South African Things

4 Cheapest Ways To Build A House In South Africa (2023)

Everybody desires the privacy and sense of stability that comes with owning your own home, but when the cost comes to mind, many just give up on that dream. If only they knew about all the cheap ways to build a house in South Africa, and so make the dream of homeownership a reality without necessarily falling into debt, or breaking the bank; maybe they would think differently.

These days, frugal, minimalist houses are actually becoming more popular, and the younger population is beginning to embrace this lifestyle choice. Whether this is just a fashionable trend or something that has come to stay remains to be seen, but the many benefits continue to be highlighted.

For the many people who have seen minimalist homes on the internet, or who have heard about the possibility of owning cheaply built homes, the following paragraphs contain information about possible cheap building options that you can explore.

Cheapest Ways To Build A House In South Africa

1. Build a Small House

If you are interested in saving money on your building project then a major factor to consider is the size of your house. Make sure your building project is small enough to reduce costs but spacious enough to meet the needs of your family. You would be surprised how much you can save by just reducing a few square meters from your building plan.

2. Choose Straightforward Designs

A frugal house should be a simple house. A lot of money is spent on arches, contours, and other aesthetics of buildings, and you can avoid that spending by choosing a simpler design, one that is straightforward, and easy to build. If you are good at gardening and decorating, your house can still have that wow effect when you decorate it with potted plants and flowers.

3. Buy Readily Surveyed Land

Sometimes, you find that preparing a plot of land for building can take away a huge chunk from your budget. So if you want the cheapest ways to build a house in South Africa, surveying the land, filling it with sand to even it up and remove water-logging, and also clearing the trees and bushes. All these can remove money from your pocket, and when you are ready to build, you find yourself short of cash.

4. Use Cheap Building Materials

There are so many cheap building materials that you can use, instead of the traditional cement blocks. Many of these building materials can be termed industrial waste, and are readily available, for less than half the costs of building blocks. Below we list out some cheap building materials that you can use for your own home.

Prefab materials

The origins of Prefabricated buildings are unclear, but there are records showing that this style of building existed in America about a century ago. This option seems to be becoming popular again. The materials are already fabricated, and the intending home-owner only needs to assembly the prefabricated building materials on his cleared plot of land.

The option is cheap because only basic and cheap materials are used, and the materials are prepared in a factory. You just place your order and it is delivered to you.

Concrete slabs

Concrete slabs are solid and hard, but surprisingly low-cost building materials, especially when mass-produced with the intention of being fitted together as a building. Think of them as giant lego blocks that are fitted together to create simple, durable houses, that are actually livable. One can also consider them an improvement on the prefabricated building materials highlighted above.


Stone cladding is one of the hardest, most durable, naturally occurring, and low-cost construction materials available to man. This has been used since the history of evolved man. However, we maintain that it will take a lot more work to build houses made of stone than any of the materials we have highlighted above.

Old shipping containers

The use of old shipping containers is one of the cheapest ways to build a house in South Africa. When you visit a congested port and see so many containers lining the place, you start to wonder if these containers will not one day crowd out our living space. In truth, they are doing just so- in a wonderful way! When you see the remarkable homes that are designed from old shipping containers, you are just impressed by man’s ingenuity. Not to mention the fact that they are cost-effective, extremely durable, and simple.

Old shipping containers are opening up more opportunities; some architects, designers, and entrepreneurs are actually designing and selling pre-made container homes. You just pay for it, and it is delivered to your location.

Traditional red brick

The westerners claim to have developed the red clay brick as a building material, but this is arguable. Africans have been using red bricks to building homes for such a long time. Taken from the earth and moulded by hand, this is one of the cheapest, most abundant building materials you will ever find. However, if you want to build with bricks today, you should use the red bricks that were made industrially because they have been hardened through heat.

Red bricks give your home this classy, solid look, and they make the house quite cool- almost as if the temperature were regulated.

Corrugated metal

Corrugated metal is already quite popular as a building material; it has long been used on the roofs of houses for over a hundred years. Although previously, it was more or less seen as a material more suited to building business centers and workshops, these days many people use it for building their hoses as well. So what if the houses still have an industrial style or feel, as long as you feel comfortable, you’re your wife is not complaining, then go for it.


Bamboo has been used as a cheap building material since the time of our grandparents. In modern times it seems that it has been the Japanese who have come to appreciate its durability, and aesthetic qualities, thus bringing it back into fashion. Bamboo is a natural material that lasts long, you would be surprised to find out all the impressive new designs that builders can make with bamboo.

Reclaimed timber

Did you know that most of the timber that is used for industrial purposes including cargo delivery is made from selected wood that is resistant to damage from pests? Why let such good wood go to waste when you can actually use it to make a solid home for yourself and your family? So Reclaimed timber is an affordable way to build houses in South Africa.

Reclaimed timber can give you this ancient-modern feel to your house, you can decide to paint it, or just live it as it is. Don’t forget how durable this building material can be; it can be more solid than most other building materials, and it is resistant to pests. This building material is light, sturdy, and solid.

Industrial iron

Industrial Iron is a mostly disused metal that was previously used to build something but has now been scrapped. You may still have to cut and model it to shape with the help of a welder, especially if you are not trained in metal works or engineering, but this is an incredibly strong and durable building material.


There is no shortage of cheap building materials to choose from, but it all depends on your exposure to information, and your willingness to try new ideas. Many of these building ideas come from the need to get rid of industrial materials that are no longer needed. Hence, they are cheap and readily available. However, a major factor to consider is the availability of man-power to actually help you do the building work- if the workers do not do a great job, the results could be disappointing.