Alterations & Additions

What the National Building Regulations say about Alterations and Additions to Existing Buildings

alterations and additions
If you build onto an existing home you will need to submit plans and comply with the “new” building regulations, including Part XA which deals with energy usage.

In general, the National Building Regulations are not retroactive in their application. This means that if you are adding to or altering a building, you won’t have to ensure that the entire building complies with new regulations that have been imposed since the building was originally erected.

This will be of particular interest to people who are concerned about the implications of the new energy efficiency legislations and regulations

But if you need plans for any additions or alterations, then you will need to ensure that the new section of the building complies.

Part A of SANS 10400, General Principles and Requirements, deals with alterations and additions.

This part of the National Building Regulations states that where an application is made to make an alteration or addition to any building that was approved before this version of the Building Regulations and Standards Act (i.e. prior to 2008):

  • The  alteration must comply with the requirements of the Act, but “consequent changes to any other part of the building which would be necessary in order to make such other part comply with the requirements of the Act shall not be required unless in the opinion of the local authority such consequent changes are necessary to ensure the health or safety of persons using the building in the altered form”
  • The addition must comply with the requirements of the Act, “but no changes to the original building shall be required unless the addition :
    1. will affect the structural strength or stability of the original building;
    2. will render any existing escape route from the original building less effective; or
    3. will affect the health of persons using the original building.

Problems May Occur When Adding to Older Buildings

In addition to the above, the law-makers are aware that problems might arise when alterations or additions are carried out on buildings that were erected in compliance with earlier building by-laws.

In the case of such an addition the local authority (which is of course the body that will approve any plans that might be required for such an addition or alteration) might decide to treat the new portion as an entirely separate part. If this happens, then the alterations will have to be designed to comply with the National Building Regulations “without having any effect on the original portion of the building”.

This is not likely to happen often with alterations, though the local authority will decide “to what extent that part of the building which is not to be altered should comply with the National Building Regulations”. Generally they will be more stringent when it comes to the application of fire regulations (Part T, Fire protection), and particularly when it comes to escape route requirements. Since this doesn’t affect “dwelling houses”, it is unlikely to have any effect on residential buildings.

The regulations state: “It is obvious that a pragmatic and essentially practical approach is necessary.”

Their primary concern is the health and safety of those people using the building. But they advise local authorities that any decisions “should be within the context of what might be practical and economically sound in an old building. If an owner or entrepreneur cannot alter a building to suit his purpose at a cost which will enable him to have a reasonable economic return, he will probably not alter the building at all. This could lead to the perpetuation of a situation which might be dangerous but one which is in compliance with old by-laws and is thus perfectly legal. Such a situation could often be considerably improved by making certain changes that are practical and economically sound even though they would not provide the same standard as would be expected in a new building.

“Both the owner and the local authority will have to consider what they are trying to achieve with the Regulations and the answer should be tempered by the knowledge of what is reasonable and practical to require of an existing building.”



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Penny Swift is a highly regarded journalist and author of books relating to homes and construction.

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  1. Please confirm what is the regulation for the installation of a pool with retaining wall less 1 mtrs.

  2. Hi

    I have a query. I bought a sectional title townhouse about 8 years ago with a lapa and braai area. What are the regulations with regard to municipality requirements and such regarding this type of structure?

    Thanks and regards

  3. Tania, Municipal requirements are detailed in the by-laws – not the building regulations. You will have to call the local authority planning department and ask them.
    In terms of the National Building Regulations, a lapa and braai area will often be regarded as minor building work.

  4. Prem there are two national standards that pertain to swimming pools:
    1. SANS 10209, The design and construction of private swimming pools
    2. SANS 10134, The safeness of private swimming pools
    The first one is probably the one you need to refer to. Unfortunately I don’t have immediate access to it.

  5. Dear Penny, Thank you for a very speed response,
    As an oridinary person i will not have access to the SANS regulations, I thank you for the references,

    However considering that i as an ordinary person, have built a pool , and have been told by the fibrepoolsa, the contractor that i did not need plans, i subsequently went ahead with the installation of a fibre glass pool, which is retain on two side, where the intersecting point meet, is the highest point which less than one mtrs. Retained with retaining block, approx 6 block high.
    I have subsequently lost my job and the net effect, i have to sell my house.
    Fortunatley i have a strike it luck buyer, and the sales agreement stipulate that i must confirm that all alteration and build work must be according to an approved plan or that there must be an intent to have it approved.

    Right now i cannot afford to lose the sale , nor do i have the fund to resurrect this problem and execute the intent if so be it.

    What are your thoughts on this issue, can you provide some advice.

  6. Prem, Everybody has access to the South African National Standards. Perhaps you are referring to the fact that there is a fee for them? However you can access them – and read them – no charge at any SABS library. So it really depends where you live.
    The quickest way to resolve this matter is to contact your local authority planning department (i.e. the municipality, City or local council) and ask them to confirm that you were not required to submit plans for the pool. If they say they need plans, you will have to get a competent person to draw these quickly. A draughtsman will charge the lowest fee, but he/she will need to know the specs of the pool. If it is a factory-moulded fiberglass pool, get the specs from the manufacturer or contractor.

  7. Fiona Storevik

    We have a small cluster homeon 450m2 of land.

    Would like to build a pool in the small backyard but we have a 2m
    sewerage servitude that impairs things somewhat.

    We have heard that if we get the pipe enclosed in concrete with an
    engineer’s supervision we could utilise the space to pave on or build
    on. Is this correct?

    Thank you.

  8. Hi Fiona,
    Encasing a servitude pipe in concrete is a solution that is often used when construction of some sort needs to be done over the pipe.
    If you use an engineer to supervise and specify materials then you should have no problem.
    You also need to check if the 2m servitude is registered on the site plans with Council.

  9. Hi there, I would like more info. with regards to building a second story for a house I am interested in buying(first time) . I am a complete novice when it comes to building and the house in question is currently at 75m2 and it does have approved plans for the extension. Some question with regards to this project:
    1. Would I be able to get finance for the house?
    2. What would I be looking at per-m2?
    3. Would I be able to put prefab concrete floor in?
    4. What should I look out for?
    5. Is there any person/contractor that might give me a quote before I purchase the particular property?

    Regards Jean

  10. Hi Jean,
    Here is a copy of the reply that I put up on Facebook Owner Building to the same query, just in case you missed it:
    “Hi Jean, There are a few technical factors that will determine if you can put a second story on the existing house. The main one is if the foundations are strong enough to support a second story. Even if you have approved plans. The best place to get your answers is to get suspended flooring expert in to give you advice. This company has a good reputation: They will give you prices as well. As for finance, well that depends on the bank or a home loan company, give one a call and ask. The estate agents usually have answers to all your questions.”

  11. Dear Penny
    Our neighbours at the back of us have started to construct. Initially we thought it was going to be a garage with a granny flat on top, but we think he has now put up a small cluster complex, as there is more than one dwelling of this nature on the property. They are very close to the boundary wall and they have gone double storey, but have not come to ask our permission in terms of relaxation of the building lines, or to go up double storey.

    Now I remember in the past one required permission from your immediate neighbours if you were going to build beyond the building line and/or if you were going up double storey, but I cannot find any building by-laws, acts or regulations that support this. Further to this there is the re-zoning issue from Res 1 to Res 2, or other zoning.

    Do you know if the owner should have obtained my permission to relax the building line, build double storey and re-zone the property. I want to have my facts straight first, before I approach the owner. If he should have obtained my permission, but has not, what steps can I take. I would appreciate your input.
    kind regards

  12. Cathy where do you live? The only rezoning that I am aware of that allows building close or on a boundary without neighbors consent is in Cape Town. The Sh hasn’t hit the fan yet, but I think it will soon. If you are in CT I have the zoning regs; if not I will see what I can find.

  13. Hi Penny, thanks so much for your reply. We are in Randburg, JHB. Do the neighbours have to give consent if the owner is going double storey? Regards Cathy

  14. Cathy I have emailed you a City of Jhb Town Planning document that may be helpful.
    Basically both boundary and height restrictions are governed by local bylaws.
    As far as I know in Jozi you do need neighbors consent if the building is less than the minimum distance from the boundary – but this distance varies. And as far as height is concerned I am pretty sure that you do NOT need neighbour’s consent to build double storey.
    Your best bet is to contact the City’s town planning department and ask them what the bylaws state.

  15. Hi
    We’re currently considering building a “granny-flat” but am not sure about the regulations for this. We have about 600 square meters available to do this and are thinking to build 1 x 3 bedroom and 1 x 2 bedroom flats.
    Can you please, if possible, let me know what we’re allowed to build and what not.

    Thank you

  16. I have just done an update and the more than has changed to less than – Thanks

  17. Charlene, You need to have plans drawn up by a competent person (see this link) who should know what is permitted in your area. It depends largely on the zoning by-laws – you can check these with you local authority (council or municipality).

  18. Hi,
    I have read through the regulations, but need clarification on whether an application is required when changing existing steel framed windows into aluminium framed windows (not altering the openings). Specifically- do we need to comply with Part XA?

  19. No Melissa, this is not a structural alteration, and you don’t have to comply with XA. Rule of thumb – only if alterations needs plans. Note that minor building work relating to doors and windows, that is specified in the NBR:
    the conversion of a door into a window, or a window into a door, without increasing the width of the opening,
    the making of an opening in a wall that doesn’t affect the structural safety of the building concerned,

    If you are simply replacing same size windows, I don’t think you even need to inform the council. Looks like you work for an architectural firm; to be sure, why not give the relevant local authority a call?

  20. Good day, Do I need to have building plan for the installation of louvre awning at my home. It would be in my backyard, against 2 sides of external part of house. Awning Size roughly 6 x 4 metres. Thank you

  21. Janneman Kaljee


    Our complex is looking to allow owners to erect carports at their
    respective units. We cant seem to find out if we need approval from
    the necessary authorities or not. We are looking at a cantilever
    structure that will be free standing from the units i.e. at no point
    will the carport be attached to the units garage or owners house

    Could you please advise if we need approval from the necessary
    authorities. Secondly could you advise who will be the correct people
    who we need to contact. The complex is situated in Wilgeheuwel,

    Best Regards
    Janneman Kaljee

  22. Emily this would fall under minor building work (“open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,”) even if it was to cover a patio. You just have to notify the council that you are erecting it.

  23. Hi
    Do I need to appoint a health and saftey officer for residential alterations ? If so what is their function ? thanks

  24. Hi Janneman,
    Carports as you explained fall under “minor building work” and includes: “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size”. You can read more here minor-building-works But you are advised to let the council know in writing of your intentions.

  25. Hi Ava (aka. Amelia),
    For residential alterations, additions and extensions you certainly do not need a health and safety officer. If the extent of the alterations goes beyond the definition of “minor building work” (See here: minor-building-work and here: minor-building-works) then you will need the assistance of a “competent person”. You can read up more about this on our other site here: a-competent-person

  26. Hi

    I am getting an extension to an existing building done. I have approval to build on the boundary wall from my neighbors and the approved plan shows the extension will be along the boundary.

    There is an already existing precast fence along my boundary so when digging the trench we dug it next to this existing wall and there will now be a 50cm space between precast fence and extension wall.

    Will this be a problem with the building inspector?

    Thanks in advance.

  27. Hi
    I intend to install a roof with downpipe and gutter over my kitchen entrance door. The dimensions will be 1.7m by 3.8m. This will be open ended.
    How close can this be erected to my boundary wall. Will I need a building plan?

  28. Hi,
    I would like to extend my house on the one side, there is only two electrical points in that wall, no windows or doors, i would only like to extend it by approx. 1.5m.
    What approvals would I need or what regulations would I have to comply with?

    Kind Regards

  29. I am starting the building and project management company and will
    like to know what is required, more on building construction company.
    Your advise is highly appreciated.

    kind regards

  30. Hi
    I have an old balistrade that need fixing and upgrading.

    do i need a plan for this?


  31. No Bernadette you don’t need a plan.

  32. Molpone to start a company of this type you will need to register as a business with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). You will also need to register with the NHBRC. They will tell you what their requirements are.

  33. Hi Pooven,
    So long as you are within the approved boundary line there will not be a problem. The only problem will be keeping the space clean, you should also create a few weep holes (drain holes) so that the rainwater does not dam up between the walls and undermine the foundations.

  34. Hi,

    I want to build a wood terrace on my house. It will be supported from beams on ground level and the deck will be level with first floor. What is needed with regards to plans and permissions?

    Thank you

  35. My neighbour has erect a high zozo hut which I can clearly see from my garden. It looks really bad from my pool side area. Can I force him to lower it a little bit? Do I have any rights? It looks terrible from my yard and its right against the wall

  36. Hi Lindsay,
    This will fall under “minor building works” you can read more about this on our other site here: And for the building line you can read more here:

  37. Hi Nazeem,
    Each Municipal area in South Africa has it’s own local by-laws for extensions and additions. All structural additions or alterations will need plans to be submitted and these have to be drawn up by a “competent person”. To move the electrics you will have to get a qualified and registered electrician to do this as he will have to supply you with a COC for council. As for the distance you want to extend have a look at our page for boundary lines here: boundary-lines-walls-fences

  38. Hi Espen,
    From what you say it will be a raised deck above the ground floor and level with the first floor a few meters above the ground. It depends on the size of the deck as to whether the local authority will see it as “minor building work”. You can read more on this here: minor-building-works If it is minor building work you will not need plans but you will have to notify the council in writing about what you are intending to do.

  39. Hi,

    A neighbor approached us about a year ago whether we would approve their plans to add another level to their house behind us.
    We said we cannot – we bought in a heritage area and his house is already to floors higher than ours which means little privacy and we would loose all privacy and more light if he adds another level.

    We did not hear from him again. This week they put up high scaffolding which means that they commence without our consent.
    Surely this cannot be right?
    Would anybody be able to advise what we can do?

    Thank you kindly,

  40. Marion, While your neighbour will need approved plans to build, he doesn’t need your approval unless he wants to do something that is not permitted in the National Building Regulations or the municipal bylaws. From your email address it looks as if you are in Cape Town. I suggest that you contact the CIty’s planning dept as a matter of urgency and ask them what is going on.
    However, the City has new (as of March 2013) Zoning Scheme Regulations that you download from this site that specify what people can and cannot do. For instance they have changed the requirements for neighbour’s consent relating to boundaries, by allowing people on properties up to 650 sq m the right to build right up to common boundaries in single residential zones1. These bylaws also specify maximum heights of buildings from base level to the top of the roof – 10 m for the smaller sized properties and 11 m for larger properties.
    I haven’t investigated this further, but it seems to me that people can build three storey dwellings.
    I can’t find anything in the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999), but there may be some other legislation that protects you.
    Also, the new energy regulations are very specific in terms of fenestration (the amount of light that should enter a house), so you might object on that basis.
    And this might also help you:
    There was an Eastern Cape court case that eventually ended up with a homeowner being ordered to demolish his house. He has taken it to the Court of Appeal, and as soon as we know the outcome we will publish an article about the case. But here is an excerpt from the judgement against him:
    Extract from Joubert, “The law of South Africa,” Volume 27 1st re-issue (2002) para [317] and the authorities there cited:
    “When a landowner erects a structure on his land he must take care that he does not encroach on his neighbour’s land. This rule of neighbour law is not only applicable in cases where the building itself or its foundations encroach on neighbouring land but also where roofs, balconies or other projections encroach on the airspace above a neighbour’s.
    In the case of encroaching structures the owner of the land which is encroached upon can approach the court for an order compelling his neighbour to remove the encroachment …. Despite the above rule the court can, in its discretion, in order to reach an equitable and reasonable solution, order the payment of compensation rather than the removal of the structure. This discretion is usually exercised in cases where the costs of removal would be disproportionate to the benefit derived from the removal. If the court considers it equitable it can order that the encroaching owner take transfer of the portion of the land which has been encroached on. In such circumstances the aggrieved party is entitled to payment for that portion of land, costs in respect of the transfer of the land as well as a solatium on account of trespass and involuntary deprivation of portion of his land.”UNQUOTE
    This judgement also quotes PAJA – the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 – which you can download from this link. And there’s more info on the Dept of Justice website here. Essentially, the local authority has a responsibility to take all affected parties into consideration when passing a plan.
    Presuming your neighbour has approved plans, your best option would probably be to get an urgent interdict to stop construction. It’s going to involve lawyers, which is expensive, but at the end of the day it will probably be worth it. Good luck and let us know what happens.

  41. Hi Penny, I heard you on 702 and tried calling but there was not enough time to take my call.
    Please can you advise on the following-someone at my complex is trying to sell, but alterations were made to his house a few years ago. His lawyers now want me (and everyone else at the complex) to give them my name and unit no, ID no, bank name and account no so they can obtain permission form the bond holder (bank) to have made the alterations. Surely there must be another way for them to proceed? I am not comfortable at all giving them those details, especially with the amount of ID and credit fraud happening… Do you have any advice? Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards,

  42. Theresa, they have absolutely no right to demand this type of information from you.
    I am not sure if I am reading the question correctly, but it sounds as if they want to get hold of each bond holder – because you won’t all have a bond with the same bank. But I can’t see how it would have anything to do with any bondholder other than this person who is trying to sell. And even then, if his bank gave him a loan at the time to cover the alterations, they should have followed the correct procedures. It is not your problem.
    You don’t say what sort of alterations they were, but generally permission would be given by the body corporate and the local authority (if plans were required). Good luck and let us know what happens.

  43. Hi there

    My hubby and I are very frustrated! Our neighbors house was sold over a year ago and a developer has come in and started building causing utter chaos at our house. Firstly all our garden furniture was stolen. Then they have built 3 stories up, on our border wall! There was a garage that originally was joined at the wall but now they have gone up 2 more stories? I thought there is meant to be some gap between the borders? When we threatened to go to town council, the owner suddenly introduced himself asking for our signature for the plans? How can they build without submitting plans?

    They have even built overflow pipes on our side of the wall and are claiming its allowed?

    There was a slight crack in the one part of the border wall. And it has now for 3 times bigger.

    Please can you help us with your advice, we are desperate!


  44. Shana I am not surprised that you are frustrated. I would be very angry! You don’t say where you live. As far as I know Cape Town is the only place in SA where people can build on a boundary without neighbour’s consent. But they do need approved plans, and there are certain requirements that must be upheld. The CT zoning scheme document is on this site for download. Also Jhb and Pta – see the left hand button HERE.
    DO NOT sign their documentation and DO go to the council. They are not allowed to build without plans. Clearly they are not good neighbors and there is no reason for you to play Mr/s Nice Guy. You need to protect your investment.
    They also can’t put overflow pipes that discharge onto your property. Have a look at the comments and answers in the section on stormwater disposal.
    If they have caused cracking in the boundary wall, they are liable. Whose wall is it? Do you know? There’s a lot of info in the comments on boundary walls on this site and our sister site.
    As far as theft is concerned you hopefully reported this to the police?
    Good luck and let us know what happens. People like this should not get away with it.

  45. Hi Tshepo,
    The by-laws of each city are the rules that deal with this and each municipality may be different. There is also the size of the property that regulates how close to the boundary that one can or cannot build.
    Here is an exerpt from the Tshwane by-laws:
    (d) a single storey garage; car-port or shelter; laundry; private swimming-pool; change room for a private swimming-pool, tennis court, squash court; or storeroom may be erected on any portion of a building restriction area other than where such structures are adjacent to a street boundary:
    (ii) the height above natural ground level thereof shall not exceed 3,00 metres;
    So if the height of the ZoZo is more than 3m you can ask your local council to get him to lower the structure.

    Here is an update to add to the post from the same Tshwane by-laws:
    The Municipality MAY give permission:
    (ii) any other wooden and/or metal structure designed and used exclusively as a doll’s house, poultry-house, aviary, pigeon loft, potting-shed, tool-shed, coal-shed, cycle- shed, summer-house, pump-house, reservoir or dog kennel to be erected within a building restriction area, provided it is screened off behind a wall of at least 2,0 m high and not visible from a street and adjacent properties and it shall not be used for residential purposes or a Home Enterprise;

  46. Hi
    Looking for a garden shed or a wendy house to store kiddies toys in
    it……..could u send me some picsand prices

    Hope to hear from u soon


  47. Hi Wincina,
    We are not a shopping site. If you want a wendy house then go to this link:

  48. Please can you assist, is it possible to have more than 1 outbuilding on a residential property? Can a special consession be applied for if this is a requirement?


  49. Bruce this is a local bylaw issue not something that is governed by the NAtional Building Regulations. I suggest you contact your local authority. Generally it will depend on the size of your plot and the use to which you want to put this outbuilding.

  50. Hi

    What are the legal requirements to replace a standalone property flat steel roof with a proper tiled roof?


  51. The fact that it is “standalone” is irrelevant. You need to be sure that the rafters meet the specs. Look at our page on roofing. You can use the tables to see if what you have meets the specs for a tiled roof. If not you will need to have the structure altered – which case the council may require plans.

  52. Hi,

    I own a full title property in a complex in the Kempton Park area. There is a double hollywood garage and the back of the garage is obviously open. My tenants have asked if I could brick up the back and put in a door, due to security reasons.

    Do I require plans for this or just permission from Ekurhuleni? And how do I go about obtaining permission?



  53. Tracy the local authority may consider this minor building work, in which case you won’t need plans. Only they will be able to answer your question.

  54. Thanks so much for the response.

  55. I wants to do some alterasions to my current home .. Is there a fee payebale to the municipality and more or less what are the rates

  56. Hi,

    Does one need approval when adding IBR sheeting over an existing stoep / pergola structure?

  57. Dean I suggest you give them a call and ask them. I have no idea.

  58. Andre it depends on the area to be covered and the attitude of the local authority. Thing is you need a properly designed roof structure to support the sheeting.

  59. Thanks Penny, have taken it up with the local authority and they require plans

  60. Where can I get a list of people that can draw up plans for extension of current buildings?

  61. Anri you can try SACAP. Their contact details are on their website.

  62. Good Evening,

    I have an existing house with two flat lets on it .Rezoned to res 3. I have approved building and site development plans to build an additional 4 bachelor flats on the premises. Must I work through the NHBRC to build the flats and if I do not can they stop me in doing so.


  63. Theo, Either you or your building contractor must be registered with the NHBRC or you must apply for an exemption. I am not sure about lets, but generally their proviso is that if you “owner build” you can’t sell for five years. And yes, if you don’t have an exemption than can issue a fine and take legal action against you. Generally it’s not worth it.

  64. Jean-Pierre Nel

    Hi, I would like to know what the law states about garden flats being rented out and the building regulations. We are currently renting a garden flat which is separated from the main house with a thin
    asbestos wall and we are busy with a court case, thus we would like to know if it is legal. Please contact us.

  65. Hi, do you do quotes as well. I need an estimate on a roof fix, pain and clean. I live in Ruyterewacht close to Goodwood. thank you

  66. John we are not in the building business and do not fix, paint or clean roofs. Sorry.

  67. Hi John,
    Nope we do not do quotes or any contract work. We do not supply names of contractors either, you will have to use the yellow pages. You can contact the building centre Tel: 021 510 4000 in Ysterplaat.

  68. First of all the Building Regulations do not have any bearing on legislation (or bylaws) that relate to rentals. Secondly, it is very unlikely that asbestos has been used – it’s a no-no in this day and age. Perhaps it is fibre-cement sheeting. Thirdly what is the question? If what is legal? If you mean separating the house with something like sheeting for privacy, and it’s not a permanent fixture, I don’t think there should be a problem. If it is a solid wall there should be plans. But since you are “busy with a court case” I suggest you consult your legal team.

  69. Hi,

    Can you help me with the following.
    A net carport shading, is this a structure that needs a component person to draw up the plans? Does it classify as a structure? I read in a case study that a net shading does not classify as a structure and only needs permission or approval from town planning. Accept where the Local Authority ask for it otherwise.

    If it is not a structure and does not need any approval from the building control department, can you please send me a reference where I can use it as proof.

  70. Louis I think you are confused. Every local authority has a town planning department and they are the people who give approval. One and the same. As we explain in the article on minor building works, open sided structures of a certain side – including carports – do not require plans. However sometimes the local authority does call for plans (the town planning people)… it is their prerogative. You need, in any case, to notify the local authority if you plan to build a carport, so you will soon find out if they require plans or not. If plans are called for you will need a competent person to draw them.
    Shade net on its own is not a structure – it is a type of material that is normally used to provide shade over a carport or patio. A structure is something that has been built or constructed – so any type of carport, with or without shade netting, a solid roof or whatever, is a structure.

  71. Hi Penny,

    Thanks for quick response.

    Let me explain my situation. My client, bought a dwelling with a existing steel net carport structure. We did some additions to the building(September 2011 and was approved by Local Authority). The client did gave us existing approved drawings to work from and the drawings didn’t indicate the carport structure. The carport was build in 2003. When we went to the site to do the measurements, we discovered that the carport was on site. As mentioned by our client, while he was constructing the new additions, he ask the building inspector if its okay to rebuild the carport with other material because the existing shade net structure is full of rust and not applicable to the environment. The building inspector gave him permission to do so, without handing him a letter for it’s approval of the council. He used a structural engineer as well to do it legally. This all happened without anything mentioned to our office.

    After the new wooden carport structure has been erected, he came to us, to do the as-built drawings and have his plans approved. So that he can have approved plans that also shows the new carport.

    The Authority is giving him a fine now, because of his illegal structure, but the building inspector as well as the building control officer that gave him permission to do so, is not with the Municipality anymore. The new building control body said that its a illegal structure and needs to be fined. How do I work from here?

  72. Louis, Unfortunately the conversation with the building inspector becomes a “he said” without any proof. However, if the new carport structure does not exceed 40 square metres in size, it is “minor building work” in terms of the law. You say “The Authority” is fining him. If you mean the local authority, I suggest he points out that this is minor building work rather than an illegal structure. I am not sure what right of appeal he has – but I personally wouldn’t pay the fine. If they were to take him to court he can argue that it is is minor building work and present his case in terms of what building inspector told him. He can say that because it was minor building work, he assumed that everything was in order. I don’t know who “the building control officer” is or the “new building control body”. As I said before, the local authority controls building.

  73. Hi!

    Materials for a an additional building on a smallholding were delivered to site in a container.
    The owner of the container went into insolvency, and sold the container to the landowner who now wants to convert it into an accommodation room for his onsite labour.
    How does this factor in with plan submissions etc.
    There will be running water supplied and ablutions with its own septic tank system.


  74. Anything that is to be used for habitable accommodation needs plans. He will also need plans for the septic tank.

  75. Hi Penny,

    I live in Sandton and have a flat roof house. I would like to put a deck on it so we can enjoy the view. We will probably construct external stairs to get to the deck.

    It will have some outdoor furniture and some large umbrellas on it. Do I need to get planning approval?

    Many thanks

  76. Angus you will also need some sort of balustrade to ensure it is safe to use. In all probability the council will consider this minor building work, but if you are concerned, check with them first.

  77. Many thanks. Absolutely would have railing for safety….

  78. Hi there,

    I have an existing patio that I would like to make a bit wider by about 2-3 meters. The current patio is about 750mm off the ground and already has a door from the house to it. I won’t be adding walls or any roof structure to it. My plan is to dig down to existing foundation level and put in a foundation for the new section. It will be constructed from brick, filled with rubble and sand, concreted and tiled with stone.

    Does this need planning permission? I have been searching the internet high and low and have yet to find an answer. I have tried local council and finally managed to get through to somebody who didn’t know and then put me through to someone that would, but alas they were not answering the their phone! 🙂

    Thank you in advance!

  79. Beverly Beard

    Hi there,
    Our neighbour has iron sheeting on top of carport.He is planning to throw a concrete slab on top of this iron roof and build up and create a room ie double story.Surely the foundations will not be strong enough.



  80. My mother(a widow with 3 school children) listened to some bad advice from family and let my uncle build and extension to her house (to let out), which is 3 extra bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It cost her a fortune. My uncle obviously is not certified in any way to have done the building. My mother do not have plans for the new building and she has experienced some drainage problems and roof leaks etc. This new extension is not complete even after more than 6 months of building and she had run out of money.

    Is there anyway that she could get plans for a building that was built ‘illegally’ or is there anyway to salvage and approve that building without her losing more money?

  81. Naomi your mother has a major problem. The worst scenario is that she could be told, by the local authority to demolish the illegal structure. Having run out of money compounds the problem because to make it legal, she needs to get a competent person to draw up plans – and have a builder who knows what is doing complete the job. Your uncle has acted totally illegally and could be taken to court!

  82. Definitely not Beverley. I would alert the local authority to his plans as a matter of urgency.

  83. No Mary you don’t need planning permission.

  84. Hi,
    we had 2 building contractors at our home, and both of them are doing the same, they have to strengthen our outside walls, and the gaps between 2 bricks is filled with 5cm of cement, what is the south african required standards for this. because the last builder has left whithout any notice after we have paid him R9000.00 without finishing the job,because we told him he has to break it down and start over, and were not happy, its going to be a open wall, no plastering and all the gap sized differs?

  85. Philani Mthembu

    Course on property development

    Hi There
    I would like to know if you offer any courses or books in property development. I am interested in starting my own business in property development, but I am lacking basics for compiling a solid business

  86. No Philani we don’t offer courses or currently have any books about property development. I know that College SA offers a correspondence course on entrepreneurship that covers business plans, but I don’t think it would be sufficient for your needs. There are many property-orientated and construction-based courses offered at other learning institutions, but your admittance will depend on your current level of education.

  87. Erica it sounds as if you have employed people who do not have good building skills. If you employed “contractors” they shouldn’t be in business unless they are registered with the NHBRC. However having said this, they don’t give warranties for home improvements, renovations and so on… but it is still illegal to work as a building contractor if not registered.
    When you talk about an “open wall” I presume you mean not plastered. If this is the case you should be using facebricks. All other bricks and blocks should be plastered or at least bagged with a weak mortar mix.
    Rule of thumb for mortar joints is 10 mm OR 15 mm. Generally bricklayers will use a gauge rod – basically a straightedged length of timber marked off with the height of the bricks PLUS the mortar joint – to ensure that the joints remain standard. It sounds to me as if you will have to break down the wall and start over.
    There is nothing to stop you from subcontracting a bricklayer to do the work, but be sure to get references and ask to see examples of walls he has built.

  88. My neighbour bought the house in a suburb in town and converted the 3 bedroom hose into 10 rooms.
    He took out the bath and stove (even the kitchen and pantry became rooms. He is planning to rent out these room as bedrooms. Is this allowe in the city in a suburb?

  89. Marie he cannot do this anywhere without planning approval. And all homes must have bathroom facilities. I suggest you report him to the local authority as a matter of urgency!

  90. Hi,

    I recently bought a Sectional Title property. The property spans 2 levels, but the top level is a wooden loft. The loft area currently covers about half of the lower floor area. I really want to extend the loft to become an entire second story. It only adds about 3x3m of floor space and it won’t have an impact on the neighboring units, nor will it be visible from outside the unit so it won’t impact the complex visually.

    I have gotten the ball rolling by asking permission from the body corporate and they have approved the idea in principle, however there are many (and expensive) hoops that I need to jump through to get the full go ahead. Amongst other things, I’d have to have the plans updated (by a professional), update the plans at the deeds office (through an attorney) and get approval from the bank where I got the bond.

    Is there any way that I can get away without doing some of the above? Would it help if I rig the structure to be “temporary” so that we don’t need to make additions to the plans? At the moment the bureaucratic overhead is going to cost way more than the actuall additions, so any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated.


  91. Trees Near the house:

    Hi, I love trees and I have planted a few trees around my house, the closest being 3m from the wall. The tree is not about 3m in height. Is there any danger in terms of affecting the house itself?

  92. Hi there

    I have a yard that is 1276 square meters, with a 400 square house with double garages. I would like to know if I can build an additional 80 square flat in the back of the yard? I heard that you can apparently only add 40 or 50 squares as a flat? Can you help?

  93. Hi there.

    I was just wondering if one needs a plan for changing a window to a patio glass sliding door.

    And also putting another window on the side of the garage as I feel the one there is too small and we need extra lighting?

  94. Tandi generally not if the window is the same width and to be fitted at the same height. But you may need a plan if you need to build in a new lintel, which would be the case if the sizes and configurations are different. You will probably need a plan – or at least permission – to put a window in a garage wall. The council might also require you to comply with the new fenestration regulations.

  95. Marleen you will need to have plans drawn up by a competent person and then these must be approved by your local authority before you can build anything. Your local authority will advise – in terms of their planning or zoning scheme – how big the building may be (if indeed they allow you to build a separate flat).

  96. Isaac it depends on the type of tree and its root system.

  97. Werner unfortunately these “hoops” are mandatory! The only possible way around would be to request that the local authority regards it as minor building work. Here’s a link to an article that discusses temporary buildings/structures; you will see from this that going this route won’t work.

  98. Hi I would like to know if I do need permission from municipality for putting up ECOHUTS, rondavels and longdavels – the structures that are made of weatherboard for the walls and roofs as well
    These are made by company called EZEHUTS.
    Or maybe I can make one myself with weatherboard and fabrication
    any response appreciated

  99. Yusuf you need approved plans and building permission for ALL structures. Often companies that manufacture this type of building tell their customers that plans are not required. They also sometimes maintain that they are temporary buildings. However as you will see if you read the article linked here, temporary buildings may only be erected with council permission and they are exactly that – temporary.

  100. Hi Penny,
    I have a 4m x 4m area, behind my garage, that I’d like to have covered. A mini carport, not intended for a car.
    Would I need municipal approval, to have it erected?


  101. Thanks for your quick and informative reply.
    Please find out for me if these so called ” temporary huts ” be used for permanent housing.

    I am interested in these rondavels or ecohuts as they call them because I am on a shoe string budget. I have managed to get a small plot. and I want to make a home for my family of 3 persons.

    so I thought this structure could be affordable for me or may be I can get the materials and make them myself DIY style.
    please tell me If municipality allows these structures for permanent housing if yes then what is the procedure and fees involved for doing it DIY

    Thanks for your time and effort
    God Bless

  102. Yusuf you may be able to use these for permanent housing. I’ve seen all sorts of different structures adapted, even an old train carriage. But you will, in any case, need plans drawn up by a competent person and submitted to the municipality. They will be able to tell you what the costs are. Or a competent person (e.g. a draughtsman) will. If you want to build something similar yourself (or in fact build anything yourself) you will have to apply to the NHBRC for an exemption. If you build something that isn’t standardized you will 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”. You then build according to the terms of the certificate.
    I have no idea if they would need one of these; only they will be able to tell you.
    Part A of SANS 10400 states: “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.”

  103. If it is open sided and built as a carport, boat shelter etc then it’ll qualify as minor building work. But as you’ll see from this link, you do still need to notify the council that you are going to be constructing it, and they may call for plans!

  104. Thanks for your detailed reply.
    It really helps me to decide on my next step.

    God bless

    If I have any more doubts or questions I will surely disturb you….but really

  105. Subject:
    roof room

    do i need to have a plan passed in order to build a roof room?

  106. Yes Michelle you do – and a competent person will need to draw the plans.

  107. Hi, I would like to find out the following:-

    Can a builder build an alteration without approved plans?
    Who’s responsibility would it be to pass the plan? Home owner or builder?
    If builder made adjustments to a plan not yet approved by our municipality and promised to do new plans and did not do the new plans, how do I resolve the matter?

    Many thanks

  108. Hi Karen, No builder can build any structure without approved plans. As is so often the case the builder will want to get started when the plans have been submitted so that they can get money. This is not allowed. In certain cases building can start without the final approval, BUT permission in writing, from the council must be obtained.
    It depends on the contract that is signed with the builder as to who is responsible for the plans. In the case of no agreement then the onus would natrually fall on the home owner. The situation of a house being built differently to the original plan also happens quite often and in this case you will have to submit a “rider” plan showing an “as built” set. Note these plans must be done by a ” competent person”

  109. Hi
    1st-I would like to switch of the master and 2nd bedrooms, my plan is the remove the dividing wall it is a single brick wall and build a new wall further into the master to make the 2nd bedroom now the master, would i need plans for this?

    2nd-i would like to remove a dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room to make it open plan, again do i need plans?


  110. Hi Jon, normally internal modifications to a dwelling would fall under “minor building work”. As our article here says: minor-building-work and you would have to let the council know in writing that minor changes were made. A word of caution though, some internal walls support the roof structure and this would not be a good idea to move them. I suggest you get a knowledgeable person to come and have a look before you start. If they do hold up the roof and you want to change them then you will need plans.

  111. Thanks Janek

    I have another question regarding external door ways, i would like to add patio doors to the master bedroom leading to the back garden, again would i require plans or is this also considered minor building work ?

  112. Janek I am the builder
    can I contact you are you a building inspector
    my no 082 453 3842

  113. Hi Janek what is jour rights as a builder if a client dont want to pay thanks jannie

  114. Johann Hechter

    Changing the roof trusses


    I need advice or someone I can speak to regarding changing my house roof trus from a King post trus to a attic trus.

  115. Hi Johann, Most of the councils in South Africa allow you to change/replace your roof only if you use similar materials as was specified in the original plans. The space in the roof would have been classed as a void with no occupation. By putting in an attic truss the occupation class of the space changes and so plans will have to be submitted. Contact one of the roof truss manufacturers in your area, they will have all this info on hand.

  116. Jannie we have nothing to do with the local council. You will need to contact their planning division.

  117. Jannie it depends entirely on the circumstances. You should have signed a contract and your client would be bound by that. However if you work wasn’t up to standard you would have a problem. As a builder you should be registered with the NHBRC; they may be prepared to assist you. Alternatively you could get in an arbitrator or consult an attorney.

  118. How close to the property line n can one build in Roodepoort? Specifically with reference to additions to current structure.
    Can one build the garage on the property line, street side, if there is already the required 3 meter from the street? In other words that the garage wall is on the same line as the property fence?

  119. Cait Francis


    We are considering adding a wall to the open-side of our car port as well as extending a portion of the area to create small shed/storage space connected to the subsequent enclosed car port. Would we need to submit building plans for this alternation/extension?


  120. I want to add a laundry to my home , but the current drains and pluming is in such a location that it will be expensive and very difficult to move them, is there a method (legal) that allows you to “Box” and build a brick wall over the current sewerage pipes ?

  121. Hi Cait, so long as it falls within the “minor building work” parameters then you should be fine. Just be aware that some municipalities are being really strict and asking for plans for any form of “minor building”. Read our article here: minor-building-work

  122. Hi Herman, What they normally do in this situation is encase the pipework in concrete. You will have to excavate all the soil around the pipe and support the pipe while this is done and then backfill with the concrete around the pipe. This should be 100mm all round. You will have to find out from your local building inspector what thickness the concrete should be. He will want to inspect the trench before the concrete is thrown.

  123. Hi,

    I have signed off plans for an alteration that was partially completed (the actual house renovations were completed but the pool on the plans was not put in) can i continue to build the pool as is on the plans without re-submitting and getting the neighbours consent?


  124. Hi
    I wonder if you can assist me please?
    I have an existing open side car port that measures 17.5 square meters but I want to add an extension onto it that is also open sided to the square footage of 15m2 reason being that I want it to cover the entrance way to my garden cottage, I also want to resurface the existing fiberglass roof to match the new fiberglass carport.
    My question is do I have to submit building plans?
    Kindest Regards

  125. Hi Janek,

    While I was at home yesterday a representative from the Clerk of the Court dropped a “Summons in a Criminal Case” in my letter box, he never rang the gate bell, and when I went out to see what had been dropped in the letter box I saw that it was a summons for the previous owner (in an open envelope) from the Durban City Council. It reads: “That the accused is guilty of contravening Section 4 (1) read with Sections 1, 4(4), 17, 24 and 25, further read with part AZ of the National Building Regulations issued under the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, Act 103 of 1977 as amended.
    In that on 30-Jun-2010 and at the premises known as, a premise within the Ethekwini Municipal area and the Magisterial District of Durban, the said accused did wrongfully and unlawfully erect a building in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of the said Act, without the prior written approval of the local authority.
    Admission of guilt R 1 500.00”

    I am sure you can see my immediate concern as the new owner, I bought the said property from the “Accused” 15 months ago and I was not given any plans at the time of purchase. Where does that leave me? What responsibility does the guilty party i.e. the “Accused” have after and if he does pay the admission of guilt. The point is that I now discover that I am living in an illegal dwelling that doesn’t have plans for all the additions and alterations that the previous owner carried out illegally.
    To make matters even worse, this house is more than 60 years old.
    Thank you for your anticipated comments and help in this matter.
    Kind regards.

  126. Hi Jon, If you have a window that you want to make into a door without making it any wider, then that should just need a letter to let them know. On the other hand if you need it to be wider and have to alter the structure by adding extra lintols, this is then will need plans. Some councils, just to cover themselves, will ask for plans even if it is considered “minor building work”.

  127. Andries Struwig


    Where does it state that I need an approved plan and approval from the Local Authority to put up an awning?

  128. Struwig, it would be in the local authority bylaws – not the National Building Regulations.

  129. Hi Rachael, Have a look at this short article on our sister website here: boundary-lines-walls-fences This will give you some idea. But as we say in the story each area has it’s own zoning restrictions so you will have to contact your local municipality for clarity on your property.

  130. Hi,
    I want to add a roll-up door to my double carport, do I need to submit plans again for the door?
    Thank you.

  131. Hi Grahame, After your plan is approved, you are required to begin building work within 1 year of plan approval. Did you get an occupancy certificate for the extension once they were complete? The BI might have said something then. If your plans are approved then I would go ahead, but if you are worried call the local BI and ask.

  132. Hi Stan, This is a problem that many buyers find themselves in. Legally summonses only have to be delivered to the address not to the individual.
    The trouble is that in terms of the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) if the seller is engaged in a “one-off transaction” (i.e. if the sale is not part of his usual day-to-day business) the “Voetstoots Clause” still applies. This in effect means that the buyer is purchasing the property “as is”. But if you can prove in court that the seller had full knowledge of the violations, then there could be a claim, but this could be a difficult one to prove.
    This raises a few questions, did you apply for a bond with any financial institution, and if yes, then why did they not call for their building inspector to check the house against the council’s plans? As far as I know this is standard procedure with any bank. But if the house is paid for in cash then the bank inspection falls away.
    This will be opening a can of worms, but this is my personal view and is not proved, but the “experts” in the transaction have to be the estate agents and this could be gross negligence and not fulfilling their duty by not getting a set of plans BEFORE putting the house on the market for the seller so buyers can see exactly what they are buying. Estate agents will say it is up to the prospective buyer to get the plans from council. This is not that easy as plans are not dished out without permission. My view is that the estate agent has been devious on behalf of the seller and must take full responsibility for any costs and fines. I am not a legal person in any way and this is my personal view and should be tested with an attorney.
    Please keep us up to date with what happens so that we can assist any others that find themselves in the same situation.

  133. Thank you for very helpful response.
    I did apply for a bond when purchasing the house, and on recently finding out that there were no plans for the alterations and additions done, I contacted the bank to ask them why their inspector hadn’t checked to see if the house was in accordance with the council’s plans, they quickly transferred me to their legal department who promptly told me that it was not their responsibility to call for plans and that the problem was mine which I need to get attorneys to sort out for me.
    Your comments about the estate agent are also 100% spot on, which, hopefully, I will be able to prove with the help of an attorney.
    I will keep you informed of further developments, but this may take a while 🙂
    Thanks again.

  134. No Stan, if you are not making structural changes, you don’t need plans.

  135. Thank you Penny.

  136. Mike Mortlock

    I want to change the position of the door and window in our “Domestic Quarters”. No further alterations will be done, do I require to submit plans? Thank you. Mike

  137. Hi
    I had some alterations/additions made to my house. I started experiencing roof leaks 2 months after the work was completed and the builder is reneging on his commitment to fix these as well as other snags that were pointed out. He no longer responds to my emails which I resorted to in order to get everything in writing. He is registered with the NHBRC.
    What recourse do I have against him to force him to fix the leaks and snags?

  138. Hi Graeme, The NHBRC only deals with new houses and not additions and alterations, but that he is registered with them is a good thing as he is “legal”. Have you checked the small print on your contract with the builder. Have you put all these items in writing and put him to terms? Your next step is to contact the Master Builders, the chances are that he is registered with them and as far as we know they assist when there is a dispute with one of their members. Your other option is an attorney and send a lawyers letter with your demands.

  139. hi
    we want to perform the following alterations to our property:
    1. brick up an existing doorway and create a new one for a bathroom.
    2. brick up an existing door and windown to create a smaller window only.
    3. convert 2 single garage doors into a single door.

    will plans be required for these alterations?

  140. hI there. I would like to add a shade port next to my swimming pool. do I need plans for municipal approval? it will just be a retractable awning which will join from the wall to poles. also, would I require approval for. a canvas roll up awnning?

  141. Hi Katherine, This would be considered “minor building work” and should not require plans.

  142. Hi Ashley, From what you want to change it would seem that you want to change the class of building from a garage to a dwelling with plumbing and a sewage outlet. All the building regulations apply to your extension and you will have to submit plans for approval before you do the renovation.

  143. hi Janek
    sorry perhaps i wasnt as clear as i should be. each alteration is to a separate component of the house.

    1. the relocating of the door is for the main bedroom ensuite.
    2. the bricking up of an existing door is for the dinning room. the lounge and dinning rooms are next to each other and both have doors which lead out therefore we want to convert the dining room door to a window instead. reducing the number of doors leading out of the house.
    3. conversion of the garage doors – 2 single into a double single door. therefore removal of the center pillar, bricking up of the sides to narrow the opening to suit and fitment of a lintil.

  144. Hi Ashley, Whenever there is any structural work done to any building, such as moving a door or window and putting in new lintel will require plans to be done. I suggest that you do this because if you want to sell at a later stage then if the house and plans do not match up you will possibly lose a sale and also be liable to a fine from the local planning department and still have to do the plans anyway. My mom got caught like this when she wanted to sell her house in KZN and she had added a patio to the back and moved the back door and added a new window. It was costly and she nearly lost the sale. I hope this helps 🙂

  145. I want to enquire to making alterations and add ons to a house that’s older then 50 years old. Yes I will need to submit plans etc but Is there any regulations against this changing the look etc of an old house like this?

  146. Hi. We want to buy a house where the owners have added a bathroom en-suite. They had an architect draw up plans and kept to boundaries etc but did not get plans approved. Now we have put in an offer they are going to get the work approved and say it will be no problem. Should we be worried, what are the legal implications? Should we not pay a deposit until it has been approved? How easy is it to get retrospective approval?

  147. Hi Does one needing planning approval to put in skylights?

  148. Well, I visited an attorney on this matter and the long and the short of it is that, because of the very cleverly worded “Voetstoots Clause” the seller and his estate agent inserted into the sale agreement, I have no recourse on this matter.
    So, lesson learned: “Read the small print carefully! Especially the Voetstoots Clause.” And, ask for the plans whenever you are buying property!!!

  149. Hi Ali, Do not accept the house with unapproved plans. The problem is that if you do buy the house and the plans are not approved then you become liable for any corrections or amendments to the plans that the council might need and the architects and building costs. These costs could be quite hefty not to mention the the fine that the council will possibly levy on illegial building being done without approved plans. Get them to do this first and then put in an offer.

  150. Hi again Ali, So long as the main structure of the roof trusses is not altered. If the skylight fits between the roof trusses then you will be fine. If the trusses have to be altered in any way then new roof plans will have to be submitted and approved.

  151. Hi
    I hope you can assist me in the following:
    Do I require plans to be drawn up and approved if I want to brick up an existing bathroom door.
    Then inside the toilet break through the wall dividing the toilet from the bathroom, essentially I want the toilet to be part of the bathroom and to make the space seem bigger.
    I reside in the south of Johannesburg
    Kindest Regards

  152. I would like to extend an existing building that already transgresses the building line between my property and my neighbours (which was originally approved on the first building plans when our houses were built). Do I need his approval/consent to extend the existing building? They are ignoring my request for them to at least look at the plans consent to the planned construction. Are there any by laws or exceptions that would allow me to continue without their consent?

  153. Hi. Does one need municipal permission to add an awning outside ones back door to prevent rain from running into windows and under back door. It will consist of two support poles and a zinc sheeting.

  154. Hi Rod, Any structural alteration to any building, and that includes bricking up a door and creating a new opening, will require plans. This should be done as there could be a problem later if you decide to sell and the buyers or a bank giving a bond see that what is built is different to the plans that are lodged with the council. Besides possibly losing a sale the council could impose a fine for not submitting plans at the time and you will still have to submit plans.

  155. Hi,
    We are interested in purchasing a property, it is a small house, but it is a relatively large plot which is ideal for future extensions.
    Our worry is as follows: There is a carport on the property which is not on plan. What is the implications of this? Would it be better to rather not purchase the property than to try to get it, the carport, put on plan retrospectively or is it the seller’s responsibility to have it approved?
    Thank you in advance

  156. Dirk, generally carports are considered to be “minor building works” that do not require plans.

  157. No Vadia you don’t need permission.

  158. Donovan it isn’t clear who is refusing to look at the plans – your neighbours? However, unless the extension itself is shown on the plans, you will need to have a new rider plan approved. In terms of neighbors’ approval, this depends on where you live. As far as I know, Cape Town is the only place where it is NOT required – in terms of the “new” Cape Town zoning scheme that came into operation early last year.

  159. Hi Penny
    I have just bought a house and have been informed by my conveyance attorney that there are no outbuildings on the title deed. There are however outbuildings on the property and i am not 100% sure if they are on the actual plans. How do i go about finding out, and if these additional buildings are not on the plan, what do i do?

  160. Jason, Start by asking the seller for a copy of the plans. Otherwise the local authority (council or municipality) should have plans that you can access and have copied. I am not convinced that outbuildings would be mentioned in the title deeds if they were added at a later stage; and particularly if the previous owner constructed the outbuildings. Apart which it is the boundaries, servitudes and restrictions that are important in the title deeds – as well as erf number, owner etc. “Title Deeds These documents firstly act as evidence that the person selling the property actually owns it, and secondly set out any rights or obligations that affect the property.” When it comes to structures, it is the plans that are important.

  161. Thanks Penny,

    I had already had the plans drawn up by an architect before I approached my neighbours for their approval to transgress the building line. Currently there is an existing out building that has been there since the original plans for the house were drawn up in 1947 and already back then my neighbour and my own outbuildings were sharing a wall. (on the original plans)

    I presented the plans to my neighbour who didn’t even bother to look at the plans that would not at all affect their property and refused to sign for a relaxation of the building line. They are now in the process of selling their house and refuse to even reconsider or take another look at the plans that they originally misinterpreted.

    I had a discussion with my neighbour about 2 weeks ago and he verbally aggreed to sign the document but now they are avoiding me (it is actually his wife who does not want to have the building line relaxed) Is a verbal agreement binding? and are there any by laws that would allow me to go ahead without my neighbours approval? i.e the original plans from 1947 have already transgressed the building line and now I just want to extend an existing outbuilding…


  162. Donovan a verbal agreement is binding (common law), but without a witness it’ll be he said, she said. Where do you live? Bylaws differ all over the country. Has the local authority said that you must obtain the neighbour’s permission? If you do need his/her consent, and they are refusing to give it, you have a right to demand a reason. I’m not sure what you should do. They will probably ignore a registered letter. But you could deliver a letter by hand, and have a witness with you who signs to say they have received your letter. In the letter state that you want them to sign the document … or give you a reasonable reason in writing for not doing so – within seven days.

  163. Thanks Penny, I will approach the local authority and ask them for the plans. IF i pick up that there is a problem and outbuildings are not mentioned, I will contact you again for advice.

  164. Hopefully they haven’t lost them Jason. If the outbuildings are NOT on the plans, ask the council if you can submit a rider plan.

  165. What are the complications if they have lost them? Also, what is a rider plan and how do I go about getting one?

  166. A rider plan is a plan that is read in conjunction with the existing plan. i.e. You don’t have to have all the buildings drawn – just the outbuildings and an updated site plan. Any competent person will be able to do this for you – a draughtsman will be the cheapest. Just hold thumbs they have the plans …

  167. Thanks for your help, really appreciate it. Will contact you if i have any “issues”

  168. Thanks Penny.
    I live in Pretoria. Do you know of any bylaws permitting extensions of existing buildings already transgressing the building line? My architect advised me to get the neighbour’s signature before submitting the plans to council for approval. I will try again to obtain their signature through “good neighbour relations” and request it verbally again, but failing that I will submit a letter requesting their approval and demand valid reasons for their refusal in writing within 7 days.
    Appreciate your help and advice.

  169. Donavan the various bylaws are all very similar, but I am not familiar with details. You can download the Pretoria by-laws from this site – Tshwane Town Planning Scheme 2008. There may be amendments, but their planning department would be able to advise. I doubt that there is a bylaw the covers this, since they would not not want to perpetuate errors. It will probably be a case of applying for an exemption because of the history. If I was you I would go into the council offices (simply because most municipal offices are impossible when it comes to accessing people telephonically) and ask to speak to one of the town planners. If the front of office staff won’t give you access, ask them to clarify and get something in writing. Chances are they won’t know, which will give you more ammunition to insist on talking to a town planner – or at least a senior person. But do try and get something in writing, especially if they say neighbour’s consent is not necessary. Also explain the situation, because your neighbour’s behaviour is clearly having an adverse affect on you.

  170. Hi Penny,
    Please could you advise as to whether or not it would be necessary to submit plans for the following work we wish to carry out on our house.

    Convert an attached garage into master bedroom and on-suite shower and toilet (existing toilet and sink off garage).
    Erect wall to form hallway.
    Remove a wall between bathroom and toilet to make a large family bathroom.
    Remove part of a wall to create open-plan lounge/diner/kitchen.

    If planning is required and we commence work before it is granted are there fines etc and can retrospective permission be sought (the master bedroom/en-suite conversion has already been done).

    We are getting so much conflicting info that its getting rather confusing.


  171. Our erf in Caledon (Western Cape) is sloping quite a lot to the south.

    If I may I would like to erect a retaining wall next to the pavement and back-fill to get the lawn more level.

    Do I need so submit plans to erect a retaining wall? What will happen if I built the retaining wall in such a way that I still leave about 900mm for the pavement? Very few pedestrians, if ever, use that pavement and I’ve been planted lawn there and keep it in a very good state.

  172. Yes Greg you will need to submit plans. The SANS relating to plumbing are particularly strict, and you MUST have the work done by a qualified and registered plumber. If the walls are not load bearing, you should be able to remove them without plans, but the local authority might view this as a structural change and insist on plans. They do also have the authority to issue fines. Usually though there is a process that you can follow to get plans passed “as built” (i.e. after the event).

  173. Pieter you will need plans for a retaining wall if it over a certain height (I think a metre). In terms of the pavement, this is governed by local bylaws so you will have to approach the Caledon Council for advice.

  174. Thanks Penny – you’re a star and worth plenty “pennies”!

  175. Angela I know that in Cape Town anyone who want to modify any type of “historical structure” that is older than 60 years, needs a permit. You have to say what you are wanting to do and supply drawings as well as all the plans required in terms of the National Building Regulations. I presume there are similar processes in place in other parts of the country. Your local authority will be able to advise. Here is a link to the Cape Town document that has to be completed when applying for a permit.

  176. Hello,

    I’m interested in either refurbishing or selling a residential property in Pretoria, but we did not receive any approved plans from the previous owner and when we checked at the Council, there were no approved plans for the property. The Real Estate agent at the time assured us that there were approved plans and that the construction of the building and subsequent renovations were approved by the Council.

    Now, because of changes in family size, we need to consider either renovation of the property or selling as is and acquiring a new more appropriate.

    What are the implications for a refurbishment of a property if there are no approved plans at the Council? Will the Council stipulate that both the old part of the house and the additions/alterations conform to the newest regulations?

    If I want to sell the house, do I need to provide approved plans to the new buyer, and is it difficult to get plans approved by the Council retroactively?

    Thank you

  177. Hi Penny,

    We would like to close of our front stoep (Porch) with dorr and window, it currently has two pillars and about a four brick height from ground flower bed and an awing supported by angleiron. Also at the back we a have stoep (Porch) with awing, both sides have steps and we want to close off the stoep and make it at least one meter larger on the outside, do we needs plans approved for this? As my understanding is that its not a new structure or addition, it is ucrrent and we just closing it off.

  178. Hi,
    I would like to build a partial boundary wall on my property where before just a diamond mesh wire was standing. At the same time I would like to put paving down where there was grass before inside the property and thirdly I would like to erect a carport in the corner of the property where the boundary wall is to be build. Do I need plans to be drawn up and do I need approval of the council

  179. Dear Penny
    I wonder if you could offer some advice, I am currently renting a 1820 property from a friend who unfortunately, took the wrong advice from the local ‘village council’ and removed the roof without plan submission to council. As such, the building inspector arrived to cease works and the owner has 2 months in which to submit plans. The problem is of course that the building is a national monument and thus would require their authority too. Now we sitting without half a roof and it has rained most recently. Do you know how one could speed up the process and would you have any contacts that you could provide in this matter. The owner is understandably quite anxious to resolve the matter having never worked with a situation like this.

  180. Hi,
    What is the minimum prescribed space between my house and the back and side boundries. If there is an existing building ( been there for 40 odd years) and it is too close, will I have to remove it?
    Love your info to others. Hope you can help me too.
    Kind regards

  181. Susan I don’t. Since the National Monuments Council was replaced by the South African Heritage Resources Agency it’s all changed such a lot. I assume you would need to get to someone in the SAHRA to see what can be done. Though I would think that there should be something that could be one to put a roof back on in the meantime – if only because if there isn’t a roof on bad weather is going to have a really bad effect on the house. Does the building inspector even care about that aspect? Here’s a flyer – tell the owner to just put the old roof back for now … or some type of roof covering. I don’t think they could get into trouble for that. Do let me know what happens. Wish I had more time, I’d love to try and help you more.

  182. Hi Penny,

    I am a very competent person with some experience in the renovation game. i have done a few projects with mates that i helped out over the years.

    do i need to architect to draw up and submit plans for a small renovation project to a residential property or can i get a draftsman to do that for me?


  183. Hi All,
    I am currently looking at adding onto an exiting house in Blairgowrie, Johannesburg.
    the existing building is a single storey house and we would like to go double storey.
    – what are the foundation requirements etc. to go double storey.
    any assistance would be great.
    Many thanks Grahame

  184. Riaan, here is a link to an article about competent persons in the legal (as in NBR) sense of the term. As long as that person is registered with SACAP it doesn’t matter whether they are an architect or a draughtsperson.

  185. Elsa it depends on where you live and what the zoning by-laws say. For instance in Cape Town you can generally build right up to a boundary, provided the percentages of land and boundary covered are in keeping with the bylaws. You don’t even need neighbour’s consent any more. I doubt very much that anyone could expect you to demolish the building after all this time. But I can’t be sure.

  186. Rule of thumb for any foundation is that the width should be the width of the wall plus twice the thickness of the concrete. But you would increase the dimensions to improve the load bearing capacity of a double storey. If you are adding on you will need plans to be drawn up by a competent person. That person is qualified and will know what to specify for the foundation, depending not only on your roof structure, but also on the design of your house, including the walls.
    Have a look at our Foundations page for more info. You might also want to get a copy of Part H of SANS 10400, Foundations.

  187. Myriam this is all minor building work … which means you don’t need plans but you should notify your local council that you are fencing the properly and building a carport as defined as minor building work in the building regulations. Under certain circumstances they may demand plans … it is their prerogative – but it is unlikely. Please check the link I have given you because it gives maximum heights for fences and maximum area for an open-sided carport.

  188. Natasha, by closing off the area you are increasing the size of your house – which becomes a rates issue. You are also changing the function of the stoep. I am pretty sure that the council will require plans – although they MIGHT consider it to be minor building work. You’ll have to get clarification from them.

  189. Probably not Mike, but just be sure you have lintels in the right place! If you want to be 100% sure contact your local authority, otherwise it might be an issue when/if you decide to sell.

  190. Sasha you will need to find out from you local council what the situation is. It could be that the council has lost the plans. If the estate agent assured you there were plans, go back to that person and ask for them. Or contact the previous owner. If there never were plans the council may well say that the entire house must be in accordance with the newest regulations. In terms of how long it takes, this really is how long is a piece of string. It depends on the council and the people you are dealing with. Some move more quickly than others. And in terms of providing plans; no you don’t have to, but if they want plans then you’ll probably lose the sale. Also, since you know there is a problem, you can’t very well claim that you have plans! And if they call for them later you’ll be in trouble.

  191. Rod, Have a look at this article that discusses minor building work. You will see that any “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,” do not require plans. You may have a problem with it being on the boundary, depending on what % of the boundary you are permitted to build on. Only the local authority will be able to answer that one – and you should notify them anyway that you are planning to build.

  192. Hi,
    Our house in Parkhurst is older than 60yrs. When we wanted to submit the plans for planned alterations today(signed of by architect and enigineer) we were told that there is another process for buildings older than 60 years. In the meantime the builder started knocking down internal walls today – nothing external has been done so far as to change the appearance from outside. Will this be a problem to have our plans approved?? Any penalties?

  193. Rudolf I honestly don’t know. This is something that is governed by bylaws and regs that relate specifically to heritage sites. If I was you I would stop all work and follow due process.


  195. Hi Selbie, The best publication on the market takes you through the whole process is “Owner Building in SA”. Look in the sidebar of our website and you will see a link under “Get This New Edition Best Selling Book” click on that and get yourself a copy.

  196. Hi, I need some advise please. My house plans has a space that has been allocated for a garage. I would now like to build this garage and thereby extend my kitchen as the house is elevated. As this is already in my approved plans, can I go ahead with the building. Does this require a slab ? Who can I contact for the building of the structure ?

  197. Our neighbouring farm owner has built a large structure almost on the border of our farm to heat water for heating chicken coups, the fuels to be used will create smoke of some sort and is quite close to our labourers cottages. Were they obliged to obtain permission from us prior to the erection?

  198. Subject:

    We want to have a loft installed in our garage as a living area. What are the regulations involved?

  199. Many thanks!

  200. Kim there are no specific regs that refer to lofts, but to do this you will need a competent person to draw up plans – e.g. an architect or draughtspeprson.

  201. Sammy you need to contact the planning section of your local municipality and see if the plans are still valid. It depends when they were approved. A garage does require a slab and this should be constructed according to specifications on the plans.

  202. Chris you will need to ask your local authority to investigate whether what your neighbour has built is legal or not. He should have plans for any large structure – though many people in rural/farming areas often ignore this requirement. The council would also be able to tell you whether they should have obtained permission. Local authorities DO have the right to demand that people demolish illegal structures – which this may well be.

  203. Hi there,

    I was hoping that you could answer this question for me.

    I want to enclose the patio for my full title house inside a complex, there is already a roof and a column that keeps the current roof up.

    I want to use the same roof, but enclose the patio with bricks, it won’t be fully enclosed, I want to build two square arches on each side of my patio.

    The patio is already on my existing building plans, do I need town council approval for this?

    Thank you



  204. Ettiene best to check with the council – ultimately it’s their call. The only issue in terms of the building regulations is that you will be changing the function of the area. i.e. It may not be a patio any more.

  205. Hi Penny,

    Thank you very much for the response, I won’t be changing the function of the area, it will still be used as my patio.

    I’ll check with the council.


  206. I wish to close my stoep with a sliding window or a canvas ibrick or cementword or breaking is i need a plan?

  207. Your council may want a plan for a window, but not for a blind.

  208. Why would they differentiate between the two.a blind is affixed to wall as well as aluminum sliding door?

  209. Gerard a door becomes part of the structure and it can effectively change the classification for which the room/area is used. A blind can be removed – just as an awning may be. The fact that a blind may be affixed to the wall does not make it part of the structure.

  210. Penny,who decides on the cllassification of use of the patio.,and what criteria is used.

  211. Gerard purpose – use – whatever gets written on the plan … and if you change let’s say a bedroom into a kitchen, then the plan needs to be changed. Or a garage into a bedroom. It is largely so that when the plan is assessed they can be sure that the area/room is fit for purpose. Patios are generally open areas that form part of the garden. But if cleverly planned they can become part of the house – e.g. by enclosing with sliding doors or even with a blind. There are a number of implications including ventilation – and of course rates and taxes. So to answer your question, use is identified on the plan that is approved for building and the local authority will decide whether or not it is suitable for use in terms of the plan.

  212. Hi Penny

    I would like to add the follwoing three additions to my property, can you let me know which of them require plans and municipal approval.

    1. An outdoor brick braai.
    2. A wooden deck. The wooden deck is simply to be built on level ground covering a protion of grass.
    3. A wooden Pergoal covering the deck. NB: does it make a differnnce if the pergola is attached to the house or not?

    Kind regards
    Clinton van Rensburg

  213. I don’t think you need plans for any of these Clinton, unless the brick braai is very large and has a chimney. It doesn’t make any difference if the pergola is attached to the house or not.

  214. Hi,
    I want to either remove the wall between my living room and my kitchen to create an open space or to open the wall to create a window between the two rooms… Do I need a permit for that? I just bought a flat in Durban, I am new to all that and I just can’t find the info on the web! A shower unit will also be changed… We have a few minor things to do like that. Permit or not?
    Thank you for your help and patience with novice like me!

  215. I bought a house last year. I want to build an external wall on the property. I am wondering if I need to add the wall on the plan.

  216. Gladys, while freestanding walls up to 1,8 m high are considered to be minor building work – which does not require plans in terms of the National Building Regulations, your local authority may want you to submit plans. So double check with them.

  217. Anouk, The vital aspect here is whether the wall is load-bearing or not. If it is then you can’t remove it as this would impact on the structural integrity of the building. You may though be able to create an opening of some sort. If it is not a load-bearing wall then you shouldn’t need plans.
    If the shower is going to entail plumbing you will need plans.

  218. Hi Penny , I have just had a new bathroom built. Includes a shower, toilet and hand basin with a gas geyser. The building contractor said that I didn’t need plans as I was not altering the existing exterior walls .
    Is this correct or do I need plans. If so what can I now do to comply with the law.

  219. Mike, Apart from anything else, the pipework and drains need to be shown on the plans. The work also needs to be signed off by a qualified, registered plumber. You can submit “as built” plans to the council.

  220. Colin Greyvensteyn

    Hi Penny

    I’ve bought a warehouse in Cape Town that I’ve renovated for living and work use. I’ve not changed anything structural, do I need to submit plans for the divisions even if most are just drywalling? Also the building is fairly old but they want to make me comply to all sorts of regulations. Is there some thing like grandfather rules that would say the building can stay as is? Where can I find regulations particularly relating to fire codes as they want me to remove my roof (IBR sheeting that doesn’t create a “fire barrier”) and replace it with a concrete slab and brick up certain windows because of a draught issue.

  221. Thanks Penny , that helps a lot now I know what needs to be done .

  222. Bernard Rother

    Hi Penny, VERY interesting site you have :)Our question is :
    A builder asked me to prepare “As Built” plans for a project he was busy with. It entailed high pressure cleaning of the roof, covering up the existing timber cladding with new Vermont ( Handiplank )on 38×38 battens on vapour barrier, replacing the rotten timber windows with matching new. I thought the plan was for his costing purposes. He submitted them to council. He complained to me that Mossel Bay Municipality made him pay over R6000,00 ( six thousand ) for plan fees. No additions or structural work took place….purely repairs and maintenance. I told him to go ask for his money back…..the municipality declined his request. The building inspector forced him to stop work and told him he had to have plans drawn up.
    Your comments would be really appreciated. This issue is now closed as he has since passed away but I’m thinking about future projects in this line. Regards.

  223. Bernard, I wouldn’t have thought that plans were needed, unless the battens were replaced. But local authorities do have the right to call for plans, even in the case of minor building work. And one is obliged to notify the local authority when minor building work, and I suppose major alterations are undertaken. I am also not sure how they work out admin and plan fees. That amount seems outrageous. Could that have included a fine for not submitting plans in the first place? The best way to find out is to call the municipality and ask.

  224. Colin if you are renovating a warehouse for living, you do need to submit plans because the class of occupation will change. You will also be required to comply with the new XA and other energy efficiency requirements. There are very strict rules regarding heritage buildings that you should be able to get from the City. Taking this a step further, if it is indeed a heritage building (I think 50 years), I don’t see how you would be allowed to removed the existing roof and replace it with a totally different design. Many contemporary houses are built using IBR sheeting, I don’t follow why yours should present so-called fire problems. Also, blocking up windows will affect ventilation issues.

  225. Athebafone Masekwameng

    Hi,i am planning to convert my single garage into a kitchen and the old kitchen into a study,do i need to redraw and submit the plan to the council ?i will not be extending any wall or room. thanks

  226. The problem here is that you are changing the function of the rooms PLUS you will need to have plumbing installed in the new kitchen – which will require both plans and a qualified, registered plumber to do the job.

  227. Hi Penny:

    I draw and submit plans in accordance with NBR and related regulations. i can’t help notice that the fire regulation of SANS 10400 is implemented on the assumption that fire always starts in the garage.

    it then recommended that a ceiling material with fire rating of 60 minutes be installed.

    My two questions are

    1. What happens when fire starts in the roof trusses due to geyser, or.
    2. if it starts in the kitchen?

    My opinion:

    if fire can start from roof trusses due geyser, then timber can last only less than 10 minutes, this nulifies the regulation.

    if the fire can start in the kitchen, then regulation regarding fire door fails most the houses in that that fire can move into other rooms uncontrollably because most houses have arches leading to other rooms. this further nullifies the current fire regulation.

    I will wait your response.


  228. First of all Moses only a competent person (see the link) is permitted to draw and submit plans. So I presume you are a draughtsman or an architect, in which case you probably know a lot more about the NBR than me.
    I am not aware of hot water cylinders (geysers) being a fire hazard. This would only be the case if the electrics were not correctly connected. But fires can potentially start anywhere due to faulty wiring, or if something like hot oil catches alight in the kitchen – or if someone knocks over a candle – or if someone is smoking in bed. None of this nullifies the NBR.

  229. Dear Penny,

    I bought a house in 2008 in the Crown gardens area. I have been living there since. I contacted the City of Joburg for a copy of the house plan. I was advised that they dont have a copy of the stand number that I had provided because the area is very old. Could this be right though? I was told that I would need to have the plans redrawn. Is it fair on my part as I requested a copy from the city council and they do not have one. Please advise as I need to build an extra room and bathroom.

  230. Unfortunately plans do get lost in the system. They should allow you to draw an as-is plan that shows what exists and then detailed plans for the new rooms. A competent person will be able to help you.

  231. Hi

    I stay in a apartment block, the body corporate has decided to create extra parking bays. One of these bays is directly in front of the only exit door to my flat, about 2 meters away from the door. They will also pave/tar the ground to create these bays. Would they need to get building permission to create these bays and is it legal to create a bay this close to an exit door. Are there no safety implications of doing this in regard to an emergency?

  232. Hi Penny I am in the real estate business and have a client looking to either add onto their garden cottage or find a new home to live in (one that accommodates the family). There is currently a 2 bed garden cottage on the premises which is about 80sqm in size – would they possibly be able to apply to build a 3rd bedroom upstairs (roof room) or would this not be permitted.

    The size of the plot is 1,012sqm.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  233. Hi,

    I currently have a double garage with a double “carport”(for lack of a better word) in front of the garage(carport already has roof trusses, tiles, etc.) I’m planning to convert the current double garage into an extra living room & put up walls in the carport to convert that to a double garage.

    Hoping you can assist me with a few questions?

    1. The current double garage is +/- 400mm lower than the existing living room, which makes the height from floor to roof in the garage higher than the living room. I want to span gum poles between the walls to make a second storey with a guest bed. Will this be allowed? And if so what is the minimum head clearance needed?

    2. The “carport” that I want to convert to new double garage has paving bricks as a floor. As said above, I want to build up the walls to close up the carport, remove paving bricks & replace with concrete slab. Will I need plans for this? As there is already a proper roof structure, only it needs proper concrete foundation and walls?

    Your help will be greatly appreciated!


  234. Friedrich Sieberhagen

    Hi Penny,

    Amazing site, you are really providing a great service. I have a open bacony on the ground floor complex of a old (100 year) building in cape town. The balcony is basically build like a room, except where the windowns would be it is open. If I dont change the form of the structure, but mearly insert windows in the openings, do I need council approval or to submit plans? Secondly, does being a older home make a difference? (Rules regarding keeping the look of old buildings).



  235. A few years ago my neighbour built a cottage using the existing boundary wall. Now I’m being blamed for damp issued in the cottage. What are the building requirements and risks of using an existing boundary wall for building?


  236. Nicole this will be governed by the local authority bylaws and not the building regulations. I suggest you check with them.

  237. Grayson, There is nothing that I can find in the National Building Regulations that covers this. Part T, Fire protection requires safe emergency routes and exit doors, but there is nothing that relates to open parking bays. Generally you would not require plans for these – or to tar the ground. However, I agree with you that there are obvious safety implications here – as well as inconvenience. I’m not sure what to suggest other than appealing to the body corporate to rethink the plan.

  238. Paul boundary walls 1.8 m and under are regarded as minor building work and as such do not require plans. Since they are not constructed as part of a building, it is highly unlikely that there would be any form of damp proofing incorporated in them. To utilize an existing boundary wall, this would need to be indicated on the plans, and unless there was the necessary damp proofing it is highly unlikely that the plans would have been approved. Generally if one is allowed to build up against a boundary (wall, fence or simply boundary line) a new wall would be built as part of the structure and this would include the necessary dam proofing, reinforcement etc. So check with your local authority whether plans were ever submitted – and if so whether they were approved. Your neighbour may find him/herself having to demolish the cottage!

  239. HI PENNY

  240. sean goliath

    Hi Penny, I am renting a cottage on a private household premises. My Landlord has already built 2 Cottages in his back yard “one being the cottage I am staying on” and has now started building another section onto his original house. The property is not very large and I am concerned about the space, plumbing and ultimately if he is allowed to do this. He has said to me that he has never submitted plans or reported the cottages or any extensions as it will affect his property tax. Is he allowed to do this and is it possible that at some stage he may be forced to break down the cpttages leaving me homeless?
    ps, this is in Orange Grove, East Gauteng

  241. hi
    i have a car port (afdak) on the side of my house and would like to lengthen it. do i need a plan or can i do it with out a plan.

    kind regards

  242. Hi
    Can you advise me on compliant and safe methods to extend a roof. I have a room of 3.0mx3.5m, which I want to extend by another meter to make it 4.0mx3.5m. I hear about splicing rafters and am seeing conflicting information on whether it complies with building regulations and whether or not it is an acceptable method of extending the roof and the room. Or should I be replacing the rafters completely with new ones which will span the whole length of the room without a splice in them? I have a flat roof home with IBR sheeting as the roof covering. A builder is doing this, I just want to make sure I am appropriately informed.

  243. Hi Penny
    We have a maids room with kitchen sink and en suite with a door leading to a double garage.We now want to put up dry wall partitioning to create a lounge and bedroom which has two existing windows.We plan to replace the garage door with a window and door.Do we need a plan?

  244. Jannie I don’t understand the question. Foundations will always be required.

  245. Hennie you need to have plans drawn up by a competent person who will be able to advise you. Both parts of the conversion requires approved plans. Minimum room heights are contained in Part C of SANS 10400, Dimensions

  246. Karen you need approved plans to extend a roof. And these need to be done by a competent person – most builders do not qualify because they don’t have the professional training needed. When you say “flat” roof I presume you mean a minimal slope because IBR needs at least an 11 degree slope.

  247. Eugene as long as the carport is no bigger than 40 square metres, and it is open-sided, the National Building Regulations state that you do not need plans because this is regarded as minor building work. However, as you will see from the link I have given you, you are, strictly speaking, required to notify the council that you are planning to do the work. It is their prerogative to demand plans even if it is minor work.

  248. Sean – I lived in Orange Grove in another life – and I know that most properties are relatively small.
    I hate to break this to you, but your landlord has built these structures illegally. He might be given options to either submit “built-as” plans or to demolish the buildings – if/when the council (City of Johannesburg) discovers what he has done. Now might be a good time to move home.

  249. Niedah strictly speaking yes – specifically for the door and window – because this will change the function of the garage to a living space. You shouldn’t need plans for dry wall partitions because these could be removed and they won’t affect the structure as such.

  250. Hello. Thanks for such an informative site.
    I have would like to build a dog’s kennel out of brick and cement and put roof it with normal roof tiles. Its height would be 1m with a floor of 1.5 m squared. It will be attached to my home. I know this would be considered as minor work so no plans are needed. Can you think of any reasons why a municipality would not grant permission? How does one go about getting permission? How long does it normally take for permission to get granted?

  251. Hi Samuel, Thanks. Your dog kennel will certainly be classed as “minor building work” and we think that it is really one of those things that you could just go ahead and build. If you are worried then by all means just write them a note for the record.

  252. thanks a lot Penny!

    Really appreciate the info!

    Keep up the good work,


  253. Hello Penny,

    I want to extend an existing patio (make it bigger), and add a pergola. Do I need to submit plans? Regards.

  254. hi

    do i really need to stick to leaving 2 m on each sides when renovating ,or can I place my garage wall closer to the boundry wall from my neighbours?

    will i pay a fee for not leaving a 2m distance?

  255. Good day

    If repair and possible modification to electrical installations in a building is done during the process of obtaining a Certificate of Compliance, would a contractor need to comply with Electrical Installations Regulations as well as the Construction Regulations?

  256. Hi Penny,

    I am thinking of renovating my house and extending two rooms (lounge and study) and adding an ensuit. I contacted the municipality to request for previous plans of the house. I have an idea of what i want to do and have drawn it down. Would I need a builder to amend the plans that will be received, is there costs involved for the municipality to approve the building and is there any other authority required before the actual building starts?

  257. Robert Jonathan

    Good day Penny
    I own a residential property of erf size- 825 square meter with an existing house size- 64 square meter. I would like to build a few flats on this property (size-31.5 square meter) around the existing house as a second income.
    My questions are:
    What are the legislation’s with regard to putting up extra residential units as an income?
    What is the correct/legal process and procedures to follow?
    Is my suggested sizes for the flats a livable size(for single person only)

    If there are any referrals for plans or legal matters to such a project your advise would be appreciated thanks.


  258. Suzanne Smith

    Good day

    I would like to find out if I’m building with fabricated steel do I need plans.


  259. Hi Suzanne, ANY building work requires plans. The method or component of the building will have to be indicated on those plans, and this will have to be an Agrément certified building method/component. Your fabricated steel will have to be a certified method or component before your plans can be approved.

  260. Hi Penny,
    I would like to enclose my existing patio with wood and glass stacking doors, do i require plans to do this?
    I would also like to install a door from my house into the garage – is there anything i need to know / take into consideration for this?

  261. Magda Wilkens

    I live in the Queensburgh area (Durban), we are planning on going double story with our house. Whilst plans are being submitted, do i need any form of consent from my direct neighbors, and if so where can I find it in writing? Municipal regulations or bylaws?

  262. Hi,

    We submitted plans to the tshwane municipality for building alterations. Do you have a number I can contact to see how far the process is? I can’t find it on their website anywhere.


  263. Hi

    I recently was told by the body corporate that enclosing a patio required the amendments to the building plans? How true is this?

    The sliding door which will be added does not affect the structure of the building.

  264. If i extend my existing outer wall of my bathrooms by 1,5 Meters and make my bedroom bigger, by an additional 10- 12 meters, do i need plans for this, the structure will still ramin the same its just the bathrooms will be slightly bigger and a new wall will replace the existing one on the outisde of my house. Do i need plans for this?

  265. Hi I have a problem with a supermarket which is situated behind my property and they have been doing some illegal alterations where I don’t have access to the back wall of my property.They have walls which are attached to my property and metal sheetings attached to my property. The building inspectors say all they can do is give them a fine. Their walls are cracking and thereby causing our properties to crack.Please advise me on what to do and who should I contact.

  266. Nicole Fowler

    New Building regulations

    We bought a house in 2004. Internal changes were made before we bought it,and updated plans were not submitted. Jeffreys Bay municipality are trying to fine us and force us to make major changes to the property
    before we sell it. Are they allowed to backdate these laws and fine us for changes made by the previous owner prior to 2004?

  267. Subject:
    query regarding alterations
    Dear Sirs,
    Please may I ask you, you advised the following on your website: “Knocking through a wall (as long as it isn’t load bearing) is also not a problem; but again, if you’re having plans drawn up anyway, you could mark the opening “as built”.”
    May I ask, in terms of what law do you say this? Would this be applicable to KZN too?
    Kind regards,
    Daniel Robb

  268. Hi Nicole, Many people in SA have had this same situation. Unfortunately when you buy the house you buy all the problems that go with it so you become responsible for having up-to-date plans for council. Normally if you take out a bond on a house the bank will ask for plans so they can see what they are investing their money in and usually at that stage you could have the seller do the plans. That was 10 years ago and legally I do not think you will be able to sue the seller after such a long time, but you could consult a lawyer and incur the costs. I have been wanting to start a campaign to make it mandatory for any house seller in SA to supply an approved set of plans to the buyer along with the house.

  269. Sheldon Davy

    Good Day,

    I would like to find out of I am alb dot move 2 windows in my house without having to submit plans. I have a cottage on the property and two of the windows lead onto the garage and I would like to move them so that they face the garden.

    The two windows are in fact cottage pane french doors that will open fully, would this make a difference?

    Sheldon Davy

  270. Hi Lynette, This sounds quite unacceptable, you might ask the inspector to give you a report in writing as to what they have done illegally. Then approach the management of the supermarket requesting them to rectify what has been done. Also have a look at our article about the PAJA, it explains what you can do and there are two forms that you can download and submit. The other course of action is to consult a lawyer to demand that they put right the work done. Please keep in touch and let us know and maybe we can give your situation some publicity if you do not get any satisfaction.

  271. Hi…I want to convert my existing double garage into a 2 bedroom cottage with a small lounge/kitchen area…..DO I NEED APPROVED PLANS?….. The existing garage (6M x 8M) have a bathroom with a small room in it already. So, I will remove the 2 garage doors and build it close. I will build dividing wall with doors for the 2 bedrooms (3M x 3M each) with no ceiling as it is a thatched roof. the bedroom walls will be 2.6 meters high. I will add windows for each room and a window and sliding door for the lounge.

  272. Hi

    About 5 years ago, I had my upstairs patio enclosed, it is now a 2nd bathroom and study. After obtaining 3 quotes we decided on a builder, he was very efficient, sent all the plans, started off well, completed the project, and was never heard of again… leaving me with a leaking roof, that have been fixed so many times…. I am now replacing the flat roof with a tiled roof. The other problem is, I have discovered, he never submitted the plans for the alternations. I have consulted with an architect and he has informed me that the windows does not comply with the new green act and that 50% of the electricity must come from solar. Clearly this so called builder was not aware of the new act.. or he just did not care to make sure we comply…. Is there anything I can do?

  273. I have just bought a house in Somerset West. It has a large room – 63m2 above the garage. The flooring is wooden and it currently has water at a prep station. I will like to convert this room into a flatlet by means of dry-walling on the interior to create a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and a lounge with a kitchenette. Do I need to get plans to change the structure even if I am using dry-walling??

  274. Hi

    I am currently getting some additions designed to my house in Midstream, Centurion. The architect is telling me that there is a 15% restrictions on the windows/glass openings that we may have as part of this alteration. Is that restriction correct? It doesn’t make sense to me as part of the alteration is to include some sliding stack doors and this is basically more than the 15% already. Please can you direct me to the relevant laws that govern this or advise me correctly.

    Many thanks

  275. hi, do you require building plans to extend an existing wall? the idea is to make the wall the same height and add a gate to the front of the house. the wall is currently curved, no gate in place.

  276. Hi All

    Let me start by saying this must be one of the most informative building and information sites around!

    I have sympathy with Nicole as our Local Municipality is less than forth coming in regards with building approval and occupancy! Building plan approval takes 90 days plus and in some cases more than a year! Because of this people simply give up or continue with their renovation on the quiet with dire consequences similar to Nicole’s as building regulations are enforced on the industry with requirements nor enforced in any other areas of South Africa! Double standards and favoritism are crippling the building industry in in Kouga.

  277. This is not an easy one to answer. Firstly if you change the usage of a room and make it into a habitable (bedroom) room then yes you will need plans and the job will have to be done by registered builders/plumbers/electricians etc. You will have to use dry-walling as the wooden floor will not have been designed to bear the weight of bricks and mortar. The problem that you will have to ask the council planning department about is if you are allowed to have a wooden floor above a garage and if you will be allowed to convert this to a living space. Somerset West Planning are very helpful so just pop-in and ask.

  278. Not normally, it all depends on the covering, retractable shadecloth or canvas is fine any solid covering such as fibreglass or aluminium will need plans

  279. It depends on the zoning where your house is and it depends on the size of your property. Usually if a plot size is below 500sq meters then you can build up to the boundary. If your building line is 2 meters then you will have to get permission from the local council. They will also want you to get approval from the next door neighbour in writing.

  280. Well said Hendre, unfortunately you might be right. Thank you for the compliment 🙂

  281. You will have to get a “competent person” to draw up the plans as they will not be approved if they are not done by a registered person. A builder might not be registered as an architect or a draftsperson and will not be allowed to draw up plans. Yes there are costs for the council to assess and approve the plans and this amount will vary depending on what is being done. A word of caution, you have to have your plans approved BEFORE you start building otherwise you might get a fine if you do.

  282. Robert the town planning scheme for your area will show you what the density (the percent of building/s) allowed is for your property. Contact your local planning department and give them your erf number and find out how many dwellings they will allow. If you want to deviate from what is laid down in the by-laws then you will have to apply for permission from the council. When you contact them they will be able to tell you what their procedure is.

  283. Yes of course!

  284. My name is Lungi, I just want to add a double garage to my existing house, but I’m struggling to get an architect to draw my plan, how do I know that he is the right one & not a crook.


  285. You can check on this site: if he is registered, just search the directory. He could be a qualified draughtsperson and could be registered with one of the other institutes. Call the SAIA and ask them.

  286. This is a horrible fix that so many people get stuck with. If you have a valid address you can approach an attorney and sue him but unfortunately there is very little that you can do. With all due respect to attorneys you might do better spending the money on a reputable building company to fix the problem. You can report him to HelloPeter and warn others of the poor workmanship.

  287. This is covered in the SANS10400 Energy Usage X & XA and the calculation for windows is explained in this post: fenestration-calculations

  288. Hi. What a great site!

    Please advise. I need to know if I need to have a plan drawn up if I want to use precast walls on my driveway. My building inspector is being difficult with me for everything I suggest. He told me to have plans for the gate columns that you mount the gate to, is that right? My precast wall will be about 4m long and 2 m high, do I really need a plan. Thanks.

  289. Anything that requires concrete foundations should have plans and your pillars must be built on proper foundations so will need plans if that is what the inspector wants.

  290. This is a major change in the plans that are registered with the council so you will certainly need to put in plans and get them approved before you build. Please note that if you do the alterations without plans and then want to sell the house at a later stage the council will see that you have done illegal alterations and it could be very costly with fines, plans and delays.

  291. Hi I am planning to replace old windows with similar shape wooden windows. Do I need council approval? Would the window replacement affect the foundation in any way?

  292. You will be fine replacing old windows with new ones without plans. So long as you do not make the opening bigger and have to put in new lintols. The new windows should not affect your foundations in any way.

  293. Sorry forgot to mention the area size is 20m2.

  294. Johan Makkink

    I want clarity on the construction of carports (Fixed to house) and wendy houses exeeding 5m2 please.

  295. I think that you are looking for references to “minor building work” according to the regulations, please read our post here: minor-building-work

  296. Yes you will have to submit plans as making two new openings to fit the windows/doors that you want to move means that you will do structural changes to the building and that means you need plans.

  297. Your plans with the council state that that area is a garage and if you want to change the “class of occupancy” of any room then you will need to get plans approved before you start with the alterations. You are doing structural changes to the building as well and any structural changes must have plans.

  298. Hi in response to my complaint about the Take and Pay supermarket and under further investigation I found out that the 3 meter walls that they have built about few years ago has no plans and all alterations to existing property has no plans.A week ago a few residents were given notification of a special consent application for us to object or approve and it states proposed alterations and additions to existing property (deviations to approved plan no 1780499 – 1) and erection of boundary walls in excess of 2,0 m in height on a site zoned general business 2 .We as residents are objecting to these plans as noise nuisance is unbearable and we get enough light and I would also like know if they erect a boundary wall how much of space should there be between our properties as they want to build the boundary walls against my back walls and we would therefore have no access to our the back wall of our property. Please advise us on this matter.Thank you

  299. Hi,

    Both my neighbour and I recently purchased our properties in Bedfordview, Gauteng. We have an existing boundary wall between us however he wants to raise it to 5m high. He asked me permission, option 1, if he can demolish the existing wall and start from scratch and carry all the costs except he will not plaster my side – which I am not happy with as its unnecessary cost for me. Option 2 is to keep the existing wall and to start from scratch on his side however the part which is higher than the existing wall will not be plastered on my side and hence will look ugly, I am also worried if the new wall will affect the old wall’s foundation, strength, etc. Option 3, is to build onto the existing wall but he first needs to explore the foundation, strength, etc, as it’s an old wall which is a bit skew here and there and have some cracks as well. So he gave me these options and asked that I get back to him on what option will work for me. Please can you advise on the best way to approach this situation, which option should we go with and what to look out for ? Thank you.

  300. Robert Cronje

    Dear Janek,

    I am planning a few alterations which I think will be classed as minor building work but would appreciate some clarity.

    1. My gate is part of a built wall and have posts high enough for a carport om the street side boundry (also have recesses to rest beams on). can I fix this new carport to the house on the other end and use IBR for roofing? Would I need to submit plans?

    2. On our stoep is a built braai (brick up to about 1.2m) with a steel braai box including chimney mounted on top. Can I move this (Not on plan) and use the existing steel portion without plans? And how close can I build this new braai to the boundry wall?

    I will notify the Bellville council of these minor works before commencing.

    Thanks for a very imterresting site!!



  301. Hi I’m in kzn and would like to do alterations to my exsisting garage turning it into a batchelor pad would I need plans for the alterations

  302. Yes you will need plans because you are changing the use of the space from one for a car to human habitation and the regulations are very different. Do not do the alterations without plans as this will catch up with you later and could be costly.

  303. Elaine Wilson

    If alterations was done before 2008 what was the norm for ceiling brander spacing? Currently 400mm.

  304. Brandering should not be @ more than 400mm centres, see the illustration below.
    Brandering spacing
    This has been the norm for many years.

  305. Elaine Wilson

    What if alterations was done in 1983 and house was build in 1976 and brandering is 600mm? Does that mean the brandering is illegal?

  306. Generally any changes in the standards are not retrospective, but it depends largely on the extent of the alterations. If the alterations were done legally, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  307. I agree that this does sound like minor building work. The council will be quick to tell you if they disagree – good luck!

  308. Elaine Wilson

    Thank you, but I need to know what the legal requirements were at the time of extensions viz. 1983.

  309. I am in the process of purchasing a house, I requested the latest plans from the current owner. The changes below have been made on the house but they are not on the plans:
    1) Garage converted in to a living area, windows added to this living area
    2) Interior wall added to convert open area into a room.

    The owner says he bought the house like that (1990), are new plans showing the latest structure of the house required

  310. Hi

    Am trying to get a general sense of COSTS associated with building alterations (free-standing property).These would include, taking down some walls. The whole building is: Floor Area: 216m2, but about two or three walls would be taken down to merge rooms/spaces.

    Any indication is welcome.


  311. Hi. Why do plans that have been submitted for approval have an expiration date of 1 year attached to it? I’ve been told that I need to resubmit my application from scratch after having gone through the entire process for 2 years and having spend about R20000 for an architect, engineer and application fees. My architect just told me he needs to requote me for additonal work as some of the building laws/requirements have now changed. Confused and frustrated

  312. I want to extend my rear patio with a wooden deck by 2meters no roof covering.Will I need to submit plans.

    Thank you,Ken

  313. Hi Ken, a wooden deck will be considered “minor building work”. That is, if the deck is at ground level and not up on the 1st or 2nd floor 😛

  314. Mogomotsi Motlhabane

    I need help how long does it take the contractor to do alterations in a house according to the law.

  315. Hi Mogomotsi, There is no time limit according to the law. That is why when you hire a contractor to do work you must put the agreement for the work and the costs in writing and put time limits in there.

  316. Hi – I would like to close in my courtyard – extending existing walls and adding roof to change into a laundry room. Kitchen door leads onto courtyard… what do I need to do.

  317. Gauteng – Can you please advise if there are special requirements that must be met when the addition (living room) to a house with a tile roof has a thatch roof?

  318. Hi Shaun, 5m is a pretty high wall so I am pretty certain that the original foundations were not designed to take that weight of wall. For a 5m height of wall plans have to be submitted and approved by council and foundation size will have to be specified on the plans possibly accompanied by an engineer’s report. So long as the bricklayers finish your side as a fairface finish then it should not look too bad and you could paint it to match you house colour scheme. The other cheap alternatitaves are to do a spatterdash finish or a bagged plaster finish.

  319. I do not understand the question. If the addition has a different roof to the existing house that is not a problem so long as it is stated on the plans.

  320. Hi Ella, you need to get a “competent person” to draw up plans and submit them to your local council for approval.

  321. Hi

    I want to know if the contractor I use to do renovations to my house is required to be NHBRC registered or if this is only a requirement for the building of a new house or additions to an existing house?

  322. Hi James, The NHBRC registration only relates to new houses but the chances are that if they are reputable builders they will also do renovations as well. You can check with the Master Builders if they are regisrered, all good builders should be:

  323. Hi, i am about to a house in Randburg, Ferndale and my aim is extend few rooms on the ground, do i need to get a permission from the council? i won’t touch the current structure but will start separate rooms in the same yard.

  324. Felix – do yourself a favour and contact the municipality to find out their requirements

  325. Time for you to do some detective work I guess.

  326. Roberto you do not have to start from scratch unless the plans have expired and the local authority states you must begin the process again – which is unlikely. You can usually apply for an extension – but it will depend on what your local authority says. If you ask your architect which sections of the regs he is referring to I can tell you whether he is correct or not. Most of the current NBR deemed-to-satisfy regs were completed by 2012. There have been some minor adjustments to some standards.

  327. Contact a contractor for a quote.

  328. Apologies for the delay in responding. I do hope this has been resolved since it has to do with heritage buildings. i.e. Not a straightforward NBR issue.

  329. I don’t think you need plans to do this. But always, when in doubt, contact the local authority.

  330. It depends on the zoning regs which will be bylaws. If you are within your rights as per the bylaws, then you don’t need permission.

  331. Here is the link to their contact details.

  332. This may be a body corporate requirement.

  333. All is applicable country wide unless the bylaws differ.

  334. You have the right to demand he gets the plans amended. If you are getting a bond the bank will likely demand this too. The fact that he didn’t have plans is irrelevant. At the end of the day, if you don’t get him to make the amendments (or if he refuses to), you will have to accept that these will be for your account. It may well become part of your negotiations.

  335. Hi,

    I would like to remove the internal wall that divides my kitchen from my lounge thus making it more open plan.
    Do I need to submit plans for this?

  336. As long as you don’t remove a load-bearing wall you should be fine.

  337. Hi,

    I am in the process of buying a house in Ferndale, Randburg but what I can see one of the neighbor has his building built on the solid fencing. I think the fencing is his but what I want to know does he have a right to build on the fence? I am concern as anyone can go on his roof and jump in my yard.

    Please advise what can I do?


  338. Jan Labuschagne

    As far as my knowledge goes, you do not have to submit plans, as it is in the inside of your house. what you need to focus on is not to remove “pillars”, which can cause your house to collapse. My advise would that you get hold of a building contractor (Preferably NHBCR registered) and follow his advise

  339. Please advise on average cost per square meter for adding a second floor (100 sqm with full bathroom and open plan bedroom). thanks Yes – second floor needed as an open plan floor with bedroom, bathroom, lounge and study

  340. Hi

    I have a single storey house and need to make alterations by adding a second storey ( i.e.converting it to a double storey house). What are the requirements for this to happen?

  341. You need to have plans drawn up by a competent person – and these must be past by your local municipality before you can start building.

  342. If his plans were approved this way then yes he can. You can find out from the local authority.

  343. Pat we are not builders and so do not supply quotations. Furthermore very few builders today are prepared to suggest costs per square metre because these are so variable. You need to contact a construction company or private builder for quotes.

  344. If the wall is higher than 1.8 you will need plans.

  345. I recently extended my home by 50 m sq. Do I need COC as well as plumbing clearance certificates

  346. I cant see any of the comments of this page? Is there a setting I am missing?

  347. Hi Regardt,
    thanks for alerting us about this. There was a conflict with some of the coding, we have now sorted this out and the comments are now displaying correctly.

  348. You should have had approved plans before you extended the house. And yes you do need the necessary plumbing certificates.

  349. Craig Williams

    I wish to demolish an internal non-loadbearing wall for which I have a structural engineers report to confirm this. Am I required to submit a plan to Council for approval prior to demolishing or can I submit a courticy plan thereafter. Please advise urgently as contractors are on site

  350. lynette bennett

    My husband and I own a property jointly. If the owner of the property next to ours has plans drawn up to add a double garage onto his house is it necessary for him to get both of our signatures for approval of his plan?

  351. Not unless he is building something that doesn’t comply with the zoning or local council bylaws

  352. Ask the council. I can’t give you approval and don’t know whether they want approval or not – it’s their prerogative.

  353. Hello. If two dwellings are connected by a wall that is perpendicular /at a right angle to both properties, are they considered as attached or detached from each other?

  354. Meant perpendicular to both dwellings which are on the same Erf.

  355. I am a director of Homeowners Association NPC Company for a cluster complex comprising eight freehold units. A recent buyer of a unit has started doing building operations ( extending an upstairs bedroom by approx. 1.5 m onto an upstairs balcony). In terms of our MOI ( Rules etc) he should have sought our approval before commencing building. He has not submitted plans to the authorities or sought approval from close neighbours. Construction was well advanced before we became aware of it and we cannot really stop it now. We do not condone his actions and have requested that he submit plans for approval by the authorities ASP. We want to put some time restriction on him getting approval. Not an ideal situation at all. Would appreciate your advice on how we should handle this.

  356. HI, I also need to hit out a non-bearing wall between kitchen and lounge to make it open plan. How do i get hold of council to ask if I need all these approval steps just for that?

    Then if I want to tile my bathroom or put new laminate flooring in, do I need permission for that?


  357. I wish to turn my double garage into a granny flat. I want to extend the garage with about 3m. The garage is not free standing but part of my existing home. I am staying in Brackenfell. Do I have to (a) submit a plan (b) will it be allowed and (c) what else must I do first to make it happen?

  358. Yes you do need plans. I have no idea whether the council will allow the extension. One factor will depend on how close to the boundary you are building.

  359. You and/or the council/local authority can force him to stop work until the necessary permission is given. Don’t just let him continue or it will establish a precedent with other residents.

  360. Phone the council and ask if they need to approve removal of a non load bearing wall. Or go into their offices. You do not need any form of approval for tiling or flooring.

  361. I want to make a car port next to my garage wall, the car port get to 0,6 m from my neighbours boundary. Our properties is in a holiday resort area and there is no fences or walls between the properties. How far am I allowed to come from the boundary with my car port. The Resort has got no rules regarding the distance you are allowed to build from the boundary. I pay property tax to the Municipality. Must I comply with the Municipality’s bylaws regarding building distances from the boundary ?

  362. Hi Corrie, mmunicipalities normally have a one meter building line. But because you are in a resort they might have their own rules, check with your management. Mostly if you make an arrangement with your neighbour and they agree then you may build closer. Do any agreement in writing and keep it safe.

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