BUILDING BLOCKS

by Claudette Rosen

Have you bought countless décor magazines in the hope of finding the answer to your spatial problems?To find inspiration amongst the endless barrage of colour photographs that will somehow transform your world, is daunting, especially amongst homes that look nothing like yours.Although that it all looks wonderful, how do you achieve the dream, without calling in a professional designer at approximately R2,500 or R3,500 per hour on average in Southern Africa, obviously, the exchange rate will vary from country to country.

  • How do you apply the knowledge shown?  Do you even know what is wrong with your space and where to begin?
  • Let us empower you, by giving you the tools to address the problem.
  • We are not negating Interior Design and Décor Professionals as this is what we are, we simply wish to enlighten and impart our knowledge to you and in so doing, empowering therefore enabling you to become the master of your canvas.
  • One misconception is that Interior Decorating is for the elite, that only those with substantial budgets can have beautiful homes and spaces.
  • You may or may not have the budget to retain a professional designer; however, this forum will empower you to ask all the right questions and will enable you to understand the process much clearer with or without the aid of a professional.
  • You have all heard that catch phrase - knowledge is power, so - what are we waiting for, let us empower you.
  • Firstly, when looking at your space you need to determine a number of things, namely whether or not structural changes are required, to fulfill your criteria or not.  For example - do you need to add on to a space or close off a space?  Does the space require more windows or doors, etcetera?
  • Whenever structural changes are an option, a professional builder, architect, or Interior designer are necessary, as well as engineers when attempting a change in level.
  • Often your best option is to work with highly recommended teams that you can be referred to by either a friend or someone you trust.  Remember that unfortunately there are many ‘fly-by-nights’ in most industries, including this business which can leave you unsatisfied and a lot lighter in your pocket.  Knowing what is available and who is reputable is necessary.

QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE STRUCTURAL CHANGE REQUIREMENTS:

To determine whether structural changes are required, answer the following questions by ticking the appropriate box.Answering yes to at least five or more questions indicate that you require structural changes.

1. Do you require more windows in the space?

Yes

No

2. Do you require more light in the space?

Yes

No

3.  Is the space sufficient for its function?

Yes

No

4.  Do you require extra rooms?

Yes

No

5.  Have the kitchen and bathrooms been renovated in the past three years?

Yes

No

6.  Do you have an entrance hall immediately on entering the space (large or small?)

Yes

No

7.  Are you trying to sell your house?

Yes

No

8.  Have you recently bought a new house?

Yes

No

9.  Do the spaces ‘flow’ cohesively into one another?

Yes

No

10.  Do you require doors that will allow you access to a patio?

Yes

No

11.  Do you need to build on to meet your requirements?

Yes

No

12.  Do you need to resize rooms for better flow?

Yes

No

All of the above questions will help you determine the extent of Structural Changes you require, if any.

Consider the following:

1.  Is your house on the market?  There is strong evidence that alterations and renovations to your home, i.e. Home Staging, increases the value of your home between 10% to 15% of the market value, needless to say not all changes have to be structural to achieve this.

2.  Determining your budget is also essential and depends on the market rates.  By South African standards, anywhere from R8, 500.00 to R10, 500.00 per m² (depending on your finishes) is what you should estimate.

3.  Before attempting structural changes, professional consultants should be contacted and the necessary structural drawings and documentation compiled.

4.  One should also consider moving out of the space temporarily, whilst undergoing construction (if possible) - as it can be a stressful exercise, living in your home while renovating.

5.  Time constraints are often a “bone of contention.”  Allow yourself enough time to undertake structural changes.Hiring a professional project manager and consultant can go a long way to alleviate this stress.

6.  A Quantity Surveillance report can indicate whether you will exceed your budget and can afford you the opportunity to do changes at the ‘drawing’ stage, which will prove more cost effective in the long run.

7.  Essentially, all works should be set out in a Schedule of Works and a Time Line Schedule, indicating the predecessors of each scope of works to be carried out.

8.  Compiling such documentations - along with the necessary drawings saves money in the long run - so be patient, plan meticulously and enjoy.