before you build

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Before You Build [What you need to know]

The Health & Safety Act and You, The Home Builder

 The vast majority of people who contemplate building or altering their homes are not aware of the content or the implication that the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (as amended) has on what they are doing.

Architecture: The importance of design

There is a saying that it takes effort to produce a good design but that good design is always worth the effort. I often get the feeling that people are generally of the opinion that architects draw house plans or plans of office blocks or plans of hotels, etc.

Avoid a Bad Building Experience

Over the years, I have found 3 fundamental reasons why any project would run into difficulty.
The first is a compromise on design. One only needs to drive down a street in any suburb and you will find at least one example of poor design.

Builder vs Project manager vs Bakkie builder. What's the difference?

Many people are not aware of the difference between a Building contractor, a Project Manager and a Bakkie Builder and there is a big difference. In many cases, there is a degree of overlap and as with all businesses there are good ones and bad ones all the way through the mix

Building Cheap Could Cost You More

Tough economic times makes all of us tighten our belts and compromise is the name of the game in many different parts of our lives. When it comes to building, it is generally no different. The big question is where do you start with that compromise?

Building Contract: Do You Need One?

Do I need a building contract?  The answer to the question is always going to be “YES”. Without a valid contract between you and your builder, you do not have any security, no recourse, no guarantees, no terms of reference and you are seriously at risk in all aspects of your project from start to finish.

Check your site carefully.

There are a number of factors that are often overlooked when choosing a site on which to build, and getting them wrong could influence a number of others and so limit your building options.

Choosing the Right Contractor

You cannot be too careful when choosing a contractor or subcontractor, go the extra mile and make sure that you feel confident that you have chosen wisely before you start building. Visit building sites, ask friends, family, friends of friends, your local hardware store, building centres and get the answers to all the questions you need. Taking your time about doing this will ensure that you get it right the first time.

Choosing the Right Suppliers

If you are looking at a labour only building project and seeking to supply all the materials yourself then you need to carefully consider who you are going to get to supply you with your building materials.

Choosing Your Architect or Designer

Choosing your architect or designer is a very important decision. Their advice and knowledge (or lack thereof) will directly affect your investment and the future value of your property. There is far more to design than simply drawing a plan and getting a builder to build it. Just look around you at the many design disasters in your neighbourhood and you will know what I am talking about.

Choosing Your Builder: A Checklist        

The vast majority of things that go wrong on any building contract occur because of the choices that you make when appointing your builder. If you are owner building and planning to hire a building contractor or are subcontracting parts of the project, make sure you know everything you need to know.  Ask the right questions, have a checklist ready and choose wisely.


When building a house, particularly on a tight budget, the first place that many people think about
cutting is with the design of the house and they go for the cheapest designer that they can find.

Is your builder insured?

When first embarking on the building of a new house, or substantial alterations to an existing property, it is important to ensure that adequate insurance is in place. This essentially comprises Contract Works Insurance which will include Public Liability Insurance.

NHBRC- What it is all about

The NHBRC has a very broad function and responsibility within the built environment to see that a high level of workmanship is obtained through training, monitoring and inspections, all aimed at ensuring quality at all levels within the building industry.

Owner Builder – Important tips

As an owner-builder all aspects of project managing the job fall on your shoulders.  Here are some important tips to print out and pin up on your project storyboard. 

Read them every day.

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