Fix Forward partners with Home By Design

CAPE TOWN – In another exciting development for Fix Forward this year, we are proud to announce our new partnership with Home By Design, a full service interior design studio based in Constantia. Fix Forward founder, Joshua Cox, recently sat down with us to discuss the new partnership and the expected benefits for our tradesmen.

Fix Forward (FF): What does the partnership entail? 

Joshua Cox (JC): Home By Design offers quality kitchen and built-in cupboard design at an affordable price. As part of our long-term strategy to become the central hub for all things building, we refer potential clients who have expressed an interest in kitchen or cupboard projects to Home By Design, who then offer their design services. Once the design is complete, we pick up with the client again and get to work building their dream projects.

FF: How did the partnership come about?

JC: We get a lot of requests for kitchen refurbishments and built-in cupboards. Many of our clients have an idea of what they would like, but as the work progresses and they see the space change they often opt for changes or additions. This costs the client more money and takes longer. Home By Design is run by a good friend of mine, Sophia Roos, who worked for one of the premier kitchen design and installation companies in South Africa. Sophia is able to produce professional renders for clients that give them a good idea of what the space will look  like, before the project goes ahead. In fact, they did exactly this for my kitchen at home!

FF: How do you see this benefitting Fix Forward tradesmen?

Cabinetry is a precise art and having detailed drawings and measurements is a huge factor in ensuring that the projects run smoothly. As many people simply cannot afford to have professional drawings done it is often the case that our carpenters have to work off a basic description. This is obviously far from ideal and would result in our tradesmen having to expend extra time and energy to make the necessary corrections. By having professional plans in place from the beginning, our tradesmen are able to more accurately quote on exactly how much labour and materials are required. They are also gaining exposure to professional cabinet design, which increases their skillset as a result.

 

A recently completed Home By Design kitchen for a client in Cape Town.

FF: How would a customer make use of the service?

JC: At this stage it’s as simple as passing on contact details to someone who requires this  service. In time we may integrate into our own booking system, but for now we just pass on Home by Design’s contact details to the client.

FF: Are you looking to establish other such partnerships?

JC: Absolutely! We are in touch with a number of architects and have already been  referring clients who needs building plans drawn up. Up until now this has been a rather informal process, which we are looking to formalise in the next short while. We are always interested in exploring any additional services that can add value to clients.

FF: Would you be willing to accept partnership ‘requests’ or submissions?

JC: Indeed, if anyone feels they have a valuable service to potentially offer people looking to do renovations and maintenance, we encourage them to get in touch with us to discuss it further.

Book a Fix Forward Tradesman

 

Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects – Part 2

CAPE TOWN – In the second part of our series ‘Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects (Check out Part 1 here), this week we chat to recent client Bjorn Rudner, who was one of the first participants in our new service offering. We caught up with Bjorn to chat about his experience during the process.

How did you find out about Fix Forward?

It was actually just a simple Google search! I was impressed to find that Fix Forward takes accountability for their tradesmen’s work; it gave me comfort in making the decision without a recommendation. It’s really great to discover an organisation which has heart but also takes responsibility. In addition, I got many quotes and Fix Forward offered competitive prices which I found very reasonable.

Who was assigned to the job and how has the experience been so far?

Fanie Manjete, a  tradesman with 15 years experience, was assigned to the project. He has a great team and I was impressed with how he stuck to the schedule brilliantly, which also made the job run pretty smoothly. I wanted to start off with a smaller project before I committed to the whole renovation of my home, so I let him do the bathroom project first which was not a small job either don’t get me wrong; we had to bash out walls, move plumbing etc. so I’m happy to report I was thoroughly impressed with it all!

 

The completed bathroom – the first room tackled in the large project

Would you recommend FF to family & friends?

Most definitely! It’s tough to find organisations, or contractors for that matter, whom offer any sort of assurance. You hear horror stories so I just have to mention again that knowing FF takes responsibility for the people they represent and put forward is a huge game changer in the industry.

Was Fanie and his team water wise during the project?

Yes, absolutely! No using of the water hose to wash down driveways etc. And when the geyser needed emptying, it was poured straight into my garden.

Is there anything about the process you would change?

In all honesty, I really don’t have anything to pass on in this regard. Fanie and his team went above and beyond what was required. I’ll be using Fix Forward for the rest of my home renovations , so perhaps we can do a follow up later on this year!

Edit: Check out the follow up blog Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects – Part 3′ where we caught up with Bjorn to discuss how things went since we last spoke.

Book a Fix Forward Tradesman

 

Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 2

In the follow up to our original post ‘Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 1‘, we caught up with recent client Richard Thomas to discuss his experience using Fix Forward for the recent renovation on his family home in Claremont, Cape Town.

After deciding to give Fix Forward’s team of specialist contractors a try, Richard Thomas undertook to Project Manage the renovation himself in order to reduce costs and learn as much from the process as possible. And boy, did he learn! Below are some key findings.

Richard’s Key Learnings  – Post Construction / Renovation

  • The more you plan and prepare initially, the smoother the project will go.
  • Managing a project yourself requires significant time and effort, but it does help to ensure the end result is as aligned with your expectations as possible.
  • Do not be shy to communicate your ideas to your contractors – they are there to provide a service and should always try to realise your vision, whenever practically possible.

 

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Fix Forward painters hard at work.

Richard was incredibly happy with the standard of work delivered by Fix Forward, who had contractors working on bricklaying, joinery, tiling, plumbing and carpentry.

Handling the building was Fix Forward favourite Shepherd Mtyatya and his team. Shepherd was always available for a chat, whether in person or on the phone, and was meticulous in checking on the quality of work each day. All of the construction was completed to an incredibly high standard, and the team were more than happy to make alterations where requested. Check out a recent review of another of Shepherd’s projects here.

For all Richard’s carpentry needs, Yandisa Mpila took charge and ensured that the joinery was completed on time and according to specification. Richard was particularly concerned about a beautiful oak counter that he restored, so Yandisa and his team took great care in installing the counter in a way that both preserved and enhanced the wood.

Fix Forward plumber Marcus Sansvenga took care of all the tiling and plumbing throughout the house and received rave reviews from Richard. Hailed for being patient and professional, Marcus and his team took accountability for any inconsistencies and worked hand-in-hand with Richard to deliver a quality end product.

I would highly recommend Fix Forward to all family and friends looking to renovate or construct. They are professional and capable and made the experience of my own renovation as seamless as possible.” – Richard Thomas

Renovating your house? Starting a new build? Get A Quote!

 

Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 1

In the first of a new series of posts where we will be profiling our clients and their experiences with Fix Forward, this week we chat to recent client Richard Thomas and get his insight into the crucial decisions that need to be made when beginning a construction or renovation project. In Part 2 we check back in with Richard to find out how the project went and what he learnt from the experience.

Richard Thomas and his wife bought their house three years ago with the idea of adding value and then selling at the right time. This was inspired by his family constantly renovating whilst he was growing up, and from this Richard learnt to “buy the worst house in the best area”. The house backs on to the fields of Villagers in Claremont; and is therefore the perfect family home, central to everything.

 

fix forward richard thomas

Richard had big plans for his family home.

Initially Richard planned on adding another story to the house to take advantage of the mountain views, but decided against this for budgeting reasons. The main aim was to maximise the space of the property using what already existed and bringing out the best of what was already there. After conducting all his research and fine tuning his ideas, it was time to choose some contractors.

As a trustee of Fix Forward, Richard wanted to get some hands-on experience and see if the tradesmen live up to their reputations. With that in mind, his family renovation provided the perfect opportunity to put Fix Forward to the test! Check out ‘Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 2‘ to see how we did.

Richard’s Key Learnings  – Pre Construction/Renovation

  • Conduct market research into property prices in the area. What alterations are your neighbours making and how do they impact on market value?
  • Clearly define your ideas with detailed notes and reference images to show your contractor. This will help align expectations with reality.
  • Agree upon a detailed project timeline and budget with your contractor before beginning to ensure accountability and efficiency.

Have a project that requires our expert attention? Get A Quote!

Fanie Manjete’s Rondebosch Revival

Rondebosch, Cape Town – Fanie Manjete has been in construction for 13 years, moving up the ranks from a subcontractor who specialised in painting, paving and plastering, all the way up to the role of Project Manager in 2007. Having worked on many houses in both the northern and southern suburbs of Cape Town, Fanie has developed a reputation for completing his builds and home renovations both on time and to an exceptionally high standard. Ever the student, in his free time he loves to read up about new developments and techniques in the South African construction industry in order to keep abreast and ahead of the pack.

 

Fanie_Manjete_Team

Fanie (first from left) and his capable team.

As he wraps up another successful project, Fix Forward got down to Fanie’s latest site to find out a little more about how he and his team does things. Completing the finishing touches on this beautiful Rondebosch family home, he told us all about the ins and outs of his projects and ran us through a few of the challenges and successes – the latter including the dreamy double volume ceilings of which Fanie is so proud.

 

double_volume_ceilings

The build featured beautiful double-volume ceilings and expansive glass panelling to maximise natural light.

Despite full and careful planning, Fanie explained how projects such as these often give rise to unexpected difficulties. In this case, being a wintertime build in the Southern Suburbs with major glass panels, Fanie faced the prospects of severe rain delays and wind-induced material damage. The inclement weather – the scourge of Cape Town builders – threatened to adversely affect the installation of all the striking glass panels around the home; however, with some good project management and a reliable glass subcontractor, the project was able to move ahead on schedule.

Although challenging at the time, difficulties such as those described above provide an invaluable opportunity to learn from mistakes going forward, and Fanie does this with aplomb. This particular house has been one of his best projects, and has consistently attracted and inspired neighbours who are now planning to use Fanie for builds or renovations of their own.

 

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The family home from the exterior.

The family, set to move in in early August, are extremely happy with their new home. This is testament to the skill and workmanship of Fanie and his team, with each task carefully and meticulously completed. Although he enjoys all types of construction work, Fanie says that bathrooms and kitchens have become his speciality, which is clear to see in the intricate tile work and precision finishing in this build.

Like what you see? Contact us for a quote! 

 

kitchen

Quality finishing on the kitchen fittings result in an elegant open plan living space.

 

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Fanie and his team were meticulous in their attention to detail and maintained a tidy, safe site at all times.

With handover fast approaching, Fanie is excited for all the new projects and opportunities that showcasing this beautiful home has bought him, and hopes that all his projects continue to be both on budget and time. We have no doubt they will be!

Exceptional Recognition For Cabinetmaker, Shamieg Rayban

When a client sends you an official letter as well as a R1,000 voucher for your own personal use as a token of thanks for a job well done, you know that you’ve completely surpassed their expectations.

Skilled cabinetmaker Shamieg Rayban recently completed a contract at Western Province Golf Union’s Royal Cape offices to the value of over R80,000. As we mentioned in a previous post, they were delighted, and so were we. Then Shamieg received the following letter as well as a voucher that he used to buy himself a tablet for his business, increasing his productivity and enabling him to communicate even more effectively with his clients.

By doing a contract to the best of his ability, pulling out all the stops to ensure that the customer was completely satisfied and offering the brilliant client service that has impressed us from the first day we met Shamieg, he has been handsomely rewarded, not just in terms of the actual gift and letter but by the acknowledgement of his calibre and professionalism.

To say that Shamieg is over the moon is an understatement. We are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate what he, and our other skilled tradesmen of trust are capable of.

No More Scary Renovation Stories

Gladman Maphuma, skilled building contractor

Gladman Maphuma, skilled building contractor on the Fix Forward team in Cape Town

Any wonder the building industry has such a shocking reputation: everyone these days seems to have a horror story about a renovation project or home build that has gone terribly wrong. If it wasn’t you personally, the chances are good that you have a friend or neighbour that has a tale to tell about the nightmare process that it was.

Fortunately, if you do your planning carefully – most importantly, what you need and what you can afford – and appoint a reliable and reputable building contractor, the process needn’t be the traumatic – and expensive – comedy of errors that so many people seem to expect and, unfortunately, experience.

No matter what your building project, additions, renovations or a complete new home, the choice of building contractor is without a doubt the single most important factor in the various choices you need to make during the project period. You might have appointed the best architect, have a huge budget for top quality finishes and materials but this cannot in any way compensate for shaky workmanship and structural unsoundness.

A good building contractor values his reputation and will put in extra effort to satisfy his client in every way, but, remember choosing the right building contractor would in most cases not be choosing the least expensive one. Even the most skilled builder cannot do a good job for less than its true price.

Fix Forward’s strict selection process ensures that only the best of the best tradesmen and building contractors are invited onto our programme. Things that we check include how long they have been in the industry, whether they have an extensive and reliable network of material suppliers and sub-contractors and we fully investigate their track record, including doing site assessments and getting references from previous clients.

Getting Quotations

Ask to be provided with a detailed cost estimate and in the event that this cannot be provided consider getting quotes from other contractors who would be willing to provide you with a detailed layout. Not knowing what you are quoted on specifically is the quickest way of getting into a dispute with your builder. If you get tenders from more than one contractor, keep in mind that in most cases the cheapest one is not necessarily the best so be sure about the contractor before signing anything.

The Building Contract

Never start any building work without a written and signed contract in place between you, the employer and the contractor (in our case, the quote and contract will be between yourself and Fix Forward, as our head office handles the process). A written quotation and signed acceptance of the agreed price with protect both parties in the event of a dispute or in arbitration.

The contract should be very comprehensive without any loop holes and should be drawn up by a professional or an accepted pre-written contract. Clearly specify all work to be done on paper or plans, and clearly state project start and completion dates. Ensure a fixed price for all work to be done, and make provision for recourse against builder defaults. It is customary to include an agreement for delays and penalties, to clearly specify special items or appliances to be installed, and to make provision for disputes that might arise and that cost is for both parties in the event of arbitration.  It is also important to agree as to how the site will be arranged in terms of storage, water & electricity supply and ablutions for the workers.

Payment

Payment for large jobs is usually divided in increments of project stages completed or specialist items completed by sub-contractors where the main contractor will invoice for these items separately. Be wary of a builder who asks for large deposits before any work is carries out. Too many owner home builders have lost money with financially unsound contractors.

Your home is one of the most valuable financial assets, so you should never compromise on the quality of your home or the person you are entrusting with building it. You can rest assured that Fix Forward has done the necessary background checks to ensure that any of the tradesmen on our books are the cream of the crop, with professionalism guaranteed.

Remember that we are currently recruiting for skilled building contractors in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. We are extremely strict in terms of who we take on to our training and development programme as we only work with the best, so please read through our selection criteria on our website and refer someone if you feel they are a good match.

Source: Spancon, South Africa’s most efficient concrete slab supplier and erector.