In terms of compliance, the first and most important step is the knowledge that no home build, be that new or an upgrade, will be approved by any local council authority unless the home building plans have been submitted by a registered professional. The architect will be able to advise whether your ideas can be interpreted through design, and if indeed they are even legal.

Submitting plans to town planning departments

Town Planning ascertains if the proposal is in-line with the permitted zoning or use of site, after which the plans go to the Building Inspectors where all aspects of the building elements are scrutinised, such as foundations and building specification, energy efficiency, and fire safety. 

During the construction

Once building plans have been approved, the relative council issues a building inspectors form outlining all inspection stages. Once the building has been validated through the inspection process, the council stamps the plans, and they are registered as final.

Consequences of non-approved construction

If you’ve undertaken major renovations or 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.

After the construction

After the renovation you should have your home revalued, to document the positive return of your investment into your own home. In order to do so, the building will have had to be inspected at specified stages by a licenced building inspector. The same process should have been followed on any subsequent alterations or extensions.

Often an inspector will be called in during the initial stages of construction but not towards the end – with the result that no Occupation Certificate was ever issued. Quite often, extensions and alterations are done without any plans being submitted to the council for approval, or without the building inspector being brought in. To prevent these problems, it is advised that the architect oversee the building contractors work, quality, and that the contractor does not cut corners, or else it will result in the engineer not certifying the structure as habitable and safe.

Real world examples

Sometimes an owner may add on a patio without permission and then, a few years later, enclose it as an enclosed porch or entertainment room, again, without any plans being submitted. Another example could be, an owner converting a garage into bedroom, again, without any attempt to make it legal. Sometimes owners simply do not know when they need to get approved plans. Others think that by doing the work themselves and not having a professional oversee the renovations, they are saving considerable sums of cash. This is not the case as it will make it difficult to sell the home or sometimes in an extreme case an insurance company may not pay-out for portions of works not specified on approved plans.

While it is always a good idea to add on to or upgrade a home in any way possible, thereby making it more convenient, efficient and aesthetically pleasing, homeowners should realise that this has to be done in accordance with and in full approval of the municipal regulations. In order to receive occupation certificates, every stage of the construction has to be inspected and signed off. Remember to always confirm with your architect who will be submitting the building plans for approval and who will be overseeing all the inspections.

In conclusion,

The benefits of having an architect oversee the whole renovation project, no matter how small or how large, has long term value if you view every expense on your home as an investment. Most people pay a home loan off over 20 years – Would it not be wise to view any improvements and their costs in the same manner?

Curtis Fleur
CF Architects.

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I’d you are thinking about building or renovating, it is important that you always consider who you are going to engage to do the design work for you very carefully. Any construction work, be it for a new project, or simply a renovation, should be seen as an investment. And the architect is actually your investment broker. If you were to spend R500 000.00 or more on your home, ask yourself, “Will I get maximum return on this investment by having a quick set of plans and an unregistered contractor perform the building, or, Would it be better to leave the management to a qualified and registered professional?”

Each architect brings their own combination of skills, expertise and design values to a project but, above all else, an architect should be a great listener. Only with a great ability to hear what you, the client, want can they translate your idea into a viable construction project.

Why are Architectural Fees so Expensive?

Architects and Architectural Technologists in the profession study for a minimum of 3 to 5 years at a university, thereafter they have to perform a minimum of 2 year working with a registered professional, after which they have to write multiple professional practice exams to ensure that they can provide you with an internationally acceptable standard of work.

Selection is a Mutual Process

The most thoughtful architects are as careful in selecting their clients as owners are in selecting architects. They are as interested in a successful project as you are and they know that good architecture results from fruitful collaboration between architects and clients. The best strategy is to sit down with your architect and identify the services needed. Recognize that even when a number of services are designated at the outset, other services may be required once you are under way.

Be prepared to answer questions about your project’s purpose, budget, time frame, site and the team of players you anticipate being involved with the project. Once again, be frank, and inform the architect of any information you want to be kept in confidence.

The Importance of the Project Budget

Clients are often are weary to tell the architect what their budget is. It also happens many times that clients don’t know how much they can afford to spend at the onset of a project. It is also often the case that the project cost and the costs that the client expected are at odds and the client needs to revise the priority of the project and the availability of funds.

Essentially the architect needs to design your building within a budget that you can afford. The worst thing that can happen is for the architect to generate a design that you as client are happy with, but you can’t afford it. This happens a lot in the industry. It wastes the architects and clients time, as the architect needs to go back to the drawing board in order to re-design a cheaper version of the building. This can be avoided if the architect is aware of the available funds.

In Conclusion,

A good architect is therefore a great listener and an even better communicator. Communication is key to the success of any project, and is also key to a happy client.

Curtis Fleur
CF Architects.

For News, Tips and More, and to make an appointment please go to:

You can easily find us on Google at:

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As an architectural designer, it is important to take a few steps back and reflect on the change you have undergone, as it has a direct influence on your design style and language. By sharing this summary, I hope that we can grow together in understanding each other as well as the story of CF Architects.

Upon the completion of my Bachelors of Architecture Degree in 2012, I planned the direction that I wanted my career to take – To turn every house into a living piece of art by, being the best residential architectural designer I could be. I started my career along the cosy Garden Route and most of my work consisted of additions or renovations in the likes of Jeffrey’s Bay and St.Francis Bay. It was at this stage that I encountered the juxtaposition of two elements: 1)  Beautiful Design with a high bill to fit and 2)  Pure function void of any design as to fit the lowest bill possible.

It has since been my work to do my utmost to marry these two opposites through the application of innovative structural design, great space planning and appropriate landscaping.

Since relocating to Sandton, Johannesburg in 2016, I have had the wonderful opportunity to evolve my design language and process by learning how to express the marriage of Old and New. Why Old and new you may ask? Well, many Homes in the city are existing and some owners would like to highlight what they love, renovate and update that which they do not; and make tasteful additions to their existing homes. 

Now we have reached a new decade, 2020, and another opportunity for evolution and rebirth is taking place.  Love yourself and remember that your home is your safe space, your resting place, your castle. Allow us to turn your home into a sanctuary for your soul.

A home should be a beautiful canvas to be filled with your personal stories ~ Curtis Fleur.


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