Adding on to your home is a great way to add space for a growing family, and increases the value of your property, while making it nicer to live in. However, renovations that require building on to a house and possibly knocking through walls etc. are not to be taken lightly, and there are many things to consider before you go ahead.

Orlando Luis, CEO of independent hardware retail chain Brights Hardware, has put together some key advice to help you with the right planning to ensure that your home renovation goes off without problems.

Start at the drawing board

“The design stage of the project is the first step in any home extension. Every home extension requires a building plan be drawn up by a professional draughtsperson, building designer, or architect.”

“Ask around for recommendations on who to use – word of mouth is a great way to source a reliable professional – and get quotes so that you have an idea of what this will cost you,” says Luis.

Get planning permission

By law, homeowners must ensure that any new building or renovation plans for their property has been approved by the local municipality.

“Whether you want to build a wall around your property; add a swimming pool; a braai room; a second story, or an additional bedroom or bathroom, it is important to make sure you submit your completed building plans to the municipality for approval before proceeding,” advises Luis. “It is important to also keep in mind the cost that this approval incurs. Municipalities usually charge a certain price per square metre that requires approval.”

Ensure you don’t upset your neighbours

Luis explains that while there is no legal requirement for homeowners to submit or inform their neighbours about their building plans, it is a good idea to keep them informed of your plans because neighbours can object against your home extension, and this could cause delays and unpleasant relationships.”

Understanding the costs involved

“The costs involved vary depending on the scope of the project and the size of the renovation of course,” says Luis, “but costs that can be banked on include:

·         The cost to have the plans drawn up,

·         The cost to have the plans approved by the municipality,

·         The cost to register the project (if building on) with the NHBRC,

·         The cost of the engineer who signs off on each stage of the renovation,

·         The cost of the builder,

·         The cost of all the other tradespeople involved – such as plumbers, electricians, alarm installation teams, tilers, carpenters, painters etc.,

·         Other miscellaneous costs such as rubble removal, toilet hire for the contractor’s team etc.,

·         And last but not least, is the cost of the materials required for the renovation.

Building materials usually add up to become the most expensive part of any extension or renovation. Luis advises that the Brights Hardware stores offer a building material costing service whereby, for a nominal fee, the public can bring in their building plans and the professional team at Brights will put together an extensive list of all the materials needed for the project and respective costs.

“This helps homeowners have a clear idea of what the cost will be once they add on the quotes from the various professionals that will be involved in the project.  This helps to avoid any unpleasant surprises.”

Finding the right builder

“Finding the right building contractor is one of, if not the most, important factors to consider in a home extension project,” says Luis. “Make sure they are registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and find a builder who has contactable recent references and who is experienced in doing similar work and within similar budgets to yours.”

Expect the unexpected
Luis advises that in all your preparations and budgeting you also prepare for unexpected costs due to potential delays, and problems that could arise.

“Often in a building project you will stumble into issues – plans may be delayed or must be redone due to non-compliance, pipes can burst when digging foundations, contractors can call in sick, plumbing may be discovered to be old and require replacing, the same with electrical wiring – these are just a few examples of things that can go awry and may cause time delays and additional financial burdens. If you prepare for them before hand, have an extra emergency fund available and approach the project with a degree of flexibility in terms of timing then you will be better off should the unexpected occur.”

Brights Hardware has on-site experts in all their stores to provide technical expertise advice on renovating and building on to your home. “Our knowledgeable staff members can provide you with all the product insights and information that you need,” concludes Luis.

Brights stores are located in Boston, Blackheath, Langebaan, Mitchells Plain, Montague Park, Plattekloof, Stonewood, Brackengate and Sunningdale. As well as an online store shopping experience available at