Illegal renovations and substandard builders can prove costly in the long-run

Buyers of residential property are always being advised to inspect thoroughly the properties on which they hope to make an offer.  However it has to be admitted that this is not an easy task, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“In the United Kingdom,” said Rawson, “it is usually possible to get hold of a recent building inspector’s report on the building, but in South Africa these building law enforcement officers, as we call them, are few and far between.  Nevertheless, we do have municipal inspectors, who in my experience are almost always very helpful – and they can be asked to come to the site, which they do free of charge as they are paid by the municipality.”

Typically, said Rawson, most buyers do not have anywhere near enough technical knowledge on building techniques to do a proper inspection of the home and spot its defects. This, he says, is particularly necessary in South Africa because we still have many small builders and artisans who can be, by European standards, ignorant of acceptable building procedures.

“Ever since the apprenticeship system was done away with,” said Rawson, “mistakes and poor workmanship have been on the increase and this is one of the reasons why reputable developers prefer to use their own teams.”

In a recent case, he said, a buyer found a home which he intended to buy which had no weep holes in the brickwork.

In another case it was discovered that the builder had never insulated the ceiling, despite the home being in direct sunshine all the year round and all day long.

Apart from checking for structural and workmanship faults, added Rawson, potential buyers should also insist on checking that the plans lodged with the Municipal Office conform exactly with the building as it stands today.

All too often, said Rawson, owners have gone ahead with significant additions/renovations without Council permission. Here again, he said, the help of a municipal building inspector can be called in, but it has to be recognized that, if new plans have to be drawn, this can be expensive and getting them approved may take a very long time indeed.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 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.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      These days most buyers are using online property portals like Private Property when house hunting due to the convenience, up to date information and variety on offer. “The property portals have revolutionised the way buyers shop, but they do need to be cautious – viewing photos online is no replacement for viewing the property in person,” says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us