When it comes to building a new home, whether it’s a modern design, a colonial build or something else altogether, there is a strong urge to just jump right in. But fail to plan and you plan to fail, right? With house construction, proper planning is key, especially if you plan on living in a practical dream home for quite some time (or sell it for a handsome amount right after building it).
Although professionals like architects and structural engineers run their businesses in different ways, homeowners usually need to follow the same series of steps when it comes to successful house construction.
Before venturing into the house construction process, carefully evaluate your financial and lifestyle situation. What is prompting you to do this? Is your family getting too big for your current home? Are you in love with the idea of settling down somewhere else, like a different neighbourhood or town? Whatever it is, you must make sure your final decision matches your budget for building.
Start by visiting several local estate agents in the area you wish to build your new home. They will be able to show you land properties available for purchasing, giving you a clear idea of location and price.
After that, speak to some builders to determine the general house construction cost for the type of abode you have in mind.
Once you’ve established that your finances are in order and that you will be able to afford what you want to build, it’s on to the banks to find out their general requirements and costs of financing your dream house. The banks will provide you with the relevant requirements, process and costs. Most will even give a pre-approval for an amount that you qualify for based on your situation.
This is the phase where you want to discuss the interest rate to be charged on your building loan. Remember that a lot of banks are open to lowering the interest rate depending on individual circumstances.
Getting one’s foot in the property door can be the start of a whole new life. Thus, buying land and house construction should not be met with indifference.
As we’ve said, estate agents can show you around and inform you of available properties for purchasing. At this stage, you can also contact an architect to advise you on the feasibility and viability in terms of costs, technical and design potential of each available plot.
After you’ve discovered the perfect piece of land for your construction project, the estate agent can assist you with securing and transferring the ownership of the land to you.
Once your new plot of land has been officially transferred to you, you will need an architect or draughtsman to help transform your ideas and dreams into a physical structure. Keep in mind that you must also provide copies of your house plans to your bank prior to approving your house construction loan.
It’s always best working with a professional, like an architect, who can ensure that your designs fit your requirements and budget.
Before your bank can approve your loan, you will be subject to a thorough process to scrutinize, amongst others, your credit worthiness. Most banks will also add conditions to ensure the house construction project delivers the planned structure within the required specifications and expenses.
For this, banks may check that any prospective builder is registered with a national builder’s regulating institution, like the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC). You will also need to include your proposed house plans with the builder’s quotes so that your bank can evaluate the actual loan amount and determine your loan’s risk profile.
Some of the requirements when you submit building plans / house designs / architectural drawings to your local authority include:
• A copy of your Title Deeds.
• Application Forms provided by the local authority, which are to be filled and signed by you and your architect.
• A copy of an approved Site Development Plan (SDP), if applicable.
• A full set of house plans coloured and scaled according to the building code applicable to your local authority.
• Applicable building plan scrutiny fees.
• An architectural compliance certificate/form, which must be signed by both you and the architect / draughtsman in charge of your house plans.
The success of any house construction process depends on the experience and honesty of the builder. Fortunately, when working with an architect, you will be guided along this process.
Your architect can help you sift through the various types of contract agreements, as well as draw up other documents like schedules and specifications to help make up the tender/bidding paperwork. Based on these, prospective builders will then submit their bids to the architect, who will then brief you on the bids received and provide required advice.
Once an appropriate builder has been chosen, your architect will co-ordinate the signing of the contract between yourselves and the builder. Then, it’s up to the builder and his team to start construction!
No two house construction schedules are the same. However, a typical one might include:• Applying for municipal service connections like water and electricity
• Site clearance (removing trees and levelling the ground)
• Establishing the site for workmen (such as temporary toilets, site access, etc.)
• Inspections carried out by structural engineer and building inspector
• Pouring concrete in foundations
• Building the foundation wall
• Surface bed – pouring the floor concrete slab
• Erecting external and internal walls
• Roof trusses and –covering
• Inspections by the municipal building inspector
• Electrical conduiting
• Windows and doors
• Kitchen- and bathroom cabinetry
• Electrical plugs and switches
• Painting and flooring
• Boundary walls and fencing
• Completion of the construction process and handing the site / structure over to the new owner.
• Moving in!
Want a top-notch team of architects by your side? Then how about? Nuclei Lifestyle Design? Based in Pretoria, Nuclei Lifestyle Design is a dedicated firm consisting of architects, designers and technicians who are committed to first-class results for every project and every client.
Registered and experienced Architect Hennie Pelser leads this vibrant team, which provides a wealth of services such as architecture, interior design, lifestyle design, renovations, residential construction, commercial builds, brand-new builds, plus corporate developments.
Here on homify, we have tonnes of additional tips and inspiration when it comes to Building a House…