A Competent Person

Understanding the Concept of Competent Persons & Competency

a competent person
A qualified and registered “competent person” must prepare and submit all building plans to council.

When South Africa’s National Building Regulations were updated in 2008, several new definitions were added to the legislation, and some were rewritten. One of the most important changes was to the term competent person, because a “competent person” is now required to draw up plans and submit them to the local authority. In the past, an owner builder could do this without the mandatory assistance of an architect or designer, simply because the concept of competency, and more specifically the definition of “competent person” was vague in the extreme.

What the Law Used to Say About Competency

Previously the building regulations stated that: “‘competent person’ means a person who is qualified by virtue of his experience and training.” So if you knew how to draw plans, and followed the rules set out in Part A: Administration in the regs (as well as any additional requirements laid down by your local municipality), you could go the full DIY route.

In fact, when we first wrote The Complete Book of Owner-Building in South Africa, in 1992, having just owner built our own home (with the help of a qualified draughtsman), we got to know the head of planning at the Western Cape Regional Services Council, and had a few laughs about the standard of plans submitted by some people. On one occasion, he told us, somebody had submitted hand drawn plans on notepaper. I don’t know the ins and outs, or what changes were demanded by council, but the house was built without the owner having to employ any type of professional to help him with the shoddy plans.

At the time, an owner builder who claimed to have the required “experience” could often “walk” the plans through council to hurry the process up. Not any more.

What the Law Says Now

The new definition of a competent person means “a person who is qualified by virtue of his education, training, experience and contextual knowledge to make a determination regarding the performance of a build or part thereof in relation to a functional regulation or to undertake such duties as may be assigned to him in terms of these regulations.”

And that is just the beginning.

There is a completely new regulation in the 2008 legislation:

AZ.4 Complying with the requirements of the National Building Regulations

Apart from anything else, this regulation explains the concept of a “competent person” further, stating that he or she must be registered in “an appropriate category of registration” in terms of:

  • the Architectural Professions Act, 2000
  • the Engineering Profession Act, 2000
  • the Natural Scientific Professions Act, 2003,
  • any other relevant Act.
It also 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.

 A1 Application

In spite of the vagueness of the old legislation, the authorities have always considered it necessary for qualified people to design houses and draw up plans. Previously the law stated that a person performing such function was required to be registered as an architect OR to have “a specified qualification, certificate, status or other attribute or to have had experience or training of a specified nature or for a specified period”.

It is clear that this was a loophole, which is why A1 now states that the “designing, planning and the supervision of the erection of any building or structure” must be a qualified professional, namely someone who has a qualification in terms of the laws listed above, or the Professional and Technical Surveyors’ Act, 1984.

Responsibility

Historically South Africa has a record of appallingly shoddy workmanship in the construction industry, with fly-by-night operators building structures that simply didn’t stand the test of time. So it stands to reason that professionals should take control of the industry.

If an owner builder wants to take full control of a project, the very least they will have to do is appoint and retain the services of somebody who is registered in a professional category of registration in terms of one of the councils for the professions identified in the Council for the Built Environment Act, 2000. Even if an owner builder is able to draw his or own plans according to the requirements of the Building Regulations (but isn’t a “competent person” in terms of the Act), the professional they “employ” will need to submit the plans to the local authority and make a declaration that specifies the complexity of the project (low, medium or high), specifies site sensitivity in environmental or heritage terms (low, medium or high), and state in a precise manner how the functional regulations will be satisfied.

 

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90 comments

  1. Hi there,

    I want to build a double garage, that will form part of the border line between me and the neighbour. What is needed from me. Do I need to draw up plans for a double garage.

  2. Hi Johan,
    Yes you will need plans, and they must be drawn up by a “Competent Person”. As it says on this page that he or she must be registered in “an appropriate category of registration” e.g. the Architectural Profession, the Engineering Profession, the Natural Scientific Profession or any other relevant Building or Construction profession. You say that you want the garage to “form part of the border line” then the other thing you will be required to do by your local authority is to get “permission” in writing from your neighbor that he or she has no objection to the building on the boundary line. Contact your local municipality and they will let you know what is needed.

  3. Hi,

    We have got a small holding(10ha) just outside Pretoria. It is not in a residential area.
    Do we need a compotent person to do our plans and submit them to local authority?

  4. Hi Louis,
    Yes you do on all building and extensions exactly the same as any residential area in the country. There might be bye-laws in your area that your local council may have decided that makes certain differences to other council areas but the regulations apply to all properties in South Africa.

  5. What are the requirements for regestering with NHBRC?
    What do I need?

  6. Hi Victor,
    The forms are here to download on this page: http://ownerbuilding.co.za/nhbrc/ Or on the NHBRC official site here: http://www.nhbrc.org/ Their phone number is there and you can call them directly.

  7. Hi there, I have been trying to find out what the process is to apply for building permits on agricultural land. I am looking at purchasing some agricultural land, but it is a mountain and hence not suited to agriculture but I would still like to build on it. How do I find out what the building regulations are for this land in Montagu Western Cape?
    Thanks

  8. Jason, the National Building Regulations apply to all types of buildings, everywhere in the country – at the seaside, on mountain-sides, in cities and in rural areas. Have a look at our sister site HERE for more info about the regs. However, local authorities have their own by-laws that apply IN ADDITION to the NBR, so I suggest you contact the local authority in that area, viz Langeberg Local Municipality for more information. Their offices are based in Ashton, here’s a LINK that will give your their contact details. Building permits will be issued by their offices – but like all buildings, you will need to have plans drawn up by a competent person – as the article on this page states.

  9. Hi,

    Over the past 3 years, our neighbour has been constantly breaking down and rebuilding various sections and parts of his house which is right next door to our actual living areas i.e. bedrooms, living rooms etc.

    He will build or upgrade his bathroom and external windows and then less than a month later he will begin breaking the newly installed window frames, lintels and walling down again. This process among others has been repeated over and over again over the past 3 years or so. Every single day of the week apart from on the odd Sunday, contractors and their labourers are at work with tools ranging from jack hammers, drills, sanders, grinders, hammers from 07h00am until 18h00. We have asked him on countless occasions when he plans on completing this never ending construction and rebuilding of his premises and have only ever been told “it is none of your business”.

    I am sure that there are/must be regulations that restrict the constant construction, rebuilding, adding on to one premises specifically with regards to the constant battering of noisy tools and equipment that make living without a headache seem a far off reality.

    Please could you, if at all possible assist me to try and solve this never ending nightmare of endless noise.

    JP

  10. JP, the National Building Regulations Part F, Site Operations restrict “Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise”. The times they specify in terms of restrictions are:
    Before 6 am and after 6 pm any day of the week.
    Before 6 am or after 5 pm on a Saturday.
    On Sundays or public holidays.
    The link I have given you here is to our sister site, Building Regulations. There are quite a few comments we have had from people with similar problems – so read these as well.
    Also have a look at the second comment (Martin) on the page about boundary walls and fences on our Building Regulations website. Same problem!
    You can force your neighbour to restrict his building activities to these hours – e.g. make him stop at 5 on a Saturday and prevent him from working on a Sunday – by reporting him to the local authority and insisting they take the appropriate action. But it doesn’t seem that this will help much.
    The breaking down and rebuilding aspect is puzzling. What on earth could be his motivation? I’m not sure what to suggest. There may be something in your local authority by-laws in terms of public nuisance. The Reader’s Digest Family Guide to The Law in South Africa has a section on Nuisance that defines it as “something which hinders your right of enjoyment as an owner or occupier” of a property. It says that, “As an owner or occupier you are entitled to reasonable full enjoyment of your property for ordinary purposes and only unreasonable, unnatural or exceptional use will constitute nuisance. A balance must always be maintained between anyone’s right to do as he wishes on his own property, and his neighbour’s right not to be disturbed.
    “A nuisance must continue for some time, and a single incident is unlikely to constitute grounds for action.”
    They give several examples of incidents that would be regarded as “annoyance” rather than “nuisance”. Smoke from a braai now and then; a party; musical instruments being played. But say that “continuous stench from your neighbour’s drains” would constitute nuisance. They also say that “Noise may also constitute a nuisance”. If neighbors were to hold parties several times a week, they say that a court would probably take action.
    “A court will intervene only if the noise is more than a neighbour could reasonably be expected to put up with in the circumstances.”
    The book is quite old – third edition 1986 – but I doubt this has changed. But what it will mean is that you will have to consult a lawyer. Good luck.

  11. Hello…

    You stated under A1 Application – “A1 now states that the “designing, planning and the supervision of the erection of any building or structure” must be a qualified professional, namely someone who has a qualification in terms of the laws listed above…”
    Does this mean someone registered as a Professional Engineer under the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 can draw up building plans and submit to Council?

  12. Ash, If that person is considered “competent” to do so, then yes. But there are many branches of engineering, and I would hazard a guess that not all are competent to draw up house plans.
    The regulations state that a competent person “who is qualified by virtue of his education, training, experience and contextual knowledge to make a determination regarding the performance of a building or part thereof in relation to a functional regulation or to undertake such duties as may be assigned to him in terms of the National Building Regulations” must draw up the plans and follow through on the project. (That’s their generic definition.)
    This is what the regulations (A1 Application (1)) say:
    “The designing, planning and the supervision of the erection of any building or structure or the performance of any function in connection therewith in terms of these Regulations is subject to the provisions of any law in terms of which the person undertaking such work or performing such function is required to be registered in terms of the Architectural Profession Act, 2000 (Act No. 44 of 2000), Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act No. 46 of 2000), Natural Scientific Professions Act, 2003 (Act No. 27 of 2003), or Professional and Technical Surveyors’’ Act, 1984 (Act No. 40 of 1984), or any other relevant Act.”
    … because these are the qualification required to make a person a “competent person”. But in reality there may be a number of professional people involved with the build.
    And when the plans are submitted, the competent person appointed by the owner must make “a declaration by a person registered in a professional category of registration in terms of one of the councils for the professions identified in the Council for the Built Environment Act, 2000 (Act No. 43 of 2000) in the relevant portion of Form 1 contained in SANS 10400-A as to how the applicable functional regulations shall be satisfied.”
    Sometimes more than one competent person may be involved – and there may be drawings from several professionals, e.g. an architect or draughtsman and an engineer. I think in reality engineers usually do quite specialized drawings.

  13. Prince Dibakoane

    what does the regualation say when one need to build a house on 50/1 flood line area. how can one go about legally since the municipality refuse to approve plans, saying they need to take pre-cuation for the area with the engineers. does the regulation allow an individual to take pre-caution with his/her own engineer for thier own property so that the municipality can approve the plan?

  14. If the municipality will not approve plans, then you can’t build. End of story. Apart from which it seems pretty stupid to build with the flood line. So the short answer to how you can build legally is – You can’t.

  15. Hi I’m planing to build a house for my family with my own funds my plan was drawn by a profesional. Architect and aproved by council how do I aply tor exemption what documents is needed

  16. Hi Anthony,
    We have the documents for download on this page here ownerbuilding.co.za/nhbrc/. But what I suggest is that you contact the NHBRC directly and tell them how you are building and then ask for an exemption as an “owner builder”. They have a restriction that you can not sell the house for 5 years but as you do not want to sell that will be no problem. The NHBRC website with all contact details is here nhbrc.org/

  17. Hello, I do the planing for a house. I´m not a competent person as required. The owner for whom I do the planing is not a competent person too. So, of course we need a “competent person”.

    We aim to delegate the erection to a building contractor who is registered at the NHBRC. Is such a building contractor a “competent person”?

    My question: Who is allowed by law to submit plans to the local authority? Does a request to the NHBRC for an exemption as an “owner builder” make sense?
    Is a registered building contractor according to the NHBRC a “competent person” and allowed to submit plans to the local authority for approval?

    In this case all minor building processes witch do not need an approval by law are aimed to be done without a regular building contractor.

  18. If you read the references I gave you when you sent through a query on our sister web site, Tobi, you will see exactly what a competent person is. That person needs to be qualified and registered with a recognized organisation in SA – draughtsperson, architectural designer, architect – possibly an engineer. The building contractor is unlikely to be a competent person as defined by the law, but could be if, for example, an engineer is operating as a contractor.
    Only the competent person may submit plans to the local authority.
    The owner would only apply for an exemption if he was going to build himself – ie not use a registered builder (which you say the owner is going to do). In any event, even when owner builders get an exemption, they still need to comply with the legislation and have a competent person do the plans, submit them and ensure that the build complies with the NBR.
    Make sure you understand the minor building side of the regulations. All this implies is that plans won’t be required. The NBR must still be complied with and the local authority needs to be informed of any minor building work to be done.

  19. Hi

    I’m a register Professional Mechanical Engineer with ECSA. As part of my work experience is to design structural supports and complex steel structures etc.

    I’ve now hired a building draftman for my new family home. Is it acceptable if I were to appoint myself as a competent person for my home building plans if I can sufficiently prove that the structural intergrity of my building meets the requirements of the building regulations?

    Your assistance will be appreciated

  20. Hi Sibusiso,
    The NHBRC as well as the Local Council Planning department will be able to say if you can be approved as a “competent person” for your home. Have a look on this page: http://www.ownerbuilding.co.za/nhbrc-2/ and scroll down to two documents: “Appointment of a Competent Person” & “Competent Persons Questionnaire” these will give you some idea what the NHBRC requires. If you are building your own home to live in for at least the next five (5) years you can register with the NHBRC as an owner builder. This might be a better option for you. Speak to them and ask what they suggest.

  21. Hi,
    I am a professional architect. I am designing a single storey house and want to know if a structural engineer is required .
    I will get the trusses signed off by the supppliers’ engineer, but is it possible for me t osign off the rest under the new regulations?

  22. Hi Melissa Architect,
    With a single storey standard house on flat ground, with a roof truss engineers report, you can sign off all the other elements. But be aware that in South Africa in areas where there are Dolomitic soil types you will need an engineers report to accompany your submissions. And as long as there are not large openings that need purpose built lintels and or retaining walls then you should be fine, but local authorities vary in their approach, I suggest giving them a call first.

  23. Hi.I am a student n I have N5 qualification in civil engineering.my question is that am I qualified 2 b a competent person to design house plans?

  24. Hi Janek

    Thank you for a site that is filled with useful information.

    I am about to start renovating my home by building a timber frame 1st floor. Where would I be able to find an engineer that is competent in designing for timber frame construction?

  25. Hi Ian, The manufacturers usually will design the trusses to your spec so long as you order your trusses through them. There are quite a few but you can try MiTek or Pryde Trusses. Your other option is to contact the Architects Institute: saia.org.za

  26. Hi Janek

    Thank you for your response.

    I am less worried about the truss design and am more worried about the design of the floor.
    I am building a first floor in timber frame on top of an existing brick building. My designer has recommended me to a civil structural engineer to do the structural design, which I have now received.

    My concern is that I do not believe that my engineer is competent in timber frame design. The design that he has proposed, I believe, is way over designed (and I used to be a registered structural engineer) and if I follow his design, it will add an additional 20% to my renovation project. This will probably cause me to cancel the renovations at considerable cost to myself as I have paid out a considerable deposit to the builder.

    What course of action do I have as he has already signed the building plans that have been submitted?
    I am in the process of getting additional opinions on the design, but am I able to replace this engineer?

  27. Hi Ian, It appears that you are far more competent to make an assessment of the structural design than we are. Yes you can change any of the professionals you just have to inform the council in writing. If you do get a second opinion and go with a re-worked design all you will have to do is submit a rider plan after it is built to show an “as built” deviation. Get the opinion of your designer whether you do it before or after. There is an ombudsman for the Civil Engineering profession if it gets to that stage: The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Contact Numbers: Tel (011) 805-5947/48/53 Website: http://www.civils.org.za

  28. Hi Nicholas, It is up to the local council planning department and the NHBRC to decide. The other body you can ask is the The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) they will know. Contact them here: Tel (011) 805-5947/48/53 or go to their website: http://www.civils.org.za

  29. Thank you Janek.

  30. Hello there,
    Please assist me with the following:
    (1) On what date did the new legislative definition of “competent person” become law?
    (2) Has the new definition been promulgated by Government Notice and if so, how or where can I find it?
    (3) Is there a link that will take me to AZ.4 “Complying with the regulations” as cited in the otherwise very helpful and informative article.
    Thanking you in anticipation,

  31. Somebody ask me whether contractors should have competent person when involved with construction of RDP houses and i replied yes. Since the housing construction industry is regulated by NHBRC then is mandatory for contractors to involve the services competent person during the RDP construction. The construction of RDP houses is not immune to Built Enviroment legislations in the country.

  32. Hi Moshweu, You are absolutely right, ALL new house building must be regulated by the NHBRC. It is the LAW and any construction company or contractor that tries to evade the law is commiting an offence. The NHBRC has a Fraud Hotline: 0800 203 698. Competent persons have to be involved in all aspects of the construction process from soil testing to plans and submissions to construction to final signing off and getting the occupancy certificate.

  33. Stan, the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act of 1977 was most recently amended in May 2008 which was when the new definition of competent persons was legislated. If you go to our sister site buildingregulations.co.za you can download the relevant documents. This link will take you to the free downloads page; the amendment is number two in this list. Compliance with Regulation AZA is covered in Part A of SANS 10400.

  34. hi

    I am looking at buyhing a house in an security estate where the outside shell and roof is complete.
    1. All plastering except 2 or 3 exterior walls has been completed.
    2. All coper piping and electrical piping has been installed for plumbing and electricity (except not connected or wired yet)
    3. Roof is on.
    Basically only the finishes remain and the finalising of the plumbing and electrical. Floor needs to be glazed …

    If i go ahead and buy it as is from the seller do i need to employ a “competent person” to go ahead and complete the finishes ?
    Would this also be required from the bank?

    Thanks

  35. Hi Viking, Yes you need to have a registered electrician and a registered plumber to finish the installation and sign the work off for the council. Without this you will not get an occupation certificate from the council and the bank will not grant a loan without this being done. I am assuming that the previous owner had a “competent person” draw up the plans and that these were submitted for approval BEFORE building was started. Check this as well as this is important.

  36. I built my own home (a 70m2 A frame with wood floor) 8 years ago in a rural area. A neighbour has now contacted the municipality and asked them to make me supply building plans. I am obviously a competent person as i have built the house myself.

    What are my legal requirements? Do i have to submit plans? and if so, can i just get a draughtsperson to draw plans or do i need a structural engineer to check my structure out?

    Thanks

  37. As I told you when I answered this same question on our sister website:
    Sean please read the article about competent persons on this site. A competent person must be qualified. You are legally obliged to submit plans drawn up by a competent person – and as you will see from the link, that person can be a draughtsperson. In some instances a structural engineer may be required, depending on the building. There are a number of forms set out in Part A of SANS 10400, General principles and requirements that give additional guidance. You can access these at an SABS library, buy Part A from the SABS online store, or ask your local authority if they can supply you with the necessary forms and guidance.

  38. Hi there,

    I’m currently registered as a draughtsman with SACAP only. been drawing up plans and when I get requests from council to fill in A19 forms, I shy away and let the client know that he needs to go to a manufacturer or similar.
    Tell me, as i’m rather new to this, is there a way for me to complete the form myself? With this said, how and where do I become a competent person?

    Thanks
    James

  39. Hi Penny,

    I’m not as clued up on this “competent person” thing as i should be. I’m registered with SACAP for almost a year, but when it comes to signing off on the A19 form I’m not sure what needs to happen. Also, do you know where I can apply to do a course in XA regs?

    Thanks

  40. Warren unfortunately no, but I do know that there are courses available. There is also some additional information about XA on our sister website – building regulations – that might be useful to you. And there is also a section that discusses XA.

  41. James if you are registered with SACAP then you are a competent person. I’m sure that you can compete the form yourself, or with the assistance of another professional who has additional – or more specific training – depending on what has to be filled in. Maybe someone as SACAP could help you. NB Regarding competent persons, sometimes they DO need the assistance of another professional, even though they take responsibility for the build – e.g. you might on occasion need to work with an engineer.

  42. Nicole Miller

    Hi

    I would like to build a shipping container home in in SA. The area we are building in does not have any building restrictions.

    Apart from getting an architect to design the house, would I still need prior permission before submission of the plans, from the municipality to erect the structure?

    Kind regards
    Nicole

  43. Good day, I am in the process of buying a property, the property have been build all the certificates from plumber, electrical, and engineer are in place except that the property was not enrolled with the NHBRC prior to the start of the construction. My question is, what is the process to be followed in order for the house to be enrolled as this is one of the requirements by the bank that has offered me a loan.

  44. Then you must get hold of the NHBRC and register it right away. There will be a late registration penalty that will have to be paid. Why did your builder/contractor not tell you that the house must be registered with the NHBRC? He should have told you this as all registered contractors know that the house must be registered with the NHBRC. Tell the contractor that he must pay the late registration penalties because he did not inform you correctly. Visit the site here: nhbrc.org.za

  45. Yes you will need plans approved before you start building. Most councils will scrutinize sketch plans first before you go to the expense of full plans so you know what will and will not be allowed.

  46. Can you please help me.

    It’s possible for someone to submit the plan using someone registration number of other person.

    As for me I believed that is a fraud.

    What can be the charge for it.

    What must I do to prevent it to happen.

    Please provide me feedbeck on the matter.

  47. You must report this immediately to your inspectors at your local council planning department. You are correct that this does sound like fraud. The council will know what fines to impose.

  48. Hi

    I have always had a passion for house building, unfortunately i am stuck in a job that has nothing to do with construction. I cannot study full time, is there any diploma or degree courses that i can study that do not require me to have “in service” or practical work experience while i study. Something that would enable to to build a house from beginning to end and also be able to be registered as a contractor. There is just too many options out there, not sure which is appropriate for me, any help would be appreciated. (I also enjoyed your book)

    P.S – I would also buy a book that detailed a “modern” house build from beginning to end, just a thought for any future books you might want to publish. (the book could also come with a generic building plan 🙂 )

    Kind Regards

  49. Have you looked at our book Owner Building in South Africa – it takes the project through from start to finish – from finding the land and getting finance to eventual decorating and landscaping. Is this the book that you are referring to?
    There are long-distance courses that deal with elements of building, but you won’t get a diploma or degree as such that will enable you to be registered as a contractor – and certainly not while you are working in another field.

  50. Hi,

    I am also draftsman and as part of the curriculum we did Architectural design as well and did go through the regulatory and “engineering” principles part of building design however mostly residential development up to 500m2.

    I now practice in another discipline therefor I am not registered at SACAP. Can I draw new developments and modifications myself and have it checked and signed off by a “competent person”? This will save me time and money as I can do changes rapidly by myself.

    Kind regards,

  51. Marci you are only considered to be a competent person if registered. But if you have the training, you certainly can do the work and get a “competent person” to sign it off for you – provided that person is happy to take responsibility for your work. Electricians and plumbers do similar.

  52. Brian Holdsworth

    Busy working on a renewable energy project in the Northern Cape
    The main contractor is busy building a main control room with offices,the plant is been built on agricultural land and I am been told that the building does not need NHBRC approval as it is on agricultural land

    Please clarify as the building is in progress and there is no Municipal Approval as yet either

  53. NHBRC is only involved with homes/houses. But you absolutely MUST have municipal approval. If you are already building, they could force you to demolish what has been built so far.

  54. Good Day,

    Can you please advise me on what to do?

    My building plans for addition where drawn up 10 years ago by a professional Architect (who since moved to another country)

    We never submitted the plans for approval due to financial reasons but are currently busy preparing everything for submission.

    I’m going use sub-contractors and manage the project myself.Do I need get another Architect to redraw the plans Or can any competent person sign the papers for submission?

    Regards

  55. As I have a national vocational certificate L4 in civil and building construction, am I regarded as a competent person?

  56. You are on the right page and the explanation here is clear. Please read it thoroughly. Apart from anything else, if you are not registered then you are not regarded as a competent person.

  57. You will definitely need new plans because the Building Regulations have changed radically in the past decade. If you want to manage the project yourself you will have to apply to the NHBRC for an owner builder’s exemption.
    Any “competent person” can alter the old plans or redraw them … but I am not sure whether you understand the concept of competent person! That would be a registered architect, draughtsperson, engineer … not just anyone who is competent.

  58. Hi Penny.
    Thank you for the web site.
    Would an ECSA registered structural engineer with 10years experience qualify as a competent person to draw up house building plans (single and double story) for municipal approval? Thank you very much.

  59. Yes Jurgens.The heading AZ.4 Complying with the requirements of the National Building Regulations above lists the legislation that governs registration. In your case it is the the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (click link to download the Act) that specifies the formation of ECSA and details its responsibilities. The Architectural Professions Act, 2000, on the other hand, governs architects, draughtsmen, designers etc. and the responsible body governing them is SACAP.

  60. Im design house plants and im not registered wat do i have to do?

  61. thabisa dlamini

    hi

    i am registered as candidate with ECSA and have a Btech in civil engineering. Do i qualify as a competent person and can i submit building plans to the local authorities?

  62. thabisa dlamini

    thank you guys for having this page . A GREAT PLATFORM OF INFORMATION

  63. Hi Thabisa, As it says in this article you must be registered with one of the bodies that are “an appropriate category of registration”. As a candidate with the ECSA this might qualify you to do plan submissions but you should contact them as they will know this here: https://www.ecsa.co.za/about/SitePages/Contact%20Info.aspx

  64. If you are qualified you can draw plans. If you aren’t you can’t. If you are referring to NHBRC registration, please contact them.

  65. Hi,

    I would like to know if i have drawn up plans work in a professional architects company but not registered yet can i submit the drawings to council ? The drawings i am submitting would also be catergorised under minor works as it is a boundary wall.

    Please advise.
    Ratio

  66. Good day

    I have an Architectural Draughting Certificate and a Multi-discipline certificate. And I have 2 years of training in Architectural Design company, then I continued designing plans for people under a registered professional Architect for 4 years now. At the same time working as an Electrical Draughtsperson for 3 years.

    Where can I register as an Architectural Draughtsperson, to start submitting plans on my own and sign my own drawings?

    My experience has trained me to be able to do everything on my own except that I’m not registered yet.

  67. Nelis van der Linde

    Hi,

    Question: I’m a Certified AutoCad draftsmen (From 2013), but the municipality told me that i must be registered at SACAP, do i need to be a architect to draw house plans? Or is their a other way? Many people ask me if i can draw house plans for them but told them i’m not registered.

    Thank you.

  68. When preparing a Fire Protection Plan, a competent individual is required. Would this strictly mean ONLY CIVIL ENGINEERS or could an architect with experience also tick that box?

  69. Only registered draughtsmen can draw plans

  70. The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is the only place

  71. When a building is constructed, a competent person is approved by the council. This person must be registered with either the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)/ South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNSP) / South African Council for the Architectural Professions (SACAP). If that person is unable to cover all bases, “the owner of such building shall appoint and retain another approved competent person to take over and fulfil such duties and responsibilities both in respect of the work already designed or erected or installed and in respect of the balance of such work still to be undertaken to complete the project.” e.g. An architect might be able to do everything except the fire protection plan …
    So the person who prepares the plan must a) be registered and b) have sufficient experience to do the job. He/she will need to be approved by the local authority.
    NB: Fire protection plans are not required for houses: “Where so required by the local authority, any application in respect of the erection of any building not being a dwelling house, shall be accompanied by a fire protection plan which shall clearly show any fire protection measures provided in terms of these Regulations.”

  72. Only if a registered “competent person” signs the plans.

  73. Hi, Draugtsmen can register with SACAP. There are several categories of registration ranging from Professional architect, technologist, and draughtsman. The level of your registration determines the complexity of the projects you can submit.

  74. Correct. For instance some projects require an engineer specifically.

  75. Ryno Robinson

    Hello Penny, further to the discussion I want to confirm if you are registered with ECSA as a professional engineer (Mech) and also have 8 years of experience in firefighting designs (Predominantly in the Oil & Gas) and attend a SANS 10400 course presented by FPASA will you be seen as a competent person who can sign off fire protection plans.

    Looking forward to your reply

    Kind Regards

  76. SANS 10400 defines a competent person (fire engineering) as:
    a) is registered in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act No. 46 of 2000), as either a Professional Engineer or a Professional Engineering Technologist, and
    b) is generally recognized as having the necessary experience and training to undertake rational assessments or rational designs in the field of fire engineering

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