Sometimes we come across customers that have had disappointing experiences with timber home builders in South Africa and thus, we provide you with a few useful tips for choosing a reputable timber frame builder. Doing your homework properly will save you a lot of money and hassle down the line:
Is your builder registered with the relevant associations?
Is your builder registered with the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA)? The ITC-SA promotes and maintains acceptable standards with regard to all aspects and disciplines of timber construction and to ensure protection of consumer interests. Browse our website and do a background check on the timber builder you would like to use. Ask your builder for a copy of a valid certificate for the current year.
Is your builder registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC)? Ask your builder for a copy of a valid certificate for the current year.
If your builder claims to belong to any other institute, call the institute yourself and confirm that your builder is a member and what his status is with them. (Ask your builder for a copy of a valid certificate for the current year.)
There are some basic questions that you may want to ask your builder:
- Do you use only treated timber (for example CCA or TBTN)?
- Do you build according to the South African National Standard (SANS) 10082:2007 and 10400-XA and do you have these standards in your possession?
Ask for references and investigate them
Obtain at least five references for projects that your builder has completed and make the effort to call them and personally talk to the owners. Go and look at a completed timber home built by your builder to ensure quality of construction and finishes.
Check the price
If the price you’ve been quoted is a lot lower than the other quotes you are getting, find out why. Quality builders all build at a similar competitive rate, so if you are getting a very cheap price, find out exactly what your price excludes and exactly what product you are going to get.
Is your builder COIDA registered?
Check if your builder is registered under COIDA (Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act) and ask for a letter of good standing.
Don’t fall for ‘VAT free’
Be aware of a ‘VAT-free’ deal. Either the builder does very little business per annum (a small fly-by-night company), or alternatively he is avoiding his legal tax liabilities. You need to ask yourself if this builder is large enough to be able to complete your home and will he be around if any of the work requires repair? Also ask yourself how you can have a valid contract if there is no proof of payment? What is your risk of being ripped off by this builder?
Plan for payment
Agree to a payment schedule upfront that relates to the phases of your project and pay only for completed phases (excluding your initial deposit, which should not exceed 40 to 50% of the total contract value). No reputable builder will ask you for most of the money upfront.
We trust you will follow these valuable guidelines and as a result invest in a builder that will build you a timber home that will exceed your expectations.
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