Building Regulations (NBR) Introduction

The Site That Tells You All About Building Regulations

South Africa’s National Building Regulations (NBR) were originally produced as a set of functional guidelines for anybody building any type of structure. They were not intended to be prescriptive in terms of what people should build, but they do stipulate important dos and don’ts – many of which are in fact mandatory. So if you are planning to build, this is a document you should familiarise yourself with.

While the NBR are only available from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), has a mission to make it easier for the general public to understand what these regulations are and how they affect us all. If you want to know more about these important regulations, have a look at the drop-down menu under SANS 10400-NBR (SA). Each of the regulations listed here is published as a separate document by the SABS. The size of each published document and its cost can be found at the SABS Online Standards Webstore.

Please be aware that while the topics featured on are those found in the regulations, we have not duplicated the regulations. Instead we have discussed the issues the regulations cover in easy to understand pages. Also note that we are in no way associated with the SABS.

Parts of the South African National Building Regulations (NBR)

The Building Regulations are divided into 23 chapters as follows:
Part A: General Principles and Requirements,
Part B: Structural Design,
Part C: Dimensions,
Part D: Public Safety,
Part E: Demolition Work,
Part F: Site Operations,
Part G: Excavations,
Part H: Foundations,
Part J: Floors,
Part K: Walls,
Part L: Roofs,
Part M: Stairways,
Part N: Glazing,
Part O: Lighting and Ventilation,
Part P: Drainage,
Part Q: Non-water-borne Sanitary Disposal,
Part R: Stormwater Disposal,
Part S: Facilities for Disabled Persons,
Part T: Fire Protection,
Part U: Refuse Disposal,
Part V: Space Heating,
Part W: Fire Installation 
Parts X & XA: Energy Usage

We are constantly adding blog posts that relate to these chapter headings to provide our readers with further information. You will find these under the drop-down menu Construction Elements. Some of these posts include personal experience and/or case history-type articles that share what others have experienced in terms of the regulations. We have also included an A to Z Glossary of Definitions and Terms used in the NBR to help you understand the meaning of the various terms used in the context of the legislation and national standards.

We have a free downloads page where you can access various documents, including a variety of Department of Public Works Guidelines:

  • The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. This is the original legislation published in 1977 that governs all building and construction work in South Africa. Various updates have been made since this time, and these are also available for download.
  • Guide for Architects Concerning Drainage Water and Storm-water Drainage.
  • Standard Electrical, Mechanical & Architectural Guidelines for the Design of Accessible Buildings including Facilities for Disabled Persons.
  • Hardware sample list (guidelines for the required finishes etc. of hardware when submitting tenders).
  • A “Norms Calculator” for quantity surveyors.
  • Drainage Details that provide guidelines in the form of technical drawings covering most aspects of drainage.

Feel free to browse the site. To help you get orientated, here are a few articles that you may find useful:
Building Extensions
Alterations & Additions
SANS 10400X & XA – Energy Use In Buildings
Boundary Walls & Fences

New Electric Fence Laws
Waterproofing Roofs
Stormwater Disposal
Download Regulations
NHBRC Questions & Answers
Competent Person
Concrete Mixes
Concrete Mixes – By Weight & By Volume
Owner Building – The Pros & Cons

In the drop-down menu under the free downloads you will also find Links to several local South African websites of interest including:

These contain some information about the NBR.

International links on our Links Page will take you to information rich sites such as the International Building Code (IBC)  and the International Code Council (ICC) entries on Wiki (or you can go directly to the ICC here).

If  there is something specific you need guidance on, please post a comment on the relevant page and we’ll see if and how we can help.

Please only use Contact Us if you want to advertise or if you have a suggestions on how we can improve your visit with us.

Regulations for all phases of building
We give advice on Regulations for all phases of building.

We Rely on Regulations


  1. Chris van Vuuren

    Good day,
    Please advise as to where one can purchase the complete ‘book’ = SA building regulations/standards.

    Thank You.


  2. Jaco Prinsloo

    Good day Chris

    I have battled as yourselves you can send an e-mail to or you can phone 012 428 6666.


  3. Hi Chris,
    The building regulations and standards are published as SANS 10400. There is a link on this page to the old version of the regs published in their entirety. But as explained on this web site, these have been progressively updated. Most sections are now available for purchase at any office of the SABS. Or you can buy online from the SABS – the link is on our links page. However they do not currently sell a complete set. Please note that the SABS lists telephone numbers for all their branches on their web site.

  4. Hi
    I am looking for standards for water used in the production of cement bricks and blocks. Can you help please.

  5. Hello Jan. Standards for the manufacture of concrete masonry units – i.e. bricks and blocks made from concrete (not just cement) – are detailed in SANS 1215 which you can purchase from the SABS. As for all types of concrete, water used must be potable – i.e. I should be suitable for drinking. If it isn’t don’t use it. They do not specify how much water should be used, and the standard does not specify water absorption qualities of units. As for any type of concrete, the mix should be pliable. PPC advises: “The mix is correct when it form a ball when squeezed in your hand.”
    We do have several documents that detail concrete brick and block making which I will make available on this site within the next 48 hours. Please check Document Downloads under Links & Downloads later in the week.

  6. What are the building requirements for a retirement village ? Who is responsible for checking if all standards are implemented? If there are any irregularities how long after the establishment has been built can the builder be held responsible.?

  7. Terence Pillay


    I would like some assistance in trying to establish if it is a requirement that all buildings in South Africa be fitted with Lightning protection.

  8. Hello Terence,
    There is no single requirement regarding lightening protection. Some local authorities have requirements that they enforce – and insurance companies have specific requirements in certain areas. e.g. thatch homes in Gauteng.

  9. Hilda, the building requirements for all buildings are essentially the same – except where local authorities have additional requirements, or where the owner of a development, including most retirement villages, have their own rules and regs. e.g. If you build in one of these developments you might have to follow a particular style. The owner or a body corporate would usually check these specifics – The checking of implementation of general building standards (as per the building regs) is the responsibility of your local authority – e.g. the building inspector, health inspection etc. depending on what it is that needs to be checked. Where bonds are involved, banks will often send their own inspectors in to check. If there are irregularities that are found after a builder has been paid, you would have to probably take him to Court and charge him with bad workmanship or doing things incorrectly. That’s a difficult one.

  10. Hi
    I bought a 4 bedroom house with a wall infront 5y ago.the wall was old untidy and some of the facebricks had started falling out.I rebuild the top part of the wall and started making it neat.I am now being summonsed to court by the municipality as this house has no building plans and the counsil still has it registered as a 2 bedroom house.what do I do now

  11. Hi

    I live in a block of flats that do not have any ventilation. As a result of this, mould is building up in the flat. I would like to know if it a fundamental requirement for any residential building to have ventilation? If yes, is there any regulatory body that I can report this to?


  12. The National Building Regulations cover ventilation requirements for habitable rooms. This includes both natural ventilation (e.g. windows) and artificial ventilation. If there isn’t adequate natural ventilation, it is mandatory that artificial ventilation is installed. But this must be done with the approval of the local authority (excluding air conditioners, heaters etc that are installed for comfort rather than basic ventilation needs). If you feel that there isn’t adequate ventilation, then I suggest you contact your local authority health inspector.

  13. If your local authority has summonsed you, you will need to go to Court. Ideally hire a lawyer, but in any case take your offer to purchase the house and any documentation you have regarding the sale with you. I can’t give you legal advice, but I would think from what you say, that you have a claim for damages against the previous owner. You might also have a claim for fraud if the previous owner did not declare that the house had not been added onto legally, with plans.
    I presume you didn’t need a bond, because if you had, the bank would have sent inspectors to check the building, and they would have picked up the fact that the plans and the building were not the same. It would have been the sellers responsibility to have plans passed before transfer into your name was finalized.

  14. Hi are there any specifications for the erection of a carport

  15. Robert Smith

    Good morning
    I would like to enquire if it is neccesary to have plans drawn for an additional garage which will mainly be used as a woodworking workshop. The size will be less than 30 square metres.
    Thank you in advance.
    Yours sincerely
    Robert Smith

  16. Hi

    I have a double story free standing house with a balcony, i wish to enclose it would i need plans to do this. The balcony is on the original plans is reinforced correctly and falls under the roof of the house.


  17. Paul it might depend HOW you enclose it. But the fact that the area is beneath the roof, you probably don’t need plans. The same would apply to internal alterations including sub-dividing a room, or even removing an internal wall (which can be done provided it isn’t load bearing). If you are worried, check with your local authority.

  18. Usage is not the factor Robert. Any additional building needs plans, irrespective of size.

  19. Raj the Building Regulations don’t specify anything for carports as such. What sort of carport are you wanting to build? Penny and I produced a book about carports some years ago (unfortunately out of print), but there might be something in there that would help you.

  20. Hi
    Do we need plans and inspection for a steel structure covered with plastic/galvanised sheeting for a carport based on existing 9″ brick pillars a metre high for an off road carport parking area encrouching onto the verge which been fenced on local authorities approval for safety and security

  21. Yes Raj I believe you do. But whose land is it? Since the local authority appears to be implicated in the issue I would assume that you would be communicating with them? It would be the local authority, I think, that has the authority to waive plans.

  22. Gordon Chunnett

    Dear Sir, I want to build a deck with a glass fronted balcony front, I have heard all sorts of stories as to the required height of the glass and the specific thickness of the glass. Are these specified? I have searched the usual places without success so far.

    I understand that one regulation is that a child should not be able to get its head through any opening, but in my design, this is not an issue, its just the height and glass thickness, none of the spans of glass will exceed 1,200mm (1,2m) most less than 1,100mm.

    I had planned a 1m height.

  23. Gordon, there are requirements in terms of glazing in general, mostly to ensure that if someone falls against the glass it doesn’t break.
    The SANS that relate to the building regulations are 10400… and there are lots of them. When it comes to designing a glass-fronted balcony front, these would be, at very least, Structural Design – Part B, Stairways (which includes balustrades) – Part M, and Glazing – Part N.
    The minimum height of balustrades is specified, and unless it has changed while I blinked, it is 1 m. So you shouldn’t have a problem.
    The only regulations I have come across that relate to a child’s head are for swimming pool fencing. That stands to reason, doesn’t it?
    Your local glass merchant should have a resource that shows how thick the glass should be in terms of the sections of each of your balcony sections. This will depend on the area of the glass. The greater the area, the thicker the glass will need to be. And it MUST be safety glass. Imagine if someone was to skid across your balcony and hit the glass… Trust me, it happens. So don’t skimp.
    But to answer your question, I think that if your “panes” of glass are around 1.2 square m you will need glass that is 4 mm thick.
    I hope this helps.

  24. I had some plans drawn up to do Some altterations 6 years ago I did not build all the additions due to finances. I now have to delete the unbuilt bits off of the plans. I originally did the plans myself, but now I am being told that I need to have a draftsman to delete the unbuilt parts. Am I not allowed to do this myself and resubmit the plans?

  25. No Collin, the new Building Regs require a “competent person” – this term includes engineers, architects, draughtsmen … – to submit the plans and oversee the work. Maybe you could simply label the “unbuilt parts” as … still to be built? As a matter of interest, why has this issue arisen?

  26. Hi Penny,
    I entered into an “offer to purchase” with a developer in April / May. I have the bond approval etc and received a call this morning to advise me that I have to contribute to the following due to changes in building regulations : 1) solar geyser and 2) insulation. Please advise if this is for my account. As far as I’m concerned the onus is up to the developer / builder to ensure that he remains within the building laws and regulations. I am besides myself as this is another R15000 I have not budgeted for!

  27. Hi

    I am currently in the process of purchasing a renovated house, it has been built according to plan, however there are a few changes eg. the garage was actually turned into an additional bedroom and one of the external doorways was sealed off because there would have been too many external entrances to the property. I am aware that it does not really matter if the internal walls change according to plan but does this apply to the exterior walls as well?


  28. Zelda I am not a lawyer, and you may need to get legal advice on this one. But the building regulations changes several years ago, so I doubt very much that they can claim anything linked to this. Sounds to me like they are taking a huge chance. If I were you I would refuse and threaten legal action… but then I don’t know all the facts. You might be able to get advice from your bank/or their lawyers. Good luck, keep me posted. BTW there are lawyers on the Internet that will give advice for about R250…

  29. Check it out with your local authority because it is their call. e.g. The requirements for a garage are NOT the same as for a habitable room! There are many other factors that also come into play including ventilation requirements and load-bearing walls. Play it safe now rather than be sorry and stuck with a major problem later.

  30. hi i want to put a carport,”covering”,between my house and vibracrete wall in my yard,do i require a plan and also does the extending my wall require a plan?

  31. It depends what sort of covering you use. If it is solid, then strictly speaking you should have plans. Also, if the wall is on the boundary, you might need permission from the local council. If a neighbour complains, you might have a problem.

  32. The owner of the adjacent home want’s to go up a story with windows on my side, despite the 2 m gap between the our boundary and his building, I am concerned with my compromised privacy and that he may have intentions of sub letting the upper level to tenants.

    Kindly advise if this would be considered an issue, what my rights are and what procedure should be followed if it is worth objecting?

    Our assistance/ advice much appreciated

  33. Liz Marsland

    Hi there! I am very interested in the window frame industry here in SA and why it is taking so long for people to adapt to better aluminium and uPVC frame designs? If I were to start a small business to supply such frames, and to adhere to these better themal ability guidelines, who would I approach to supply the frames to: for example, if for government, would I approach the construction companies that win tenders? If for private, who would I approach to supply them with better materials?
    Naiive – but- innovative, Liz

  34. Hi Penny

    I am in a similar situation. I bought a house 8 years ago, and have just received a copy of the building plans as I want to add on a bedroom. About 60% of the current house is not reflected on the plan. How would I proceed with the bedroom addition in this case. PS, I do have a bond, and the bank did not pick up any discrepancy

  35. When does a pvc soil water pipe need to be encased in concrete

  36. Liz I think a lot has to do with the fact that we generally have a “kind” climate and so people haven’t bothered with things like window frames with good thermal properties, double-glazing and so on. I am working on a book about sustainable living in SA and this is exactly the type of issue I am addressing. While aluminum frames have been popular for a long time, uPVC just hasn’t caught on. If you do start a business in this field, I’d love to know more about it (I have mailed you my personal email address). I would think that approaching construction companies would be a good idea. You could also approach specialist magazines and ask them to do articles about your products – and/or you could advertise. You should also develop a good Internet presence – with a comprehensive website that contains advice for prospective clients. Marketing is the most important aspect. And you need to consider whether you will sell directly, or whether you need to find an outlet that will distribute your products for you. Good luck.

  37. The first logical step would be to check that the additions are being done in accordance with local regulations. Your local authority or municipality will be able to advise on this. If your neighbour plans to sub-let a part of his house, you can’t stop him/her. I think your only recourse would be to take action if your privacy is in fact invaded – but you can’t do this in advance … You would probably have to prove “nuisance”. Have you chatted to your neighbour and shared your concerns?

  38. Because of the timeframe, you will probably have to have the plans altered to show the new bedroom as well as reflect existing building that isn’t on the plans – i.e. you won’t have recourse to hold the previous owner liable. On the positive side, you will probably find that you have been paying much lower rates than you should be paying! Before you do anything, double check that they have given you the most recent set of plans. It is quite possible that they have pulled an earlier set by mistake.

  39. Colin, in addition to the Building Regulations (SANS 10400) which is what we focus on in this site, there are more than 130 other SANS that relate to plumbing! Since plumbing installations MUST be undertaken by a qualified and registered plumber, your plumber will be able to advise. SANS 10252-2 refers to many of the plumbing standards, so this could be a starting point if you want to find the info for yourself. If you go to your nearest SABS office, go to their library and ask to look at the standard. The librarian will also be able to do a search for relevant SANS that cover civil engineering construction relating to plumbing.
    I believe that uPVC pipes (for sewers and drains) and pipe fittings must comply with SANS 1791. In terms of encasing the pipes in concrete, usually they would be if laid in a concrete floor or ceiling. But there are also design factors that come into play. This is where a civil engineer would be able to help.

  40. Hi Alan

    By law you have to have plans for anything with a roof and for walls exceeding a height of 1,8 meters / 1800 mm high.

    Even a swimming pool needs plans.

    The larger local authorities have dedicated departments which sole purpose if to monitor construction without plans. This handled with final warnings to submit within 30 days architectural plans or face a demolition order.

  41. ever structure which has a roof requires plans.

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  43. Hi,

    We are wanting to build on a farm. do we need to hand in plans or get “permission” in order for us to do so?

    Many people have told me that because it is on a farm, handing in building plans etc is unnecessary.
    Is this true?

    I don’t know if it matters, but it’s just outside Pretoria East.

  44. Collis Human

    Hi I’m busy with an assignment based on the SA building Regulation and would just like to no what impact does the ragulation have on the quality management system in a building project for the public sector.

  45. Hi, we have rented a office block which has stairways 3m wide. When it rains or the stairs a wet the floor becomes slippery that might lead to an accident. We have spoken to the Landlord about erecting hand rails but refused and emphesised that we put it ourself. What is the law saying about this?

  46. Hi

    I need to know what regulation/s are there on building WIFI Towers, height, can it be build in residential areas ect….


  47. Hi,

    We have purchased a duplex in a complex where two of the outer walls were built out of dry walling, as these units are 30 plus years old the dry walling has rotted. Will I need plans to remove dry walling and block up? The standard door will be removed and a Alu sliding door fitted?

    Many thanks, Tyrone

  48. Fikiswa Mnculwane

    Good day

    Please indicate if the NHRBC certificate is not required for schools, to ensure proper compliance when one is building a school.
    What certificate must one have to ensure safety requirements when one is building a school.

  49. Samantha Edwards

    Hi there,

    I purchased a farm/shop some 6 months ago. The shop has been established for at least 27 years and I’ve just been told that someone is planning to build a shopping center on the land next door. How do I object to the project and do the company need to inform me if this planned project is definite.

    Kind regards

  50. I live in a block of flats. There 4 floors with 5 flats per floor totaling 20 flats. the width of the building is 38m.
    It has a staircase of 2.4m in the middle of the building.
    My question is; Is there supposed to be another fire escape staircase?

  51. where can i see the law about drainage and drain pipes that drian into the garden?

  52. Hi, the approved plan does not indicate a wall between garages in a complex. The plan indicates a dividing fence. Some owners have built a single brick wall in their garage with no plan submitted to the council. What is the regulation for garage walls and garages used as storerooms. Also, what is the regulation for a dedicated approved plan whereby the storeroom is used as a garage and not storeroom. The storeroom has a large window that can be opened.

    Thank you,


  53. jack du preez

    hi can you tell me what are the building requirement to build a deck 6x6m and 2.4m high

  54. Hi bought a house a house a couple of years back that is fenced off on three sides but the fron facing road is open/no fence. I want to build a wall but is not sure of the minimum legal distance from the road. pse advice.

  55. Hi Penny,
    I have just bought a house, registered in July through an Estate Agent. I went to the local Municipality, that had the Site Plan, Wendy House Plan, but NOT a copy of the HOUSE plan, NOT ON RECORD !!
    I bought with an approved bond, from my Bank.
    On requesting a copy of the house plans from the Estate Agent, I eventually received a copy of the SITE PLANS with the WENDY HOUSE APPROVAL !!!!!!!! In the Postbox !!
    Question : Do I have to have plans drawn up, or can I demand plans through the Estate Agent ??
    Please advise,
    Kind regards.

  56. Hi Penny, please forward me the email address for Liz, re uPVC frames.


  57. Zakes Moremi

    Good day…

    I’m Zakes Morema from Seshego on the Limpopo province. I’ve recently found interest in the constraction industry as feel that our country cannot do with out the constraction industry. I believe the constraction industry is one of the gate ways to improve the country. Through this industry i feel that may jobs can be created, many people could be provided with homes and we can build world class infrastructures that will at the ultimate improve the economy of our country.

    I would just like to know as to what rae the procedures to adhere to when registering a constuction company. if it is posible, please foward me all the details on my email address (stated above)

    Hoping for an informative response

    Have a blessed day!

  58. Zakes, your best bet is to contact the NHBRC – see – they are based in Pretoria. If you register a company as such, you will need to go through the registrar of companies, and it will be very expensive. alternatively you can operate as a sole proprietor and just register with your local council. Good luck.

  59. Hi Ben, I don’t pass email information on from our site; however I have mailed Liz and asked her to contact you directly.

  60. Richard I am surprised that any bank was willing to give a bond without registered house plans. However I don’t think that it is the responsibility of the estate agent to provide you with plans. The municipality should have a full set of plans. If they don’t, they have lost or mislaid them. Perhaps you can track down the original owner or builder and ask them if they have plans; or if they can give you the name of the person who originally drew up the plans. Lastly, you are under no obligation to have new plans drawn up. That is not your responsibility. I presume the house is indicated on the site plan? If you need to submit new plans at any stage (e.g. for an addition), the architect or draughtsperson would simply show an outline of the existing building on the plan and draw up detailed plans for the addition.

  61. This depends on the requirements of your local authority. They may also require plans, depending on the materials you choose to use. Give them a call and ask.

  62. Hi Jack, I don’t follow your question.

  63. Ian the use of all structures must be indicated on plans that are submitted to council. However people commonly use garages for storerooms and even workshops or offices. Many garages have windows – big and/or small. In fact if you think about it, most storage lock-ups are garages! There would usually only be an issue if the garage was used for human habitation (so to speak).
    I presume the reason for owners building walls is for privacy? Technically they DO need an approved plan; and the local authority COULD demand demolition of the wall if a plan wasn’t submitted.

  64. Kim, Part P of SANS 10400 deals with Drainage, including design and discharge details. If you go to the nearest SABS office library, you can have a look at what it says. I will also add to this section of the web site asap.

  65. Have a look at Clearly all stairways MUST be safe and if they are not, then the owner of the property is contravening the law. As far as I am aware, “Handrails are also an important element. If a flight of steps continues for more than about five risers, there should be a handrail of some sort.” So if he has no stair-rails and the stairs comprise more than five risers, your landlord is in trouble. I suggest you report this situation to your local authority as it is a health and safety issue.

  66. This is not covered by the building regulations.

  67. ALL buildings in SA require planning permission, even though the reality is that many people living on farms ignore this – probably because building inspectors don’t make a practice of checking farms. I have just moved out of a farmhouse where I lived for two years that was full of “illegal” elements – primarily electrics and plumbing. I also discovered that one of the early owners would hire laborers at weekends to build onto the house. It leaks like a sieve and parts are starting to collapse; in short a disaster. If you plan to sell the farm at some stage, you are likely to hit major problems. If neighbors object for some or other reason, you might also get yourself into a lot of trouble.

  68. I will approve this response in good faith on the understanding that anyone visiting our site is aware that this does not constitute any form of endorsement of the products.

  69. Give it some thought. The key to your answer is the fact that the building regulations have been devised to ensure that buildings are safer, more affordable etc.

  70. The NHBRC was established to help regulate ALL forms of building, including schools. However there is nothing to stop someone building a school using other resources. There is a lot more at stake than simply a certificate! The NBR were drawn up to ensure that all building is safe and so builders should be guided by these regulations and the “deemed-to’satisfy rules” that have been drawn up by the SABS. Using an NHBRC-registered builder should ensure good quality building.

  71. No you won’t need plans.

  72. On the face of it I would think that your building WOULD need another fire escape staircase, but you should really consult with an expert.
    The regulations relating to fire protection (fire escapes, escape routes etc) are very specific – you need to refer to SANS 10400-T, Fire Protection. I don’t have a copy of Section T of the new regs,and I know there have been lots of changes – if anything they will be stricter. The old regs say that if any building is more than three storeys high then at least TWO escape routes must be provided. A four storey building would then need TWO escape routes.
    There is also a reference to the travel distance to the nearest escape door (or route). This is 45 m which is greater than the 38 m in your building.
    There are many other elements that need to be incorporated including lighting.
    There must be someone at your local municipality who will do an inspection for you.

  73. Unless the land next door is owned by the same people who own the farm/shop you have purchased, you probably have no comeback whatsoever. However, you should probably keep informed in terms of the newly planned project and make sure that if you have the opportunity to object, you do so.

  74. Hi Penny,
    Thank you for your reply, has cleared the air.

    Kind regards,

  75. Hi Penny, Ihave a few question for you:

    1. how long does a builder have to keep the plans of a building that he has built, if at all?

    2. how long, if at all, does a builder have to keep occupation certificates issued by the relevant authority (ie: municipality)

    3. Once a hoem is built, in particular a wooden house, does it have to be registered with the NHBRC. and if so, how do we go about obtaining proof of such registration and the relevant documentation?

    4. If a builder wants to deviate from the municipla approved plans for teh building of a home and the material to be used, what is the normal process to be followed? can it be just be done verbally?


  76. 1. I really am not sure, but a builder should keep plans at least until there isn’t the possibility of any form of claim regarding the build. This would relate not only to his client, but also for tax purposes and his own claims on materials, fittings etc.
    Also plans must be submitted to the municipality, so they SHOULD be available in perpetuity – from the municipality.
    2. Again, I would think that the local authority would have the occupation certificates – because it is they who issue them. I would think it would be more important for the owner to have a copy, rather than the builder.
    3. Only builders registered with the NHBRC will have this kind of documentation. The majority of so-called Wendy house structures built for occupation/living, are not constructed by builders as such. Rather they are manufactured by companies that specialize in wood structures of this type. Larger, more sophisticated wooden houses might be built by NHBRC-registered builders.
    4. Builders MUST follow the approved plans. Any deviation needs to be approved by the municipality. This cannot be done verbally.
    I hope this helps.

  77. Thanks Penny.

    With Regards to number 1, are you saying there is no Regulation/requirement which directs the keeping of such plans by builders?

    With regards to number 2, is ther also no Regulation/requirement which direts the keeping of uch occupations certificates by the builder?

    With regards to number 3, how would one be able to get proof of such registration?

  78. I am not certain, but I doubt it unless there are bylaws (i.e. laid down by local authorities – which could differ) that state that builders must be able to provide this information within a specific period of time.
    Regarding registration with the NHBRC, they will be able to give you the information you require. If they refuse to, let me know. But then I will need to know when you contacted them, how (phone, email, letter etc), and who you were in contact with.

  79. Hi Penny,

    Please will you advise me on the following:
    We bought a townhouse +/-12 years ago (plot & plan). The title deads of the property states that the square meterage of the Mail building is 60 squares. +/- 6 years later, we did extesions to the townhouse by adding on an open braai area (4 pillars, zinc roof and flooring) – sized at 20 square metres. While in the process of selling our townhouse, we discovered that the Municipality had lost our original approved plans and requested us to re-submit them.
    Our draftsman that drew up our new plans (about 3months) discovered that when the builders built our townhouse, they didn’t measure correctly and built the main building as 64 square meters. Now the laywers are requesting that we re-register the whole townhouse.
    My question to you is how does one correct this issue and is it necessary to do so? And does one need to register the outside area with the deeds office if it’s not enclosed?

    Thank you so much.

  80. Robyn, there are several issues here. You, as the owner, appear to have followed the correct procedures all the way down the line, however you may need to get independent legal advice (even if the lawyers dealing with the sale were nominated by you, the seller – which is the norm).
    These are my thoughts, but remember I am not an attorney!
    Title deed: This is primarily to describe the property with its erf (stand) number, size, where it is etc. and to prove who is the registered owner. Once it is registered in your name that’s it! You would have paid transfer duty, conveyancing fees, deeds office fees and VAT. I don’t believe that the lawyers have any right to make you re-register with the deeds office and have to cover all these fees again – for any reason.
    I wasn’t aware that the size of the house itself had to be specified on the title deed… e.g. If you do a legal addition to any home, you don’t have to re-register the title deeds!
    Plans: I would say that the municipality is at fault here and don’t believe that they have the right to demand that you resubmit your plans. What if you had bought the house ready built? It is not the norm to be supplied with plans when you buy a house. When we have bought existing houses, we have always got plans from the local council – not the deeds office. When we have built houses, we have only ever submitted plans to council; we have never submitted plans or any information regarding these to the deeds office.
    In terms of the size of the building as shown on your original plans: You bought plot and plan and so would have assumed that the house was the size shown on the plan. It was not your responsibility to check this. Here the responsibility again lay with the local council (the building inspector should have measured the foundation trenches before the concrete was placed).
    If this affects the sale of your property detrimentally, you may well have a legal claim against your municipality! Let me know what happens. Good luck.

  81. Hi Penny
    I wonder if you can help. We have 3 different factories and about 100 employees split up between the 3 factories. What does the law say about how many toilets & showers should each factory have??

  82. Charne, the Building Regulations have occupancy classifications; so you will need to check Part A: Administration of SANS 10400 to see which category your factories fall into. e.g. Low Risk Commercial Service is B3. They also specify the size of the building per person – B3 = each person needs 15 square metres. Part P: Drainage specifies the provision of sanitary fixtures (amongst other things). The tables break this down further for personnel, public and visitors, as well as peak demand. You need to double-check SANS 10400 to make sure that your factories fit the category, but it looks like a B3 building with a “population” up to 30 needs:
    a toilet and basin for public/visitors (unless they have access to those in the factory) plus a toilet, two urinals and two basins for men, and three toilets and two basins for women. If the building has a population of up to 60, you need two toilets and three urinals/basins for men, as well as five toilets and three basins for women. But this is the guideline, and I presume it will also depend on the sex of staff.
    If you go to your nearest SABS office library, you can ask to see a copy of these two parts of SANS 10400 and check for yourself.

  83. Hi Penny:

    Anyway you can tell me how to get climatic data for structural design in South Africa? I can’t seem to find the right section in the SABC. I am specifically looking for design wind speeds.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.


  84. Hi!
    Tell me is one allowed to extent or demolish an RDP house?

  85. Hi Penny

    Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    I am in the process of submitting plans to the Municipality and requested exemption from the new regulations SANS 10400XA because I developed my plans before the introduction of the new regulations.

    What are the chances of getting the exemption from the municipality?
    What would be the consequences if I want to sell 10 yrs later?

  86. Zakes I really don’t know. I will try and find out and let you know.

  87. Paul try phoning the SABS library and ask if they can help. Alternatively go in and ask in person. They will be able to pull all the national standards (and possibly some international ones – ISOs) that deal with wind speeds and how this relates to design.
    I have done a quick search on the Internet, and these links may also be useful:
    1) This SA company has attempted to define the “basis of design to the two wind load codes and the effects they have on design.” They refer to SABS 0160 (which should now be SANS 10160) which they state is a specification that has adapted to local conditions from BS CP3 Chapter V (this is a British standard).

  88. I am not familiar with specific legislation that deals with RDP houses, but I presume it would depend on who legally holds the title deeds. You need plans to extend any form of house; and you need to be the owner of the property.

  89. Hi my house was built 4 years ago and during this time,no telling exactly when, my ceptic tank has caved in under ground. The builder who built our home says that his work is only guaranteed for 3 months. I had our insurance company take a look and they refuse to pay out as there was not sufficient stabakising material used in the installation of the tank. How long is a builder or plumber legally liable to take responsibility for this type of shoddy workmanship?

    Thanks a lot!


  90. Hi Penny, I recently got plans drawn up however they were not approved as i was told that the municipality is in the process to allow complex houses an additonal 5% for alterations but that it was still in the pipline. i decided to go ahead an build which i converted my carport to a home office fullyclosed with a roof. i now heard that the municipality are no longer alowing for the 5% alteration. What can i do to get my plans approved as the building is up already.

    please advice

  91. Dear Penny,

    The company I work for is leasing a building and i have just found out that we do not have hot water in the bathrooms and according to the Safety Regulations we need to have both hot and cold water. We have approached the landlord, but he wants us to either sort it out ourselves, or he can do it for us but we must re-imburse him. I thought providing hot and cold water is part of the base building and the landlord must comply?

    Can you please shed some light.


  92. Zuki, It depends on your lease agreement. While it is everyone’s right to have access to water, I am not aware of any legislation that species that hot water must be provided. However, if the bathrooms have both hot and cold taps, and there isn’t hot water, you could probably claim against the landlord and say that you have been misled.

  93. Craig the health inspectors are normally incredibly strict when it comes to plumbing, including septic tanks and soakaways. It sounds to me as if this is a precast unit? If so they should have checked the stabilizing material before the tank was installed. But clearly the workmanship is substandard.
    In terms of legal liability; you need to check your contract with the builder to see what was specified. Also check whether the builder is – or was – registered with the NHBRC. If he is then you have some recourse. Otherwise you will need to consult an attorney who will be able to advise on what grounds you can claim compensation.
    In terms of the insurance company, I guess they would only pay out if the tank itself had burst or collapsed for a reason other than substandard building. But it might be worth getting another assessor in to look at the tank. You might even ask the builder to inspect to see what HE says caused the collapse.

  94. Kate I am not familiar with this legislation. In fact I am not aware of legislation that limits the size of buildings, other than that relevant to boundaries and building lines. However, from what you say, I imagine that you could apply to the municipality for a waiver. If they don’t approve it, you may be forced to demolish what you have built.

  95. Hi Penny,
    I have drawn up plans for an existing as built alteration, do you know what the procedure is to submit ‘as built’ plans especially regarding all the submission forms that have to be completed. I am reluctant to sign the indemnity clause as I did not oversee the work being done.
    Can one exclude this clause?

  96. Sandy, I presume you are the owner of the property.
    My understanding is that since the NBR were updated in 2008, ALL plans (new or as-built) need to be submitted by a “competent person’. i.e. an architect, engineer, draughtsman etc. If this person didn’t draw up the plans, they will need to check that the plans are accurate and sign them prior to submitting them. Procedure differs according to local authority requirements, but any ‘competent person’ would know exactly what these are. He/she would also be able to advise you in terms of the indemnity clause.
    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  97. Hi Penny,

    I am trying to find out where i can get info on the new legislation rules. As per the municipality, we are not allowed to change the use of a room without letting them know about it. Is this true?
    They wanted “as built” plans which we had drawn up but they now say that the number of “bedrooms” have increased from the last approved plans. Surely there is no rule stating that a house can only have 5 or 10 bedrooms.

  98. Nell, There is a big difference between a five-bedroomed and a ten-bedroomed house. Apart from structural elements, the size of the house will affect your rates and taxes.
    But are you saying that “rooms” that were not intended for use as bedrooms have been converted into bedrooms? i.e. That the size of the house as such has not changed.
    Essentially the legislation is there to prevent people from converting garages, storerooms etc into bedrooms without plans… for safety and hygiene reasons.
    Out of interest, why did they call for “as built” plans in the first place? And were you aware of what was on the last approved plans?

  99. Penny,

    The house originally had 3 bedrooms. we then wanted to start a B&B and extended the house with an additional 4 bedrooms plus a smokers room and a gym room (built according to approved plans)

    2 rooms that we have changed into bedrooms have not been changed structurally, in fact these rooms, even though one was a gym room and the other a smoking room, had toilets in them already, we did not change the structure of any room. We simply changed the furniture within them to better suite our current needs.

    They asked for as built plans because we did add an area of 4m2 to our Penhouse suite and the position of the sliding doors and balconies becasue one bedroom on the plan was not approved.

  100. Please advise what the building regulation is for building next to electricity cables in Lenasia Extension 5.?

  101. Betty there are no building regulations that relate specifically to particular locations. Furthermore, electrical installations are not covered in the National Building Regulations. For general requirements you will have to refer to SANS 10142: the Code of Practice for the Wiring of Premises (a national standard). Alternatively call the City of Johannesburg offices and ask them the question.

  102. I assume the simplest solution would be to change the “function” of these rooms on the plans. If they insist on doing physical inspections, change the furniture back the way it was to get the plans through council. By following procedure, you should avoid ongoing argument and then can get on with your lives as before.

  103. Good day
    Are one allowed to build against the inside boundary wall? Also, how much of the yard can be build on?


  104. Hi
    we have a building that we did internal structural changes and the landlord says we are in contravention as we created single door exits instead of double door, is there anything in the Building Reg that says we need to have double doors as an exit or a specific size of exit door?


  105. Phil it probably depends on the type of building and use for which it is intended. As far as I am aware, exit specs are mainly relevant to fire regulations – which are, of course, a part of the building regs. I guess a club or movie house would need double doors – but not a private residence. But I really am guessing. If you let me know what type of building it is, I might be able to get more reliable info for you.

  106. Arnold, you need plans to build anything, and it will be up to the municipality/council to decide whether you can build against the boundary wall. I don’t think there is a specific building regulation that gives percentages, though usually you cannot build within 1.5 m of a boundary. So, since you will have to give your local council plans, ask them what their policy is first. Good luck.

  107. Hi Penny

    Its a call centre with 120 staff in a space of 280m square, we have a fire escape and an entrance/exit door which is a single door.

    oh and its on the second floor


  108. Hi Penny

    We have a building where we recently had an internal structure erected within the building. It consists of a wooden deck raised 2.1m above the floor to create a second floor for office space. It covers 24m2 with railings made of wood.

    Recently the local building inspector had various comments with regards to this structure stating the following:
    1) The support (from floor to deck) is not of sufficient thickness
    2) The boards use for the flooring section is not of sufficient thickness
    3) The railings spacing width is to wide.

    is there anything in the Building Reg that states the required thickness and type for above mentioned? More specifically that this area is used as a public area.

  109. Charl, the local authorities have their own rules and regulations that further define the building regs. What they require is what you are required to do. It’s that simple. That said, they generally rely on SANS 10400 that suggest safe, sensible minimums. The fact that this is a public area will automatically attract more attention in terms of compliance with any type of reg. If you were working from a plan, then these thicknesses and spacings should have been specified. Were you?

  110. In terms of the NBR this would fall under Part T: Fire Protection.
    Here are some pointers:
    “Where the population of any room is not more than 25 persons, the width of any exit door shall be not less than 800 mm.” But you have a lot more people than this – so I think that you need two exit doors that are at least 800 mm wide, and they need to “open in the direction of travel along the escape route”. These should probably be as far apart from each other as possible so that in the event of a fire, everybody can get out quickly.
    There are additional requirements for feeder routes to exit doors – essentially corridors or passageways. Here a double swing-type door is required and it should not be locked. But if you don’t have passages it wouldn’t apply.
    There are also specs for the width of escape routes and where there are 120 people, this needs to be at least 1,1 m wide. But I can’t find anything that says it needs a double door for access.
    Requirements for fire escape stairways are very strict.
    Two further points, 1) If you added or altered the escape route, fire escape etc, you should have submitted plans to the local council. It would have then been up to them to request any changes – e.g. that they wanted a double door and how the fire escape stairs should be constructed.
    2) What escape route was there prior to your changes? There would have been requirements for the building as a whole both in terms of occupancy (numbers) and function, as well as how many stories in total there are.

  111. Hi

    I reside in a block of flats and have carried out internal alterations. I have employed the services of a structural engineer and awaiting my compliance certificate. He is satisfied with the work carried out.

    I have since been advised by the Body Corporate that I have to lodge plans with the City Council, however I have received conflicting information regarding this. Some architects have advised that, provided no external structures were tampered with, then plans do not have to be lodged. Others say the opposite.

    What is the correct procedure? I do not want to pay unnecessarily. Is there anything in the building regulations to back this up?




  112. The simplest way to resolve this is to telephone the city council concerned and ask their planning department what their requirements are. While the building regulations apply to the whole of the country, the regulations of local authorities (municipalities, city councils etc) are not the same. Generally you won’t need plans for internal alterations unless load bearing walls are affected. But it is best to be certain.

  113. hlw good people my consruction do building,aiteration,renovation .you can call me at 0718196112

  114. Hi Penny, when doing an extension on an existing house is there a need for step by step inspection, ie; faceliftin the existing house, putting new windows, extending garage to double. Can I do it without involving the local authorities as I have an approved plan. Which structural alterations requires inspection strictly ? Will I be ppenalized if I continue without inspection? I live next door a place where where informal structures have been build without the municipality’s approval but still no authorities inspected these buildings. But when ppl with approved plans do their extensions authorities will be knocking on one’s door. What are the guidelines gardening extensions to existing buildings

  115. Unfortunately the “rules” for informal settlements are completely different to formal dwellings and you do need to involve the municipality. Contact the planning division to find out exactly what they require. If you don’t do it their way they could issue a demolition order. Normally they will check foundation trenches before you cast the concrete and then check things like plumbing and electrics. The completed structure also needs to be checked to ensure you have built according to plan, before an occupancy certificate is issued – though I am not sure whether they issue a certificate for extensions.
    I am not sure what you mean by “gardening extensions”, but basically anything structural requires plans – largely for health and safety reasons.

  116. We are not in a position to recommend companies, but perhaps someone reading your note will have some ideas.

  117. Justin Whitehead

    Hi Penny

    Is there a source of reference that one would have to get frequent updates on or would the book recommended on the home page be sufficient in terms of a guide. Would there be other books maybe that one could cross reference.

  118. One can visit the Local Fire Department to get 100% clarity on this. They are ultimately the guys that evaluate the plans submitted to council regarding fire prevention. Also, a fire rational plan can be drawn up by fire consultant. He will look at all matters concerning Fire. Examples: Escape routes, signage, fire fightinh equipment and so on.

  119. my neighbour is in the process of changing a garage which is an old structure with a high wall on the boundary adjoining my area into a bigger structure on the same boundary into a flat. is this legal? it will take away my privacy on my pool and entertainment area completely.

  120. Hi Penny,
    I’m designing a house( medium sized dwelling with attached double garage) with a hip roof @ 18deg for the house and a low pitched metal roof behind parapet walls for the garage. the garage sits more to the front as for the house. The problem is i need to keep the house’s eave height very low at about 2,7m max to get the desired effect, otherwise it would look just out of proportion when it gets too high. the roof of the garage at its highest point needs to tuck in underneath the houses roof where the two meet. cant find anything in the NBR that gives the internal minimum height for a garage. also what is the min. slope i can specify for the roof? min. rafter beams i can use is 50x225mm. last resort is to make the roof over the garage paart of the houses’s hip roof but that’s not what i want.

  121. Justin I assume you mean updates regarding the National Building Regulations? If so you can rest assured they will not be changing any time soon. They were first published in 1988; revised in 1990 and amended slightly in 1993. In 2008 major amendments were made, and it took about three years for the “deemed to satisfy” regulations to be published by the SABS so that people knew how to interpret them correctly. We will do our best on this site to check for any amendments that might creep in.
    My book on Owner Building is a guide to those planning to build or renovate their homes, rather than a guide to the building regulations. It does, however, discuss the regs where relevant. Although I say so myself, it is authoritative and useful!

  122. Cecilia, your neighbour needs approved plans to be able to do this. I doubt very much that they would allow a structure, that will be used for accommodation, on the boundary. Normally you MUST build at least 1.5 m from any boundary. The local council may though approve a waiver, usually with the neighbor’s consent. I suggest you contact the planning department of your local authority and ask:
    1) whether the existing garage is a legal structure
    2) whether plans have been approved for the new structure
    3) what process they want you to follow to lodge an urgent objection the building work that you describe
    People are often ignorant in terms of what is allowed. Many others feel that they are above the law, and can do what they want to do, without following procedure. Either way you do have recourse. But I suggest you act as a matter of urgency.
    Good luck.

  123. Brynn it sounds to me like you are drawing the plans yourself. So first and foremost, please be aware that unless you are qualified in terms of the law (or have someone who is prepared to put their name to them and submit them to council on your behalf), they will not be approved by your local authority.
    My book on Owner Building gives specifications for roof angles, but these are largely in relation to the roof covering used. In fact the minimum slope you can specify will link directly to the roof covering you use, the minimum being 5 deg, but only for galvanized steel sheeting. This book also specifies the size of rafter beams, information that is repeated on this site.
    In terms of minimum heights, you will find these in the section on Dimensions on this site.
    I hope this helps!

  124. hi Penny

    thanks for your reply. I am a registered technologist busy with a design for my own house. I know there are simpler designs whereby you include the garage to be also covered with the main roof but that is not the effect that i want. this design allows me to make a “drive thru” garage with a garage door at the back. I went through the NBR but it only gives min. dimensions for toilets, habitable rooms etc. it says nothing about dimensions for garages, non habitable rooms etc. I thought about going the precast rib & block route for the roofstructure over the garage which would seem to solve my problem but I can imagine the cost involved. I’ve done some additions/extensions jobs whereby i used metal sheet roofs and even went as low as 3degrees for the pitch, but those were different situations where heights were not a problem. doing the whole precast roof thing would maybe also form the basis for future additions which i’m sure is going to happen(maybe a studio?)

  125. Jeepers Brynn, as a design technologist I am sure your knowledge is far superior to mine. I imagine though that 2,1 m would be the minimum height for any structure, including a garage. A “flat” concrete roof probably would be your best bet (it has to have a slight slope though 1:80).

  126. hi Penny,

    lol, i guess that happens when you spend most of your career working on projects that does not involve any housing. and when you start doing them your mind cut’s out and then you feel like your back in 1st year. yes my feeling is also that i can make it with a height of 2,1m at the lowest point(FFL to underside of rafter), but when i try and measure up in real life it seems to be very low. i guess the pricing on the precast floor vs. metal room will determine my decision. if I stay with the metal roof construction then I might have to raise the main house roof by about 150mm but that’s nothing.

  127. Good luck. I am working on a new website It would be great if you would share the building process with us on the site. Words and pictures. It might be good exposure for you professionally.

  128. Hi Penny

    Can you reccommend an engineer that I can use to pass out my foundation at a decent price?


  129. Sorry Devin we don’t give recommendations.

  130. Hi Penny,
    Not sure if you can assis- I am looking for regulations on hours of work that building sites can operate, I would have thought we had some legislation prohibiting work on Sundays/Public holidays but cant seem to find anywhere?

  131. It’s in the NBR David – and I have given details in comments elsewhere on this site. It’s tucked away in Part F: Site Operations!

  132. Angela Donnelly

    Are building plans required for a swimming pool that is 5 years old?

  133. Hi Penny
    We are a government school who has been donated a marquee which we would like to set up over our school pool so that we can use the pool in all weather conditions and all year round.
    Our school pool lies within the 4 or 4.5m building line area therefore the marquee would sit too close to the boundary fence.
    What is a practice way to get around this or what do we need to do to resolve this matter in order for us to proceed with our plan?

  134. hi penny

    i need information regarding a huge watertank the municipality erect right in front of my bussiness on a circle about 15 metre away from my front door and 15 metre hight also they blocked off one of my entrace gates coming from a pupblic impact study was done and they never consult with us what the impact on my bussiness was what should i do

  135. I intent to build in an estate, I am currently working with the Architecture on the drawings. I wanted to inquire if it is compulsory for me to do a geo-technical investigation report for my stand or I should get this from developers of the estate since they obviously did these investigations as part of the environmental impact assessments?

  136. Morning Penny,
    a New development on our neighboursite on a smallholding is busy to take a course maybe in a wrong directions with “Run over developers”

    There was no communication or documentation between us and the developers, for a neigbour approval on this 32 units in a smallholding area,

    According to them the borderline, a wall standing there for 30 years is 1 meter in there property and we must demolished it.

    They did start with to concrete the foundations and to build a borderwall on the other side.

    My Question,
    1)Must they get a approval from the neigbours before start building
    2)Can they start building with a big problem about the borderline between the two propertys
    3)Can we stop them, till this problem is solved


  137. Angela if the pool was built without plans it is an illegal structure. If this is the case, the local authority has the right to call for plans, however old the pool is.

  138. Gerrie I think you need legal advice – urgently.

  139. A marquee is not a permanent structure, so I don’t think the boundary should be an issue. But perhaps you should call one of the companies that provides marquees for hire and ask them. They ought to be up on any regulations that relate to marquees. Also, have you called the local authority for their thoughts on the subject? Ultimately they are the body that would make any call for you to remove it.

  140. Part F: Site Operations of the NBR F3 deals with Geotechnical Site and Environmental Conditions. If the local authority believes that there may be unstable subsoil or unstable slopes they are bound by law to inform anyone submitting plans. So find out from them if they are going to require a report. If you are concerned, then I would suggest you ask the developers for the findings of any geo-technical investigations they did. It isn’t necessarily obvious that they did them!

  141. They do not necessarily need approval from neighbors, provided they have complied with the building regulations and requirements of the local authority. So your first step will be to make contact with the local authority/municipality’s building control offer and/or planning department.
    If there is a dispute about the boundary, they shouldn’t start building. But you need to formalize your objections. Demand from the developers, in writing, evidence that the wall is on their property, and put them to terms. e.g. Say in the letter that if they continue building without providing concrete evidence that the wall is on their property, you will take legal action. It will be more effective if you get a lawyer to write the letter, and shouldn’t cost you more than a couple of hundred rand.
    The land will have been surveyed when it was originally sub-divided, and these documents will be with the surveyor general in Pretoria. A land surveyor will be able to accurately pinpoint the boundaries for you, obviously at a fee. This may be worth your while. The “evidence” you need from the developer would be a signed document from a land surveyor that shows exactly where the wall stands in relation to the registered boundary. You are not obliged to accept their word.
    In the meantime, you can put in an objection with the local authority – and ask them to stop the building operation until the dispute is resolved.
    In any case, have you checked with your local authority whether the land was rezoned (which I presume it would need to be if there are smallholdings)? If it was then there would have been public notices for those in the neighborhood to respond to – and object to.

  142. Thank you Penny for your time on a Sunday, I will be at the local authority tomorrow 08H00 with my objection.

  143. Good luck. Let me know what happens.

  144. I have a friend of mine who owns a company, she requies a building certificate, she paid the deposit fee but she don’t have a full time foremen who can write the test for her and her time is running out

  145. Please be a bit more specific. I am not sure what you are asking. What sort of building certificate are you talking about. Is this to do with an enrollment with the NHBRC? If not, who was the deposit paid to? What test are you talking about? Is she already building?

  146. Hi i would like to find out if a and split unit aircon can be remove from one room and re install into another room it is and underceiling split unit please let me know .

  147. Hello
    Our new neighbor has started his new house on the stand next to us.
    They are digging a trench all along the foundations of the perimeter of the wall and our garage foundations to lay the power cable and water supply.
    Is this allowed? We are concerned that this could compromise our foundations in the future.
    What is a “building line”?
    Thanking you

  148. Lerato Morudi

    Hi Penny

    I recently employed a Contract to extend my house. To cut the story short we have agreed in writting ofcourse that i pay material fees upfront and the labour charges as the the building progresses as per schedule of finishes states.

    But now I just realise that we both did not have a contegency plan regarding demages theft and so on. I just need to know what is the genaral practise should there be such scenarios who is response for this.
    1. The builder as he was paid upfront or what?
    2. How do i tackle such issues should they come up?

    Lerato Morudi.

  149. First question, is this contractor a member of the NHBRC? The law demands that all contractors are registered.
    Secondly … while many contracts do have clauses that make the owner pay for materials upfront – you should not be paying for ALL the materials for the build upfront. You should only pay for those in each part of the schedule. i.e. You should be paying progressively.
    All builders should have insurance – and if your builder doesn’t, you should probably consider doing something about this. You should have a contract that details all this kind of stuff. Apart from damages and theft, what if he hasn’t quantified the build correctly? No doubt he will then be calling for more money for additional materials. My advice, if this happens, is that you withhold money from the labour costs until the build is complete. Then do a reconciliation.
    I hate to sound sceptical, but some time ago, we had a friend who was a builder, who built a house for us. Full-on contract. And he ripped us off so badly we lost about R1-million. unfortunately it happens all the time.

  150. This is not something that is covered by the building regulations.

  151. I would also be very concerned. I am trying to visualize the situation. Are they exposing your foundations? If so there is clearly an issue in terms of where the boundary is. In this case, this would be the building line you are referring to – I think. But are you sure that your garage has been built within the boundaries of your property?
    Building lines (in general) are where you are permitted to build. These could relate to boundaries or to a line on a property which is above a legislated building line that relates to a nature reserve or mountain etc. For instance, people sometimes buy property that extends up a mountain, but they are not permitted to build beyond a certain point.

  152. Morne Martin

    Hi,where can i do a correspondence course on building regulations?

  153. Hi We have a house being built opposite our house and they are still building throught the December season. I was under the impression that all builders had a cut off date of the 16 Dec. How is this allowed that in the holiday season we have to have noise and inconvieniance in our neigbourhood. Is this allowed?

  154. While the building industry traditionally shuts down from December 16, the law does not prevent builders from continuing work except on Christmas and New Year’s Day (as well as several other holy holidays) …and on Sundays, and before 6 am and after 5 pm on Saturdays. On other days of the week they can work from 6 am until 6 pm.

  155. Morne unfortunately I don’t have any idea. Most colleges that offer courses on engineering and building technology will cover the NBR, but I don’t know of a course dedicated to the NBR.

  156. 3 years ago the council dug a storm water culvert next to my property. They graded the bank right up to the bottom of my vibracrete wall.They did not reinforce or stabilise the bank properly. During the recent storms the bank eroded and subsidence occurred which caused part of my wall to fall downinto the culvert. Don’t you have to retain a 1 metre margin between a boundary wall and any construction to avoid this sort of occurrence? Do I have any recourse? Both my insurance and the council insurance have turned down the claims.

  157. It seems to me the Council is liable. The fact that their insurance company turned down the claim is in your favour.

  158. Dear Penny,

    We paid a contractor in full as he was about to complete a very big extension. He hasn’t returned to do finishing touches as well as roof leaks, cracks etc The top patio tiled floor was leaking to the bottom, tiles were removed and not put back. There are outside steps on a slope and the bottom floor part hasn’t been cemented and is eroding and large holes around it sinking. There are numerous other things that may seem small but will ultimately be hazardous in the near future. The builder who is registered with the nhbrc is not taking calls, responsive to emails and will not come back. Who do we go to for recourse? Is the only option to see attorney, because we are not in a financial position to do so.
    What options do we have? We really want to get everything sorted out and finished off.

  159. Here is a reply I had from the NHBRC to a similar complaint. You need to follow the NHBRC procedure to ensure they take up your case against the builder.
    “We will not be able to assist the homeowner unless he/she has followed our complaints procedure which is defined as follows in terms of section 13 ( 2)(b)(i-iii):
    (i) The homeowner shall within a period of 5 years from date of occupation, notify the builder to rectify structural defects caused by non-compliance with the NHBRC Technical Requirements which shall be set in the agreement.
    (ii) The homeowner shall within three months from date of occupation, notify the builder to rectify non-structural defects which occur due to non-compliance from the terms, plans and specifications of the agreement or any deficiency related to the design, workmanship or material.
    (iii) The homeowner shall within a period of one year from date of occupation, notify the builder to repair roof leak attributable to workmanship, design or material.
    If the builder fails to rectify structural defects and roof leak, NHBRC will be of assistance to the homeowner. The prosecution will then then arrange a disciplinary hearing against the defaulting builder.”

  160. hi im under the impression that ammendments were made to the sans10400 building regulations during 2012 to incorporate the “green” issues is this correct -if so where can i get a free copy of exactly what needs to be conformed to im a small builder and just trying my best to do a proper job and hunting around for a myth is making my life difficult. please clarify all the best for the new year

  161. The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act was amended in 2011 to incorporate two sections that relate to “green” issues; Part X: Environmental sustainability & Part XA: Energy usage in buildings that will help you. You can download a draft of the new standard here.Just be aware that the final version of the standard is only available at a fee from the SABS.

  162. Anna Lourens

    Hi Penny, im looking for advice on what to do about Developers that are developing down the road from us, where do i find what working hours are permitted by them. They are working 24 hours with the droning of heavy machinery, bulldozers, driving me totally insane. I read Tracey above’s comment does this apply to the heavy weight developers as well, where does one even start to try and do something about this??

  163. All building hours are governed by Part F: Site Regulations although local authorities may have additional by-laws. You need to lay a complaint with your local authority as it is they that police this – or should do so.

  164. Hi there

    I would like to know the building regulations regarding a wooden deck – does a plan need to be submitted and do you have to get permission from neighbors in order to get the plans approved, etc.

    Thank you

  165. It depends on the extent and design Mica. But many decks fall under minor building work. If so, you would simply have to let the local authority know that you are building the structure and no permission from neighbors required. But there are sometimes issues that arise where neighbors might have to be asked for permission … e.g. if the deck is very close to the boundary. Unfortunately, even with quite extensive building regulations, nothing is cast in stone – or in the case of a timber deck… wood!

  166. Hi Penny

    Are there any building regulations regarding a self built indoor jacuzzi (about 3 x 3 wide and 1m deep)? Thanks a lot for your help – appreciated.


  167. Hi Penny

    Thanks! Can you tell me whether a wooden deck would add to the square meters of the building size? We have to stay within a maximum M2 allowed. The deck is at least 2 m away from the building line, and there are steps from the deck to the ground which would also act as a fire escape from the first floor. It will also cover a braai area that would give protection from the sun.

    Best regards

  168. Jeepers Mica I am not entirely sure. I don’t think you need any type of plan for a spa [BTW a Jacuzzi is a brand name for a particular type of factory-moulded fiberglass spa), but if you have to add plumbing, you will need to use the services of a qualified plumber.

  169. A wooden deck may well fall into minor building work. And I don’t think it adds to building size as such. If you want to be sure then contact your local authority.

  170. Duncan Dennis

    i worked for a Master builders company in Cape Town for 30 years

    i want to do small extentions for friends and family

    what are the regulations and requirements as a builder do I need to be registered

  171. If you read the information on this site you will see that if you are being paid, you need to be registered with the NHBRC.

  172. Duncan Dennis

    how do I go about registration with NHBRC
    which documents are required

  173. Here is the link that you need to register with the NHBRC.

  174. My neighbour is building a huge lapa on his property,close to our boundery. height is normal roof height of a house and the whole project is a few meters away from our kitchen. this will certainly block out sunlight in our kitchen,never mind the loss of view. what are the laws concerning this?




  176. Carport often fall under minor building work. When inspectors look at any structures safety is a priority. But your local authority may have some specific requirements. Contact them for advice.

  177. If you say huge, chances are he needs plans – only “minor building work” can be done without plans. Usually people can build 2 m from their boundary, and unfortunately, there isn’t always much you can do to stop them – provided of course the local authority approves the plans. I suggest that you contact your local authority, find out if plans have been submitted, and ask what the process is to lodge an objection – based on your concerns. You are within your rights to do this.

  178. Good day is there any law regarding dust control on building sites ?

  179. Hi Penny,

    Hope you can help me. I’m busy designing a house for a client. a large house with a small portion of it(at the entertainment & lounge area) as a double volume. the client would like to know if he can put a timber mezzanine floor over it which will serve later as his studio. the mezzanine is about half of the floor area below it. now do we need to appoint a structural engineer to do this? he is convinced that there’s no need to appoint one because it’s not a concrete floor and not an actual 2nd floor level. I’m a bit skeptic about this and need more input.


    kind regards,

  180. There is reference to mezzanine floors in Part C: Dimensions (of the National Bulding Regulations), and I have mentioned them in the blog post, Are High Ceilings a Waste of Money? In terms of needing a structural engineer; the NBR now require a “competent person” to draw plans and be ultimately responsible for the build.
    Specifically, it states that a competent person “shall prepare and submit to the local authority a rational design or rational assessment where compliance” of the regulations is satisfied. Furthermore, this person (be it an architect, a designer, draughtsman, engineer or architectural technologist) is required to inspect the building and certify (once it has been completed) that it has been constructed, erected or installed as specified on the approved plans. So firstly you need to be a “competent person” qualified to design the house; and secondly to design a mezzanine floor for the house. If you aren’t, then you will need to pull in another professional to assist you.

  181. Minette I have just realized that you sent this same message to me from the section on site operations. Clearly you didn’t read the page as there is quite a long bit titled Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise. Please go back and read for yourself.

  182. hi penny,

    yes i am a competent person registered with SACAP as a Pr.arch.T. I know that when it comes pre-cast and r.c floors then you do need to appoint a struct. engineer to design and “sign-off” the slab or any other structural works. and as you mentioned that a floor may only qualify as a mezzanine if the area is not more than a certain % of the floor below it. that and that the minimum height from the mezzanine to the ceiling should be 2,1m, but then the question remains that do you need to appoint an engineer to design this timber mezzanine?

  183. Penny Murray

    Hi Penny
    Compliments on your very informative site! I am currently designing a two bedroom dwelling in a rural village in South Africa and my client is wanting to use sandbag construction. To date we have only found one accredited company, but are not happy with the method used. Do you know (or where I can find out) if there are any other accredited sandbag building methods in SA; and if not – will the Local Authority pass plans using a sandbag building method not accredited? Any information or advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Penny Murray

  184. Penny, one of the reasons that the National Building Regulations were updated was to allow for “A more flexible approach which facilitates innovation and the introduction of new technologies”. But the regulations don’t specify these. I have heard of people using sandbag methods, and also straw bale and others. I am not aware of any form of accreditation that is required; it all comes down to the competent person who draws up the plans and oversees the project. The link I have given you is to our sister website OwnerBuilding – and an article I wrote recently on the concept of competent persons. I have the name of a builder who does straw bale construction and will try and get hold of him for his take on the matter. I am also in touch with someone who helped with the rewrite of SANS 10400 and I will email him and ask if he can give me any more info. I’ll let you know asap. And thank you for the compliments. 🙂

  185. I think that the local authority will ultimately decide, though it becomes a chicken and egg situation. I’m guessing, but if you design the structure, when the plans go to council they will either pass them or call for input from an engineer. And this would probably be a way cheaper route than asking an engineer to design the mezzanine from scratch. I may be wrong. Since your client is insistent that it isn’t necessary, I would warn IN WRITING (listing the possible consequences in terms of time, cost etc) that it might be necessary to call in an engineer; go ahead; and then see what happens. The regulations certainly don’t state that a structural engineer is the only “competent person” permitted or able to design a timber mezzanine floor. Let me know what happens.

  186. Jeremy Climpson

    Hi Penny
    Nice site!!

    Im looking at building an oversized double garage and would like to include a second storey to later become a granny flat, I would like to know what foundation would be required for a double storey, and are there any diferent regulations to building double storey.

    Kind regards

  187. Jeremy any foundations must be designed to safely transmit all the loads from such building to the ground. So obviously (it should be obvious) the foundations for a single storey building and a double storey building will be different. You might find the NHBRC manuals helpful in this regard. However, you will need to submit plans to your local council to build this structure, and a competent person will need to draw up and submit the plans, and follow through with the project. This person will know what is required for the foundations.
    Please have a look at the links I have given you here – and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you like this site and our sister site on Facebook you will stand a chance to win a digital copy (ebook) of our newly published 208-page book Owner Building in South Africa. This also covers foundations.

  188. Hi Penny,

    I have a problem and don’t no my rights. we stay in a newly developing area. We just finished building our house a few months ago. Recently we got new neighbors starting to build next to us. Their house is almost finished, and now the builder realized that in order for them to connect their sewage line to the main sewage line, they have to go through our yard. Now our yard is basically their option because it is downhill and shortest path to the connection point. What are my options, I don’t want them to go through my yard, or can they legally force me to.

    Is there anything I can do

  189. Saretta Louw


    We want to replace 34 year old railway sleeper garden steps and retaining wall with bricks. Do we need to hand in plans and get approval from the municipality?

  190. Jaco I really don’t know for certain. Certainly they can’t just go ahead and do this. Also, they should have tracked, on their approved plans, where their drains etc would run. I suggest you a) ask to see their plans and b) call in the local authority health inspector who is the person who would know what should be happening with sewage lines etc. Do NOT simply allow them access to your property. Any “force” would need to be via local authority instructions/ letters etc and you would have a right to object.

  191. I’m not sure Saretta. The building regulations are concerned with structural safety, and so it probably depends on the extent of the retaining wall, and how much soil it has to “hold”. The council might consider it to be minor building work, in which case plans won’t be required.

  192. Hi. I had my plans approved in 2010 and started construction then. Since it has been an owner build, I made a few changes along the way. with 2 major things being to now erect a flat concrete roof instead of roof tiles, and the other to convert the balcony in to a room upstairs.
    So, I need to get my plans changed. However, since I was building to the old spec I was unaware of these new EE changes. Will I have to comply?

  193. Hi Penny.

    My mother runs a B&B and the house in front of her is being renovated. What time in the morning is building work allowed to start? Are there any restrictions? The angle grinders etc make so much noise and are disturbing her guests, so much so that many want to leave and request their money back. Does my mother have any rights in terms of the building noise?

    Thank you,

  194. Hi,I’m looking to build a double story building which spans just short of 45 meters , will the fire dept require me to put two flight of stairs in the building or just one based on it being less the 45 meters long ?Thank you.

  195. Heather, Part F: Site Operations (of the National Building Regulations) specifies the parameters for “noise on site”. Go to this LINK, and scroll down to the heading Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise.
    Those are the legal obligations your mother’s neighbour has. i.e. Your mother only has a right to insist that they work within these time parameters. It’s a tough one!

  196. It will be up to your local authority to decide. I assume you could apply for a waiver if you are getting the plans changed after construction has been done. I’d be interested to know what they say.

  197. Contact the fire department and ask them. I would hate to advise you and then find that their interpretation is different to mine.

  198. Hi Penny.
    I’m in a learneship of housing and i’ve been working as a bricklayer. I’ve gain more pasion and interest on housing constraction. I want to have my own company, the problem is i don’t know what is needed and what to do and where. Could you please help me?

  199. Erica Fourie

    Are the floors of a public building allowed to be polished? I seem to think there was a law in the 1980’s that prohibited this practise and that if someone slipped and was hurt they could claim damages. Is this so?

  200. This doesn’t fall under the National Building Regulations, but rather under Health & Safety generally and there may be bylaws governing public buildings that are intended to ensure that public buildings are safe. Certainly, highly polished or slippery surfaces are potentially hazardous. If floors in a public building were highly polished and somebody slipped and was injured, that person could claim damages from the owners of the building.

  201. I have written a concise book, which is very inexpensive, called Start and Run a Professional Bricklaying & Tiling Business, as well as similar titles about concrete work and plumbing. The three are similar, but each with a different focus. I will let you know when they become available – it will be soon.

  202. Hi, I would like to know what the rules and regulations are towards storm water drainage or the away flow there of when construction a swimming pool? If any how much provision must be made? Thanks Jan

  203. what is the wording and layout for a site board at a construction site please?

  204. John the SA National Building Regulations don’t specify this. I think it probably falls under the local authority. Try contacting your local authority for information. You could also phone the SABS and see if there are any standards relating to site boards. I can only find information about safety signage. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  205. Jan, The Building Regulations don’t cover swimming pools directly, but they do cover storm water drainage in general. More specifically, SANS 10252-2 covers drainage installations for buildings. This includes the necessary gradients for storm water drains, and where and how they should be built.
    Anyone building a swimming pool must ensure that the overflow drains to a natural watercourse, a storm water drain, or a surface water channel. Neither the overflow nor any water that is emptied during the backwashing process should be emptied on the street or to any other public place. It also may not be emptied onto someone else’s property.
    SANS 10209 The design and construction of private swimming pools covers the layout, design and construction of private swimming pools. Appendices covering the use of trees near a pool, construction procedures, painting and pool maintenance are also covered in the standard. It does not cover the provision of heating equipment. In terms of drainage/water, the standard covers pipework and drainage outlets; control of water during excavation; pool inlets and outlets (i.e. flow of water in and out of the pool).
    It sells for R213.00 and you can order it from the SABS web store.

  206. Hi i was looking at my house plan and noticed a building on the plan that is not there today. i remember it been there as a child. 1. am i paying rates for this building 2 can i rebuild this building on the same spot or will i have to have a new plan drawn up. this house was buildt in 1945 and the measurements are in inches. must i also draw up a plan for a boundery wall that i want to build

  207. Venetia, In terms of rates, local authorities are supposed to regularly update their records in terms of what is on a property vs plans. But I think the reality is they are so short-staffed they generally can’t even cope with new building. (About six years ago I remember a building inspector coming to check on the buildings on a farm where we were living – so it does sometimes happen.) If you don’t rebuild the building, then you could apply for a reduction in rates. In terms of rebuilding, I think the NBR would require you to notify the local authority that you are going to rebuild (i.e. the same requirement as for minor building work). But you would need to be sure that the plans comply with the current NBR. Plumbing might be a problem because of improved standards. If anything doesn’t comply, I guess you would simply have to submit a rider plan. You would also have to do this if you wanted to change anything – the position of doors and windows for instance, or make it smaller or bigger. Converting the measurements shouldn’t be too much of a problem though brick/block sizes may not match. At the end of the day it will be up to your local authority to decide what they need. As the law states in regard to minor building work, you don’t need plans for “the erection of any building that the local council doesn’t believe plans are necessary for”.
    Regarding the wall. Some local authorities want plans for walls and fences; other will allow walls to be built to a certain height. The best thing is to check with your local authority what is required. Their concern will generally be that the foundations are sufficient to carry the load of the wall, and that the wall is on the correct boundary line.

  208. Please can you tell me if I need to have plans passed or municipal approval to put a palisade fence between my property and my neighbours?
    Thank you,

  209. Pam, the National Building Regulations state that “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,” is a form of minor building work. And minor building work does not require plans – as you will see if you click on the link above. However, you do still need to notify the local authority of minor building work, and they may require certain documentation to be filled out, including a site plan. Furthermore, some local authorities DO require plans for ALL walls and fences. Your best bet is to check with your municipality what exactly they require. Presuming your fence is below the 1,8 m height, point out to them that you are aware the project falls under “minor building work” in terms of the NBR.

  210. antonio silva

    My daughter is a psycologist and we believe she can not work from the residence so I decided to build for her a consulting facility adjacent to the residing house the issue now is: is it law that she must provide paraplegic facilities?

  211. I presume this would fall under Facilities for Disabled Persons Part S, and this has changed completely. I am not sure what the answer is. The quickest way to check is to go to an SABS library and have a look at Part S. The other issue is that your local authority may require you to get permission to run this type of business from home. You’ll need to check that with them.

  212. Charity Pawandiwa

    Good day
    Thank-you for your useful website
    kindly send me the link where I can download the latest building
    regulations thank-you

  213. Mathaeus Amerseder

    To Whom It May Concern,


    It would be appreciated if you could help me with the following
    question? I want to have a house built and I would like to know what
    are the:

    1. Functions and processes that the engineer is to carry out?

    2. Does the engineer liaise and visually inspect (on site) with the
    architect and contractor the plot/land for contours, soil conditions,
    thus determining the plan of the structure and determining of the type
    of foundation to be applied? (prior to commencement of building

    3. When and at which stages does the engineer need to inspect the
    building operations?

    4. If a problem should occur, due to negligence on the part of the
    engineer, is the engineer covered by an insurance?

    Thank you for your kind attention, and I look forward to your

    Best Wishes/Mit freundlichen Grussen

  214. Frank Oliveira

    I would like to obtain the following document:
    EF 003 Appendix B1 form
    Thank you

  215. The legislation is downloadable from our downloads site. You will have to download the original law + the amendment. You can also download the old SANS 10400. NOTE that the original legislation is incorporated in this document; you will need to compare the legislation (which is shown at the top of each part with the amendments – it’s a bit laborious, but it works). The new SANS are, I am sorry to say, only available for purchase from the SABS. I hope you come right – and apologies it has taken so long to get back to you. The glitch in our system is thankfully now sorted!

  216. Koketso Moseneke

    Can one give individual title deeds to houses build on one foundation
    slab? with seperate but closely built walls? as well as seperate
    roofs? MY CONCERN IS THE SINGLE SLAB? Please help.

  217. The property was built about seven years ago and has been occupied by
    the owner-builder for approximately five/six years as can be shown by
    a study of the electricity account.

    What regulations apply with respect to the sale of the house?

  218. good morning,everyone,
    can anyone help…
    We bought a house about 16 years ago and about 4 years ago had plans made up as the existing plans did not show the swimming pool,lappa and a tiny rondavel used as a laundry.
    We have now been told.,,4 years after submitting the plans..(the council having lost our submitted plans on 2 occasions) (thank heavens I had receipts)… that we must destroy the rondavel and the lapa as they are too close to building line.
    We were aware of this and had the request for relaxation letters from all neighbours signed and submitted with the plans.
    A site inspector came and told me he didn’t foresee any problems.
    To date other than the site visit we have not been contacted by council. We have been advised of their decision by the lady who did our plans.
    She also told me that the person refusing to pass the plans said he is sick of people building and then trying to get plans. We bought this house with the problem buildings already there 16 years ago!!!! . (We were first time buyers and didn’t even think to ask for plans and the estate agent never suggested it eithor….i can only presume that legislation has changed as plans were not an issue on purchasing our home.
    What is your opinion on this…do we have to comply and destroy these buildings or is there another route we can follow? I would really appreciate some advice.

  219. Erika Rossouw

    How do we go about obtaining a copy of the registered approved plans
    of our house? We bought a house (in JHB) 1.5years ago and the plans
    the previous owners gave us, does not seem to be up-to-date. It is
    also not 100% complete, as it was plans prepared for building
    alterations done in the ’70s, so certain areas are demarcated as
    “existing building” only with no further details.

    Secondly, if the registered plans are not the same as what the house
    looks like now, what should we do? Do we have any recourse to the

  220. prudence miller

    I act on behalf of a client who is currently obtaining SDP approval
    for a new development.

    Part of his obligations are to produce a section 4 certificate

    Please advise me exactly how to go about this and who will issue the

    Kindly let me have a copy of one if you have one.

    Thank you. This matter is one of great urgency.


    Prudence Miller

  221. Hi Prudence,
    Even though there are National Regulations each local authority has it’s own way of handling applications. Here is a link to Cape Town’s “Land Use Management” page and here is the Joburg link to their “building_plans_approval.pdf”

  222. Hi Koketso,
    Yes you can have individual title deeds for houses that are built on one single foundation slab. These could be part of a Sectional Title or a Freehold agreement and each has their own set of rules. It depends on how the property is developed.
    Single slabs are common in townhouse as well as for semi-detached houses. There a few factors that affect the decision to use a single slab; one is cost. If the developer is building a few units then it will be cheaper for him to throw a single slab and build the houses progressively. There is also a safety and stability factor. If the houses are close together and, if he were to throw the slabs at different times, he might undermine the first foundation slab when placing the second. So your foundation slab might be more stable as a single slab than if it is constructed seperately.
    With a freehold property you own the house as well as the land it is built on, and each house has an individual erf number. The freehold owner has to pay his or her own rates and taxes, insurance, maintenance, and services including water and electricity. The scenario as far as a sectional title property is concerned is very different. Here you only own the house, and all outside areas are common property, even if it is fully walled. A freehold complex has a homeowners’ association that is set up to look after maintenance of the roads, security and communal areas within the complex. In addition to the laws and guidelines in the National Building Regulations, homeowners’ association normally have their own sets of rules that all homeowners are obliged to abide by.

  223. Eric Roediger

    Good day,

    We currently in need of the latest edition of SANS 10400,please advise
    on where can one purchase this manual anywhere in

    Your input will be appreciated.

    Many thanks and regards

    Eric Roediger (Pr. Arch)

  224. Hi Frank,
    Go to our SABS-Contact page and ask the branch that is nearest to you, and they can send it to you, or you could collect it from their office.

  225. Hi Eric,
    If you go to our “SABS Contact” page you will find all the addresses and contact details that you need, including the online store where you can get the latest SANS 10400.

  226. May you please forward your land line telephone numbers, as I would like some advise on registration procedures.

    Thank you,

    Louis Mouyis

  227. Hi Louis,
    We do not make registrations for the NHBRC. You will find all their contact details countrywide here: NHBRC-Contacts

  228. hi
    im a 3rd yr computer science student. Im doing an IT system and my target market is the construction industry and i would like to know what are the needs of the construction industry in terms of Information Technology.

  229. Hi Patricia,
    All the regulations apply to all properties, there are no exceptions. The only factor here is that the owner builder would not have been permitted to sell within five years if he had successfully applied for an exemption as an owner builder from the NHBRC. If the property was built seven years ago, this would be irrelevant in terms of the law.

  230. Seipati Anastasia

    How can I discuss the intergration sans building codes with the British sans codes

  231. Are you trying to compare them? In general they do the same thing … set basic building standards. Whilst the British standards and SANS are “different”, both rely on good international standards. In fact the SANS often refer to BS and to ISO.

  232. Why don’t you approach a company leader in the construction industry – or perhaps just a company operating in your area – and ask them for some guidance/thoughts on how much they rely on IT? Just about every aspect of planning and running a construction business today relies on computerization – from drawing plans and quantifying materials, to budgeting and invoicing.

  233. marcello Lawrenc

    Hi there,

    Myself and my girlfriend had bought a plot and plan, but now we are having issues with the developer.
    They started with the foundation but when I inspected the property I found that my Main stipulation that I have the yard have a space of 8.5m from the back wall of the house to the fence found that the space is 5m.

    After telling them that I am not happy with this they said that now they can make it 7.4m and because i am not happy with this as they are still 1.4m short.

    So now I want to get out of the contract as they cant give me what I originally stipulated as a requirement they want to charge me for the work already done even if it is wrong (hence i don’t Think I should pay for something that they noe have to break down)

    Do you know of any solution (someone I could speak to that would not cost us an arm and a leg)

    Much thanks in advance.

  234. Marcello, I presume you have a copy of the agreement you signed with the developer, in which you made this stipulation? If it was verbal, you won’t have a leg to stand on.
    Presuming you have the agreement in writing, I would give them notice in writing that you insist the property is laid out as agreed, viz. with the 8,5 m dimension; and state that you are not going to be held responsible for any costs unless the matter is immediately resolved.
    You will be in a much stronger position (because they are more likely to take you seriously) if you get an attorney to write the letter for you. I am not sure what they charge, but you should be able to get a letter written for between R250 and R500. You need to go to someone who is experienced in conveyancing. Make it clear that you simply want a letter – not for the attorney to negotiate for you (at this stage anyway).

  235. Hi Penny,

    I do have it on the plan layout that all the parties signed. In the contract there is also a clause that states that the cant make any changes to the plan without myself and girlfriend signing the it. e have now noticed that after we complained that they had started building the house on the wrong spot, the new revised plan says that the house is now 3 square metes bigger (note that we did not sign off on this new plan changes). we told them that we cant work with dishonest people like them and want out. They now want us to pay for starting the foundation on the wrong side of the plot… I will just wait for them to come to us with cost before I go to an attorney.

  236. Hi Marsha,
    First of all apologies for taking time to get back to you. We had an issue with Comments that got stuck in Never-Land! Essentially it sounds as though this has escalated to a legal matter, and we do not give legal advise on this site. I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me that you have every right to keep your structures. You have done everything correctly and if the council has mislaid your paperwork and plans then I would say that they are liable. Unfortunately if the council are stubborn and not understanding then you might have to get legal help. If you do then claim your Attorney costs so that you are not out of pocket. On the bright side, you at least have proof of submissions and so on.
    Regarding plans when you bought the property – this hasn’t changed. And people still build without plans! Since the NHBRC got involved, everything has become more structured largely to try and protect homeowners.
    One aspect that puzzles me is what plans did you have drawn? You mention the “lady who did our plans”? Were these plans to include the “illegal” structures?
    I am going to stick my neck out and say that if this went to court you’d win. My personal advice is to refuse to destroy the buildings and force them to take you to court!

  237. Thank you for advise. Re your question about what plans…We wanted updated plans to show all alterations including the structures that are supposedly illegal. The existing plans on record are so old as to be almost illegible and did not show all alterations that had been done in years preceding us buying the property.. We just wanted to comply with requirements to have up to date plans. I wish we had never bothered. Sometimes honesty doesn’t pay.
    The lady refered to was the architect who drew up new plans for us…sorry it was a bit vague.

    We have decided to ignore the verbal instruction and wait for a formal directive. Only problem is the house is now unsellable. Once we are informed in writing to destroy the structures we will take your advice and see a laywer. Many thanks again.

  238. Hi!

    Is there a daily time limit on when builders can build in a residential area?
    i.e Are they allowed to use a cement mixer till after 10pm??

    Thanking you in advance.

  239. Rose-Anne Wessels


    I just need to find out about some building our neighbour has done. She came around to all the neighbours with plans for a granny flat but she has not stopped building since and its anything but a granny flat. She has basically built a complex in her back yard and turned it into a student commune. There is a double storey building consisting of a two flats, then she converted her garage into a flat and added rooms on top of the garage. The building is right up against the back wall to our other neighbour. These buildings were not on the plans she brought over at all and the builders who did the work definitely not accredited builders. She has probably ten to twelve students living there now with a family of 4 as well. Its getting crowded and our privacy is not being respected. What can we do about it?

  240. Rose-Anne, It sounds to me as if this is totally illegal building work. Complain in writing to your local authority and insist that a building inspector visits the property. What you describe needs plans that must be approved by the local authority, and if your neighbour doesn’t have approved plans, the local authority can insist she demolishes the structures. Furthermore, if the building is against a boundary, she will have had to have the plans signed by neighbors. You say you were shown plans, but did she require a signature?

  241. No they may not use a cement mixer that late. During the week they MUST stop work by 6 pm and there are further restrictions for weekends.
    The times are specified in Site Operations (Part F of the Building Regulations) that you can access from the link I have given you. Scroll down to Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise.

  242. Rose-Anne Wessels

    Yes it did require a signature but it was for a one bedroom granny flat. We also now have such problems with rats that come over from their side. I am not sure if she has the other neighbours signature for building right up to his wall, or rather over his wall but I know he has complained to us before saying they dont feel comfortable using their pool anymore because of the lack of privacy.

    Thank you for your advice!

  243. They have clearly contravened the law so contact your local authority as a matter of urgency. In fact it would be a good idea to ask the other neighbour to do the same – and deliver the two letters together. Further to that – I would also contact the health inspector and report the rat problem. I would hate to imagine the standard of building work! With so many people living there, there are clearly health issues as well! Sounds like its been hacked together – and the chances are that they didn’t use registered plumbers – so there may not be a proper drain system etc. – that would encourage rats. Don’t delay!

  244. why the integration of south African national standard building codes with our British varies in difference regulations

  245. Hi there

    We are about to purchase a property with a single garage and carport on the side. Does the car port need to be on plan? We intend converting the carport into another garage which i believe will have to be on plan. How do we go about this process?

  246. Good morning, does my neighbour need written approval from us if he is constructing a structure with a deck that will compromise my existing privacy? Mant thanks M

  247. Briers Van Rensburg

    I built my house on my property, some 9 years ago, down in the Cape. I have just received a letter from the municipality, stating that my house does not fall inside my building lines. i.e., 1.5m from the sides and 3m from the front.
    The Municipality further state that I must get a surveyor to come and check the site, by a certain date, failing which they will get one, and I will be billed with the account.
    My questions are as follows: Surely the municipality is acting on information from a neighbor. (A new one has just finished building their house behind me.) Are they not obliged to tell me where this infringement is?
    If the house is 200- 300mm outside the building lines, what is the legal process to follow?
    I had an architect draw and build the house, and land surveyor originally did the survey. Before occupation, the municipality had to come and check, inspect, and give an occupancy certificate.

  248. Not necessarily. He would do if he is building outside the building line for that property. But if you privacy is going to be compromised, you could put in an objection with the local council.

  249. No the carport doesn’t have to be on the plan – see this link, minor building work. But as you correctly say, to convert it into a garage you will need a plan. You need to get a “competent person” (again click on the link) to draw the plan for you and submit it to council.

  250. Isaac I think I have already answered your query on Facebook. Every country has building regulations and codes. The main differences between SA and British codes are likely to be weather related. But we use quite a few of the British codes in this country. The SABS is the place to find out which codes apply.

  251. Hi thr I gt a plans for a dubble garage infront by my house nd a low wall not happy with the low wall I want it full inclose I would lyk to put a window thr on the low wall so tat thr cn still cum in light nd air as long as it it fully inclose at nite thanks

  252. Hi

    My property sits higher than my neighbors, which makes privacy a problem for both of us. The only option is to build a retaining wall and to erect pre cast fencing. We both agree to this and will share the cost, the retaining wall is going to be between 1.2 and 1.5m high with a precast fence erected next to the last retaining block (at the top) Do we need plans or is a mutual agreement enough?

  253. Apologies if this pops up as a duplicate but I cant find my first post? Anyway… my dad has a boat house that is less than 40 square meters.. at this stage it is not free standing but we can change it to be (it started as a pergola and we used to put a canvas over it when the boat was parked under it so one side is fastened to the house, the other stands on wooden beams) – then later we added fencing to the sides to prevent stuff being stolen off the boat, if the fencing is an issue we can maybe replace it with strand / electric fencing? Lastly the boathouse is probably about half a meter from the boundary of the property. Are there any issues with this setup and how would we make it acceptable / legit. Thanks

  254. Hi Penny,

    We live in a complex, and would like to convert our room under the stairs into a guest loo.
    For this we would need to knock a window through an existing outside wall, and connect new pipes to the existing plumbing.

    Please advise if we require any council planning?

    Kind Regards

  255. Mark you couldn’t find your post because it hadn’t been approved and/or responded to. As far as I can see the only issue there might be with this structure is the distance from the boundary – though if this is a street boundary you’ll probably be okay. Although having said that, if you have attached the fencing to the structure so that it is no longer “open-sided” that could also be problematic.
    If you look at this link to an article on minor building work, you will see that the basic structure – and possibly the fence – are both defined as minor building work:
    “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,
    any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,”
    Your best bet would be to contact your local authority and ask if they require you do make changes.
    You can also read about boundary walls and fences at (it will be up later this afternoon).

  256. You need plans for a retaining wall. If the precast wall is no higher than 1,8 m you don’t need plans, but you do need to notify your municipality/local authority that you are erecting the fence. See also Minor Building Work.

  257. I suggest that you ask whoever drew up the plans for you to amend them. You will, in any case, need to have the plans passed by your local authority before you can build.

  258. Brian I presume that the local authority/municipality approved the house when you built it – it sounds like it. In which case if there is a problem, it’s their problem as well. I would insist on them telling you where the supposed infringement is. But put your demand in writing and get a signature for the letter – I’d deliver it by hand if possible – otherwise send i registered mail AND send it via email and ask for acknowledgement of the mail. But in your letter that you reject their submission that you will be billed for anything at all. Say that if need be you will take them to Court (i.e. call their bluff).
    If they approved the house I don;t see how they can now – without employing a surveyor – decide it isn’t legit. What is the issue anyway for goodness sakes… ???
    Your letter should state also that the land was surveyed prior to building – the house was architect designed – and that the municipality did all the checks that were required. Ask what their problem is and demand to know exact details of the infringement. Let me know what happens.

  259. Your local council will advise whether you need plans. You might just need to submit a rider plan. But in any case you are going to need to employ a qualified and registered plumber to do the connection. He would know what the legal planning requirements are. Alternatively give IOPSA (the Institute of Plumbing) a call – there are contact numbers for the different regions on their web site. I have given you the link.

  260. My husband bought a house years ago in a joint ownership, his wife
    passed away and he stoped paying the house because it had insurence.
    He stopped receiving any invoices from Nedbank and he went to the
    building company who sold him the house and he found out that they
    were liquidated. I don’t know what’s happening wwith this house
    because no one can give information. We don’t know if it has been
    settled or not. If the company has been liquidated and maybe if they
    have found frodulent dealings with their buildings what happens to the
    house owners do they own the houses or what pls help

  261. If somebody buys a house jointly with someone else, they remain liable for their portion of payments after their partner dies. The deceased person’s share in the property will depend on the conditions of their will. I am puzzled what sort of insurance would pay for a house when one partner dies; I can only assume it was a life insurance policy that covered the outstanding bond? If this is the case, as a part owner of the property, he should have checked to see what happened at the time of his wife’s death.
    I also don’t follow how the building company who originally sold the house would have anything to do with the matter now. If he BOUGHT the house (and it sounds like they got a bond from Nedbank to pay for it) what role would the building company still play? Nedbank is probably the only party that can help you. The title deed would have been transferred to them if they became the bondholder.

  262. Ernest Maubane

    The builder of my house did not complete and is like running away because he no longer respond to my call or come back. My problem is that he handled the plan and indicated it will be registered when all modifications are completed.

    Help me out please

  263. Hi Earnest,
    We do not do conflict resolutions between builders and owners. The people you need to contact are at the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council) > CLICK HERE <, they have offices in all areas.

  264. Hi Erika,
    You should be able to obtain a copy of the plans from the City of Johannesburg (the local authority). Go to the Planning Department and apply for these. I am not sure of the exact procedure (all local authorities have their own way of doing things), but you will have to give them the erf number and probably proof of ownership. If you got a bond from a bank when you bought the house then the bank will have the title deeds and possibly also the plans. They normally have properties inspected before approving bonds to make sure that the registered plans and what is standing are the same. If someone buys a property for cash then the property probably won;t be inspected unless the purchaser wants this done, or there is a dispute about outstanding rates and taxes with the local authority (in which case their inspector will do checks). We advise all people buying any property to ask the estate agent to supply them with copies of all existing house plans (ie the original plans a well any plans for later additions, including a pool) so that they can make sure that they are the same as what has been built. Once you have purchased the house then the onus is on you as the new owner to update and submit new plans at your cost.

  265. Debbie Watkins

    Dear Penny,

    Do you require plans if you are erecting a carport on the side of your house?

  266. Rose van de Schuur

    I applied for a carport last year and was erected. the size was 3 x 3meters at a cost of R5000. This was done by a well known company. I’ve asked the salesperson as well as the manager of the company if we do require a plan to be drawn and they told me as long as your neighbours is ok with it.. then its fine. Now, a year later.. ive been approached by the City of Cape town for a plan to be submitted. However, i’ve been sold a carport under false pretences eventhough i’ve requested if this plan was necessary as i had money at the time and was able to pay for it… what do i do… i personally don’t feel that im the one responsible. please advise.

  267. Hi Rose,
    You have also asked this question on our “contact us” page so I will answer them both here. First of all, the carport installer needs to advise clients correctly as to what is required by law. The National Building Regulations has a clause that relates to “minor building work” that specifies “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size” are regarded as minor building work and do not need plans. So your 3×3 metre (9 sq m) carport certainly is within the law in terms of minor building work. BUT the other part of the same regulation states that any structural building work that is defined as “minor building work” requires you to notify your local authority’s building control officer before you commence with any work. You need to be aware that they have the right to demand plans if they deem them to be necessary. However, if you had make an application and receive the necessary permission from the local authority, you DO NOT NEED PLANS.
    My suggestion is that you go and speak to the Cape Town planning department very nicely and explain that the people who built the structure for you advised you did not have to do anything. Let them decide what you need to do next. You might also approach the company who did the work for you and ask them to assist in sorting out this matter, because if they don’t it could play out in a negative manner for them as you’ll have to advise the City which company was responsible and how it seems they are misleading the public. Make sure you emphasize to City officials that you understood these people were the experts in their field, and that you believed you were doing everything according to the law.
    Let me know if you need further advise – and please let us know what happens. Good luck.

  268. Debbie, it depends on the size of the carport. Please read this article – CLICK HERE – that explains about minor building works. The other issue is the building line as you cannot simply build up to your boundary. Here’s another LINK at our sister site ownerbuilding.

  269. We are in the process of buying a home in Monteseel, Durban. There are no plans what so ever with town planning and the current owner has added a front patio and extended the kitchen. We are looking at doing the plans ourselves once we have bought it and getting plans drawn up and approved so that we have a legal building. How do we protect ourselves in terms of if any fines are given by the town planning, or if they find something they consider illegal? When there are NO PLANS ANYWHERE? Inspect a home had seen the home a year ago and were happy. In terms of the small extention to the kitchen, we had a building person look at it and didnt see any fault anywhere. Where likely do they find illegal problems that get to the point of getting it demolished?

  270. rent ing building on plott Kelly’s view Bloemfontein. The owner gave us the go ahead to put up “Af dak”
    next to building. it is latch on to building. They say now after 2 years they need building plans for “af dak”. is this true

  271. They never handed in a plan for the building. It has just an office inside rest is floor space. We use it for funiture manufacture.

  272. Janita van der Westhuysen


    I am looking for more information on the health and safety regulations pertaining to bathrooms, during and after construction (legislation on the subject). If anyone could point me in the right direction on that, I would really appreciate it very much.

    Kind Regards,

  273. You can download the Occupational Health and Safety legislation HERE.

  274. Janita van der Westhuysen

    Hi Penny:

    That does not seem to answer the question I have. More specifically, if I am renting a house from someone what is the basic standards of safety which the bathroom needs to comply with before the owner is held responsible for transgression of the safety standards. This would pertain to the plumbing certificate issued when a house is sold. I hope that makes more sense?

    Kind Regards,

  275. Janita you asked about health and safety standards, but now seem to be referring to building standards. I am really not at all sure what you want to know. If a property owner does not comply either to the health and safety standards, or to the National Building Regulations, and someone for example falls and is injured as a result (perhaps slips on a bathroom floor or gets scalded by a shower), then the owner might be sued and held responsible for injuries. This will be up to the court to decide.
    A plumbing certificate shows that the plumbing is up to standard. I’m not sure what you mean here? If the plumbing isn’t up to standard then the owner is liable.

  276. Janita van der Westhuysen

    Hi Penny:

    My apologies for the misstatement, I am totally clueless with regard to all of the different aspects. This response that you just gave me is perfect, thank you so much for the patience. One last question…do you perhaps know who the local authority on these building standards?

    Thank you very much for all the trouble.

    Kind Regards,

  277. I want to get a company to build a double carport (6×6.5m in front on my garages) at my place. Will they need to apply for plans at the city council here in Krugersdorp and inform the council that they are going to build this carport? Do they also need to draw up an plan for this? Please advise.

  278. Hi Chan,
    Be very careful buying a house when the local council does not have any plans or partly missing plans. This can be a costly thing not only with getting a “competent person” to draw up and submit the plans but also the penalties from the council could be quite severe. If you require a bond to be able to purchase the house then the financial institution will require the property to be inspected and if there are any missing plans these will have to be done before a bond will be granted. These costs usually have to be covered by the seller. If you are buying for cash then I suggest you get a few quotes for the plans first and then ask the council what the submission fees and penalties will be.

  279. Basically if you look at this article on minor building works you will see that caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size do not need plans. However you do need to inform the council that you are erecting the structure.

  280. Janita, The local authority is the municipality or city council (or in the case of for e.g. Cape Town, Johannesburg etc The City of Cape Town etc). Contact the Institute of Plumbing if you need more info.

  281. You don’t say who is demanding plans. Has the council approached the owner for plans perhaps?

  282. I am not sure what you are saying – who never handed in a plan for the building?

  283. Theresa Smith

    How do I go about finding out the rules/regulations governing responsibilities around shared walls? My neighbour’s palm tree is uprooting our shared fence/boundary wall, and it needs to be fixed. Also, the problem is going to continue as long as she has that tree – but she won’t hear of getting rid of it or fixing the fence.

  284. Here are two articles that should help you. One on our site SEE LINK – and another on our sister web site SEE LINK.

  285. Hi
    I bought a house in Kloof in KZN around 3 years ago and the roof has started leaking, the insurance company say they will not cover any repairs until the roof has been repaired and the pitch raised, as water is pooling in the middle of the roof.
    The roof is corrugated metal, and is almost 100% flat, with no waterproofing.
    My question is, was this building built legally and do I have recourse against the previous owner who built the house, or the building inspector who passed the house?
    Another issue you may be able to help with is the electrical cabling is all plastered into the wall, not run in conduit, which makes repairing any faults very difficult as I either have to chase the cable and ruin the plaster, or run new cables on the surface of the wall.
    Is this a legal way of running electrical cables?

    Thanks for any info

  286. Hi Penny

    I made an calculation error when I buried my septic tank and build my soak away, instead of 3m from the boundary line, as the building line indicates I put it right next to the boundary line. Would this mean I will have to dig up everything and redo all of it again?

    Kind regards

  287. Chris, Yes – unless you can persuade the council to pass a rider plan. Having said this – some years ago we built a house in Hout Bay and when we started digging the foundations, we discovered that the neighbour had basically done what you have done and water from his soakaway was seeping onto our property. We reported this to the building and health inspectors and they did nothing to force them to rectify the situation. We had to move the position of our house which led to us building on a much steeper slope than intended with all kinds of cost implications. Mind you, when the building inspector came to check the foundations, he said that they were in the wrong place … he was holding the plans upside down! Then when we built a cottage in Pringle Bay – when the building inspector came to check the septic tank, he discovered that the bricklayers had used the internal dimensions as the external dimensions – and we had to break down two walls and enlarge it.

  288. I was hoping my error wouldn’t create any problems, I have been battling to get hold of the Building inspector for some time now all his numbers are unavailable. My property boundary is bordering a massive farm size bush that might never get developed. I’ll try get someone out to advise me. Appreciate the feedback

    Kind regards

  289. Chris contact the municipality and tell them that you can’t get hold of the building inspector. There must be other people who can assist you. If your property is next to a farm then you can probably, very easily, get approval from the owner for a rider plan.

  290. Steve there is quite a lot of info on the section on roofs on this site, including details about the pitch (degree) that is allowed. It also explains when waterproofing is required.
    If you bought the house voetstoots (which is usual) you have no recourse to the previous owner.
    I think your first step is to get a copy of the plans from the municipality and see what pitch was required – and allowed. It is very unlikely that a building inspector would have passed a building that did not comply with what was in the plans – and the council is very unlikely to have permitted a house to be built that did not comply with the NBR. But you need to do a paper chase to check this.
    In terms of electrics, cabling is commonly plastered into the wall. If it is run through conduit, the conduit is plastered into the wall. Start looking at the walls in houses and you will see lots of “ruined” plaster. You are unlikely to find cables/conduit on the surface of the wall.

  291. Prashila Mithal

    21 Sirkon Ave. Extension 5, Lenasia – STAND 5958

    I looking for a website, My neighbour is buidling a double story house, The space between my house border is only 2 bricks away, The buiding on the border. Note the 3rd floor , the very last floor, he has a open plan court yard. No. we did not sign any building plans, or notified. Note there is no privacy for me. Please i need some guidance, on who do i contact. Please assist me urgently.

  292. Steve we have added a page that deals with electric cables etc. I think you will find it useful. This is the LINK.

  293. Prashila, Contact your local authority’s (council/municipality) planning department and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate. Some municipalities (e.g. City of Cape Town) allow a certain % of building right on the boundary without neighbour’s consent – though they do need to have plans approved before they build. But as far as I know, this is not the case in Gauteng. And again, as far as I know, neighbour’s consent is needed and approval takes quite a while.

  294. Hi Penny

    We want to buildt an extension to our house for my in-law to stay in. We want to included a kitchen. What is the correct way and regulations when it comes to a kitchen? What are the regulations?



  295. Darius there is no set of regulations that apply specifically to kitchens. All apply. Particular attention should be paid to plumbing and electrics. If you read the information on this site you should find the answers you need.

  296. Mathaeus, The statutory body that regulates the engineering profession in South Africa is the Engineering Council of South Africa, ECSA. They should be able to give you the information you require in terms of code of conduct etc.
    Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and the SA Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) are two of several voluntary associations for engineers in this country. I have posted links for you to get to their various web sites.
    In more general terms, an engineer is just one of several people defined in the National Building Regulations as “a competent person“. You don’t necessarily have to appoint an engineer as your competent person – it depends on your project. Whoever you choose to use as your competent person, would need to liaise with other role-players.
    In terms of inspection, SANS 10400: Part A General Principles & Requirements states that “general inspection by a competent person of a system or measure or installation of a building, or part thereof, at such intervals as might be necessary in accordance with accepted professional practice to enable such competent person to be satisfied that the design assumptions are valid, the design is being correctly interpreted and the work is being executed generally in accordance with the designs, appropriate construction techniques and good practice but shall exclude detailed supervision and day-to-day inspection”.
    There is also a detailed table in Part A that gives the “approved competent person appointments”, including the nature of duties required. It starts with Duty 1 which = “Demonstrating compliance with the requirements of the National Building Regulations in terms of Regulation AZ4(1)(b)(ii).” The table is detailed and runs through the whole list of requirements stating which type of competent person needs to fulfill each duty. Many of these do require an engineer or other specialist – whom your appointed “competent person” would call in.

  297. Hi,

    I am in the process of wanting to sell my house, but have come accross an issue with an addition I have made. About two years ago, I added a carport or “afdak” behind the house, and due to the size did not think a building plan was necessary. I have subsequently also read that for a roof of less that 40 sqm, I don’t need plans.

    After consultation with the Estate agent, I am now not sure if plans are needed or not as they have indiacted that I do need one, and that is should not be a problem and that I can jsut contact an architiect, have him draw the adjustments and submit it to the municipality.

    What would be best option be, and would I need to submit changes prior to selling my home

    You assitance will be appreciated


  298. Sean it is not clear who has indicated that you need plans. In terms of the National Building Regulations, “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,” are regarded as minor building work and do NOT require plans – though if you go to the link I have provided you will see that you do need to notify the local authority that you are building. Also, the local authority may require plans for some minor building work – it depends on the local by-laws. But generally an afdak that is less than 40 sq m in size will not need plans.
    I would contact the local authority and ask whether the structure needs to be indicated on the plans – point out that you know it is minor building work. But it really is their call. And if they do need plans you would simply need a rider plan that shows the structure on your site plan as “new” plus a plan of the structure itself.
    Rather check now than have something like this hold up a sale later on.

  299. Hi penny. I have been building and renovating homes for the last four years. I now want to build another new house in Johannesburg. This time we need a bond and the bank has asked for nhbrc certification. Can I register my cc for nhbrc, and still use my usual contractors, builders and suppliers ( most are not registered ) as my subcontracts. Will this meet nhbrc regulations. Also where would I find details of the nhbrc standards so I can ensure that as we build our structure does meet compliance standards

    With thanks karen

  300. hey penny

    im a student doing my 2nd year in Buliding.we have a assignment and part of the requirements is to write a report on what needs to be done to ad an additional floor to a single storey dwelling(requirements before commencement of work and how to construct) can you help me with some sites

  301. Hi There.
    I recently built a boundary wall and plastered my side of the the wall now the neighbour wants me to plaster their side of the wall is there any law or regulation with regards to this?

  302. Jabulile you can read more about boundary walls here. Probably what you should have done was chat to your neighbour before you built the wall since he/she will get benefit from the wall. But I don’t think there is anything to force you to plaster it, provided it looks neat on his/her side, and is safe and sound.

  303. Keenan, another student asked exactly the same question yesterday. You can see my reply HERE. You should be able to get info from the other pages on this site – and possibly from our sister site, owner-building.

  304. Karen, first of all if you have been building homes for the past four years without being registered, you have been operating illegally. By law anybody in the business of home building must be registered with the NHBRC and all homes must be enrolled, whether a bond is required or not. Here is a LINK to the NHBRC web site where you can download the documents required for registration. Your subbies don’t have to be registered.
    In terms of Standards, all buildings must be built according to the National Building Regulations & Standards Act – SANS 10400 gives the requirements that are “deemed to satisfy” this legislation. If you don’t know these standards how on earth have you been building houses that comply? The NHBRC also has two handbooks that give additional information in terms of construction.
    If you are building houses, you should also be getting plans approved by the local authority. And in terms of the legislation that was passed in 2008 (five years ago), only a “competent person” may draw these plans PLUS this competent person must be responsible for the build. So if you aren’t a qualified and registered architect, engineer or one of the other people who qualifies as a competent person, you have a problem.

  305. Hi
    The person across the road from us started building renovations in December 2011. He moved out to do the building. It has been 17 months…. He is changing it to a double story. It has half a roof, raw brick walls, no windows etc. No where near completion!! We keep having trespassers on his property. Which puts us all at risk. He put half the roof on in December 2012 and NO building since then. More than the required 3 months. We have contacted council, Matthew Kempthorn our ward councillor and the law enforcement for our area and have had no help. What can we as neighbours do to? How long can one leave a house vacant as a building site? How long do you have to complete a building project?
    Hope you can offer us some advice.

  306. eix am a 2nd year student doing nature conservation
    at Tshwane University of Technology. i have given assignment about what are the laws,regulations and activities needed to be done to build a hotel in nature reserve. may you please help me with a source if information

  307. Gabriel you will need to take all the usual National Building Regulations into account – which are covered on this site – but you will also need to research what environmental regulations come into play. Unfortunately we haven’t addressed these yet.

  308. Michele I think that the time frames are governed by the local authority. And chances are the whole scenario is open to exploitation. When you contact the authorities you need to make sure this is in writing and it is acknowledged – in writing.
    Start by contacting the local authority (and back this up with a letter – get it signed) asking these questions.
    The stupid thing is that your neighbour could have his entire build compromised. Have you tried to talking to him?
    Unfortunately I think this kind of case may need a lawyer – which means money…

  309. hi penny in doing a project on green buildings and would like to get your advice on a few matters, is it possible to get ur email address to make it easier. thank you

  310. Hi Penny
    I came across the website at the right time.I stay in a newly development residential area. when there is still lot of vacant property around. The Vacant plots have owners’-and just recently a temporary structure was built that is quite an eyesore (not a shack but made of concrete fencing-andglass windows with a tin roof).-We approached the owner of the dwelling who said that it is a temporarystructure while he builds. He was very Suspicious and first didnt want to disclose anything. Electricity has just been added to this structure,Do we have any rights against – this building which is obviously goingto decrease the price of our neighborhood.4n we request him to show as his plans, etc?

    pls advise


  311. What is the requirements for putting up a wendy house? I want to use it as a simulation room for demonstrations for students. The wendy house will be ‘turned’ into a classroom at a daycare centre (creche for pre-schoolers).

  312. Rogers what sort of advice/information are you looking for?

  313. You need to get a competent person to draw up plans that meet the requirements for this type of occupancy – which is found in SANS 10400-A: 2010. A3 = “Places of instruction
    Occupancy where school children, students or other persons assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning.”
    This same person will then submit the plans to the local authority and ensure that the building is erected/constructed according to the plans.
    Some structures are considered to be minor building – the only possible “wendy house” would be “childrens’ playhouses that are no more than five square metres” in area. I doubt that would be large enough.

  314. Sherilyn, If I were you I would alert the local authority’s planning department (chief building inspector) about this structure. The fact that the man has stated it is a temporary structure should also be relayed to them.
    SANS 10400-A defines a temporary building as “any building that is so declared by the owner and that is being used or is to be used for a specified purpose for a specified limited period of time, but does not include a builder’’s shed”.
    Furthermore, the fact that it is “a temporary building” doesn’t mean that he can simply erect the structure.
    The SANS states: “Where in any application the owner of any building has declared such building to be a temporary building, the local authority shall, before granting provisional authorization in terms of Regulation A23, assess such building in relation to ––
    (i) the intended use and life of the building;
    (ii) the area in which it is to be erected; and
    (iii) the availability of suitable materials from which it may be constructed.”
    In terms of plans, “in the case of any temporary building, only such plans and particulars as are contemplated in Regulation A23 shall be submitted.”
    I will add a post that explains what Regulation A23 requires and add the link in a separate comment later today.

  315. Here’s a link to the article about temporary buildings.

  316. The quick response and the helpful information are highly appreciated! Thanks, Penny.

  317. Good day,
    I would just like to find out if there are any building regulations regarding using shipping containers to build a house? I’ve seen some nice pictures of container houses overseas and would just like like to know if you would need plan approved and could one do it oneself?

    Many thanks

  318. David there are no specific building regulations that relate to shipping containers, and I know there are people in this country who have used them for offices, storage sheds and even homes. If you’re going to live in a container, it will need all the things like plumbing, electrics, ventilation, stormwater disposal etc. – and so you will need approved plans. These will need to be done by a competent person (e.g. an architect or engineer).
    I don’t know how easy it will be; I remember years ago Trix Pienaar (the actress) using a train carriage for a holiday cottage at Pringle Bay. She had plans drawn by an architect, but the local council (Caledon) made it very difficult for her. The end result though was stunning. Good luck.

  319. Where do I find a standard or guideline for the correct installation & securing of domestic water piping.
    Also the protection of copper water pipes that are to be built into the walls

  320. Mynie, this work needs to be done by a qualified and registered plumber. I co-wrote several books on plumbing for the FET colleges and there is far too much information to give you here. You cannot do a DIY job by simply following a standard.

  321. We have put in an offer on a house and have managed to obtain a copy of the plans but have noticed that some of the changes to the house have not been approved ? What are our rights and what should we do ? Any advice ?

  322. Lisa I have answered so many similar questions, if you go to the page on General Principles and Requirements you will see some of these. Essentially, if you buy the house with a bond, the bank will need the plans and they should pick it up. Then it will be up to you and the seller to agree on who fixes the problem. But until you have agreed to the purchase the property, it is their problem. And you can legally withdraw the offer on the grounds that they did not tell you that certain things are not on the plans. Sometimes a local authority will also pick up this kind of thing. For instance if there are outstanding rates and taxes, a building inspector may call to check the property, and the seller will be required to submit acceptable rider plans before they will give a municipal clearance certificate. Probably the best thing for you to do is to contact the planning department of your local authority and ask if plans are required for the changes you have noticed. People so often do illegal additions, you could end up with a headache later down the line. However, it might be that the work is regarded as minor building work.

  323. hi penny

    i would like to know what type of materials i should use for the walls and roof of the house considering it has to be green and should be a three bedroom house. so which materials would be best and also what are the laws on HVAC systems. also is it better to have rainwater harvesting system underground or above ground

  324. Rogers, I have written an article about green roofs and another about cool roofs for our sister site, Owner Building. Have a look at the links.
    Regarding materials, it isn’t that important; what is vitally important is insulation and fenestration (glazing etc). The so-called “green” regulations that you might want to look at are SANS 10400-XA (2011): The application of the National Building Regulations Part X: Environmental sustainability Part XA: Energy usage in buildings & SANS 204 (2011): Energy efficiency in buildings.
    HVAC systems are not specified under the National Building Regulations and I am not an expert on rainwater harvesting systems. I assume it would be easier to pump the water out if it was above ground.

  325. Hi there

    My husband & I bought when we were in our 20s and being young and stupid we did alterations without plans – years later we discovered that our mistake but we are now not sure how to recitfy it.

    What do you suggest ?



  326. Juliet you can have rider plans drawn up by a competent person. You then submit them in the usual way. Presuming you followed good building practices, you should be okay. BTW if they were not structural alterations – e.g. partitioning rooms or removing non-load bearing walls, you don’t need to submit plans.

  327. Hi Penny,

    I’m in the process of buying a house, I’ve already started alterations with the current owner’s permission but I’ve now realised that all the wiring in the house has to be redone as it basically crumbles in your hands. Would the seller be responsible for the cost of rewiring the entire house? I’ve tried to read up on it, but I’m unsure about what the latest legislation is. I know he has to produce an electrical certificate that’s no older than 2 years, but I want to be sure about who’ll be carrying the cost of rewiring. By the way, the seller bought the house on auction and never lived there himself.

    Thanks so much,

  328. Liezl you should not be doing anything with electrics unless you have a qualified and registered person working for you. IT IS DANGEROUS! That’s why the legislation is in place. You need to ask for the certifications relating to electrics. The seller is very definitely responsible for rewiring unless you buy the house, accepting that the electrics are not up to standard. Do NOT conclude your deal until you have agreed who is responsible. You could end up with HUGE problems. The fact that the seller bought the house has zero to do with it.

  329. Hi Penny,

    what does during the course of a building mean? Does it mean during construction or during the life span of the building?


  330. Johannes in what context?

  331. In the context of noise?

  332. Unreasonable noise levels is covered in site operations. I have given you the link. The actual wording from the regulations says: “The owner of any land on which excavation work is in progress or on which any building is being erected or demolished shall take precautions in the working area and on surrounding roads and footways to limit to a reasonable level the amount of dust arising from the work or surroundings thereof.” So certainly not the lifespan of the building – unless you are referring to something else – because I don’t see the phrase: “during the course of a building “.

  333. hi again. would it be better to construct a single storey or double storey if im looking at it from a green buildings perspective and what reasons would either be better?

  334. Rogers I am not an architect with that kind of training. You’re going to have to do some of your own research. Sounds to me like you’re doing an assignment 😉

  335. haha, yeah iam doing a project. single storeys are better but they both have their ups and downs. thanks

  336. Hi,

    I bought a house 16yrs ago and the pine trusses span 12m and spaced 1m appart with a double Roman tile roof. Now the roof is saggging to a dangerous degree.
    Can I claim from my insurance since incorrect standards were used when building the roof. It looks like the lounge was made open plan en a mid wall was removed hence the long span.
    Thank you


  337. Jaco I doubt very much that any insurance company will pay for bad building standards. But you can of course try. And unfortunately, due to the time span since you purchased the property, I don’t think there is anyone you can claim against in terms of liability.

  338. Thank you Penny

  339. Hi there

    What can be done to a neighbor that is building/expanding there house with no plans? I asked him about the plans an he said the builders knows what he is doing. :\ I have a neighbor that removed the sink roof and build a tile roof on the existing house but the house levels needed to be raised to be able to do this and he has expanded he garages to 3 garages on our boundary wall?

    Thanks in advanced

  340. 83 Substitute the title of Regulation F6 with the following:
    84 Substitute sub-regulation F6(2)(a) and F6(2)(b) with the following and renumber F6(2)(c) as
    (2) (a) No person shall during the course of any building, demolition or excavation work
    use any machine, machinery, engine, apparatus, tool or contrivance, which in the
    opinion of the local authority may unreasonably disturb or interfere with the amenity of
    the neighbourhood:
    (i) on a public holiday or Sunday
    (ii) before 06:00 or after 17:00 on any Saturday; and
    (iii) before 06:00 or after 18:00 on any day other than those days contemplated in
    subparagraphs (i) and (i)
    Does this apply to loud speakers mounted on a roof of a building?

  341. Johannes, the regulation you are quoting relates to construction work. I think that you need to contact your local authority to find out about by-laws that relate to the sort of noise you are referring to – music, loud speakers etc. Good luck.

  342. Approximately 5 years ago I purchased a property in a Security Estate (Building package) from the Developer who erected all buildings and structures as it stands today. Although I am in possession of a Certificate of Occupancy was issued by the Council to the Developer at the time, I am now notified by the Council alleging that I have contravene the Building Regulation Act by unlawfully and intentionally erected additional structures without written approval of the Council (this of course is not the case). It would appear that the site plan on file at the Council does not correspond with the actual structures erected on site. Surely it was the Building Inspector’s duty at the time to demand compliance from the Developer before issuing the Certificate of Occupancy. The Developer who was a Member of the Gauteng Master Builder Association has since liquidated the Company. The question I have is – WHAT IS MY LEGAL OBLIGATION IN THIS CASE? WHAT IS NEEDED TO REMEDY THE DISCREPANCY?

  343. Justin, It seems clear from what you say that he is building without plans. And in most parts of SA anyone wanting to build on a boundary needs neighbour’s consent. While some of the extensions may be deemed minor building works, he is obliged to notify the local authority that he is doing such work.
    I suggest you contact the main building control officer – or chief building inspector – at your local council/municipality and ask them to do a site inspection. You might also want to put an objection into the council – in writing – about the building on your boundary.

  344. Mari, Have they told you what structures do not comply? And do you still have the plans from the building package you opted for? Are they claiming that you have erected certain structures since the certificate was issued? And are there structures on your property that are totally different to those on other properties on the same estate?
    While it certainly was the building inspector’s job to make sure the building/s complied before issuing the certificate, if they are saying you did building work subsequently, you need to counter this. If you have proof from the original building package you accepted, that will probably be sufficient. If the structures in question are the same or similar to others on other properties, this will also count in your favour. The thing to do is to sign an affidavit (get it stamped at a police station) stating that the property is exactly as it was when you took ownership. To strengthen this, get other people to do the same for you.
    Lastly, do you know why the council is suddenly taking this action, and have they made any demands of you – e.g. to submit a rider plan?

  345. Hi Penny
    Thank you for your advise. Yes, the summons issued states that the Owner (I am the owner) unlawfully and intentionally built/additional to the house a garage, boundary wall and positioned a security gate which encroached HOA Property. A copy of a revised building plan showing the structures in question was given to me by the Agent who handled the transaction at the time, however, I noticed the copy of the plan has no Council stamps on it so I do not see that it would have any argumental value. The Purchase Agreement handled by the Agent in my absence makes no reference to specific structures or alterations which formed part of the negotiated package and is basic in its format. Council started to act at the same time the Owner/Developer of the adjacent Erf started to developed it. I have already submitted rider plans but the unapproachable and aggressive Owner of the adjacent Erf complicates the issue. I was under the impression that a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Authority would safeguard a buyer. I was naïve to belief this and to protect my interest in this regard I give strong consideration to protect my interest by engaging Legal Experts

  346. Yes Mari I think it would be a good idea to go to an attorney. Also, I think that the agent has a responsibility if the revised building plan was supplied by that person. They are the experts and should have advised you that the plans had not been passed. However, the other factor is that you did not build the structures – and you should get an affidavit from the agent to state that the buildings/structures were in place when you purchased the property. Good luck and let us know what happens.

  347. Hi Penny thanks for your response. Unfortunately the Agent died of cancer and the Agency closed down. I have taken your advise and contacted Attorneys but to add to my dilemma I have been given different interpretations on a Building Inspector’s duty and responsibility for issuing a CO. Since I need to be certain about my stand, as the Buyer of the property which was developed/built up as it stand today for more than 5 years now and for which a CO was issued. As mentioned before, the Council is now accusing me to have erected additional structures without Council’s approval (no structures were erected since the issue of the CO). For this I would need to find a paper or an authority in this field to obtain a clear definition of a Building Inspector’s responsibility/accountability. Your help would be highly appreciated.

  348. Mari, I think you need an attorney who has experience in the building industry. I really can’t give you any further advice. My opinion is that the council is way out of line. It goes much further than responsibility and accountability. I would get affidavits from people you know who can concur that you did not build ANYTHING after the occupancy certificate was issued. Even write a letter stating the facts, and ask people to sign it. But include a paragraph that states they are willing to sign an affidavit if necessary.
    xxxxxx (details of the house – address and stand no. etc)

    I ….. confirm that when Mari XXXXX purchased her home in XXXXX the house and all other structures that are currently on the stand were in place. I visited her at her home shortly after she moved in, and can vouch that nothing has been built since then. If required I am willing to sign an affidavit to this effect.
    Yours sincerely,
    ……. (signature)
    ……. (name)
    ……. (contact number)

  349. many thanks for your help

  350. I need a permit for workers on site – where can I get this permit – for instance window cleaners in a corporate office. 3 story building.

  351. Jacque you need to contact your local authority i.e. council or municipality.

  352. Hi – We live in a fenced complex that has been established for over 20 years. Our neighbour is now disputing the boundary fence position. Do they have any recourse after the fence has been in place for so long?

  353. Stuart if the fence is in the wrong place, then you don’t have any recourse. But you can demand that your neighbour has an independent survey (by a qualified and registered land surveyor) done to prove that it is in the wrong place! Don’t just take his word for it.

  354. Is there a mandatory requirement for new construction or renovation work to install a plastic membrane between the roofing tiles and the trusses to provide run-off protection from any water ingress assocaited with storms?

  355. I have a neighbour who has done several alterations to his building. He has removed internal wall upstairs downstairs and converted his garage into a bed room without planning permission.We are sectional title ( 3 units ) joined together. My question is will insurance pay out if there is any structural damage from storms ect

  356. Hi, we own a heritage house in Cape Town. A new apartment building is being constructed behind our home and is 3 stories high, close to the boundary wall, but I believe within regulation. What does the legislation say about building next to a heritage building (residential)?

  357. Jonny I don’t believe there is anything in the NBR that deals with heritage buildings. Contact the SA Heritage Resources Authority. They should know.
    The City of Cape Town’s new Zoning Scheme Regulations that came into effect in March this year allow people to build right up to the boundary without neighbour’s consent (though they do still need plans). I can’t find anything in these by-laws that mentions distance to boundary walls > heritage buildings. It does say though that the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act 25 of 1999) must be complied with. But I can’t immediately see anything that gives this kind of guidance. I have given you the link to download the legislation. It seems to concentrate on “sites” – as does Part A of SANS 10400 – i.e. building on a heritage site.

  358. Kevin – damage to your property? Probably not. You would probably have to sue your neighbour for damages. If I were you I would report him to the local authority!

  359. James, this is covered in an article under the section on Roofs, viz. Waterproofing Roofs. I have given you the link.
    The key paragraph is this one:
    “All roofs with a pitch less than 26 degrees or more than 45 degrees, and all roofs in coastal areas (to a distance of 30 km from the sea) should have an undertile membrane that is loose-laid so that water can drain between the rafters. If an undertile membrane is properly laid it will provide a very effective, impermeable barrier against wind-driven rain and dust. For this reason the SANS states that underlays should be provided for all slate and tiled roofs, no matter what the pitch (or slope), and where ceilings are not installed.”

  360. hi.need help.I want know if once a land is bought,is there a law holding me from building duplexes,fourplexs etc?…I’m planing on buying a land soon but I want to build something that can hold four families.(2 families on top n 2 on bottom).what must I do in order to get my huge buildings up coz I’m venturing of into real estate.also if there is a rule what must I do so that the ethekwini can grant me permission to build a fourplex? I want to become a owner of many buildings on the future.many thanx guys


  361. Hi, who can tell me what a reasonable rate for building plans is? We are wanting to enclose an outdoor braai area (approx 30m2) and make some interior changes (break through a wall or 2). How do I know if the quote I’ve been given is competitive?

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  364. Hi Penny

    1. Does the National Building Regulations have a section that covers building over a cadastral boundary, ie. doe the NBR prevent me from building over a cadastral boundary?

    2. Is it a requirment to submit title deeds when submitting a building plan to the Local Authority, in terms of NBR?

    Thanking you in advance.

  365. Boundaries as such are not set by the National Building Regulations Basil. This falls under the local authority by-laws. I personally have never been asked to submit title deeds when submitting plans (and we have built in areas governed by two different local authorities), but the local authority may call for these. There are certain things that are found only in the title deeds – e.g. servitudes.

  366. thank you penny for your prompt response.

  367. Angie, your best bet is to get quotations from three or four people. Alternatively go by personal recommendation from friends. You could also post this question on our Facebook page – perhaps someone will have an idea. Just say which area you live in.

  368. Hey there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

  369. Hi Penny

    Trust you are well.

    1. Please advise me when is there a need for a building plan submission for a Loffelstein Wall i.e, is it regarded as a temporary/permanent structure?

    2. Can a Loffelstein Wall or Tar paving be layed over a servitude?

  370. Hi Penny

    I have just discovered this useful site and I think it is amazing. Can you please assist me? I would like to build my own house in an estate, using my own money and my own builders. Will I be breaking any rules since I am not a registered builder?

    Paying off a bond for 20 yrs is not an option since I am not too far from retirement. Please tell there is way

  371. Hi

    Can anyone one please help i have recently bought a property were a storm water pipe runs through the land i am considering building can i to so?

  372. Hi, I’d like some advise please. I’m in the process of purchasing a property. It’s a deceased estate, and didn’t think the voetstoots clause would be an issue. However, when requesting the plans, I picked up that the house on the plan does not match the existing property at all. The sellers attorneys said “you have no recourse whatsoever as you purchased the property voetstoots”. Surely there’s limits to what is considered voetstoots. Such latent defects has not specifically been excluded in the deed of sale. Please assist.

  373. Hi Mark,
    It all depends on the zoning of the land that you intend buying. Different zones have different by-laws saying what percentage of the area of an erf is allowed to be built on, and how many dwellings and the number of people allowed to live in those buildings. The title deeds of a particular erf could also have restrictions registered on it that limit the number of houses and how big or high they are allowed to be. So I suggest that before you buy get the estate agent to get the relevant cadastral sitemap, erf number and zone restrictions for you to look at. You can take these to the Ethekwini council and double check before investing your money.

  374. Hi Basil,
    I have known the people from Terraforce for many years and I put your question to them as the experts, and this is the reply:

    It is necessary to call in an engineer to help with walls higher than 1.2m as retaining walls hold up tremendous weight and need to be properly designed to prevent them from collapsing.
    This is a guideline only but should help you find the right answers:
    1. Retaining walls over 1m in height should be designed by professionals, with calculations provided by structural engineers. They will assess soil conditions as well as the loading on the walls, contributing essential information to the design process. To ignore this could not only damage your property but potentially cause accidents should structures collapse due to a lack of experience in construction.
    2. Care should be taken during the construction of any retaining wall, as excavated banks can easily collapse due to soil type or heavy rain. Seek professional and skilled advice. Without careful planning, problems that arise out of shoddy or unsafe work could lead to a project taking much longer than it should.
    3. Soils such as heavy clay will have an impact on the design of retaining walls. These soils shrink when dry and expand when wet, creating additional problems for construction and maintaining the structure’s integrity through the seasons.
    4. Always consider the drainage implications of creating retaining walls and structures of any type. Inadequate drainage is likely to have serious implications in the long term.

    As far as the servitude, and I assume you mean “pipe” servitude, then the same applies, a low wall should be OK but any higher get the assistance of an engineer. As far as tar is concerned then yes you can lay tar over a servitude, but just be aware that if there is a problem with the pipe in any way then the tar will have to be dug up and relaid, more than likely at your expense. I hope this helps.

  375. Dumsani Ndzabe

    Hi Penny,

    Would you please give advise on the issue bellow.
    I bought an old house about 3 years ago and now I am busy renovating it with the intensions of selling it when the renovations are complete. My problem is that when the roof company came to measure the house so that they can build the roof they found that the house is 6.5m by 9.6m but on the plan its 6.0m by 9.6m. And on the plan the internal walls are shown as 90 and outer walls as 140 and when the building was done 100m was used for inner walls and 150m for outer walls and then the 2 bedrooms were suppose to be 2.815m each but when they built they made them 3.0m each as a result when adding all these the side wall is 6.5m when measured on the outside when its suppose to be 6.0m. Will this have the impact when the bank does the evaluation or 0.5m it too short to make cause problems on inspeaction. Sorry for the wrong story. Please advise I am panicing now. Thanks

  376. Dumsani, If the layout of your house is the same as on the plan (i.e. no additional rooms etc) it is unlikely that the bank will even notice. However a purchaser might measure and object because the floor area is slightly smaller than stated on the plans. To avoid any issues, contact the municipality and ask what you can do to note these inaccuracies on the plans. You shouldn’t need to have new plans drawn.
    The wall size is probably because of plaster, so I wouldn’t even worry about that.
    BTW rates are also assessed on floor area.

  377. Geten, if this is a municipal storm water pipe it should be registered on the title deeds as a servitude. And you would have to liaise with the municipality in terms of what you can and cannot do. If it is simply a pipe installed to carry water off the property, you could move it, or build over it – providing you do so in the correct manner. Again the municipality would have to approve plans.

  378. Peter, you can build your own house, providing you comply with the National Building Regulations (this includes having a competent person draw up the plans and follow through on the build) and any regulations that the estate itself has. e.g. Often estates require people to build in a certain style or use specific materials. You will though need to apply for an exemption from the NHBRC to “owner build”. There are several requirements – e.g. you won’t be able to sell the house for at least five years.

  379. Hi Penny,

    Thanks for the response and advise. I will contact the Municipality. Thanks

  380. Thank you

  381. Hi Geno,
    Your particular question does not specifically fall under the National Building Regulations. It is more of a civil case and I would recommend you to get advice from an attorney. The “voetstoets” clause fell away a while ago and is now covered by the “Consumer Protection Act”

  382. Hi i am in a process of buying a house, i requested plans for the outbuilding that is existing on that property.I found the property does not have a completion or occupation certificate the last inspection that was done was in 1997, but there are occupants in the outbuilding and according to the will they have a usufract, and iam buying with that right.I like to find out is it a illegal occupation and alteration was done not according to plans please help urgent.
    thanks morgan

  383. Morgan you really do need an attorney. Nevertheless, here are our comments, but please note that we cannot be held liable in any way – we are not lawyers and don’t check our responses with lawyers before we post them.
    1. If there is no completion/occupation certificate, I would insist that the sellers provide one as part of the sale. Alternatively reduce your offer to be able to absorb the costs that you will incur getting this. Remember that you won’t get one if there is illegal building on site, or if there were no plans. You will have to have rider plans drawn up, and there is no guarantee that the local authority will accept them.
    2. As far as usufruct is concerned, unless there is something registered in the title deed, I am pretty sure that once the property is in your name that will be the end of it. However the seller will have to compensate the tenants for the rest of their lives. In other words, if you buy the property, it is not your responsibility to give them a place to live – but in terms of the usufruct, the family member has a responsibility. Check this with a lawyer.

  384. Hi Penny, we bought a house from a Developer and moved in on the 1st May 2013. We drew up our snag list and slowly but surely they were rectified. I am however waiting for completion of the snags and I would like to know is there a law or standard with regards to the duration of snag lists? We haven’t had any rains yet so we have not been able to detect any leaks. I am not getting any response from the Attorney or the Developer themselves and I would like to confirm the above before I take this matter further. Thanks.

  385. No Nathalie, there is no specific law or standard that governs snag lists. And the longer it takes to complete your list, the less likely you are to get the things fixed. However, the developer – if representing as a building company – will need to be registered with the NHBRC and so you will be covered by their 5-year warranty. Or should I say, should be? Check that the company is in fact registered, and if you don’t get response from the developer, then appeal to the NHBRC for assistance. The other issue is your contract with the developer. You need to check what this says, and whether snags are mentioned. Good luck. Let us know what happens.

  386. Hi Natalie,
    Just to add a bit extra for your info.
    Presuming the builder/developer is registered with the NHBRC then this clause from their website is relevant:
    “1. Three-months non-compliance period
    If a complaint relates to three months non-compliance, and a housing consumer has notified the home builder, the NHBRC will seek to resolve the complaint telephonically and through correspondence with the home builder. The NHBRC will pursue the home builder, so as to ensure that they comply with their obligations to the housing consumer in terms of Section 13 (2) (iii) of the Act, to rectify such defects within three months of the date of occupation. Rectification of minor defects will be undertaken by the Home Builder, not the NHBRC.”

    They also have a time limit on complaints for the builder: Three-month non-compliance: 21 working days
    Please have a look at all the details and procedure here: “NHBRC Lodging a Complaint”

  387. Thank you for your prompt reply, I’m very impressed. Joan

  388. Hi Geno.
    My house is almost complete and we are due to move in, in the next week or so. The challenge is that on the plan the patio is not closed and we had requested that it be closed and now the builder is saying that we could not move in as the plan must be taken back to town council for approval(enclosed patio). Can we be able to get a temporary occupational certificate and how much is the certificate and who should be liable for the certificate costs.

  389. I’m currently looking at purchasing a newly build house , with gas, etc. I would like to know what types of certificates I need to ask for in the offer to purchase to cover myself in the long run. All standard and certificate..what do I need?

  390. Hi Tshidi,
    Your note is for Geno, we do not have anyone by that name here but I will answer your post anyway. Your builder is quite correct that the extra enclosed patio needs to be on the approved plan from council before they can issue you with an occupation certificate. It is up to the council to decide if you can occupy the house before the final plans are approved, you need to ask them. From what you have told me, you requested the enclosure after the plans were approved, which means you will be liable for the account.

  391. elvis pillay

    Goog day, I have just signed an agreement to purcase a property and just discovered that the neighbours boundary wall is on the property that I am buying. And what is the legal height of a boundary wall in a residential area? What are my rights as a buyer as I have ageed on a price unknowing that the wall was on “my” property.thanks

  392. Hi Penny,

    hope you’re well. I know that for the structural elements of a building (concrete columns, suspended re-inforced concrte floor slabs, concrete beams etc.) you need a structural Engineer to design and sign off as per requirement. But do you also need them for the design of a suspended timber flooring system? I have a client that want to add a double storey addition to his existing dwelling but does not want the concrete floor on the 1st floor. on the 1st floor are 2 bedrooms and a study/studio.

    is there any guide for this?



  393. Elvis, ask the seller for proof of what she agreed to. It must be in writing. If she can’t provide this you can cancel the agreement to purchase. I am pretty sure you can also cancel it on the grounds that 17 sq m of the property has been taken by the neighbour – and or reduce the amount of your offer. You will probably have to do this via an attorney.
    The National Building Regulations state that boundary walls up to 1,8 m in height = minor building work and so don’t require plans. Some local authorities allow building up to 2.1 m without plans. If any higher than this there must be plans and the local authority will need to approve them.

  394. Hi Jean,
    What happens when the house is complete is that the building inspector is presented with all the relevant certificates from plumbers, electricians etc. Only then will the Occupation Certificate be issued. So if you have that one then it should be safe to assume all the others are OK. As it is a new dwelling I would ask for a site plan of the property to make sure that the building is sited on the erf correctly. Then get an approved house plan to make sure that what is on the plan is what was constructed. If there are any discrepancies then ask them to rectify this with council by putting in a rider plan. You do not want to have a situation at a later stage where you have to pay for an architect, submission and scrutiny fees as well as any fines that might be levied.

  395. Good day.

    Where can I find the national minimum specification for free standing brick walls and also when it was issued please?

    thank you so much

  396. Brynn the guidelines for suspended wooden floors is contained in Part J of SANS 10400. The Standard states that “A floor supported on ground or filling and which does not form an integral part of a foundation system, does not pass over or is not supported on foundation walls, shall
    a) be designed and constructed in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10109-1 under the direction of a competent person (civil engineering)…”
    & “Plain concrete panels that have a panel dimension greater than 2,5 m and 3,5 m, depending upon the proposed floor covering, fall outside the scope of 4.4.1(b)(2). Such slabs should be designed by a competent person (civil engineering) or be fabric-reinforced in accordance with the requirements for slab-on-the-ground foundations contained in SANS 10400-H to mitigate the effects of drying shrinkage.”
    It doesn’t state in the Standard that suspended wooden floors must be designed by an engineer.

  397. Tersia, The specifications for walls are contained in Part K of SANS 10400 (2011).
    These include:
    The average compressive strength of hollow and solid masonry units (i.e. bricks) used to build the wall should not be less than 3,0 MPa and 5,0 MPa, respectively.
    The mortar used for bricklaying should be class II and it must comply with the requirements of SANS 2001-CM1.
    There are several drawings and tables that indicate nominal wall thickness, maximum height and dimensions of piers required. The highest wall that may be built without piers may be 2,2 m and 290 mm thick – if built with solid units (i.e. bricks); and 1,4 m high and 190 mm thick (if built using hollow blocks).

  398. Thank you for your quick response Penny!

    Our situation is as follow:
    the house was built in 1982. We bought the house in April 2005.

    The one border wall has collapsed about 8 weeks back on a Sunday afternoon – when the wind was quite strong.

    The wall is ±2.4m high – single brick. Every ±3 meters the bricks are built double for one brick and then the wall is one brick back – if you understand what I am saying. After the next ± 3m, it is double again, and the bricks are in the front row again.

    Also: The neighbours has 2 trees next to the wall – which seems to be a big reason for the insurance, not wanting to pay out.

    The assessor came out, and this is his report:
    1. A section of the fair face brick boundary wall measuring 4.2 m length x 2.4 m height x .110 mm wide has
    2. The boundary wall is not built to the national minimum specification for free standing brick walls which is a.110 wide wall shall not exceed the height of 1,5 m and have pillars of 230 x 240 mm spaced at 1.8 m centres
    3. Two trees on the neighbours side is situated virtually against the wall, the base of the trees is pushing the wall and has probably contributed towards the collapse of the boundary
    4. The insured informed that this is the second time this section of the wall has collapsed. He had the wall rebuilt with brick force in every 3 layers. The rear boundary wall of the same dimensions was starting to lean over and he suspected that it would collapse and had a brick panelled precast wall erected in front of the original brick wall as there is open veld to the rear of the dwelling and his security would be at risk. The original rear wall has since the collapsed.
    5. He stated that ABSA bank did not inform him that the walls were not built to the national minimum specifications at the time he took out the bond. He felt that because he was not informed of this ABSA bank should be held responsible to rebuild the wall. I informed the client that he purchased the property as is with the
    latent defects to the boundary walls and therefore the bank cannot be held responsible’’

    We are trying to establish if we will have a case if we will contact the ombudsman. EG. if a law came into effect after the purchase date eg… Or will we waste our time with such a case?

    Your help will be much appreciated.

  399. Tersia, honestly I think you are wasting your time. Insurance companies won’t pay out if the regulations were not adhered to, and I don’t believe you can hold the bank responsible. You might be able to hold your neighbour liable because of the trees, using the assessor’s report as “evidence”.

  400. Hugo Boshoff

    Hi Penny

    I recently bought a house with 6 garages. The garages was mainly used for storage of machinary etc. I want to convert these into flats.

    I am very new with this so I need to know whom to contact to see how many flats I can put up and an estimate on the costs.

    Please assist.

  401. Hi Penny

    I’ve just bought a property with an existing patio, which is not enclosed. I’ll be replacing the patio though because of some of the wood has started decaying. What I’d like to know is whether I need approval from the municipality for me to basically rebuild the patio?

    The patio will basically be made of wood and no foundation digging will be required.

    Kind regards,

  402. Hi Lesiba,
    If you are doing maintenance and only replacing the decayed patio with the same or similar materials the no you do not need approval for that type of work.

  403. Hi threr, i bought property, my neigbour extended the wall and put up n roof overlapping the wall in to my ground, are he allowed to do this?

  404. Hi Hugo,
    You don’t say where in SA you are, all municipalities have their own zoning by-laws that allow certain occupation densities in certain areas. There is a list of all the municipalities in SA with contact numbers here: municipality-contact Contact your local authority and ask them. There will be a few hoops to jump through before you will be able to start the conversion and there is no guarantee that the council will give you permission. Your application will have to be published in the local newspapers if you are changing the zoning and the occupation class of the garages that will change to a dwelling. Then there is the plumbing and sewage that has to be approved by the Health Department, they will assess if the system can accommodate that many units. I hope this has not put you off, best of luck. Let us know what happens.

  405. Hi Penny,
    I am designing a 4 storey parking garage and would like to know the minimum width for a one-way motor vehicle ramp. If the ramp is to include a pedestrian walkway of 1200mm as part of the emergency route and the width of the ramp is 3m that is a big chunk of my available space.

  406. Hi Penny,

    Our house has windows that are rounded at the top. I have wanted to convert them to rectangular windows for a long time. It’s not possible to just fill up the rounded part as the windows would be too low, so the entire window would need to be replaced and the top corners broken out. Will I need approval from the Roodepoort municipality for that?


  407. hi penny i am thinking of buying a stand in jeffrey,s bay and i would like to build my own house my self with polystrene block who would i have to contact to get started and am i allowed to do that .

  408. Hi Geoffrey,
    Yes you are allowed to, so long as the system you use has an Agrément Certificate. Have a look at the story we used on our other site Owner Building about Alternate Building materials here: alternate-building-technologies Paaiman Byron’s contact number is at the end of the story. To find the available systems that have been granted Certification go to this link: and search for “polystyrene” there are a few systems to choose from.

  409. Hi Penny
    Please help. I would like to find out that is there any rule that stipulates how far an outdoor building should be from a boundary wall especially if you live in places with small yards like a t/ship.

  410. Hi ,

    The main entrance from the road to my property does not lead directly to the parking area. Is it ok for me to created another entrance adjacent to the current one ? possibly 7 meters next to the current entrance

  411. Hi
    We bought a house in 2012 (1st time home buyer) and the old owners had built a carport and patio awning a while back and prior to our purchase of said property.

    Today we received a Notice of Intent to prosecute re. the carport and patio awning as the plan submitted by the previous owners has expired.

    As I’m not too familiar with National Building regulations, please advise what we are to do as we do not want to go to court (have long drawn out and costly affair) and we want to resolve issue amicable with the relevant city council department in Durban.

    However they have not given as much time to do so (30 days from issue of letter which of coure we have received two weeks later via post, leaving us approx. 15 days).

    Appreicate any assitance/guidance in this matter

  412. The best thing Nick is to go and talk to the people in the planning department. Tell them your side of the story and ask them what you can do to resolve the situation. If they submitted plans – and you say that they have “expired” – does this mean they were never passed? Or does it mean that they were passed and the build not signed off? BTW Legally I don’t think that they can give you a date from issue of letter! In any case, go and talk to them before they start issuing summonses.

  413. Amit, ask the council. This is not a building regulations issue.

  414. No Johan he is not permitted to do this. If he refuses to remove it, I suggest you report the matter to your local authority.

  415. Dumisani, You say you are in a township. This probably means that the plots don’t have title deeds, in which case I really don’t know how the boundary lines are policed. If you are in an area where plots are individually owned, there will be title deeds and these will show exactly where the boundaries are. The municipal bylaws will state how far from each of these you can build. Have a look at this article on our inter site, it may be helpful.

  416. Hey are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started
    and create my own. Do you require any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  417. No Frederick you don’t need any knowledge about coding. You can though very easily pick up when people are using your site for their own purposes. Cheers.

  418. Hi Anne,
    Have a look at this page on our other site Owner Building: masonry-arches. You will see that the arch part of the opening is made up of bricks laid next to each other to take up and distribute the load from above. Even if it is a plastered wall the technique will be the same. By taking the arch away the whole structure is compromised and a lintel will have to be inserted to substitute the arch. This is not an easy operation as you do not want your wall falling down whilst this is being done. Make sure you get an expert who knows how to do this to do the job. And Yes all alterations need approval and in your case as it is a major structural change to the house then plans will be needed and possibly a engineers report but check with them before you attempt anything as it could be costly.

  419. Hi Niki,
    I have had another look at the regs that you refer to and yes that is what they say – 1200mm. I don’t find any reference to the car portion of the ramp width only that it must be “suitable for the purpose”. The best is to ask the Local Authority what they require, maybe if you have other emergency exits then the ramp might not be necessary. It is always best to do this before the plans are drawn otherwise it could cost a bit to get the whole lot redrawn. Some municipalities have a “pre-scrutiny” option that can save a lot of time and money.

  420. Hi Penny,

    Is it true that if an exisiting structure (house) is say, fire damaged (50 % loss) that local councils require new plans to be drawn up which must include “green” energy ie LED lighting / solar geyser etc prior to repairs being done by my insurance?



  421. Clive, I am not sure whether there is a specified percentage, but the local authority certainly has the right to call for plans.
    SANS 10400, Part A states “No plans, particulars or approval shall be required for any repair which has become necessary as a result of ordinary wear and tear or which is undertaken in the normal course of maintenance or upkeep of any building: Provided that where such repair will affect the structural loading or is a repair of any part of the structural system the local authority may require drawings or specifications to be submitted.” It doesn’t mention fire damage.
    SANS 10400, X & XA as well as SANS 204 (2011) both cover energy efficiency. They are not as specific as you infer, except in terms of fenestration and position. Here’s an excerpt from SANS 204:
    4.5 Services
    4.5.1 Lighting and power Depending upon occupancy and activity, the minimum lighting levels shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10114-1 and SANS 10400-O. Compliance with the relevant national legislation (see foreword) is necessary for safety. Designers are encouraged to use daylighting in their designs to reduce the energy used. The energy demand (power) and energy consumption for the building shall be determined
    in accordance with the requirements given in table 12.
    4.5.2 Hot water services A minimum of 50 % by volume of the annual average hot water heating requirement shall be provided by means other than electrical resistance heating, including, but not limited to, solar heating, heat pumps, heat recovery from other systems or processes. The solar water heating systems shall comply with SANS 1307 and SANS 10106, based on the thermal performance determined in accordance with the provisions of SANS 6211-1 and SANS 6211-2. The installation thereof shall comply with SANS 10254.”

  422. there is a set of houses coming up next to my home i wanted to know what is the law on distance between my boundary wall and the new houses

  423. Pam it depends on your local authority bylaws amongst other things. There’s an article on our sister site that might be helpful to you – Here’s the link – and another on this site.

  424. My house has never had a driveway and I was thinking of making one with crushes stones, do you think I’ll need a permit for that

  425. Hi Melissa,
    No you will not need plans or permission.

  426. Thank you very much for your answer Janek! I now have a starting point.

    Kind regards,

  427. IF WE ONLY NEW.:Good day,Please help me understand why I had to pay a fine for building a carport ,I am staying in strand capetown and I used to stay in Krugersdorp. And did not know that you needed plains for a carport ,we did not receve a notice the notice was send to krugersdorp but I stay in the strand ,on the otherhand the sumons was given to us at my home adress in Strand capetown ,the very next day we made arange for plains to be draw and all papper work to be done as well as a affidavit to be handed in to be apporved,but the court still gave us a hash fine .please let me why ,Kind Regards Ursula

  428. Where can I find out more about the new regs regulating the amount of window area a house can have?

  429. Hi,

    I would like to put french doors in where I currently have a window of the exact same size. Do I need to plans and permission?


  430. Tyla Friedrich

    Is it legal to convert a shipping container into a cabin in SA?

  431. Tyla it is provided you have plans and any certificates required by the local authority.

  432. No Anthea you won’t need plans or permission.

  433. Part XA & X of SANS 10400 covers this Crispin.

  434. Our Neighbor wants to build a double story in the back of his house. I have an issue with this because our walls are not that high, and this double story house or flatlet will be high enough to look into our property. I would like to know if there are regulations that he needs to follow, and what are our rights with regard to this.

  435. Hi

    I have purchased a house and build a garage and additional rooms.

    Is there a way to have the rooms be approved?

  436. Much appreciated, thank you very much

  437. Simon you will need to have plans drawn up by a competent person and have that person submit the plans to your local authority for approval.

  438. Charesse, I have answered your question here.

  439. I have two single garages built to form to seperate ones do I need plans to demolish and rebuild the same garages as the brick work is pretty old

  440. Yes Pat you will need plans.

  441. Good Afternoon, if we have had plans drawn an approved to put up a vibracrete wall in the front of the house, 4 high, if i want to build a wall as high as the 4 vibracrete approx 1m do we need to have another plan drawn an approved..

  442. Hi, our neighbor added a stoop with a build in braai about 3 meters from the fence, my house is 2 meters from the fence, he makes fire everyday not for a braai, just to sit there, the smoke is horrible and is in my house, the smell, the clouds of smoke hanging in my house, is this legal if not what or where can I go to as you cannot speak to them because according to him he bought his house and he can do what ever he wants. I live in Pretoria, Thanks

  443. On my previous comments we have contacted the municipality about 3 weeks ago, the will come back to us, we have been following up with them and it is always the same answer, we will get back to you.

  444. Natasha this is not covered by the NBR, it is rather a matter of public nuisance. Send him a lawyer’s letter – the municipality is unlikely to do anything to help you unless the structure is illegal.

  445. Natasha try to ascertain whether there were plans past for the stoep and braai. If there weren’t then it might be an illegal structure. It sounds to me as if the council people just want this problem to go away – so go into their offices and demand some answers. Good luck.

  446. Patti if your local authority requires plans then you need to have plans that show what is to be built. I think you are saying you have plans for a vibra-crete wall but want to build a brick wall, then yes you DO need new plans because the foundations will be different.

  447. Penney

    I am building a house on my farm plans have been submitted to the counsel and a civil engineer is overseeing my project. I do not have a loan from a bank to finance the project. I am paying for labour from a NHBRC registered contractor to do the brick work. I do not want to register my home with the NHBRC. Can they force me or the contractor to register. I am a owner builder.

  448. Hi Kobus,
    The Law is that every new home in SA has to be registered with the NHBRC even if it is on a farm. But as an owner builder you take the responsibility for the build and so you can not claim for any defects etc. that the NHBRC warranty covers. BUT and it is a BIG BUT you must register by law as an owner builder with them. The “Owner Builder Exemption Form” form is on our Owner Building NHBRC page. As an owner builder you are not permitted to sell the house within a period of 5 years. Fines of up to R25 000 have been issued for non compliance. Your Civil Engineer should be aware of these laws.

  449. Thank you for the prompt replay. Does this mean that all houses being build in a township Silika about 10Km from me have all been to be enrolled?, or all the owner builders have done a application for exemption. Or are black townships exempted?

  450. Kobus it depends on the local authority zoning and their approach. I suggest you call them and/or the NHBRC for clarification. Informal settlements generally aren’t regulated, while formal settlements are. It’s a bit of a mess!

  451. Hi Ursula,
    Whoever put up the carport for you should know that plans have to be done or at least if it is “minor building work” that the council has to be advised about the carport. Unfortunately it is like driving at 80Kmh in a 60Kmh zone and saying to the officer that fines you, that you did not know it was a 60Kmh zone. Ignorance of the law is no excuse in most places in the world. That is why.

  452. Does anyone have a template or an example of the letter that is required from your neighbours when encroaching on the building line? Thanks.

  453. Klaasje Dippenaar

    What is the requirements number of cables that must be on the second level of a house’s balestrades, I have a builder that only inserted 3 cables, I am concerned that a child/animal might fall down due to the spacing being to wide?

  454. Hi Jenny-Lynn,
    I knew I had one on file somewhere and I have found it 😀
    It is the Tshwane form for neighbours comments/consent to do with encroachments etc. It is a 1 page form but will give you the template that you need.
    I have uploaded it to our downloads page here: download-regulations Just register (free) and login and scroll down to “TshwaneNeighboursConsentForm.pdf”
    I hope this helps.

  455. Thank you SO VERY MUCH 🙂

  456. Hi Penny,

    I am interested in building a prefab home and would like to know what the council needs from me to issue an occupation certificate. I know i need a Certificate of Compliance for the electricity and approved plans but since I am a newbie at this is there anything that I would need?


  457. Hi Penny,

    We have been informed that is now a legal requirement that all new build houses are required to install a heat pump? Is this true?

  458. Hi

    I leave in an small town that is still developing and accommodation is very scares and lot of people including myself struggle to find a decent one.There are plot of lands that are available and are selled by a municipality.I want to buy a plot and build a block of flat in it.What must I do?and again I don`t have a capital.

    Any sudjestion will help

  459. Hi, I’m thinking of building an apartment block (Cape Town) for investment purposes; what process do I need to follow? I need some guidelines ……

  460. If the width of continuous strip foundations should be at least 600 mm for a tiled roof, then how deep must the foundation be?


  461. list two importance of roof light in a building

  462. Hi

    Does one have one have any rights with regard to a neighbour wanting to extend his current house to a double storey?

    Obviously this will impact us adversely inasmuch as their building is fairly close to ours and it will both make our house considerably darker, and enable them to see into our house in a way that is not currently the case.

    I think their current building is built up to their building line and presume the extension upwards would remain in the same footprint.

    Your assistance in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

  463. Richard, This sounds to me like a question in an assignment. Let’s make it multiple choice shall we?
    Choose the two correct answers:
    1. It allows air to enter the building
    2. It allows natural light to enter the room
    3. It is a means of saving energy
    4. They look pretty
    5. A roof light is easier to install than a window
    6. The National Building Regulations say you must have at least one roof light in a building
    Good luck

  464. Chris the National Building Regulations and Standards Act plus the deemed to satisfy SANS give guidelines on the building process. You can buy the Standards from the SABS or get ideas from the pages on this website. In terms of building as an investment, we are not able to supply guidelines. Sorry. But if you aren’t sure of investment potential and the various building processes involved, be very careful.

  465. Edward the local authority has zoning regulations that specify height of buildings. If you put your cursor on the Building Regulations Introduction tab you will see several of these in the drop down menu, that you can download. In some instances neighbour’s consent is required. However the local authority has an obligation to ensure that neighbors’ are not adversely affected by building plans that they approve. You do, in any case, have the right to object, though I am not entirely sure what the procedure is. Contact your local authority to find out.

  466. Nell, what kind of question is this? It is not only the roof that needs to be considered, but the entire load. Simplistically though, concrete foundations should never be less than 200 mm deep, or less than 600 mm wide. A good rule of thumb is that the width should equal the thickness of the wall plus twice the thickness of the concrete. Go figure.

  467. Ashleigh the new regulations basically say that it must be an energy efficient system – not specifically a heat pump. Where a heat pump is used it must comply with SANS 10252 – which details everything to do with water supply (which I presume is the context you are referring to?)
    The new energy regulation – SANS 204 (2011) Energy efficiency in buildings states: “4.5.2 Hot water services A minimum of 50 % by volume of the annual average hot water heating requirement shall be provided by means other than electrical resistance heating, including, but not limited to, solar heating, heat pumps, heat recovery from other systems or processes.”

  468. All homes need regular plans drawn by a competent person Gillian.

  469. Klaasje it shouldn’t allow anything with more than a 100 mm diameter to pass through it. Please read the section about stairways for more information about balustrades.

  470. Christian, I’m really sorry but we are not equipped to give financial advice. If you don’t have capital and cannot raise a loan, then you aren’t going to be able to buy a plot, let alone build on it. Perhaps your municipality has some sort of incentive scheme that assists people in your position. Ask.

  471. HI Penny

    I found your site while doing some research about my own situation – a building dispute that has thus far lasted some 17yrs – and thought it might be of interest.

    Our case continues, with no end in sight, and so acts as a good case of warning to people who may be at the beginning of a dispute. Record as much of the process as possible, engage with officials and other affected parties, and don’t let transgressors get away with murder.

    Many thanks


  472. Hi Penny

    One morning when I got up, I saw a brick outbuilding in my neighbour’s yard 5 cm from the wall that separates their stand from ours. It is a flat roof which “falls” towards our side. Not even plastered or gutters on “our” side. On second thoughts, even if they want to plaster, there is too little space for anyone to slot in between the wall and the outbuilding. I’m gobsmacked – is this legal?

  473. In your article about “foundations” in the article about the empirical rules for foundations as specified in SANS 10400-1990, you will note in the article that there is nothing about the depth a foundation needs to be for a house with a “tiled” roof or a thatched roof. You may want to amend this.

    Neil Rivalland.

  474. I believe that there is a new regulation with regards to windows and the allowable per square meter, what is the reason for this.

  475. I would like to know if you need plans to change an existing window into a sliding door.


  476. Good afternoon,

    I have had plans drawn up by an architect and these, according to my architect, have been submitted for planning permission about 3 months ago. (Midrand, Johannesburg area)
    I have followed up with the architect regarding the granting of the permission, but her answers are very evasive and I am starting to lose confidence in her.
    Are you able to advise on how long planning permission usually takes?
    Is there anything I can do from my side to try and figure out how the process is going and where we currently stand?
    Thank you for your assistance.
    Best regards,

  477. Stefanie you can contact the City (there are contact numbers on a download that you can access from our home page viz. Municipality contact) and ask them. Explain your concerns to them.

  478. As long as the size is the same and the lintel stays in place you shouldn’t need plans.

  479. Probably not Fats. Contact the planning department at your local authority. Apart from the location of the building, they have an obligation to channel rainwater away from the building – and not allow it to drain into your property.

  480. Thanks Rouvanne, We are in fact tracking a few stories of this kind and I’d like to use info from it in an article. Let me know if anything new transpires in the meantime.

  481. It’s got to do with the new energy laws Helen. Fenestration …


  483. Hi Penny,
    I want to ask about a neighbor who is building a double storeyed structure next to my house. is it legal to build without my permission and isn’t it going to affect my house in any way? Worried

  484. Karen Steenkamp

    Do you need building plans to replace a glass window with a glass door and build a patio? And if you add a swimming pool?

  485. The Door will be a greater area than the window which may affect compliance with SANS 10400 for Energy Usage.

  486. If u stay in a complex but own your property and build on an outside braai. There is existing
    beams so we just want to add on ibr sheeting to cover the are but it wont be an enclosed room.
    if body corp agrees but your neighbour who owns the house, has said no,
    Can she really stop u if its your place?

  487. Hi Penny.

    i want to find out. How far from the front and side border lines are you allowed to build to.

  488. can our office windows be welded closed?

  489. Hi Penny

    I am not sure if this is the correct forum to be posting this question, but I am not sure who else to contact.

    Is it legal to do noisy construction work all day on a Saturday, Sunday and public holiday in a residential area starting every morning at 07h00, and ending every afternoon at 16h00? Surely there should be laws to stop this. If it is illegal, do you perhaps know who I can contact to take further steps?

    Many Thanks
    Adrian Salverda

  490. mike hazeltine-fitzgerald

    Hi there, I am a retired architect in the uk and have just purchased a property in Barrydale as my winter home that has a single sloping tin roof . I wish to change it to a pitched tin roof,i do not wish to change the footprint of the building. Do i need planning or just building regs and if so can i submit plans myself without using a local architect? regards MIKE

  491. mike hazeltine-fitzgerald

    P.S Can i just use a local engineer for structural calc MIKE

  492. Hi Penny we have just purchased a holiday resort and are wanting to erect wooden cabins for accommodation units. I have been told by some people that I do not need building plans as these units are movable structures, is this correct???

  493. Hi Penny,

    I am doing research on acceptable footings for accidental volume reduction due to over wetting of collapsing soils. I have seen past articles related to sandy sites within South Africa and problems related to sink holes too. I am doing this as part of a research proposal for the University of South Australia and would like to know if you could point me in the right direction related to the principles of design related to these areas (collapsing soils and sink holes) as a comparison to the knowledge gap that is here in Australia.

    Any help you could afford would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincere regards,


  494. Hi!
    I’d like to find out if anything can be done about someone who builds in front of another existing house and totally blocks their view? Is there any action that can be taken?

  495. I live in a townhouse complex. I wish to block/remove a current window in my kitchen. The board of trustees have already approved this alteration, but they are concerned that it will violate municipal regulations. Do I need to submit plans for this?

  496. I wish to add that I plan on installing a tubular skylight in the kitchen. The kitchen is also an open plan kitchen that have partially extended cupboards between the kitchen area and the front door and living area.

  497. I would like to find out about extending your house with a different kind of brick than original.

    I have bought maxi bricks 290 mm to extend my house now I have found that the house was built with normal bricks 110mm double line, is it possible to join or merge the extension using the maxi bricks according to the building regulations?


    Jabu Zondi

  498. Hi,

    We’ have had a serious problem with a pool company where can I go for recourse on the situation?

    Thanks for your help?

  499. On 1/2 acre (2000 cubic meters), what is the maximum floor area that can be built upon.

  500. If the company belongs to the National Swimming Pool Institute (NSPI) you can go to them … There contact numbers are on their website. But if they are not members, there is nowhere you can go. Your only other option is to consult an attorney. If you have been misled you may have recourse to the National Consumer Protection Association (CPA)

  501. Neil it depends on the zoning of the land. Usually around 60%.

  502. Hi Penny,

    Thank you so much will take it from here!

  503. Yes Jabu it is quite possible and acceptable. It must just be done correctly according to approved plans that must be drawn up by a competent person.

  504. Divan, You do not normally need plans to install skylights. The exception would be is the roof trusses have to be reconfigured due to the size of the skylight.

  505. I don’t think so Divan. While the new energy regulations do deal with fenestration (any glazed opening in a building envelope, including windows, doors and skylights) in some detail, these do not relate to existing dwellings. As stated in Part A of the NBR, they are concerned with alterations that:
    1. affect the structural strength or stability of the building
    2. negatively affect existing escape routes required in the event of fire
    3. negatively affect the health of people using the building
    So presuming there is still sufficient ventilation in the kitchen, I can’t foresee a problem. But this is just my opinion.

  506. Brian absolutely incorrect. You need plans for any type of structure that will be used for accommodation. Even temporary buildings must be authorized by the local authority. Have a look at the link I have given you, it should be helpful.

  507. Stephen you probably need to access Parts B and H of SANS 10400, since both deal with dolomite land which is the primary risk factor for sink holes.
    Part F of SANS 10400, Site operations states: “Geotechnical investigations conducted in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10400-B in the case of dolomite lands and SANS 10400-H in the case of foundations for buildings shall in terms of F3(2) be deemed to be appropriate investigations”. Unfortunately I don’t currently have access to a copy of Part B, Structural design or Part H, Foundations.
    Part A defines dolomite land as “land underlain by dolomite or limestone rock directly or at a shallow depth less than:
    a) 60 m in areas underlain by limestone;
    b) 60 m in areas underlain by dolomite where no de-watering has taken place and the local authority has jurisdiction, is monitoring and has control over the groundwater levels over the areas under consideration; or
    c) 100 m in areas underlain by dolomite where de-watering has taken place or where the local authority has no jurisdiction or control over groundwater levels”.
    However there is another SANS 1936-3 Development of dolomite land: Design and construction of buildings, structures and infrastructure – this link is to a draft copy that might be helpful.
    Here’s a link to a paper on collapsing soils. And another link to a download that might be useful (I haven’t read it). And another.
    And I am going to email you another problem soil document. Hopefully some of this will be helpful. Let me know.

  508. Yes Mike provided he is qualified and registered with the relevant association. It really doesn’t matter where he lives.

  509. Mike you WILL need to submit plans. When you say “Do i need planning or just building regs” I presume you mean approval? Anyway, it’s irrelevant. You need a competent person to draw and submit the plans, and follow through on the build. As you will see from the link I have given you, this person needs to be qualified and registered – if an architect, with SACAP. Have a look at this link to their website. You will see that you can apply for recognition of foreign qualifications. If accepted, you would be “a competent person” as defined in the National Building Regulations and would then be able to submit the plans yourself.

  510. Hi Penny. Is it true, that the neighbours must give their consent, If we want to build a washroom next to the excisting kitchen. Regards.

  511. You’ve come to right place Adrian. The times are detailed on THIS PAGE under the heading: Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise.

  512. No Alida it isn’t! But you will need permission from the local authority – and you will also need approved plans drawn up by a competent person.

  513. I would think so provided there is sufficient ventilation. But you may need local authority consent.

  514. Gerrie here are some general guidelines. However it does vary and is ultimately the local authority that decides, so they would know.

  515. Karen, If you don’t change the size of the opening you don’t need plans – the important factor is the lintel that supports the opening. You do need plans for a swimming pool.

  516. Tebogo, your neighbour does not need your consent; but does need to submit plans to the council and have these approved. The local authority has bylaws that specify maximum height of buildings.
    In addition, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act states that everyone has the right to “fair, lawful and reasonable administrative action and to reasons for administrative action that affects them negatively”. So if the local authority allows your neighbour to build something that negatively affects you, you have the right to object and demand reasons. You can also demand compensation if it comes to this.

  517. Leon not that I am aware of. There may be new bylaws though. Ask your local authority for clarity

  518. Neil, this web site cannot be 100% comprehensive. We do our best to keep adding info – but also guide people to other resources. Apart from which the specifications for foundations will be on the plans which must be drawn up by a competent person.

  519. Hi there

    I have purchased a house, only find out that the existing porch and small scullery area is not on the plan. What do I do, as I do not want to be held liable for this, should there be a query.


  520. 1) In a high rise sectional title scheme of apartments , how many parking bays must be provided for each unit and how many visitors’ bays?
    2) Does Sandton differ from Randburg in these requirements?

    Many thanks Penny.

  521. Hi Penny
    My parents are trying to sell their house after 40 years. About 7 years ago they did some renovations and extended the kitchen and other parts of the house. The work was done by a professional contractor. However, they have no proof that any plans were drawn up or that the additions were registered with the council and cannot find the contractor.
    What are their options? Would this be a problem when trying to sell the house?

  522. I am about to renovate my house ,plans have been passed by city of Cape Town . I am having a problem with a neighbor at the back of my house . He is refusing to give consent , because he says it will block his view which at the moment is my garage roof,he says it reminds him of Prague is that a legitimate reason . He has no mountain views

  523. Hi Penny
    We bought a house about 2 months ago (the house is about 4 years old). Last week, we became aware of structural problems.
    I will try to explain the problem. According to the house plans, the patio is part of the complete structure, but with closer inspection, it’s believed that the patio was part of an ‘extension’. By the look of things, the outer walls has been built on top of the existing floor tiles, creating water leakage between the walls and the tiles (at the bottom on the floor where the wall and the tiles joins).
    Who do we take this up with?

  524. Adele, Since you only bought the house two months ago, I would think that it is probably a case of latent defect. i.e. The problem was there but not obvious – and the previous owner did not divulge the problem to you!
    First you need to establish that this is in fact the case. Get an independent contractor or specialist to to an inspection and report for you. In addition to the leaking, you need to ascertain whether the foundations for the patio walls are up to standard.
    Then you also need to establish who built the house. i.e. Was it the previous owner or did they buy from a contractor or from someone else who had it built. Clearly it can’t have been owner built because you have to live in an owner-built house for at least five years before you can legally sell it.

  525. Sharleen are you sure that you even need your neighbour’s consent to build on? The City of Cape Town’s zoning by laws – which you can download HERE – was updated earlier this year and, for example, in most cases you now don’t even need neighbour’s consent if you want to build on your boundary. By the same token, if your home improvements are indeed going to block your neighbour’s view, they could devalue the property and he could have legal recourse. And no, if something simply reminds him of Prague, that is not a valid reason at all!

  526. Ian, I presume you have approached the council and asked if there are plans for the extension?
    Unfortunately if there aren’t then it is very likely that there will be problems when they try to sell.
    These could come from two areas:
    1. If the potential buyer needs a bond, the bank will do a valuation and will very likely pick up the discrepancy on the plan.
    2. If the council does an inspection, for instance to finalize rates and taxes, they too might notice the lack of plans.
    My mother-in-law had a similar experience three years ago – having extended a kitchen and stoep. She had to have rider plans drawn up and approved before the sale could be finalized.
    I would advise them to have rider plans drawn up as a matter of urgency …

  527. V this is not a provision of the National Building Regulations. And Randburg and Sandton do have their own zoning differences so they may well be different. This document may help you.

  528. Niki you don’t say whether you have taken occupation of the house or not. If not you should challenge the seller – in fact you should challenge the seller anyway. The problem though is that even though it is illegal to add onto a house without plans, once a sale is final, it’s going to cost a whole lot to force the seller to rectify the situation. It may be easier to get rider plans drawn up and submit these to council.

  529. Hi Penny
    Thank you for your feedback.
    I have since learned that the renovations and extensions were funded by the bank through a second bond. One would think that the bank that funded the project would have wanted to see the plans. Guess in this country the rules only apply to consumers and not the banks.
    Can you direct me to a website or database (besides what I will put out on social media) where one can list a contractor as being dishonest and unreliable. I ask as my parents have manage to find the contractor but he refuses to assist or return calls.
    This means that the bank and the contractor have left them in a lurge and now they have to deal with the extra costs. Perhaps if the bank had done their due diligence in the first place they would be in this situation.

  530. Hi, do I need a building permit to demolish a building in johhanesburg?if so where do I get one

  531. Ian, Just as a precaution, are you 100% certain the plans were not submitted? Many of our local authorities are so badly run they seem to make a habit of “losing” plans! In any case, I think it is imperative to notify the bank in writing so that they are alerted to the situation – and hopefully don’t grant a bond to someone else using this person/business.
    Probably the best place to “name and shame” someone like this is on Hello Peter! I have given you the link.
    Even though renovations and extensions don’t need to be registered with the NHBRC (only new dwellings), the law still states that all building contractors who do construction work for payment by other people MUST be registered with the NHBRC. I have given you the link to their website – but for some reason it is down at the moment. You can search their database to see if the contractor is registered … if you can’t find his name, or the name of his business, phone them and ask them to check. If he isn’t a member then alert their FRAUD line.
    Good luck, let me know what happens.

  532. Chris, you need to look at Part E of SANS 10400, Demolition work. It states very clearly that wherever you are in SA you are not permitted to demolish any building “without the prior written permission of the local authority”.

  533. Just moved into a house we bought. 2 weeks in and the back boundry wall collapses due to building regulations not adhered to (according to home insurance assessor) – “the maximum permissible height of a 110mm wide freestanding wall is 1,4m if 240 x 230mm piers are installed at 1.8m centres. It is clear that the wall in question does not meet these criteria” – surely this cannot be made my problem now to fix, does anyone know who should be held liable?

  534. Ben I would think that this is a latent defect and that you can hold the seller liable for replacement of the wall. However I think you will probably have to approach this via an attorney. You can try doing it yourself, but don’t be surprised if you meet resistance. The other thing to bear in mind is that the old voetstoots clause no longer has the same teeth as it used to – the Consumer Protection Act over-rides it in most instances … see this link. The question will be whether the seller was aware that the wall was basically illegal. He should have been.

  535. Hi Penny

    Could you possibly advise me on the following? We have a holiday home on the South Coast that we would like to make some internal structural renovations too ie opening up the kitchen, moving around some dry walling and putting up internal walls etc also a deck would be added to the house and windows turned into doors leading to the deck. What would I need to do in this case aside from getting a contractor to carry out the work?
    Many thanks in advance!

  536. Hi Penny, Maybe I overlooked bur can not find what I am looking for. We want to put up a carport, do we need plans? I also would like to have a Pergola put in the front of the house, same Q, do I need plans? When do one need plans ?

    Thank you

  537. Hi there,

    We are just about finished building a house and the developer says we cannot move in until we make the final payment application to the bank.

    I’ve heard that in some cases the final payment is withheld for approximately three months to ensure that any issues picked up within that period is fixed satisfactorily.

    They have assured me (verbally) that they will fix any issues found, but once i sign off, then I won’t have anything to make them accountable.

    What is the standard practice?

  538. Hi Penny we bought old apartment in Umhlanga and would like to renovate. After submitting plans to trustees of the building we had permission to go ahead. During demolition work our neighbor stopped all our activities due to noise. He does not live in the building.It’s been six weeks and case is with our lawyer now. My question is : do we need municipal permission for internal wall demolition ( we have structural engineers and architects approval ) and if yes can we apply at this late stage? Regards Eva

  539. Hi,

    I am curious to find out if one needs plans to add a bathroom to an apartment? all drainage and pipes will be an extension of an existing bathroom?

  540. Hi please can you tell me must all thatch roofs on residetial buildings have a engineers desighn and certificate

  541. Our neighbour, across the road, is starting building work on a double story alteration. Do they not need our permission for this? Our privacy in our entertainment, pool and garden area will be seriously compromised!

  542. Hi, our family has land which is regarded as Tribal land and “falls” into the Madibeng Municipality – I would like to build on the land and the tribal authority says that i as it is regarded as tribal we can build without any issues. i would like to check the validity of this. i would also like to find out what would the full requirements be for me to build as i know nothing about what needs to happen? please advise as im concerned that im investing a lot of money into this and should i be contravening laws i stand to lose everything.

    kind regards


  543. We bought our unit with the garage converted into a room (dry-wall added to divide the garage in half).
    What is the law regarding such a conversion – no changes were made to structural walls. Would the previous owner have required building approval in order to get this done?

  544. Yes Lara, for this to be legal the previous owner would have required building approval. The main issue here is that the function of the garage has changed.

  545. Simon I am not certain about tribal land and how this is affected by the legislation and regulations. I suggest you contact the Madibeng Municipality for advice.

  546. Goodday,

    Kindly confirm if a steel and brick carport with a motorised double wooden door and sink roof approximately 40 square meters in size built in front of, and adjoining the existing double garage needs building plans approved by the local authority.

    Further kindly confirm if it is allowed to construct the above carport on top of the boundary wall dividing two erven.

    This structure was erected without building plans in the Pretoria East (Tshwane) area.

    Thank you

  547. Linda you are describing a “garage” of sorts rather than a carport, which would be open sided, and therefore “minor building work” which does not require plans. So first of all approved plans will definitely be required. The construction of the wall and the weight of the structure will determine whether a carport could be built utilizing an existing wall. e.g. The foundations would need to be strong enough to support additional weight. But again, plans would be required. The other issue is whether the council would allow the structure to be built on the boundary. If you go to the lefthand tab on this site (Building Regulations Introduction) you will see “Tshwane Town Planning Scheme 2008” which you can download. That might give you some information that could be useful. Otherwise contact the Tshwane planning division for advice.

  548. Definitely Sarah! And the work needs to be done by a fully qualified and registered plumber.

  549. Eva you would require permission, and plans for that matter, if the wall is load bearing. If not then no. In terms of noise, the National Building Regulations is very clear in terms of when building work may be carried out – see this link to Site Operations – and frankly I don’t see how they can stop you as long as you comply with these times. How did your neighbour stop you? Did he get some sort of interdict?

  550. Zane there are two, possibly three issues.
    1. Changing walls. Since you’re using dry walling, you shouldn’t need plans unless you are changing the primary function of a room or space. For instance if you are going to convert a garage into a living room or bedrooms, then you will need plans. Changing windows to doors shouldn’t require plans. In brick and mortar houses there is the issue of lintels, and so you would need plans if the doors were wider than existing windows.
    2. Any electrical or plumbing requires qualified and registered professionals to do the work.
    3. If the deck is above the ground, you might need plans – in fact you probably will need plans, since very few decks are constructed at ground level. More than about a metre above ground you’re going to need railings etc.
    Lastly, you will need to notify the local authority that you will be doing alterations – see minor building work. Ultimately “it is left to the discretion of the building control officer to decide whether or not it should be classified as minor building work and if so, what plans or other documents should be submitted with the application, i.e. with which Regulations the building should comply. The intention should be clear that for this type of building, which does not involve eating, sleeping, living or working areas for any person, there should be an absolute minimum of control placed on any reasonable structure.”
    This piece that I wrote recently about alterations and additions might also be useful. There are several links within the article, which is posted on our sister web site, Owner Building.

  551. Hi Penny

    I just have an enquiry regarding the erection of a carport. It is pretty much the standard structure: steel poles, steel or IBR sheeting and would be open on the ends. Do we require building plans or permission to carry out this type of work? Also in terms of the space between the boundary walls – how would this be determined?

    Thanking you in advance!!

  552. peter greyling

    my daughter is a model , and a lot of the catwalks are constructed temporarily
    where she goes to

    are there regulations around this ?
    is the md of my daughters company liable for anything as he books the venue?

  553. Not in the National Building Regulations, Peter. There may be something in the local bylaws. In the event of damage or injury, the MD in his business capacity (i.e. not his individual or personal capacity) would be liable I think.

  554. Provided the carport is not bigger than specified in the regulations, it will normally be classified as minor building work. However you will see from this link that you do still need to notify the local authority of your intention to erect a carport. Also Part A of SANS 10400 states that the municipality may call for plans if for e.g. “servitudes are involved, (because) the siting might be important and hence a site plan might be required. In the case of carports to be erected in areas subject to strong winds, it might also be necessary to consider structural aspects”.
    This article will give you some insight into boundary walls. If you want to build closer than allowed you will need council and neighbour’s consent (in CT you don’t need neighbour’s consent).

  555. No Renee they don’t need your permission. However the Council has an obligation to ensure that neighbors are not adversely affected. You could lodge and objection.

  556. Marnus there is some information about thatch roof construction in the section under Roofs (here’s the link).
    In Part A of SANS 10400 has a form that needs to be filled in to approve the competent person who draws up the plans for any building. You will see from the link that a competent person doesn’t have to be an engineer. However if that person is not “competent to undertake the *rational design/rational assessment/geotechnical investigation and any associated inspection work in relation to the applicable work(s) contemplated in section 3 of this Form” then he/she would have to get an engineer to do the design.

  557. Generally carports are regarded as minor building work. But the council may call for plans. Part A of SANS 10400 warns that carports “may in some instances be an exception” (in terms of not needing plans) “since, where servitudes are involved, the siting might be important and hence a site plan might be required. In the case of carports to be erected in areas subject to strong winds, it might also be necessary to consider structural aspects.”
    The link I have provided should make the situation clearer.

  558. VR I wouldn’t go along with that personally, but it depends what your contract with the developer states – i.e. what you agreed to. Usually there would be a clause allowing you to withhold funds. At very least insist on a formal letter of undertaken on a company letterhead stating that they will be held accountable if there are issues – e.g. bad workmanship you haven’t noticed, leaks… anything like that. Because once the money has been paid, you’ve lost your bargaining power and will probably have to go to an attorney for help.
    One suggestion. Double check that the developer is registered with the NHBRC – you can check on their website … or if you can’t find the name phone them to make sure they aren’t registered under something different – and that there haven’t been problems with them in the past. Good luck.

  559. Where can one get approval for containers as a accepted form of building material for building a house? This is required for the banks. Anyone that can assist it’s greatly appreciated, as construction has been stopped because of this.

  560. The construction of stages and catwalks are done by the company doing the event, they need approval and certificates from town council, usually your fire departments are involved in the certification and being approved for the structures that are built. If you need more assistance get hold of your disaster management team in the fire department, they will be able to give you most of the answers you require. Hope this helps.

  561. Grant, you need an Agrément certificate “that confirms fitness-for-purpose of a non-standardized product, material or component or the acceptability of the related non-standardized design and the conditions pertaining thereto (or both) issued by the Board of Agrément South Africa”.
    More info on this may be found in Part A of SANS 10400, e.g. “Agrément certificates represent an entirely different approach. The original intent of the Agrément certificate was to present as complete an assessment as possible of any new building system, building component or building material, in addition to indicating whether it was considered suitable for use. The certificates also state which of the National Building Regulations, if any, the system or component may be deemed to satisfy.
    “It should be noted that although test reports may be adequate to supply the information that a local authority might need to assess an application, the Agrément certificate serves an additional, very important, purpose in that it provides more information of a type which might be useful to anyone buying or promoting a new building system or building component. In addition, the Agrément certification process requires that certificate-holders have an acceptable and functioning quality management system in place, thereby providing assurance of consistency of quality of the end product.”

  562. hi we are an outdoor company and we would like to know where we can get council approval for building wraps and billboards.

  563. Good day, we own a dulex and want to add on the top level above the staircase a walk in closet room. This will be a extention to the main room and wont change any of the external walls my question is thus will we require approved plans for the small addition to the interior? I greatly appreciate your feedback.

  564. These “national” building regulations do not extend to billboards and advertising. This is governed by each local authority (council) in SA independently so you will need to contact the council where you are and find out.

  565. Hi,

    I live in a complex that was built by the owner who built the Tongaat Mal that Collapsed. The walls of my home is cracking badly. I escalated this problem with the Woodglaze. They came and patched up the walls. They started to crack badly for the 2nd time.
    The cobtractors came yesterday and re-patched some of the walls. He said it was a trench problem. The construction co is busy building other complexes. If it cracks again he will escalate it to J singh,
    I am very scared of the foundation giving way. Please advise urgently who can assist urgently. Our lives are at stake. We are paying our rent without any default.

  566. Hi,

    Please can you confirm if there is a law to state that you cannot have an open fire in your garage next to vehicle’s etc as I have a neighbor who is constantly braaing in their garage with the vehicles inside.


  567. I live in the east rand and my neighbor recently erected a walled in thatched lapa approximately 6m by 8m, a double garage and new swimming pool. Who can I contact to confirm if these structure are indeed legal?

  568. Hi Tammy, I’m sorry top hear that you have been taken for “a ride” by Jay Singh and his companies. Contact the NHBRC immediately and register your complaint with them. The NHBRC dispatched a team to Natal last week to investigate Jay Singh and his dealings, specifically Woodglaze Trading (Pty) Ltd and Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd. They said that they would have a report before the 15th of December. As soon as this comes out we will do a report here so please check back regularly. The NHBRC can be contacted on the toll-free number 0800200824. Or go to their site NB This site has been off and on for the past few weeks so it might be better to phone.

  569. Hi Roxanne, There must be something in the Fire Regulations (they are separate to the Building Regulations) that refers to that. Contact the FPASA, Fire Protection Assocation SA they will know. Their website is: More to the point I think there should be a law against stupidity!

  570. Hi Natasha, For a minor alteration such as what you have said then no you will not need plans so long as there are no structural changes. What you will have to do is to inform the council in writing that there was a minor alteration and that they must keep your letter on file. This is done to cover you in future if you sell and the inspector finds the house to be different to the original plans. This could be costly at that stage.

  571. Hi what will happen if I build an extention to my property with out building plans approved

    Many thanks

  572. I would like to know what are the regulations to building a house with shipping container? i would be built on the coast and on a small holding.

  573. Hi Cristian, Not a good idea. There are cases every day, not all of them reported, of judgements taken against illegal extensions where the owner is given a heafty fine AND they have to demolish the structure. In certain cases the municipality has gone in and done the demolition when the owner refuses to do so. So I reckon just do the right thing 😀

  574. I live in an apartment building. My neighbour replaced his front door, only entrance. It now opens to the outside blocking my front door (only entrance) whenever his door is open. Are the entry/exit doors in an apartment building not supposed to open towards the inside of the apartment. Can one replace the doorframe (not standard size) without approved plans?

  575. Hi,

    I am in the process of building a covered patio area. I had a concrete slab laid with a small retainer brick structure around the edge. I am becoming paranoid as to whether I need approved plans? Any advise for me? The area is 30m squared.

  576. how..close can a neighbour build a wooden shed/structure to the boundary fence dividing our there no law /regulation as to.distance.?thx

  577. Hi, i am Curious in the rights in building while owning Farmland,(off grid) there is no Municipality electricity or Water,sanitation given to the farm. if i want to build a small home, with solar / wind power and french drain system, what steps do i take as the Zoneing is Farming/ Residential, what can i do thus being “legal” and building the small home ,so to not run into problems later?

    thank you,


  578. zwelitsha sigodi

    seeking certificate

    I wolud like get your training and certificate for NHBRC

  579. Subject:
    Incomlete house by Victor Trading Construction cc

    I am hereby kindly requsting your intervetion regarding my parents
    house, which was build by the building construction called Victor
    Trading Construction cc. They failed to comleted the house and they
    were paid in full amount, which they charged and nearly 70% of work
    not done complete and they even take the money for other items to buy
    it. till today nothing is finally done and I am willing to see them as
    construction company.

  580. Subject:
    Building regulations regarding wooden houses

    Afternoon, can someone advise me what are the building regulations and certificates needed to build a wooden house of 13m x 8m? Where can I find out what we need to get for the law etc?

  581. I had a swimming pool installed by Pools 4 Africa and want to know whether he is registered with you plse.

  582. Hi Laetitia, We do not keep a register of builders or pool builders. For Swimming pools in South Africa then you must contact the National Swimming Pool Institute (NSPI). They have offices in all the provinces but the head office number is 086 067 7472 or go to the website

  583. Hi Candice, The rules and regulations for timber frame houses are the same as for any brick house. As long as the method of building and the materials used are Agrément approved then there will not be a problem getting your plans approved by council. As the two systems, brick & timber, are different I suggest that you ask your architect first if he has experience with this method of building. The other alternative is to get one of the timber frame construction companies to do everything. As they have the expreience and all the relevant certifications needed. They usually have plans that can be tailored to what you need. Just to add here, you can contact the Timber Frame Institute for a list of reputable contractors here:

  584. We are not the NHBRC – please contact them directly.

  585. Cavin, If the land is zoned then it must fall under a specific local authority, and you will need to get planning permission from them to build. Plans will have to be submitted as for houses built anywhere else.
    Specifications for French drains (soakaways) and septic tanks are all covered in the various plumbing regulations (not the Building Regulations). As far as solar and wind power, there are SABS specifications that need to be adhered to.
    I hope this helps.

  586. Yes Peter there are regulations that govern where structures, including wooden sheds, can be built. It depends largely on the zoning of your property, but your local authority will be able to advise. In some areas (including Cape Town), you may be able to build the structure right on the boundary, but you will need approved plans to do so.

  587. Please contact the NHBRC directly. However they don’t give training.

  588. Muad unfortunately we don’t have the infrastructure to get involved. However if you get hold of the NHBRC in the new year they should be able to help you – providing the company you used is registered with them. If they aren’t they are operating illegally.

  589. James, you may need plans, though it is unlikely. However if you look at the section in the Building Regulations that covers minor building work (that does not need plans) then you will see that you are obliged to notify your local authority of your intention to build.

  590. Burt there is some information on our sister website HERE. Wherever you build, because it requires non-standard building materials, you will probably need an agrement certificate – but check with your local authority. They will advise.

  591. Justine it isn’t clear which house your neighbour owns. If they are in the same complex as you and you both own your own properties then the body corporate will have to sort this out. A neighbour can object, but this doesn’t mean that they can prevent you from going ahead in the long run.

  592. Thank you so much for your response 🙂

  593. Hi I would like to enquire about the average costs to draw plans for a residential property
    I need some indication, is it R50 or is it R500 per square meter. I am just not sure what is a correct price to pay. An average would help me tremendously
    Thank you

  594. Rosh I suggest you contact SACAP which is the governing body for architects etc. I have given you a link to their contact details. They reopen on Monday Jan 6. Alternatively have a look at this page on their website. You will see that they do not suggest charging per square meter, but rather by the hour or a project based fee that includes a percentage of the cost of the build.

  595. There’s a bit of a conundrum here. There is nothing that I can find in the Building Regulations that specifies the way doors open – other than Part T that deals with Fire Prevention – and in that case all exit doors must open OUTWARDS. But there is also a health and safety issue with steps, and then doors should open inwards. But in your case, I think that the important issue is that his door is blocking yours, which is wrong. In terms of replacing door frames – you don’t need plans – and the only reason they are standard sizes is because of cost. You are not bound to use a standard size frame at all.

  596. They should have submitted plans to your local authority; and these should have been approved prior to any building operations.

  597. Hi,

    I would like to know what procedure to follow for installing a swimming pool.


  598. We have a neighbour who is renovating the property he has just bought, and he is busy breaking everything down etc. My questions is : last night being Saturday his staff work until 2.30 am this morning (Sunday morning) and at 8.30 am they started working again (Sunday morning). A huge big truck arrived with consumables, and they were bashing and making the most terrible noise. Are they allowed to work on a Saturday and Sunday – when I went to speak to him, he was quite rude, and said he is the owner of the property. Please help,? Most mornings they start building at just after seven, and this has been going on throughout the whole festive season, with the exception of Christmas day and new years day. Many thanks

  599. Hi, I did some additions to my home in gauteng and being a first time home owner no one has ever informed me that i would need to get plans drawn or approved, now I received a letter in the post stating that i need to get the relevant approval within 30 days or they can take legal action against me, what steps do I follow to get this sorted out? Please help?

  600. Unfortunately ignorance of the law is never a defence in SA anyway. The best thing is to approach them (Your local building inspector) personally and ask their assistance in trying to sort this problem out. I am sure they will help you sort it out if you appeal to them.

  601. Hi Liz, I see Penny replied to your query on our Facebook page 🙂

  602. Hi Janek,

    I’d like to find out the cost for Municipal Plan Approval. I do know that it’s charged per square Meter. I’d also like to find out the law regarding relaxation of builing line as well as the cost for that.
    Thank you so much.

  603. Hi Karin, some municipalities will view a swimming pool as minor building workwhile others will need plans. If you contract a pool builder registered withthe NSPI then normally they will include the plans and submissions as part of the contract. Read the article here: professionalpool-builder

  604. Willie Pansegrouw

    Air conditioner nuisance

    My neighbor had a split unit aircon installed against a wall that is already on his building line, this unit is 5 meters away from my stoep and whenever I am outside I am confronted firstly with the unsightly
    unit and secondly the annoying drone of the aircon
    My questions:
    1 are there any laws prohibiting the placement of air conditioners over municipal building lines
    2 what are my rights insofar consent of the placement of this unit as it is closer to my property than what the building regulations state
    3 can I insist this unit be moved to an out of sight area on his property where it will have no noise disturbance
    I appreciate your feedback

  605. Hi,

    I am planning to build a container house , (shipping containers) that would just consist of a couple of containers modified into a living space on foundations. Would you know if this sort of construction would apply to all the building regulations and if not what would I need to do to get my plans registered with my local council?

    Kind Regards;

  606. Hi Willie, The unit might be under the eaves of the roof so the building line might be OK, if there is no roof overhang then you might have a case. The main problem would appear to be the noise. This is a factor that you can bring to the building inspectors on your area and if they assess that it is a public nuisance then they can order your neighbour to move it or totally remove it.

  607. Hi Candice, thanks for sharing your problem with us. There is a case in Kenton-on-sea where the supreme court has upheld an order to demolish a ±R8,000,000 seaside home. The owner had plans but did his own thing and blocked the view of the neighbours. Look at our article that explains how you can get the council to do their jobs properly. Look here: paja-law-protect-rights

  608. Hi Penny

    I would like to find out where in the building regulations does it stipulate that if the foundation of the house under construction does not comply with the building plans for the house the home builder will be asked to stop the construction by the inspector until the home builder has ensured that the foundation has been layed correctly.

  609. Hi Molatelo, each municipality in South Africa has its own set of fees that it charges for plans, submissions etc. The only way to find out is to contact your municipality and ask them.

  610. Hi Bongiwe, The National Building Regulations 10400-Part-H states: A competent person (civil engineering) or competent person (geotechnical) shall…b) inspect and approve the founding. And every Municipal bye-law in South Africa states that the foundation trenches must be inspected and approved by the local building inspector before the concrete is placed. If you are building then you need to know the laws, if you did not call the inspector to approve your trenches then you have broken the law and he is allowed to stop all building on your site and stop any workers from doing any work. Ignorance of any law in South Africa is not an excuse.

  611. Hi Elma, The best is to find a sympathetic architect that will be willing to do the “rational design” and to walk the plans through the council. All the building regulations will apply. The council will ask for an Agrément certificate that is why you will need a “competent person” to negotiate this. A number of years ago Trix Pienaar bought a train on auction and wanted to make it into a beach house in Pringle Bay. The Architect had a big job and many hours of meetings with the council to get “Trix se Trein” approved. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out so that we can help others, thank you.

  612. I would like to know if I can change an existing roof on my free standing garage from a tile roof to a thatch roof (in full by a qualified builder etc) without having to submit full building plans or getting authorisation from any council etc.?? The main house is already thatch but the garage was built later and is a pitched tile roof.

  613. Hi Andrew, Yes you will have to. Have a look at our page for reference here: minor-building-work Amongst other things it says:
    Part A: General Principal & Requirements, that any structural building work that is defined as “minor building work” requires authorization by your local authority
    b) the replacement of a roof (or part of a roof) with the same or similar materials,
    You are replacing with a different material so you will need plans irrespective of what your existing house roof is.

  614. hi i wan to know who to contact in cape town about a builder who does extentions on an existing house wihtout an approved plan.

  615. i got a builder in about 5 years ago to completely renovate my house completely. This house i bought and it was a total mess. so i asked him to take on the project for me. He gave me a price and i paid him. It was raining in cape town my two of my rooms started to leak. then the whole ceiling collapsed. i find that my carport is still standing and it was put up at the same time and found that the roof sheets of the two rooms were never replaced. i called the guy in and he said that is has got nothing to do with him. in the meantime my building cupboards and laminated floor got damaged and the ceiling flushed away. He also took money to repair my granny flat but never touched it. Please advise me what to do.

  616. i got a builder in about 5 years ago to completely renovate my house. This house i bought and it was a total mess, so i asked him to take on the project for me. He gave me a price and i paid him. It was raining in cape town and two of my rooms started to leak; then the whole ceiling collapsed.My carport is still standing and it was put up at the same time. i found that the roof sheets of the two rooms were never replaced. i called the guy and he said that is has got nothing to do with him. In the meantime my building cupboards and laminated floor got damaged and the ceiling flushed away. He also took money to repair my granny flat but never touched it. Please advise me what to do.

  617. What are the requirements for installation of Hose Reel, fire equipment when it comes to a school building of four class rooms with a thatch roof on ground floor.

  618. Hi Janek / Penny I’m intending to buy a vacant land of 2400 sqm in Pretoria West .My aim is to build a Lodge or a Guest house that will have apartments / beds with toilets and shower. Who do I contact to survey and approve the plan,since the land is in the residential area and posing danger because of huge trees, tall shrubs and big rocks


  619. Hi Steve, you are embarking on a very ambitious project and I wish you well with it :-D. For starters I would approach the local building inspectors and town planners to sound them out. Then I would call the SA Institute of Architects for assistance: Ask them if they have an Architect on their books that has experience with this level of development. There are so many factors that come into play such as zoning or re-zoning, soil conditions, density, access, sanitation etc etc. and so many pitfalls along the way that could be costly, that personally I would want some experience on my side before I begin.

  620. Hi Mercia, Did you check if the builder was registered with the MBA (Master Builders SA) the website here: Did you have a written contract? If not then the only recourse that you have is to approach an attorney. But you will have to find out where the builders business is or his home address.

  621. Hi Mercia, I replied to your other question about the builder. When renovations are done it is not the builders responsibility to get plans approved. Unless you have a written contract that states the builder is responsible for this. It is the homeowners responsibility and you will be liable for a fine as you have broken the law bw not submitting plans and getting them approved before having the work done. You will need to get a “competent person” to draw up the plans and submit them as soon as possible.

  622. My Landlord has been doing extension to the property externally and internally. They have also done all the electrical work themselves. They have never had plans drawn to do all this work but went ahead and did it anyway…. There are cracks appearing in the walls and am worried that there are no lintels in the low bearing walls and possible some little child can get her… ( part is used as a day care center) is this not illegal? and what can be done about it?

  623. Good day.

    We are renting a town house, the neighbour has a bbq chimney virtually right outside or living room door built on the border wall between us and them. Needless to say, with them having a braai often we have to live like shut-ins or choke on their smoke.
    How could I go about checking if this chimney is legal and what steps can we take. We have complained, to little effect.
    Can we have this officially inspected?

    Thanks whoever can help.

  624. Hi Arno, Have a look at our page: paja-law-protect-rights On this page are two documents that you can download. Submit your request in writing. Even if the braai is within the regulations then the smoke will fall under the “Public Nuisance” section and you must put the council to terms to deal with this.

  625. Subject:
    no plans

    good day to you hoping you can assist, can you tell me if a house can be bought voetstoets without any plans?

  626. H Tracy, Yes a house can still be bought “voetstoets” but the buyer must beware that if any Regulations or By-laws have been broken by additions being done without plans, the the new owner will be liable to rectify the situation and submit plans and could be liable for a fine as well as the costs of drawing up new plans.

  627. Good Day,

    We would like to erect a fully contained Wooden house on our tennis court (Pretoria). It would not encroach on any boundaries as we have 800sqm to build on. What are the regulations? Would we need to submit plans etc.

  628. I’ve recently taken early occupation of the house I’m in the process of buying, in one the rooms inside a cupboard, is a manhole for the kitchen and bathroom (bath & basin) drains. I asked the plumber who is issuing the compliance certificate, if having this manhole inside a living area is not a health risk, he wasnt sure, just said I should make sure we don’t block the drains. Over the weekend we’ve now had an incident, after emptying the bathwater, water started seeping from this manhole onto the carpets. We did contact the estate agent about this, he sent the plumber to clear the blockage. can we insist that the seller move these pipes to the exterior of the building

  629. Hi Chantelle, As it is a full on dwelling, regardless of the size, and it will have all the electrics, water and sewage that link to a dwelling, you will have to submit and get approval before you build. Many timber house companies will do all this for you included in their price, check with them when they come to quote.

  630. Are you allowed to build just a Wendy house as a house to live in, instead of a stone build house?

  631. You can, provided you have plans.

  632. Thank you for your prompt response to my query.
    However, i think i did not state it cleary, my mistake. The carport in question is not made up of poles as per usual. it is a rather large, double size, structure built from brickwork with corrugated iron roofing. Would this still be seen as minor building or not?
    Thank you in advance

  633. Mercia you need a lawyer to write to the builder and put him to terms – i.e. demand that he rectify the shoddy workmanship, and complete the work he has been paid to do. But first weigh up whether it will be cheaper to get in a decent builder to do the work. Lawyers can be very expensive.

  634. If there are just brick pillars then it might be still be minor building work Dirk – as long as it is open sided and of the max size specified. However, you are obliged to notify the council when you plan to do minor building work, so at that stage they would say they wanted a plan. Perhaps you should contact the local authority and ask for their take on the matter. If they need a plan, I would insist that the seller takes care of this, or reduces the price to cover what it will cost you to do it.

  635. Hi,
    We purchased a house directly from a developer in Thatchfield, Pretoria. We have had numerous issues regarding the quality of workmanship and would like advice on how to raise these complaints with the NHBRC or other relevant body mainly regarding:
    □ absence of aerolight in ceilings
    □ peeling of paint on exterior walls due to lack of damp proofing
    □ peeling of paint due to water leak from shower
    These are just a few of many issues with a large developer who is still building numerous other houses on this estate.
    Your advice would be appreciated.

  636. Daya, your first step will be to check that the developer is in fact registered with the NHBRC. If you can’t find them on the site, phone and ask the NHBRC to double check, because sometimes they use a different name – though they should have give you an NHBRC certificate when you took ownership of the house. Then lodge a complaint. You should also put your complaint in writing to the developer.

  637. As part of a school project, I need to design a day-care centre. However, I am unable to find the regulations and requirements to build one. Could you please provide me with some information (website links, documents, etc.)?


  638. Shuaib this website has ample information, and I am afraid I am not going to do your homework for you to find additional links. There is only one set of National Building Regulations in South Africa – and as explained on this site, they go hand-in-hand with SANS 10400, The application of the National Building Regulations. Your starting point will be to ascertain which occupancy or building classification a day care centre falls under, probably A3 Places of instruction: Occupancy where school children, students or other persons assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning. Then throughout the NBR you will see that there is reference to the various occupancies, so you will need to be sure that your design complies. e.g. The size needs to be at least five square metres for every person using the building.

  639. hi, please can you tell me what the building line distance between houses must be when building in an estate.

  640. Richard is varies. Estates have their own rules and regulations and you should have been given a copy of this if you are building. Here is a link to a general article I wrote on boundaries for our sister website.

  641. Apologies in the delay of my reply. I needed to access standards that do not form a part of SANS 10400.
    SABS 0252-2 Water supply and drainage for building, Part 2: Drainage installations for buildings, states:
    “ Any manhole or inspection chamber shall be
    a) located in an open-air space,
    b) so constructed and covered as to prevent the ingress of water, and
    c) of sufficient strength to sustain any load that may be imposed upon it.”
    Then there is Commentary, viz:
    “1) The requirement that any manhole or inspection chamber be located in an open-air space should not be taken to preclude location under the roof of a carport or any similar well ventilated area outside the building.
    “2) The construction of inspection chambers or manholes requires a high degree of skill and is relatively expensive. However, manufacturers of sanitary pipes and appliances have developed factory-made manholes and other alternative forms of access that can be easily installed.
    “3) Inspection chambers or manholes should not be installed in a closed-drainage installation, since this will undermine the underlying principle of reducing the possibility of foreign substances from penetrating the piping.”
    Similarly all gullies and overflow devices must be “a) situated outside a building, or in a place that is permanently open to the outside air,
    “b) so situated that any overflow discharge does not have any detrimental effects, and
    “c) so located that it is accessible for cleaning and maintenance purposes.”
    So what you have is TOTALLY illegal. I am also bothered that the plumber is prepared to issue a compliance certificate in these circumstances. If this has been done I think you should urgently contact the Institute of Plumbing of SA and ask for their assistance / lodge a complaint. I also think it is essential that the seller rectifies the situation and ensures the plumbing is legal. You can action against the seller even if the sale has already gone through.

  642. Thanks!

  643. Hi I just want to find out when you have a complain with a developing company who do you complain to

  644. John Edwards

    Hi there I worked for a Prestressed Lintel company in Cape Town For 10 Years my boss has died and his wife closed the business so I am thinking of starting a lintel business in Cape Town but I cannot find any literature on specs for example what do the lintels be stressed to and I noticed that most of the lintels made now have cutout one wire for instance a 150mm lintel had 7 wires 5 on the bottom and 2 on top are there regulations as to how many wires there must and what tension they must be stressed I look forward to your reply and any help you could give me Regards John Edwards

  645. Lerato you can complain to the NHBRC if their construction work is sub-standard.

  646. John contact the Concrete Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) for advice. There are also quite a few of their documents with specs on our downloads page. You should also access SANS 1504 which is the prestressed lintel standard. I believe that there is a huge problem in their country with manufacturers making lintels that do not comply with SABS national standards.
    According to the standard, a high strength concrete with a small stone must be used to make the lintels and the cement has to be in the 42,5 N strength class or higher. The standard also says that the concrete must be compacted by vibration. I am sure there will be specs in this standard regarding the wires and tensioning.
    There are additional standards that cover “precast concrete” and a range of precast concrete products. The national standard that tells us how concrete for precasting should be made, handled and tested is SANS 1200 GE: Precast concrete (structural).
    Unfortunately I don’t have copies of these standards, though I may have some more notes somewhere. If I find anything I will let you know – but my advice is to start with the CMA publications.

  647. Hi there, can you tell me what piping should be used in a shower? Our builder used flexipiping which was not able to withstand the weigh of the shower head and shower arm. As a result the shower arm is bending right over and has pulled away from the plaster. The builder says the piping is standard but another plumber we called in said copper piping should have been used. Can you offer clarity on the matter? Thanks.

  648. Hi Penny,

    I have been advised to cover a fluorescent light fitting in a room, i have searched the site as well as the Occupational health and safety documents but cannot find any reference to light fittings needing to have a protective cover. 99% of florescent fittings one buys in a hardware store do not have, nor can they accommodate a protective fitting.

    can you please advise if it is necessary to have a protective cover in order to comply with the law.


  649. Hi,

    Are there any courses which explain the NBR from start to finish? Sort of a “NBR for Dummies” guide.

    I would like to know more about the various section of the NBR, especially part XA.


  650. Hi,

    Is it true that your neighbour has to have written consent from you to build a double story if their windows are facing your back yard?

  651. Hi There

    I there a size limit for a secondary dwelling on a stand (Urban)

  652. Hi, I have a built a patio onto my house, do I need plans if it is open? Or only of I wish to close it off?


  653. Hi

    On my new building plans the required minimum values for roof assemblies (SANS 204). My plan states that 135mm aerolite roof insulation must be used to get to the R-value that complies with SANS 204. How will i know that the contractor is installing this? What should I look for?


  654. Who is allowed to draw up building plans, such as alterations / extensions and full house design plans.

    What qualifications are needed.

    Who offers the training to qualify.


  655. Shawn here is a link to an article on our sister website that will answer your question. You need a competent person who has qualified in for e.g. architecture or draughting.

  656. Bradley if the patio is on the ground and open then you don’t need plans. Even open-sided structures are considered minor building work and don’t require plans. Have a look at the link.

  657. Good Day, I have just stumbled upon your website in the middle of doing some research and it is fantastic! I just wanted to find out what would be the best place to find out the rules, regulations and legalities behind the building of Prefab permanent homes in South Africa. Do you have any recommendations as to where to start my research? Thank you again for a wonderful website. Kind Regards, Lauren

  658. Thank you so much for the reply. Really appreciate it. Just checking that a patio that runs off the existing house roof and has the sides closed off for the wind. So the front is still open. Would you say this still sounds like a minor building work? I also couldn’t find anywhere that says the maximin size of the patio? How would the council define a pergola? Thanks again

  659. HI PENNY

    If i build a raised wooden deck how close can i go to my boundary wall and do aluminum shutters count as enclosed ?

  660. Hi, sure you probably had this before…..but hope you can assist or refer me

    i just received a registered letter from my neighbour wanting me to allow him to build a double storey double garage (it will be a loft on top) 1m from our boundary as well as 0mm from the road – which requires my approval in terms of municpal regulations which require 5m from the road and i think at least 2m from boundary….

    I am against this as it will leave a great big unsightly wall as opposed to our open view. The main issue is the 5m from the road as this blocks light at night too.

    My question is about how i should object ? and will my objection be enough ? and how do i ensure a proper objection is lodged ?

    Any assistance/guidance will be appreciated – THANKS!

  661. What is the requirements for air and dust extraction in a Woodwork Factory?
    Can anybody help me?

  662. We would like to enclose our tiny (6m2) courtyard at the back of the kitchen to make a scullery. My building plans weren’t approved due to non-compliance with SANS 10400 XA. The reason being, if I remove the back door, I have to make my whole living area (54m2) XA compliant (fenestration regulations). This is not an option due to the huge expense of changing all my windows in the living/dining area to glazed windows and inserting insulation throughout my ceiling. The building inspector sees my kitchen as “open plan” because I don’t have a door in the doorway between my kitchen and entrance hall which leads into my living area.

    If I leave the back door in place, I have no natural light nor ventilation in my kitchen if the door is closed. This means I will have to turn on lights in the kitchen using more electricity (my kitchen is south facing and dark). Lights = electricity. I will also have to install an extractor fan and/or air-conditioning unit for cooling and/or heating = more electricity. In the end, due to electricity costs and in order to get light and ventilation into the kitchen, I will end up either removing the door myself, or leaving it open all the time anyway – which takes us back to the original plans – which weren’t approved. A stupid door which, either way, is going to be open all the time or removed by myself.
    How can leaving this door in place possibly be considered “energy efficient”. I’m trying to do things the right way but this XA energy compliance “logic” is so illogical it borders on ridiculous insanity in my case.

    I have tried explaining all the above to the building inspector and his reply is simply “I don’t make the regulations, I only implement them!”
    Can you advise or suggest alternative options.

  663. Hi
    Please can you advise if action can be taken against someone that his filled sand inbetween my precast fence and their short wall to create a garden on top,
    Note, The sand is affecting the structure of the precast fence and there are weeds growing through the fence.

  664. Good day, I am trying to find out about building regulations to build a boarding cattery in Constantia Cape Town. Please could you assist?

    Thank you.

  665. Hi

    Hoping someone can help me out. whats the max sq meteres allowed for a granny flat before it is considered a second property as has to be registered and/or involve sectional titles etc. Granny Flat is not attached to main house. also are you allowed to build a second story onto an existing Granny flat?

    thank so much

  666. Jessie it wouldn’t be the structure that determined a sub-division. Basically there are three issues. 1) whether the council will let you build. 2) in terms of a second storey, you would need plans and council permission – things that they will look at will include existing foundations. 3) The size of the property and the % allowed for building on. This is usually found in zoning by-laws – it isn’t something that is covered by the National Building Regulations. Sub-division, sectional title etc is a totally different issue and you will need to get professional guidance if this is what you are considering doing.

  667. No Tracey sorry. Animal structures are not covered in the National Building Regulations. Animal care centres are mentioned in the CT Zoning Regs – “‘animal care centre’ means a place for the care of pets and animals, operated on either a commercial or a welfare basis, and includes boarding kennels and pet training centres;” but there is no information on structures. Contact the City of Cape Town and ask them what by-laws cover this.

  668. Nikita, they cannot do that because of course it will affect the integrity of the precast wall/fence. If it was to collapse they would be liable to replace it – though it could result in a legal battle. I would insist that they remove the sand and if they refuse – go to a lawyer and get a letter written threatening them with legal action if they don’t act immediately. Or you could remove it yourself – or get someone to remove it and then take them to the Small Claims Court to force them to repay the costs you outlay.

  669. Put the door back and then remove it once the plans are approved. He’s not going to be visiting you later! It’s an irritation, but clearly you aren’t getting anywhere this way.

  670. Maaak – it isn’t just distance from the boundary that is an issue, but also the area your house covers. I am not sure if they would take a deck into account. If it is a raised deck the council might require plans. They might consider shutters an enclosure; you’ll have to check with the council/local authority.

  671. Hi there! We could not obtain building plans so in order to sort out a property that was in a bad state
    we opted to do minor renovations – including putting up a playroom for my kids by converting a flat roof
    into a gable to blend in with the overall look of the house. This is much lower than the rest of the home.
    There is no window looking into my neighbour’s garden. The room was “made” above the maid’s
    room. My neighbour consented verbally in the presence of the builders to the top of my garage
    being converted into a garden. The renovation to the little roof was made nearly 2 years ago.

    We then opted to start from scratch and re-draw plans etc and get approval for the garage ( to
    which the neighbour now complained but agreed to initially) but we have thus far faced problems in obtaining the title deeds to the property. Everything is now on hold owing to the plans not being formally

    We have now received a letter of demand from his attorneys that he would like everything to be
    demolished. He keeps hens and roosters that keep my maid and guests awake throughout
    the night.

    Does he have the right to demand that everything be demolished – the garage, low and small roof-room,
    garden? Is it not the council’s authority to do such? Are we forced to comply with his demands within
    one week? Do we have any recourse?



  672. Lauren, prefab implies temporary … and so temporary can’t be permanent. BUT, it could be possible if an agrement certificate was produced. These are for buildings that are built using methods that are not covered by the NBR.
    Agrément certificate
    certificate that confirms fitness-for-purpose of a non-standardized product, material or component or the acceptability of the related non-standardized design and the conditions pertaining thereto (or both) issued by the Board of Agrément South Africa”
    This is covered in Part A of SANS 10400

  673. Bradley it could vary. In terms of the definition of a pergola, I think it is more the construction method that matters. e.g. If you are to build brick pillars they would probably need plans, but if you used gum poles they wouldn’t. Our page on minor building work gives the official sizes as defined in the regulations.

  674. Hendri this is not a National Building Regulations issue. Perhaps you could contact the SABS and ask them if there is a standard that covers this. Alternatively it may be covered by a local by-law

  675. If you are against it Deon – then don’t sign approval. Sounds like it would affect your long-term investment. Contact the municipality and see what is really happening. They will also be able to tell you what the due process is. Do not be bullied…

  676. No you are not forced to comply with his demands. As you say it is for the local authority to make demands. Apart from anything else, why do you need your neighbour’s consent? I would write a letter back to the attorney saying that you have no intention of demolishing anything and are in the process of having plans passed by council. Also put in writing that the hens and roosters are a public nuisance and if your neighbour continues to harass you, you will have no alternative but to take legal action against him.
    Lawyers hate it when people don’t get a lawyer to respond! But make sure you cover your back by getting plans into council asap.

  677. Have a look at the Aerolite website – there is a video on this page that shows how it is made and installed. Once you have seen this you should recognize the product. I presume that 135 mm means the thickness. I am not sure how thick a single blanket of Aerolite (“think pink”) is, but if you can’t find it on the website give them a call so that you know know how many layers the contractor should be laying.

  678. Anne it depends on the zoning requirements – and these are in the local authority bylaws. But it usually has to do with YOUR windows rather than your neighbour’s windows. i.e. There are some bylaws that state you cannot have windows in the facing wall if the building is within a certain distance from the boundary. The fact that your neighbour has windows facing your property is neither here nor there. Call your local authority and check.

  679. Stephen not that I know of. There are some courses that are advertised for XA though. But I really don’t know of any offhand, and wouldn’t recommend because I have no idea how good, bad or indifferent they might be. Maybe we should start running courses!

  680. Yes Jacques there are limits, but these depend on local bylaws and not the National Building Regulations. You will need to contact your local authority (or council) for this information. It varies.

  681. Trayton who has advised you to do this?

  682. A qualified and registered plumber should have responsible for the job. Find out who this person was. If the builder did not use a qualified and registered plumber then he has not complied with the law. You could also contact IOPSA, they should be able to give you some guidance.

  683. Thanks Penny. we not actually looking at doing sub divisions or sectional title, we just looking to extend the Granny Flat by either adding a room or going up. we were told by one builder that the max sq meters allowed for a granny flat is 80 sq meters and that we wouldn’t even be allowed to put a deck on it. Im just basically trying to found out what the regulations are around granny flats are etc…. I have googled and phoned and im not having any luck.

  684. Jessie you won’t find it by Googling. It depends on local bylaws – usually specified in their zoning regulations or town planning scheme. And even that will depend on certain things e.g. zoning category (you might be in a single residential zone, a general residential zone or even an agricultural, rural and limit us zone). The area that you may build on is also specified in these documents, as is the maximum area along a boundary that you may build – if given permission to do so. I don’t believe it is true to say that there is one standard max area that a granny flat – or second dwelling – is allowed to take.
    As an example, this is what the City of Cape Town’s Zoning Scheme Regulations say about a second dwelling (NB the word “granny flat” is not used in the document and decks are not discussed):
    Single Residential Zones – conventional housing
    “Any new structure or alteration to the property to accommodate an additional
    use right shall be compatible with the residential character of the area, particularly with regard to the streetscape, and shall be capable of reverting to use as part of the dwelling house, second dwelling or outbuilding concerned;”
    “Floor factor: The maximum floor factor is determined in accordance with the area of the land unit as shown in the following ‘Table of floor factor, floor space, height and building lines in Single Residential Zone 1’.
    “Floor space: The maximum floor space, if applicable, to all buildings on a land unit is determined in accordance with the following ‘Table of floor factor, floor space, height and building lines in Single Residential Zone 1’.”
    So the best is to contact your local authority – best go into their offices. Good luck.

  685. Barend Esterhuizen

    The Local By-law’s require that owners or persons in charge of premises or portions thereof may not allow the accumulation of dust in quantities sufficient to create a fire or other threatening danger and must store or dispose of the dust as prescribed in the applicable legislation dealing with the storage and disposal of that specific type of dust.

    Extraction unit should be provided that can handle all the saw dust generated in the factory and that can provide a clean and healthy atmosphere in and around the factory.

    Contact your local Fire department for guidance

  686. Puds – definitely illegal! You need to report them as a matter of urgency. You might though have to find another home!

  687. Donovan, Places of instruction are classified A3 in the National Building Regulations.
    Part T, Fire Protection states:
    4.34 Hose reels
    4.34.1 Hose reels for the purposes of fire fighting shall be installed in any building of two or more storeys in height or in any single-storey building of more than 250 m2 in floor area, at a rate of one hose reel for every 500 m2 or part thereof of floor area in any storey, provided that such hose reels shall not be required in any building classified as H4 or in any dwelling unit in an occupancy classified as H3 where each unit is provided with independent access to ground level.
    4.34.2 Any hose reel installed in such building shall comply with the requirements in SANS 543, shall be installed in accordance with SANS 10105-1 and SANS 10400-W, and shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements in SANS 1475-2.
    4.34.3 Any hose reel so installed shall be positioned to ensure that the end of the hose will reach any point in the area to be protected.
    4.34.4 Any hose reel installed in any building shall bear, in a prominent position on the reel disc facing the user, a certification mark from an accredited certification body.
    4.34.5 Where no water supply is available, two 9 kg or equivalent fire extinguishers that comply with the requirements of 4.37 shall be provided in place of each required hose reel.”
    You also need portable fire extinguishers:
    4.37 Portable fire extinguishers
    4.37.1 A building that contains an occupancy given in table 11 [which A3 is] shall, for the relevant occupancy and floor area, be provided with portable fire extinguishers in unobstructed positions approved by the local authority.
    4.37.2 A local authority may specify the type of portable fire extinguisher to be provided and may require that a number of fire extinguishers shall be installed in excess of the number indicated in table 11 if, in its opinion, any particular hazards or risks warrant such increase.
    4.37.3 Portable fire extinguishers installed in a building shall comply with the requirements in SANS 1910, and shall be installed, maintained and serviced by competent persons in accordance with SANS 1475-1 and SANS 10105-1.
    4.37.4 Such portable fire extinguishers shall bear a certification mark from an accredited certification body.”
    An A1 building requires one portable extinguisher for every 200 sq m, and the minimum charge required is 9 litres for water or foam, 5 kg for carbon dioxide, and 4.5 kg for dry chemical powder.

  688. Hi there
    I need some advise please. We have been residing in our house for the past 34 years. A quiet area, in a cul-de-sac. The property next to our property was vacant for a few years after the original house was demolished. Now, in this year, a big building project was started. We now realise that this is a double story building, in total 38 bachelor flats.
    Now our problem: we were never approached to give consent or even notified via a notice on the wall of the property, or in writing. Our privacy is completely invaded as 19 of the dwellings directly look down on our property.
    I did speak to the town planner who told me that the owner does have permission to build this building. How ? Being in a cul-de-sac the thought of extra traffic in this short road is frightening. I do not know if any environmental impact studies were done etc etc
    Please advise me what to do with regards to this huge problem that we are facing.