As a major manufacturing hub, second only to Johannesburg, Durban is an important city in South Africa. Due to this, many South Africans make Durban their home, and sooner or later, they build or buy a house in the city. If you are looking to construct or renovate a house in Durban, there are several points you should be aware of such as building regulations and the architectural design that needs to be followed, especially in certain heritage zones. Working with local architects in Durban will simplify the task of building or renovating as they can guide you through the process, helping you to get the necessary permissions as well as advising you on the perfect architecture and materials for your house.
Historically, Durban has been South Africa's major port city, due to which it has cultural influences from across the world, and this is reflected in the city's architecture. There are a notable number of Art Deco buildings, besides some that showcase Durban's maritime past. Other styles include the Muslim architecture brought to the city by traders in the 1930s as well as colonial buildings that mark Durban's history of trading with the British Empire. Following the Second World War, modernism became popular in the city's buildings, with concrete and brick – white-washed, textured or exposed – structures. Nowadays, modern architecture with glass walls is commonly used in residential and commercial buildings.
If you are building a house or altering an existing one in Durban, it's always advisable to hire a local architect as it comes with many advantages. For instance, all constructions and alterations come within the purview of the national building standards, which lay down guidelines of dos and don'ts for building or renovating a house. In recent years, there has been a strong movement towards preserving the city's rich architectural past, so certain types of alterations, especially if they fall within a heritage zone, might require clearances from National Monuments Council or other environment protection authorities. As a lay person, it's almost impossible for you to be aware of the building laws as well as the process of getting your house plans sanctioned. Here, hiring a Durban architect, who is experienced in these matters can help greatly.
Depending on the area where you plan to build, they might be some zoning regulations that affect the exterior style of your house. Your Durban architect will simplify things for you by drawing up plans that fulfil the criteria so that the permissions for commencing construction can be obtained easily. He can advise you on whether the colonial or minimalist style, among others, will be the best option.
This will, once again, depend upon the area in which your house is located. If it is a modern-style house, then glass can be a predominant material. However, you will need to ensure that the house is properly insulated so that you can live in it through the hot and humid summers as well as the warm and dry winters that the city experiences. A local architect has the expertise to recommend the right materials to use so that you can be comfortable in your house throughout the year. Additionally, he will have good contacts among building material suppliers, so that you get the best prices and can build your house within a specific budget.
The size of the house, the design-style, the interior architecture as well as the materials will influence the total cost of constructing a house in Durban. Additionally, it will vary depending upon whether you are building a standalone house, a townhouse or flats. However, in general, the average cost per square metre of building a standalone single-family house is R 8,580, while a townhouse will cost R 7,637 per square metre approximately. If you have a budget in mind for your house, you can consult a Durban architect to get advice on the best style and materials to use.
As we mentioned earlier, before you build your Durban house, you need to get the plans approved by the municipality and ensure that it meets the zoning and other regulations prescribed by the law. Unless you are a professionally-qualified architect, you may run into problems with an unauthorised extension or removal of an interior wall, when the building inspectors visit periodically to check on the status of the construction. By working with an architect, you can be assured that everything goes according to plan as they will ensure that all the legalities are met before the construction begins.
Additionally, an architect will eliminate the hassle of trying to find specialized professionals such as tile layers, bathroom planners and kitchen designers. They have contacts with experts who work with them regularly. This will save you a lot of time, besides ensuring that you get the right skills for each job. Therefore, in the long term, despite the fee you need to pay to the architect for planning and supervising the construction of your house, you will save on many additional costs that you would incur if you build it on your own.
On the homify portal, you can browse through our Durban architect directory and see photographs of some of the houses that the local architects have built. Once you identify a few architects, fill up the online contact form so that they can respond to your query. Explain your requirements and mention the budget so that they can start drafting plans for your house.