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Building Basics

Cost of Building
Building on a site

Building Basics



An Introduction to
The Architect
The Engineer
The Building
The Quantity
The Cost
The Project
The Building

Plant Hire
Conditions of Hire
and Rates



There are a number of factors to be taken into account before beginning a building project,
these range from finance and drawings to project management and building on a site. This
section offers an overview of what one should be aware of, to ensure the basics are covered
before the build commences.

Once you have decided to buy or build, the next step is deciding on a budget. Looking at a
home loan (which the vast majority of people must do), it is important to note that banks
generally do not offer more than an 80% loan. Therefore, one must have at least 10-20% of the
purchase price before approaching a bank for a loan. Banks do sometimes offer a loan of the
full purchase price, but this is rare and the interest rate implications are very high. Please note
that when purchasing a home, it is the sellers responsibility to ensure that the municipal rates
and taxes are paid up to date and an electrical compliance certificate must be produced.
It is important to note that with building loans, banks are reluctant to offer more than 70% of the
cost of the contract. The purchase price can comprise the land and cost of building. If the land
is paid in full, this can be used as security for a loan for the cost of building. Before one is able
to secure a building loan, plans must be presented along with at least three quotes from a
reputable building contractor (the building contractor must present proof of all risk insurance
cover, and NHBRC enrolment certifi cates), an engineers report is most often required this
can be obtained through the contractor, the design professional, or directly from an certified
structural engineer. Coupled with this, one must present a comprehensive document outlining
how and when the building contractor will be paid.

Contract Documents

An Introduction to
The JBCC Series (Joint Building Contracts Committee) contracts are recommended. There are
Site Huts & Toilets various types of contracts to suit different circumstances. They are available from the NHBRC
(National Home Building Registration Council), MBA (Master Builders Association) and through
the JBCC website. The CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board) have also developed
Tree Felling &
Stump Removal four contracts that are recommended.

No matter how well a contract may be legally written, it is incomplete without specific
Foundations & information. This information, and most importantly, the specification described in Building
Superstructure Specifications, must be put into the contract by the parties concerned, as well as the building
An Introduction to plans. What is to be done?
The specification and drawings must be annexed to the contract, a clear description of what
Foundations &
must be done and the materials and services to be used.
Bricks & Blocks

How much will it cost?

The contract amount that will be paid at predetermined and agreed intervals.

How long with it take?

Concrete Slabs The contract period a contract must allow for extension and should have a penalty clause. It

Types of Slabs
Other Slab
Void Formers

is a good idea to employ the services of a lawyer to at least check the contract before signing.
The legal fees compared to the average contract amount are negligible.



The document is the cornerstone of the JBCC Series 2000. The Agreement is made up of nine
sections starting with the definitions of all the primary elements and phrases. The next sections
are ordered as closely as possible to the project execution sequence. State substitution
clauses are listed in the penultimate section. The final section is a schedule of all the variables
required to complete the Agreement The Agreement is designed to be used with or without bills
of quantities. The building industry, like almost every aspect of modern life, does not stand still,
and in the ensuing seven years JBCC found it necessary to publish three further editions in
2003, 2004 and finally edition 4.1 in 2005 to deal with changing circumstances.

An Introduction to
Damp &
Water Containing
Flat Roof

Doors & Door



The Nominated/Selected Subcontract Agreement (N/S) See Principal Building Agreement. The

An Introduction to document covers both nominated and selected subcontractors and is modelled on the Principal
Building Agreement with all common clauses retaining the same numbering.
Steel Windows
The document covers all generally recurring aspects of preliminaries for most types of projects
Wooden Windows and therefore simplify tendering and administering of building contracts. Users should note that
this document has been specifically formulated for use with all editions of the Principal Building,
N/S Subcontract and Minor Works Agreements and maintains the same definitions and
An Introduction to numbering style as are consistent throughout the JBCC Series 2000 and further editions.
Wooden Doors
Garage Doors
The Agreement is designed for use where the works are of a minor and simple nature. The

Roof Coverings

employer appoints a principal agent to administer the contract and direct contractors appointed
for specialised work and installations that will not fall within the contractors responsibilities or

Adjudication is an accelerated form of dispute resolution in which the adjudicator determines a
An Introduction to
dispute as an expert and not as an arbitrator. Adjudication is now the default dispute resolution
process for the Principal Building and N/S Subcontract Agreements and these Rules are to be
Wall Coatings &
read in conjunction with the dispute clause of the Agreements. The State does not make use of
Finishes & Crack
this form of dispute resolution.

Floor Applications
Swimming Pools FORM OF TENDER

This document is for use with the Principal Building Agreement, Nominated/Selected
Subcontract Agreement and the Minor Works Agreement. The form sets out the primary
An Introduction to Conditions for Tendering, the Tender Sum and the tenderers choice of Preliminaries and
Security options.


Learning about
Home lighting

An Introduction to


This certificate records the hand-over of the site to the contractor which is an act that is
contractually signifi cant and should be formally recorded.
Escalation adjustment based on a workable formula method rather than on actual cost changes
simplifi es claims and accounting procedures. To achieve this objective it is necessary to agree

Regulations and
Sanitaryware and
Acrylic baths
Fitting a geyser

on a basket of work groups and the weighting of the elements of the work group. The
agreements require that the contract value shall be adjusted according to the procedure laid
down in a CPAP listing the appropriate base month.
This form can be used for both the Principal Building and Minor Works Agreements and
requires the provision of a Payment Guarantee from the Employer. The waiving of the lien by
the contractor is of contractual significance.

Ceilings &

Building Specifications

An Introduction to
Ceilings &
Nutec Ceilings

It is absolutely vital to create a comprehensive specification for any building project. To

guarantee accurate costing, one cannot use general notes and specifications. As the word
suggests, a specifi cation contains specifi c information. For example, a door is not simply a
door it has a frame and furniture (hinges, handles, locksets) and can be made from a number
of different materials.

An Introduction to

To estimate the cost of a project without a specifi cation is impossible and to enter into a
contract without one is very short-sighted. Too many building contracts are entered into with
vague information. The specification should form an integral part of the building contract. It is
important to note that there is no such thing as a standard specification as no two structure are
alike or use the same materials.


The format of the Buildaid Building & Pricing Guide forms the basis of a specification. Each

An Introduction to section and sub-section should be looked at separately and the information used to compile a
specification for each particular trade or process.

Painting &

Cost of Building

An Introduction to
Applications &

We must categorically state that there really is no such thing as a standard building rate per
square meter. Because no two structures are the same, no two building costs are the same.
This does not just relate to the finishes in a building, as finishes on average only make up
between 20 30% of the total building cost. Over the following pages, we demonstrate that
design has a great infl uence on the cost of building, by taking two houses of different design
and costing the project the result shows two vastly different square meter rates, even though
similar internal finishes have been specified. Below is a simple example showing four shapes,
An Introduction to all 150m2 but with vastly different wall lengths.
It is obviously imperative to ensure that an accurate cost estimate is created before building
What is glass?
commences. The more detailed a specification, the more accurate a cost estimate can be. As
How is glass
previously mentioned this publication is set up to assist in the creation of a specification and
costing of the specification.
Making flat glass
(the float process)
Basic types of flat
glass used in the
building industry Architectural Drawings

There are some basics that are required by all local authorities in terms of building projects.
However, it is vital to check with your local authority in terms of what their specific requirements
An Introduction to are before submitting drawings for approval. If drawings are not approved before building
commences, the local authority has the right to stop all building activities and indeed, if the
Vinyl Tile & Sheet plans are not in accordance withtheir regulations, to order that the building be torn down.
Please note that The Architectural Profession Act 2000, Act 44 of 2000 was published on 1


Wooden Flooring December 2000 and came into operation on 26 January 2001. This replaces the Architectural
Act of 1970 which affects all persons practicing the architectural profession. Among other
and Decks
factors, The Act affects who is allowed to submit plans for approval. Please ensure that a
Ceramic Tiles


registered architectural professional has signed off your drawings before submitting to your
local authority. For more information on The Act and the changes affected please logon to

Carports & Shade

Any wall 1.5m or higher Drainage


Swimming pools Any structure with a roof.

Kitchens Fittings
& Cupboards

Any structure (when built) which deviates from the original plan must be re-submitted.
Swimming Pools Please note that some plans, when approved, may have to be started within a year of approval

and once started, may have to be completed within a specific time. Each plan submitted must
contain certain information and this may differ slightly from area to area. Plans will need to be
coloured according to colour codes specified by the local authority. All drawings should consist
of as many plans, sections and elevations as may be necessary to indicate, where relevant, the
position, form, dimensions and materials of the proposed building to be erected. Below is a list
of the minimum requirements to be included on a set of working drawings.

Site Plan

Floor Plan




It should be noted that working drawings (the drawings used on site) should far exceed the
content of the plans submitted for approval. There are a number of drawings that some
authorities dont require, for example: roof plan and electrical plan.

Building on a Site
Building on a site is not simply a matter of fi nding a design and a site to suit ones needs.
There are many aspects to consider and look out for; such as the gradient or slope, northern or
southern hemisphere in terms of the western sun, entry, building lines and servitudes, view and
shape. Climatic conditions determine the importance of orientation.
The combination of all these aspects on a site is more complex than one would imagine. Also
take time to check out the soil conditions on the stand chosen certain soils can pose difficulty
for building and may also pose landscaping difficulties, adding costs to the build. Remember to
check if the site chosen is in a proclaimed township and what municipal services are offered
(for example, some areas do not have rubbish collection services). Also check what the rates
and taxes are for the area as this will become part of the monthly cost of living and will be due
for payment on transfer of the property. Our book Home Plans for Southern Africa ISBN: 0
620 34919 - 0, offers examples of how to address the issue of site differences by stepping or
orientating a design to suit the site.

One must take the following into account when choosing or building on a site:

Gradient or Slope


Building Lines & Servitudes



Project Management
Project management entails planning, organizing, co-ordinating or scheduling, controlling and
directing the activities of a project. Project management can also be regarded as a planning
and control mechanism for using resources to achieve specific objectives. As with any project,
good organization and management are essential elements in ensuring the success of a
project. From a simple check listm to computer programmes, there are various ways in which
to ensure the smooth running of a project and tracking when, where and how activities are to
be completed. Project management is also about overcoming obstacles which are numerous
when involved in the building of a home, like unrealistic expectations of the owner and the
limited number of skills available within the industry.
Project management has three critical elements: time, cost and quality. These elements
interact constantly and a balance must be established and maintained between them.
Remembering if time and cost receive priority, then quality will be neglected, and vice versa.
The reality in South Africa at present is the emphasis on time and cost, resulting in many poorly
built homes, which is compounded by the lack of skills.

2. Professionals
An Introduction to Professional Services
While there can be no substitute for experience, the ultimate definition of a professional is
someone registered with a body whose existence is aimed at offering protection to the public
through statutory control.
A notable tendency in the residential building industry is that more and more clients are
attempting to owner-build their new homes. The availability of specialist sub-contractors,
covering most aspects of building a new home, is making the role of owner-builder/project
manager more viable.
Changes in the residential building market have resulted in an extremely competitive industry,
saturated with sub-contractors offering extremely attractive deals to the untrained eye. In
short, the residential building industry is full of fly-by-night, bakkie builders whose aim is to
undercut all other quotes and then to make money by compromising quality.

The old adage of you get what you pay for seems more appropriate now than ever before.
Ones best protection in this high-risk market is to employ the services of a professional.
For most, the investment in a home is the biggest financial commitment one will ever make.
Ensure that the best value for money is achieved by utilising at least one professional on the
list of consultants for the building project.
While there can be no substitute for experience, the ultimate definition of a professional is
someone registered with a body whose existence is aimed at offering protection to the public
through statutory control. Professionals are bound by a code of ethics, enforceable by law.
There are many professionals involved in a building project. From the architect/designer, right
down to the interior decorator. It is vital to check references, call up past clients and view
completed projects (where applicable) before entering into an agreement. This section outlines
various professionals involved in the industry.

The Architect
A registered architect is the highest qualified person who can be utilised on a building project.
Although, in the domestic building industry most homes are designed by building designers
most of whom are qualified to undertake the design of domestic structures, up to 1500m2 and
three story commercial buildings.
Enough time must be allowed for appointing and briefing an architect as it lays the foundation
for the eventual success of the project. This serves to eliminate misunderstandings about
principles between the client and the architect and sets the pattern for further co-operation
between both parties.
The clients initial task is to inform the architect of his requirements with respect to:

the size of the structure

how many individual units will make up the structure (e.g. bathrooms, bedrooms etc.)

the type of structure (timber frame, face brick, plaster)

additional features required (skylights, swimming pools, water features)

project budget


The architect interprets the initial brief - to identify and weigh all factors that will constitute the
makeup of the structure. This would involve determining site restrictions, feasibility and
The architect then reports his findings to the client by way of a concise document, which
involves all aspects of the project as perceived by himself and his findings. This allows the
client to decide whether the architect should proceed to the design of the project or to change
the brief.

The first task in consultation with the client is to adjust and expand on the outline brief on the

basis of the report and include any comments the client may have. A sketch design would then
commence, laying out the brief in visual form. Continuity of presentation to the client is
essential to avoid repetition and misunderstanding. Design, technical documentation and
Upon acceptance of the sketch plan in theory, the client will then instruct the architect with a
final design proposal. It may be found at this stage that the original brief differs greatly from the
current brief due to concepts and ideas visualised during the planning process. Information that
the architect imparts can greatly transpose the original brief to a more effective and artistic one.
A final specification must be agreed upon and thereafter only minor deviations should be
entertained as cost estimates, programme feasibility and other factors may be jeopardised.
The architect will then crystallise the design in as much detail as possible. Any information that
is necessary to achieve this objective is collected, analysed and collated. Specialised items
such as electrical or mechanical installations, special windows or doors or other specialised
components are obtained from specialist firms. This allows the architect to prepare an
elemental estimate of costs, which is reconciled with original costs quoted. Drawings and other
documents are prepared in accordance with the preion of the relative authorities.
Results of the design work are then submitted to the client and include:

the form and appearance of the building

structural design of the building

standard finishes

expected performance of the building with respect to physical well-being, upkeep and

recommendations on tenders

elemental cost analysis

programme for the erection of the building.

Upon acceptance by the client, the documents are then submitted to the relevant Local
Authority for approval.
It is essential that all the following tasks are fully documented and performed timeously. All
instructions should be issued via the architect to the teams contracted to site, avoiding delays
and unclear instructions, which can lead to claims and unpleasantness.
The architect, under the clients instruction, calls for tenders. The method for obtaining tenders
must meet the approval of the client. He must be made aware of the importance of finding a
contractor whose organisation is suitable for the work.
On receipt of the tenders, the architect will evaluate their content and report his findings to the
client, with his recommendations. He will then inform the successful tenderer on behalf of the
A legally binding contract is then signed between the contractor and the client, the contents of
which are vetted by the architect. Involving himself in every step of the project allows the

architect to monitor cost control and progress on behalf of his client. His tasks therefore follow
the procedure below:

issuing tender documents

reporting on tenders received and making recommendations

preparing the contract documents for signing

preparing sub-contract documents and awarding sub- contracts

approving sub-contract drawings and samples

supervising the site regularly and preparing supervision reports

attending site meetings

monitoring the progress against the proposed construction programme

valuing work in progress

issuing interim certificates

issuing instructions and additional drawings where necessary

determining hand-over procedures

adjudicating claims by the contractor

arranging for the making good of defects after the retention period

preparing and issuing the final account

The project is wound up with the issue of final certificates, for payment by the client, as well as
payment of the remaining professional fees.

The Engineer
The traditional role of a consulting civil/structural engineer in the residential building industry
appears to be a thing of the past. While it is true that this sector of the building industry has
never properly utilised the services of an engineer, the tendency these days is that the subcontractor who offers a turnkey package of design and supply of suspended concrete slabs,
generally accepts the responsibilities of the engineer. The client is therefore, and
understandably so, reluctant to appoint an independent Consulting Engineer, at an additional
cost to the project.
The Consulting Engineer will offer professional advice on the following aspects of a typical
residential development:

An overview of the preliminary designs, offering guidance as to the economies of the

structural system. These considerations are normally discussed with the

architect/designer and client.

An evaluation of the founding conditions on the identified site, so that appropriate

foundation design is taken into account at the planning stage. The services of a
geotechnical engineer / engineering geologist are often utilised in this regard.

The design and detailing of the final structural system of the residence. This will include the

Foundation design where ground conditions render conventional strip foundations


The design of the structural elements. In particular this refers to multi-storey dwellings
where the design of reinforced concrete slabs, columns and beams are typically
required. Alternative designs in structural steelwork or timber are also an option;

The design or general overview of external services such as storm-water

management, roads (pavements), etc;

The supervision of all of the above mentioned aspects of work. During the supervision
of the engineering related works, advice on other aspects of building can also be

The fee a Consulting Engineer will charge is directly related to the work and responsibility he
will undertake. Ultimately, the client decides on the role of the engineer.
The experience of building a dream home can be extremely rewarding. Whatever course of
action one chooses to follow, be it the old conventional method of appointing a contractor for
the full assignment, or the more challenging and risky method of owner-building, be sure to
utilise the sound advice of a professional. A Consulting Engineer can offer advice on all
methods of construction and is not therefore married to a particular product or method. Dont
be fooled by the contractor offering a cost saving if a particular kind of suspended slab system
is used. The advantages and disadvantages of all methods of construction must be explained
to the client from an unbiased point of view, so that the client can make decisions according to
his expectations.

The Building Designer

The majority of prospective homeowners are under the misconception that employing
professionals is only for the wealthy. This could not be further from the truth, and yet, vast
sums of money continue to be spent on badly designed homes.
Badly designed buildings can create astronomical hidden costs and become poor investments.
By not utilising the skills of a trained professional from the beginning, a dream home will quickly
turn into a nightmare. For example, a roof structure makes up 20% of the building cost and if
inexpertly designed, could double in cost. The functionality and aesthetics of the building must
be taken into consideration, as well as budget constraints. In selecting a designer, it is of
utmost importance to establish a comfortable working relationship, ensuring that the design of
a home is a team effort. Before selecting a designer, one should view completed projects and
speak to various clients for feedback.

The basic tasks of the building designer can be broken down as follows:
Upon taking an initial brief, the building designer will produce a set of sketch plans, which
should conform to the following criteria:

The house must be aesthetically pleasing as well as practical to live in

The design must fit comfortably on the proposed stand

The design must be positioned in such a way that it benefits from the elements that
surround it rather than be hindered by them

The budget must be strictly adhered to.

Budgeting is an extremely important step to the final outcome and success of a project. Overdesigning at the onset can be extremely disappointing when quotes or the bill of quantities
state that the project is wildly out of reach of the proposed budget. This ultimately leads to an
additional expense and time delays whilst the designer redraws the project. Most project costs
can be established as early as sketch level allowing the client to elaborate on or reduce the
Once a design has been settled upon, the designer may now commence with full working
drawings. At this stage, the client will assist the designer by specifying what types of finishes
will be required and these will be included on the working drawings. Itemising even the smallest
and most insignificant item will reduce the margin of error when construction begins. The
designer will collate this information into a finishing schedule, and where specific items cannot
be finalised, a reasonable budget for these items will be allowed. Final working drawings are
extremely detailed and show elevations of the building from the north, south, east and west.
Drawings will include sections and roof layouts, as well as a detailed floor plan with electrical
and plumbing layouts. Research shows that less than 30% of the resources required are on the
average drawing. A professional should provide a comprehensive set of working drawings to
ensure that the contractor does not misinterpret plans.
A badly designed building will generally cost more money than initially envisaged. If design
elements are not thought through carefully during the design process, the building will almost
certainly be faced with unforeseen problems. These problems cost money. Square metre
building rates are the biggest myth in the building industry. No two structures can possibly be
identical; it is therefore obvious that a general square metre building rate cannot be assumed.
There are examples of homes equivalent in size that vary in cost by two hundred percent.
There are four major areas in construction that one must take into account when considering
building costs. These are listed below.
Various site conditions may affect the cost of building. The first consideration is always the
slope or gradient of the site. Visually, a site always seems more level than it actually is. A
variance of only one metre across a two hundred square metre house (assuming a length of 20
metres) would increase the brick quantity by approximately ten thousand bricks. If one
considers the price of the bricks, mortar and labour, this could amount to nearly R7,000-00. In
terms of building regulations, the height of the foundation brickwork may also require that the
thickness of the wall be increased; amounting to more cost. Sites with very steep gradients
usually require retaining walls, which are extremely expensive, particularly when structural
reinforced concrete is required. Retaining walls also require vertical damp-proofing and
agricultural drains.

Natural obstructions such as trees and rocks cost money in terms of removal or incorporating
them into the design. The roots of a large tree may require excavation of up to three cubic
metres. Rocks are usually a lot bigger than they seem on the surface. The perception about
building a house on a rock does not usually work in practice. If a structure is bridged across
any rock, an engineer will be required to design specific foundations.
Unexpected obstructions can also cost money if not identified during design. These
obstructions would include electrical poles, fire hydrants, storm water drains and trees planted
on the pavement. An electrical pole blocking a proposed driveway could be a costly exercise to
As mentioned above, the gradient of a building site will affect the cost of the foundations. There
are however, other factors that may influence costs. Poor soil conditions may require
engineered foundations. A 250 square metre home built in Gauteng in 1997 incurred an
additional cost of R70,000-00 due to soil conditions and the necessity to use concrete piling. It
is good practice to have the soil conditions tested by a geotechnical engineer before design
and, if possible, before even buying the stand. Complicated structures with split-levels or
columns will always increase the foundation cost, even if built on a level site.
These elements are contained in the structure between the foundation and roof, the major
element being the walls. There are many elements that will influence the cost of the
superstructure. Unlike the foundations there are doors, windows and types of materials utilised
that present numerous variables when considering costs. Presented below are a number of
costing models to demonstrate how costs vary depending on the elements used in
The following costing models show the difference in cost for a single storey dwelling and a
double storey dwelling. Both structures are 200m2 each - the double storey has a ground floor
of 100m2 and a first floor of 100m2. The costing includes structural elements and labour, but
excludes electrical, plumbing, kitchens, bathroom fittings and external works. The elements
that have been excluded would be common to both structures. The prices used in the models
should be used for comparative purposes only.

The Quantity Surveyor

Quantity surveyors are the financial consultants of the construction industry whose training and
experience qualify them to advise on cost and contractual arrangements and to prepare
contract documents. They act in liaison with architects, consulting engineers and contractors to
safeguard the clients interest. They are independent experts who operate in a specialised area
of the construction industry. The title quantity surveyor was reserved under the Quantity
Surveyors Act of 1970 for exclusive use by those who had obtained the necessary
qualifications and experience prescribed under the Act. In terms of it, such persons must
register with the South African Council for Quantity Surveyors before they may offer their
service as consultants to the public. Quantity surveyors are required to comply with a strict
code of professional conduct which includes responsibility to their employers or clients and to
their profession having full regard to the public interest, conducting themselves so as to uphold
the dignity and reputation of the profession and discharging their duties to their employers and

clients in an efficient and competent manner with complete fidelity and without undue delay.


Firms generally offer a wide spectrum of services to their clients but naturally tend to gain
experience or concentrate their services in specific fields. Before commissioning the services of
quantity surveyors, prospective clients are advised to investigate the particular experience and
the services in which they specialise.
The services they offer could be:

Estimating and cost advice

Estimates and cost advice during all stages of the development of a project are
essential if the correct decisions with full awareness of their financial implications are
to be made. Sophisticated techniques, extensive cost data banks and an intimate
knowledge of building and construction economics enable quantity surveyors to
provide reliable cost advice.

Clients want to know that they are receiving value for money, not only with regard to the capital
cost but also in respect of the running and maintenance cost of a project. Cost planning
enables decisions on various design alternatives to be made with actual costs being constantly
monitored against original budgets.


A building should meet the functional dimensional and technological requirements for which it
was designed, should be aesthetically pleasing and meet the cost limits of the clients budget. A
quantity surveyor is able to provide pre-design feasibility studies involving technical and/or
economic investigations thereby enabling a client to decide whether, and in what form, to


The quantity surveyor emerged in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, although
the firm of henry Cooper and Sons of Reading was established as early as 1785. Prior to the
first recorded usage of the term quantity surveyor in 1859., the terms measurer, custom
surveyor or surveyor were used.
In those early days the quantity surveyor acted for the master tradesmen, measuring the work
after completion and frequently submitting partisan Final Accounts to the building owner. As a
direct result of these activities it increasingly became the practice of building owners to have
work executed under contract and to call for tenders before any work was undertaken. A
procedure therefore developed whereby building owners would approach an architect to design
a building. Drawings and specifications were distributed to selected master builders, who would
then submit tenders for the total price rather than a collection of prices from master tradesmen.
The task of arriving at an accurate estimate of cost or tender can be carried out in only one way
- that of measuring the quantities of all materials and labour necessary to complete the work,
i.e. preparing bills of quantities. As each builder had to prepare his own bills of quantities for
each project, they realised that it would be more economical for them as a group to employ one
surveyor to measure quantities for them all. They would thus share the cost of the surveyor,
obtain an identical Bill of Quantities which ensured that they would all be tendering on the
same basis.

The building owner subsequently realised that it would be to his personal advantage to appoint
and pay the fees of the quantity surveyor.
Thus the independent professional quantity surveyor gained consultant status.


The choice of an appropriate form of contract for any given project will depend on the nature of
the project, the circumstances under which the work is to be carried out and the particular
needs of the client. Quantity surveyors, in collaboration with architects are able to advise their
clients on the most advantageous procurement methods available, including: Contracts
incorporating bills of quantities, provisional bills of quantities and schedules of rates.
Negotiated, lump-sum, managed and cost plus contracts, Package deals, turnkey offers, etc.
While Bills of Quantities are generally regarded as the most economical and best method of
obtaining a competitive price, the alternative methods and types of tender documentation
available need to be carefully examined in consultation with the quantity surveyor, architect,
etc. before a final decision is made. Financial control over contracts.
Valuation of work in progress
Cash flow budgets
Final account in respect of the contract
The quantity surveyors duty is essentially one of cost control. They measure and value work in
progress, determine the value of variations ordered by the architect or engineer and ensure
that a fair and equitable settlement of the cost of the project is reached in accordance with the
contract conditions. In conjunction with the architect and other consultants the quantity
surveyor will ensure that the financial provisions of the contract are properly interpreted and


Quantity surveyors possess knowledge and expertise in the fields of costs and contracts which
equip them to prepare valuations for fire insurance, to advise in the settlement of insurance
claims and to be called as expert witnesses or act as arbitrators in any court or arbitration on
building disputes.


Quantity surveying services in respect of civil, mechanical, and electrical work
Property economics
Project management
Fast track construction

Quantity surveyors are remunerated according to a recommended scale of fees, set out in the
Tariff of Professional Charges published by the Association of South African Quantity
Fees are generally based on a percentage of the value of the work handled, varying in
accordance with the type of work done or the scope of services rendered.
For more infomation visit www.asaqs.co.za

The Cost Estimator

The cost estimator can be seen as a complement to the quantity surveyor. The cost estimator
relates prices and costs to resources and items measured by the quantity surveyor. Generally,
quantity surveyors focus more on the formal market and less so on the domestic market. The
quantity surveyor deals more with items as opposed to resources, for example:

a quantity surveyor measures a given structure in square metres of brickwork

a cost estimator measures a given structure at resource level (bricks, sand, cement,
etc) and prices them.

Reports generated by cost estimators can be likened to Bills of Quantities or Bill of Material,
although they go one step further by applying an estimated price or cost to that specific item.
The independent cost estimator has, in recent years, become an acceptable means to
establishing costs of domestic and commercial projects.
Like the quantity surveyor, the cost estimator requires a set of working drawings to measure
off, and for a single wall will quote numbers of bricks, cement, sand, stone and other related
resources and price them. This method of pricing a structure can be considered as one of the
more accurate, and with the assistance of computer technology, can produce information
quickly, consistently and accurately.
A badly designed building will generally cost more money than initially envisaged. If design
elements are not thought through carefully during the design process, the building will almost
certainly be faced with unforeseen problems. These problems cost money. Square metre
building rates are the biggest myth in the building industry. No two structures can possibly be
identical; it is therefore obvious that a general square metre building rate cannot be assumed.
There are examples of homes equivalent in size that vary in cost by two hundred percent.
There are four major areas in construction that one must take into account when considering
building costs. These are listed below.

Various site conditions may affect the cost of building. The first consideration is always the
slope or gradient of the site. Visually, a site always seems more level than it actually is. A
variance of only one metre across a two hundred square metre house (assuming a length of 20
metres) would increase the brick quantity by approximately ten thousand bricks. If one
considers the price of the bricks, mortar and labour, this could amount to nearly R7,000-00. In
terms of building regulations, the height of the foundation brickwork may also require that the
thickness of the wall be increased; amounting to more cost. Sites with very steep gradients
usually require retaining walls, which are extremely expensive, particularly when structural
reinforced concrete is required. Retaining walls also require vertical damp-proofing and
agricultural drains.
Natural obstructions such as trees and rocks cost money in terms of removal or incorporating
them into the design. The roots of a large tree may require excavation of up to three cubic
metres. Rocks are usually a lot bigger than they seem on the surface.
The perception about building a house on a rock does not usually work in practice. If a
structure is bridged across any rock, an engineer will be required to design specific
Unexpected obstructions can also cost money if not identified during design. These

obstructions would include electrical poles, fire hydrants, storm water drains and trees planted
on the pavement. An electrical pole blocking a proposed driveway could be a costly exercise to

As mentioned above, the gradient of a building site will affect the cost of the foundations. There
are however, other factors that may influence costs. Poor soil conditions may require
engineered foundations. A 250 square metre home built in Gauteng in 1997 incurred an
additional cost of R70,000-00 due to soil conditions and the necessity to use concrete piling. It
is good practice to have the to have the soil conditions tested by a geotechnical engineer
before design and, if possible, before even buying the stand. Complicated structures with splitlevels or columns will always increase the foundation cost, even if built on a level site.

These elements are contained in the structure between the foundation and roof, the major
element being the walls. There are many elements that will influence the cost of the
superstructure. Unlike the foundations there are doors, windows and types of materials utilised
that present numerous variables when considering costs. Presented below are a number of
costing models to demonstrate how costs vary depending on the elements used in


The following costing models show the difference in cost for a single storey dwelling and a
double storey dwelling. Both structures are 200m2 each - the double storey has a ground floor
of 100m2 and a first floor of 100m2. The costing includes structural elements and labour, but
excludes electrical, plumbing, kitchens, bathroom fittings and external works. The elements
that have been excluded would be common to both structures. The prices used in the models
should be used for comparative purposes only.
The models show that a double storey structure costs 4% more than a single storey structure.
In practice, very few double storey dwellings are built with equal floor area on the ground and
first floor. The average is closer to 60% ground floor area and 40% first floor area. In this case,
a double storey dwelling would cost less than 4% more. When the excluded common elements
are included, the percentage difference drops even more. It is therefore safe to assume that
the difference in cost between a double storey and single storey is negligible.


In the costing models below, a 220 mm thick wall, 10m long, 2.65m high, with foundation
brickwork 500mm high, has been used and a 610mm x 250mm concrete footing has been
assumed, as displayed in the graphic below.
Note: a price of R780.00 per thousand has been assumed for face bricks and R310.00 per
thousand for stock bricks.

The Project Manager

Project managers have been involved in various industries for decades. The responsibilities of
a project manager will vary between industries and projects. Within the formal sector of the
construction industry, and on larger building projects, the responsibilities of project managers

are fairly well defined. Responsibilities within the less formal and domestic industry vary
radically and the term Project Manager generally carries misconceptions.
The significant difference between a building contractor and a project manager is:

a building contractor carries the risks involved in a building project.

a project manager is employed as an overseer and the employer would carry all the

This fundamental difference can easily be overlooked and misunderstood and the result, due to
a lack of information, could drop both the project manager and employer into hot water.
Within the domestic building industry (homeowners, developers and even contractors) the use
of project managers is widespread. There is a perceived saving of paying management fees
rather than a fixed contract price and a certain flexibility is enjoyed.
The project managers fees can vary greatly and are usually higher on smaller projects. Fees
can be a percentage of predetermined cost and fixed upfront, or a percentage of the final
project cost.
Activities and responsibilities of the project manager and employer should be carefully
considered and contained in a written agreement.

The Building Contractor

Building contractors range from one man businesses to large national organisations.
The smaller contractor takes on the challenges of a highly complex industry with minimal
resources. The contractor ultimately wears the hat of the salesman, quantity surveyor,
accountant, buyer and project manager. Very little professional assistance has been used by
smaller contractors in the past and in particular, assistance with pricing a project accurately.
The success or failure of a contractor depends largely on his ability to quote profitably and work
Bearing in mind that a contractor will quote a fixed contract price, which generally includes
materials and labour, the margin for error is great. It is human nature to push for a bargain and
the result is generally that one party will lose. The ultimate scenario is where the homeowner is
paying a fair price, and the contractor is making a fair profit. The onus falls on the homeowner
to check the market rates with respect to labour and materials.
Contractors generally charge a percentage of the total project cost and yet again, these
percentages can vary radically. This obviously affects the final quotes tendered by contractors.
If a contractor has not allowed for overheads in the contract cost, a small percentage markup is
usually applied to the contract price after the profit mark up.
The profit is dependent on market conditions, complexity of the work and the risk involved, to
name a few. The contractor should concentrate more on establishing an accurate cost and then
applying what he feels is a reasonable profit.

The construction industry is fraught with claims, disputes and high financial risks. Creation of a
dispute is easy! It is the resolution that is time consuming and costly. CPS (Construction
Protection Services) is aimed at minimising the financial consequences of the dispute situation,
whether disputes are settled through mediation, arbitration or the courts.


All parties who are involved in the contracting industry can be covered. A typical construction
project is between the Employer, Main Contractor, Sub-Contractors and the whole range of
material and service suppliers. Disputes can occur in any one of these contracts.


A unique combination of consultancy and insurance aimed at minimising risk.

Insurance cover for the costs of the employment of consultants and the legal team in
pursuing or defending actions arising from contractual difficulties.

Analysis of claims and/or disputes to identify resolution options.

An on-line telephone advisory service.

Minimising the cost impact if the dispute situation persists.



Extensions of time

Loss of productivity





Performance & retention

Defective workmanship

In fact, almost all disputes except those which fall under a PI policy.

Plant Hire

There is a vast amount of equipment that is used on a building project and because not all
equipment is used constantly, it is often not practical for a building contractor to own all the
necessary equipment. Therefore, hiring equipment is both practical and cost effective. Hiring is
usually priced on a daily or hourly rate. A day is eight hours and transport is generally not
included - check your local hire shops terms and conditions.


A rate is calculated for each item relative to its value and applied to a common term. A deposit
payable in advance is also levied and is refunded on date of termination of the hire period.
Generally, any equipment deemed faulty by the hirer on delivery will be replaced or fully
refunded. On acceptance of the goods, the onus falls on the hirer to maintain the equipment in
good running order and repair to the standard required by the owner until the equipment is
returned to the owner.



The equipment most commonly used to clear a site is a TLB (tractor loaded backhoe) or
sometimes a front end loader. This would be used by a skilled operator and would cope with
most site clearing tasks. These units are readily available and can be hired daily or hourly, at a
wet or dry rate - the wet rate includes diesel, the dry rate excludes diesel. This equipment
would be supplied with an operator. As the rental of this equipment is time related, careful
instruction is important to avoid unnecessary movement of soil and wasting of valuable time.
A site of 100m2 with lightly uneven ground and a covering of grass or weeds can be cleared
and ready for construction in about four hours. It must be noted that some hire companies have
a minimum fee which can very well be half a day or six hours.
Sometimes earthfill is needed to either level a site or fill depressions, or maybe fill after
foundation brickwork has been done to the underside of the surface bed. This fill is either
builders rubble (hardcore) or a soil that is suitable and safe to use for that particular
application. Your local supplier of sand and stone will generally undertake to transport this filling
material. The building contractor will have to assess the quantities needed for this purpose.
Most transporters of aggregates or fill use 6m3 or 10m3 trucks, and it would be advisable to
order in these quantities where possible.
Some building sites would require that excess soil is removed from site to a dump or a building
site where fill is needed. In most cases, this would be the task of a TLB and trucks and would
be undertaken by your aggregate suppliers or plant hire company.


Site huts
Site huts are an absolute necessity if no other water or rain-proof lockable facility is available.
They would generally be used for the storage of cement or any other items susceptible to water
damage or theft. Examples of such huts are:


a timber frame clad in corrugated iron sheeting (wendy houses)

brick-built with a mud type mortar mix and demolished on completion

park homes (for larger sites)

It must be noted that stringent regulations are enforced regarding site huts and other temporary
facilities, and the onus falls on the builder to be aware of these regulations. These regulations
would relate mostly to the occupant of such a dwelling who would reside therein as a
watchman or the like. The type of flooring, adequate ventilation, roofing and more would have
to adhere to the minimum regulations set down by the local authority. Should any accidents
occur where the occupant is injured, the building contractor would be held responsible.
Site toilets
Most new building sites do not have toilet facilities, but portable toilets can be hired, or
temporary site toilets conforming to local authority regulations can be constructed for use
during the term of construction.
Siting of site toilets
No excavation for a pit latrine can be sited within 3 metres of any building or any boundary of
the site on which it is located.
Where any excavation for a pit latrine is positioned outside the closet so that excreta is
delivered into it from a chute fitted under the closet seat, such excavation must be adequately
covered over.
Where any closet, other than a chemical closet, forms part of any dwelling house, such closet
should be so positioned and constructed as to prevent the transmission of odours to the rest of
such house. No closet, other than a chemical closet, shall open directly into any habitable
Any closet which contains a removable pail shall be provided with access to such pail for
replacement purposes so that the pail is not carried out through the doorway of such closet and
such access must be provided with a self-closing fly proof lid.

Poisoning of soil under concrete surface beds and foundations is always a recommendation,
especially in areas with known termite infestation. Rates vary according to the type of poison
used, type of pest involved, size of project, and varying soaking depths.
Treatment must be effected once the footings are built and the filling has been consolidated,
prior to the laying of conduits. It is also recommended that a plastic sheet with no puncture
holes be laid over the treatment (Gundle USB green black). This would also eliminate rising
damp if correctly applied.
There are also insecticides available for use on all timber which comes in contact with the
building surfaces, i.e., window frames and doors. The product is painted on with a paint brush

and usually three coats are ample to impregnate the wood.

Soil treatments are used to combat termite nests encountered in the surrounds to a building.
The aim is to introduce approximately 40 litres of the mixture into the nest which would gas the
queen, and the nest will die


Tree felling and stump removal may seem an easy task, yet this often requires skilled persons
such as chain saw operators and sometimes even people skilled in the use of dynamite. Many
building sites today are in built-up areas between existing buildings or maybe down
panhandles. The tree feller needs to know where the tree will fall, its length when fallen and
removal of it after it has been cut down bit by bit from the top. As this is such a diverse and
varied trade, it is impossible to give guideline prices. It would be necessary for the tree feller to
evaluate the amount of work on site by means of a site visit before a quote can be given. The
following points are however taken into account when pricing.
Alive or dead
Type of tree (some have brittle timbers, others have soft flexible timbers. This determines if
branches can be swung towards the trunk or if they need to be tied off and lowered).
e.g. Eucalyptus (brittle)
e.g. Cedar (soft flexible)
Crown leaf volume (mass)
Proximity to buildings, boundary walls, swimming pools etc.
Accessibility for debris removal and stump excavation (the longer the distance the debris has to
be taken, the higher the price).
Services would include tree pruning and shaping, thinning out of branches to improve light
penetration, tree removal, stump removal, bracing of trees, tree maintenance (removal of dead
branches, die back, dead heart rot, etc) and tree transplanting.

Signage consists of:
SABS approved Chromadek sheeting mounted on 25 x 25 square tubing frame, treated as per
SABS standards, and erected with 76 mm x 2 mm D-profile treated poles with galvanised bolts,
planted 700 mm deep in soil, concrete anchored.

Foundations & Superstructure


This section is the most complex and contains the largest variety of materials. One has only to
view the product manuals produced by some manufacturers to appreciate the magnitude of
materials that could be used in construction. We have listed the most commonly used

materials. Labour in this section forms a very small portion.

To relate labour rates to each and every item of material is almost impossible and not practical.
The SABS 0400 regulations are clearly and professionally presented and a complete copy
should be in the office of all those involved in the industry.

Mortar for Masonry
Mortar binds bricks and blocks together to give strength and stability to a wall.
Freshly mixed mortar must be soft plastic so that it spreads easily and makes good contact
with the bricks during laying. It must harden thoroughly without becoming to strong. Too strong
a mortar may cause cracking, is wasteful and is more expensive.
Technical information
Use either:
Ordinary Portland cement (CEMI 42.5)
or Portland Cement CEMIIA 32.5
Ordinary Portland cement & lime
Use building lime with the SABS mark. Do not use quicklime or agricultural lime. Lime is sold in
25kg bags.
Lime should be used if the sand lacks fine material or is single sized as such sands tend to
produce mortar with poor workability unless lime is included in the mix.
Lime also helps the fresh mortar to retain water when it is placed against dry cement brick or
block and helps to prevent cracking of the hardened mortar.
The sand should be clean (grass, leaves, roots etc, are harmful) and it should not contain too
much clay. It should consist of hard particles which range in size from dust up to about 2mm.
Pit sands generally have these characteristics. River, dune and beach sands are often too
uniform in size (single sized) to give good results.
Ready-mix mortar (dry)
In some areas mortar can be bought in bags ready for mixing and use. It should be used in
accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
Batching the materials
A builders wheelbarrow is a convenient measure for large batches; the capacity is 65 litres.
Steel drums of 20 or 25 litre capacity and buckets are useful for small batches. Check the
capacity of drums and buckets when filled to the brim as this is often more than the nominal
capacity. To batch, shovel material into the measure and then strike off, level with the brim.
Mixing should be done on a clean hard surface such as a smooth concrete floor or a steel
sheet. Small batches may be mixed in a wheelbarrow as the volume of the batch is no more
than half the capacity of the barrow.

Sand, cement and lime, if used, should be mixed until the colour of the mix is uniform. Then
add water in small quantities, mixing after each increment, until the mix is soft and plastic.
If mortar is left in the sun before being used, it should be covered with plastic sheeting or a wet
sack. Discard mortar that has been stiffened so much that it is impossible to remix it without
adding more water.
Note: Concrete bricks and blocks should not be wetted before being laid. Burnt clay bricks
should be wetted before being laid.

The ground on which a structure is to be built has a great influence on the life-span of the
structure. If you are building a new house, and are not sure about the ground conditions, it is
best to use the services of a professional person to advise you about foundation requirements.
Strip footings are the most common type of foundation, and the requirements will be discussed
in some detail.
Except where founded on rock, the minimum founding depth for strip footings should not be
shallower than 400mm below the original ground level.
Materials required for good foundation concrete
Once the foundations has been dug, you need to purchase the required materials.

Quality cement, with the SABS mark on the bag, is required to ensure that the foundations are
Sand for foundation concrete
Sands for use in foundation concrete should comply with all the following:

contain little or no organic material (material produced by animal or plant activities)

not contain any particles which are retained on a sieve or nominal aperture size 5mm

have a clay content such that a worm 3mm in diameter cannot be rolled in the palm
of the hand by adding a few drops of water to material obtained from sieving a sample
of dry sand through a nylon stocking.

when one litre of cement is mixed in a container to three litres of sand and three litres
of stone, to a uniform colour, the mixture should not require more than 750 ml of water
to be added to reach a wet or just right for use consistency.

Stone for concrete is normally 19mm, although 13mm can also be used, and should always be
hard and clean. Stone has a smaller influence on the final characteristics than do the properties
of sand.

Water is used for mixing the cement, sand and stone, and should be fit for drinking.
1m3 of concrete requires the purchase of:
# 5.5 pockets of cement
# 0.75m3 of concrete sand
# 0.75m3 of stone
Hand mixing of concrete should be undertaken on a surface which is free of contaminants. The
sand should be thoroughly mixed with the cement before the addition of the water and stone.
The addition of water to the mix should be controlled and should be such that the resulting
concrete can be readily compacted into the corners of the formwork and around the
reinforcement, without segregation of the materials or excessive bleeding of free water at the
Placing of concrete
Freshly mixed concrete should not be allowed to stand for so long that it stiffens before it is
placed. Concrete may be left standing for limited periods, but must be covered with plastic
sheets or wet sacks to prevent it drying out. Concrete should not be re-tempered by the
addition of water or any other material.
Wet concrete should be remixed before being placed, should the stone particles settle to the
bottom of wheelbarrows during transportation.
All excavators and other surfaces of an absorbent nature that are to come into contact with
concrete should be dampened with water before concrete is placed.
Wherever possible, the concrete should be deposited vertically into its final position to avoid
segregation of aggregates or displacement of reinforcement and other items that are to be
embedded. Concrete should be compacted by mechanical means, or by means of spading,
rodding or forking, in such a manner that the concrete is thoroughly worked against the
formwork and around the reinforcement of other embedded items without displacing them so
as to ensure that the concrete is free from honeycombing and planes of weakness.
Wherever practicable, concrete should be placed in a continuous process.
Laying of masonry units
The surface upon which masonry is to be laid should be clean and free of loose aggregate.
Burnt clay units having high initial rates of absorption should be wet 24 hours prior to laying.
Units should be surface dry when laid. Immersing of units in water should not be permitted.
A rough but effective field test to determine initial rate of absorption can be made by drawing a
25mm diameter circle (draw around a R2 coin) on the surface of the unit to be mortared. Then,
using a medicine dropper, quickly place 20 drops of water within this circle. Note the time it
takes for all water to be absorbed. If the time exceeds 11/2 minutes, the unit may not need to
be wet prior to laying. If the period is less than 11/2 minutes, the unit should be pre-wet to
reduce the water absorption.
Concrete units should not be wet prior to laying and should be laid dry.
Solid units should be laid on a full bed of mortar, with all perpend joints solidly filled with mortar
as the work proceeds.
Hollow units should be shell bedded, horizontally and vertically. The face shells of the bed
joints should be fully mortared.

Each unit should be laid and adjusted to its final position while the mortar is still plastic. Any
unit which is disturbed to the extent that the initial bond is broken after positioning, should be
removed and re-laid on fresh mortar.
All perpend and bed joints should have a nominal thickness of 10mm. The bed joint thickness
should not be less than 5mm or more than 15mm; perpend joint thickness should not be less
than 5mm or greater than 20mm.
Masonry should not be laid when the temperature is less than 5C. Wet or frozen units should
not be laid. In hot or windy weather conditions, the length of mortar runs ahead of units which
are to be laid, should be adjusted to ensure that the mortar remains plastic when the units are
The rate of new construction should be limited so as to eliminate any possibility of joint
deformation, slumping or instability which may reduce bond strength.
Cutting of units should be kept to a minimum.
Joints in face masonry should be finished and compacted to the required profile with a jointing
tool in the period between initial and final set. Joints in faces of walls constructed of hollow
units should not be raked.
Temporary supports should be provided to support masonry in arches and above openings.
Such supports should only be removed once masonry has developed adequate strength.
Masonry walling should not overhang concrete foundation slabs by more than 20mm.
Plastering successfully
The masonry surface to which plaster is to be applied should be free from oil, dirt and other
substances that may affect the bond with the plaster.
Plaster should be mixed on a surface free of contaminants, or by mechanical mixer, for a
period of time that ensures all the ingredients are properly mixed.
Before any plastering commences, all chases should be complete and all electrical, plumbing
conduit boxes and the like be fixed in position.
Plastering should be carried out in one operation. Joints in plasterwork should only be provided
at intersections between surfaces. Plaster should be firmly troweled onto the walls.
Plaster should not be allowed to dry too quickly and should be dampened by means of a light
spray for a period of not less than 2 days.
Materials required for good Mortar &-Plaster
Quality cement, with the sabs mark on the bag, should be useful to ensure that your brickwork
or plasterwork is successful.
Sand is the most critical selection when doing bricklaying or plastering, and is generally the
cause of most plaster or mortar problems.
To avoid most of the problems, sand used in mortar and plaster should comply with the
following, and it will be worth checking the sand to avoid major problems later:

contain little or no organic material (material produced by animal or plant activities)

not contain any particles which are retained on a sieve or nominal aperture size 5mm

have a clay content such that a worm 3mm in diameter cannot be rolled in the palm
of the hand by adding a few drops of water to material obtained from sieving a sample
of dry sand through a nylon stocking

when 2.5kg of cement is mixed to 12.5kg of air dry sand the mixture does not require
more than 3.75 litres of water to be added to reach consistency suitable for plastering
or mortaring

have adequate plasticity

Mortars are best when coarse and medium sand fractions are predominant. These sizes can
be viewed through a transparent plastic ruler using a hard lens. (Place graduals on ruler over
Very coarse 2 1mm
Coarse sand 1 0.5mm
Medium sand 0.5 0.25mm
Fine sand 0.25 0.125mm
The visual examination should reveal a high proportion of coarse and medium sand fractions,
but also some very coarse sand.
If the visual measurement of sand indicates that it is too coarse or too fine, a complementary
sand should be sought and blended with the original sand to improve performance.
Sand for plaster should be predominantly coarse to medium (1.0 0.25mm). If the available
sands are predominantly fine sand (<0.25mm), they should be blended with a suitable coarser
Concrete Floors, Paths and Driveways
Concrete uses are endless, and whether you are building your own home or tackling a project
around your home, a little knowledge will help you make a success of each job.
Concrete is simply a mixture of PPC cement, sand, stone and water, and strength depends on
three things:

the amount of each material in the mix, including water

how well it is compacted or packed

keeping the finished concrete damp for as long as possible

Sand for concrete

Sands for use in concrete should comply with all of the following

contain little or no organic material (material produced by animal or plant activities)

not contain any particles which are retained on a sieve or nominal aperture size 5mm

have a clay content such that a worm 3mm in diameter cannot be rolled in the palm

of the hand by adding a few drops of water to material obtained from sieving a sample
of dry sand through a nylon stocking

when one litre of cement is mixed in a container to three litres of sand and three litres
of stone to a uniform colour, the mixture does not require more than 75 ml of water to
be added to reach a wet or just right for use consistency.

the mixture prepared to check on the amount of water required to reach an acceptable
consistency should be left in the mixing container, in the shade, for a period of 10
minutes. If a layer of water more than 1mm deep appears on the surface, it is likely
that the sand lacks fine material and should be blended with plaster sand.

Stone for concrete is normally 19mm, although 13mm can also be used, and should always be
hard and clean. Stone has a much smaller influence on the characteristics than the properties
of the sand do.
Water is used for mixing the PPC cement, sand and stone, and should be water that is fit for

There are cements formulated primarily for use in concrete, although some may be suitable for
sand-cement mixes. Common cements consist of portland cement only, or a blend of portland
cement and extender or filler.
From July 1996, when European standard was adopted, the South African standard for
common cements became SABS ENV 197-1 Cement - composition, specifications and
conformity criteria. Part 1: Common cements. The standard specifies a number of properties
and performance criteria. Composition and strength are required to be displayed by the
manufacturer on the packaging of each cement produced.
The standard specifies composition of cements according to the proportions of constituents, ie
portland cement, extenders and fillers.
The standard specifies strengths which are determined in accordance with SABS EN 196-1
Methods of testing cement. Part 1: Determination of strength; using a water:cement ratio of
The standard permits many different combinations of composition and strength class. In
practice, however, the manufacturers will be constrained by what is technically and
economically feasible. The number of combinations that are likely to be produced in South
Africa will therefore be considerably fewer than the number permitted by the standard.
Masonry cements are formulated primarily to impart good workability to mixes for rendering,
plastering and masonry work. Masonry cements are normally a blend of portland cement and
finely ground limestone or hydrated lime; some masonry cements include an air-entraining
From July 1996, the stand for masonry cements is SABS ENV 413-1 Masonry cement. Part 1:
Specification. The standard defines masonry cement as a factory made finely powdered
hydraulic binder which relies essentially upon the presence of portland cement clinker to
develop strength. When mixed with sand and water only and without the addition of further
materials it produces a workable mortar suitable for use in rendering, plastering and masonry

The standard specifies composition, strength performance, fineness, setting times, soundness
and the properties of fresh mortar.
Fly ash (FA) is collected from the exhaust flow of plant buring finely-ground coal. The finer
fractions are used as a cement extender. FA reacts with calcium hydroxide, in the presence of
water, to form cementing compounds consisting of calcium silicate hydrate. This reaction is
called pozzolanic and FA may be described as a synthetic pozzolan.
The hydration of Portland cement produces significant amounts of calcium hydroxide which
does not contribute to the strength of the hardened cement paste. The combination of FA and
PC is a practical means of using FA and converting calcium hydroxide to a cementing
FA should not be used on its own as the binder for concrete. The effect of FA on the properties
of concrete depends on the FA concrete of the binder. General trends are as follow:
Fresh concrete:

Improves the workability of fresh concrete, ie FA tends to reduce water requirement

for a given slump.

Slightly retards the setting of fresh concrete.

Hardened Concrete:

Reduces the rate of hardening and strength gain particularly at low temperatures

Reduces the rate at which heat is generated by the reactions of PC and FA

Improves the sulphate resistance of concrete with adequate FA content. Specialist

advice is recommended

Reduces the rate of chloride diffusion through concrete

Can prevent or retard the reaction between alkalis and alkali-reactive aggregates in
concrete if used in sufficient quantities, ie > 20%

Results in a finer pore structure and lower permeability if well cured. To achieve good
durability all concrete should be well cured.

Condensed silica fume (CSF) is the condensed vapour by-product of the ferro-silicon smelting
process. CSF reacts with calcium hydroxide, in the presence of water to form cementing
compounds consisting of calcium silicate hydrate. This reaction, as mentioned before, is called
pozzolanic and CSF may be described as a synthetic pozzolan. Because the hydration of PC
produces calcium hydroxide, the combination of CSF and PC is a practical means of using
CSF and improving the cementing efficiency of PC.
In addition to the chemical role of CSF, it is also a fine filler. The extremely small CSF particles
in the mixing water act as nuclei for the formation of calcium silicate hydrate which would
otherwise form only on the cement grains. CSF will also change the microstructure of the
interfacial zone. The result is a more homogenous microstructure that has greater strength and
lower permeability. (To ensure thorough dispersion and effective use of the CSF, the use of
plasticising admixtures is recommended).

CSF affects the properties of concrete as follows:

Fresh concrete:

Reduces the workability of fresh concrete, ie CSF tends to increase the water
requirement for a given slump.

Increases cohesion

Significantly reduces the bleeding of fresh concrete

Hardened concrete

Marginally retards strength development at one day

Reduces permeability of concrete

Reduces the rate of chloride diffusion through concrete

Increases the strength of concrete.

Finely ground limestone is chemically virtually inert when mixed with portland cement and
water (although there are some minor reactions). Depending on its fineness, limestone may
however act as a fine filler in fresh paste. Limestone may be used as a filler in common
cement or as a workability improver in masonry cement. The effect of limestone on the
properties of concrete or mortar depends on the specific limestone, whether a grinding aid is
used in production, and the fineness of the limestone. General trends are as follow:
Fresh concrete or mortar:

Has no significant effect on water requirement

Prolongs the bleeding period but reduces the amount of bleed water

Limestone may improve the workability of mortar


Bricks and blocks are the most basic building components utilized in the construction of any
structure. Bricks have changed in shape and size over centuries. There are many different
types available; not only in size but also colour, texture and strength. Bricks can be divided into
two distinct categories, being; Clay and Concrete (concrete bricks are sometimes incorrectly
referred to as cement bricks).
Clay Bricks are manufactured from a mixture of Clay (different clays produce the different
colours) and other additives, which are mixed together to make a pliable type mixture almost
like plasticine, which is then extruded and cut to size. Concrete bricks and blocks are
manufactured from various types of aggregate (sand and other materials like ash mixed with
small stone particles) creating the texture and colour, mixed with cement and water, which is
then vibrated into a mould creating the shape and size and profile of the brick/block.
Clay Bricks
In the construction of a typical residential house, the cost of clay bricks or clay plaster bricks
would generally amount to between 6% and 8% of the total construction cost of the house. In

the case of commercial projects, like factories or office blocks, the cost of face bricks and
plaster bricks is between 2% and 3% of the total construction cost.
Brickwork being the most visible component of a building often leads to the perception that the
vast majority of the cost of the building must therefore be in the brickwork. Fortunately this is
not true and should allow one the flexibility of creating different details that can be achieved
using Clay bricks in many different ways and applications.
Some traditional advantages of using Clay bricks:
Clay bricks keep interiors comfortable; Heavyweight clay bricks have an inbuilt ability to keep
buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. During the day, clay brick slowly absorbs and
stores heat thus helping to keep buildings cool. During the night, the stored heat is slowly
released and this assists in maintaining the inside temperature at a consistent level thereby
minimizing the need for heating and cooling and associated energy costs, which has become
increasingly important in a new era.
Clay bricks are fire resistant; because they are fi red at high temperatures during manufacture
and are therefore almost incombustible. A clay brickwall is resistant to fi re and collapse. Walls
built with quality clay bricks which are properly constructed will produce strong, stable and
durable buildings. Clay bricks built in the form of solid or cavity walls offer excellent insulation
Concrete Bricks & Blocks
Concrete masonry has a surprisingly long history and was fi rst seen in Britain in 1840, in the
USA it has been in use since 1900. More concrete masonry is used in the USA, Germany and
France than any other type of masonry, and in the USA, it accounts for 80% of all masonry
used. Although concrete masonry units have been used in South Africa since the early 1900s,
their use was initially confi ned to rural areas. Their application increased rapidly after World
War 2, due to an increased demand for housing. And this period saw the introduction of mobile
block-making machines, where concrete masonry units were produced on site.
The difference between a brick and a block is a matter of size, not material. A block is a
masonry unit varying in length from 300mm to 650mm, a brick varies in length from 190mm to
Standard specification:
The standard for concrete masonry units is SANS 1215. This standard covers the physical
requirements and the sampling of units for testing. Assurance of compliance with the quality
requirements of this standard is by obtaining the SABS Certification Mark that the concrete
masonry units manufactured comply with the requirements of SANS 1215. This certificate will
indicate to purchasers that the concrete masonry units are produced under acceptable
controlled conditions with appropriate materials. SABS accredited laboratories are permitted to
perform the appropriate testing requirements on behalf of SABS in the awarding of the mark.
Physical conditions and format
Dimensions of concrete masonry units do not appear in SANS 1215, amendment No. 2 but in
Appendix F recommended nominal dimensions of concrete masonry units. The use of modular
size masonry units is essential if buildings are designed to the 100mm standard module as
stated in SANS 993 modular co-ordination in building. Modular planning is based on a nominal
joint thickness of 10mm. Modular wall thicknesses are 90,140 and 190mm.
The permissible thickness of masonry walls in building is 90, 110, 140, 190, and 230 mm and
the modular dimensions are 90,140, and 190 mm. In the market place there is a proliferation of
different sizes of masonry units. Mainly these are based on the imperial brick size of 222 x
106 x 73mm, or multiples of this size up to block size units of 448 x 224 x 224mm. The width of
these units exceeds the requirements of SANS 10400, namely 106 and 224mm wall thickness
as compared to the deemed to satisfy thicknesses of 90 and 190mm.

Thus for commercial reasons, units of reduced width are being made which are non-modular
and non-imperial, such as 222 x 90 x 73mm that satisfy the minimum requirements of SANS
10400. Non-modular sizes of units are found in practice not to bond well without considerable
cutting of the units. English or Flemish bond and construction of square brick piers is not
possible as such units deviate from the basic principle of masonry bonding where the length of
a unit should be twice its width plus the thickness of the bedding or perpendicular joint.

Concrete Slabs

In situ (reinforced concrete)
A concrete slab, including the beams or columns that have formwork (temporary or permanent
into which concrete is pored, keeping it in place until it cures). And typically designed by an
Engineer; cast with this is the steel reinforcement which is necessary to provide the strength
required; which too would typically be specified by the Engineer.
These types of slabs are normally used in applications where greater spans or loads or both
are required, like in multi storey buildings. Also used when difficult shapes need to be cast, like
staircases, or if longer cantilever projection is required.
Hollow core slab (HCS)
A reinforced or pre-stressed concrete slab and designed as a ribbed slab, containing cores;
generally varying in thickness from 120mm to 250mm and depending on loading, spanning up
to 12m. The width is normally .900 or 1.200m Cores are typically either circular or elliptical.
Hollow cores afford a reduction in self weight of 30% or more, compared with a solid slab of the
same depth. For most applications, no propping is necessary during construction, but crane
access is essential.
Rib and block slab (RB)
Composed of rectangular shaped (generally) precast concrete reinforced or pre-stressed ribs,
supporting rebated non-structural hollow concrete fi ller blocks placed between two ribs; the
most common rib spacing being 560, 600 and 650mm. The system is sometimes referred to as
plank and block or beam and block. A structural concrete topping is poured between and over
the blocks, with a minimum thickness of 40mm. Welded mesh reinforcement is placed in this
topping to control possible shrinkage cracks.
The filler blocks are available in different heights ranging from 120mm to 350mm which
produces an overall depth of slab from 170mm to 400mm, and with a clear span of up to 10m,
depending on loading.
This type of slab requires temporary supports (propping) at approximately 1, 500 m centres.
Some of the advantages of this type of slab system are;

It provides an economical, versatile light weight monolithic slab system. Components

are relatively light and no mechanical handling is necessary.

Slabs may be designed as either simply supported or fully continuous.

They are ideal for Soffit plaster but fixing of suspended ceilings is also easy and

Electrical and plumbing services are readily catered for by omitting hollow blocks at
specifi c locations or fitting thinner blocks to allow for these services.

In situ (reinforced concrete)
Many in situ slabs are designed to span in two directions, with the main reinforcement running
in both directions, provided suffi cient lateral support exists to carry such slabs. Typically these
types of slab allow greater spans and loads to be accommodated, like parking garages.
Other alternatives to accommodate greater loads and spans include downstand beams and or
upstand beams, although not usually used in residential buildings. Mushroom heads on
columns reduce potential bearing problems (push through) of fl at slabs where downstand
beams need to be avoided.
One way spanning slabs only require lateral support to the walls or columns that carry them,
and since they do not bear on walls in the non-span direction, this type of slab design is used
more in residential type applications, as it can allow for greater flexibility of layout/design of a
typical double storey building.
An alternative form of suspended slab is a waffle slab, or more commonly referred to as a
coffer slab, formed by in situ concrete beams integral with the slab. Coffers are formed on the
soffit by formers which are later removed; (reducing self weight), and hence the use of less
concrete. Flat slabs in upper floors have been mainly used where ceilings are to be formed
directly on the soffit. Coffered soffits of in situ tee beams can be found mainly where
suspended ceilings are used. And more rarely where the soffit is left exposed as cast.
Reinforced hollow core
Slabs are designed as simply supported ribbed slabs in the conventional manner. However
they are more versatile than the pre-stressed slab, since longitudinal top reinforcement can be
cast-in for cantilever action.
Prestressed hollow core
Slabs are designed as simply supported pre-tensioned ribbed slabs, in accordance with the
requirements of SABS 0100-1 or the appropriate National code. The pre-stressing force
opposes the tendency to downward deflection and causes an upward camber in the units
under no-load conditions. Together with the high-strength concrete employed, larger
span/depth ratios can be achieved than with reinforced concrete. In lightly loaded roof slabs,
for instance, span/depth ratios around 50 are not uncommon.
Rib and block
Rib and block system slabs are designed as a series of T sections with the in situ cast
concrete providing the compression flange, and the precast beam the tension reinforcement.
The beams and the composite slab are designed for specific spans and loads and are
reinforced accordingly, (complying with the relevant National Code.) Two or more beams may
be placed together to accommodate concentrated line loads parallel to the span. If necessary
blocks may be omitted over the support to increase the shear capacity (called a stiffener rib).


Windeck is a prestressed concrete manually-assembled, suspended fl oor system comprising
prestressed concrete beams and reinforced concrete tiles. Dimensionally, Windeck is based on
a 450mm module.
The Windeck assembly results in an off the shutter tile top surface, off the shutter surfaces to
the beams and a self finished underside to the tiles. Other finishes may be applied if desired.
Windeck accepts electrical cabling between tiles before grouting and tooling, and is fire

Bond-Loks unique side lap inter-locking system provides for fast and simple

Bond-Loks spanning capabilities allow for a reduction in the number of temporary

supports required.

Bond-Lok eliminates the need for formwork and reinforcement.

Bond-Lok will accept most floor service systems.

Bond-Loks soffi t forms the finished ceiling without the need for plastering.

Bond-Lok has been fire tested by the CSIR and has qualified for a fire rating of 120

Bond-Dek Composite Deck

Bond-Dek is a new composite steel flooring system for multi-storey steel or concrete

Bond-Deks unique side lap interlocking system provides for fast and simple
construction. The speed results in major labour cost savings.

Bond-Dek is able to span up to 3 metres unsupported under wet concrete with a

minimum depth of 65mm over the profi le.

Bond-Dek will accept most floor services systems.

Bond-Dek is available in a galvanised coated steel, pre-primed for painting on one

side, and stainless steel 0,8mm; 1,0mm and 1,2mm thick.

Bond-Dek has been fi re tested by the CSIR and has qualified for a rating of 120
minutes. Brownbuilt also offers a complete design service if required.

The Bond-Dek profile displaces 0,037m per m of deck.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS); can be used in various different ways:

To create different levels of the finished concrete level of a slab especially from
internal to external thresholds, or where steps are required;

Special designs in soffits of flat slabs;

Recesses (voids) for lighting or other services required in the soffit of a slab. Sagex
polystyrene is manufactured in a range of grades for a variety of applications to suit
customer requirements:

16D is used in building insulation applications as core material for panels, cold room
insulation, packaging and flotation.

24D and 32D are used in applications which require greater cross-breaking and
compressive strengths, such as in floor and roof slab insulation, and where a better
finish is required, such as in display applications.

FR Grade is treated with a flame retardant and is ideal for industrial applications
where fire safety requirements must be met. As the material shrinks away from
ignition sources without further burning, it is suited to exposed applications. The
above are available in FR grades.

X Grade is a low-density material used mainly in void forming and packaging.



The lack of damp proofing is the cause of most defects in structures. It is important that
architects, contractors, developers, inspectors or any party concerned ensure that damp
proofing systems are installed correctly. It is also important that the correct materials are used.
Most damp proofing applications are in the form of sheets of PVC or malthoid used in various
Are you building a problem?
Youre investing a lot of money in this project. With damp causing the walls to effloresce, and
surface finishes such as carpets, floor tiles and wall cladding to deteriorate and decay. It makes
good sense to attend to damp proofing needs at the construction stage, at a fraction of the cost
of your building.
To remedy a damp problem at a later stage is costly and labour intensive. And it is wise to insist
on recognised manufacturers like Gundle, because Gundle manufactures specially formulated
plastic sheeting for each damp proof application. Damproofing systems account for less than
1,2% of the building cost of an average structure. Visit www.gundle.co.za for more info.


Permastop - Concrete Penetrating Waterproofer
A cement-based mixture containing chemicals which combine with the water in the cement and
migrate into concrete plaster thereby effectively waterproofing the structure against hydrostatic
pressure. For slurry coatings and plugging holes.
Supplied as a dry grey or white powder for mixing with water. Suitable for permanently
waterproofing, in all climates, structures such as basements, cellars, reservoirs,dry docks,
bridges, tunnels, sewers, hydro-electric stations, retaining walls, lift shafts, machinery pits,
grain silos, underground in mines, magazines, subways, underground telephone structures,
etc. Can be effectively applied to outside or inside of structures.
Permastop is only effective on cement surfaces such as clean concrete and cement plaster,
and will not work on painted or other surfaces. Coverage as a slurry coat: 1:3 square
Flexbond - Portland Cement Admixture
A non-toxic latex-based liquid admixture for Portland cement plasters, screeds or concrete. It's
purpose is to replace some or all of the water in cement mixes to improve bond, waterproofing,
flexural, tensile and abrasive strengths, adhesion, thin film hardness, weak acid resistance,
adhesion to asphalt and drying shrinkage. Avoid use of Flexbond in freezing weather and
protect from freezing in storage.
Applications: Waterproofing water containing structures such as reservoirs, water features, fish
ponds etc. Used in conjunction with Cemcrete's Polypropylene Membrane for cracks and joints
in structures, improving adhesion of slush-coat for re-marbeliting, patching, repairing or rescreeding floors.
Improving adhesion and waterproofing qualities of: Cemcrete's Tile adhesive, Cemcrete's Tile
grout, Cemcrete's self-levelling floor screed.
Waterproofing Unpainted Cracked Reservoirs:
Acid-wash the walls and floors of the reservoirs using a solution of 1 volume hydrochloric acid
(spirits of salts) and 2 volumes water. Allow the acid to act for about 10 minutes then wire brush
and flush with water. Allow to dry. Hack out cracks. Wire brush internal surfaces of cracks.
Fill cracks with a mix of 1 cement 2 plaster sand mixed to a stiff paste with a solution of 1 litre
Flexbond and 1 litre water. When filling is hard and dry, mix 1 litre Flexbond 1 litre water and
sufficient cement to produce a pourable slurry. Cut polypropylene membrane into convenient
widths, dip into slurry, apply over filled cracks and smooth down using gloved hands and finally
paint the membrane with the slurry.
Coverage: 1 litre Flexbond, 1 litre water, 4 kg Portland cement will cover 1,2 square metres
using Cemcrete's polypropylene membrane. If it is desired to paint the entire internal surfaces
of the reservoir after cracks have been repaired this may be done using the same mix of slurry.
Coverage: 1 litre Flexbond, 1 litre water, 4 kg Portland Cement will cover approximately 20
square metres/coat. Allow all work to dry and air cure for 4 days before filling the reservoir.
Polypropylene Membrane
Polypropylene membrane is a geotextile having a random arrangement of fibres ensuring
uniform strength and flexibility in all directions. Its alkali resistant properties enable it to be used
in conjunction with Portland cement-based slurries in water-containing structures to seal over
cracks and joints. Used in conjunction with Permastop or Flexbond/ cement slurries for
waterproofing reservoirs, etc. Polypropylene available in bulk or cut in 10m x 100mm strips.

Siliconseal - Solvent Based

A low-viscosity penetrating liquid for application to vertical surfaces of masonry or concrete by
brush, roller or spray. It is designed to penetrate the surface up to the depth of 10 mm, making
the capillary passages water repellent. This prevents the passage of water but allows the
masonry to breathe and dry out. Also useful for preventing rising damp in brickwalls by
pumping the fluid into previously drilled holes along the course of bricks immediately above the
faulty damp-proof membrane.
Coverage: Face bricks 6 sq. metres/litre
Porous bricks 3 sq. metres/litre
Concrete 4 sq.metres/litre
Water-Repellent Cement
An intimate mixture of cement and Cemcrete's waterproofing compound, to obviate site mixing.
Useful for producing water-repellent plaster, mortar and concrete.
An integrally fibre reinforced, waterproof, coloured cement-based concrete mixture supplied in
dry powder form for mixing to a stiff mixture with clean water for construction of fish ponds and
other small water features.
Coverage: 40 kg/0,7 square metres-30mm thick.
Colours: Sandstone, Granite Pink and Ironstone.
Matcrete and Flexbond used with Cemlam and Cemforce (Polypropylene matting) for repairing
or construction of water containing structures.
Application: Building fish ponds, lining of channels, lining of soil dams, relining of pipes, repair
of cracked reservoirs.
Cemforce is an open textured reinforcing (4mm x 4mm) mesh fabric, made of polypropylene
strands and fibres. It was designed for use with cement matrices. It is totally inert to the
alkalinity of cement and has an extended fibrous interface area with which cement matrix can
interact and mechanically bond. The Cemcrete mixes are specially formulated to form part of
the Cemforce, similar to fibreglass and resin.
Available in 1m & 2,6m widths up to 500m lengths.
Cemlam is tightly woven polypropylene tape with a 4mm x 4mm mesh fabric made of
polypropylene strands and fibres laminated by hot extrusion forming a tough waterproof
substrate. It is totally resistant to the alkalinity of cement and offers extended fibrous interface
on the strands with which the cement matrix can mechanically bond. The cement matrix is
specially formulated to form part of the Cemlam to act like fibreglass and resin. Available in 2m
widths up to 250m lengths.


In South Africa there is enormous variance in climatic conditions - from desert conditions to a
Mediterranean climate. Temperatures can range from below zero to the mid-thirties. Whilst this,
in itself, is not unusual, what does make it a factor in structural waterproofing is the fact that

these variations occur all in the space of 24 hours. Rain, driven by gale force winds, hits some
of the coastal regions and other regions go from drought conditions to floods. All these
dramatic climatic conditions affect our building in one way or another and accordingly climate
must be taken in consideration when designing structures. When drawing up specifications for
flat roof merely to state Waterproofing strictly to manufacturer's specification can be dangerous
philosophy to follow, as it will not always provide the required job. Poor specifying details are
one of the major failures of waterproofing, and hence leak. Also, locating all the plant
equipment on flat roofs must be planned carefully to prevent any problems with the flow of
water and easy access to the waterproofing.
There are many waterproofing materials on the market, most of them good, but every material
has its performance limitations. Unique emphasis is often placed on a material's guarantee,
merely a warranty on their materials, ie. that it will be free of defects for a specified period.
They certainly do not guarantee that their materials will work, regardless of the circumstances.
It also appears to be easy to operate today as a waterproofing contractor. There are many
companies from which to choose, with more and more springing up all the time. Clearly the
reason for this is that it is not a capital-intensive industry. These days, with the varied selection
of available materials, however, coupled to the complexity of modern building design, many
buildings are in fact neither straightforward nor simple to waterproof. A depth of experience and
knowledge of the trade is essential to provide a waterproof building.
Designers, it seems, are constantly trying to create the most complicated structures, in order to
test the ingenuity of engineers and the abilities of contractors to execute design work. It seems
also as though designers expect the material to perform miracles in extreme situations. Not to
mention, of course, the ludicrous time scales the clients set, time scales that barely allow the
concrete to cure and all for a suicidal price as well!
No wonder some buildings leak.
The design of the waterproofing to flat roofs is the first important stage, which takes place on
the drawing board. It is not just a question of plotting dotted lines on a drawing: careful
consideration and thought needs to go into the detailing but also the construction sequence.
Can the principle be put to practice? It is always advisable to ask the advice of experienced
waterproofing contractors who not only have the practical knowledge of fixing waterproofing
systems but who also can demonstrate a long successful track record. Once the detailing is
correct a suitable waterproofing system can be selected. The same details are relevant to all
waterproofing systems, but specific requirements may call for certain specific systems ie.
gussets at internal and external angles, or fillets formed in the material. An important factor
which should be pointed out at this stage is that, in designing a watertight roof, the DPCs in
walls, relevant to the roof, must be considered at all times. The waterproofing details must be
correct, after which the right materials for the situation can be selected. Then the first stage to
produce a leak-free building has been achieved. Correct detailing is possibly far more
important than material selection, as there are a number of materials that will perform in the
same situation.
Many of the waterproofing material manufacturers and suppliers offer warranties on their
material and possibly sells their systems on guarantee. The old saying that ' A guarantee is not
worth the paper it is written on" must seriously be taken into account when deciding on a
waterproofing system. A history of the material should be obtained in the credentials of the
manufacture checked.
Of course, the same also applies to the waterproofing contractor. In selecting the waterproofing
contractor care should be taken to ensure that the company has the expertise and knowledge,
the financial ability and the qualified manpower to carry out the work and to produce a first
class job. Ideally, the company should be a member of the Waterproofing Federation of
Southern Africa. It is important that the professional team, the building contractor, waterproofing
material manufacturer/supplier and the waterproofing contractor work together as a team, and

not against each other.

Supervision of all aspects of the work and frequent checks on site to ensure that the detailing is
being done without any compromises is vital; especially in the case of major projects where
many trades are involved. The main contractor and especially the other trades (such as
plumbers, electricians, bricklayers and tiler), must all be made aware of the importance and
principles of waterproofing. It is not always easy and on occasions impossible, to repair the
waterproofing after it has been damaged.
In conclusion, the success of a "leak-free" roof lies in the initial design, selection of the correct
material for the job and careful, uncompromised application by a reputable and experienced
waterproofing contractor. There are no "wonder" materials. Prices and guarantees should not
necessarily be the only, or main criteria applied when selecting and specifying waterproofing and neither should it determine the choice of the waterproofing contractor.

Windows, Doors & Door Frames

Windows are manufactured in many shapes and sizes, as well as in various materials - steel,
wood, concrete and aluminium. It is important to research the various qualities of the different
types of windows, not only from a functionality aspect, in terms of the homes location, but also
aesthetically to ensure the windows best suite the home design style. Nearly all the natural light
in a house comes through the windows. In general, the amount of window area should be
around 15% of the size of the room (floor area). To allow for good ventilation, the total opening
area should be at least 5% of the size of the room. As a rule, the thicker the window glass, the
better it will be at insulating from heat, cold and noise.

Steel is the strongest and most cost effective window construction and burglar bars can be
welded in position. Steel windows offer considerable savings during construction and withstand
rough handling during transport and building activities. Steel can be cut, curved and welded to
meet precise details in purpose made designs and can be finished in any colour.
Windows can be custom manufactured to clients specific requirements, with a range of
standard sizes available for general use. Most steel products are available in galvanised or
dipped in corrosion resistant red-oxide paint. This ensures that they cannot be damaged by
rain and can be painted in a wide range of colours.
When windows are to be fitted into existing or newly built openings, it is essential that the
openings are plumb, square and to the correct size. The sizes of openings should provide 3mm
clearance all round the window frame. New openings are best formed around well-braced
templates. If the window opening is not rebated, the back of the frame sections should be filled
with a waterproof cement filler. Because the manufacturers ensure that opening lights bed
correctly before leaving the factory, they should not be opened until required for fixing. On
completion of fixing, windows should be closed again until they are glazed. They should never
be used as a means of access.
Before glazing, all opening lights should be checked for correct opening and closing and the
fittings tested for proper operation. Any damage or distortion that has occurred as the result of
bad site handling or installation must be rectified before glazing starts.

To ensure maximum weather performance, frames should be set back at least 75mm from the
face of the wall. A sub-frame is only necessary if there is a need for a bolder perimeter line.
When windows are being built in, care must be taken to keep the window both plumb and
square. Where composite windows are being fixed, attention must be paid to alignment across
the couplings. Fixings should be at the holes adjacent to the couplings. For windows, which are
fixed directly into cavity brickwork, the position of the jamb is important. The window should be
set so that the back of the long leg is in front of the cavity. This will allow for full weather
protection by the insertion of a vertical damp proof membrane into the frame section against
the long leg.
The membrane should project into the brickwork cavity to prevent the formation of a water
path. The space at the back of the frame should be filled with a fillet of waterproof cement.
A gap, which should not exceed 3mm, should be maintained between the frame edge and the
brickwork. All frames have fixing holes for which the manufacturer will supply fixing lugs
designed to set into the mortar course. The height of windows may not always coincide with
brick courses. In such cases, it is advisable to position the window to fit closely under the lintel
and adjust the brickwork under the sill to the correct level. Sills should be positioned with the
outside face of the up stand, in line with the inner face of the outer leaf of brickwork, to ensure
that the window locates correctly at the jamb. The window should be sealed to the sill with
bedding compound. External pointing is recommended.
Pressed steel sills should be fixed to timber sills with number 10 rust proof wood screws. Tile
brick on edge or special brick sills are frequently used. These should always be designed to
allow the frame to locate correctly at the jamb.
Projecting hinges for easy cleaning can be supplied, at extra charge if ordered.
Ordering instructions for steel residential windows & doors
Quantity of each type, quoting type letters and numbers in full.
The hands of side hung casements and doors (the hand is the side on which hinges are fitted
looking from inside).

Whether the doors are to open outwards or inwards

Whether side hung windows require project hinges

Whether burglar bars are required

Whether hot-dip galvanising is required

Whether fly-screens are required

Note: windows and doors shown without glazing bars have the prefix N added.
When ordering the alternative horizontal plane types, the suffix H should be used. In the case
of all bars, only the type No. is used.
Larger units may be formed by coupling units together with standard mullions and transoms.
Industrial Sashes

Quantity of each type, quoting type letters and number in full.

What type of fixing is required.

Whether vents are to be horizontally pivoted or bottom hung.

Whether burglar bars are required.

Whether fly-screens are required.

Aluminium is an extremely durable material. It has a thick profile and looks very solid.
Aluminium windows are retro-fitted. There are minimal standard ranges in aluminium as most
windows are made to fit the opening left once a building is complete.
There are numerous finishes an aluminium window can come in: Anodized windows are
chemically stained. Anodizing leaves a metallic finish; Powder coating is used to create myriad
colours; and Plastic wrapping gives a textured look such as wood. This is the most expensive
type of finish. Aluminium windows come already glazed and are sealed with a rubber seal.
Furniture is included. Aluminium needs the least maintenance. It does not need to be painted,
but it does oxidise (similar to rust) over time and therefore should be kept clean. Aluminium is
very soft and can be easily damaged. Manufacturers will come to site to measure openings
before they supply windows, to make sure that the frames will fit.

The beauty of wood is unquestionable and can enhance both the aesthetic appeal and value of
a home dramatically.
Throughout history, wood has been the material of choice for windows and doors - even as
fashions have changed, with painted and natural wood alternatively in popularity.
The following recommendations apply to the use and maintenance of wooden windows and

It is essential that protective oil be applied to wooden windows and doors prior to
installation in order to prevent staining by cement or plaster on building sites.

The oil should be penetrative and used regularly to prevent oxidisation and avoid

The doors and windows should be treated with care and external forces should be
avoided during the construction process (e.g. props over sliding doors and forcing
bricks into small places).

A product like Silkwood is recommended. This product provides protection against

water absorption and UV degradation. It minimises wood degradation such as
cracking, splitting, warping and grain raise, which occurs as a result of natural aging
and climatic changes.


The product should be applied with either a brush or a roller.

The surface of the wood must be dry, clean and free of contaminants

The first coat should only be applied after this period.

If the wood is porous, it is advisable to apply a third coat of the product for maximum

Maintenance coats should be applied when the wood appears faded or dry.

Brushes and rollers can be cleaned with either turpentine or white spirits.

If the product is solvent based (as is Silkwood), it is flammable and therefore should
only be applied in well-ventilated areas.

Concrete windows are made from high density, un-reinforced, low permeability 30Mpa
concrete, cast in high quality moulds. The product has a smooth finish, which may be painted
or left in its natural state. No additional sills or plastered reveals are necessary. Under most
conditions, masonry may be built directly above the window without additional support but
should be checked by an engineer.
Low permeability prevents water penetration when installed as part of a structure where
standard methods of amp proofing are used in conjunction with sound building practice.
Although this system was conceived as a total window application, the surrounds may be used
for book shelves and other storage requirements, balustrades, table top supports, room
dividers, garden walls, screen walls and planters.
This gives the architect/designer good freedom in managing natural light and ventilation,
interior to exterior visual and functional linkages and textured effects. Because the glazing
rebate is positioned on the extreme edge of the window surrounds, they may be fitted with the
rebate inside or out, creating deep shadow effects or slicker flush facades.
Cost and Practical Considerations
Containment of building costs is a major factor influencing the building industry manufacturers.
Analysis by independent Quantity Surveyors confirm that this option is a sound choice, where
product quality, cost, installation and other factors are considered and where optimum ratios for
ventilation and lighting are applied in the building design. The system is dimensionally
compatible with standard brick and masonry block work and built into walls as part of the
continuous brickwork. Attachment of direct glazing and metal inserts, security and closure
elements should take place after wet work is completed.

Doors are manufactured in many shapes and sizes, as well as in various materials - steel,
wood, concrete and alumnium. It is important to research the various qualities of the different
types of doors, not only from a functionality aspect, in terms of the homes location, but also
aesthetically to ensure the door best suite the home design style.

More often than not, costs dictate our purchases and this fundamental design enhancement is
left to the last minute. Doors are far too often just specified by their opening or stated on the

drawing to owners specification, yet the design implementation and enhancement one can
achieve is enormous. Budgets tend to make one use hollow-core doors for the interior, but
consider the use of supawood moulded or solid timber doors as they are stronger, soundproof
and more aesthetically pleasing. Quality doors and fittings not only work better, but also last
longer and add distinction.
As Africans we tend to be unaware of the variety of woods available. Meranti is the most
common, but other suitable material to consider is Maple, Sapele, Rose wood, Oak, Iroko,
imbuia, Rhodesian Teak and Beech.
Doors comprise two different types, namely flush and panel. Doors with glass inserts are
referred to as lights, i.e. sidelights. Patio doors, incorporating sliding and French doors are the
traditional methods for transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces. They serve a dual
purpose, windows, light and ventilation. Stable doors are still preferred in the kitchen
environment as they allow the free flow of air and increase the interior light levels whilst being
able to keep small children indoors

The decision to be made when purchasing or replacing a garage door can be influenced by
many factors. The correct decision as to which type of door and from which materials it is
manufactured may be influenced by lifestyle and design criteria. A garage door is often the
largest moving item in a home. Safety and convenience when moving this large item is
paramount. Purchasers must ensure that the design of the door meets and complies with
performance and design criteria that are internationally accepted. A manufacturers warranty
should be obtained for both the garage door and if fitted the automation device.
A wide range of doors are available to the architect, designer and homeowner. The following
will help you decide which door suits your lifestyle and compliments your home.
Materials used to manufacture garage doors
Garage doors have traditionally been manufactured from a variety hardwood timbers. The
hinged garage door was manufactured with hardwood frames and slates. The hardwood frame
was later substituted for a steel frame with hardwood slates. Today the finest timber garage
doors are manufactured from meranti, cedar or other similar hardwoods. The cost and scarcity
of hardwoods has forced the market to utilise saligna as a substitute for meranti. In order to be
cost effective wooden doors may contain hardboard wood panels. The high maintenance factor
and environmental impact on the ecology of the use of hardwoods has diminished the
popularity of wooden doors.
By far the greatest numbers of garage doors are manufactured from steel. The maintenance
free pre-painted steel doors provide the busy homeowner with an elegant modern solution to
garage doors. They are available with various patterns pressed into the steel door panel.
Complex raised panels to ribbed panels are available. In addition the steel used in the door
panel may itself be embossed with wood graining for a natural look.
The minimum standard for a steel garage doors is one using galvanised steel. Galvanised steel
is manufactured from a cold rolled base and has zinc applied to it by means of a continuous
immersion in a zinc bath. The amount of zinc on the steel is what determines the corrosion
resistance of the steel. This can be measured by means of thickness or by means of the total
weight of zinc per square meter present on the cold rolled sheet. Certain steel manufacturers
not only coat the steel with zinc, but with a combination of zinc and aluminium this steel is
referred to as Zincalume or Aluzinc. Zincalumes corrosive prevention properties are far greater
than that of standard galvanised material.

The most commonly used steel for garage doors is pre-painted, where the galvanised or
zincalume has been pre-painted by the steel manufacturer. These steels are referred to as
Colourcoat, Cromadek, Colorbond and various other proprietary references to imply that the
steel has been pre-painted. The most common paint used is a polyester paint. A base or
undercoat is applied to the steel this primer is to ensure that the finishing coat bonds to the
steel. A final or finishing coat is applied onto the undercoat. The paint thickness is normally
between 20 and 25microns. Once the paint has been applied to the steel it is baked on the
steel by means of a heat process.
Certain steel manufacturers have perfected methods of applying up to 200 microns of paint per
finishing coat.
The thickness or gauge of steel used on garage doors varies according to the type of steel
door used. Where the steel has to roll up thinner gauges are preferable. Where the doors tilt or,
open in sections, thicker gauges are better suited.
Fibreglass has recently become a substitute product for teel garage doors. Fibreglass has no
structural strength and is reliant on a frame to hold the door rigid. No standards exist for
fibreglass doors and the corrosive resistance of the product can easily be offset by the lack of
structural strength and unknown lifespan. These doors are often thin enough to allow light to be
reflected through them.
Why different designs of Garage Doors?
The simplest of all garage doors are those that have the opening divided in two with a side
hinged panel opening and closing each side similar to a gate. This door lost their popularity
owing to the fact that almost 1300mm of driveway space was needed to open these doors.
Heavy side hung garage doors tended to sag on the hinges, and light winds where sufficient to
cause these door panels to slam either open or shut.
Tip up or tilt doors where identified as the solution to the hinged doors problems. Tip up doors
are have a one-piece panel for the entire garage door opening. They operate on one or another
mechanism that reduces the required starting force of lifting the door. The operating
mechanism could utilise weights or springs to counterbalance the weight of the door. The tilt or
tip up door like the hingedgarage door takes up a considerable amount of driveway space and
a car cannot park in front of the door whilst one is attempting to open the door. The tip up or tilt
type door needs to open through he garage door opening requiring the opening and the door to
be square and perfectly fitted. The door in the open position rests below the lintel of the garage
thereby reducing the opening size of the garage by approximately 180mm. These doors swing
out at the bottom then up and back. If one is opening one of these doors one needs to step
backwards as the door opens. These doors can be automated. The movement of a 2100 mm
high tilt door.
Roll up doors solve certain of the limitations of the tilt or tip up type garage door. The steelrolling curtain (or door panel) opens behind the finished wall of the garage opening and does
not swing into the driveway. The roll up door enables vehicles to park very close to the door
without limiting the doors ability to open. The curtain open upwards in a track and the door rolls
up above the garage opening allowing the full garage opening to be utilised for access. The
opening of the garage may have be shaped, as the opening does not affect the operation of a
door. These doors can be automated.
Sectional doors are those that open in sections, the door panel moves up vertically then
normally horizontally at the top of the door. The panel of the door is constructed in a number of
sections, each section is joined by means of hinges.
The side hinges hold wheels that run in a steel track The track runs vertically up the jamb of the
door and then curves into the horizontal position. In order to reduce the effective weight of the

door panel helical springs are used. These doors can be automated.
Sizes and Measuring Garage Doors
Most garages in South Africa are constructed to standard sizes. The standard height for a
garage door opening is 2150mm measured from finished floor level to the underside of the
lintel. The standard width of a single garage door is 2500mm and a double garage 4880mm
measured from wall to wall. In order to save costs a smaller door has become common with a
width for single doors of 2440mm.
The Width and Height of a garage door is not the only dimension that can influence which type
of door will fit what also needs to be considered is the following:
The Head Room the size from the underside of the lintel to the ceiling or the roof trusses inside
your garage.
The Nib size, the dimension from the end of the respective opening left and right to the outer
wall of the garage, measured on the inside.
The Backroom, the space available from the lintel to the back of the garage without obstruction.
(This is very important if a sectional or tilt door is to be fitted and automation is required)
How Doors Work
Doors That Tilt
Fold up or tilt doors operate on two basic mechanisms. The less popular weight system is a
system in which a cable is attached to the pivot point of the door, this cable runs over a roller at
the head of the door and is connected to a counterbalance weight. The weight moves up and
down as the door opens and close to assist in the reduction of the weight of the door panel.
The more popular spring tip up mechanism is mounted at the jambs or sides of the door and a
spring extends to assist in the reduction of the weight of the panel at the fulcrum point of the
door. These mechanisms can normally spring a door up to 70 kg in weight for a single door and
140kg for a double door. The positioning of the power plate (the plate that holds the pivot point)
is critical for proper operating of the door. The spring tip up mechanism is very popular on
timber doors. The opening height of a tip up door is reduced by the thickness of the door plus
the stopper that prevents the door touching the lintel (approximately 180mm). A 2100mm high
door will move forward by 1200mm once the door panel is 1300mm from the ground. This loss
of parking/driveway space can limit the number of cars that can be parked and effect land
usage in complex and townhouse designs. Tip up doors are normally supplied with side barrel
bolt type locks which accommodates padlocks. Headroom of 250mm above the lintel is
normally required to automate a tip up door.
Continuous Curtain Doors
Continuous curtain doors are also commonly referred to as roll up doors these doors are the
most popular steel doors sold in South Africa. They are manufactured from light gauge steel so
as to allow a continuous curtain of steel to roll up at the head of the garage door. They are
normally manufactured from galvanised, Cromadek or Colorbond material . These doors
manufactured by various manufacturers in South Africa and differing levels of quality is what
differentiates these manufacturers.
The engineering principals of roll up doors is to create a torque tube by means of a large wheel
at the head of the door being covered by a sheet of light gauge steel to create a large diameter
tube that is sprung by torsion springs to reduce the operating force of the door. This large
diameter tube means that the tube at the head of the door does not have to revolve more than
necessary to open the door. The wheels of a roll up door can be manufactured from plastic or
steel. Steel wheels are preferable and are normally bushed to ensure that the bearing surface
between the wheel and the axle is permanently lubricated. Wheels of superior roll up doors are
not perfectly round but shaped to accommodate the curtain of the door in all positions. If the
wheels of a roll up door are exposed in the closed position it means that the torque tube design

of the door has been compromised and this will effect the life span if the door.
The curtain (or door panel) of the door has horizontal ribs impressed on it. The deeper the
ribbing the stronger the oor. This curtain runs in a track, between the curtain and the track is a
wool pile or nylofelt that creates a friction between the curtain and the track. The quality of the
weave of the pile will to some extent determine the maintenance free lifespan of the door. The
curtain is fitted with two guide blocks, normally incorporating a roller, attached at the bottom of
the curtain to ensure that the curtain remains in the same position in the track and operates
with a maximum ease.
The springs at the head of the door should be set up to ensure that the commencement
operating force of the roll up door is no more that 15kg. Roll up doors normally have locks pre
fitted by the manufacturer. There are a wide variety of locks that are fitted to these doors. The
simplest lock is a lock cylinder with two locking arms.
The most complex and effective lock is a center lift lock with internal and external locking
ability. Most doors are fitted with a bottom lift handle. A rubber weather seal is fitted to the
bottom of the door to prevent moisture ingress and wind blown dirt. On higher quality doors this
can be replaced without any specialised expertise.
Roll up doors can be automated by various means. The most effective and efficient means of
automating a door is to connect an opener directly onto the wheel or drum of the door. Certain
high quality doors have their wheels prepared to accept an opener. The opener is simply
inserted over the axle of the door into the wheel.
This drives the door up or down utilising the full effect of the torque tube. Other methods of
automating rollup doors such as lifting the doors from the bottom of the door tend to lift one
side of the door at a time. This results in uneven wear of the weather stripping and an increase
in the maintenance required on these doors. Certain operators lift the doors from the bottom
using cables. These installations if carried out rofessionally are satisfactory, but are messy and
unsightly. The lightweight curtain of these doors makes successful automation economical and
cost effective.
Roll up doors can be manufactured in various sizes. Doors that are wider than 2500 and higher
than 2700 should have purpose designed ribs to ensure that the strength of the door is
maintained. Double door as well as doors up to 5000mm high by 5000mm wide can be
manufactured. These high performance doors have custom designed wheels or drums with
specialised tracks and component.
Slatted Doors
Slatted doors that roll up are manufactured from two basic materials steel and aluminium. The
decision to use one or the other is driven by cost and location of the door. This drives the door
up or down utilising the full effect of the torque tube. Other methods of automating rollup doors
such as lifting the doors from the bottom of the door tend to lift one side of the door at a time.
This results in uneven wear of the weather stripping and an increase in the maintenance
required on these doors.
Certain operators lift the doors from the bottom using cables. These installations if carried out
professionally are satisfactory, but are messy and unsightly. The lightweight curtain of these
doors makes successful automation economical and cost effective.
Roll up doors can be manufactured in various sizes. Doors that are wider than 2500 and higher
than 2700 should have purpose designed ribs to ensure that the strength of the door is
maintained. Double door as well as doors up to 5000mm high by 5000mm wide can be
manufactured. These high performance doors have custom designed wheels or drums with
specialised tracks and component.
Steel Slatted Doors

These doors are commonly referred to as industrial doors. The doors are manufactured from a
series of interlocking slats that form the curtain or panel of the door. These slats are roll formed
from various gauges of steel. These slats are normally manufactured from galvanised steel that
can then be painted once they have been roll formed. They are from 0.7mm to 1.2mm thick
depending on the span or width of the door and the application of the door. Slatted doors unlike
continuous curtain doors do not rely on a torque tube. The wheels on the slatted doors tend to
be smaller than on roll up doors and the commencement roll requires less headroom. The
slatted door however takes more space to roll up, as each slat needs to be accommodated.
Slatted doors are manually operated on smaller doors, theses are referred to as push ups. The
operating force required to commence operating one of these doors is great doors very often
have an adjusted operating weight of 30kg or more. The curtain of these doors can be
extremely heavy in which case a chain hoist with a gearbox is fitted to the door. This is often
the only way to open and close an industrial door.
A bottom rail is fitted to the door which accommodates the lock. Waist high locks can also be
fitted. These doors can also be fitted with automation devises. They tend to be more expensive
than other automation owing to the weight of the curtain that is being lifted.
Access gates can be fitted to slatted doors as well as various other additional extras like crank
handle opening and closing rather than chain operation. Slatted doors can be produced from
perforated steel slates, which allow vision through the door but still provides maximum security.
Steel is also used to manufacture rolling grilles. Instead of a rolled slat as a curtain for the door
a formed grill is utilities. Theses doors are popular to protect shop fronts or as secondary
security measures in shopping malls. They may have straight link construction or have a
patterned link construction. These grills provide maximum ventilation and visibility when shut.
Aluminum Slatted doors
Utilising the same operating mechanism as a steel roller door the aluminum version is used
where a higher quality of finish is required or where corrosion of normal galvanised steel slates
may present a threat to the life span of the door. The anodised or powder coated aluminum
slates are extruded rather than rolled. Aluminum doors tend to be lighter than steel doors and
easier to operate manually.
Sectional doors may be manufactured from timber, steel or fibreglass. The manner in which
sectional doors are sprung in order to reduce operating weights is of prime importance. Two
types of spring arrangements are commonly used. The safest of these methods is Torsion
Springs. These are normally installed above the door at the head of the door on a steel axle.
The oil tempered helically wound spring is contained by the axle, should the spring come loose
of the plug windings on each side of the spring or come loose of the axle all that will happen is
that the door will not open easily. Extension or tension springs are stretched in order to help lift
the door. In the closed position the spring is in its fully stretched position. These springs are
fitted above the rear horizontals of the track.
Should a safety cable not be fitted or fail to perform adequately, the spring either coming loose
or breaking inside the garage can do significant damage to anything or anyone inside the
The hinges of a sectional door are numbered according to which panel they are fitted onto.
They maybe manufactured from galvanised steel or from composite plastics. The composite
plastic hinge has the advantage of being quieter in use. The hinges perform two functions, they
join the sections together and allow them to break when the door is used and the end hinges
contain the wheels or rollers of the door. The wheels that get fitted to the track via the hinges
are normally fitted with ball bearings for extended life These wheels have a galvanised shaft to
prevent corrosion and polypropylene wheel surface to reduce the noise of the wheel in the
track .
Various locking arrangements can be fitted onto sectional doors. Center locks, friction locks,

slam locks can all be fitted to sectional doors. These are not required if the door is to be
automated with an automatic opener. Double doors or doors that have been manufactured from
thinner gauge steels may require stiffeners to be fitted at the time of installation.
Certain technologically advanced sectional doors may have a polypropylene curve fitted
instead of a steel curve on the track. The curving of steel distorts the channel in the track
reducing the size of the channel. This forces manufacturers to use smaller wheels than what
the channel in the track is designed for. This results in rattling doors. Polypropylene curves
reduce the wear on the wheel and allow the door to operate in a quieter manner.
Timber sectional doors are normally manufactured with 5 panels to a standard height door.
Doors may be manufactured in slatted or raised and fielded designs. Each section is
weatherproofed by means of a shiplap joint. manufactured from either meranti or saligna the
door manufacturer selects timber of matching quality and grain to ensure that each sectional
panel and each door matches. The manufacturer may stain or paint the timber with a colour
impregnated weather resistant sealant to prevent moisture loss from the timber.
Steel sectional doors are manufactured from steel 0.4mm to 0.6 mm thick. The thickness of the
steel determines the strength of the door. Most steel sectional doors are manufactured from
pre-painted steels.
Automation of garage doors
Most garage doors can be automated making use of a 1/3rd horsepower motor being operated
on 220volt power. Larger motors and 3-phase power are required on large heavy doors or
where door are to handle a large volume of traffic.
Sectional and tilt doors utilise the same type of automation systems. These garage door
openers are mounted at the top of the doors horizontal to the open position of the doors. These
openers are either chain drive or screw drive. The advantages of chain drive are their cost and
ability to be used on doors of various heights without having to custom manufacture an opening
arm. Screw drive systems tend to be more expensive and their enclosed screw system is a
smoother operating mechanisms.
The electronic systems linked to garage door oeners llow additional functions to be operated by
their transmitters llowing garage door openers to be integrated nto the overall ecurity and
automation in a modern household. It is best to fit automation to a garage door at the initial
installation stage.
How much should garage doors Cost
The final price of a garage door depends on the choice of door type, the automation system
that is added to it and who installs the door. Garage door prices do not vary dramatically on a
regional basis.
The average cost of installing a door is between R200 for a roll up door to R 500 for a sectional
or tip up door. The prices of slatted doors are not included as these are priced on enquiry.
The finest of these doors would use deep drawing quality steel that has been timber
embossed. When complete no external fixings are visible on the doors. The bottom panel or
section normally has a weather seal fitted. In quality doors this weather seal is fitted to an
aluminium section and can be replaced by the homeowner. Each steel section is fitted with a
number of steel styles. These styles perform two functions. They are there to provide a suitable
base for the hinges to be fitted to them and they are fixed to the section of the door to provide
strength. A quality door will have polyurethane bonding between the style and the panel of the
door and the style will be affixed to the panel on two vertical faces. A standard door has four
Certain steel sectional doors may be fitted with Top lights. These are available in a number of
different patterns. The most popular is the image of a sunset. Other patterns include Colonial,

Cathedral, Sunburst and various others. These Top lights apart from providing the door with an
aesthetic appeal provide light into a garage when the door is closed.
Steel sectional doors are manufactured in various styles. A raised and fielded panel type door
and a ribbed design type door. All sectional steel doors require less headroom than roll up type
Steel sectional doors may also be used for industrial applications. Using a slightly heaver
gauge steel these doors can be manufactured up to widths of 7000 mm and heights of 5000


This section is about roofs and roofing the materials and products, methods and certain
criteria which are used in the construction of these elements. A more specific purpose is to
draw the attention of readers to features and functions of different types of roofs and roofing
and the overall cost considerations in choosing different types. Notwithstanding certain roofs
suit only certain designs. With an age of diversity in the building Industry and the abundant
choice of design and materials, one tendency has become very clear; the increasing
complexity of the geometry of buildings, and more especially of roofs. It is therefore simple to
deduce that defects increase in direct proportion to this increase in complexity of geometry of
the surfaces of buildings; i.e. at the intersections of different planes and materials.
Added to this is the increasing lack of properly skilled artisans in erecting roof structures and
the fi tment of the desired roof coverings, associated fittings and accessories; highlighting the
need for taking extra care in both design and construction, when it comes to roofing and not
only making decisions based on price alone. One must consider that a roof has numerous
functions other than aesthetics that need to be taken into account in the design and costing

Protection from sun, wind and rain.

Strength and stability


Control of heat loss insulation

Prevention of condensation

Acoustics - exclusion and prevention of noise

Fire protection and prevention

Provision of day lighting; where appropriate.

There is an absolute requirement in roofi ng to prevent water reaching the interior of a building,
in contrast with some of the other functional requirements where some shortfall may be
tolerable. Again; highlighting the need for taking care in design and the construction/ erection of
roofs and roofi ng to ensure water penetration into the interior of the building is avoided.

Two kinds of rainfall intensity need to be considered;

Rain falling vertically

Rain driven by wind

Both categories contribute to the total quantities of rainwater needing disposal, but the second
category particularly affects the weather tightness of lapped roofing, such as tiles and slates,
and even the direction and extent of lap of larger sheets; with many manufacturers
recommending the use of underlays, fixing of tiles etc. in these applications.
One must remember that rain falling while the wind is blowing affects pitched roofs more than
flat (and walls even more so), it is therefore important to consider ones geographical location,
associated weather patterns and not only your desired roofing requirements.

Clay Roof Tiles
Burned clay was the commonly used material in Ancient times in manufacturing of roof tiles.
Used for centuries and still used, however this type of tile is more expensive than the more
common concrete tile.
Clay roof tiles enhance warmth and character to a building with permanent colour which
weather and age over time, but never fade. Clay roof tiles are natural and durable which
elegantly enhances the appearance of roofs, not only withstanding the elements, but actually
improving with age from exposure.
Clay roof tiles are available in the ever-popular Broseley, Constantia & Cordova as well as the
cost effective Portuguese and Marseilles. They are available from various different
manufacturers in South Africa, in a variety of colours like terracotta and multi flashed colours.
Various bonds are used when laying different types of clay tiles, from; straight bond or mock
interlocking, broken bond, fl at and semicircular over under (the over-tile and under-tile are of
roughly the same shape, the under-tile being larger; these tiles form a beautiful roof which is
flexible in both sidelap and headlap).
Concrete Roof Tiles
Concrete roof tiles are manufactured in an extensive range of profiles, colours and finishes
(finishes will vary from one manufacturer to another) which enhance the visual appearance of
any roof and provide designers with a wide scope for expression. Surface finishes for tiles are
categorized in accordance with SABS specifications.
All surface coatings are applied under factory controlled conditions. Concrete roof tiles
manufactured by members of the Concrete Manufacturers Association meet the requirements
of SABS 542-1990 Standard specification for concrete roof tiles. They are manufactured in
accordance with the SABS ISO 9002 Quality Management System
Pressed Metal Roof Tiles
Pressed metal roof tiles are strong, light weight; which significantly reduces the quantity of
timber required in the support structure and provides easy installation. They allow for ease of
delivery and dont require large trucks to transport them, making this a popular roof covering in
remote lying areas. A further advantage being steel-based, no breakages occur during transit
or storage on site.
Metal roof tiles come in different profiles and finished with either a standard acrylic coating or a
textured coating and available in various colours and are also manufactured from different

Tiles are complemented by a full range of accessories such as ridges, hips, gable trims,
bargeboard covers and flashings. Due to their lightweight attributes, tiles are the ideal
application in the re-roofing market where they can be laid over the existing roof without
removing the old roofing material.
Slates can be described as any rectangular sheet of roofing material, whether of natural slate,
stone, cast stone, fibre cement, or metal.
Fibre cement
The Nutec roofing range offers designers and specifi ers freedom and flexibility when
functional, aesthetic and cost criteria need to be met.

The Nutec Roofing Range is complemented with all necessary fi noshing components
including ridge caps, flashing and fixing accessories.

Nutec roof slates are designed for a minimum roof pitch of 17,5

In high wind arrears the slates may no longer provide a waterproof covering and a
waterproof underlay must be installed. For areas where design wind pressure
exceeds 1,2Kpa Everite should be contacted for specific fixing recommendations.

It is important to be aware of the fact that any distortion or unevenness in the roof
structure and battens will reflect in the final appearance of the application. Time spent
to ensure that the structure and battens are accurate and sound is therefore a small
investment in the process of achieving an excellent result.

Natural Slate
Slate is commonly described as a dark grey natural stone made up of many thin layers which
can be split (riven) into thin sheets, then cut to size to create tiles.
Other colours are available in roofing slates and not just the traditional dark grey or silver blue
as it is known; below are the commonly used colours in roofing.

Silver Blue: The colour ranges from silver to grey to almost black, and may
occasionally contain faint tints of yellow or gold.

West Country: This is a silver blue based slate with rings, circles or spots of red,
brown, silver, white, orange, yellow and very occasionally green, with one or more of
these colours present on each tile.

Multi colour: This is a silver blue based slate with subdued to bright colouring on at
least 20% of the surface area. The colour varies from reds, brown, orange, yellows
and even greens, or any combination thereof.

Roof sheeting comes in various different profiles, e.g. corrugated, IBR and folded steel.
Manufactured from numerous different types of material to suit specific applications, all having
certain advantages and unique properties; with metal sheeting being the most commonly used.
Organic Fibre
Onduline is an extremely tough lightweight corrugated roofi ng and wall cladding material
manufactured from bitumen-saturated organic fi bres under intense pressure and heat. It is fl
exible, economical and virtually indestructible. It provides a high degree of weather protection
and thermal insulation - even in the most extreme climatic conditions.

Originally developed in Europe over 50 years ago, Onduline is now extensively used in
agricultural, light industrial and domestic applications in over 100 countries from the tropics to
the artic circle. Onduline offers many advantages over other roofi ng and wallcladding

Needs virtually no maintenance

It has high insulation and sound absorbency values

Cannot rust or become brittle

Rot and fungi resistant.

It is colourfast and resists most chemicals and corrosion.

It is impact resistant and easy to handle.

Onduline is probably the most flexible, versatile and economicalroofi ng and cladding material
in the world.
Types, colours and sizes Onduline simplifies the work of the designer, architect and specifier as
there is just one convenient standard size of sheet to work with. It is further simplified by its
easy cutting and fixing characteristics. Onduline can be cut with an ordinary hand or power saw
and is fi xed using corrosion resistant PE headed or safe top nails. Onduline is manufactured in
the following pre-pigmented (PP) colours;
Fibre cement
Fibre-cement technology was developed at the end of the 18th century by an Austrian, Ludwick
Hatschek. Products are made of Portland cement, refined sand and specially treated cellulose
The mould ability, strength and durability of fibre-cement makes it a perfect material for the
manufacture of a wide range of building materials.
Fibre cement roof sheeting is available in two basic profi les and has been used in the south
African building Industry for roofing and side cladding for decades.
The Victorian sheet is a popular profile and it has been designed to recreate the appearance
and character of a traditional Victorian style roof. And is particularly suitable for coastal areas
where corrosive conditions prevent the use of many other products.
Metal Roof sheeting is available in a wide variety of profi les, thicknesses and types of material
and coatings.
Usually all roof sheeting materials are manufactured from hot-dipped galvanized steel and fall
within internationally accepted specifications and tolerances. HH Robertson, established in
1958 was the fi rst manufacturer of roof sheeting in South Africa.
Other types of material are manufactured like Supergalm which is an aluminium zinc alloy
coated steel and Zincalume a composite of aluminium and zinc. Typical types of material
include; Commercial quality, high tensile and econogalv. Typical types of coatings include
Chromadek. There are a large variety of sheeting materials and profiles designed for larger
type commercial buildings like shopping centres and industrial buildings which require specific
properties that suit this type of application. These are quite different to what is required for the

smaller type building and the residential housing market; although these types of materials and
profiles can be used in residential applications. e.g. Brownbuilt.

Plastering is probably the least mentioned trade under regulations and standard specifications.
Material quantities supplied by the Portland cement institute should ensure sound mortar
mixes, but to be assured of quality workmanship by trying to enforce building regulations is
difficult for plastering.
The architect or designer should be responsible for preparing specifications and details that
ensure quality workmanship. A marked sample panel of plaster on site is usually the most
effective specification. All plastering on site must conform with the sample panel.


A coloured waterproof cement based coating, requiring mixing with water only, before being
applied direct to brickwork, blockwork or cured plaster in one or two coats. Having a base of
white cement, it sets rock-hard and is ultra-violet ray resistant, economical, waterproof and
extremely durable. Application by 200mm block brush. Passes 24hr SABS rain penetration test.
Coverage: Depending on suction and texture.
1st coat: 10 - 14 square metres
2nd coat: 18 - 22 square metres
Available in a wide range of colours.
Colorcem Coloured Scratch Plaster
A high quality portland cement for floors, precast concrete, plaster and terrazzo. As the use of
Colorcem involves care and dedication, the reader is advised to contact the Cemcrete
Technical Department before applying.
Arctic Plaster - White Cement Finish
A white cement-based skim plaster supplied in powder form requiring only the addition of water
before being applied in one coat 3 mm thick to wood floated cement plaster. Sets rock-hard
and is unaffected by ultra-violet rays. Can be sealed with Cemcrete's concrete sealer or Silicon
Coverage: Approximately 4,5 sq. metres/20kg sack
Tuscany Plaster
A coloured cement plaster for interior and exterior, requiring mixing with water only before
being applied by steel trowel 3-5mm thick directly onto conventional wood float plaster. Is ultraviolet resistant and unaffected by water. The final surface can be finished as brush, scratching,
sponged, polished or wood floated and acid washed making different textures, and cures
mottled, creating a living wall. The final surface should be sealed with Cemcrete. Available in a
wide range of colours. The final surface should be sealed with Cemcrete Siliconseal solvent
Coverage: 2-4 m.sq./40 kg sack depending on thickness.

Texturite Roughcast
A coloured cement-based decorative finish for exteriors and interiors on walls and ceilings
Integrally coloured to eliminate painting. Permanently hides plaster crazing and similar defects.
Supplied in powder form for mixing with water. Used in conjunction with Cembond where
application is to smooth or friable backings. Application by hand operated Tyrol flicking
machine. Available in various colours.
Ceilings - 4 square metres per 25 kg
A coloured cement based material specially formulated be plastered to excessive thickness but
does not slide or shrink and dries rock hard. Slow setting gives plenty of time to work and
manipulate the material "insitu" on the wall while wet.
Can be coloured with Colorcem or imprinted using Coloured Release Agent and rubber
moulds. Lends itself to artistic carving when biscuit hard. Can be sealed with colour hardener
sealer to enhance colour. Available in various colours.
Coverage: approx. 3 square metres per 40 kg depending on thickness applied.
An economical coloured waterproof cement-based textured finish for exteriors and interiors on
walls and ceilings. Integrally coloured to eliminate painting. Brushed to waterproof and then
stippled to texture using a whitewash blockbrush directly onto brickwork or blockwork. Cure
each coat with water three times the following day. Passes 24 hour SABS rain penetration test
on two coat application.
Coverage: 10 - 14 square metres per 40 kg sack stippled 14 - 22 square metres per 40 kg sack
brushed (Both depend on surface suction).
Basecoat And Adhesive
An integral part of the Exterior Insulation Finish System -EIFS. A special mixture of adhesives,
fillers, plasticisers, etc. for mixing with ordinary Portland cement to obtain a controlled mixture
for repair of concrete and masonry, attaching and subsequent surfacing of polystyrene
insulation boards prior to painting, etc.
Base coat and Adhesives use is twofold:
Firstly it can be used as a "base coat" for levelling, patching and filling masonry, concrete and
plaster before painting, with or without a glassfibre reinforcing mesh. And secondly as an
adhesive for pasting insulation board polystyrene) or feature segments onto interior or exterior
buildings before covering with glassfibre, reinforced mesh impregnated with the same material.
Available in 25 kg drums
Coverage: 0,5 square metres per kg mixed material 3mm thick.
Cembond - General Adhesive, Cement Additive, Plaster Keying Aid
A general purpose liquid for bonding and fixing of or on concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, cement
plaster, stone, timber, firm oil plant, etc. Cembond obviates chipping, is non-flammable and has
been proved over the past 34 years to be a safe, dependable adhesive for the building industry.
For the best results, all surfaces should be non flaking as well as grease and dirt free. Protect
against freezing in the can and on the wall within a few hours of application. Will not bond to
plastic, rubber or gypsum plaster. Wash buckets and rollers in water when temporarily not in
The application of Cembond using different dilutions with water are numerous and a
comprehensive data sheet is available on request. Especially useful when applying ordinary
cement plaster, Cemcrete's Skim Plaster, acrylic paint, Thermoplastic coating, Tile adhesive,
Cemwash, Brickwash, Stipplecrete, Arctic plaster, Texturite roughcast, etc., to smooth, friable

or dusting surfaces.
Acoustic Ceiling Spray
A lightweight blend of spraying ceilings to create a roughcast appearance before being coated
with an acrylic paint in the desired colour. For most ceiling surfaces such as off shutter
concrete, paper board, Rhinolite, etc., use with Cembond.
Coverage: Approximately 20 square metres per 20kg
Thermoplastic Coating - Coloured And Textured
A tough resin-based, thermoplastic, textured coating containing silica and mica for maximum
film protection against ultra-violet rays. Provides a super durable coating for xterior walls and
roofs, capable of hiding surface imperfections and hairline cracks. Supplied ready for use, it
might require thinning with water. Application by brush or roller. Wash tools with water.
Available in ten colours.
Coverage: 4-6 square metres per litre per coat.
Interior Crack Filler
An easy to work cellulose crack filler for filling cracks, gaps around door and window frames,
light switches, sills, nail holes, wood grain, knot holes, etc. Adheres to cement plaster, gypsum
plaster, fibre cement and timber. Supplied in powder form for mixing with water.
Exterior Crack Filler
A tough thermoplastic acrylic-based crack filler supplied ready to use in paste form for filling
cracks and other imperfections in plaster and concrete before painting.

Colour Hardener
Cemcrete colour hardener and colour release agent.
A blend of special cements, colouring agents and extremely hard wearing aggregates for
dusting onto wet concrete or a wet screed before imprinting with a rubber mould to give the
effect of tiles or paving. Used in conjunction with coloured release agent to prevent the mould
sticking to the wet concrete and give 1, 2 or 3 colours in final surface.
Colour hardener colours: Red, Tan, Slate, Ivory, Straw, Grey and Hunter's Green
Coverage: Approximately 5 square metres per 20kg.
Release agent colours: Dark Brown, Black, Terra Cotta, Green, Yellow, Light Grey and Hunter's
Coverage: Depends on usage and depth of colour required. Normally 0.4 kg per square metre.
Surface to be sealed with colour hardener sealer.
Floorcrete (Tile-In A Bag)
A coloured cement-based self levelling floor covering for application directly onto wood floated
screeds or concrete slabs. Creates a very attractive, easy to clean durable interior floor
covering. Floorcrete has also been very successfully used as counter tops in kitchens,
bathrooms and as vanity tops in bedrooms and dressing areas. Prepared surfaces to be
primed with Flexbond/cement slurry before Floorcrete application. Supplied in six colours: Tan,
Terracotta, Slate, Sandstone, Chrome, Green and Dusky Rose.
Coverage: 4,5 square metres per 20kg sack applied 2mm thick.
Floor Levelling Compound
Modern floor coverings require a smooth floor surface if they are to bed properly and wear

evenly, Cemcrete's floor levelling compound is suitable for levelling concrete, quarry tiles,
terrazzo, mosaic, stone, asphalt, etc., preparatory to laying carpets, parquet, vinyl tiles, and
most other floor coverings. The normal thickness is 2,5 mm down to a feather dge.
Coverage: If 2,5 mm thick 4 square metres per 20 kg

Pool Plaster - Marble Based
A scientifically formulated mixture of white cement, with marble and special additives. It is
supplied in dry form for mixing on site with clean water. Application is by steel plasterer's
trowel. Cemcrete's marble pool plaster provides a smooth plaster 5mm thick, which becomes
an integral part of the structure. It permanently eliminates painting.
Coverage: 2 square metres per 40kg sack if applied 5mm thick.
Colours: White, Blue, Charcoal, Abbotsford Green and Sandstone.
Pool Crack Filler
A heavy fibre-reinforced filler for use in marbelited concrete swimming pools. Remove
marbelite for 75mm each side of crack through to the concrete. "V" out concrete 10mm deep
and 10mm wide. Wire brush external surfaces of crack and surrounding exposed concrete and
prime with Cemcrete's crack filler primer. Knife in filler. Allow filler to air cure for two days. Apply
neat white cement slurry to exposed concrete and shoulders of marbelite and immediately reapply Cemcrete's Marble Pool Plaster. Fill pool following day.
Pool - Underwater
A quick-setting compound, having a base of white Portland cement and white marble, specially
formulated for the underwater patching of marble pool plaster. The area to be patched should
be chipped using a heavy, sharp, steel chisel, paying attention to achieving clean-cut edges at
90 degrees to the plane. When all is ready, mix compound with water and trowel into cavity
within four minutes.


Electricity is accepted as a normal part of everyday life and every year we put more and more
appliances to use in our homes, some of them simple, like the kitchen toaster and some
complex, such as a TV or a computer. Being a cheap source of energy, the demand for
electricity has more than tripled over the past three decades. South Africa has one of the most
sophisticated energy transmission systems in the world. Various types of processes may take
place to provide us with this energy. The more obvious method is by burning material such as
coal in a furnace, heating up water in a boiler into super heated steam, forcing the blades of a
turbine into rotation and coupling this mechanically to a generator providing electricity. We see
coal fired power stations all around the country with their tall cooling towers pouring out steam.
Other methods include hydro-electric schemes which make use of gravity to force water
through turbines. Solar and wind power, as well as nuclear power stations, all strive to provide
one thing electricity. Very often the electrical distribution in a home is neglected and left up to
the electrician to decide where a light fitting should be placed or a plug point be positioned.
Although his advice is invaluable and his knowledge of the regulations surrounding such
installations necessary, input from the owner is very important.

Good planning and forethought on the number and nature of appliances to be used in the
home becomes important information to the electrician when he sits down to design an efficient
layout of the various circuits that will conduct electricity to appliances. The electrician on the
other hand should not neglect the fact that the needs of the user should be taken into account
wherever possible. A good working relationship with the owner is vital in order to minimise
assumptions which always lead to disappointments later. All electrical appliances convert
electrical energy into useful work. Proper distribution planning will ensure that every appliance
is placed and operated correctly in the home

Unit used as the measure of electrical pressure Symbol - V Analogous to Kpa pressure in water
pipe. In South Africa the single phase voltage available for domestic use is 220 Volts (Between
neutral and a phase). Normally appliances sold on the market are manufactured to operate at
this voltage. Sometimes appliances have settings for various different voltage operations for
use in other parts of the world make sure that the setting is suitably adjusted for this country.
Unit used as the measure of electrical rate of flow. Symbol A. Analogous to litres per minute
in a water system.Each and every appliance connected to an electricity supply system will draw
a certain amount of current in Amps when in operation. A toaster makes use of this current flow
through a filament to generate heat in order to brown the toast. The light bulb is similar except
that the heat generated is so high that light energy is given off.
Unit which shows the current drain of consumption of an appliance connected to a circuit.
Symbol W. Most appliances are rated in Watts. It is a very useful unit to determine the size
and rating of a conductor for a particular appliance. A variation of the Watt is the Watt-hour and
this unit shows the electrical consumption over a fixed period, in this case 1 hour. The electrical
supply utility (In South Africa, Escom) makes use of this unit to charge for the use of electrical
A circuit may be described as a conductor (Copper wire) connected in such a way that
electrical energy is allowed to flow through it. In household wiring there are normally two
conductors that make up a circuit,one will be the live conductor and the other the neutral. Very
often they will be colour coded to make identification of the type of circuit and conductor easy. A
third conductor (normally a non insulated copper wire) is provided for an earth return, this is a
safety feature should the insulation or proper connection of live conductors fail.
A Safety device which breaks the flow of electricity whenever a circuit is overloaded. Modern
installations do not use fuses as safety devices any more, although in older installations they
may still be seen. Each circuit will have a current rating. Should that current rating be
exceeded, it becomes dangerous and may cause a fire, injury or even death. To prevent this, a
fuse is placed in line with this circuit, always on the source side, and breaks the flow of
electricity by overheating and melting. A fuse is chosen with a rating always slightly less than
the maximum current rating of a circuit. Fuse wire is still readily available and is rated in Amps.
More commonly, fuses will be found in some electrical and many electronic appliances to
protect them from possible internal faults that may occur and cause large current flows that
result in serious damage.
This is a device for breaking the flow of current. Switches come in various shapes and sizes

but all operate on the same principle.An important factor when choosing a switch is its rating. A
reputable manufacturer will always indicate the operating voltage and current rating. For
instance, a light switch must not be used as a stove isolation switch, simply because the rating
of the light switch will be too low for the stove current drain, causing it to overheat and fail.
Circuit breaker
Performs the same function as a fuse, but needs only to be reset, not replaced. These have
now replaced the traditional fuses, and are chosen and connected into a circuit in exactly the
same way. They are also known as contact breakers or trip switches.When the current flow in a
circuit exceeds the rating of the breaker it will simply trip, cutting off the electricity supply to that
circuit, protecting it from damage. Once the fault has been cleared, the circuit breaker is reset,
thus restoring the supply. They are located in the distribution box of the house and also in the
utility supply meter box. Every breaker should be clearly marked in order for faulty circuits to be
easily identified and isolated.
Earth leakage unit
This device is able to detect small imbalances between the earth conductors and the supply,
indicating leakage of electricity down to earth. A small test button is provided and should be
used to test the unit periodically. It is a vital safety feature for any installation and should be
Distribution box
Where the electrical supply is distributed from within the building. It usually houses all the
contact breakers, earth leakage unit and may house items such as a door bell transformer and
timers. Various sizes of distribution boxes are found, the main distribution box being in the
house, and smaller boxes, together with contact breakers and possibly earth leakage units, at
other points, such as swimming pool pumps, motors of gates and outbuildings.
A device may be used to switch the electrical supply on and off at predetermined times over a
24 hour period. The better known timer is the pool pump timer set at certain intervals to switch
the pump on and off, filtering the water at regular intervals. This useful service alleviates the
task of doing it manually and keeps it consistent.
If a voltage other than the mains voltage (220 Volts) is needed to supply electricity to an
appliance, a transformer is necessary to step this voltage up or down. Low voltage lighting, as
its name suggests, needs 12 Volts in order to operate safely and correctly; a transformer may
be used to step the mains down to this level. A door bell transformer works on exactly the same
principle. On the other hand, industry sometimes needs higher voltages than can be supplied
by the Utility and uses transformers to step up to the required level.
AC, is the abbreviation for alternating current and DC for direct current. AC is the type of
electricity supplied by the electricity supply utility to our industry and homes. DC is the type of
electricity that would be supplied by a battery or an appliance such as a car battery charger
where the voltage and current are constant. All the appliances found in our homes that operate
on the mains supply are designed to work with AC. Some appliances however need batteries,
such as portable radios: these work on DC.
Single/Three phase
Single phase denotes an electrical system or apparatus that has or uses only one alternating
voltage. A polyphase system has more than one alternating voltage and three phase is a
common system seen in larger domestic and industrial installations. Three phase being three
alternating voltages displaced in phases relative to one another. If it is known that large loads
are going to be required from an electrical source, for example a large house may need three
250 litre geysers apart from all the other appliances, a three phase installation will allow the
various circuits to be shared between the phase, making it more efficient. For the average size

dwelling however,a single phase installation is usually more than adequate.Your electrician will
be able to advise you on the correct system for your needs. Bear in mind that there is a limit to
the amount of current that is supplied to each user, this varies from area to area and the
electrical supply utility or your electrician will be able to advise you.
The electricity meter is a very sensitive device that measures consumption in units of 1000
watts per hour and is expressed in kilowatt-hours. In modern installations,it will be located in a
weather-proof housing just outside the yard and will more than likely have a peep hole so that
the meter reader can take readings without having to open it. Older installations have been
mounted on the same board that houses the contact breakers and/or fuses inside the building.
This device makes it possible for the electricity supply utility to charge for the amount of
electricity used over a period of time. The more electricity used, the more units indicated by the
meter. The rate per unit will be multiplied by the total number of units for the period
measured,giving a total value for the amount consumed.
Relay unit
In an effort to save energy, it has become common practice for many municipal supply utilities
to install in residences a relay unit that is remotely controlled to switch off the geyser during a
period when there is little or no demand. This has little effect on the individual household since
the off time is relatively short but cumulatively, a sizable saving is achieved. The location
requirements for these units does vary from area to area and where required must be installed.



The harmony of light
Light is one of those essentials one tends to take for granted in the home environment and yet
without it, life after sunset would literally come to a standstill. It is an integral part of ones
lifestyle and with modern technology and design, has come to mean so much more than a
simple globe. With light one can create atmosphere and moods, extend space and change the
shape of rooms. One can create colour and highlight areas of focus. If one designs light
sources to interact, the possibilities are almost endless and an environment can be created
which offers both the appeal of harmony and the practical benefits of light where it is most
Choosing the right light sources for ones home requires much forethought and analysis of one
s real needs.
It also requires knowledge of lighting options available today. The House of Illumination
outlines a practical run down on the basic techniques of lighting.
Downlighters and Wall-washers
Downlighters and eyeballs can be surface mounted or recessed into the ceiling. They give a
direct light, which is also totally adjustable.
Track Spot &Tube Lighting
The ceiling light track and tube-light are recognised as being flexible as a system with many
different uses. A good suggestion is to mix 220-volt spotlights with fluorescent tubes and
hologen lighting which can be angled in different directions. Such a alighting system would be

particularly effective in a room which has one centre point housed in a existing concrete ceiling.
Uplighters,Wall-lights &Pendants
Two of the greatest advantages of uplighters is that one can use a wide variety of different
reflectors along with a specific lamp to create pools of light exactly as required. Wall lights and
pendants are still a popular choice in the home environment as they fit in perfectly with a
myriad of interior designs.
Table & Standing Lamps
Both table and standing lamps are particularly great tools when it comes to creating soft
ambient lighting in the home. They can be positioned anywhere a soft focussed light is needed,
and are as much an aspect of interior design as they are practical sources of light.
Dimming Mechanisms
Dimming is a popular device with many lighting systems but there are a few essential facts one
should know: Dimming of incandescent lighting is possible by using a standard dimmer, for
example, 600-watt or up to 1000 watt. If one wants to include dimming controls on a low
voltage system, be aware that this is not an easy feature to install. It is essential that fully
comprehensive dimming controls are used along with the correct transformer. When using a
torodial fused transformer, one can apply a standard dimmer.
Ceiling Lighting
If one decides to install lighting into concrete, it is important to remember that the light will
generate heat and enough space must be created to allow sufficient circulation of air around
the light. Specially designed sleeves or boxes can be installed to keep the transformer 200mm
away from the actual fitting. Before plastering, a plate can be installed which will accommodate
the light at a later stage.
A few Pointers:
When lighting up a room, be careful to not create hard shadows, which will disturb the harmony
and overall effect of a room. Play a little for example, spotlights trained on a painting or even
a vase of flowers produce an interesting three-dimensional effect. Decorative lights contribute
towards creating a an overall harmonious look with the interior design. Be careful of glare this
is particularly important when planning the lighting for an indoor work area. Lighting designs
should become lighting schemes rather than a row of individual lights. Create an interacting
luminaire system for the best results.
As a rule, choose clear light for work, relaxing light for the home and direct beams for
highlighting. A home shouldn t end t the patio door extend living areas by introducing several
light sources in the garden. Energy saving should always be a consideration when planning
your lighting requirements.

Lighting in a home need not be stark and with new technology in lighting constantly being
developed, lighting has become an art, and an integral part of interior design. One can create
space with light in the way in which it is distributed. The first observation that can be made
about light is that it comes from somewhere.
Visible light has a source - directional orientation. How can that direction be established? It is
not always easy to do so, as all light angles are different. The simplest way is to look for the
cast shadows, for example - if light is from the right, the cast shadow will be towards the left, if
from the bottom, it will show shadows upward.
As light leaves its source and travels through space, it decreases in intensity and an illusion of
space can be created with different intensities and angles. Colour and light should work hand in
hand to create the right atmosphere. Colours can also be graded in shades of light and dark

and therefore one has to know a rooms colour scheme before the lighting is designed. Lighting
has become an artistic medium and one can learn to paint with illumination using various
techniques to add depth, dimension and even drama. Ones home should be a haven, where
one can feel safe, relaxed and at ease, keeping in mind that entertaining usually becomes an
integral part of ones home lifestyle. Table lamps, for instance, can perform a valuable function
if they are selected and placed with care. A light fixture with a translucent shade works best as
a decorative source of illumination. Low voltages create little islands of light, which draw people
to seating areas and add a comforting human scale to a room. Up-lights are another source of
illumination for rooms that need visual texture. An up-light placed behind a tall leafy plant will
cast interesting shadows on the wall and ceiling for a romantic effect.
There are three elements that should be taken into account when lighting a room: art,
architecture and people.

Accent-lighting, used to focus on a piece of art or an architectural element requires at

least three times as much light on the focal point, as the general lighting.

Task-lighting illuminates a certain area, enabling one to perform specific tasks such as
sewing or reading. Care should be taken in task lighting to not position the light source
directly overhead, as this will cause a glare on the surface - this glare is known as
veiling reflection.

Ambient-lighting provides areas with overall illumination, enabling one to see and
work without eye-strain.

There is no single feature that can perform all the required lighting functions. Backlighting a translucent screen is another way of creating ambient light in a room.
Lighting in a skylight keeps the skylight from becoming a black hole at night. Dont let
visually powerful lighting cause other aspects of the design to suffer loss of impact,
unless the lighting is to be the central focus.

Kitchens have become the new centers for entertaining. The impact of lighting in the kitchen
should be as inviting as the rest of the house, instead of stark and brightly lit. By fitting
controllable lighting levels, one can change the mood of the kitchen for working in or to carry on
a soft, relaxed theme in line with the rest of the house.
Entrance foyer
An entrance to a home is often restricted in space, but with lighting and related design
techniques, the space can be subtly transformed into a warm, welcoming area. A home is often
judged by what is seen and felt at the entry. This makes it doubly important to set just the right
mood and tone, which suits both the character of the people living in the home and the design.
Living Room
Lighting in a living room should be as flexible as the rest of the homes components and needs
to be controllable to satisfy a variety of needs. When lighting a living room, one should take into
consideration what activities will mostly take place in the room, such as watching television,
reading, entertaining, etc. The layout of the room and its uses will be a deciding factor in terms
of the type of lighting design techniques used.
Dining Room
Dining rooms have been transformed in a lot of modern homes to multi-use spaces, used not
only for dinner times, but school projects, family meetings, sewing, etc. This lends itself to
adjustable lighting, enabling one to elegantly light the room for a dinner party, whilst effectively
illuminating it for work.

A bedroom is one room where ambient lighting is of foremost importance. Often bedrooms end
up with one light fixture in the middle of the ceiling, lighting only a part of the room and leaving
the rest in shadow. Should bedside lamps be chosen, an optique light is best in a shared
bedroom, as it will illuminate a certain space, instead of casting light throughout the room.
Bedside swivel lamps should be mounted just above shoulder height.
Bathrooms require good illumination. Vanity lights are optimally mounted at eye-level, flanking
the mirror so as to provide the necessary cross illumination. Recessed down-lights may help
reduce glare but arent adequate sources of fill light.
Your home should be where you are the most comfortable. Well-planned lighting offers the
flexibility to change each rooms appearance to complement your lifestyle.


Plumbing involves the installation of pipes and fi ttings for water, gas and sewerage reticulation.
Water is divided into hot and cold and sewerage into waste water and soil water. Plumbing also
includes the installation of rainwater and stormwater systems.
Water supply and sewerage are two important aspects of plumbing, which play a very
important role in the built environment and society as a whole. Plumbing is therefore one of the
more regulated trades in the building industry, where only a registered licensed plumber can
undertake plumbing work.
The aim of this section is to provide technical information as a guide, and basic product
knowledge to enable the reader to compile a specifcation and an accurate cost estimate of
what a specific plumbing point or installation should cost.

Here are some day to day examples of plumbing terminology for the domestic market:

supply and fit a bath or basin point. (This means to supply all materials and labour to
bring the necessary water to the point where the bath or basin are to be installed but
excludes the bath or basin)

supply and fit 110mm main drain. (To supply the piping and couplers, dig a trench to
lay the pipe in, and lay the pipe to the building inspectors satisfaction.)

install a geyser only. (Fit a geyser, connect the piping to it and check for leaks. This
would exclude the costs of a geyser and pressure valve as well as the electrical

supply and fit a geyser. (This would include the supply and installation of the geyser
and related items to a stage where the geyser would be deemed operational)


Plumbing specifications and regulations are probably the most complex and certainly contain

volumes of information. Under this section we have included regulations of a general nature.
The SABS 0400 1990 document is comprehensive and a copy is essential for those who
require more detail on specifications and building regulations. It is wise to always check
specifications with local authorities before designing and certainly before construction. Some
regulations vary from authority to authority.
Extract from a banks minimum requirements
Gutters and downpipes
Gutters, downpipes and rainwater goods shall comply with SABS specifications and fixed in
accordance with the manufacturers specifications.
All rainwater to be discharged away from the walls below the DPC level.
Where gutters and downpipes are omitted, a concrete apron of at least 1 metre wide (this is to
be approved on site) must be cast around the buildings to discharge water away from the
Valleys, box gutters and soakers shall be of an approved material, size and design and fixed in
accordance with the SABS specifications.
Flashing shall be an approved and of durable material and fixed in accordance with the
manufacturers specifications.
Water supply
The water supply system shall be in accordance with the Local Authority requirements.
At least one stand pipe shall be erected in a suitable position and all materials and fittings used
shall comply with SABS 509.
Where water is not available from the local authority, water from a borehole for domestic use
must meet with the necessary health requirements.
Borehole water for domestic use shall provide a yield of at least 1500 litres per hour. A valid
test certificate of the water yield must be furnished.
All drainage work to buildings shall be carried out by a registered plumber and drains shall be
accurately laid to lines and gradients shown on the drainage drawings as approved by the local
All drains shall be tested and passed in accordance with the National Building Regulations and
the deemed-to-satisfy rules of part of SABS 0400, before the property may be occupied and
the drains put into use.
Stormwater drainage and seepage water control
Stormwater shall be discharged away from the buildings by means of precast concrete
stormwater channels, surface or underground drains.
Adequate precautions shall be taken to drain surface and seepage water away from buildings.
The necessary precautions are also to be taken to prevent flooding and damage of buildings in
terms of the local authority and the banks requirements.
The bank reserves the right to call for stormwater drainage plans designed by a professional
engineer and such work is to be carried out in strict accordance with the professional

engineers specifications.
Septic and conservancy tanks
Septic and conservancy tanks shall be designed and constructed in accordance with deemedto-satisfy rules of part P of SABS 0400.
French drains and soakage pits
Any french drain to be used on a site to receive effluent shall be designed and constructed in
accordance with deemed-to-satisfy rules of part P of SABS 0400.
Drainage clearance certificate
The bank may request that a drainage clearance certificate be furnished for any type of drain.
Extract from SABS 0400-1990
Plumbing installation drawings and particulars
Where such details on more than one floor of any building are identical, they may be indicated
on the drawings of one such floor only; provided that where such details are so indicated, the
drawings of other floors concerned shall be suitably annotated to indicate where such details
may be found.
Any drawing of a fire installation shall contain as many plans, sections and elevations as may
be necessary to show, where relevant, the following:

the location and size of any existing or proposed communication pipe serving or
intending to serve any building or site;

the location of any pipe, the size of such pipe and the material of which it is

the location and capacity of any storage tank;

the location of any overflow;

the location of any pump; and

the pressure for which the installation has been designed.

Any drawing of a drainage installation shall contain as many plans, sections and elevations as
may be necessary to show, where relevant, the following:

the location, size and gradient of any drain and any connection point to such drain, in
relation to a datum established on the site and the level of the ground relative thereto;

the location of any point of access to the interior of the drain;

the location of any trapped gully;

the location and details of any septic tank, conservancy tank, private sewage
treatment plant or sewage pump;

the location of any percolation test hole excavated on the site and of any french drain;

the location and arrangement of any sanitary fixture served by the drainage

the location and size of any soil pipe, waste pipe and ventilating pipe or device;

Control of plumber and plumbing work

No person shall perform the trade of plumbing as contemplated in government notice no. r1875
of 31 august 1979 unless he is a trained plumber or works under the adequate control of a
trained plumber or approved competent person.
Where any person who is not a trained plumber has been practicing the trade of plumbing and
was required in terms of any local authority by-law to register with it before so practicing in its
area of jurisdiction, he may, if he is registered, continue in its area or the area of any other local
authority if such registration is acceptable to such other local authority.
No local authority shall, for the purposes of these regulations, register any person to practice
the trade of plumbing after the coming into operation of the Act.
Any person not being a trained plumber or not being a person contemplated in subregulation
(2), who practices the trade of plumbing shall be guilty of an offence.
Any trained plumber who causes or permits any person who is not a trained plumber or not a
person contemplated in subregulation (2), to practice the trade of plumbing without adequately
controlling the work done by such person, shall be guilty of an offence.
Sanitary facilities
No owner or person shall commence or continue the erection or demolition of any building
unless approved sanitary facilities for all personnel employed on or in connection with such
work have been provided or are available on the site or, with the permission of the local
authority, at some other place; provided that where such facilities have not been so provided
the local authority may order the cessation of such work until the required facilities have been
provided, and, should such order not be complied with, the local authority may install such
facilities and recover the costs of such installation from the owner of the site.
Any owner or person who contravenes any provision of this regulation, or fails to comply with
an order served on him in terms thereof, shall be guilty of an offence.
Sanitary facilities shall be so sited as not to be offensive and shall at all times be maintained in
a clean and hygienic condition, and shall, unless they are of a permanent nature, be removed
by such owner or person immediately until such building work has been completed.
Sanitary facilities shall be provided at the rate of not less than one sanitary facility for every
thirty (or part of that number) of the personnel concerned.
Provision of sanitary fixtures
The number of sanitary fixtures to be provided in any building shall be based on the population
for which such building is designed, provided that:

where any particular occupancy, separate sanitary facilities are provided for each sex,
the number of sanitary fixtures installed for them shall be based on the population of
that particular sex for which such facilities are intended, and if the number of persons
of each sex cannot be determined it shall be assumed that they are in equal

where fixtures are to be situated in separate groups, the numbers of fixtures in any
group shall be based on the calculation of that portion of the total population for which
the group is intended;

any building for which the population cannot be determined shall, where such building

contains one or more habitable rooms, be provided with at least 1 wc pan and 1
The minimum number of sanitary fittings to be provided in any building shall:

be situated in places which are convenient of access; and

where necessary shall be designated for the use of males or females or both;
provided that any room containing fixtures designated for the use of both sexes shall
be capable of being locked from inside.

Stormwater disposal
Any means of stormwater disposal on any site shall include:

In the case of any building on such site, roof valleys and gutters and downpipes or,
where gutters and downpipes have not been provided, other means of ensuring that
stormwater from any roof is controlled and will flow away from such building; and

Any surface stormwater drains, channels or below- ground stormwater drains that
may be necessary to convey stormwater away from such site or from one part to
another part of such site.

Access to Stormwater drains

On any stormwater drain ready means of access shall be installed at such intervals that no part
of such drain, measured along the line of such drain, is more than 40m from such means of
Connection to stormwater sewer
Where any stormwater sewer is available in any street or servitude abutting any site to be
provided with stormwater drainage, the owner of such site shall, if so required by the local
authority, at his own cost, install one or more stormwater drains to be connected by the local
authority to such stormwater sewer.
Use of street surface drainage system
Where the local authority considers the capacity of any street surface drainage system to be
adequate to accept the discharge of stormwater from any site, it may permit such stormwater to
be so discharged; provided that the owner of such site shall, where so required by the local
authority, at his own cost provide one or more conduits to convey such stormwater to such
street drainage system.


The product list of sanitaryware and fittings is so large, the more basic, everyday products have
been listed. The following table will give a clear indication of sizes. There is a wide variety of
local and imported items, which can be viewed in showrooms throughout the country.
Extensive product catalogues can be obtained from manufacturers and importers.
Planning a bathroom
It is easier to rectify problems on paper whilst still in the planning phase. Try to visualise the
space available and think your bathroom through. The bathroom layout should attend to
specific needs and purposes.
Things to focus on:

Find a focal point bath, shower, vanity, etc.

If you have a large window, place the bath underneath in order to present a smart
picture when you window dressing is done. It is also charming and relaxing to look
into a garden after a tough day at work. A bathroom could be made luxurious by
adding a spa bath.

In a small bathroom, the shower is the most expensive item in the room show it off

Hide the toilet. If your bathroom space allows for it put this sensitive item behind a
door. The more private, the better.

Add screening walls vanity height or the ceiling to add dimensions to the space

The various items bath, shower vanity, should flow together. Try to avoid putting
each item in a corner.

The main bathroom should have a double vanity, if space allows, as well as a bidet. If
space only allows for a shower, special touches can be added, for example, a few
side jets, two shower arms and roses and a shower rail in order to adjust the height of
the shower rose.

If the second bathroom has to cater for more than one person, try to attend to their
needs for example, separate packing space in which each person can keep their

Create a space for laundry. Add a couple of hooks to hang wet/used towels, or robes.
Create space for extra towels various bathroom accessories are freely available.
Allow for a good size mirror above the basin.

It does not matter how minor, but try to follow one chosen theme throughout the
bathroom for example, ensure that the tap colour combination is the same as that
for bathroom accessories. Use the same tap range throughout the house. If the vanity
has frosted glass panel, used matching frosted glass on the shower door.

If you are building a house with resale value in mind, have a subtle scheme that is not too
specific. Remember that it is generally the bathroom and kitchen that sells a house.
Trends vary from time to time, but basic things like white sanitaryware, chrome taps and
accessories and subtle tile colours will always be acceptable.
Local SA Bath Installation Procedures
Over 95% of South African Houses have concrete floors. A sand and cement bed (mortar bed)
is used to install the bath and shower tray.
The recommended ratio mix of sand and cement is 5:1 (five parts sand to one part cement).
Make sure that the area around the waste is free of all materials so the waste fittings can be
Decide on the baths height. Approximately 150mm higher than the height of the bath, or 3 tiles
high, mark a plumbline on the wall at the height you have decided.
Securely mount the wall battens on the plumbline that has been marked. Make sure that the
plumbing is ready for the next step
Mix the mortarbed, using 3 spaced brick bed rows, under the baths base, making sure that the

first row is close to the waste.

Connect up the plumbing

Fill the bath half way with water and allow the mortarbed to set

Brick and plaster up the front and end of the bath

Tile up the required area

Using a mildew resistant silicone, seal the area between the top edge of the bath and

Clean bath and check for scratches

Small scratches may be removed by using a metal polish, e.g. Brasso.

Deeper scratches may be removed by using 1200 grade water paper and polished up
with a metal polish (rubbing compound).

It should be noted that many companies sell fibreglass baths as acrylic baths. This can be very
misleading, as the quality of acrylic is far superior. Always remember to state acrylic bath and
differentiate acrylic from fibreglass baths.
Fibreglass baths are made out of fibreglass with a thin (1mm) coat surface.
Acrylic baths are made using a 5mm acrylic shell, which is heavily reinforced with fibreglass.
Therefore, one actually has two baths, one of acrylic and the second of fibreglass, which are
then bonded together.
Acrylic is a far superior material for the production of sanitaryware and is accepted throughout
the world as the most popular type of bath installed in homes.

With the valve correctly installed into the plumbing system (400kPa), no terminal fittings are
opened and the system is filled with water and the pressure control valve is in the closed
position. When a terminal fitting is opened on the outlet side, the downstream of the pressure
control valve can fill a bath or a washing machine.
The water pressure drops on the outlet side (A2) causing a pressure drop under the
diaphragm. The regulating spring defeats the lower pressure and forces the valve to open,
allowing water to flow through the regulating seat, regulating the income mains from 700kPa to
300kPa while the water flows through the valve.
When the terminal fitting is closed the water pressure under the diaphragm builds up forcing
the regulating spring back and the regulating seat shuts off.
A pressure control valve basically uses two components to operate, they are:
The big, regulating spring to open the valve and to regulate the pressure through the valve.
The diaphragm to close the valve.

Pressure relief valve

What is the purpose?
To protect the hot water cylinder from over pressurising when water is heated. SABS
specification 198-1992 operating pressures between 380 to 400kPa (400kPa system).
What is their application to hot water cylinders?
When cold water is heated it expands. When water expands in a concealed container, it
creates pressure. When this pressure rises above the working rate of the hot water cylinder =
400kPa the pressure relief valve will open to discharge the excessive pressure. When the
pressure inside the cylinder drops to below 400kPa the valve will close automatically.
This whole process is controlled by the thermostat that regulates the electric power to the
element by switching on at low temperature and off when the water reaches the set
How does it work?
The incoming water mains are regulated by the pressure control valve in 400kPa system at
300kPa. This is the set pressure of the pressure control valve for a 400kPa hot water cylinder
system. The pressure relief valve is set at 400kPa allowing a pressure gap of 100kPa between
the set pressure of the pressure control valve (300kPa) and set pressure of the relief valve.
When the pressure inside the hot water cylinder rises, due to the heating process, the relief
valve will open up when the pressure reaches 400kPa.
The expanded water is allowed to discharge to atmosphere preventing the water pressure from
exceeding the system pressure.
A pressure relief valve must always be installed between the pressure control valve and the hot
water cylinder. No non-return or stop valve must be installed between the hot water cylinder
and pressure relief valve.
What does a pressure relief valve consist of?
The pressure relief valve consists of a forged DZR brass body with a stainless steel seat and a
regulating spring with a seat washer combined into a cartridge. In the case of the pressure
relief valve, the seat washer acts as the diaphragm that closes the valve. The Kwikhot pressure
relief valve also incorporates a flushing mechanism for easy maintenance and a stainless steel
seat for long life.
Vacuum relief valve (vacuum breakers)
What is the purpose?
To access air into the plumbing system when the water pressure drops below atmospheric
temperature. SABS specification 198-1992 flowrate of 100 standard litres a minute. The
vacuum does not exceed 9.0kPa negative.
What is their application to hot water cylinder installations?
Cold side
A vacuum relief valve must always be fitted on a proper anti-siphon loop between the pressure
control valve and the hot water cylinder. It will prevent back-flow (siphonage) from the hot water
cylinder, when the inlet pressure drops below hot water cylinder pressure. By access air into
the system, the siphon could break, which:

Could drop the water level partly in the cylinder to the level of hot water cylinder inlet
exposing the element and thermostat. This will cause the element to burn out,

because the element and thermostat are not immersed in the water.

Could drop the water level partly in the cylinder leaving the T&P valves (safety) probe
not immersed in the water, which could cause a potential dangerous situation as the
T&P valve will lag to open under extreme temperatures if the thermostat goes faulty.
this could cause a flash steam explosion.

Cause hot water to backflow and come out of the cold water fittings plumbed
upstream of the hot water cylinder. This could result in scalding water users at cold

It sill prevent siphonage from hand showers lying in baths and washing machines,
which could contaminate drinking water

Hot Side

It could prevent cylinder implosion when the pressure drops below atmospheric, eg,
the draw off of water exceeds the supply and by draining a cylinder.

Prevents inter floor siphonage, where the geyser is serving more than one floor

Pressure control valve

Pressure reducing valves are of the pressure balanced type, which means that the set
pressure (outlet) is unaffected by changes in the supply pressure (inlet). The set pressure to
the hot water cylinder will remain constant.
Pressure control valve to be plumbed with the arrow on the body in the direction of water flow
Pressure control valve must be of the same pressure rating as the hot water cylinder.
100kPa hot water cylinder = 100kPa pressure control valve (label colour blue)
200kPa hot water cylinder = 200kPa pressure control valve (label colour black)
400kPa hot water cylinder = 400kPa pressure control valve (label colour red)
600kPa hot water cylinder = 600kPa pressure control valve (label colour green)
Distance between the pressure control valve and hot water cylinder pipe length:
100kPa system = 1m
200kPa system = 3m
400kPa system = 15m
600kPa system = 30m
Expansion relief valve
Expansion relief valve drain to be plumbed to a suitable visible place of discharge, not to be a
potential nuisance and not into drip tray
Not to be interconnected with the safety valve, drain pipe
Must be piped at a decline
Must be protected against frost
Normal expansion is + 1,5% of volume of water heated
Safety valve
Safety valve drain pipe to be plumbed to a suitable place of discharge
Safety valve drain pipe never to be interconnected with expansion relief valve drainpipe
Safety valve drain pipe never to be plumbed into pvc sever or waste pipes
Safety valve drain pipe always to be metallic and

a minimum diameter of 20mm. Never use polypropylene or any other plastic pipe.
Vacuum breaker
To prevent hot water cylinders from collapsing and syphonage, vacuum breakers must be fitted
on inlet and outlet of a hot water cylinder. At a minimum of 300mm higher than the top of the
hot water cylinder.
The connection for cold water supply to the geyser also allows for the hot water cylinder to be
Drip Tray
SABS specification 151 and SABS 0254, code of conduct call for the use of a drip tray. Kwikot
highly recommend the installation thereof. All valves to be installed above drip tray.
General Requirements
all pipes must be flushed before commissioning of the system
all valves and terminal fittings to be removed prior to flushing
an inline strainer is to be fitted, where water quality cannot be guaranteed. The strainer
cartridge should be removed before the pipes are flushed
do not install a stopcock or non-return valve between the hot water cylinder and the pressurereducing valve.
Do not install a stopcock or non-return valve between the hot water cylinder and the vacuum
breaker on the hot or cold side.
All valves must be plumbed in a serviceable position. Allow a minimum clearance of 100mm for
removal of parts

Ceilings & Partitioning


From magnificently painted ceilings in some churches, pressed metal ceilings, plastered and
moulded ceilings to very plain board. Ceilings can be works of art or form an integral and
structural component in a building. Suspended ceilings in modern offices are not only
aesthetically pleasing but form a cover to ducting and wiring with easy access.
Building Regulations and Minimum Specifications
Building regulations are straight forward with regard to ceilings. One must consult SABS
regulations and professional help when ceiling specifications call for fire proofing.
Room heights (extract from SABS 0400-1990)
The height of any room or space contemplated in the table below shall not be less than that
prescribed for such room or space and shall be the vertical dimension from the top of the
finished floor to:
1. the underside of the ceiling;
2. the underside of the roof covering where there is no ceiling;
3. the underside of any structural members where such structural members project below such
a ceiling or a roof covering and the plan area of such projections exceed 30% of the plan area
of the room.
Notwithstanding the requirements contained in the table below, where any structural member

projects below the level of the ceiling or, where there is no ceiling below the level of the roof
covering, the height to such projection shall not be less than 2.1m. Ceilings shall be of an
approved material, fixed in an acceptable manner. Where applicable, cornices shall be of a
suitable material, neatly fixed in long lengths. At least one trap door of minimum size 600 x
600mm shall be provided and ceiling heights shall comply with the National Building

Nutec ceiling boards are manufactured from a combination of Portland cement, silica and
organic fibres and do not contain any asbestos fibres. These materials have considerable
strength in their own right and will not deteriorate with age. Nutec plain and textured ceiling
boards are extensively used as nail-up ceilings and as an all purpose building board for other
interior and exterior applications. Not only are these products ideal for general use indoors, but
because these products are not affected by moisture and are therefore ideal for use in damp
areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and verandas, as well as for under eaves linings.
Nutec ceiling boards are non-combustible and will therefore inhibit the spread of fire. They
provide perfect protection gainst flying sparks.
The material will not rot and cannot be damaged by termites and rodents. Nutec ceiling boards
are supplied in their natural colour and will accept all water based paints without pre-treatment.
For soffit applications in areas where high wind pressure prevails, the supplier should be
consulted for particular fixing and framing conditions.
All plain ceiling boards are manufactured and tested in accordance with SABS 803-1995.

Rhinowall is a system designed for internal residential walling applications; it has been tested
by SABS and conforms to the requirements of the building code. Rhinowall can be described
as a lightweight fast track walling system, which ideally fits the requirements of builders in this
rushed world.
Your family's safety is of prime importance when choosing a building product for your home,
after all your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make so you need to be
sure that the components are approved and will give your family the protection they need.
Destruction by fire is one of the most common problems in South Africa and million of Rands
are paid out each year by insurance company's for fire related damage. The regulations require
certain levels of resistance and all our Rhinowall systems comply with these requirements. In
fact our standard 15mm Rhinowall will keep fire at bay for a full hour, that's three times more
than the requirement and preferred by firemen when fighting a blaze. The secret is in the
gypsum core, "gypsum does not burn" was a slogan used in all the developed markets where
plasterboard walls are used, we can localise that to "Rhinowall does not burn."
Rhinowall is inert at normal ambient temperatures and is an excellent thermal insulator, by
using Rhinowall the ambient temperature in your home is more constant and your winter
heating requirements far less than normal, you see Rhinowall does not soak up the heat in
your house it merely contains it in the area you want. The reverse is just as valid on a hot
summer's day, so you see Rhinowall provides a comfortable environment in your home.
A further aspect to consider is that you will avoid all the rauma associated wth building
renovations if you use Rhinowall, a Rhinowall house is easily changed with no mess, hassle,
rubble, other damages to frustrate you during construction but what's more important is that it

will be done in less than half the time taken using conventional methods.
Having decided to use Rhinowall who will do the installation, Rhinowall is as easy as pie to
install there is no mystique to it.
Habitat for Humanity SA built 100 houses in one week in Durban using Rhinowall installed by
volunteers from all over the world. That's right volunteers, pensioners, students, housewives,
executives, teachers, and people from all walks of life and background. They used timber
framing which made the system really easy to install using only basic tools viz., hammer and
Your builders carpenter can do the same. Timber framing is common in developed markets, but
in South Africa one always has to compare the cost of timber to that of steel as it will vary on
the proximately to timber sources. Steel framing is comprised of light gauge specially rolled C
sections. Steel framing is easily cut with tin snips and boards re fixed with a special drywall
screwdriver or by a variable speed drill. There is a vast pool of drywall erectors throughout S.A
and many will work on a labour only basis.
Whatever your choice BPB will gladly offer free training to anyone who wants to acquire the
skill. Training video's are also freely available.
Rhinowall is suitable for bathrooms and showers provided the manufacturers specifications and
recommendations are adhered to.
Rhinoboard cut ends should never rest on the floor always 10-15 mm above. Bath and
handbasin splash backs must be sealed with silicon where they abut the board. A full shower
specification is available from BPB Gypsum. Tiles should be of good quality and should be
grouted with waterproof grout.
No problem with Rhinowall heavy articles should be fixed back to the frame studs but other
attachments only need one of the standard fixings readily available from merchants for hollow
Sound transmission is a very complex study but in simple terms more sound penetrates
through gaps between door and frame and through the ceiling of a room than through a wall.
Ceiling insulation is probably the easiest to remedy. Rhinowall offers excellent acoustics even
when no insulation is used in the wall, even so this is still well above the recommendations give
by SABS when Rhinocoust insulation is installed the sound insulation is improved ever further.
Double Brickwall 49dB
Rhinowall Equivalent 51dB
Single Brickwall 44dB
Rhinowall Equivalent 43dB
In addition it is quite feasible to replace the steel stud and track with timber. SABS 082 covers
all the requirements of timber frame construction and steel can be replaced by 76 x 38 timber
Timber framing reduces the level of skill required further and Rhinowall now becomes a simple
extension of your carpenters' work. Timber framing eliminates the need for power and electric
screwguns and Rhinowall becomes a hammer and nail technology, what could be simpler.

Timber prices are however variable depending on areas and proximity to sawmills, always
compare steel stud costs to that of timber before proceeding with your Rhinowall.
Firstly lets take the mystique out drywall, it's a simple system of lightweight walling used
throughout the world many of them DIY-ers. In SA however it is seen as a specialist skill that
commands a high price. The Gypsum Academy, located in Van Lingen Street, Germiston, will
train your bricklayer or carpenter to install Rhinowall at no cost to you. The Gypsum Academys
vision is to create a pool of highly trained BPB Gypsum product professionals to impact on the
professional use of finishing of our products. This training will complement the existing free
step-by-step guide and free step-by-step video available. The course will be registered with
BPB is conscious of the environment and have satisfied the requirements of ISO 14000.
Rhinowall is composed of gypsum (plaster of Paris), paper and steel and combined require
less energy to produce than the equivalent masonry structure. The paper used on Rhinoboard
consists of 100% recycled waste whilst the gypsum is slowly soluble over several years and in
fact gypsum powder is used as a soil condition in many countries including South Africa. The
light gauge steel is recycled as scrap metal.
Overall the waste from Rhinowall is non-hazardous and non toxic and has a neutral pH. The
fact that there is less to disposed of means that it does not fill up our disposal sites as fast.
Rhinowall the choice is yours, but we call a wall by its name RHINOWALL.
When considering the cost comparison between masonry walls and Rhinowall one has to
consider the entire system not just a m2 of wall as there are many hidden costs that can be
reduced by using Rhinowall.

Ironmongery can be described as hardware typically used for the hanging, closing and locking
of doors and the swinging and closing of windows. Ironmongery includes items such as locks,
hinges, and closers, mostly made of mild steel or brass, but also available of aluminium, nylon
and other plastics. Ironmongery is a highly specialised field, which has advanced tremendously
in the last decade and includes items other than the ones described above.

A number of lock cases have varied dimensions in respect of the backset and centres e.g. a
standard upright mortice lock has a backset of 57mm and a narrow stile upright mortice lock
has a backset of 43mm. The actual widths of the casing and striker plate also differ with certain
lock cases.
Dead lock
A lock which is worked from both sides by a key only and typically fitted within the door leaf
thickness (mortice type). It usually has no door knobs and so may need a door pull.
Mortice lock
A lock set in a mortice (within the door leaf thickness) the lock is hidden and the joinery needs

more skill to fi t than that of a rim lock.

Rim lock
A lockable Rim latch usually opened by a key from the outside and by a knob from the inside;
which was commonly referred to as a Yale lock in the 70s and 80s (Yale was then the actual
manufacturer of this type of lock).
Rim latch
A door latch which is fixed to the surface of a door leaf (surface mounted) on the edge of the
shutting stile, with a matching casing on the door jamb to encase the latch.
A lock with a cylinder which can be turned once the right key is inserted in a slot, raising pin
tumblers or disc tumblers to the right height. The cam in the centre then turns and releases the
bolt of the locking case (opening the lock).
Lever lock
Could be described as the traditional mortice lock to which many refer to as a 2 lever or 3 lever
lock. The key must move several levers to release the bolt when it is shot or withdrawn e.g. a 3
lever lock will have 3 levers to move.
The term Lockset indicates a combination of a lock (and cylinder where appropriate) and a pair
of lever handles.
Rebate Set Kits
Locks fitted to double leaf doors with rebated meeting stiles require Rebate Conversion
Sets/Kits. The Figure to the right illustrates the two component parts of a typical Rebate
Conversion Set, namely the striking plate portion which is fitted to the inactive leaf and the
forend strip which is fi tted behind the forend plate of the lock in the active leaf.
Rebate Conversion Sets/Kits typically suit doors with 13mm deep rebated meeting stiles.
Available in the following finishes;
Satin Chrome (SC)
Brass (PL)
Note: Rebate conversion Sets/Kits are not available for many European style lock cases;
therefore doors without rebates should be specified if these types of lock cases are to be used.
Electric locks
Operate typically where the striking plate or latch has a release catch which can be operated
remotely or via a wired button; also operated by key inside and out. Electric locks need to be
hand specifi ed i.e. left or right, open in or out. Most require a 12V or 24V connection via a
transformer. These types of locks are seldom used in residential applications and seen more in
offi ce and commercial type applications.
Padlocks are used to lock other locking devices e.g. pad bolts, especially on security gates,
tool shed doors, etc. Padlocks are available in a number of different sizes and manufactured to
suit specific applications e.g. a pad lock used in a high security application has a more robust
casing and manufactured from high tensile steels with a higher pinning of the actual locking
Pinning of padlock cylinders are usually as follows;
4, 5, 6, 10 and 12 pin

Widths of locks also differ as follows;

30mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 70mm with some locks going up to 90mm
The shackle heights of padlocks differ substantially depending on the width; standard padlocks
have the following typical shackle heights which increase with the width of the lock i.e. the
bigger the lock the higher the shackle.
17mm, 23mm, 27mm, 37mm, and 40mm with extra long shackle varying from 80 to 200mm
Panic locks
These are locks in which the handle or panic device (panic bar) withdraws the latch and
deadbolt simultaneously in a panic situation. These are typically only found in public places or fi
re escapes and can also be classed as emergency locks.
Emergency locks
These are typically used only on exit routes in public places and to doors which usually have
no access and are only there in the case of emergency. They are typically inoperable from the
outside as many emergency exists are directed to the exterior of building or access
corridors/passages. (See Panic locks above).
Security locks
Security locks can be described as locks that are used to prevent illegal entry particularly for
external doors and have lock cases manufactured from thicker material with hardened steel or
composite latches and double throw deadbolts.
Cupboard locks
Are a lot smaller than a typical mortice or rim lock and are fi tted on the inner face of the
cupboard door. They act more as a means of locking the cupboard to prevent unwanted access
rather than for security reasons.
They are available as 1,2 and 3 lever type locks; with lock case sizes of 51mm, 64mm and
76mm and as cylinder type locks with different cylinder lengths. Also available are cam locks
which can be used for cupboard doors but are typically used for drawers.

Hinges can be described as two fl aps joined together by a pin through their knuckles, used for
hanging a door leaf from its frame. The most commonly used hinges in building are butt hinges,
sinkless (nonmortice) hinges, parliament hinges, and back-fl ap hinges, which are symmetrical
and not handed. All other types of hinges are handed, including lift off hinges and rising butt
hinges, for which the hand must be stated. For wide and heavy swing doors other hanging
devices can be used i.e. a pivot hinge.
The normal rule of thumb for the number of (100mm*) butt hinges to use per door is described
below, however, it also depends on the weight of the door e.g. a purpose made solid hardwood
entrance door (813 x 2032mm) would require at least three hinges to swing the door.
Up to 813 x 2032mm- (standard door leaf size) one pair of hinges (2)
Up to 900 x 2500mm- one and a half pairs of hinges (3)
Up to 1000 x 3000mm - two pairs of hinges (4)
*100mm Butt hinges are normally used for hanging doors
Butt hinge
Butt hinges are the most commonly used hinge for doors; when the door is shut the two halves
are folded tightly together. Each flap is usually morticed (counter sunk) one into the door frame
and the other into the hanging stile of the door leaf.
Sinkless hinge

Sinkless hinges can also be referred to as non-mortice or surface fixed (flush) hinges. A
sinkless hinge is a butt hinge which when closed is only as thick as the metal in one of its flaps;
the flaps are cut to fit one inside the other. Sinkless hinges are not recommended for hanging
solid core type doors.
Parliament hinge
A hinge with two lengthened T-shaped fl aps, joined to form an H. The knuckle (the middle of
the cross-bar of the H) projects beyond the face of the closed door or shutter, allowing the door
to clear the architrave or as in steel French doors the brick reveal, and to lie flat against the
wall when opened. Typically used for steel French doors, window and door shutters.
Projection hinge
A Projection hinge is basically a butt hinge with wide flaps and a knuckle that sticks out,
allowing the door to swing open to more than 90. Similar in function to that of a parliament
hinge except a projection hinge is used for heavy duty applications and recommended for
hanging solid doors where the door is required to clear the architrave or the brick reveal
Back-flap hinge
A hinge with wide flaps, screw fixed to the face of a door and frame, usually used on a door too
thin to be carried on butt hinges e.g. chipboard or Supawood doors.
Rising butt hinge
Hinges which cause a door to rise about 10mm as it opens. They have a helical bearing
surface between the two flaps. The door therefore tends to close automatically as well as to
clear a carpet when opening
Door Handles
The following information on door handles is intended to illustrate the types available and the
categories to which they fall under. The product range per category is too vast to cover in this
publication and we suggest you contact one of the suppliers listed in this section for further
Lever handles
The following information on door handles is intended to illustrate the types available and the
categories to which they fall under. The product range per category is too vast to cover in this
publication and we suggest you contact one of the suppliers listed in this section for further
Can be described as a door handle in the shape of a knob, it is more compact than a lever
handle, but more difficult to turn. Knobs are available in the following combinations:

Knob on rose with separate escutcheon

Knob with plate

Knob on backplate

Knob with WC latch

Pull handles
A pull handle is typically used for opening a door fitted with a dead lock or to open a drawer,
kitchen cupboard or BIC door; with the following types of Pull handles available:

Back to back

Bolt through

Face fixed

Finger pulls


Painting & Wallcoatings

The man in the street is often discouraged by poor results in undertaking a do-it-yourself paint
job. The reason is that there is more to painting than just the paint itself.
The quality of paint is critical, there is no such thing as cheap paint. If you have to paint 2 coats
of poor quality paint as opposed to one coat of high quality, your coverage is 50% of the high
quality paint or rather, the price of the poor quality paint is double that of the high quality. The
situation is made worse by the fact that you will also pay double labour.
Do-it-yourself painting can be rewarding if we keep the golden rules of a good pain job in mind.


Selecting the correct paint system
The selection of the correct paint to be used on specific substrate (for example, plaster, wood,
galvanised steel and so forth) is complicated because of the large number and varieties of
coatings available, as well as many different trade names. Before setting out to buy the paint,
bear in mind that a paint system normally consists of a primer, an undercoat and a finishing
Once you have established what substrate you are going to deal with, one can decide on the
type of finishing coat. Depending on the choice of finishing coat, you may need a particular
primer and undercoat.
At this stage you must also give thought to the quality of the paint that you intend buying. It is
better to have a long term point of view rather than buying the cheapest paint available.
Remember, penny wise, pound foolish. Your paint stockist should give you professional
guidance in selecting the right grade of paint. If they can't, dont buy from them.
Correct quantity of paint
Do not waste money by buying too much paint or risk spoiling the job by buying too little. The
first step in estimating the quantity needed is to establish the size of the surface area, for
example, measure the length, width and height of the walls, windows and doors. Calculate the
total area of walls and subtract total area of windows and doors. For a roof, gutter end and
slope must be measured. A correction factor must, however, be introduced for profiled
surfaces, e.g. IBR sheeting and corrugated iron, to allow for the extra area created by the
profile. Usually, an addition of one third of the area is sufficient.
The second step is to establish the practical spreading rate of the paint to be used, taking into

account wastage, variation in surface profile, application technique, absorbency of surface and
so forth. A practical spreading rate can be obtained from your local Paint Stockist.
The third and final step is to calculate the quantity of paint required.
Having determined the area and the practical spread rate, the quantity of paint required will be:
Quantity (litres) = Area m2
Practical spreading rate (ms/l)
Correct application method
We must assure ourselves of the correct method of application in terms of:
1. The application technique and the equipment top be used, for example, brush, roller or
2. The correct drying and overcoating times i.e. the previous coat must be dry before applying
the subsequent coat.
3. The correct environment conditions. One does not apply paint in cold wet weather or paint a
galvanised roof in the heat of the day.
4. Take the necessary precaution steps to minimise the mess and spillage we may unavoidably
make while stripping, cleaning and painting the surface. Locks, door handles and similar fittings
should be removed or masked and refitted when the painting is completed. Also cover carpets,
furniture and fittings which cannot be removed. Drop sheets are heavy duty 3 by 2 metre
plastic protective cover sheets and are ideal for this purpose.
5. Have the correct tools handy for surface preparation (paint scraper, wire brush, putty knife,
sandpaper and so forth), application (brush, roller or spray) and cleaning equipment. Brushes
should be cleaned with a multi-purpose solvent which may be used repeatably ensuring
maximum life for brushes.
6. Paint must be thoroughly stirred before use unless other wise stated. Brushes and rollers
must be of a suitable quality for the specific paint system to be applied.
Equipment must be cleaned with the appropriate cleaner for each type of paint. Where paint is
allowed to age, before finishing, the surface must be prepared by a light sanding followed by
dusting and scrubbing with bristle brushes and cleaner and allowed to dry before overcoating.
Each coat of paint must be allowed to dry and all dirt and other surface contaminants must be
removed before the next coat is applied.

Specialized wall coatings
Specialized wall coatings are suitable for all commercial and residential work. The benefits of
wall coatings include the following:

Products are water-resistant;

Cover all hairline cracks;

Retain their colour over time;

Provide a variety of textures;

Dont peel or fl ake, and

Are suitable for interior and exterior walls and ceilings.

Apart from their decorative good looks, coatings offer the best protection to surfaces due to
their strength, thickness and durability. Coatings are typically applied by trowel or sprayed on
up to 5mm in thickness and come in various textures and in a variety of colours. Coatings can
be applied to any substrate that is smooth and hard. (Trowelled products are covered in
Specialized wall coatings are usually applied by the manufacturer or by an approved applicator.
Cementitious coatings
Cementitious coatings provide a tough, decorative, coloured, waterproof and durable cement fi
nish that slowly weathers and ages; and depending upon the method of application and the
number of coats applied, patchiness, streaking and uneven colouring is achievable over time.
Cementitious coatings are designed to meet the rigorous demands of African conditions. With a
base of Portland cement, they are ultra violet resistant, economical and extremely durable.
Usually supplied in powder form and only requiring the addition of clean water before being
applied with a large block brush.
Recommended for both interior and exterior use and applied in a two coat application, which
can be applied directly to brick, block or plastered walls, in accordance with the manufacturers
instructions. Cementitious coatings also allow flexibility in texture, from smooth to course
depending upon the mix used. Surfaces should be clean, hard and dry at time of application.


Glass is a wonder product used extensively in many industries today without even a thought to
how it is made and its many uses and applications. Glass has developed from merely glazing
windows or repairing broken panes to becoming a very practical and safe product as well as
considerably improving the aesthetics of a building. Glass is now used in skylights,
balustrades, glass doors, shop fronts, glass bricks and squash courts to mention but a few.
To many, glass has often been perceived as a dangerous product,and if it is used or handled
incorrectly, it can very well be. However, the large range of glass products available today
include toughened glass and bullet proof glass used for safety purposes in areas that require
visibility and safety such as banks, oven doors, fire walls, ballustrades and roofs.
The amazing properties of glass lend it to many applications. It can withstand heat and cold,
pressure, extensive wear and tear and is waterproof. It is also available in a wide variety of
colours and finishes.

The following are AAAMSA/SAGGA recommendations for the application of safety glazing
materials in balustrading. It is recommended that any balustrade design is confirmed through
testing, or is checked by a structural engineer having the appropriate Professional Indemnity
Insurance for compliance with the structural requirements of SABS 0160. A balustrade
guarding the edge of any balcony, bridge, flat roof or similar place more than 1 m above the
adjacent ground or floor level shall be not less than 1 m in height and shall not have any
opening that permits the passage of a 1OOmm diameter ball. These requirements also apply to
any interior balcony or any mezzanine floor (SABS 0400 -1990 Part D). Balustrading guarding

a swimming pool or swimming bath shall not be less than 1,2m high measured from the ground
level, and shall not contain any opening which will permit the passage of a 100mm diameter
ball. (SABS 0400 -1990 Part D). Glass in balustrading is often applied having two edge

Glass is a solid material giving total through-vision. When other materials such as metal,
solidify, they become crystalline, whereas glass (a super cool liquid) is non crystalline. A solid
that is transparent!


Glass is made by mixing raw materials such as sand, limestone, soda, dolomite, felspar and
saltcake then heating them together at a temperature of over 1500oC. When the materials are
melted, they form a viscous liquid called the quiescent melt. As this melt cools, the viscosity
increases until the glass becomes hard. If the liquid cools too quickly, the glass does not have
time to release stresses. This process is done by heat treatment and is called annealing.
Silica sand is the main raw material in glass, but very high temperatures are needed to melt it.
By adding soda ash, a fluxing agent, the glass can be melted at a lower temperature, but the
result is water glass which is soluble in water. Limestone, a stabiliser, is thus added to the silica
and soda ash. Cullet (scrap glass) is also added to assist the melting process.


The float process of glass manufacture was developed by the Pilkington Glass Group
(England) in 1959. There are currently over 60 float glass plants operating around the world,
some under licence. In the float process, a continuous ribbon of molten glass moves out of a
melting furnace (1 500oC) and floats along the surface of a bath of molten tin.
The ribbon is cooled down while still advancing across the molten tin until the surfaces are hard
enough for it to progress through the annealing lehr without the rollers marking its bottom
surface. The glass produced has a uniform thickness and bright fire polished surface, without
the need for further grinding and polishing.


Float Glass (also known as annealed or raw glass)
This is the finished product as it comes off the float line. It has a bright, fire-polished surface
and is optically virtually distortion free. It is relatively brittle and will break when subjected to a
severe blow or load. Float glass break is undesirable - slivers of large pieces may cause injury.
Laminated Glass
Consists of two or more pieces of float glass, firmly united and alternately one or more
interlayers of either liquid resin or polyvinyl butyral. Will crack under impact, but the fracture
does not cause the glass to separate from the interlayer, therefore will not cause severe injury.
Toughened Glass
Normal float glass which has been converted into structural glass by a process of heating and
rapid cooling. Process produces a glass 4-5 times stronger than normal float glass of same
thickness. Toughened glass (the strongest type of glass available) is more resistant to impact
and thermal shock than annealed glass. Fragments are harmless, as they disintegrate into
small pieces with blunt edges.

Wired Glass
Incorporation of metal fabric in wired glass. Two ribbons of glass converge and meet with a
wire netting fed in between them. Wired glass is more brittle than normal glass of same
Patterned Glass
As glass ribbon passes between rollers, the pattern/design is pressed onto one surface of
glass. By changing the one roller, different patterns are achieved. This glass has the same
break pattern properties as normal float glass.


There are many types of floor coverings available on the market. Each part of a house would
have individual floor requirements. It is imperative to note that some areas would require a
more durable surface that is easily maintained. These would include kitchens, bathrooms and
garages. Normally, garages do not have a covering, but the screed is hardened and left
smooth, making the surface more durable and easier to clean. (Grano)
The different types of floor coverings would include vinyl tiles or sheeting, fitted carpets, carpet
tiles, natural fibre mats, wooden block flooring, wooden decks, marble, granite, slate and
ceramic tiles. The different types of flooring would vary in durability. Products such as marble,
granite, slate and ceramic tiles would generally last a life time, whereas carpeting and vinyl
flooring would have a limited life span.


Tiles and sheeting are available for numerous applications and vary in thickness and durability
depending on the amount of wear that they will have to tolerate. Industrial and commercial
environments would favour a more durable material as opposed to domestic environments
where the covering would not have to be as strong.
The sub-floor should be thoroughly examined before any work is started. Sub-floors must be
hard, dust free, level and dry. If the surface does not abide by any of these criteria, the covering
will ultimately peel off. Adhesives used would depend largely on the type and porosity of the
sub-floor. An open porous sub-floor would require more adhesive per m2 than a tight, dense
sub-floor. Adhesives would be applied to the floor in small areas so that the tile can be laid
before the adhesive dries out. If the area to be covered has many internal walls and openings,
there will be a large wastage factor as opposed to an area with no obstructions. Areas of
wastage are where the walls meet the floor and where tiles or sheeting would have to be cut to
fit the remaining space.
When measuring out a room, it is wise to measure generously allowing for waste. A percentage
factor of 5% is generally applied to the square metre area that needs to be covered.
Purchasing the tiles or sheeting should then be done checking that the batch numbers of the
material are the same. If material from different batches is used, there is a chance that the
colours would vary slightly, and this is highly visible once the flooring has been laid.
Laying vinyl floor tiles
Before laying the tiles, the underside of each tile should be cleaned with a solvent to remove
dirt or grease which could have accumulated there. The solvent also makes the surface more

receptive to adhesives, making the bonding greater. The area to be tiled should be marked out
with a pen or chalk, starting with two perpendicular lines through the centre of the room. Pour
sufficient adhesive onto the sub-floor to cover a reasonable area. Spread the adhesive evenly
using a trowel with standard size notches (1.5mm x 1.5mm x 1.5mm at 4.0mm centres) and
spread using a semi-circular motion. Make sure not to leave any bare spots, pools or
overlapping ridges.
Lay the first tile at the intersection of the two lines with the edges exactly on the lines. Following
tiles will be laid against the two adjacent perpendicular lines moving out from the centre. This
creates a border which makes it easier to lay consequent tiles. Make sure that the tiles are
butted firmly one against the other with no gaps. Leaving gaps will trap water and dirt during
use and cause the tiles to lift. Once the tiles have been laid, and while the adhesive is still in its
tacky state, the tiles should be rolled over with a 68kg roller, ensuring a firmer grip to the subfloor and removing any unwanted air bubbles.
Laying vinyl sheeting
Sheeting should be rolled out before laying and left to straighten. Laying would start along the
most prominent wall that can be seen from the doorway. Ensure that no joints will occur in a
doorway as this is a large traffic area and the sheeting may shift away from the joint. Allow at
least 20mm overlap against all walls so that the sheet may be trimmed for a perfect fit. If the
sheeting has a pattern on it, measure the second strip up against the first and mark the sheet
so that the pattern matches exactly with the first sheet. Any joints occurring between sheets
should overlap each other so that a perfect joint can be attained.
Once all the sheets are laid on the sub-floor, take the first sheet, and roll back about 300mm
along its length. Apply adhesive evenly and collate that part of the sheet to the sub-floor.
Smooth down the sheeting from one side only to avoid the formation of air bubbles. Align the
second sheet with the first overlapping the two. With a straight edge and cutting knife, cut
through both pieces of flooring. Remove the loose piece of vinyl from under the joint and a
perfectly matching joint will remain. Fold back the first panel, spread adhesive and stick down.
Repeat the procedure until all the sheets are stuck to the floor. Where joints are encountered,
make sure that the two edges are pushed firmly one against the other. Once complete, all joints
can be further sealed with a seam sealer. Any excess adhesive should be removed
immediately with a damp rag.
Before the adhesive has had a chance to harden, the sheeting should be thoroughly rolled with
a 68kg roller ensuring good adhesive transfer and to eliminate any further air bubbles.

As with vinyl coverings, thought and planning must be given to carpet installation to achieve a
good standard of finish as well as being economical and practical. Again, when measuring out
a room, a waste factor must be allowed for in both laying and pattern matching. Careful
consideration must be given to areas where there are joints, moving them as much as possible
away from traffic areas.
Before cutting any material, a carpet fitter should lay out the first strip and take note of the pile
of the carpet, colours and patterns. The ultimate aim of carpet fitting is to create a continuous
length and flow, thus creating the impression when the installation is complete, that the dividing
walls were built after the carpet was fitted. Careful attention must be paid to the roll numbers or
dye batch numbers of every roll of carpeting to be used, and from which roll each strip is to be
cut. This minimises the visibility joints, shading and pattern run-out.
The most common method of fitting carpets is the tackless method, this being where no tack
marks are visible on the surface of the carpet. This is achieved through the use of a carpet
gripper made of strips of plywood 6mm thick, 285mm wide and of varying lengths. Specially
designed pins penetrate the plywood at a 60 angle facing towards the wall and staggered in

two rows along the length of the plywood. The pins are zinc plated so that they do not rust and
leave stains on the carpet. The carpet gripper is anchored to the floor.
A pre-heated, special thermostatically controlled joining iron is then inserted under the carpet
and moved slowly underneath the joint. The joint would bond to the molten thermoplastic
adhesive and can be stretched and manipulated within five to ten minutes depending on the
room temperature.
When the joints have cooled, fitting can commence. The technique varies slightly between
tufted and woven materials, but basics remain the same:
Choose a corner from which to work this could be any place on the floor where two rows of
temporary nails can be driven into the floor at right angles.
Hook the carpet onto the gripper pins from the corner by sliding the side of the head of a
carpenters claw hammer at a 45 angle from the corner until the head passes onto the line of
the gripper. Repeat this action radiating outward from the corner in each direction for
approximately 400mm.
Using a blunt bolster or chisel approximately 75mm wide, tap the edge of the carpet into the
gully between carpet gripper and wall. If there is an overlap, leave this up against the wall at
this stage.
The carpet is now firmly held on the gripper pins and can be stretched by means of a power
stretcher or knee kicker down each of the two walls from the corner.
The carpet is first stretched across its width, always working away from the starting corner. The
tension is maintained by either hooking the carpet onto the gripper pins in the opposite corner,
or by the use of temporary nails
The tensioned edge of the carpet is then hooked onto the gripper teeth using the claw hammer
Repeat the procedure, stretching the carpet along its length
Ensure that all ripples are out, patterns and joints straight and all edges hooked onto the
gripper pins.
Trim the overlap in doorways and other areas where no quadrant is fitted using a sharp
trimming knife.
Trim any excess carpet leaving an overlap equivalent to the thickness of the carpet and force
this into the gully between the gripper and the wall. This effectively tucks the carpet under and
leaves a clean edge which will not unravel.
Tuck the overlap under the lip of the metal edge and tap down with a rubber mallet or hammer
and wood block.
The amount of stretch required to achieve the desired ripple free finish would depend on the
type of carpet being fitted. Tufted material, as a general rule, needs to be pulled tighter than
woven as shrinkage is minimal when it is subject to moisture.
When fitting carpets on stairs, a good quality underlay is essential. When metal stair nosing is
used, the underlay would be cut back approximately 5mm from the edge of the stair. If no
nosing is being used, then the overlay would have to overlap the stairnose by approximately
75mm. The underlay would be held in place by stapling, tacking or pasting. The pile of the
carpet should always run down the staircase to improve wear.


Wooden flooring is available in strip flooring and parquet blocks and gives a warm graceful
finish to a home. The maintenance of wood flooring tends to be more than that of other flooring
due to the fact that it is a natural material and more prone to rot and bug infestation. Wood
should not be used in areas where there would be a fair amount of damp.
Wood is available in a number of light and dark colour finishes. Careful attention must be given
to the sanding of the floor after it has been laid to give an even surface. It would then be
polished and coated with a seal to give a good finish.
Timber flooring
There are many advantages of timber flooring systems in modern buildings.

they are beautiful, warm and need minimal covering

they are resilient and easier to walk on. Timber floors have been designed for high
impact loads such as sports floors

they are low maintenance floors

they have a high strength to weight ratio

they are non-corrosive - suitable for chemical storage

they have a good resistance to wear and tear and can be fire and sound rated.

Apart from domestic use in homes, modern timber engineering design can provide practical
and economical flooring systems for a wide range of applications including warehouses,
workshops, shops, restaurants, sports halls, offices and libraries.
Floor boards are graded in terms of suitability for different traffic groups. Select grade has to be
used for light traffic conditions as in domestic dwellings. Prime garde is specified for moderate
and heavy uses. Pedestrian traffic in some public buildings and shops is regarded as
moderate. Heavy traffic would be in places like hospitals, banks and railway stations where
the floor will have to carry more than two thousand persons in definite traffic lanes.
Timber decks
Timbers natural appeal and strength make it the ideal choice for decking, not only around
domestic homes and in gardens, but also in commercial, industrial and marine structures. This
would include marinas, wharves, bridges, foot bridges and loading docks. Other applications
can be seen in grandstands and public walkways.
Timber decks are charming but that is not the only reason why this material has been used for
centuries. Timber is workable, cost competitive, available, strong, rust and corrosion free,
durable, impact absorbing and easily repaired and replaced.

Through the ages clay has been the material used to shape into tiles, used for both decorative
and functional purposes in the home and work place. Ceramic tiles have both a practical and
romantic history, spanning the ages from the temples of Ancient China and Japan, the palaces
of the Tigres-Euphrates Valley, through the homes and mansions of Europe to the Americas. In
Italy, the production of ceramicware came to full bloom in the Middle Ages with strong Roman
and Arabic influences, and so universal was the use of tiles that an old Spanish proverb says
that only an extremely poor man lived in a house without tiles .

Modern ceramic tiles are essentially the same as the ancient forms, but todays technology has
enabled ceramic tiles to be highly decorative as well as functional whilst still protecting,
hygienically and physically, the surfaces they cover. Ceramic tiles for floor and wall covering,
once only within the reach of the affluent, are now affordable and indispensable to everyone.
Affordable because of their relatively low cost when compared to that of other building
materials; indispensable because their hygienic and physically resistant properties make them
an obvious choice for areas of domestic, commercial and industrial situations where these
features are desirable.
Ever-changing fashions and requirements place increasing demands on the manufacturers to
improve their technology and, as a result, consumers are now being increasingly assailed with
technical terminology that threatens confusion in the market place. This article, therefore, is an
attempt to clarify and explain what is being offered and to be a vital and definitive guide for
prospective buyers.
Technical information
The body of the tile
The main component used in the body of the tile (otherwise known as the Bisque) is clay. For
the purpose of this article we will refer only to the body as the clay and not concern ourselves
with other components usually mixed with the clay such as fluxes, silica, and other raw
materials which are of no real concern to the layman. Tiles are thin, flat slabs of clay, which are
shaped and then dried and fired at high temperatures. Tiles are shaped by pressing, extruding,
casting or even by hand. There are numerous types of clay utilised; in particular, the red bodied
tiles are trademarks of Italian manufacture. What is most important to the would-be user or
specifier, however, is to understand the requirements for wall as opposed to floor tiles. We will
now concern ourselves with the following main manufacturing processes:
Bi meaning twice and Cottura the Italian word for cooked. We therefore understand that this
method refers to tiles that are twice cooked or fired. The clay is pressed into the required size
and shape and fired in the kiln at a temperature of only about 700-800 degrees Celsius. This
relatively low temperature (in tile firing terms) ensures that the shape remains uniform with little
or no warping, with near to perfect calibration, characteristics most important when considering
the aesthetics required for wall tiles. Once the tile has been baked it is coated with the glaze,
then re-baked. The disadvantages of this method of manufacture are that the clay is fairly
porous and the body strength is not maximised. It is recommended, therefore, that this type of
tile is used indoors, particularly for walls. For the layman it is easy to recognise this type of tile
as follows: the colour is normally a very light brown/pinkish colour. the back of the tile is
characterised by protruding nodules. water poured onto the back of the tile will be readily
absorbed. It is also pertinent to point out that some clays are Kaolin based. This body has the
same characteristics of the above but is in fact white in colour and normally used for smaller
dimensioned tiles such as 15cm x 15cm, 15cm x 20cm and 20cm x 20cm.
Here we have a tile that, as its name implies, is once cooked. This method was originally
conceived to enable the tile to be fired once at a very high temperature (approx.1200 degrees
Celsius). This high firing causes movement in the clay while in the kiln and one result can be
that the tiles warp and can become unevenly shaped. Shrinkage also becomes more
noticeable and sizing irregular. Why, therefore, fire at such high temperatures? The answer is
simple: Porosity and strength
Monocottura tiles have a much greater mechanical strength than Bicottura tiles and are thus
ideal for use in heavy traffic areas and where the possibility of impact is greater. Also, these
tiles are less porous and can be used externally, particularly where frost conditions prevail. It is
important to give a word of warning, however, in this respect: a tile, although classified as
monocottura, might not be fired at a very high temperature and therefore could still be porous.
One must be very careful to ascertain from the seller or manufacturer whether the tile offered is

infact suitable for frost susceptible areas.

Advantages of monocottura tiles:
Advantages of monocottura tiles: single high firing and near-vitrification makes the monocottura
tile frost proof. Good mechanical strength enables this tile to resist heavy impact, such as might
be encountered in industrial situations as the glaze is applied directly to the raw, unbaked clay,
it penetrates deeper into the clay and the resulting fusion is superior to that of the bicottura tile,
the glaze is then less prone to chipping,etc. This tile is usually produced for flooring purposes
and glazes used are normally harder than those used for wall tiles. Early monocottura
manufacturers employed the use of red clays, from which good results were more difficult to
obtain. Later technology perfected the white body monocottura, which has resulted in a more
perfect tile. Therefore, although perhaps more expensive, the purchase of white bodied
monocottura tiles will normally be more advantageous.
iii)Porcellanato or through-bodied tiles
Porcellanato tiles, also sometimes known as through bodied tiles, came to the fore in the
market place in the 1980 s and were directed particularly at commercial and industrial
applications. This tile is of the monocottura family by nature, as it is only once fired. However,
this tile has no glazing and derives its name as a through-body tile because the surface
material runs through the entire body - the abrasive factors are thus very low. This means that,
because the tile will not show wearing, it is ideal for high traffic areas such as shopping malls,
factories and banking halls. Although the first models of this type of tile were very ordinary and
uninteresting, modern technology has given rise to a vast array of colours and finishes such as
the stone look, the granite look and the marble look, amongst others.
The glaze on the tile has many important features, which include decoration, colour, nonporosity as well as cleanability, thus ensuring a hygienically approved product. Besides the
above important features, it is also worth remembering that different glazes have different
This refers to resistance to abrasion and scratching. To understand these characteristics is to
appreciate exactly what application the tile is needed for. Domestic or industrial? Wall or Floor?
For wall tiles we have to appreciate that aesthetics such as colour and design are of sole
importance, but for floors we have to be more circumspect. The intended application must be
carefully considered and an adequately glazed tile employed. The wearing qualities of tile
glazes is normally measured through the method devised by the Porcelain Enamel Institute of
the USA for classifying ceramic tiles, according to their resistance to abrasion. The test is
commonly known by the initials PEI and classifies tiles into four distinct groupings:
Floors subject to high traffic but protected from abrasive and scratching agents such as sand,
gravel, etc. In general, these tiles may be used in bedrooms, bathrooms and private dwellings.
Floors exposed to medium-light traffic but protected from abrasive and scratching agents such
as sand, gravel,etc. In general these tiles may be used anywhere in private houses, except
Floors exposed to medium-heavy traffic but protected from abrasive and scratching agents
such as sand, gravel etc. In general, these tiles may be used in all kinds of private rooms,
including kitchens, patios, hotel-rooms and related facilities, hospital-rooms, etc
Floors exposed to medium-heavy traffic and not protected from abrasive or scratching agents
such as sand, gravel,etc., therefore also rooms to which there is direct access from outside. In
general, these tiles may be used in restaurants, hotels, shops, schools, offices, hospitals, etc.,

with the only exception being the area beneath desks and the cash counters of public places.
The resistance to surface scratches is normally measured by means of a hardness test. This
test applies to the theory that only a harder substance can scratch a softer one. For example,
only a diamond can scratch a diamond. The hardness scale is qualified therefore as follows:
1. Talc
2. Gypsum
3. Calcite
4. Fluorite
5. Apatite
6. Orthoclase
7. Quartz
8. Topaz
9. Corundum
10. Diamond
The ratings are from 1 to 10 and it is easily seen, therefore, that a tile with a rating of 4 will be
relatively soft and will scratch more easily than say a tile with a rating of 8.
Grading guidelines
It is the objective of all manufacturers to produce as big a percentage as possible of perfect or
near-perfect ceramic tiles. This, naturally, is not always achieved and most firings will produce
their quota of second and third grade tiles and some manufacturers even include a fourth or
stock grade of tile in their lines. It is desirable that prospective buyers and users of ceramic
tiles should be aware of exactly what they are buying and the following points offer helpful
guidelines. These guidelines are divided into two sections, bicottura and monocottura.
First grade:
This is a tile with a near-perfect glazed finish. Grading allows some minute specks in the
glazing but these should not be big enough to be noticeable.
Second grade:
Small blemishes are allowed, but these should not be much larger or more noticeable than a
pinhead. Pinholes may also be present and in the case of printed patterns on the tile, these
might be slightly smudged or irregular. No warping, size difference or chipping should be in
evidence and generally speaking, a second grade tile is normally quite acceptable if bought
from a reputable supplier. Some shade difference can also occur.
Third grade:
In this grade of tile rather large blemishes occur and chipped products are not uncommon. The
more seriously defective tiles can be used for cutting.
Fourth grade:
These tiles have more noticeable defects, such as large spots, marks, pinholes and chipping.
Unless a special use for this grade of tile can be found, it is best left alone.
Most of the faults and defects found in bicottura ceramic tiles are also found in monocottura.
However, the following flaws may also be found in monocottura tiles, which are of the highly
fired variety.
First grade:
Tiles of this premier grade bought from a reliable manufacturer are usually calibrated and
variations in size are normally minimal. Sizes should vary by no more than 0,75mm either way.
There may be an insignificant amount of warpage but this should never be noticeable and
should not affect the laying or appearance of the laid tile.

Second grade:
This grade is not normally calibrated and larger size variances can occur as well as a higher
degree of bowing or warpage.
Third grade:
Difference in size and the warpage factor can be very noticeable but with correct selection and
laying, certain areas such as courtyards and other outside areas where perfection is not the
criterion, could well be tiled with products in this grade.
International markings for grading tiles
The following explains normally accepted international markings and how to read them to
determine the tile grades as marked on their boxes.
First grade:
Red is the keynote here. Either the box is red or the printing on it is red. Another way of
signifying first grade is with crossed arrows, usually stamped in red. Some factories also use a
figure 1 inside a circle.
Second grade:
Blue is the colour to watch for here. Blue boxes or boxes printed in blue. Other indications of
this grade can be a large dot in blue or black or a circle around the figure 2.
Third grade:
Tiles of this grade are usually in green boxes or have green printing on the box. If the sign
method is used it will depict a triangle in blue, black or green.
Fourth grade:
These tiles are usually in plain white or brown boxes with no printing or other markings on
them, other than their code number.
Useful hints about tiles
When buying highly fired tiles, always check the calibration in the case of first grade products
to ensure that all the boxes show the same calibration figure. If uncertain, do not hesitate to
ask the supplier to check them for you. Always make sure that you are buying the correct
strength of tile for the area you intend to use it in. This is particularly vital in the choice of tiles
for flooring.
When laying monocottura floor tiles, always lay with an open joint. The size of the joint
depends on the variation in calibration. It is always best to lay out a metre or two on the floor
before fixing in order to establish the correct gap to leave for that particular tile. The larger the
size variation the larger the gap should be. Remember that the gaps have to be grouted and
that this will tend to hide any variation in size. Always make sure you are getting the grade of
tile for which you are paying. Ask what grade the tile is and then check the boxes to make sure
they tally. Before accepting delivery, check the shade of the tile on display to ensure that the
tile you have chosen is the same, or similar, to the one you receive. This is important as
batches of the same tile from different firings can have different tonalities of shade.
Before taking delivery, and particularly before laying the tiles, make sure that all boxes contain
the same shade of tile when buying the first grade boxes. Each box is marked with the shade
number and it is an easy matter to check the boxes to see that the shade numbers are the
same. The shade number is usually shown next to the word tonality . If you cannot find the
number referring to the shade then always ask your dealer to check it for you. In conclusion it
can be said that there is a ceramic tile for every application but it is of paramount importance
that the user is satisfied that the technical characteristics of the intended tile fully meet the
specifications required for the application the user has in mind. Only by dealing with
professional people can the user be assured of the correct information. Reputed manufacturers
can normally be called upon to produce written technical information pertaining to a specific

Specialised Contractors

In the harsh Southern African conditions air-conditioning has become more of a necessity than
a luxury item. Residential air-conditioning is still a very small segment of the market,but this
may be due to a lack of understanding of air-conditioning. The American Society of Heating,
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) defines air-conditioning as: The
process of treating air so as to control simultaneously its temperature,humidity, cleanliness and
distribution to meet the requirements of the conditioned space. The aim of the above is to
create a comfortable and productive living and working environment. When selecting an air
conditioning unit a number of important factors should be considered:
1. reputable, long standing brand in the market;
2. reliability;
3. reliable spares back-up;
4. correct capacity;
5. power consumption;
6. correct type of unit for application;
7. maintenance costs.
In a market where cost is of high importance, one should look at the life cycle cost of the
installation, rather than the initial capital outlay. The running cost of an air conditioner is the part
that you will be reminded of every month when you look at your electricity account, long after
you have forgotten the initial money spent.
All air-conditioners have an indoor section, situated in the area that has to be conditioned, and
an outdoor section, situated in ambient conditions. There are two ways of achieving this. The
first is for the outdoor section to protrude through the wall, if it is a self-contained unit, and the
second is for the indoor and outdoor section to be two separate units interconnected with two
copper refrigerant lines and the necessary electrical connections. When selecting an airconditioner you have to decide whether you would require a cooling only machine, suitable for
areas with moderate winter conditions, where heating is not required, or for areas with a
constant heat load, such as computer rooms. The other type is a cooling and heating airconditioner that uses reverse cycle or heat pump heating. Reverse cycle heating is for more
economical than normal electrical resistance heating as it uses approximately a third of the
power to achieve the same heating capacity. The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is rated
in BTU kilowatt or tons of refrigeration and is an indication of the amount of cooling the
machine will produce.
The cooling capacity required of a certain area is determined by a number of factors such as:
1. Floor area;
2. Type of roof;
3. Type of ceiling insulation, if any;
4. Size of windows;
5. Orientation of windows (N,S,E or West);
6. Unconditioned areas adjacent to conditioned area;
7. No of people in area and level of activity;
8. Heat generating equipment.
From the above it is clear that it is not a matter of a thumb suck to determine the correct
capacity unit required, but a number of calculations are required to determine the heat load of
the area. It is very important to use the correct capacity air conditioner as a too small capacity
machine will run continuously and never bring the temperature down to acceptable levels. A too

big capacity machine will tend to switch on and off continuously (commonly known as short
cycling) as it brings down the temperature very rapidly.

There are various types, shapes and sizes of awnings available to suit most applications.
Custom made awnings can also be fabricated to suit a specific requirement. As a result, it is
not easy to give an average price for awnings as many factors have to be taken into account
when estimating a price. Also because of the various types of shapes and sizes, different
formulae are used in calculating a price.

Boreholes must be registered with the local authority. Permission must be first obtained before
drilling. The position of the borehole must be clearly indicated on a drawing showing distance
to boundaries, servitudes, position of buildings, distance to any french drain or soak pit.
This drawing must be submitted to your local authority. It is compulsory to have the water from
the borehole tested, a levy will be charged for this test. A borehole must be at least 50m away
from a french drain.


In the harsh climate of South Africa, finding shade for ones car becomes of the utmost
importance. Easy to erect, aesthetically pleasing and relatively cost effective, car and
shadeports are an excellent alternative to building garages.

Prices for landscaping vary greatly depending on the type of garden required. The most
popular type of garden is tropical, which would contain a large selection of tropical plants such
as palm trees and delicious monsters and would be evergreen, not requiring a large amount of
maintenance. English country style gardens, on the other hand, would contain a mixture of
evergreens and annual plants. Although they would be more colourful, they would need a fair
amount of attention to remove and replant annuals.
Other factors that would influence the cost of landscaping would be the type and size of pants
chosen. Palm trees for example, would have to be bigger than saplings or they will fall easy
prey to birds.
Some gardens would require levelling or the removal of rocks, trees, or conversely, importing
rocks and trimming existing trees.


An Introduction to Kitchens
Kitchens, cupboards and appliances form necessary parts to the finishing of a home. A
practical, well laid out kitchen with modern appliances can greatly affect the eventual selling
price of a home.
Houses with ample cupboard space have become a more saleable commodity and greatly
improve the workability of the home as well as its aesthetics.
Kitchen Appliance Analysis

How often do you use the appliance? Just for an occasional dinner at home or six times a
Will children, elderly family members, or people with disabilities use it?
Do you prefer a free-standing or built-in design? If you build it in, you can't take it with you
when you move.
Do you prefer an appliance that does the basics, or would you take advantage of optional
Are you low-tech or high-tech? Are you more comfortable with dials or digits?
What cubic capacity or overall size do you need? How large is your family and how often do
you cook, entertain, or serve large family meals?
What are the space restrictions in your kitchen? Height, width, depth. Make sure you allow
enough space for proper ventilation and opening doors.
What color and styling best fit your kitchen? Do you need to coordinate with current
Does the product have energy-saving controls or features?
Are controls easy to read and use?
Will the product be easy to clean and maintain?
What type of warranty comes with the product? Full, limited, or a combination of the two?
What is the reputation of the manufacturer and dealer?
Is the product made with quality materials?
Rust is probably the biggest enemy your clothes washer has to face. After every use leave the
lid to the clothes washer open so moisture inside it can evaporate. Check to see that the hot
and cold water hoses are not kinked and that the filters in the ends of the hoses are not
clogged with lint.
The washer must be level for it to work properly. If the washer tilts to one side it will cause
excessive wear to the bearings that hold the tub in place. A unit that is not level will also not
spin a full load without tripping the out-of-balance safety switch on the washer.
Before you perform any maintenance on the machine, unplug the washer from its power
source. Turn the water off at the hot and cold outlets. Loosen the water intake hoses at the
back of the machine with a channel lock pliers and remove them from the hot and cold faucets.
Pull out the small, round washers containing the fine screen hose filters. If they won't come out,
pry them loose with a screwdriver. If they show signs of wear or are badly corroded, take them
to the hardware store to buy replacement screens. If the screens are covered with mineral
deposits, wash them out and replace them in the hose. Then reattach the hose to the hot and
cold faucets, making sure you connect the hot and cold hoses to the corresponding faucet.
If your washer empties into a wash sink, keep lint from clogging the drain by making a lint
strainer from a piece of old pantyhose. Cut the leg off about 12 in. up from the toe and secure it
to the end of the discharge hose with a 1 1/2-in.-diameter hose clamp.
To break down soap scum buildup in the machine and its hoses, run the machine through a full
cycle with warm water and a cup of white vinegar. Repeat the cycle with another wash using a
cup of household bleach.
Kitchen Cupboards
Certain basin requirements are necessary in a kitchen to make it functional. Important units
would include a sink, stove, fridge and ample work surfaces. Plumbing and electrical would be

integral parts of the construction of a kitchen. The most efficient kitchen is one where all
activities can be done in a logical sequence. According to most kitchen suppliers, there are four
basic types of kitchens:
1. U-shaped this is more suited to a small kitchen
2. L-shaped the design is functional and requires little space,,it would also lend itself to a
kitchen table
3. One-wall the basic work functions are performed in a straight line making the design
suitable for an open plan area
4. Island-units a work surface is set in the middle of the kitchen thereby forming the island.
The island usually contains a stove.Special plumbing arrangements would have to be made
should a sink be necessary.
The cost of a kitchen would be totally reliant on the materials used and the size of the kitchen.
It is therefore impossible to quote on the cost of a kitchen in general.
Built-in cupboards
Built-in cupboards can be designed in a variety of modular units to accommodate hanging
space and shelving space. Cupboards can be built in wall recess openings or can be fixed
against walls,then exposing cupboard sides. Built-in cupboards are normally custom made but
can also be made available in knock down form.
Material specification

Economical cupboards comprise of normal supreme quality Bisonbord

Particle board to shelves and divisions with Bisonbord (MFB) melamine faced board
to expose side panels,which could also be utilised for shelves and divisions which
present a more aesthetic feel

Standard type doors consist of Melawood (MFB)in a variety of fashionable colours

and edged in matching Formica edging

Doors can also be in Formica door frontals incorporating postformed profiles to


Cupboards can be installed by the DIY enthusiast, but it is advisable to seek expert

Cupboards, shelves and working surfaces should be both practical and pleasant to look at.
Various heights and depths can be used, although the overall height should never be taller than
the reach of a user.
Cupboards can be bought standard or made to order.The basic price for installation is yet again
dependent on the type of material used and the amount of work involved. A popular alternative
is mirror doors which come in various standard sizes.These range largely in price depending
on the size. The availability of wall space would form an important criteria to the cost of the
cupboards.Should the cupboards require backing,a further material and fitting charge will be
Certain basic requirements are necessary in a kitchen to make it functional. Important units
would include a sink, stove, fridge and ample work surfaces. Plumbing and electrical would be
integral parts of the construction of a kitchen.
The most efficient kitchen is one where all activities can be done in a logical sequence.
According to most kitchen suppliers, there are four basic types of kitchens:

U-shaped this is more suited to a small kitchen

L-shaped the design is functional and requires little space, it would also lend itself to
a kitchen table

One-wall the basic work functions are performed in a straight line making the design
suitable for an open plan area

Island-units a work surface is set in the middle of the kitchen thereby forming the
island. The island usually contains a stove. Special plumbing arrangements would
have to be made should a sink be necessary.

The cost of a kitchen would be totally reliant on the materials used and the size of the kitchen.
It is therefore impossible to quote on the cost of a kitchen in general.
Built-in cupboards
Built-in cupboards can be designed in a variety of modular units to accommodate hanging
space and shelving space.
Cupboards can be built in wall recess openings or can be fixed against walls, then exposing
cupboard sides.
Built-in cupboards are normally custom made but can also be made available in knock down
Material specifications

Economical cupboards comprise of normal supreme quality Bisonbord

Particle board to shelves and divisions with Bisonbord (MFB) melamine faced board
to expose side panels, which could also be utilised for shelves and divisions which
present a more aesthetic feel

Standard type doors consist of Melawood (MFB) in a variety of fashionable colours

and edged in matching Formica edging

Doors can also be in Formica door frontals incorporating postformed profiles to


Cupboards can be installed by the DIY enthusiast, but it is advisable to seek expert

Cupboards, shelves and working surfaces should be both practical and pleasant to
look at. Various heights and depths can be used, although the overall height should
never be taller than the reach of a user.

Cupboards can be bought standard or made to order. The basic price for installation is yet
again dependent on the type of material used and the amount of work involved.
A popular alternative is mirror doors which come in various standard sizes. These range largely
in price depending on the size.
The availability of wall space would form an important criteria to the cost of the cupboards.
Should the cupboards require backing, a further material and fitting charge will be incurred.

A kitchen is the heart of a home and most people spend a large amount of time there, not only
cooking, but socialising as well thus turning the kitchen into what is essentially a living area.
Modern kitchen designs take this trend into account and kitchens are fast becoming an integral
part of and focal point of the home. Instead of being tucked away, open plan kitchens that are
incorporated into the interior design of a home are extremely popular and incorporating a
kitchen into your interior layout and dcor does not have to be an expensive exercise. Whether
one uses a DIY kitchen or custom made kitchen, the design is vital. Not only should the kitchen
design be functional, in terms of work and cupboard space, but it should also fit in with the
overall decor of a home. With this in mind, however, neutral colours are best for basic fittings,
with appliances and crockery making up the colour or style.
When using a DIY kit, it is important to ensure that units are designed to international
standards and sizes. Each unit should be separately packed with related hardware and hinges,
along with a step-by-step installation guide and drawings.
Kitchen Design
A kitchen is the heart of a home and most people spend a large amount of time there, not only
cooking, but socialising as well thus turning the kitchen into what is essentially a living area.
Modern kitchen designs take this trend into account and kitchens are fast becoming an integral
part of and focal point of the home.Instead of being tucked away, open plan kitchens that are
incorporated into the interior design of a home are extremely popular and incorporating a
kitchen into your interior layout and dcor does not have to be an expensive exercise.
Whether one uses a DIY kitchen or custom made kitchen, the design is vital. Not only should
the kitchen design be functional, in terms of work and cupboard space, but it should also fit in
with the overall decor of a home. With this in mind, however, neutral colours are best for basic
fittings, with appliances and crockery making up the colour or style. When using a DIY kit, it is
important to ensure that units are designed to international standards and sizes. Each unit
should be separately packed with related hardware and hinges,along with a step-by-step
installation guide and drawings.

This is a tough and hard wearing form of paving with low maintenance. Concrete bricks and
blocks are available in many shades and patterns. They can be altered, repaired, removed and
replaced without major costs and without having to use expensive construction equipment.
There are three types of segmental paving blocks:
1. rectangular
2. interlocking
3. grass blocks
The blocks actual strength is determined by its thickness, the minimum strength set down by
the SABS being 25MPa.
Shapes and sizes of concrete pavers
Concrete block pavers are manufactured and supplied in a number of different shapes and
sizes. The table below shows some of the common shapes together with their trade names, but
there are a number of shapes not included in this list. The blocks are categorised into he
following types:
Block Type S-A
Allows geometrical interlock between all faces of adjacent blocks. When keyed together these
blocks resist the spread of joints by their plan geometry. Generally, these blocks can be laid in
Herringbone pattern parallel to both the longitudinal and transverse axes of the joints. Block

type S-A is used on roads and heavy-duty pavements.

Block type S-B
Allows a geometrical interlock between adjacent faces and relies on its dimensional accuracy
of laying to develop interlock.
Block type S-A develop the best interlock and provide the greater resistant to deformation and
creep. Hence these blocks are generally used for industrial applications. On the other end of
the scale, the type S-C blocks develop the least interlock and hence are generally chosen for
aesthetics and used in pedestrian or residential applications. The size of the blocks vary
depending on the shape, but are typically 200 x 100mm in plan. The thickness of the blocks
vary from 50-60mm for light pedestrian/residential traffic to 80mm for industrial applications.
For areas of very high loading, such as harbours, block thickness of up to 120mm have to be

Skylights can completely change the feel of a home or office by allowing natural light and
warmth to flow in, as well as affording views of the outside environment. Skylights let in, on
average, five times more light than the equivalent area of a vertical window. Skylighting is also
a very practical and economical complement to electric lighting and correct incorporation of
skylights into a design can greatly increase energy efficiency in a building. There are some
important considerations to be taken into account when incorporating skylighting into a
Wind loads can affect skylighting in a number of ways,some of which should always be
considered: Wind can distort the overall shape of a skylight and can cause he rafters and other
parts of the roof to bend excessively.Wind can also cause uplift,possibly resulting in the skylight
being ripped off the building. The direction in which the wind is blowing has a distinct effect on
whether the wind will impose an inward (pressure)or outward (suction)force on the system.Both
inward and outward forces can cause excessive bending of the skylight.Outward forces can
also cause the structure to be torn completely off the building.
If the pitch of the skylight is steep enough,the wind will cause an inward force on the windward
side of a skylight,and an outward force on the leeward side.
Consideration at design stage should also be given to load distribution other than wind.These
loads can be divided into two groups,namely:snow or hail loads;and imposed loads caused by
people carrying out skylight maintenance.
The design of glazing bars on extrusions should make allowance for water penetration and
effective drainage to the outside of the structure (condensation outlets).In essence,one of the
most important functions of a skylight is to resist the penetration of rain. The most common
complaint surrounding skylights is leakage -a problem that can be easily avoided with correct
design and installation methods.On roofs with a pitch more than 15 degrees, one has the
option of pre-made flashing with a lead apron.On slate roofs,a soaker system is used.
Condensation is also an important consideration in the design of skylight systems.These
systems should be mechanically designed through the use of a guttered weep system to
control condensation.
Air Leakage
Excessive air leakage will cause drafts,wind noise and discomfort to the occupants of the

building and can also be a major source of energy loss in a building.

Glazing Material Properties
Careful consideration of glazing materials to be used is of the utmost importance -some factors
to consider are: Thickness of glazing material in relation to wind loading;weight of glazing
material;impact strength;fire risk;bending properties;ultra- violet properties;security risk.
Durability & Maintenance
To be assured of satisfactory performance,materials used in the manufacture of a skylight
should have good structural properties, excellent resistance to corrosion and the ability to
withstand deterioration under climatic and environmental conditions to which it will normally be
exposed. Material finishes should be attractive in appearance and durable. Properly selected
and specified skylights can be expected to perform throughout their life at a relatively uniform
level when given reasonable care and maintenance. Maintenance that may be required
includes washing,repairs to and replacement of operating parts (if any)and glazing material
replacement.The homeowner s decision on how this is to be done may affect the choice of
skylight to be used,which in turn affects the maintenance cost.
Design Considerations
Proper selection of glazing materials the attention of specifiers is drawn to the proper
selection of glazing materials for use in skylight applications above human traffic in occupied
areas. Definitions inclined glazing includes the fenestration of skylights and space
enclosures,which are tilted more than 15 degrees from the vertical.Sloped glazing systems
should be inclined a minimum of 15 degrees from the horizontal to ensure proper condensation
and water infiltration control,and to minimise accumulation of dirt above horizontal or purlin
framing supports.Systems inclined less than 15 degrees from the horizontal may require
special consideration.
As the impact strength varies considerably from product to product, this should be considered
and checked prior to selection.Inclined glazing installations may be situated above areas where
people pass or work.This raises safety and liability considerations for the
owner,designer,glazing and skylight manufacturer.Breakage can result from any of the following
causes: Excessive loading:wind,snow or concentrated Impact loads from falling (hailstones)or
wind borne (roof gravel) objects.
Thermal effects generated within the glazing material itself (i.e. heat absorbing
tinted,reflective)due to inclined position Inadequately designed glazing system,which does not
provide proper support,clearance or drainage Edge or surface damage to glazing material
during manufacturing, handling,installation or maintenance.(In glass products,edges should be
polished). Vandalism or destructive accidents Effects of long-term weathering
Design Load
The choice of an appropriate material for a given application with regard to uniform load
strength is dependent upon the design load in the building to which the glazing material will be
subjected.The selection of the required design load is the responsibility of the specifier in
conjunction with the skylight designer. Once the design load has been determined,the
appropriate glazing thickness can be chosen by using published strength information. Glazing
materials are normally designed for uniform loads.It is important to note that most published
strength charts are based on a uniform one minute wind loading and may not address the
additional factors that affect performance in a sloped installation.
The design factor is a minimum statistical factor that is often used by the designer in selecting
glass for buildings.If the situation warrants,the designer may choose to use a design factor
greater than 2.5,such as 5.0.The probability of glass breakage failure at a design factor of 2.5
is 0.8% or 8 panes per 1000 tested when subjected to an initial,uniformly applied wind load.At

a design factor of 5.0,the probability is 0.07%or 1 pane per 1000 tested.

Thermal Factors
For most orientations,incident solar radiation or inclined glazing applications will be
subsequently higher than on vertical glazing due to the angle of inclination.Also,thermal
stresses may be higher as they are dependent on glass centre to edge temperature difference
and not solely on the level of solar radiation.The increased level of solar radiation can affect the
performance of the glazing material. As the thermal performance between thermoplastics
differs considerably,from between less than 80 to 120 degrees centigrade, and as heat build up
in the sheet can reach very high temperatures, the designer should consult with various
thermoplastic manufacturers for additional technical information.Generally,a glazing material
manufacturer s brochure will include performance criteria (shading coefficients,U-values,etc)for
the various types and combinations of glazing materials.All glazing materials expand and
contract to a greater or lesser degree
The primary function of a skylight framing system is to provide a structurally sound support and
water control system,which will accommodate the glazing infill under load.The allowable
deflection of a glass support-framing member must not exceed the length of the span divided
by 175 of L/175 .Deflections exceeding this limit on two edges can effectively reduce glass
support from four edge to two edge.For plastics glazing materials,the allowable deflection must
not exceed the span divided by 100 of L/110 . The engineering staff of skylight or metal
framing system manufacturers should handle deflections and stresses associated with design
of the support framing.The structural aspects of the inclined glazing system must be carefully
integrated with the glazing rebate and drainage details to ensure proper performance.
Annealed,wired,heat-strengthened,tempered and laminated glass of equal size and thickness
has the same deflection behaviour under short-term (one-minute)uniform load conditions.Under
long-term loading and normal temperatures,laminated glass will deflect in proportion with its
component make-up. Glass -greater flexural strength or resistance to impact loading does not
indicate greater stiffness.The designer should also consider the differences in stiffness
between glass and plastic glazing materials. Plastics under normal use,,the deflection does
not exceed 50mm. Impact Impact Impact Impact Impact In general,skylights are not designed
to resist point type loads.The designer should examine the surrounding environment for
possibilities of impact loading (human,missile,etc).Precautionary measures such as handrailing
or protective screens are recommended whenever the probability of any such loading exists.
Point type impact load resistance varies considerably from one type of glazing material to
another. Undetected surface or edge damage in glazing materials may,in some cases,be
incorrectly assessed as spontaneous or mysterious breakage.The designer must also consider
the hazards of human impact or falling object impact from higher roof areas.In some cases,the
designer may specify that a protective white screen, shield or alternate glazing material be
situated above the skylight to protect installation.In some cases,the designer may specify that a
protective wire screen,shield or alternate glazing material be situated above the skylight to
protect installation.In general,the designer should contact the glazing material manufacturer for
recommendations regarding impact resistance.
When considering glass or plastic glazing,the specifier should ensure that whatever material is
chosen complies with relevant building regulations.The specifier and owner should be aware of
the potential glazing materiel replacement factors and associated costs for the various glazing
material options,before the specification is agreed upon.It should be noted that irregular
shaped panes or patterns do not easily lend themselves to efficient high volume
production.Specifiers should discuss this matter with designers at an early stage in order
ascertain any added problems and expenses which may be incurred with custom shape
glazing units. The following table outlines the basic properties and breakage characteristics of
commonly used glazing materials.Generally, most glazing materials are available in a wide
range of transparent tints and in some instances,reflective finishes manufacturers should be
consulted in this regard.

Laminated glass
There are currently two methods of manufacture whereby two or more sheets of ordinary
annealed glass are bonded together by using one or more sheet of a plastic interlayer such as
polyvinyl butyral (PVB)under heat and pressure,or alternatively,using a resin liquid
interlayer.The latter is called the cast-in-place method.
Laminated glass of proper strength and interlayer thickness has excellent retention
capability.When broken,the fragments of glass will tend to the interlayer,thereby affording
increased protection against falling glass.If broken by impact,the interlayer will resist
penetration of the impacting object.
Toughened glass
This glass is produced by subjecting ordinary annealed glass to a process of heating and rapid
cooling which produces high compression in the surface and compensating tension in the
centre of the glass.Toughened glass for this reason cannot be cut and should not be
drilled,surface or edge worked.The treatment endows the glass with greatly increased
resistance to impact, loading and thermal shock.Toughened glass is 4 5 times the strength of
ordinary annealed glass of the same dimension and thickness.
Laminated toughened glass
This is glass that has already been pre-stressed (by heat and controlled cooling,or chemical
treatment)which is then laminated together using PVB or resin liquid
Plastic glazing materials
There are two types of plastics commonly used in skylighting, namely acrylic and
polycarbonate (perspex).The support framing system must be properly designed to
accommodate different thermal movement and glazing flexibility under load as opposed to that
required for glass.The designer should consider that there are also differences in stiffness
between glass and plastics,and should be certain the proper thickness is used.Reference
should be made to appropriate sheet thickness tables and graphs published by manufacturers
once the design load has been determined.
Extruded aluminium members,where used,should be of the best commercial quality and proper
alloy and free from defects impairing strength and/or durability.Commercial alloy designation
6063 in extruded form is one of several alloys,which will meet the above requirements.
Aluminium used for sill,flashing,or similar,shall be formed from flat sheet.Commercial alloy
designation 3103 is one of several alloys, which will meet the above requirements. If anodised
exposed surfaces shall comply with SABS 999 and be of 25-micron thickness for coastal areas
and a minimum of 15 micros for inland areas. If powder coated,shall comply with SABS 1274
Wood members,where used,should be of a suitable strength material which has a moisture
content between 6%and 12%at the time of fabrication.
All exterior wood parts shall be treated with a suitable water- repellent finish Steel
members,where used,shall conform to either:SABS 727, SABS 1200II,or SABS 1200 IIA that
will meet the requirements of SABS 0162 All exterior steelwork shall be coated with a suitably
corrosion resistant treatment.
A suitable corrosion resistant,malleable sheet material shall be used for flashings,saddles and
drainage channels at abutments, junctions and valleys. Note:the following materials are
considered suitable:copper,zinc, alloy,lead,aluminium alloy,galvanised steel,fibreglass,or
bitumen based material.
Fasteners &Fittings
All fastening devices incorporated in the fabricated skylight,or used in the installation process
shall be of sufficient strength and quality to perform their intended function and shall be

compatible with any adjoining materials.

Hardware shall be of aluminium,stainless steel or other corrosion resistant materials,and be
compatible with any adjoining materials
Weather-stripping &Gaskets
Weather-stripping and gaskets shall be manufactured from any suitable material compatible
with adjoining materials,shall withstand atmospheric conditions and mechanically function
under use.
Sealants used in the fabrication,glazing or installation of the skylight shall be compatible with
other materials used in the construction of the skylight and shall have the properties necessary
to perform the function for which it is intended.
Installations &Glazing Procedures
The skylight shall be securely anchored,sealed and undamaged, ensuring that it will meet with
any performance test necessary. Glazing shall be carried out in accordance with SABS 0137.
Appointed Skylight Contractor
The appointed skylight contractor shall: Provide drawings showing design and installation
details for approval by the specifier
Provide a test performance certificate.

Pool checklist
Point out to the builder any sewer pipes or services that are underground.
Ask the builder
What it will cost if he hits rock. How much it will cost to remove the soil. Usually more soil than
you think.
Pool contract
See that your pool builder is a paid up member of the Master Builders Association, or the
N.S.P.I. See that there is a penalty clause for late completion.
Optional extras
There are many optional extras:
To build in Coloured plaster.
Additional paving.
To add on later Heaters, Braais or sunshades
Chlorinators Automatic cleaners
Building your own pool in Gunite or Concrete
Design criteria
(a) Maximum light
(b) Maximum privacy
(c) Maximum visibility from the housenear the pool
Phases of construction
(a) Setout

Plan where the pool is to be and mark it out accordingly (8m x 4m is a popular size by a
minimum of 150mm thick to allow for the pool shell
Do not make the pool to big as it appears double in size when paved.
This can be done manually or, alternatively, if the area allows, a T.L.B. (backactor) can be
used. The excavation process using a T.L.B. should only take one day.
Check the depths by stringing a line over the pool across two level pegs and measure against
the marked depths on a straight edge or plank.
(c) Levels
Put pegs at every 2m and level them. Set them 100mm below the top of the finished coping.
Reinforcing for Gunite pools
The minimum reinforcing required is as follows:
(a) Single layer of reference 200 high tensile steel fabric.
(b) An additional layer of reference 200 high tensile steel fabric for the cove which must overlap
1m on both sides.
(c) 4 x Y10 high tensile bars in ring beam spaced 100mm and to be continuous or R8 rods
placed throughout the pool at 200mm centres.
Reinforcing for hand-packed pools
(a) 5kg of steel reinforcing bars per 1 m2.
(b) The steel ring beam must be continuous
(c) Overlap steel at least 450mm at each joint. Block the steel off the earth with broken bricks
or concrete blocks 75mm.
Guniting can be sub-contracted to a swimming pool contractor. For a hand-packed pool, advice
on hand-pack retarded set and method can be obtained from a Ready Mix Cement company. A
maximum of nine labourers will be needed to complete this phase.
Accessories required include a light, weir and two inlet nozzles which can be procured from a
pool accessories store.
Coping, paving and waterline tile
Install perfectly level and plumb. Compact the ground before paving and form an expansion
joint between the paving and coping to allow for movement.
Check the type of filter required for a certain size pool. Installation would follow manufacturers
requirements for the particular pump.
Electrical connections which would include the pump, motor and light would be performed by a
registered Electrician and according to municipal regulations.
Marble plaster
Marble plaster is a durable coating applied to the shell of the pool. When applying marble
plaster, refer to manufacturers instructions for mixing and apply to a smooth, even finish. This
is very important as algae will gather on any rough surfaces and will be extremely difficult to
remove. This task may be subcontracted to a pool builder or pool service company.
Cleaning equipment:Cleaning equipment purchased from a pool accessories store.