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One of the first and most prevalent questions property owners ask when they start thinking of renovation projects in South Africa, is “How much will this cost?” Today we will explore the relevance of this question, take a look at how cost of renovation in South Africa is determined in general, and give a broad indication of what projects should cost.

Any project is limited by certain factors, or constraints. Although there are others, the three most important project constraints are time, cost and scope (together these are known as the triple constraint or the project management triangle). Cost is therefore an integral factor of the project and stays relevant from the earliest planning stages through to project sign-off.

We contend that although cost and therefore project budget is an important consideration before any renovation project commences, it should never be the only one, neither should it become so important that other factors are disregarded or neglected.  If you consider cost above anything else, you are at risk of compromising on project requirements, scope, quality or grade. We have seen many times that property owners who disregard generally accepted cost parameters and try to get away with unrealistically low project budgets, get into trouble. For example, using a so-called “placard tradesman” from the street instead of professional and reputable contractors in an effort to keep the project cost as low as possible often backfires, leaving the owner with hugely inflated cost and very little to show for it. Similarly, using sub-grade material such as B-Grade instead of A-Grade tiles, or weaker building cement because it is cheaper, often has disastrous effects.

Having said that, it is equally important for the project owner to have the project done within realistic cost parameters. This is why it is of the utmost importance to procure as many quotations as is realistically possible. A general rule of thumb is three quotations, since with this number you are likely to get a general idea of comparative costing. Under no circumstances should an owner only get one quote, especially if the scope of work of the project is something totally foreign to him or her. Getting more than one quote also allows the owner to compare other factors, such as workmanship guarantees, terms of payment, general values, etc. of the various contractors.

So how do renovation contractors in South Africa determine cost? Well, the bad ones unfortunately thumb-suck to a large degree, or copy what others do and add a huge profit mark-up. The better ones have a proper pricing structure based on years of experience and real labour and material cost, and should be able to do project costing relatively easily and quickly. This pricing structure mainly comprises cost of material, cost of labour and a percentage for overheads and profit.  Theoretically, there should be a cost indication for each and every item of what contractors engage in, but in reality that is simply not possible because of the complexity of the nature of their work, and therefore pricing structures are ever-evolving entities and works in progress. Most contractors are however able to provide the most common cost units on demand. The pricing structure of many contractors is based on per-unit calculations, for example per-square metre, per-cubic metre or per-linear metre, which takes into consideration labour, material and profit. Often, added to that, contractors have management or Preliminary & General (P & G) fees added. Others prefer to indicate material quantities on their quotes and then indicate labour costs as a singular and separate unit.

How much, then, should you pay for a renovation project? Let’s give some general indications based on real projects completed between January and April 2019:

1.    Bathroom, floor size 2 m X 2.5 m (5 square metres), ceiling height 2.7m:

Scope of work:

Remove and replace tiles (Floor: Island Grey Porcelain Grade A, CTM. Wall: Island Grey Ceramic, CTM)

Remove and replace toilet (new toilet: White Dune soft-close lid, CTM)

Remove and replace basin & construct vanity cabinet (Rosana round basin, Tile Africa)

Remove and replace shower door (Chrystal Tech pivot door, CTM)

Remove and replace basin mixer, shower mixer and showerhead (Tivoli Caserta, CTM)

Install suspended mirror cabinet (Miami cabinet, Tile Africa)

Install pebble mosaic on shower floor (Rocky Mountain Pebble Ice, CTM)

Supply & install toilet roll holder, double towel rail, soap holder and towel ring (Urban Cube range, CTM)

Paint ceiling white and fit 70mm cove profile polystyrene cornices

Cost of bathroom all inclusive: R 52 000, Duration: 8 working days

2.    Kitchen, floor size 5 m X 2.8 m (14 sq m):

Scope of work:

Remove & replace existing all cupboards (new: Melawood Melamine wood, Wisconsin Walnut colour)

Remove and replace existing countertop (new Quartz: 20mm Neve Bianca colour)

Remove and replace splashback tiles (new: Nebraska Sand Mosaic, CTM)

Replace old double bowl zink (new zink: Franke Double, Gelmar. Mixer: Tivoli Caserta Tall)

Install stove supplied by client

Install 2 additional power points

Paint kitchen walls

Cost of kitchen all inclusive: R 85 000, Duration: 12 working days

Some other examples summarised:

3.     Total flat renovation  (130 sq m): Kitchen remodel, 2 bathrooms remodel, Floor retile 130 sq m, paint all walls and ceilings, replace doors, replace built-in cupboards:  Cost all inclusive: R 250 000, Duration: 40 working days

       Total home renovation (240 sq m): Kitchen alterations, 1 bathroom remodel, laminated wooden flooring in bedrooms, paint all walls and ceilings, install 3.6m stacking sliding door: Cost all inclusive: R240 000, Duration 50 working days

From the above examples it becomes clear that to ask what is the cost of renovation in South Africa without having all the specific requirements, is an almost impossible task. Each project differs because the detail differs. There are formulas to use, however, and costing should not be a time-consuming process if your service provider knows his stuff. Contact us directly for a free, no-obligation quote today.