Making Building a Bearable Experience

Private Property South Africa

According to Adrian Goslett, Assistant Regional Director of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, research is key when it comes to building property in SA. “Make building a ‘bearable’ experience by choosing a reputable builder who can provide you with valid references and contact details,” advises Goslett. He says that consumers should avoid builders who aren’t registered with accredited associations such as the Master Builders Association (MBA) or the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) of South Africa “as builders who are registered with these associations can be held liable for their work to a certain extent,” says Goslett. According to the MBA, consumers should invite at least two building contractors to quote on the work they want done so that prices can be compared to see if it is market related. That said, it is important to note that contractors need to allow for more or less the same provisional quantities and products to enable consumers to successfully evaluate their quotes. Goslett advises consumers to visit two or three building projects that the builder has worked on before to see the quality of work and to find out from the people how the builder treated them. “This needs to be done before you sign any form of contract,” notes Goslett. He adds that consumers should ensure that contracts are fully understood and that it protects both parties before they sign it. “The MBA can assist with legal terms that don’t make sense. Standard building contracts that address the needs of builders and consumers alike can also be bought from them,” he says. “Be wary of builders who require a large deposit up front,” warns Goslett. Although small contractors may require a deposit for building material, the MBA advises consumers to ask contractors to provide security against absconding with their money. Payments should furthermore be scheduled in the contract while a record of all payments made should be kept at all times. “Ask your builder for a receipt each time a payment is made and try to stick to the payment schedule stipulated in the contract,” adds Goslett. “Furthermore, it is important to know that any changes to original specifications should be separately quoted for and recorded and accepted in writing before the contractor carries them out. Consumers should also insist that any work they’re unhappy with is rectified before the contractor leaves the building site in order to protect them from poor workmanship,” Goslett concludes.

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