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Pros & cons of building a new home

28 Jun 2013

While the death of a loved one probably rates as one of the most traumatic life events, Century Property Developments has found that many South Africans experience almost equal trauma when engaging with the building trade - whether building a new home or renovating an existing one.

A new home under construction at Waterfall Estate, where owners have specified all the spaces to suit their individual needs.

It is not difficult to understand why: the cost over-runs, the delays in building, the problems in co-ordinating teams of contractors, managing the project, the inevitable deviations from plan.

You can make up your own list. Anyone who has been through this experience knows what it feels like, explain the developers.

According to Century Property Developments, the truth is that buying and building a home is the most substantial and important purchase in most people’s lives.

Most home purchases are financed by way of a home loan, and these generally have a life of 20 years, they say.

The average South African moves on after eight to 12 years, so buying a home is not a short-term decision – the home embodies their individual tastes and preferences, not to mention their aspirations for their families.

There are major advantages to building rather than buying an existing home, foremost of which is the freedom to design the home to your own specifications.

You have the freedom to create a study to your preferred size, add a sunken lounge, or en suite bathrooms, spacious bedrooms with natural light bleeding through expansive north-facing glass fronts.

That’s the pleasure of designing your own home. Century Property Developments’ architectural guidelines are not overly prescriptive, but are intended to create a sense of harmony and consistency in the design, style of home and materials used, they point out.

Buyers are given wide freedom in the types of materials used, from stone to wood, steel and glass.

Similarly, home buyers have wide freedom in their choice of architectural designs, so as to avoid the “cookie cutter” blandness of so many recent developments.

The idea is to create a “highveld vernacular” style which blends in with the climate and the environment.

Century’s experience shows that the architectural guidelines not only enhance property value, but improve energy efficiency through sustainable building guidelines.

Stands at Waterfall Estate are of sufficient size to allow new homeowners to design homes to fit in with their lifestyles.

Through intelligent design and other eco-friendly features – such as piped gas for heating, recycled water and underfloor water heating – homeowners are able to reduce energy consumption by as much as 40 percent when compared with the standard home.

When would-be homeowners buy a stand in a Century Property Developments’ estate, they can be assured that the team will hold their hands in the building process.

For example, Century offers home buyers are given an approved list of recommended architects and contractors who have been vetted by its internal specialists.

These are professionals with a proven track record of delivering to Century’s demanding quality standards, on time and within budget.

That’s vitally important for anyone building a home, since no-one wants the shock of cost over-runs and delays, they say.

Building costs are typically between R7 500 to R12 500 per square metre, depending on the quality of finishes required.

The average time it takes to build a home is 12 to 14 months and so it is often a good idea to employ a project manager to make guard against cost over-runs and delays, and those who have taken this route are generally satisfied with the outcome.

Respect for the environment is one aspect of development on which Century is adamant.

The company has a 60 hectare nursery in the Kyalami area which produces 400 000 indigenous seedlings a year, on top of the one million indigenous trees already planted in its various developments.

This reduces the demand for water and has been observed to encourage the re-migration of bird life.

“There is a growing demand for a return to a simpler, natural lifestyle embodying family at the core, in a safe and rustic setting, but with modern facilities such as clubhouse, shops, school and gym nearby.

“This has been the guiding principle in all Century’s developments.”

For example, Waterfall Estate (located between Sunninghill and Kyalami) offers residents 900 hectares of indigenous parkland with over 120 kilometres of walking and riding trails.

There’s another element that has to be considered in any modern development and that is security.

This is one area where Century has set the benchmark, with airport-level security at all its developments, with four metre high perimeter walls and advanced internal security such as access control, and a state-of-the-art infra-red, thermal and optical camera system throughout that detects problems before they enter the estate.

All this is backed by a highly trained security force to ensure a safe, secure living environment.

By creating this kind of natural and spacious setting, the building of a home is no longer as traumatic as it may have been in the past, according to Century.

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