FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I start?

Give us a call to set up a meeting with some freshly brewed coffee!
Your starting point will depend on where your project or concept is at. If you already have design ideas or still need a complete concept design, we will assign one of our architects and finalize your concept and produce all the necessary construction drawings.
If you have all your plans on paper, your next step will be to consult with a QS in order to discuss your budget and finances and that the project can be costed.
Already have your plans and costing? Then we can sit with you to review the plans and costing and assign a project manager who will realise your plan until completion.

What happens at our initial meeting?

During our initial meeting we find out how we can help you with the project. We gather as much as possible information, suggest what the next step would be and get the ball rolling!

How do you charge for initial meetings?

Our initial meetings is free of charge. Unless of course you would like us to organise a sit down dinner meeting on a space craft (we will have to ask a deposit then to recover some of the overheads).

Do I have to make use of all 7Storeys’ services or can I hand pick the ones I want to use?

You can hand pick the services depending on the services that you require for your project. We provide our services individually or in aggregate. The more services we provide to you, the more discount we apply to our fees for the project.

How much will it cost me to build per square?

How long is a rope?
This is one of the first questions new clients asks, but it all depending on the finishes that you require or want in your house/on your project. Per square rates can vary from R7500 per square to R45000 + per square meter. All depending on the finishes you require.

How much will my 300m2 house cost?

It’s like asking how much will a motor vehicle cost that has 4 wheels and 4 side doors? You can get a vehicle that costs 1/10th of another, similar build but very different materials and finishes. Similar to this you can build a house with basic finishes where it might cost you R10,000 per square meter for finishes, or you can have imported and exotic finishes that pushes up the finishes cost up to R48,000 per square meter. Your taste in finishes will be the final determination of what the cost is per square meter for finishes. Going up a level or two also significantly increases the cost.

How do you calculate your fees?

Our fees are calculated as a percentage of the total construction cost as a start. The size of the project will also influence the percentage that is used, another factor is the amount of services that is used from 7Storeys. Our fees are calculated on a sliding scale. Discounts comes into play when more than one service from 7Storeys is used on a project.

What benefits do I get when I make use of all 7Storeys’ services?

The main benefit is that you will only need to communicate with one professional team (7Storeys). You will not have to run to and from one professional to another to get the correct information to the right person. We can manage our internal teams to focus and sort out work on your project should it be urgent – if you have two companies working on a solution to a problem you have the risk that they don’t plan together.

Will we need any other professionals on our projects?

This will depend on the size and complexity, but normally the only other professionals that is required is engineers. We work closely with engineers from different disciplines, and we can do all the communication with them saving you the time to meet another company for the project.

My house is already built, can I still contact you or do you only work on new builds?

You are more than welcome to contact us. We do new builds, build-ons and renovations.

Do you apply certain project value limits when accepting new work, or can you do any size of project?

We are open to any size of project. We are however not one of those companies that says “We can do everything!”. If we asses the project and realise we will need to get other companies on board to ensure the success thereof, we will communicate this to you and get others onboard – we will still stay the main contact for you so it won’t increase the amount of professionals you have to deal with.

What is the smallest project you have handled for clients?

To date, the smallest job we have done is probably the light fitting we changed for our neighbours.

Is 7Storeys’ services considered as value for money?

We believe so, and that is probably one of the contributors of why we are still in existence. We play open cards with our clients from day one to ensure we don’t have to “explain” overruns or issues later on. Other companies might lure you in by leaving out material aspects of your project from their quote just to get you hooked. We on the other hand go through all the detail with you and make you aware of items/services which you might not have thought about before.

I can’t completely shut down my business operations during the build-on/renovations. Will you be able to do my project in stages?

Yes, we will definitely be able to help you out. We once renovated a restaurant (breaking out, building, painting, fitting out…) in 6 stages without them having to close for one day. It is however dependent on local laws and landlords (should you not be the owner of the property).

Your head office is based in Table View, would you travel for projects as well? And only in South Africa or Internationally as well?

We travel often nationally and internationally, so it won’t be a problem.

Does 7Storeys have Public Indemnity insurance?

7Storeys have sufficient and applicable insurances in place for our professional services. Should a project require specific adjustments, we normally get a project specific policy in place as well.

Why do I need an architect to design my project? Can I not get a draughtsman to design and just pay an architect to check and sign off and submit my plans?

Architects are taught in a way and have to pass rigorous exams to ensure that the process they follow when designing spaces are effective. They tackle certain items (for example foundation layouts and services) early on in the design phase to ensure there is no unnecessary complications later on that will delay the design phase. Our architects also does research for each site and take costs of construction into account. On average architects have to study 5 years and need do 2 year internship to become a Professional Architect – draughting courses can be done in 6-12 months. In conclusion, you can definitely get a draughtsman to design your house, just ensure they have sufficient experience to cover all technical and design fascist to bring out the best of your project without unnecessary delays – do we suggest this process, unfortunately not.

Does 7Storeys have experience with Heritage buildings?

Yes, we have been involved in alterations and new-build construction with heritage buildings getting design clearance from all the councils involved.

What is 7Storeys’ style of architecture?

Architectural styles does not exist in contemporary designs. Designs are created through site’s geography, topography and restrictions within the context.

What does your architectural service cost?

Our Architectural fees is calculated as a percentage of the total project value using a sliding scale. This can range from 1.5% to 8,90%.

I would like an independent architect to review my plans to see if it has been designed smartly taking into account cost effective layouts. Can you help?

Yes, we have helped numerous clients with this. For this we charge an hourly fee and the rate is dependent on how big the project is.

I don’t have copies of my project’s plans anymore, and can’t get hold of the architect. How will you be able to work on the project?

Once a clients fills in the necessary forms and provide us with the required information we would be able to draw approved plans from the relevant council. Worst case, our draughting team will go in and measure up what you currently have.

Why is it important for me to have a “budget in mind” when contacting you for architectural services?

Designs are generated with cost in mind due to cost deviating per square meter depending on the amount of site works required before the start of a project, the construction method to be used and the clients choice of materials.

Can I hire someone else to build off your plans?

Yes, clients get to choose which services they want to make use of throughout the project.

What is 3D Architectural Visualization/Rendering?

3D Architectural Visualization/Rendering is a service we provide to both private and commercial clients. Whether you struggle to read 2D plans or if you are a developer wanting marketing material for your buildings; With our software we help you build the project in its final form.

How much does a rendered image cost?

The cost of 3D Architectural Rendering in most cases varies widely based on numerous parameters, such as – design complexity, number of views, size, location and required finishes. On average you can expect to pay between R5,000-12,000 for a photorealistic image. We do have “less realistic” packages should your budget not allow for photorealistic images. Images also gets cheaper for every additional render you take for a project.

Why are you not an architectural firm, and will it negatively affect my project?

To be classified as an architectural firm, 75% of the partners should be registered as Professional Architects. At 7Storeys we have a range of professionals in the building industry which would benefit the client. Neither you or your project will be negatively affected – in fact you will be in a better position as our professionals are more “rounded” because they learn from each other’s disciplines on a daily basis.

What can I do to reduce 3D image’s costs?

Providing us with existing working drawings (FBX or Revit format), reference images (interior/exterior) and finishes/materials for your building, will reduce the render costs.

Do you offer more than one visualization package?

Yes, we offer 3 different render packages.
#1 – Clay: Your images renders with grey shaded objects.
#2 – Textured: Textures and materials are added to the Clay render in post-production.
#3 – Photorealistic: You will receive a photorealistic representation of your Architectural drawings, with most textures and lighting rendered before post production starts.

How long does it take per image to be ready?

The process of replicating a photo is a very time consuming artistry with several stages before rendering can begin. We can give you a better indication once we see your project.

Why can’t the 3D Visualizations be ready when my architectural concepts are ready? What is taking so much extra time?

The architectural design drawings are imported into 3D software. The 3D process can only begin once the approved architectural drawings are complete and all finishes and materials have been approved by the client. It’s like eating a cake – you can’t eat the cake while the ingredients are still being mixed or when it’s still in the oven.

Can you cost from the plans I have from another architect, or do you only cost off plans that 7Storeys’ architects drew up?

We can cost from any plans subject to it having enough detail. Should more detail be required then our drawing office will be able to help out.

Why do I need 7Storeys to prepare my Bill of Quantities? Can’t I just go to a building supplier and for example just multiply tile prices with the amount of squares that I have?

Building ‘from the plan’ will leave you with a whole lot of extra expenses that you didn’t budget for. For example, when you do tiling it is not only tiles that comes into play but also tile glue (and the right amounts, otherwise you will sit with loose tiles a few months down the line), grout (where the quantities will be determined by the thickness of the grout line, which in turn is again determined by the type of tile), labour etc.

What does your quantity surveying service cost?

Our QS fees is calculated as a percentage of the total project value using a sliding scale. This can range from 0,99% to 5,90%.

Does your quantity surveying service only provide one option of costing, or is there more than one type of document you can compile for clients?

Quantity Surveying in the broad sense has a few aspects. You can request us to just do an elemental estimate, initial quantity surveying, setting up a document for tender, official quantity surveying as well as on-site quantity surveying.

I can manage my own project part time. Why would someone pay 7Storeys to project manage their projects when they do have time to do it themselves?

It is like ‘doctoring’ yourself at home when you are really sick. You will be able to help yourself a bit, but at the end of the day there is certain crucial points that will be missed and we, as professionals, will be able to identify and address these for your project,. Also, managing your own project more often than not adds to the expenses in terms of the project stretching out longer than you would like. We professionally manage the project from start to finish and setup a construction program.

The construction company doing the work, already said they provide project management services for the project at a much lower rate. What is the difference between their project management and 7Storeys’ project management services?

This level of project management will already be better than none or self management. However, should it happen that the contractor runs into problems in the construction period they will ‘act in their best will’, whereas 7Storeys will act 100% on behalf of the client to ensure that the project deadlines is met.