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Updated 11.06.2023

Building Costs in South Africa 2023 – Latest Prices

As with all countries, the building costs in South Africa depend on location of where you are building. As a large part of the costs are manual which vary dramatically in different parts of the country.

According to Procompare, building costs for a 146 square meter (3-bedroom) house in South Africa is approximately 1.5m rands. You may have to spend between R7000 and R15000 for every square meter you construct. Here is a detailed explanation of how much it costs to build in South Africa.

Building Costs in South Africa

Factors Affecting the Cost of Building a House In South Africa

The amount you will spend building your house will depend on the following factors:

Price of Land and Location

The home-building process begins with land ownership. If you already own land, you will not be too keen on this cost. If you do not, you will have to incur the cost of buying land. If you own land (from inheritance or past purchases), you are very clear on its history. However, if you just bought land, you must conduct a thorough inquiry to ascertain the land you wish to build on has no disputes. This will eliminate the possibility of building on land whose ownership is in question.

The cost of a piece of land might change depending on its size, location, and intended use. When budgeting for house construction, it is critical to take the cost of building in various areas into account. Currently, the cost of constructing a home in a major South African city can range from R 10 000 to R 15 000 for every square meter, while luxury homes can cost R 25 000 or more. Therefore, the price of the land and its location must be considered when estimating building costs because they have a substantial impact on all other prices.  But also remember that pricing can fluctuate, so it’s best to do extensive research before choosing anything.

House Design and Size

The size and design of the house both have a big impact on costs. For example, a key element of design that might have a substantial impact on building costs is the design’s intricacy. In case you go for unique design elements, complex floor plans, or use unusual building materials, the technicalities of the construction will change. You will have to go for expert workers, specialized methods, and extra planning and execution time. Construction costs often increase with design complexity.

When it comes to the size of the house, naturally, larger homes demand more resources, more labour, and longer construction times. The price of building materials for foundations, walls, roofs, and floors will rise in direct proportion to the size of the house. Additionally, larger homes might require more plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, which would raise overall costs.

Additionally, bear in mind that the building’s design and, thus, its cost will be impacted by the location where it is being constructed. This includes the unique features and limitations of the construction site. The methods of design and construction will be influenced by elements like slope, soil characteristics, accessibility, and the proximity to utilities. Increased expenses may result from problems that come up on site which may require more engineering solutions, foundation reinforcements, or earthworks.

Local Fees and Permits

In South Africa, starting a construction project entails more than just designing and building. Obtaining municipal approvals and handling the numerous town planning applications are also required. The accompanying fees for these approvals have a considerable impact on the entire cost of construction. Some of the common fees and permits include:

– Consent Use Application Fees

Consent use requests, as opposed to rezoning requests, allow for more construction on your land without altering its zoning. You must get the municipality’s approval before building any new extensions, such as a guest home or kindergarten nursery. Zoning or property size have no bearing on consent use costs.

– Relaxation of Building Line Application Fee

The minimum separations between the internal borders of the building and the boundaries of the land are specified by municipal rules. If you want to build outside of these restrictions, you must apply for a building line relaxation. It comes with a fee that must be paid in the process. 

– Township Establishment Application Fees

Large swaths of land can be divided into smaller sections for development in rural and agricultural areas. Zoning is done as part of the township establishment procedure, and the subdivided areas are registered with their own Title Deeds. It is an important consideration for those who are planning to develop townships to have.

– Building Plan Submission Fees

You can submit your building designs for municipal approval after the required town planning applications have been accepted. The total floor area of the proposed development determines the expenses for filing the building plan. Additionally, while construction is underway, inspections are conducted to assess compliance with building standards and regulations as part of the approval process.

Landscaping and Cost of Preparing the Building Site

Another important factor that considerably influences the overall building cost is the preparation of the ground. The price of clearing land can change depending on several variables. These include the specifics of the land, the contractor chosen, and the location. It is important to understand the various land preparation procedures in order to plan for their accompanying expenditures.

– Cutting and Filling

Earthmovers are required to level the ground during cutting and filling. The tools needed for this operation include bulldozers, bobcats, and compactors. Proper compaction will ensure a stable foundation, preventing problems like cracked foundations from appearing in the future.

– Clearing

Rocks, grass, trees, and other objects must be removed through the process of clearing land. Clearing guarantees correct compaction and prevents issues when building the foundation. Depending on the type and extent of the land, clearing typically involves using chainsaws, bobcats, and lighter equipment.

– Stump Removal

Stumps must be removed when trees are removed in order to stop soil movement and potential damage to the foundation. Bobcats, backhoes, excavators, machinery that pushes or removes stumps, and other tools are needed for stump removal. The price of stump removal might be high, especially if the location has many or big trees.

– Grading and Levelling

To provide a flat, level base for the foundation, levelling, and grading are essential. This process prevents water from reaching the house’s foundations. For this, bobcats, auto-levellers, and heavy earthmoving machinery are employed. The slope of the ground will determine the difficulty and expense of levelling and grading.

– Amenities

The expenses of connecting plumbing, electricity, and water to the site during land preparation are extra. Ordinarily, temporary services are set up while permanent connections are being made. Temporary amenities can seamlessly transition into permanent establishments with proper planning. These facilities are necessary for multiple construction processes to work effectively on the site.

– Soil Testing (Geotechnical Reports)

Features of the soil, such as its reactivity, chemical state, and physical properties, are determined via soil testing. These tests are carried out by a geotechnical engineer, who creates a report that is used to identify the kind of foundation that is appropriate for the location. Through soil testing, any potential problems are found, and it is confirmed that the site can support the weight of the construction.

Building Materials Used

The selection of materials and finishing is also very important when determining the cost of construction. Choosing high-end finishes, unique fixtures, opulent flooring materials, and luxurious amenities will inevitably increase costs. Importantly, also consider that the number of materials needed for finishes like paint, tiles, and flooring directly correlates to the size of the house.

Labour Costs

Labour costs are also an important factor. The project’s complexity, the availability of subcontractors, and the project’s location all influence labour costs. Mywage.co.za reports that the compensation range for the majority of construction laborers in buildings is R3 165 to R11 555 per month in 2023. If you can afford it, high spending on labour is worth it. More expensive, skilled, and effective labourers help the project get finished on time and with high-quality work. 

Cost of Wiring

In South Africa, the cost of a simple wiring job for a house might range anywhere from R5 000 to R10 000. However, the price may go up or down depending on several different considerations. For instance, non-residents may be required to pay between R20 000 and R30 000 for the wiring of a three-bedroom house, with the average cost being R25,500. 

Professional Charges

The expenses for professional services also contribute significantly to the overall price of building in South Africa. These fees, which are calculated as a percentage of the construction costs, are essential for guaranteeing the project’s success and calibre. The cost of the land surveyor, which may amount to up to 5% of the total cost of the project, is essential for precisely determining property lines and guaranteeing adequate site preparation.

A well-designed and practical space that fulfils your vision and complies with building codes can only be created with the architect’s fee, which can amount to up to 8% of the construction cost.

The charge for the structural engineer, which is equal to 2% of the cost of construction, guarantees the security and stability of the building’s structure. The price for the quantity surveyor, which can amount to up to 4% of the construction costs, aids in project management and cost estimation, enabling efficient cost control. Finally, the cost of a lawyer, which averages R 900 per hour, ensures that you are protected and guided legally throughout the construction process.

Conclusion

There are lots of considerations that go into financial planning when constructing a house. The factors that are explained in this article will help you with that planning. Many people will also consider home loans when investing in property. Additional research is also required on your part for anything extra that this article might not have touched on.

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