter we will also need to talk to a few builders to determine the general building costs for the type of house you wish to build.

The information we get from our local estate agents and building contractors will give us a clue whether it is going to be a feasible decision to build a house or maybe wait and save more money for the project. We can not start building and stop, we need to finish what we started.

When we are satisfied that our finances are in good shape or that our credit will afford us to build a house, then we need to look into buying the land.

2. Purchasing Land

When buying land there are some pitfalls we must avoid just to make sure nothing slows down the progress of our project or even cost us more than we really need to spend.

If you are buying in a development or estate, check the credentials of the developer. Many of them do go bankrupt.

You also need to study the estate guidelines carefully. They might have many restrictions that could influence what you can do.

You must make sure that the land has already been transferred yet by the council, or is it ready for sale.

You must also check if services such as (water and sewerage pipes, as well as electricity supply) have been laid.

If it is private land, and the plot is a subdivision, make sure it has been fully registered at the deeds office and new services have been laid.

3. Choosing an Architect to Design our Plan

An architect or draughtsman will help you to draw the plan of your building and they will also oversee the municipal approval process.

Finding an architect is not hard but getting the architect to stick to your budget is. You need to set your budget first and find out what local building firms are generally charging per square meter.

And before appointing anyone you should ask to see some of their previous projects to make sure their designs match your ideas.

Your architect’s job is to assist you to ensure that the house design suits your personal needs and budget.

They must also ensure that the house suits your plot and the existing site conditions.

It is also highly important to take note of the design of your dream house if it fits within the site boundaries. Will the windows be facing the correct direction of the sunlight? What are the zoning and statutory requirements that are applicable where your site is located?

Your Architect will assist with this but it also does help to take the effort yourself to visit your local municipal offices and finding out more about some of their requirements.

4. Submitting your plans to your local Municipal council

Your building plan must be submitted and approved by your municipality.

Before approving a building plan, they may consider many factors, for example, the impact of the development on the surrounding environment and heritage status among other things.

Your municipality is responsible for checking and approving all building plans and they’ll consider various factors, including the impact on the surrounding environment and health consequences of the development before approving any plan.

Submitting your building plan requires the following paperwork:

1. Building plan application form

You will get this form directly from your municipality council.

The documentation that you’ll need for the building plan application form depends on the type of submission.

Here are some typical requirements when submitting building plans/floor plans to your Municipality in order to build a house:

A copy of your Title Deeds – obtainable from either your attorneys/conveyancers who handled the transfer of your property or the financial institution which has granted the mortgage bond over the property.

Application Forms provided by the local authority, filled and signed by yourself and your architect.

Where structural work such as concrete slabs or special foundations is contemplated, an appointment certificate is completed and signed by a registered professional engineer.

A fire installation drawing (normally for public or commercial buildings) – check with the fire department of your local authority.

A copy of an approved Site Development Plan (SDP) – if applicable.

A full set of house plans colored and scaled according to the building code applicable to your local authority.

A rational design proposal by a professional engineer for fire installations or specialized electrical and mechanical systems.

Applicable building plan scrutiny fees. These can be charged at a rate per area of the dwelling or as a flat fee.

An architectural compliance certificate. A form signed by both yourself and the architect or draughtsman who prepared your house plans.

2. Copies of the plans application form

You’ll have to take copies of the plan application form along with you when you go in person and make a request at your municipality.

3. Copies of your ID and your municipal rates account.

You will also need to pay the prescribed fee. You can contact your municipality to find out what the fee is.

If you are sending a representative to make the request on your behalf, you need to give him/her permission by writing a letter of consent. The person you send in your place must produce their ID when they submit copies of the plan application forms. Source:westerncape.gov.za

5. Choosing a Building Contractor

Builders have a common tendency of going bankrupt before completing projects, leaving many homeowners with partially-built houses.

This is very unfortunate and you must do everything you can to avoid it by appointing an established, reputable builder that can provide a fixed price quote for the entire project.

Sunrise Home Building Renovations Pty Ltd is a reputable company servicing the whole of Western Cape and can help with your work too.

You or your architect needs to inspect the building project regularly. Making sure all subcontractors have updated plans at all times as changes can always occur.

You must always keep records of the cost implications of any changes.

And also make sure you are managing your cash flow carefully. This can make or break a timeline.

Are you planning a home-building project? Take a look at Sunrise Home Building Renovations Pty Ltd’s service page and see what we can do for you today.

Happy building!

Researched and written by Innocent Mchavi

SEO Web Content Writer