Building Regulations (NBR) Introduction

  • Inspections when building
    1. During the building process there are a few inspections that most municipalities require. This will be of the building and the standard of work done, these are briefly explained in the following slides.

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. Hi
    I would like to know what you must do if the developer does not want to do the snag list. i have filled a formal complain with NHBRC. They gave the developer 21 days to respond which he did not.

  2. Hi there,

    I would like to find out if there are any companies that provide training on the Building Regulations and Standards.

    • Contact the SABS and ask.

    • Hi Candice, FPASA has a course titled SANS 10400: Plan Appraisal. This course breaks down Parts A, T and W. We also offer an Advanced Fire Prevention course which breaks down further SANS codes which are applicable to fire/fire safety.

  3. Hi there,

    Would a company constructing a new loft in a house (ie. a renovation, not building a house from scratch) be required to register with the NHBRC? I have searched for them on their website and nothing comes up.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Doreen, The NHBRC is only involved with NEW house building and not with any renovations or additions. Note that all renovations and additions must have approved plans from your local council before work begins.

  4. We are thinking about building a nutec house in our backyard, for my in laws to live in. It will be in the region of 60m2. We stay in the Sinoville,Pretoria area.Will we require local authority permission and plans. The nutec house suppliers we have approached have all told us this is not needed. Is this definately the case?

    • Hi Vanessa, No ways! Of course yo will need plans and approval BEFORE building starts. Why don’t you ask the Nutec guys to supply you with a letter from council that gives your


      building on your erf an exemption from submitting plans. Do not get conned it might cost you dearly in future.

  5. Just need to now what is the requirement if we wanted to build a log cabin at the coast. And do the bank allowe loan for this.

  6. Hi
    Who can I contact regarding a building that was build without any building plans

  7. Hi , Do I need permission to built a carport (closed with wood panels on the sides)?


  9. Neil Rivalland

    I want to buy a vacant stand and build a house on it. How much time am I given to complete building the house on the stand?

    Thank you.

  10. Hi. Who to complain to about a new structure 1m gap on both sides. Building a window 2m above our dining area. Window 2m x 2m.

  11. Hi. Do you require permission and planning to build a kids jungle gym..


  12. Hi, who do we complain too about houses coming up in our area without them seeking permission from any of the neighbours about building the house?

    • As long as people have plans approved by council, and they are not asking for a deviation (e.g. to build closer to the boundary or against a boundary, or to go higher than allowed) then they don’t need neighbour’s consent.

  13. Good morning

    I am Mkhuseli looking for a training provider who will provide training on Building regulations standards and property management training for our employees .

    I want to do specification for training

    Your response will be much appreciated.

    Thank you

    Kind regards
    Mkhuseli Ntotho

  14. Hi

    Please advise if we want to do a deck input backyard extending from the back of the house . The height of the deck is 600cm. Do we need plans and council approval?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *