What does it cost to build your dream home? (Budget)

After purchase and transfer of the land, you need to determine a realistic budget for the overall Project.  It is important to be aware and budget for all necessary expenses up front, in order to avoid disappointment with unbudgeted expenses later on in the project.  The overall Project Budget should include the Building cost, Professional Fees as well as all other expenses that can be reasonable expected for this kind of project.

The overall Budget may include the following cost items:

1. Building Cost:

Building cost is dependent on the quality of finishes and level of detail in the design of the building.  The kind of houses that Hofman Architects specialize in (those depicted on our Website) are all upmarket high quality houses.  They cost on average between R8000 and R13000/m² to build in the current market.  (refer to AECOM Estimating Guidelines 2013) link to PDF document.  Although it is possible to build a low cost house for less than R5000 it is also possible to spend in excess of R20000/m².  Building cost is determined by the quality of the finishes and the complexity of the details and difficulty of construction of the building.

The best place to find out a realistic building cost is from a registered Quantity Surveyor or from historic data on the Estate or in the area where you want to build.  From our website, the following projects can be used as examples, which will give a good idea of average building cost:

  • House van Schalkwyk – Lombardy Estate:
    • Completed June 2010 at cost of R9 600/m²
    • Escalated to today: R14 500/m²
  • House Tanziani – Southdowns Estate:
    • Completed March 2011 at cost of R11 200/m²
    • Escalated to todayR15 900/m²
  • House Lamprecht – Southdowns Estate:
    • Completed September 2009 at cost of R5 400/m²
    • Escalated to todayR7 300/m²
  • House Strumpher – Southdowns Estate:
    • Completed September 2011 at cost of R7 000/m²
    • Escalated to todayR8 300/m²

Building Cost consists of the following components:

Construction cost:

This is the cost of the basic construction of the building, the bricks & mortar, doors & windows, plaster & paint, etc. that is quoted by the main contractor.  This includes all items required to complete the basic shell of the building.

PC Amounts and Specialist Items:

PC Amounts are monetary allowances for items to be used in the construction of the building that have not been finally decided yet at the time of the tender process.  These items include a rate per square meter for tiles, etc.

Specialist items are those that are not under control of the main contractor, to be chosen by the client and installed under the main contract.  These may include items such as built in cupboards, kitchen, light fittings, bathroom fittings and accessories, and any other specialist items to be selected by the Client.  An amount, referred to as a PC amount (prime cost) is allowed for each of these items at the tender stage to ensure that a realistic building cost is reflected.


2. Professional Fees:

The following professionals may be employed to assist with the successful completion of your project:


The Architect is the leader of the professional team who coordinates the efforts of all the professionals with the requirements of the Client.

Professional Fees are based on a percentage of the building cost.  Professional Fees are recommended by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) and a copy of the latest professional fee scales was gazetted in June 2015

Quantity surveyor:

The QS is the best person professionally qualified to establish an early estimate of the building cost, based on the concept design, at the early stages of the project.  It is also essential to employ the services of a QS to draw up a Bill of Quantities to enable accurate comparable quotes from contractors and to assist with the evaluation of tenders.

Professional Fees for a QS for a residential project can be estimated at R250/m²

Structural Engineer:

A structural engineer is required to design and sign off the structural concrete and steelwork of the project.  The Engineer must also sign off the Local Authority, which needs to be signed off for the local authority.

Professional fees for the Engineer can be estimated at R150/m²

Electrical / Mechanical Engineer

May be required only for specialised electrical and/or mechanical installations.  This is normally not required for a private residence.

Land surveyor

May be required to survey the corner pegs and levels of the site if detailed information is not available.


May be required to survey and report on the soil conditions, which is required in problematic dolomite areas for example.

Other specialists

May include Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, etc.  as required by the client.


3. Other project costs:

  • Architect’s disbursements:
    • Plan plotting and printing costs
    • Travel and accommodation for projects away from home
  • Estate approvals & Building levies / sidewalk deposits
  • Plan submission fees and other approvals


Professional Fees Calculation Example:


If we assume a House of 350m² at an average building cost of say R10000/m²

Estimated Building Cost:

350m² x R10 000 = R3 500 000


Professional Fees:

Architect: (as per SACAP professional Fees Scales)

10,50% + Base fee of R268 750 = R426 250

Professional Fees are apportioned to work stages as follows:

Phase % Fee Fee
1. Inception 5% R 21 312.55
2. Concept Design 15% R 63 937.50
3. Design Development 20% R 85 250.00
4. Documentation and Procurement -
4.1 Council Submission 20% R 85 250.00
4.2 Construction Documentation 10% R 42 625.00
5. Construction 27% R 115 087.52
6. Close-Out 3% R 12 787.50
TOTAL SERVICE 100% R 425 250.00


Quantity Surveyor:

Although a fee for the QS needs to be obtained and appointed separately, the services of a QS can be estimated at R250/m²

350 x R250/m² = R 87 500

Structural Engineer:

Although a fee for the Structural Engineer needs to be obtained and appointed separately, the services of an Engineer can be estimated at R150/m2

350 x R150/m² = R 52 500


*Note: All professional Fees are exclusive of VAT and Disbursements such as plan plotting and printing cost, as well as travel and accommodation for projects away from home.  These costs will be quoted separately after evaluation of the project.


We sincerely hope that the information above is informative and helpful in answering some questions that may have been unclear.  Should you require any additional information or assistance with your venture to create you dream home, please do not hesitate to contact our offices and speak to an architect for more information.


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  1. Sibusiso

    September 21, 2018 Reply

    Good morning I just want to know how much my building will cost me . What to do ??

    • HofMan@WP

      October 4, 2018 Reply

      To determine the exact building cost, you would need the services of a Quantity Surveyor.
      However, you can get an estimated amount by multiplying the size of the house (m²) with R12 500.00

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