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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need an architectural professional?
    The role and responsibility of the architectural professional, goes far beyond just providing floor plans or great designs. Your architectural professional removes the burden from your shoulders and is appointed to act as your agent. We essentially act as the middlemen and women between the following parties: Client – Council / Local Municipality Client – Contractor / Builder / Subcontractors Client – Specialists / Engineers Client – Suppliers As architectural professionals, we contribute our expertise to the project by heading the design team and coordinating their output with that of other teams. Our commitment is to manage and resolve problems and make informed decisions either on your behalf or assist you to make informed decisions about the direction of your project.
  • How can I prepare for the initial consultation?
    Designing a building is a very nuanced and exciting process – there are many different ways an architect can achieve a beautiful and composed design, however not every design may be what you, as the client, are looking for. It is important to take the time to contemplate what you are looking for in any building before you meet with your architect in order to be able to effectively communicate your desires. Consider your architect as a painter trying to capture the image that you already have in your mind; the more information you give them, the better they will be able to understand and reflect on what you are imagining. Here are some guidelines to consider when preparing for the initial consultation: Prepare a list of questions for your architect, they know stuff! Have your ideas ready to go and share with them your thoughts. Be upfront about your budget! Seek advice and input during the discussion. Ask them to explain the planning process. Ask for clarity regarding professional fees and payments. Ask for previous or similar projects or work done.
  • Do you have an architecture style that you prefer?
    Generally speaking, we work across multiple scales. However, we tend to lean more towards a contemporary and modern style of architecture with simple clean lines at the core. Although we always enjoy the challenge of working on new and exciting design styles.
  • Do I have to submit building plans?
    It is a legal requirement in South Africa to obtain planning permission prior to building, renovating or extending your home, as per Section 4(1) of the National Building Regulations and Buildings Standards Act, which states: No person shall, without the prior approval in writing of the local authority in question, erect any building in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of this Act. If you’re considering extensive building works or renovations which will have an impact on the structure of your building, you’ll need your building plan approved before any construction begins. This is to ensure that all the construction plans comply with guidelines and related regulations. Your municipality is responsible for checking and approving all building plans and they'll consider various factors, including the impact on the surrounding environment and health consequences of the development before approving any plan.
  • Do I need an Occupation Certificate?
    It is illegal to occupy a building without an Occupation Certificate. So, Yes! You absolutely need an Occupation Certificate.
  • How do I get an Occupation Certificate?
    Once building plans have been approved, the council issues a building inspectors form outlining all inspection stages for your property. It is imperative to follow these inspection stages in order to ensure the timeous issue of your occupation certificate. The process of getting an occupation certificate is as follows: Building plans are approved. Building / Construction Work Begins. Trench + Foundation Inspection Sub-Floor Inspection Roof Inspection Sewer Drainage Inspection General Inspection Final Inspection The Result of the Final Inspection can either be: Refusal Beneficial Occupancy Occupancy Certificate Occupation Certificate is Issued
  • What if I built my property without approved building plans?
    If you’ve undertaken major renovations/construction without plans, a building inspector is entitled to enter your property and stop construction. Thereafter you may be allowed to complete the process of obtaining plan approvals before construction can restart, or you may be issued with a court order to demolish the structure at your own expense, in which case you would be liable for any associated legal costs. In severe cases, you may be fined or even receive a prison term. If you attempt to sell a property that has been renovated or built without approvals, when attempting to sell the property, the prospective buyer may withdraw the offer. A savvy buyer will request a copy of the existing building plans. Should those not reflect the upgrades the authorities may be alerted to the unapproved alterations and there will be no recourse other than appointing a professional to draw up the changes and obtain approvals. This also applies to those who buy a home with unapproved plans.
  • What do I do after the building/renovation process is complete?
    After the construction or renovation process is complete, it is recommended that you have your property revalued, which can be undertaken by an estate agent, or even an official from the financial institution that holds your bond. This may be important if you wish to apply for additional finance through your home loan, or intend on selling the property in the near future.
  • How does your process work?
    We have developed a detailed design process guide that can help you understand all the steps involved in getting a project designed and built from start to finish. To access our design process guide, click here__
  • At what point am I liable for professional fees?
    Depending on the nature of the work, we have various payment options. Each project is assessed on an individual basis. Generally; we raise invoices (which are due in 30 days) either at the beginning or end of each stage in the design process.
  • How much do you charge?
    It depends on the nature and scale of the project. Generally speaking, architectural fees are about 8% to 10% of the construction budget. However, it is important to keep in mind that the deciding factors for your choice of architectural professional should never be motivated solely by price or the 'cheapest' option. Instead, base your choice on the architects level of qualification, experience, registration as well as the value and quality of services they offer. Over-and-above this, keep in mind that the relationship you have with your architect is, in all likelihood, going to be a long term relationship; so at least work with someone that you actually like 😜!
  • How are your fees structured?
    For Full Architectural Fees, we calculate professional fees based on Board Notice 91 of 2020 - Government Gazette No. 43591, Vol. 662. Our fees can either be based on: The construction cost of the project (Project-based Fee) Time Spent on the project (Hourly Rate) Once-Off Fee
  • Do your fees include cost planning and estimations?
    No. We do not provide cost planning or cost management allowance within our professional architectural fees. While we are able to determine estimated building costs using a predetermined square meter rate; we generally appoint and/or employ the services of a professional Quantity Surveyor - whose fees you will be liable for separately - for this service.
  • At what point am I liable for professional fees?
    Depending on the nature of the work, we have various payment options. Each project is assessed on an individual basis. Generally; we raise invoices (which are due in 30 days) either at the beginning or end of each stage in the design process.
  • Do your fees include costs for submitting building plans?
    No. We do not make allowance for third party costs such as municipal fees in our fees.
  • How long does plan approval process take?
    Although timeframes vary from municipality to municipality, a rule of thumb is that plan approval can take up to 30 days.
  • Which departments are in involved in the plan approval process?
    The first department that will receive your planning application is the Town Planning Department. Town Planning ascertains if the proposal is in-line with the permitted zoning/use of the site, after which the plans go to the Building Inspectorate where all aspects of the building elements are scrutinized, such as foundations and building specification, energy efficiency, disability access, and fire safety.” Depending on the nature of the application, further submissions may be required to be submitted to the municipal departments of health, fire, traffic, environmental, water & sanitation (waste), and stormwater management.
  • What documents are required for submitting building plans for approval?
    There are, generally, seven types of documents that comprise a submission: Main Documents Building plans: four to eight copies, depending on the size and nature of the proposal. These are circulated among the many departments that council may require to be in simultaneous circulation. Municipal submission form, particular to the individual council. SANS 10400 forms: Signed by the owner or registered person of the property, these apply in instances when special expertise are employed, such as mechanical, structural and/or civil engineers, who are also required to sign the forms as per their contribution to the project. SACAP registration confirmation form, and in some instances the SACAP-registration certificate. Title Deeds. SG Diagram, which is the Surveyor General’s registered document, which importantly includes the boundary details of the property. Zoning Certificate. Secondary Documents (Required on a case-by-case basis) Geotechnical Report. Rational Assessment Report from Engineers, applicable when adding to existing buildings. Storm water Management Plan. Authorisation letter, applicable if the property is owned by a company/trust. Death certificate(s), applicable if one of the listed owners, indicated in the Title Deed, is deceased.
  • Where can I get a copy of my title deed?
    It is your right to have a copy of the Title Deed bearing your name. Title Deeds can be obtained from the financial institution where a bond/mortgage is being held. In the case where you as the owner have paid off the home loan in full, the financial house should still be able to provide the Title Deed. If however these have been lost, any provincial Deeds Office will be able to provide a copy to the registered property owner for a small fee.
  • Where can I get my current or previously approved building plans?
    Each municipality has a registry/records department housing records of all previously-approved plans. Owners need to approve any access to such records, inclusive of copy of ID, utility bill, and if not applying directly, an authorisation letter or Power of Attorney signed by the property owner must be provided before getting access to these records. Fee’s for copies vary among the various councils.
  • What are the costs of submitting building plans?
    These costs vary between different municipalities. Town Planning is normally a free service unless the application has relaxation, neighbours' consent, and rezoning needs. The same is true with the Building Inspectorate. It all depends on the area in which the project is being developed and its better to find this out from the various municipalities.
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