Understanding what construction companies do when building your home

Homeowners hire construction companies to manage each stage of their new home build. These companies know the various stages and the order to be followed to successfully complete a project. A construction company has the necessary resources and network to build and manage the entire process.

construction companies

 While some may only complete the wet works phase of a project, others manage the entire project from start to finish. This includes the management of project finances, site safety and progress. Unless agreed otherwise, their responsibilities also include the coordination and management of the various suppliers who contribute to the project. In this article we will discuss the various stages and what happens in each.

  • Project Establishment

    Before a builder can break ground on any site, there are a few regulations that need to be in place.

  • Site Establishment

    Getting the site ready for building to begin.

  • Wet Works

    Building the shell from foundations to roof height.

  • Finishes

    Personalising the shell with finishes like paint, flooring, fixtures etc.

  • Completion

    Ending off your project with final touches and certificates.

Building a new home is not a quick and easy transaction. The gratification that comes with buying a house comes quicker than that of building a house. But all things considered, building a new home is well worth the effort. The biggest benefit of building your own home is that you get to choose what goes into the home. Understanding that building a new home takes a lot more time to plan, and knowing the processes that need to be followed, will make the journey a lot more pleasant.

The process starts with finding and buying a plot of land and selecting an architect to create the concept and design you envisage for your home. Once your plans have been drawn up by the architect, they will be submitted for town council approval. In an ideal scene, where there are no delays, it will take 4 to 6 months from buying land to obtaining council approval on plans. In some residential estates, you may need to apply to a Home-Owners Association for approval before town council.

If your architect has been contracted to assist you with the tender adjudication, you could possibly have a few construction companies tendering on your plans by this stage as well. Once a building contractor has been appointed, the construction process can begin.

At Jukka Construction, we follow a tried and tested project plan that is customised to suit your architectural plans and timelines. This ensures each stage of the build is executed at the right time. This also ensures that there are no mistakes later in the build. Like unnecessary chopping and chasing for missed plumbing requirements. A well-executed project schedule will eliminate unnecessary costs, or timely delays.

Throughout the lifecycle of the project, you will be required to make various decisions regarding changes to the structure, or what finishes to install. It is imperative that the client is involved during the construction (or wet works) stage so that any changes are implemented timeously and without delay. A good construction company will issue a project schedule for the client to keep track of progress, and at the same time, issue a schedule for when finishes need to be selected by.

Getting Started - Project Establishment

Before a builder can break ground on any site, there are a few regulations that need to be in place.

  • Contract

    Firstly, you will need to ensure that a contract has been signed between you and the contractor. This will safeguard both parties before any costs are incurred. The JBCC Contract is a standard contract within the industry, however, may be a little complicated for certain residential applications. The JBCC contract requires there to be a principal agent, as well as well as a contract administrator appointed for the project. In many instances, the contractor should provide a contract that will encompass the contractual relationship.

  • NHBRC Registration

    The construction company will need to register your build with the National Home Building Regulations Council (NHBRC). The NHBRC require a range of documents like, approved plans, title deeds, id documents and engineer forms.

  • Health and Safety

    Apart from establishing a fence around the entire building site, the contractor will need to obtain a Health and Safety Certificate from an external Health and Safety practitioner. The Health and Safety practitioner is appointed by the client and is there to protect the client against any indemnity that could arrive due to injury or death.

  • Site Requirements

    A building site needs a sign that details the Engineer, Contractor and Architect. It also needs a water connection.

  • Estate Requirements

    If you are building in an Estate with a Home-Owners Association, your contractor will also need to obtain their approval before starting any construction. The HOA generally require the above-mentioned documents and deposits for things like “pavement-deposits”.

Once the project has been established, your builder can start with site establishment.

Site Establishment

Getting the site ready for building involves:

  • Fencing

    For a health and safety reasons, every site needs a lockable fence around the site. This is to ensure that no unauthorised visitors enter the site and that no site materials or activities can overflow or cause damage to those around the site.

  • Water Connection

    Site workers need water for mixing materials and cleaning the site. The water connection is arranged by the owner of the site with the relevant city department. Charges incurred during the construction period are usually for the owner’s account but can be negotiated differently, depending on the agreement.

  • Earthworks

    Each building site is different in terms of the lay of the land and vegetation. Part of establishing site is to get the ground cleared of all vegetation and setup at the correct levels before construction can begin. This could include importing soil to raise certain areas or excavating to drop certain areas.

  • Pegging

    The contractor uses the boundary pegs to peg the footprint of the house. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that the correct boundary pegs are pointed out to the contractor. In many instances, the client will consult with the Surveyor General, who will come and re-establish the boundary pegs. This will ensure that the house is positioned in the right place and facing the right direction on the stand.

Once the site has been established, the builder can start with digging the foundations.

Wet Works

  • Foundations

    Foundations are dug and steel is laid in accordance with the engineer’s report. The engineer is then called in to sign off the foundation setup before concrete is poured. Certain local council departments require to do an inspection as well. Once approved, the contractor can start to lay the foundation retaining walls. The site is treated for pest and termite termination as a preventative measure. Services such as electrical points and plumbing layouts are placed in the surface bed structure as well. Once all items are in place the surface bed concrete it poured.

  • Ground Floor

    Depending on the size of the house, ground floor brickwork will take about 10-15 days assuming there are no unnecessary delays. The construction team will lay bricks, install lintels, and establish ground floor walls, including window and door openings.

  • Slab

    At this point the slab can be installed. There are various slab installations available. The engineer and building contractor will establish which is best based on design, cost, and engineering requirements. The first-floor slab takes up to 24 hours to dry but up to 28 days to cure, depending on the system used. Construction teams can however continue to lay the next level of brickwork so long as the concrete has dried, and the slab is propped for support. The two main slabs used in residential construction are:

  • Rib and Block Slabs – A rib and block slab consists of concrete beams with either concrete or polystyrene blocks fitted in between. These slabs are used by most construction companies because they are most cost effective and easy to install. The slab is cast with wet concrete and supported by scaffolding for up to 3 weeks until concrete has cured.  
  • In-Situ Slabs – In-situ slabs consist of a shuttered container which is filled with steel for reinforcement and concrete. These slabs are more expensive due to the steel requirements, but they can carry more weight. They are best used for structures with open spaces that don’t have many internal brickworks to bear the weight of upper levels. 
  • First Floor

    Here bricklayers will build the first-floor walls, including window and door openings. If there is a third floor an additional slab will be cast.

  • Roof

    Once the various levels have been complete, the roofing contractors will get started on the roof. Most roofs are pitched and consist of timber trusses which are installed by a carpenter. Waterproofing is also installed at this point and roof tiles or roof sheeting are laid.

  • Electrics & Plumbing

    The electrician and plumber will now establish first fixtures throughout the house. The electrician will chase the walls for conduits and light points, pulling wires to the power and light points. The plumber will chase open and install plumbing points in bathrooms, kitchens, drains and tap points.

  • Walls, Floors & Ceilings

    Your building contractor will now organise for the plasterers to plaster the brickwork internally and externally. Floors will be screeded, and the ceiling slabs will be plastered. If the design requires bulkheads or ceiling boards to be installed, they will be fitted now. Waterproofing will be installed at this point as well.  Where a smooth internal wall finish is required, the contractor will apply a skim coat plaster over the plaster.

At this point “wet works” are generally accepted as being complete, and the project moves into the finishes stage.


While the wet works phase can seem to take long and appear to not progress very rapidly, the finishing phase brings a breath of new life to the project. Here you will start to see your home take shape and grow in character.

  • Tiling & Painting

    Once the wall, floor, and roof preparation has been completed, the tilers can start laying tiles. Approximately 2-4 weeks after the plaster or skim plaster has dried, the painting team will start with primers, undercoats, and preparation of the final wall coatings.

  • Carpentry

    The builder will now arrange for your kitchen, cupboards, and vanities to be installed. The skirting, doors, and cornice will be installed as well.

  • Other

    There are many items that are not necessarily on the “critical path” of the building project. For example, paving, irrigation installation, landscaping, pool installation, boundary wall construction, stone cladding etc. If these items are attended to responsibly during the project, they will not necessarily cause a delay on the project. Your contractor will decide when is the best time to do these various items.


Completion involves finalising all the last-minute touches to the entire house.

Electrical points and fittings (lights and plugs) are installed, and the electrician will issue a Certificate of Compliance (COC). The plumber will fit the basins, taps, toilets, and shower doors. Carpeting and more delicate internal finishes will be installed once all labourers are finished inside to avoid damage.  The garage doors, paving, swimming pool, and landscaping is also completed at this point. The painter will also finish touching up internal and external walls.

Once the finishing touches are done, the contractor will contact a building inspector to view the property. The building inspector will issue an Occupational Certificate should he be satisfied with the build and all necessary paperwork is in place. You may only move into the property once an Occupation Certificate has been issued.

From here your builder will step back and give you some time to settle into your house and allow you a certain period to take note of any snags that need attention before the contract is closed and final fees settled. A reputable contractor will ensure that these snags are addressed and completed within the agreed snag period.

Jukka Construction specialise in the construction of new homes. Having built many luxury homes in and around Johannesburg, our Lead Project Manager, Ashley, will walk you through the process, step by step. Learn more about how we work and how we can help you here.

Contact us today to start building your new home.