Building a House – Article 1 – Professional Service Providers

Building a house, or any building for that matter, can be a daunting task and is fraught with dangers and unexpected costs.  

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Building a house, or any building for that matter, can be a daunting task and is fraught with dangers and unexpected costs.  I will write a series of articles here on the different stages of building a house and outline what one should be careful of.

The first and foremost step in the process is of course to get plans drafted, approved, submitted and passed through local council to ensure that you are building according to local authority by laws and that you won’t be required to demolish and re-build your building because you have contravened any building regulations.  There are many building regulations contained within SANS 10400 and without a professional to assist it could lead to complications down the line.  A reputable architect should be familiar with these guidelines and can design and draft plans that adhere to them to avoid changes once building starts and to remain within the guidelines at all times.  An architect will consult with you to get an idea of what design features you are looking for and will then draft a set of plans for you which can then be revised and changed to suit your needs.  Once these plans are ready for submission they will submit them and deal with local authorities to get approval.

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Building can and often does start before plans are passed provided you and your professionals are sure that there will be no material changes to plans that will affect your progress and result in having to demolish what you have already built before they are passed.  An engineer will also be required to be compliant and will be required to get plans passed.  An engineer is necessary in order to ensure that the structure and building is going to withstand the test of time and won’t be a danger to people.  His, or her, job is also to ensure that the building will be built so that it lasts and does not fail prematurely due to builders taking short cuts or using sub standard materials.  He will provided drawings for certain aspects of the build and these will be used by the builders to build exactly how they have specified.  Things such as size of steel girders, thickness of steel etc. will all be taken into account in the spec.  A Geo Tech Engineer specialises in things such as percolation and water drainage whereas a structural engineer will specialise in structural design.  A reputable firm of engineers will normally be able to incorporate all specialised areas in their service to you.  They will initially provide the specifications to build to and will then have various “hold points” in the building process where they will want to come and inspect what has been done and either approve it or insist on further changes.  An example of this, is for instance, when digging foundations, the engineer will want to inspect the depth and width of these foundations in order to satisfy themselves that the foundation will not slip or adversely affect the building which needs to rest on them for years to come.  Only once they have inspected and approved can the builder throw concrete.  These “hold points” are important in order to get a clear approval from the engineer and an engineers certificate which will be need to submit to local authorities.

In summary get hold of your professionals and get plans drawn, engineered approved, submitted and passed before starting to ensure that you won’t be surprised when things need to change and costs escalate.  In the next article we will deal with budgets and calculating a rough cost for your build.  

We deal with a complete Turnkey Solution for your building needs and can engage these professional on your behalf and with your consultation.  We can be contacted using this contact form or one of the many others on this site.

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