What are the costs of building a house in South Africa in 2019?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Bluevalley Estate, Plan Créatif Plan Créatif Colonial style house
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Looking to invest in a renovated home or a brand-new build? Good for you, as property is one of the most prime spaces where one can invest one’s money! But before you start dreaming – have you considered all the costs that go into building a house in South Africa in 2019?

Once you’ve purchased the land, a realistic budget needs to be drawn up for the overall project. To avoid disappointment or unexpected costs, experts advise that you budget for all necessary expenses up front instead of during the building process. 

And let’s not forget about all the professionals that will help you turn your dream home into a reality (such as Architects) – they also need to be paid! And how does location (as in which province in the country) affect building costs?

Let’s find out…  

1. What affects construction costs?

Building a house is subject to the following costs:

• Construction: This refers to the basic building of the house and buying the bricks and mortar, installing doors and windows, plastering and painting walls and floors, etc. Basically, everything that requires the basic shell of the house to be completed. All of these should be quoted by the main contractor at the start to give you a clear idea of how big your budget needs to be. 

• PC amounts and specialist items: PC (prime cost) amounts are monetary allowances for items that will go into the construction of the house that have not been formally decided upon at the time of the tender process, such as the rate per square metre for tiles, etc. Specialist items involve everything that you, the client, will choose. These may include built-in cupboards for the kitchen, light fittings, bathroom accessories, etc. 

2. Which professionals will you use to build a house?

• Architect: The leader of the professional team who coordinates everything regarding the building of your new home. Their fees are usually based on a percentage of the building cost. Architects’ professional fees are recommended by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP).

• Quantity Surveyor: The best person that’s professionally qualified to calculate an early estimate of what your house will cost. This professional is also vital to draw up a Bill of Quantities that will enable accurate comparable quotes from various contractors, plus to assist sifting through all the tenders for your project. For 2019, the professional fee of a Quantity Surveyor (for a residential project) is estimated to be around R250/m².

• Structural Engineer: This professional must design and sign off the structural concrete and steelwork of your building, as well as the Local Authority. Their 2019 fees can be estimated at about R150/m².• Electrical / Mechanical Engineer: Normally not necessary for private residences, this professional is used only for specialised electrical and/or mechanical installations. 

• Land Surveyor: This expert may be needed to survey the corner pegs and levels of the site should detailed information be required. 

• Geologist: Not necessary for all building projects, the Geologist’s job is to survey and report on the soil conditions (which is necessary in problematic dolomite areas, for instance). 

• Other specialists, depending on the size and nature of your building project, may include Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, etc. 

3. What are the cheapest places to build a house in South Africa?

1. North West: Building costs are calculated at about R10 130 per m². With the average size of a house in South Africa being 146 m², that means you could build a home in North West for about R1.478 million. 

2. Limpopo: Building costs come to approximately R10 550 per m², thanks to the lower expenses of labour and materials. With the average costs of building a house being at R1.54 million, you could enjoy a new home in Limpopo on a budget of R949 500.

3. Mpumalanga: R11 390 per m². For an average-sized house here, you’re looking at spending about R1.662 million. That totals R1.025 million for a 90-metre unit.

4. What are the most expensive places to build a house in South Africa?

1. KwaZulu-Natal: You won’t pay less than R19 230 per m² to build your own house here. And with our 146-metre guidelines, that averages about R2.8 million for a home. Smaller units could be constructed for roughly R1.73 million. 

2. Gauteng: Don’t expect to pay under R15 730 per m², which works out to about 20% cheaper than in KwaZulu-Natal. Your average-size house here will come to roughly R2.296 million. 

3. Western Cape: To become a Capetonian (who are used to excessive living costs), you’ll need about R14 050 per m² – that means R2.05 million for a standard house. 

The more you know, the better! Let’s break down The cost of building a small house.

Where in South Africa would you opt to build your dream home?

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