Cooking During A Power Outage – brought to you by BUCO

Cooking During A Power Outage – brought to you by BUCO

Nothing can spoil your dinner plans quicker than load-shedding. However, if you’re prepared for cooking without electricity, then a power outage won’t put your dinner on pause.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to get your dinner going when the power is out.

Gas Cooking Essentials:

Cooking During A Power Outage

There’s no better way to grill, cook, boil, fry, simmer or stew than when cooking on a gas stove. When used with proper care, gas can be a handy, quick alternative to the extended task of starting a manual fire on the braai. With so many cooker options available, there’s no excuse to go with uncooked food during load-shedding – if you have all these gas cooking essentials:

    This simply attachment can be connected directly to the gas cylinder to provide you with an instant stove-like surface for cooking. This item is used for cooking single-pot meals, boiling water & “Skottel”-braaing.
    A basic attachment that provides your gas cylinder with a cooker attachment for pots & pans. This item is used for cooking smaller meals, or as a cheaper alternative to using an electric stove.
    A more aesthetically-pleasing attachment that replaces the conventional stovetop with 2 gas burners, each with their own regulation dial. It is connected via a hose to the gas cylinder. This item is used for cooking larger meals & is an affordable alternative to using an electric stove.
    This portable stove is powered by a gas cartridge and provides a single top for cooking. This item is perfect for camping and cooking smaller meals or boiling water.


Always store your gas cylinders upright in a well-ventilated area. Ensure it is properly sealed and free from flammable materials or heavy piercing objects. Regularly check your cylinders for leaks, especially before and after use.

Braai Essentials:

Cooking During A Power Outage

It’s no secret that Southern Africans don’t need an excuse to braai, but what better excuse is there than load-shedding? Here is a list of all the essentials you need to get the grill going:


    Matches can simply be struck and dropped into the fire without burning your hands, arms or face. Long-necked lighters allow you to ignite the fire while keeping your hands safely out of reach.


    Everyone has their own braai style – love them or hate them, firelighters provide an easy start to any well-built fire.


    Wooden logs provide a longer burning time but need more heat to start burning, that’s why it is a good idea to combine twigs and charcoal when packing your fire.


    Braai tongs are an easy way to turn all kinds of loose pieces of food so they get cooked evenly on the fire. Braai grids assist in turning larger selections of meat all in one go.


    From cooking stews to searing meat, cooking on cast iron over a fire gives your food a uniquely delicious taste.


    There is a whole range of specialist cooking attachments available for your braai, which can introduce new methods of cooking, from rotisserie motors, smokers & griddles to rib stands & more.


    It is essential to keep your braai grid clean & grease-free. This is not only for the health of your food but also for the health of your fire.

Any leftover grease on the grid can drip or fall into the fire and douse the flames or create unnecessary smoke. Using a grid brush, along with boiling water in a  designated cleaning area can help keep your braai grid in good condition for longer.


BUCO stocks a wide range of braais that will suit your every need. From the smallest kettle braai to the largest gas cooker – your braai needs are sorted.


    It is essential to keep your braai grid clean & grease-free. This is not only for the health of your food but also for the health of your fire.

Any leftover grease on the grid can drip or fall into the fire and douse the flames or create unnecessary smoke. Using a grid brush, along with boiling water in a  designated cleaning area can help keep your braai grid in good condition for longer.

    If your braai area is uncovered, it is essential to get a cover for your braai so it does not get damaged and weathered over time. Many braais are sold along with their covers. If not, the covers can be bought separately.



Always monitor your braai’s embers after the braaing is done. Never dispose of hot ash or coals into a dustbin bag. Douse your fire when done braaing if needed.

No braai or gas stove handy? Try building a mini rocket stove! This simple device can be made from basic materials and tools, plus it has the added benefit of burning away completely when done and it also uses organic materials.


    • Pine Par (16cm x 22cm x 22cm)
    • Power drill
    • 22mm spade drill bit
    • Lighter/matches
    • 2 x smaller blocks of wood


  1. Drill a hole vertically, down the middle of the pine, up to about 2cm from the bottom.
  2. Turn the pine on its side, then drill a hole about 4cm from the bottom to meet up with the vertical hole, so there is an L-shaped hole in the block of pine. Your rocket stove is now ready.
  3. Collect the wood shavings and some twigs. Pile the wood shavings at the bottom inside the rocket stove. Stack the twigs vertically down the hole at the top of the pine block. Don’t stack the hole too tightly, otherwise, it will not burn properly.
  4. Light your shavings & the twigs and ensure the bottom hole is pointing towards a steady airflow, so that oxygen can keep moving through and keep the flame ignited.
  5. Use 2 smaller blocks of wood as struts at the top of the hole once your fire is going. This is where you will balance your pot, so that it does not douse the flame by cutting off the oxygen supply.
  6. A full medium pot of water will take approximately 35 minutes to boil on this simple little stove.
  7. Once it has done burning, get rid of any hot ashes safely and use the leftover wood on your next fire.

Visit BUCO St Francis Bay or shop online to get all the tools and products you need to keep cooking during load-shedding or on your next camping trip.


Pro Tips on Project Cost Management presented by BUCO

Pro Tips on Project Cost Management presented by BUCO

Being able to finish a build within budget often feels like a pipe dream.

Costs can easily spiral out of control if a project isn’t managed systematically. Often, cost overruns affect the profitability of your business, but also affects your potential for future success.

In order to remain profitable, it is crucial that your building operation implements Project Cost Management. This is the process of estimating, budgeting and controlling the cost of your build, with the purpose of keeping your expenditures within the forecasted budget.

Successful builds need to deliver on the requirements of the job, using quality materials, reflecting high caliber workmanship, within both the schedule and the budget. Hence, Project Cost Management becomes a key strategy for effective delivery as it helps to create a financial baseline against which you can benchmark your current expenses in order to know what room there is for adjustments should the project need it.

The process of Project Cost Management entails Resource Planning, Cost Estimation and Budgeting and Cost Control.

Resource Planning

Tips on Project Cost Management

In the Resource Planning stage, it is important to determine which craftsmen, materials and potential equipment a build may require. This is done before a project is started and implements learnings from previous projects. An important caution in this stage is to factor in time and potential delays due to weather, stock availability or equipment availability.

Bringing in partners or other contractors with specialist expertise that may be required for a project could also be considered, but can affect the cost of the project. In effect, it is important to balance the strengths of your team with the skills required for the build.

Cost Estimation and Budgeting

Tips on Project Cost Management

This is the process of putting a price to the resource requirements from the planning stage. It entails setting the staffing rates, material costs, potential equipment hire if needed, against the realistically estimated timeline of the project.

A key part of the planning phase starts with the designing of the building by an architect or draughtsman. If they are not given a realistic provisional budget, they might design a building that exceeds the costs in size.

People also often design without considering the available budget, and then need to cut costs when it comes to finishings.

It is also important to estimate your costs by looking at similar previous projects and to continuously benchmark with others in the industry. Additionally, you need to assess potential risks or assumptions that could affect your project delivery. This entails ensuring a proper evaluation of the existing site in order to identify possible problems you may encounter in the build. You can also set a threshold for hidden costs that may arise in the project.

Costs can range between R7,000 – R25,000 per m2 but these costs can also increase on a monthly basis.

Although it is arguably the most difficult step in the Project Cost Management process, it is crucial to get the cost estimate as accurate as possible and to work with a sufficient profit margin in order to ensure that hidden costs are accounted for, while still ensuring that you make money when the project is completed.

The key is to get your project budget as close to the actual costs as possible to ensure your success.

Cost Control

Tips on Project Cost Management

The control of your costs entails managing the variances of the actual cost with your projections and taking appropriate actions. This could entail shifting budget between material costs, or reducing the scope of the work while keeping in line with the customer’s expectations.

Cost Control is a continuous process and it is important to constantly keep tabs on every aspect of the build. At the end of each day and week, keep assessing what has been done and how it compares to the projection and adjust accordingly. Keep the threshold you previously set in mind and take appropriate action as early in the process as possible.

Constant awareness of the finer aspects of the build and open communication with staff and partners will be key to ensure that the project stays on track.

Build with BUCO

Opening a BUCO Account can help you to more easily manage your material cost projections and also ensures that you have the facilities to easily control your costs. We also offer clear material cost estimations, delivery and specialist advice at our contractor’s counter.

You can open a BUCO 30 Day Customer Account here.

Previous Buco DIY Tips

How To Craft A DIY Contingency Fund Presented By BUCO

How To Craft A DIY Contingency Fund Presented By BUCO

The importance of contingency planning

For the first-time DIYer and the experienced renovator alike, budgeting for a renovation project can be a daunting task. Impulsive decisions taken on a whim will quickly add to unplanned expenses, turning your dream home renovation into bloated beast of burden. The rule of thumb is that, no matter what, there should always be room to accommodate hidden and unexpected costs. Setting up a contingency budget is not just a good idea – it is absolutely essential.

A contingency budget is a budget that covers unexpected expenses such as unforeseen increases in costs and labour. Should problems arise, not having a contingency plan in place could delay the whole project or even prevent work from being completed.

In this article we’ll give you the basic outline of the contingency planning process and what it should contain.

 Craft A DIY Contingency Fund

Start by asking “What can go wrong?”

Be prepared by considering all the risk areas and unmeasurable aspects of your renovation project and ensure that you have a back-up plan in place. A prudent approach will prove profitable in the long run, so when drawing up your contingency plan, try to undertake the following:

  • Contractors & Subcontractors – It’s a good idea to have a backup list of subcontractors ready – just in case one backs out at the last moment, or is not working out. Communication is key between you and the contractor especially prior to the project, this will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and outcomes.
  • Hidden obstacles – Consult your home’s building plans and do a property inspection with a professional builder before you start budgeting. There may be some underlying issues within the walls, plumbing, ceiling or foundation that will require extra planning and materials to avoid disaster.
  • Materials – Ensure that your contractor and subcontractors provide you with a complete breakdown list of all materials needs for every aspect of the project. If you need help projecting material costs, visit our instore Contractor’s Counter to speak to one of our specialists.


Know the lingo and process:

There are 3 different ways to request pricing, to ensure the correct relationship is established between you & the contractor/subcontractor.

  • RFQ (Request For Qualifications) – Simply requesting paperwork concerning qualifications or a portfolio of completed projects.
  • RFP (Request For Proposal) – This is the next step and concerns requests about pricing, etc.
  • Hard Bid – This is when all bid documents are complete and a lump sum is decided on.

IMPORTANT: Waiting for paperwork can be frustrating, especially when you’re running over schedule. It’s a good idea to factor in at least 6 weeks extra into your renovation schedule, to make room for resource and building consents.


Calculating contingency is not an exact failproof science, however as a rule of thumb, most construction projects use a construction contingency percentage rate of between 5% and 10% of the total budget. It is always better to have a bigger margin – as mentioned before, not having a contingency plan in place could prevent work from being completed and delay the whole project.

Whether your renovation project is colossal or conservative, it’s always best to put a contingency plan in place. Luckily at BUCO, our cost estimation experts can assist you in the process of setting up a renovation budget, with all the contingencies in place.

Previous Buco DIY Tips

Angle Grinders: Tool and Safety Tips

How to Select the Right Paint for your Outdoor

Plan Your Own House Build

Angle Grinders: Tool & Safety Tips – Presented By BUCO

Angle Grinders: Tool & Safety Tips – Presented By BUCO


Angle Grinders Safety Tips: Sometimes the only tool in your arsenal that will make the cut for the job is the angle grinder. It’s a very versatile tool used in woodworking, masonry and metalworking. Its main uses include cutting, sanding, polishing, and grinding down surfaces to a smooth finish. It is, however, one of the most dangerous tools in your workshop and should be treated with utmost care.

We will look at some angle grinder basics, as well as which discs are best suited for which job, and present you with tool hacks and tips that really reinvent the wheel.

Angle Grinders: Tool & Safety Tips


1. Size and power

Size matters when it comes to grinders – the larger the disc, the more powerful the motor will be. Angle grinder discs come in various sizes. The most popular ones range between 4 and 9 inches (approximately 11 – 22 cm). There are several factors to consider when selecting the appropriate size grinder. 

Small Angle Grinders

Angle grinders that take disc sizes of 7 inches or less would fall into this category. If portability and manoeuvrability are top priorities, then small is the way to go. In addition, smaller discs spin faster, making them ideal for cutting and polishing metal. A downside, however, is that smaller discs also tend to overheat much easier.

Generally, a disc with a 4.5-inch diameter will be sufficient for most workshop projects. Angle grinders on the small end of the scale come in various power supply options: corded, cordless and pneumatic.

Medium and Large Angle Grinders

Designed for deep cuts and larger surfaces, these grinders have more powerful engines – generally kicking out 3 horsepower and more! In addition, medium-sized grinders take 7-inch discs, whereas 8 – 9 inches are considered large.

2. Interchangeability

When buying an angle grinder, choose a model that allows for changing between discs, attachments and accessories.

3. Adjustable Guard

Make sure the model you buy has an adjustable guard – this will protect you by deflecting sparks and debris. ALWAYS and ONLY use your angle grinder with the correct guard supplied by the manufacturer.

Angle Grinders: Tool & Safety Tips


Before you begin:

  • Ensure you have all the correct protective workwear at your disposal. This will include Earplugs and Earmuffs, Class 5 Cutting Gloves, Dust Mask, Grinding Face Shield and Safety Goggles. You will also need Clothing that is not easily flammable and strong Safety Boots.
  • IMPORTANT: Never substitute a Grinding Face Shield for a Welder’s Mask, as it obstructs too much visibility and can be a safety hazard.
  • Ensure your work area is safe. Grinding causes sparks, so don’t grind in a flammable area. Always ensure there is a fire extinguisher present close to a workshop exit. Keep a well-stocked comprehensive First Aid Kit close by.
  • Always read the manufacturer’s operation and safety manual before you work with a new tool.
  • Test your grip on the grinder handle and the tool. Give the handle and grinding wheel nut one last securing twist to ensure everything is secure before the grinder is plugged in.
  • Always allow the grinder to reach full speed before applying it to the work area. This not only maintains the motor mechanism of the tool but also prevents kickbacks and serious injuries.

During the duty:

  • Always ensure you are using the correct disc for the intended application. Cutting discs for cutting and grinding discs for grinding. Mixing these up can result in disc deterioration and instant injury.
  • You must only fit the right-sized disc with a hole that matches the spindle flange of your grinder.
  • Always orient the work, so the sparks and debris shooting off the disc are directed downward and away from you. The disc should always spin away from sharp corners and not into them. This prevents the disc from kicking back and causing injury.
  • Always cut in a straight line, and don’t change direction while cutting. Only jigsaws can do this safely, and an angle grinder was not made to be used in this way.
  • Try to keep the grinding position on the wheel at “12 o’clock” for the best results. Try to steer clear of positioning yourself directly behind the grinder during work. You’re doing it wrong if you need to put too much pressure on the grinder to achieve the result. Never grind something on the floor between your legs, as this is an extremely unsafe position.

When the job is done:

  • Been cutting or grinding aluminium? It’s best to bin the disc after the job is done. The disc surface is compromised, and the aluminium residue is left behind on the disc’s surface. So, if you happen to use that disc again on an even slightly rusty surface, an instant dangerous chemical reaction between the rust, aluminium and heat will form a highly flammable substance called Thermate which will burn your whole workshop down.
  • Always unplug the grinder if you are not using it, changing discs or modifying anything on the grinder during work.
  • Always store the grinder in a safe place out of reach of children, with the cord safely tucked away.
  • Ensure damaged discs are thrown out and recycled – and NOT re-used.


  • Always check your disc for its maximum revolutions. The max indicated on the disc must always be higher than the max indicated on the grinder. This prevents disc breakage or potential injury.
  • Always ensure you have fastened the grinding wheel nut correctly. Some discs will require the nut to have the raised side down to fit the disc hole snugly, and others will need the nut to have the recessed side down. Always make sure the disc is adequately fastened before plugging in the grinder.
  • Several modifiable and purchase-ready attachments are available for angle grinders. These range from belt-sanding attachments to mini chainsaw attachments & more (Always consult your model of grinder’s manual).
  • Don’t let your project materials grind you down. Get the perfect sanding, shaping or slicing power tools for your needs at your nearest BUCO. Take a spin to your nearest branch today and find out about the best options for your build from our friendly experts.


Previous Buco DIY Tips

How to Select the Right Paint for your Outdoor

Plan Your Own House Build


How to Select the Right Paint for your Outdoor – Presented By BUCO

How to Select the Right Paint for your Outdoor – Presented By BUCO

Knowing how to select the right type of paint for your outdoor project can be the difference between walls that need regular maintenance, or a perfect looking exterior that can weather the elements and last a long time.

In this article, we’re going to help you brush up on your outdoor paint knowledge so you can get the product your project requires and land up with the final coat that you desire. Let’s look at the following topics concerning outdoor paint:

  1. What to consider when selecting your exterior paint.
  2. How to colour manage for an outdoor paint project.
  3. The 3 main steps to a successful outdoor paint selection.


  • The size of the house

Lighter colours will generally make your house appear larger, and will also affect it more during different light conditions. Using a darker shade can make your house blend into the property and will make it look smaller.

  • Your neighbourhood

Remember that your street value is relevant to the rest of your neighbourhood. In one neighbourhood your choice of colour scheme could make your house stick out like a sore thumb, in others your choice of colour could make you feel right at home.


  • Your wall finish

Some of the standard options in exterior wall finishes include matt, eggshell, granular, suedette and even sandstone.

  • Your local weather

The natural elements and moisture levels your exterior walls will be exposed to will play a big role in deciding what qualities you need in your paint. Some products include ingredients such as quartz and mica, which gives the paint incredible strength and durability, as well as creating a weatherproof barrier over your walls.


  • Will it be easy to keep clean? – Some exterior acrylic PVA paints include fungicide which makes it particularly stain, damp and dirt-resistant.


  • How long should it last? – Most reputable exterior paint brands come with a guarantee, but your exterior walls will need periodic maintenance and touch-ups over the years. However most exterior paint products guarantee a long lasting weatherproof value of over 10 years.


The below article will give you more info and tips on how often you should repaint your home – to read click HERE.

  • Don’t forget the exterior trimmings – These elements of the home’s exterior are often overlooked, but they require an equal amount of protection from the elements. If the trimmings are wood or metal, they will require special exterior paint suited to that surface, to ensure maximum value over time.


PROTIP: Exterior paints that contain a primer will require fewer coats, which means you use less paint, saving time and money.


  • First, choose your shade – Do you want a light, mid-tone, or dark home? This is a good starting point to help you decide on what kind of paint to buy.
  • Then, the correct aesthetic and combination of colours

The perfect exterior colour scheme for a house consists of three things: A field colour that dominates the look, an accent colour that brings doors and windows to life, and the colour of the trimmings and fascia.

  • Your roof colour

If your roof is black or neutral grey, then you won’t have a problem with colours. But if your roof is dark brown or green, then you have to be more selective with your exterior wall colours to avoid clashing. This is even more true roofs with for red, tan or blue grey undertones.


  • Trim dark with contrasts – If your main colour is generally lighter shades of colour, then you can make the trimmings and fascia a darker colour to better accentuate the architectural facets of the home. This has the same effect for a home that generally has a darker exterior colour scheme, that is trimmed with a lighter colour.
  • Swatch yourself

Just like in interior paint projects, the paint colour can differ vastly between how it looks on the swatch and how it looks on the wall. It is a good idea to collect as many colour swatches as you can, but at some point choose an inconspicuous area of you house exterior, and test a few colours directly on the wall. That way you can see how the colour will look during different times of the day, and from further away.


  • Less is more– Your exterior colour scheme should contain a maximum of three different colours or shades, to avoid it looking like a haphazard job.



  1. Factor in light:

Sunlight and UV exposure eventually fades most lighter colours a certain shade of cool blue. This means that to enhance and keep the original colour you intend for the exterior of your home, you will need to go a few shades ‘warmer’ than originally intended.


  1. Plan around the visual elements that will be the hardest to change

Unless you are planning to do a major renovation, some elements of your home’s exterior will remain in place, such as fascia, roof tiles, shingles, pathways and driveways. All of these extra elements will contribute to the outcome of the colour you choose for the exterior walls of the house. Look for an undertone of colour between these elements, and this might help inform your palette choice.


  1. Consider the visual effect you want in the end

Where does your home sit in relation to the street? Is it at the front of the property or in the middle? Is it open or surrounded by trees? If your home seems hidden or dark from a lot of surrounding elements, considering a lighter shade might make it stand out more.

Never attempt an exterior paint job during bad weather. If you apply the paint during a particularly sunny day, it will dry quicker and more evenly. Always use sunblock during exterior paint jobs.

Luckily, BUCO has a wide range of exterior paints available in-store & online, as well as expert assistance in-store, for all your outdoor paint project related queries. Visit us today to get your perfect exterior paint project under way.

SHOP a wide selection of paint products in our online store by clicking HERE.

For a full guide on SELECTING THE RIGHT KIND OF PAINT, read our article HERE.

For a full guide on INTERIOR PAINT, read our article HERE.




Plan Your Own House Build

Plan Your Own House Build

 Budgeting & Planning For A House Build

When it comes to bigger building, there can be no more challenging task than building a house. But constructing a house shouldn’t have to be a back and budget breaking exercise – if well planned. In this article, we’re going to show you what kind of planning and cost predictions are involved in a house building project.


Plan Your Own House Build

  1. Do your research. What affects building costs?
    • Construction – All the building materials & services quoted by the contractor before you start so you can see what budget you need to work with.
    • Prime Costs, Specialist Items & Fittings – This includes monetary allowances for items that will go into the construction of the house that have not been formally decided upon at the time of the tender process (rate per sqm for tiles etc.; Available fittings & fixtures for plumbing, lights, doors & windows, cupboards, etc.)
  2. Consult the pros. Who needs to be involved & how much?
    • Architect– Fees are usually based on the percentage of the building cost.
    • Quantity Surveyor– Can easily round up early calculations of costs. As of 2019, the professional fee of a QS is ± R250/m2.
    • Structural Engineer – Signs off the structural concrete and steelwork of your building. As of 2019, the professional fee of a SE is ±R150/m2.
  3. Where possible, get advice from experts in the field – come & chat to us in-store at BUCO or CLICK HEREto see how we can assist you.


Choosing the region for your build has a massive impact on the building budget’s end result. If a Province has fewer competitor rates for the cost of building materials, or if the materials need to be imported into the Province, then this will drive the cost up considerably. There are also many other factors involved, such as labour costs and the terms around approved building plans within a Province. Let’s take a look at what the average costs are per Province in SA:

Plan Your Own House Build


1. Keep the design geometry and materials standard and simple. Curved corners and walls require specialist approaches, which drives up the cost considerably.
2. Consider the longevity & purpose of the building. This will help you choose the appropriate materials and prevent you from overspending.
3. Make the most out of your floor space. How can rooms be cleverly utilised and designed around each other, so you don’t take up too much land space?

To see more about how to craft a contingency fund for your budget in our article CLICK HERE.

Plan Your Own House Build

Luckily BUCO makes your build easier from foundation to roof. Visit us in- store to speak to one of our experts about planning for your next build & visit our online store to save even more on building materials!