Selecting the right contractor for sectional title renovations

In most parts of SA, winter is definitely the best time for the trustees of sectional title schemes to schedule any major improvement or renovation projects that are in their budgets for the year.

“The usually dry and sunny days mean that anything from painting and varnishing to fencing, paving, pool renovation and waterproofing is likely to take less time in winter – and may well cost less too, because this is a slower period for many contractors, says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar*.

“Having said that, though, contractors should never be appointed on price alone or in haste. It is important for the trustees to check that they are properly qualified, properly insured and have a verifiable track record of completed projects similar in size and scope to the one being contemplated.

“Really large and well-known contractors may not be set up to undertake the work planned for a smaller sectional title scheme, and trustees need to remember that it is not uncommon for smaller companies to get in over their heads when trying to generate work – no matter how good their intentions.”

When calling for quotes, he says, the trustees will also need to provide contractors with a clear and detailed brief of the work envisaged, so they will be able to compare “apples with apples” when the prices come in.

“And if the project involves building or any other work that could affect the structure of the buildings in the scheme and thus the building insurance premiums or cover, it might in fact be a good idea to have the work brief written by a specialist maintenance advisor such as Curasure ( and the quotes checked by that same specialist.

“This will minimise the risk to the owners in the scheme and help to ensure that the winning contractor delivers a top quality job with the fewest hitches.”

For larger projects, Schaefer says, the trustees should make use of formal (JCBB) building contracts, and even on smaller ones they should ensure that any contract they sign contains the contractor’s contact information and physical address, proof of any professional memberships or affiliations, a project schedule, and any building plans, permits and guarantees or warranties that are necessary.

“There should also be a schedule of payments, and once work begins, the trustees must never give in to any requests to deviate this and make advance payments. This is often a danger sign that the contractor has a cash flow problem and needs ‘quick money’ to pay wages or supply bills so that he can stay in business. In this case the current client could easily be left high and dry with uncompleted work until the contractor is able to draw money from the next project.

“Trustees should thus only agree to make progress payments for work already completed – after it has been inspected to verify quality – and should also keep a suitable retainer until the whole contract has been satisfactorily completed. In fact, if the project is large, they should seriously consider hiring an independent project manager to oversee the work and ensure that it is done properly. In most cases, this extra expenditure will more than pay for itself in reduced aggravation, timely completion of work and superior workmanship.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 23 Feb 2018
      RE/MAX Property Associates’ Table View Office, which services property buyers and sellers along the Table Bay coastline and surrounds, has recently sold a home in Woodbridge Island for R11 million – the highest price paid for any home in the sought-after security complex.
    • 23 Feb 2018
      Choosing to invest in an overseas property can be daunting. But as more and more investors recognise the value of a diversified portfolio that includes property outside of their own country of residence, international property investment is growing in popularity.
    • 23 Feb 2018
      The positive change in South Africa’s political landscape is paving the way for an upswing in the local property market.
    • 22 Feb 2018
      An excellent credit score is one of the most priceless assets a potential home buyer can have. This tool has the power to secure favorable mortgage and refinancing rate, influencing everything from the size of the loan repayment to the interest rate on the home loan.
    • 22 Feb 2018
      What do you do if you love your home’s location and the area, but the home no longer fits your growing family’s needs? Do you stay and renovate your existing home or find a home that meets your developing criteria?
    • 22 Feb 2018
      While every owner wants to sell their property at the best possible price, overpricing a home can be the kiss of death for a sale.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      Given the hand they were dealt, government has performed a delicate balancing act which it is hoped will serve to reignite confidence in investment in South Africa, regain our global credibility and satisfy the credit ratings agencies, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      The real estate mantra, ‘location, location, location’ remains a strong market influence regardless of the prevailing economy, with suburbs like Rondebosch enjoying the buffering benefit of being ideally situated.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us