Owner-Builder-In-South-Africa-Copyright-Nicole-Rouillard-week 2-8 the foundations

Progress Report – Weeks 2-8 – The Foundations

These updates should probably happen more frequently but in reality, things move so quickly and are so overwhelming that its only now with completing this stage, that I feel I can properly report on it. The focus of these last two months has been to prepare and pour the foundations. Things that we thought would be obvious were stressful to figure out and the whole thing had a very abstract quality because you can't easily see what you're doing when you are operating 1m below ground level. We started by marking the whole site up with pegs and chalk. Starting at one corner, we used the 3:4:5 rule and then checked it was square by measuring across the diagonal in both directions. We used sm ...

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Why We Didn’t Use Shipping Containers to Build Our House in South Africa

It's becoming more common for people to put up container homes in South Africa. They can be done quite quickly and with fewer external resources. There are even a few in Baardskeerdersbos. We really like that industrial aesthetic of these sorts of homes and they can very stylishly and neatly executed. In fact, our design started as a container conversion. As we developed our idea it became apparent that it wasn't for us. Here is why. 1. A container is expensive In the months that we have been planning and building our home, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted both the steel price and the availability of containers. Not only were containers 3 times the price of the last time I had to so ...

Owner-Builder-In-South-Africa-Copyright-Nicole-Rouillard-week 1

Progress Report – Week 1

The first week on site for actual building has started with levelling the area where the building will stand and filling in the old dam. We bought the land because it was already terraced but the top terrace still had a slight gradient on it which we had to get all on one plane. The dam for the leiwater was actually created as a soak away for the neighbour's dam (when the two properties were owned by the same person) so we made the call to fill in the hole of the existing dam with excess the clay coming off the top platform. This saved us a lot of money on having to cart all that material away. In the place of the old dam, we are going to put down a Rain Queen corrugated zinc dam that holds ...

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South African Municipal Building Control Drawing Submission Set

There are rigorous steps involved in submitting and obtaining approval for drawings in South Africa. These steps are then followed by various inspections and finally building approval and an occupancy certificate is issued. In this post, I only cover what is required in the set of drawings. When building in South Africa, one must submit a set of plans for approval to the local municipality to be assessed and approved (in our case, to the Gansbaai building control office). The submission must comprise of two sets of drawings printed on either A2 or A1 and a very long form (Form 2) filled out by the SACAP registered professionals that you are working with such as the engineer or architect. ...

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The annoying, unexpected costs when building your own home in South Africa

As owner builders who are turning every penny to squeeze the most beautiful building out of our modest budget that we possibly can, unexpected large costs that were not included in the initial budget, come as a terrible knock each time. I fattened the planned budget by 20% to account for these sorts of things but that age-old concept of a building project costing double what one budgets for, rings true when one encounters these pit fall payments. I am sure that we haven't seen the end of these nasty bills yet so this post will be updated as I discover more of the costs that we didn't factor in when embarking on this project. So far, I will cover title deeds registration fees, building ap ...

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How to get Owner Builder exemption from the NHBRC in South Africa

There was nothing straight forward about applying for Owner Builder exemption from the NHBRC. In the end I did receive it without a hitch but if I had known then what I know now, the process might have gone differently. If you want to build your own house in South Africa and are actually capable of doing so (this is the key factor) you can request to be exempt from the obligatory quality control procedures governed by the National Home Builders Registration Council. The NHBRC is an organisation that inspects and upholds quality standards of home building in South Africa. Any builder or contractor that is employed to build a house in South Africa must be registered with the NHBRC and ...

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Useful text explaining requirements for Owner Builder Exemption in South Africa

The below text is copied from another document found here. How do I become an owner builder?the nhbrc and you I have decided to summarize again what the answer entails and document it. My disclaimer is that it is my interpretation and built on my experience as someone who had to go through the process, so pardon any bias - I take no responsibility or credit at all for anyconsequences of this writ. Let's start at the beginning, the question entails that you speak in the context of the nhbrc which is established on authority of the HOUSING CONSUMERS PROTECTION MEASURES ACT NO. 95 OF 1998, see attached. In order to further understand your question and the answer to it, the a ...

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Drawing Conventions for Building Plans in South Africa

In these months of preparing the plans for submission, I found it very difficult to get all the Informaton I needed to draft the drawings correctly with the right colours and hatching. Even though we worked with an architect to submit the plans, the information I needed to complete the set of drawings and get them 100% correct was difficult to find. In another post I explain why it is that I and not the architect himself did the drafting; over here, I explain what is required in the set of drawings when submitting to council. However, in this article, I explain the conventions and reasons for various colours, hatches, and line types required on any set of building plans in South Africa. ...

Owner Builder in South Africa - how it all started

The Beginning

Little over a year ago we bought a property in Baardskeerdersbos, Overstrand, Western Cape, South Africa. We intend building a house on our little slice of heaven. In fact, I thought that we would already be living in our house and yet we are still waiting for approval on our plans from our local municipality (update 14.01.2022 : we received our planning approval on the 9th of December 2021 - one week before builder's holiday unfortunately). We have learned so much in the last year that I thought it a shame not to share this information with people. I have decided to start a blog not only to recount what I have learned thus far but also to document what we do going forward. First of all, I ...