Nov 152011

Walls Support the Roof and other Loads-Part K

Building walls

It is vital that walls are strong, stable, waterproof and fireproof. The way that the roof is affixed to the wall is also very important.

The fundamental structure of a house is formed by its external walls, which must support the roof and take any other load that is built above. The section of the National Building Regulations that deals with walls is SANS 10400-K  and it has several parts, each dealing with building walls, and the elements of how both internal and external walls should be correctly constructed.

Changes to the Legislation

Like much of SANS 10400, Part K: Walls has changed quite substantially, both in terms of the legislation and the section that deals with The application of the National Building Regulations, which is the document prepared by the SABS and published separately to the legislation.

(NOTE: Previously SABS 0400, which became SANS 10400, was published by the SABS in its entirety, with the legislation and a Code of Practice which took the form of “deemed-to-satisfy requirements”. When the legislation changed on May 30, 2008, this was gazetted. The SABS then progressively updated its guidelines and published them over a period of years, as a series of individual documents. These are available from offices of the SABS and from the Bureau’s webstore, HERE. The new version of Part K was published on 29-03-2011 and it costs R517.56 including VAT.)

This article deals primarily with the changes to the legislation, and how it applies to building walls, rather than the South African National Standards.

Structural Strength and Stability of Building Walls

Part K 1 of the regulations states that, “Any wall shall be designed and constructed to safely sustain any actions which can reasonably be expected to occur and in such a manner that any local damage (including cracking) or deformation do not compromise the opening and closing of doors and windows or the weather tightness of the wall and in the case of any structural wall, be capable of safely transferring such actions to the foundations supporting such wall.”

This has been substantially expanded. Previously the legislation simply said the walls should be capable of safely sustaining any loads to which they would be likely to be subjected. It also said that structural walls should be capable of safely transferring such loads to the foundation supporting a structural wall.

There are various walling materials available, made primarily from clay and cement-based products. You will need to decide which is the best material for your particular purposes. Walls can also be built with stone or timber, but each material has its own set of methods to satisfy the requirements.

Solid brick walls normally consist of two brick skins that are joined together and strengthened with brickforce or brick reinforcing and/or wall-ties (a mild steel wire laid between some of the courses to add strength). The interior and exterior surfaces are normally plastered but may be fairfaced (facebrick). Concrete block walls are a more economic option and are often used for garages and outbuildings.

Water Penetration of Walls

Whatever materials you choose to use when you build, the method used for building walls must comply with Part K 2 of the regulations. Primarily they must be built to prevent water penetrating into any part of the building. All cavity walls must be well drained by means of weep holes above a damp-proof course. All cement bricks and blocks are relatively porous and should be plastered or rendered on both sides for thorough waterproofing.

Basements and semi-basements are also referred to in the “new” legislation, and any room below ground must be adequately waterproofed.

The legislation reads: “Where a building includes a basement or semi-basement, the local authority may, if it considers that conditions on the site on which the building is to be erected necessitate integrated designs for the penetration of water into such basement or semi-basement applicable to all construction elements or components thereof, require the submission of such designs for approval. Construction shall be in accordance with the requirements of the approved design.”

In recent years, a variety of alternative construction methods have been developed, most notably in the sphere of cheaper housing. These include the building of walls with insulated fibrecement panels; with fibreglass panels; creating the basic structure with shuttered no-fines concrete; using polystyrene sprayed onto a basic framework; or piling up sausage-shaped bags of sand and cement. If you want to use any altrernative method it would be best to contact your local authority planning division, or building inspector, for guidance.

Roof Fixing

Part K 3 deals with the way in which the roof of any building is attached to the wall and states that this must be done securely and safely and must be able to withstand any natural forces such as high winds or rain and hail. Specifically, it states:

“Where any roof truss, rafter or beam is supported by any wall, provision shall be made to fix such truss, rafter or beam to such wall in a secure manner that will ensure than any actions to which the roof may normally be subjected will be transmitted to such wall.”

While this clause of the legislation is basically the same as it was previously – one word has changed with forces deleted and actions replacing it – there are substantial amendments to the so-called “deemed-to-satisfy requirements” published in SANS 10400, Part K Walls. Similarly there are many changes – more so in the form of additions – to SANS 10400, Part L Roofs.

The Ways Walls Behave in Fire

Part K 4 deals with Behaviour in Fire, and state simple that, “Any wall shall have combustibility and fire resistance characteristics appropriate to the location and use of such wall”.

Brick, block and stone walls are generally accepted as fire resistant. Timber frame with timber or fibrecement cladding need to be certified, and you should check with the supplier regarding these rules for their type of walling, before you decide which material you are going to use for building walls.

Deemed-to-Satisfy Requirements

Part K 5 of the legislation states that Parts K 1 to K 4 will have been deemed to be satisfied “where the structural strength and stability of any wall, the prevention of water penetration into or through such wall, the fixing of any roof to such wall, and the behavior in a fire of such wall” complies with the relevant part of SANS 10400. This standard, “Establishes deemed-to-satisfy solutions for rain penetration and damp-proofing and contains simple design and construction provisions for masonry walls in single-storey and double-storey buildings and framed buildings that do not exceed four storeys; masonry balustrade walls and masonry free-standing boundary, garden and retaining walls.”


Roofs-Part L

  171 Responses to “Walls”

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  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us Penny. I see on one of the comments above you have said that one can put up a precast wall without plans. But what about the consent of the neighbour. The reason I am asking this is that I have a similar neighbour with the one described by Sarah on this forum. There is a section of the boundary wall that is just 1m high and since my dogs are now one year old, I would like them to be able to go to that part of the yard. At the moment I have to restrict them in the backyard because I fear they may jump over to the neighbour’s yard and there may be problems. I live in Pretoria. Thanks in advance.

    • Vuyo I am not sure which comment you are referring to, because most local authorities DO require plans for precast and other walls. Some even want plans for fencing of any type! In terms of neighbours’ consent, provided you are building on your side of the boundary, and complying to both building regs and the local council’s requirements (which is why you need to submit plans), then you don’t need neighbours’ consent. If the council allows you to build let’s say higher than normal, then you would probably be required to get consent from your neighbour.
      In your situation, presuming the wall belongs to your neighbour (and is therefore on his/her side rather than on the common boundary, and was built by him/her or by a previous owner … and not by you or a previous owner of your property) then you can either come to an agreement to increase the height of the wall OR build a second wall or erect fencing on your side of the existing wall. It seems a bit crazy to have two walls side by side, but it happens quite a lot I believe!
      Regarding dual ownership of walls and fences:
      Party walls or fences In the absence of proof that a boundary (party) wall is entirely on one of two adjoining properties, it is presumed to be half on one property and half on the other. Some legal authorities state that then each part is separately owned by the owner of the property on which it stands, but that there are reciprocal servitudes of support.” Reader’s Digest Family Guide to the Law in South Africa

  2. Good morning Penny.
    Please can you offer your advise. We reside on a Golf Estate in Johannesburg and we live on the perimeter. Recently the Estate has been doing renovations on the perimeter walls and the walls that was on our perimeter was also identified as a hazard and needed to be replaced. That has been done in the last week, where they came and destroyed the wall and rebuilt it. The body corporate has informed us that the liability is on us to paint the side of the wall that is our property. I am not sure what the law states, but would like to know. Reason is that we did not request that these walls need to be replaced, so why must we incur the costs? I have a letter that was sent to my husband from them, if you need more clarification. Thanks for your assistance,

    • Generally it is the responsibility of the owner to paint the side of any wall that is on the inside of his or her property. But the issue of ownership can complicate the things. For instance if you owned the wall and decided to replace it, your neighbour might demand that you paint their side for the very reasons you have given. Some municipalities state that in the absence of proof of who owns the wall, it becomes jointly owned. In this instance neither party may remove the wall or make a hole in it, without the other party agreeing. Both would then pay jointly for replacement of the wall and do whatever they wanted on their side, at their cost. Other than that I haven’t been able to pinpoint any general legislation that covers this issue. Some municipalities, though, have specific regulations.
      In the case of most “private” estates, there are built-in regulations that all owners and residents have to abide by – over and above general laws and regulations. These often include the type of building materials used, paint colors etc.
      So first I think you need to check the paperwork you have signed.
      Then there are some questions you could ask the body corporate (depending on your contractual obligations).
      Who does the wall actually belong to? It may be that all perimeter walls are the responsibility of the estate; though there may be a clause that states you are responsible to maintain the inside surface – i.e. keeping it clean, painting etc. Did they ask (or even need to ask) permission to rip the wall down and rebuild it? If they didn’t – and if there is NOT a clause that states you are liable for upkeep etc – then I would say it is their responsibility to paint the new wall. Lastly, are you obliged, within the estate, to have painted walls? If so, do they specify either paint type and/or colour? If not then you don’t have to paint it.
      Over and above all of this, it might be that they are liable because the construction was hazardous. It could be construed as a latent defect. However this might end up with lawyers and even higher costs than paint. If you are going to be forced to use a contractor and/or the extent of the wall is such that it is going to cost you a lot even if you take the DIY route, a lawyer’s letter might be the answer. It shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred rands – about what a couple of litres of good quality paint will cost you (probably not enough to paint the wall!).

  3. Dear Penny,

    Firstly, I think your site is fantastic and I would like to congratulate you on it. It is so insightful and helpful. We are from the UK so your South African property advice is invaluable!

    I’m sure you do not deal with property disputes, but I am tearing my hair out here, so I thought I might ask!

    Last year we bought and renovated a house in Parkview, Johannesburg. As part of the renovations we built a 1.8m perimeter wall, which we had planning permission for. The wall was built according to the GPS co-ordinates for our plot. Before we built the wall there was a hedge and an old, low, precast concrete wall, which we removed in the process of building. I was in hospital having a baby when the builder took the old wall and hedge down so we were rather distracted and didn’t get the opportunity to get the neighbour’s permission. We are of the understanding that the old wall and hedge were on our plot, so although it would have been neighbourly to talk to our neighbours first, we just didn’t get the opportunity. We did write to them all at the time, apologising for any inconvenience and giving our contact details in the even they needed to talk to us.

    Our neighbour on one side (the side with the precast wall) has subsequently claimed that the wiring for her intercom was in the ground under our new perimeter wall, on our plot, and that the intercom is no longer functioning since we built the wall. As a gesture of goodwill I have offered to have a new wire put in to run along her side of the wall at my cost. She will not accept this as a solution and insists I have the wire ground into our new wall and the wall completely plastered and painted on her side so there is no evidence of the grinding into the wall.

    She also claims a zinc awning, that she says she put up two weeks before we started work on our house, was damaged when we built the new perimeter wall. I can see it was damaged and, again as a gesture of goodwill, I have bought the zinc and I am employing a builder to fit it for her. However, this awning that she has put up is about 10cm from our perimeter wall, is that a safe legal distance?

    There is also a tiny amount of damage to her front door portico, which again is about 10cm from our perimeter wall (built on our plot – not hers). I have offered to paint the small areas of damage but she is asking that I repaint the whole house as the paint will not match exactly.

    Do you have any advice? I am feeling very bullied by this lady, I keep trying to help but every time I think we have a resolution she asks me to do more, even though our building work was completed almost a year ago and we have continually tried to resolve the matter.

    In summary there are three areas that concern me:

    1. She is claiming we must put right her intercom, that was on our plot, by grinding it into the new wall and plastering and painting the wall at our cost. This feels wrong to me, I’ve offered to run wiring at my cost but she insists this is not sufficient and the wiring must be invisible. Am I liable to do this for her?
    2. She is claiming damage to two areas that practically touch the new perimeter wall. I can’t see how we could have avoided the small areas of damage given how close she has built to our perimeter and I’d like to know if that is a legally safe distance? I am happy to put the damage right (it will take a painter about an hour and a builder less than a morning) but given how close her structures are I want to know if they are legally built? Am I legally required to paint her whole house?

    Again, my husband and I have continually tried to help and offer solutions (I have a long history of emails to evidence this) but the demands just seem to grow and although she holds up progress by not responding to emails, she is holding me responsible for not getting the work done.



    • Hi Sarah, Thanks for the compliments. I think your experience deserves to be part of a full-on blog post that elaborates a bit more on neighbour disputes. In fact a lot of people who have asked for advice have had neighbour-related problems… usually totally illegal things the neighbours are doing. But in the meantime I’ll share my thoughts.
      First of all it sounds to me that you have been more than reasonable, and in so doing, your neighbour is now trying to take advantage of you!
      1. You say you had planning permission to build the wall, and say it is on your property (i.e. your side of the boundary?) If you have proof that the boundary wall is entirely on your property you have a big advantage; otherwise there are all types of issues e.g. reciprocal servitudes, encroachment and “common ownership”. GPS co-ordinates should be adequate, but you might need to get a land surveyor to verify the points for you. Unfortunately many people measure incorrectly and do encroach on neighbours’ land. But this doesn’t seem to be the issue with your neighbour.
      Presuming that the wall has been built on your property, unless the planning permission states that you need neighbor’s consent, you don’t have to get neighbor’s consent. But it is your responsibility to maintain and repair the wall (though not according to your neighbor’s specifications). Since both parties benefit from the wall, a decent neighbour will be happy to paint their side. Of course if the wall is badly built and it starts to crack or the plaster starts to fall off, that is another issue (which some of our readers have written to me about). Some people opt to build their own walls adjacent to a neighbor’s to avoid or overcome arguments about wall type, style, finish etc! Crazy but true.
      As an aside; often when a property owner decides to build a wall (or upgrade as you have done), they ask the neighbour for a contribution. This is not obligatory unless the wall is jointly owned (usually when it is centered exactly on the boundary line).
      2. You say you wrote to the neighbors. Was this prior to building commencing? This would be important if the dispute came down to legal action. If you only wrote after you had started building, they could maintain that they weren’t aware of what was happening. Specifically, if your precast wall neighbour knew that there was wiring under the old wall, she should have alerted you when the wall was demolished. I presume she did not object to the precast wall coming down? This is also important for two reasons: i) you can then assume that she knew that the old wall was on your property; ii) she was probably happy that you were upgrading the wall.
      If you really feel it is your responsibility to rectify the wiring issue, then offer to have it laid in the ground in suitable cabling alongside the wall. I see no reason to have to chase into the wall, replaster and repaint. And frankly, if she continues to be bloody-minded, don’t do anything!
      3. The “zinc awning”. What structure is it attached to? Perhaps you can take a pic of it and email it to me. Generally you cannot build anything any closer than 1,5 m from a boundary. People do sometimes apply for exemptions from their local authorities, but in this instance you would definitely need a neighbour’s consent. So your neighbour might be in a little bit of trouble here, depending on the structure. Also, can she prove that your builder damaged her awning? How long after the incident did she draw your attention to the damage?
      4. The portico. Is this a complex that the houses are so close? 10 cm is virtually on top of your wall! I think you need to clarify this issue before you go any further. I’ve tried searching the City of Johannesburg web site, but can’t find anything much that helps.
      My guess is that her structures are illegal! See what you can find out – try phoning, even it takes a while to get through to the right person. If you can ascertain that her building work is illegal, you can make her life very unpleasant …
      5. Last of all, even if you were legally liable in terms of damage to her portico, there is absolutely NO WAY she can expect you to paint her whole house. If it was an insurance claim they would laugh at her!

      • Dear Penny,

        Thanks so much for your response – I am so impressed with your knowledge.

        I will need to check the records, but I have a feeling that my husband only wrote to the neighbours on the day, or day after the work started unfortunately.

        Where does that leave us?

        I will email you a picture of both structures just now. I will also try to find out what the restrictions are in terms of how close she can build to the boundary – do you have any idea which department I should start with?

        We had a surveyor draw up the GPS co-ordinates fortunately, so the wall is within our boundary.

        Unfortunately, her path is so close to the boundary wall there is nowhere to bury the intercom wire, so I can’t do it that way. I have given her five options:

        1. Last year I offered to have my security company do it,
        2. She declined and said she wanted to do it herself using her own provider, we agreed and offered to reimburse her
        2. She came back to us six months later saying no one would do the work for her, would we please get our security company to do it
        3. I agreed and they provided me with three different quotes for her – trunking, grinding the wiring into the wall, and a wireless intercom system – at her request. I offered to pay for the first option, if she chose another I’d contribute the cost of the trunking. She is insistent that we must pay for grinding.

        Incidentally, we plastered the whole wall on her side and had it all painted to her specifications.


        • She sounds like a neighbor from hell! Since the wall, it seems, is definitely on your property (and I assume you were not instructed by the council to get neighbor’s consent), I don’t believe you have anything to worry about – other than living next door to an unreasonable person. I also assume that she didn’t rush over and go into panic mode when you started pulling down the old wall. One question, when the builders dug the foundation trenches, did they come across this wiring? You should probably check this as well.
          Before you do anything further, contact the council. If her structures are illegal – I would refuse to do anything more to assist her.
          Re the City; ask for the planning department or someone who is knowledgeable in terms of building by-laws that relate to boundaries and structures. You might have to explain in a bit more detail. Or you could ask to speak to a building inspector or someone in that department – in which case have your erf number on hand – they may ask you for it. I would ask if they would send a building inspector to look at her structures.
          Just out of interest, did an inspector check your foundations and/or the completed wall? Technically someone should have done both, but I think they are hugely overloaded.

          • Hi Penny,

            She did complain when we took the old wall down – I think because she was not warned that it was coming down, rather than because she wanted to keep the wall. I will need to check that with my husband – I was in hospital having a baby:). I know she has already threatened verbally to take us to court for criminal damage because we took the wall down without notifying her though.

            This is too much information I am sure, but she used to drive the previous owners of our house crazy, complaining about the mess their hedge made of her garden, so she was delighted to hear we were building a wall….

            Regarding the intercom, the builder maintains that there was no wiring, my security company say they cannot see how there was wiring there before… Neither are keen to help her out because she is so irrational. The lady doing my curtains has just said to me that many years ago the same neighbour asked her to do blinds for her, after measuring she never went back because my neighbour was so difficult at the measuring stage! Unfortunately, even though everyone can see how irrational and unreasonable the neighbour is we need to somehow resolve this so she stops bullying us.

            I am not sure if the inspector checked the foundations, etc., I’ll need to ask my husband, but we have had a huge amount of contact with the inspector. The same neighbour complained about our renovations to the department and harassed them daily at a senior level until they came out to us. She complained again, daily, when they said that we had built to plan.
            They came out again and said again we had built to plan…

            They were probably too stressed and busy throughout that to notice if anything had been built out of permission on her side.

            To make matters worse, the neighbour in question has a relative who works for a legal firm, so she keeps threatening me with legal action. Every time she does that I just calmly smile and nod and say I’m happy to speak to her legal advisor. After months of those threats I still haven’t heard anything from her ‘legal advisor’.

            I’ll send those photos to you as soon as I get a moment!


          • Sarah, Since it was a wall on YOUR property that you removed, she cannot sue you for damages.
            I came across a legal (SA) question and answer site yesterday, where someone was doing some building work and was concerned about a stone wall nearby possibly collapsing (though they were not working on this wall at all). His concern was that if the wall collapsed in the direction of the neighbour’s property, and someone was injured, would he be held liable. “I am just concerned that if it falls over – the neighbour (who is not pleasant) may try to pin me with some kind of liability.”
            The lawyer’s response was based on a judgement in the Cape High Court. He said that while it was the owner’s responsibility to “take all reasonable steps to make sure the property of your neighbour is not damaged as a result of the wall falling on his property”, the property owner could not be held liable for damage if the wall collapsed. The implication was that it is the contractor’s problem.
            Regarding the wiring. I guessed nobody had seen it. She probably made the whole thing up!

  4. Hi
    I have an existing wall of 1 m in height. I want to increase the wall by about 1.5 m. Do I require plans to build on the wall.

    • If it is a brick or block wall and you intended building up, then you might need plans. It depends on the requirements of your local authority and the original plans that were submitted. You could raise the height of some walls with wooden slats or something similar, in which case you’d get away with not submitting plans (because these can be removed and won’t affect the stability of the wall).

  5. Hi

    1) Our boundary wall is in the process of collapsing and as a result we are going to break it down and rebuild it. Will we require any permissions to do so?

    2) Since we are rebuilding the boundary wall we would like to extend the boundary wall right up to our neighbours wall and have 2 roll up garage style doors fitted for our driveway. Will we require permission to do so?


    • Bruce if there are already plans, you wouldn’t need new plans. But if it is collapsing, it was likely built sub-standard without plans. Regarding the garage doors, I am not sure. Maybe not. But you might need neighbor’s consent.
      I have two suggestions:
      1. Give your local authority a call and ask what their general requirements are.
      2. Call a company that manufactures the type of doors you plan to fit and ask them what procedures you need to follow.

  6. I am currently having a house built through a developer (plot and plan, free-standing, own titled). I would like to know what the regulations are when interlocking bricks from internal wall to exterior wall? The interior wall being built was initially in the incorrect place, after shifting it, there are much less interlocking bricks now. The builder is insisting that they have done the necessary, but it has now been plastered and I cant check it. What are the regulations regarding this?

    • When you say “interlocking bricks” do you mean bonding? Bricks essentially “interlock” when they bond. i.e. Each one should overlap the next by half. If the bricks are not correctly bonded, then the structure could collapse. My book on Owner Building describes the process well. In fact any book on brickwork will describe the process, and probably have photographs. Or you can do a search on the Internet that shows what it looks like.
      The regulations regarding structural masonry can be found in SANS 10164.

  7. Hi,

    What is the maximum height, in Kwazulu Natal, that I would be-able to build a wall on the boundary of my premises, with out the need of having plans approved? I currently have a hedge.


    • Darren you cannot build a wall without plans. You can though put up a precast wall if you wish. The manufacturers will be able to advise minimum and maximum heights.

  8. Good morning-could you kindly advice me with regards the building of a wall right next to the current boundary wall. Are there ay height restrictions applicable. Apparently the height restriction for the boundary wall are 2,1m. I live in Nelspruit, South Africa

    • Hi Martin. It isn’t clear what the wall is for, but there will definitely be height restrictions. There will probably also be restrictions in terms of building another wall right next to the current boundary wall. I suggest you contact your local authority for guidance.

  9. Good Day

    I would just like to know what regulations apply to stone masonry walls and where I can read the applicable regulations. Some of the things I would like to know include, for example, what restrictions apply to the height which you are allowed to build with traditional stone and mortar or with slipform stone masonry and what dimensions are applicable to stone masonry load-bearing walls, footings etc.
    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Steffan,

      Part K of the NBR specifies the regulations as they apply to walls of all types. The important elements are whether the wall is structural or non-structural; and if structural, whether it is load-bearing. The relevant SANS specify things like foundations (and footings) as well as the compressive strength of the mortar that should be used, as well as wall dimensions. While the SABS has standards that relate to stone retaining walls, I cannot find anything that relates specifically to stone and mortar walls, so assume that the general masonry wall specs apply. In any case you will need plans to build a wall from stone and mortar; and a “competent person” (who is qualified in construction) will need to submit these for you. Such a person should have the knowledge to advise you.

  10. Good Day,
    Can you please advise on the requirements, especially with the municipality, to replace a palisade fence in front of your home with a solid build wall (and what about when replacing with a precast wall)? What is the requirements to replace and extend an existing boundary wall? Our neighbour wants to replace and extend this wall, but with a style,colour and brick totally different from the present facebrick, and which are also not complimentary to the facebrick of our house. With that he also want to extent the wall and remove the palisade inbetween and claim that the palisade are then his to sell(which we have resently painted). He also seems to want to not dusturb his paving coming right to the fence at present and requisted that we remove our beddings for the foundation and wall to be then in our yard, thus moving the boundary and decrease our yard. No measurements had been done.

    • All solid masonry or stone walls require plans. When it comes to precast (vibrecrete) walls, I think that most local authorities have standard requirements in terms of both manufacture and erection. Check with your local authority.
      Who erected the palisade fencing? Do you know? If neither of you did, then you could dispute removal and insist that he builds the new wall adjacent to the palisade. i.e. Say you don’t want the palisade facing removed. If neither of you own it, and you agree to its removal, then insist that any money made from the sale is split 50:50.Perhaps you could check with your local authority whom they say “was” the fence. Some municipalities state that walls and fences are owned jointly by neighbors.
      In terms of foundations for his wall. He has absolutely NO right to build anything on your property. Make sure that you accurately plot the boundary and don’t allow any building to be done on your side. And finally, your neighbour cannot go ahead and replace the fence with a wall without your written consent PLUS the approval of the local authority.

      • I have a similar problem. No consent was asked and the new wall being erected does not compliment my house plus its going to need to be plastered and painted and I’m not willing to bear these costs and maintenance expense. Who can I contact to complain? I live inn Winchester hills Johannesburg south. I need to resolve this as my neighbour is hostile. The wall is not boundary wall but next to my driveway my house is a pan handle, does this make a difference?

        • Hason I don’t think your neighbour is obliged to build so that the wall complements your house, and I am not sure about the consent issue. But he will need plans. I suggest as a matter of urgency you contact the Johannesburg South municipality and ask them to send a building inspector to the property to investigate.

          • Thanks for the response. Appreciate the assistance and excellent response, turn around time

  11. Hi

    I live in a complex. Next to the complex is an open field and construction is underway to build a block of flats there. A road has been build running next to my complex boundary wall. The road however, has been built higher than the level of our ground and any pedestrians walking on the road can see into our yards over the boundary wall and we can see them. I would like to know if this is allowed and if not, how can I take action?

    Many Thanks

    • Hi Ross, It’s difficult to say whether this is legal or not. Is it a private road or a municipal road? Your first port of call should be your local authority. It seems to me that this could open an interesting can of worms should you wish to extend the height of your boundary wall.

  12. Hi, I have constructed a small house in George and have used wide brickforce to tie the two leafs of the cavity wall together in stead of butterfly ties. The NHBRC is now on my case and refuse to enroll the house before the non-compliance has not been rectified. I have used face-bricks on the outside. Is my construction method totally unacceptable warranting rebuilding of the house or can it be accepted if certain corrective measures are done i.e. waterproofing of the outside wall with SIKA.

    I have used this method before and have never had any problems and I believe it is being done by many builders.

    • Are you registered with the NHBRC?

      • Yes, this is a late enrollment.

        • I don’t understand. If you belong to the NHBRC then you need to do things their way!

          • Thank you. Very helpfull advice. I’ll just rewind the clock and re-do it as prescribed.

          • All cavity walls must be built in accordance with the National Building Regulations. Wall ties must be installed in an evenly distributed pattern (uniformly staggered) and at the specified rate, depending on the face area of the wall and the width of the cavity. According to the NBRs the wall ties must comply with all requirements contained in SANS 28. This national standard covers the dimensional and material requirements of metal ties suitable for walls having cavity widths of up to the largest likely to be found in masonry walling constructed to dimensionally co-ordinated sizes. I think that either butterfly ties or modified PWD ties may be used, but not brick force. The fact that builders are using other methods doesn’t make this legal. The NHBRC was established to improve the standard of building in SA (which is known to be bad) … If cavity walls aren’t corrected reinforced, the house could collapse!

  13. Hi

    I just bought a property and would like to know if there are any regulations that would prevent me from building a double Gerage using Rhino board or Marine-ply for the exterior like this : I know it common in the states and much cheaper than bricks

    • Not at all Jan. But you will need plans for a garage, regardless of the materials you choose to use. And you are right, it is considerably cheaper than using bricks and mortar.

  14. I am architec and I have seen some manuals about masonry walls where It is prescribed the use of control joints in an exessive extend, I think, and that is why I want to consult the building regulations in order to know what is advised on this regard

    • Please bear in mind that all building regulations provide MINIMUM specifications. You might consider some specs excessive in the manuals you have come across, and this might well be so in some situations; but in others it is more than likely they are vital. As an a architect, I would assume you are working closely with engineers who would be able to advise you.

  15. I am an architec from Spain,who is currently working in the MRLGHRD in Namibia, and I need to know this regulations to become familiar with the way and the restrictions,the buildings are design and done in this country.

    • I am architec working for the Namibian Gov. and for all the profesionalls,who practice in the building sector in this country, It is indispensable to know and consult the Building Regulations in force here.

    • Hello Jose, I don’t known anything at all about the building industry in Namibia, but it seems to me that there are no national standards as there are in South Africa. The South African building regulations are not intended to be restrictive, but rather to give sensible guidelines. The NHBRC also has guidelines which are useful. A lot of this information is available on our web site. If there is anything specific you want to know, let me know.

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