Regulations could limit industry’s productivity

Building permits could mean the delay of construction projectsThe Institute for Work at Height (IWH) has identified specific issues in the May 11 amended draft of the Construction Regulations 2010, under section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, No 85 of 1993, which could lead to a backlog in permit authorization, and a decrease in construction work and the employment of work-at-height technicians, IWH national executive committee member Hein Stapelberg reports.

“The IWH is currently involved in, and closely monitoring, the review of these regulations as some of the proposed changes to the construction regulations were negative, and the IWH has submitted exhaustive comment on the proposed revision to the National Department of Labour director-general,” he says.

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Building confidence bounces back but remains low

Construction man working with planFirst National Bank (FNB) said on Wednesday that building activity continued to contract during 2010 and that it expected confidence in the sector to remain low for some time.

Nevertheless, the FNB Building Confidence Index did rebound slightly during the third quarter of the year to 29, after falling from 30 to 24 during the second quarter of 2010. At 29, the index is still very low compared to the levels of 80 plus reached during the period 2005 to 2007.

Even so, the present level is still above 11, the lowest point reached during the previous downturn. This suggested that the index had probably not reached its lowest point and could decline further during upcoming quarters, said FNB chief economist Cees Bruggemans.

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Improvements that pay

Kitchens are sound improvementsSome luxurious but costly improvements that are commonly viewed as value-builders are actually losers when it's time to sell.

The real dogs in terms of payback at resale are luxury items that are highly individual to the owner's taste. Things like Jacuzzis and tennis courts are very low on the payback scale. Saunas are a complete waste of money as are Koi ponds and water features.

The most definite way to recoup costs

Kitchen improvements are perhaps the most definite way to recoup your revamping costs, depending on the nature of the changes and assuming that you don't spend too much relative to the value of the home.

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Cramped interiors are unpleasant

Cramped interiors are unpleasant - Mike Greeff gives 5 tips on how to improve.

With many homes these days being smaller than those of yesteryear, it has become essential to find ways of making interiors look bigger, says Mike Greeff, Chief Executive of Greeff Properties.

He has, he says, on several occasions found that some or all of the following steps can greatly improve the ‘feel’ of a home’s interior.

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Do not overinvest when improving a home

Although has always been an enthusiastic proponent of regular ongoing renovations and upgrades in a home – “They usually add far more than they cost to the home’s final value” – every upgrade should be tackled with an eye on the value of other homes in the area, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties.

“When people are fortunate to have enough money for almost any type of improvement,” said Greeff, “there is a danger that they will overspend and create a home which is so luxurious and comfortably fitted out that it exceeds the average value for the better homes in its area, not just by 20 or 30% but by far more.

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