Demolition Work

Site Safety during Demolition-Part E

If you have to do some demolition work before you build, Part E is the section of the National Building Regulations that you need to familiarise yourself with. But really all it states is common sense and caution.There are only three elements that are covered: 1 – demolition itself, 2 – making sure basements are safe during and after demolition, 3 – prohibition of dangerous methods of demolition. And if you contravene any of these, or ignore any notices, conditions or orders that relate to the demolition, you will be considered to be guilty of an offence.

Demolition of a Building

First and foremost you have to get permission from your local authority before you can demolish a building or solid structure on your property.

Very often the local authority will give permission, but at the same time impose specific conditions that must be adhered to according to Part F of the National Building Regulations – Site Operations.

Essentially the sub-regulations they normally refer to are those that relate to the safety, health and convenience of the public, and those that aim to prevent damage to property, which might include neighbouring buildings, not just the structure that you are wanting to pull down.

The building regulations state categorically that nobody is allowed to leave any build that is in the process of being demolished, or which has been demolished, in a dangerous condition. Again this is primarily to protect members of the public as well as neighbouring properties.

If the local authority finds that the site is dangerous in any way, they can serve a notice requiring you to immediately make it safe, and if you don’t, they can do the necessary work and then hold you liable for costs.

Safeguarding Basements

Basements can cause great challenges during and after demolition, particularly when a building is flattened to ground level. In this event the owner of the property must ensure that there is safe lateral support for the sides of the basement.

Prohibition of Dangerous Methods

Safety is paramount, and the local authority will decide whether or not you may use a particular demolition method. For instance blasting in a built-up suburb may be considered a danger to either other buildings or people, or both. If they do not allow a particular method to be used, the owner of the property is entitled to a relevant reason, in writing.



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  1. Theo Kleynhans

    Hi .
    I am interested in starting a business in the construction industry to dismantle and clear buildings to be refurbished .
    Could someone please direct me to the correct place where I can get the applicable legislation and regulations in this regard .
    Much appreciated
    Theo .0832293425

  2. Hi Theo,
    As you can see from our article on the demolition work page this is covered under SANS 10400-E. The law does not seem to have changed but you will have to approach your local authority and get their written permission before you can do any demolition work. They may have regional requirements that they will impose on all or certain demolitions. These could fall under the health and safety act and cover dangerous methods used in demolition, restricting access, fencing etc. You can download the free page at this link

  3. im looking for a demolition permit

  4. Hi Michelle,
    We do not do permits of any sort. You must contact your local authority, we have a full list of contact numbers on this page: municipality-contact

  5. Mateboho Mokoena


    I have a demolition company and looking for jobs from small to large scales. Please assist!

  6. Mateboho we don’t find work for people. Good luck with your company.

  7. Angie Fotheringham

    Thank you for an informative webpage. I am experiencing great difficulty with neighboring demolition (of a private residence) which commenced in June 2013, halted in December 2013 and where no demolition rubble has been removed by the halted activities, the access to the property as well as my own is now unsecured, and the landowner, despite friendly requests, wishes me “good luck” in identifying and ensuring the required regularization procedures and necessary complaint actions. Municipality involved does nothing. I want to compile a form of Due Diligence, where I can clearly outline the legislative requirements to both local authority and the landowner. Would you be able to assist? In hopeful anticipation of your response

  8. Angie to do this correctly you probably need to consult with an attorney. However, there are issues that are covered by the National Building Regulations – and from these you will see that your neighbour is in contravention of the law.
    Part E of SANS 10400, Demolition Work is very brief and states that the property owner requires “written permission of the local authority.” Further the local authority may impose (SHOULD, I believe) conditions or requirements “for the safety, health and convenience of the public, and for the safety of any other building or installation which in its opinion may be affected by such demolition.”
    The law (Part E) sates that: “No person shall at any time during the course of or after the demolition of a building leave it in a condition dangerous to the public or any adjoining property.” The local authority has an obligation, in terms of the law to serve a notice on that person to make the site safe and if the owner doesn’t, can to do the work and charge the owner.
    “Any person who contravenes any requirement of the regulations of this Part or fails to comply with any notice, condition or order issued thereunder, shall be guilty of an offence.” It sounds to me as if not only is the owner in breach of the law, but so too is the local authority.
    NOTE that while all other Parts of the NBR (except this one and Part U, Refuse Disposal) have SANS that cover how the regs are deemed to be satisfied. Parts E and U are strictly law.
    Also, Part E cross references Part F, Site Operations. This includes the need for fencing or barricades to ensure the area is safe.
    If you download the old NBR from this site. Part E hasn’t changed. Part F1 and F2 also remain unchanged. F7 (which also covers demolition), F8 (which covers waste material on site), and F9 (cleaning of site) remain the same. There are changes to the deemed to satisfy rules – which I have outlined on the page about site operations.

  9. Will a demolition of a carport, or the removal of a roof of a carort/similar structure, constitute construction work

  10. Hi There I want to demolish a property please please advice on demolition agencies/ comapnies I can contact thereof

  11. Can someone give me a rough estimate of the costs of demolishing an existing house in Cape Town northern suburbs – single storey, approximately 260sq meters.

  12. We do not do quotes or any construction work. We do not give any names of contractors, sorry.

  13. bongani ngwenya

    im Bongani from a company colled Bukamuso services

    im working on a tender to demolish a hall in norh west Klerksdorp

    i need advices as to how to go about quoting for Preliminarys & generals
    and occupational health & safety and constraction regulations.

    my email; cell 0719611908

    your help will be highly appreciated

    thanking you in advance


  14. Hi Bongani, we are not in the commercial construction business so we have no experience in the field to give you quoting advice. To work in the construction industry you should be registered with one or other of the building associations that are approved such as the MBA (Master Builders Assocation) and/or the NHBRC I suggest that you contact one of them as they have more experience in this field.

  15. Hi,

    I’m trying to get hold of SANS 10400 E. I’ve looked online and phoned SABS directly and they say there is currently no such document.

    Is it something that does exist or is it only a planned document for future?


  16. Nope there is no SANS 10400-E and nothing planned for the future. It does go in an alphabetical list but if you have a look on our home page there is a list of all available SANS docs. These are only available from the SABS.

  17. Hi Janek,

    Thanks. I work for a company that has company access to all the SABS codes. Where would I be able to find part E of the National Building Regulations? The other parts are all in the codes but I’m battling to find the regulations on demolition.


  18. Kim, as you probably know, the Building Regulations & Standards Act is the legislation. SANS 10400 are the so-called codes that explain how one can ensure one complies with the law. Part E (as explained in this post) is from the Act – the SABS has not given any guidelines in terms of compliance. That’s why you can’t find anything. The same applies to Part U: Refuse Disposal. I guess it’s left pretty much to the interpretation of the local authority.

  19. Thanks Penny

  20. Demolition work is demolition work – NOT construction. See Part E of the regs. No added advice from SABS.

  21. Sorry we don’t recommend companies.

  22. good day, will you be able to help me get a demolition generic plan please? aswell as a blasting plan and shutdown plan. please email me on

  23. Hi there

    Do you need council permission to demolish illegal (ie. no approved building plans) structures?

  24. Hi,

    We are busy doing a re-branding project for a big petro-chemical company. Only internal walls are being demolished and we’re not changing the footprint or roof over the existing building. The building inspector from the local authority is now demanding a demolition permit – even though we are NOT demolishing the building. We’ve been doing similiar projects across Southern Africa and never before has this been required.She is now threatening to stop the construction. The building regulations aren’t quite clear on this matter. What is your opinion?

  25. Marius unfortunately my opinion is irrelevant. The local authority has the last say. Perhaps they want to be sure you won’t be demolishing load-bearing walls, and the only way to be sure is to have a permit.

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