Checklist for Homebuilders

What do you need to have in place in order to start a homebuilding project? This checklist compilation will help you to plan and execute your project.

1. Establish your financing ahead of time

Your budget is one of the single biggest factors that can determine the progress, quality and scope of your project – even with the best building contractor on board, you can’t make your home a reality if the money isn’t there. It’s also important to also have a contingency budget of an additional 10% to accommodate unforeseen costs.

2. Have your Contractors All Risk insurance in place

Contractors’ all risks (CAR) insurance is a non-standard insurance policy that provides coverage for property damage and third-party injury or damage claims, the two primary types of risks on construction projects. Third parties, including subcontractors, may also become injured while working at the construction site.

3. Always use registered, accredited builders

In South Africa, quality builders are registered with accredited associations such as Master Builders Association North (MBA North) and National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). This means that they accountable for the quality of work they deliver which provides the client some essential peace of mind.

4. Get expert input

Building a home is a huge investment and a complex project, so don’t go at it alone when you don’t have the right experience or time. Partnering with an architect registered with the South African Council of Architects is good value for money – not only is your project expertly designed and planned, you also have an experienced and trained specialist to manage your project and ensure that the contractors, materials and work is up to the highest standard.

5. Register the building with the NHBRC

The Act requires all home builders to enrol every new home with the NHBRC at least 15 days prior to construction. The enrolment of a new home is the first step in the protection of a housing consumers’ right, as provided by the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998.

6. Ensure plans are approved by the Local Authority

Once the building plans for your new home or renovations have been drawn up you will need to submit them to your Local Authority for approval. When you have your plans, should you wish to submit them yourself you will need:

  • Application forms obtained from your Local Authority
  • The plans
  • Standard forms from engineers who have consulted on the plans
  • A copy of the Title Deed
  • Zoning Certificate

7. Get multiple quotes:

A significant part of the building process is administrative, and it becomes challenging not to simply go with the first recommended service provider who fits the bill. Take the time to get at least two quotations from building contractors and go see the work they have done in person. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long-run, and ensure you get the best service.

8. Have your contract looked over by an expert

Legal contracts for building homes can be fairly complex and there’s a lot of legal terminology that clients may not fully understand the implications of. The MBA North can help you understand these terms and can even supply standard building contracts that protect the needs of both clients and builders alike.

9. Familiarise yourself with the Rules of the Estate if you building in one

Most Estates have rules and regulations which have been made and approved in terms of the Memorandum of Incorporation. The Estate Building Rules and Regulations are for the protection and reinforcement of the lifestyle and your client’s capital investment. It is important therefore to familiarise yourself with the relevant Building Rules and Regulations of the Estate. Usually the Building Rules and Regulations are applicable for new buildings as well as renovations.

10. Ensure full full compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS):

Implementation of an OHS Plan and Management System is mandatory and has numerous benefits, not only for the operational requirement of your company but also for your employees. The MBA North can provide professional OHS support services to your company to guarantee compliance.

11. Ensure the site is properly secured

To mitigate the risk of members of the public accessing the construction site, to deter theft and vandalism, lower risk and keep projects on time and within budget, the following risk mitigation measures are recommended:

  • Use appropriate lighting.
  • Install fencing.
  • Post signage.
  • Consider surveillance.
  • Secure equipment.
  • Plan deliveries ahead of time.
  • Purchase adequate insurance coverage.

12. Work to a detailed project management schedule with lead items

Construction project management keeps the project moving according to plan. The goal is to manage the project so that it finishes on schedule and within budget, while still meeting building codes, plans, and specs. Project management may also set parameters, finances, and calendar; oversee the vetting and hiring of subcontractors and on-site workers; develop strategies for potential conflict resolution; and more. Appropriate training in this field is recommended, coupled with the deployment of readily available project management software tools.

Kosie Combrinck – L-Con Projects

Acknowledgements: Kosie Combrinck – L-Con Projects; Jason Scholtz – Envision Investments; and NHBRC


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