before you build


  • Creation Date: Monday, 08 July 2019

I often use the analogy of the difference in approach when someone seeks to invest say, R3m on the Stock Exchange and consider the amount of investigation they engage in regarding on the stocks that they are interested in, etc., but will quite happily give the same R3m to a builder without batting an eyelid and then still expect a good return on their investment.

The first issue in both cases, particularly if it is not your field of expertise, is your broker. In the case of building your house, it would be your architect who would be responsible for ensuring that you receive a return on your investment. The more experience your architect has, the better your chances will be of getting that return, not only in your lifestyle but in your pocket as well.

It stands to reason then, that if you think that by saving on architect fees, you will end up with the same end result, there is a fair chance that you will also have a lesser return on your investment. You will not ever be paying for a drawing but always for the experience and knowledge of your investment broker who in this case, as I mentioned, is your architect. (See Choosing your Architect.)

The second item of importance is that the more detailed the design and the set of drawings, the better the chances are that you will have a well built house at the end of the project. If a fair amount of the finer detail is left to the builder to sort out, then the chances are also quite good that there will be compromises along the way and the easier route, not always the best route, will be followed by the builder. The choices made in what is built will also often be dictated by the experience or level of craftsmanship within the building team. A detailed design drawing will indicate what needs to be built and how it needs to be done. (See Architecture: The importance of design.)

 This goes hand in hand with a detailed specification of the requirements for the project. If one builder is quoting on quality items and another is quoting on sub-standard items, how will you know the difference until things in your house start breaking after a year or so? With a specification which details every item in your project, all the builders will be tendering on the same quality of the items from bricks to door locks and the prices will then be competitive. (See Your House Specification.)

The last item to consider is your builder. There are good ones and there are bad ones and this, I feel is where you need to take the greatest care in making your choice. I have written a number of articles regarding choosing and managing your builder which I invite you to read. Taking the advice that is given will go a long way to protecting your investment and ensure that you have the peace of mind that your money is secure. (See, Choosing your builder.)

There are still many issues that one needs to look at when contemplating building a house but taking the time to go through these points will go a long way to achieve that goal.


Article written by Les Abbott. PrArch. L. A. Design Studio.