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What do you need to know?

“It is not only buildings that interest us: there is something of greater importance which, through them, we are trying to reach. It has to do with the joining of structure and land, and how this can, and should, result in a sureness of place that is all the stronger for the union. The most important quality of architecture is the way it relates to, signifies, and dignifies a place on earth. …  Architecture is a disturbing art: It destroys places. Building sites always have the scent of sacrifice, barely asked by the hopeful and exciting smell of a new construction. It is our job to assuage the sacrifice and make building an act of understanding and adoration of the place.”

1. Why a value added project requires an architectural professional

The responsibility and burden is removed from the client’s shoulders as the architect is appointed as the client’s agent. He acts as the middle man between the following parties:

  • Client – Council
  • Client – Contractor / subcontractors
  • Client – Specialists
  • Client – Suppliers

The architectural professional contributes his expertise to the project by heading the design team and coordinating their output with that of other teams. He/she commits to manage and resolve problems and make informed decisions on the client’s behalf. The quality of the final product will depend on the quality of architectural professional. Deciding factors for your choice as architectural professional should never be motivated solely by the cheaper option. Base your selection of architectural professional on their level of qualification and experience as well as their registration with the applicable governing body. Beware of basing your choice merely on the professional’s fees charged. You might feel inclined to save on professional fees, but in the long run it could cost you more. For instance: You appoint a draughtsman to design a house larger than 500m².  According to SACAP he is not qualified to sign off that scale of project but due to his lower fees you appoint him anyway and he pays an architect to sign off on his behalf. You might have saved on the fees but the house is not designed the in the optimal layout and let’s say he wasted 50 m² floor area you will pay more for the extra building cost than what you would have saved in the appointment fees. Money saved in fees will be reclaimed and added in the area wasted in proper planning.

2. How can I control the time duration of the construction period?

  • Appoint people with sound experience and an excellent reputation in the built industry. Look out for teams with first-rate portfolios covering projects completed and testimonies of clients.
  • Have a good contract in place. This will integrate penalties as incentive and regulator for the contractor.
  • All parties have to agree to a reasonable deadline, while taking into consideration all factors that might cause a delay. Get updates on a regular basis and measure progress against the deadlines set.
  • Establish open communication between all parties. If an issue arises, inform all relevant parties immediately, so that a resolution can be achieved as soon as possible.
  • Remain conscientious when it comes to drawing sign-off by the client so that the contractor is sure to always have the latest drawings to work from. This will limit misunderstandings between the client, architect and contractor.
  • Despite the pre-determined project schedule and all the planning that this entails, it is good practice to supplement already built-in project contingencies. As a rule-of-thumb provide three additional months after the planned completion date to provide for possible delays to date earmarked for moving into your new home.

3. Buying vs. Building

Buying an existing house. Advantages:

  • Banks are more inclined to lend money for the purpose of buying existing houses, as they can assess the value of the structure more accurately.
  • The amount approved to buy an existing house generally exceeds that approved for new construction since more uncertainty and subsequent risk exist.
  • For want of experienced building professionals, buying an existing structure could be a more viable option when considering the red tape involved during design and construction of a new house.
  • Ideal for people who need a house quickly not necessarily investing in THE dream home.
  • Established neighbourhood with extensive infrastructure.
  • Established landscape with mature trees and existing landscaping.


  • A lot of time will be spent looking for the perfect house and you might have to settle for someone else’s dream, their taste in finishes and design.
  • Older houses might require the floor plan to be redesigned. Typically these designs do not suit our current lifestyles anymore. The layout might need to be rearranged to accommodate current open plan living requirements or the addition of a bathroom might be deemed necessary.
  • Existing houses might need remodelling, additions or repairs, the costs of which need to be factored in when the budget is considered.
  • The quality of workmanship and materials are not always observable, especially if the structure is built less than 10 years ago and major faults have not surfaced yet.

Building a new home. Advantages:

  • You will experience the pleasure of owning your dream home – a bespoke design tailored to your particular needs.
  • You will reap the benefits of a more energy efficient home, achieved through deliberate design and thoughtful selection of building materials and the implementation of the latest related technologies.
  • A harmonious integration of home and green elements will be achieved. One is able to avoid the need to retrofit elements that would result in a less appealing appearance.
  • The all-inclusive nature of a turnkey solution will lessen the load of considering all the aspects involved in the multifaceted building process.
  • Construction materials specified and used are according to latest building standards and technology.
  • It will be easier to sell when the time comes to do so, as newer houses are generally perceived as more appealing.
  • Due to the extensive time spent on the project, you establish a sentimental connection to your new home.
  • The design reflects only your personality and taste, as there were no previous owners.
  • Owners benefit from the new and well maintained infrastructure of sites located in new Estates. In some cases there are gas lines and fibre optics already installed.


  • The process is more time consuming and complex. Costs can also escalate if not controlled properly by your architect.
  • Time will need to be spent contracting a design and construction team (The Turnkey solution offered by JK Designs will expedite the necessary contracting procedures)
  • Certain events, e.g. unfavourable weather, can delay the construction process. Instances, like these where the contractor cannot be held liable for the time delay, will be stipulated in the contract. Expenses that follow will be for the owner’s account.
  • You will need to be financially capable to cover additional costs relating to the project, over and above your current living expenses, all of which could accrue considerably until completion.
  • Without an architect to guide you through the process, you could end up forfeiting your personal time and the quality of relationships, especially if everyone does not agree on the outcome.

4. The Budget

The budget is the very first project planning aspect to be resolved, since this will influence most, if not all decisions pertaining to your project. The home building and buying process is notorious for the unforeseen escalation of costs, the risk of which exists regardless of the size of the project that you are planning. There are a number of factors that could give rise to cost-creep, some can be controlled or avoided altogether, some less so. Correct budget allocation is a controllable aspect. It would be sensible to take a cautious view of the financing that will be made available for the project. Inexperience may cause one to disregard the need for contingency reserves, putting one in a financial bind during later project phases. Proper project execution requires a realistic budget and business plan, from which follows, adequate provision for contingencies. In addition, the following aspects need to be taken into consideration, wish list in hand, for procuring either a site or an existing house:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Market trends
  • Property taxes
  • Rates and levies
  • Condition of property – extent of additions or upgrades

5. Your new home

Empower yourself with knowledge and the consequent ability to make informed choices

Are you ready to build your dream home?

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As prospective or existing home owner, you may well know that buying or building your dream home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, or have ever made in your lifetime. It is clearly imperative that you take a judicious approach to significant, life-changing decisions like this. The intent should be to empower yourself with knowledge and the consequent ability to make informed choices. JK Designs is here to provide you with this vital information. We aim to acquaint you with the building process as far as possible and, as and when additional questions or concerns arise, have our advice at hand. Our goal is to ultimately enhance your chances of achieving the desired end-result – a return on your investment.