Building Extensions

Planning House Extensions

Whether you are building a new home or planning house extensions to an existing home, you are going to need building approval from your local authority. Even if you are simply opening up a wall or partitioning a room by erecting a new internal wall, most councils will insist on working drawings.

house extension
A self contained flatlet has been added on over an existing double garage and a patio created on the flat concrete roof over the front entrance hall.

They won’t worry about issues like matching materials or style, but they will consider all the elements that relate to building codes and building standards.

Extension Options

There are various ways that you can extend an existing house. For instance you can go up and create a second storey or opt for a more straightforward lateral extension. If the pitch of your roof is sufficient, you might be able to convert this into an attic room. Alternatively you could add a separate freestanding structure with a link to your existing house.

Having said that your local authority isn’t going to be bothered with style, this is an element that is essential if the extension is going to look good. Materials should also match or look as though they have been chosen carefully. This means that if yours is a facebrick dwelling, the extension should be built using the same finish facebrick. If it is plastered and painted, it is best to match the paint colour. This isn’t always as easy as it might seem, since paint colors fade and from time to time manufacturers change their specifications.

Planning for a Building Extension

Sometimes, but not always, people do plan for future extensions. This makes it a lot easier when it comes to adding on a room or converting space. As an example, where a future door is planned, building in a lintel at this point, and enclosing the door area with straight joints will make it easier to knock out the brickwork at a later stage. The fact that the bricks aren’t bonded beneath the lintel won’t be an issue, because the lintel will support those above.

Even so, you will need to be sure that the extension is correctly executed, with the correct foundations (unless of course you are going up, in which case you will need to have existing foundations that can take the weight of the new building extension), and where brick or block walls meet, these will need to be bonded, or joined in such a way that cracking will not affect the structure.

Types of House Extensions

These include:

  • building a core house and then adding to it later according to existing plans
  • converting a garage into extra living space
  • converting an attic into habitable space
  • constructing rooms in a roof where there is no existing attic
  • adding or converting a cellar
  • adding a conservatory, sunroom or pool room, usually with glass
In all instances it is essential to ensure that your new house extension complies with building standards.

Develop a Core House

If you are building and you don’t have the means to build the size house you believe you need, an excellent solution is to build over a period of time. Thoughtfully designed, it will never look incomplete.

Below are three drawings that show how a core house (coloured yellow) may be added to over time.House extension 1

In the first drawing, you can see that it is a simple, compact two-bedroomed home. Both bedrooms share a bathroom and they are both the same size. Each room has built-in cupboards and there is a laundry cupboard in the passage outside the bathroom. The living area is open plan, with a bar counter “dividing” the living space.

 

 

 

 

 

House extension 2In the second drawing, the kitchen has been extended, in such a way that existing plumbing is used, even though the sink changes position. An exterior door is added, linking to a courtyard with a washing line, and to a double garage. One section of the garage incorporates a storeroom, adjacent to a loo with a basin, accessible from the courtyard.  The main bedroom is also included in this phase, although it could, of course, be built on later, since it is at the opposite side of the house. An en suite bathroom and more substantial cupboards are also included in the new plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the third drawing, an open-plan lounge-dining room has been added (blue), along with a new entrance way and a guest loo. A swimming pool has also been included on the plan, though this could also be a separate phase.House extension 3

Convert a Garage

This can be a very convenient and reasonably easy way to extend a house, although local authorities are usually strict in terms of upgrading the existing finishes. For instance you may need to have a ceiling installed, and lighting and ventilation might need to be upgraded.

Add a Sunroom, Pool Room or Conservatory

There are companies that specialize in glazed structure (or one where a polycarbonate material is used) that fit this category, though you can also have something designed and custom built.

Go into the Roof

Many older homes were built with attics that were intended to be used for storage. You might need to add windows and insulate the walls and ceilings to make the space habitable.

If there isn’t an existing attic, and the roof is high pitched enough, you might consider building a room in the roof space. The basic concept is very similar to converting an attic, although structural alterations will be considerably more complex. If the pitch is not sufficient, you will have to extend the gable ends and increase the pitch of the roof.

In both instances you will probably have to add stairways that are easy to use.

In South Africa and other hot-climate countries, the roof space (and attic) in a house can become unbearably hot, so it is essential to pay attention to insulation.

Go Underground

Cellars are surprisingly uncommon in South Africa, but they are sometimes included in the design of a house, and may be added at a later stage providing the foundation walls are high enough. Generally it is easier to add a cellar where the house has been constructed on a slope.

Just remember that for a cellar to be converted into a habitable space (even if only as a playroom), it must be totally dry (there must be a damp-proof membrane between the brickwork and the soil beneath ground level) and have sufficient light and ventilation. Usually this will entail installing artificial ventilation and electric lighting.

 

 

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268 comments

  1. What about when a private person who owns a residential property, who bought the property with a garden flat already built. What about the rules and dimensions. eg. how far from the fence must the building be? But what if the already built flat is built against the neighbours wall?

  2. I used Graham from Build Solution to do Extensions and renovations at my house to the value of R256, 000. This all started in April 2011. I am still waiting for my COC, and he build my Kitchen over my main water pipe which caused a leak and cost me over R20,000 in water bills and repairs. I refused to pay and claim he did extra work for me without pay. The list is endless of all the mistakes and do I still have to fix them myself as I go along. What do I do to get my money back for the water leak? He is registered in a trust and is it difficult to take him to court.

  3. Wiets, if Build Solutions Contractors & Consultant in Gauteng are the people that you used, they enrolled one build with the NHBRC and their registration has expired. If he was registered, you might have some recourse via that organization.
    It isn’t clear whether you have paid him in full, or withheld some of the money – but in any case, I think you really do need to go to a lawyer. There may be something in the Consumer Protection Act that you can use to take legal action against him personally.
    Also, don’t forget http://hellopeter.com/ – that’s a good way of letting other people know that he should be avoided!

  4. This is something that all purchasers should check when they buy a property. If you are concerned, then get a copy of the approved plans from council and see whether the flat is an approved structure. If it isn’t, you have two options:
    1. Submit plans for the flat.
    2. Continue in supposed ignorance.
    One would assume (even though it is never safe to assume anything) that the neighbours would have complained to council if the structure was illegal.

  5. In 2004 my parents objected to the City of Cape Town over a double story that used the set off on the boundary wall as a recreational area. Is this permitted? Building went ahead and I dont believe there was public notice for the last minute changed plans from single to double story structures on the boundary wall.

    The City of Cape Town has said diagonally opposite properties do not need to be consulted and the rule only recently changed. Is this true?

    The structures recreational area also sits next to telephone pole. Is this allowed?

  6. There are two issues here. 1) the building regs and 2) the council by-laws. As long as the council is operating in terms of the NBR they can add requirements. i.e. They can ask for additional steps to be taken. They can’t negate requirements of the NBR.
    Consultation is one area that is governed by the local authority.
    In terms of the telephone pole, that also isn’t something that is regulated in the NBR. e.g. We have a telephone pole in our garden that supports lines to neighboring properties and not ours!
    But back to the beginning, I am not sure what the original objection was, viz to use “the set off on the boundary wall as a recreational area”. Can you elaborate? It sounds almost as though the boundary wall is in fact a retaining wall and that there is building above the wall? If your parents’ boundary wall forms part of a structure of any kind, and this wall is either on their property or built by them on the boundary, then they need to give the council permission. But as I say, I really am finding it difficult to visualize what you are describing.

  7. I am planning to extend a backroom in my home to make it a bathroom & recording studio. The back room had already been utilized an additional bedroom with the necessary electrical work. I used it as my small home recording studio/bedroom but due to constant overnight recording, I want to add a bathroom to it. Do I need to have an approved house plan for this or simply consult a builder and provide him with my requirements? What other regulations, if any, do I need to consider before starting the project?

  8. If you are not changing external or load-bearing walls, you may not need plans. But it would be a good idea to ask your local authority as it might make a difference if and when you decide to sell the property. The building regulations and other SANS are pretty stringent, so you will, in any case need to hire a qualified plumber.

  9. Hi Penny. I would like to convert my garage into a self-contained cottage. The existing structure has walls and a roof. However, I would like to extend it by, say, half a metre. What is the procedure? I now know that I need council approval first. Then what, how? Thanks for your time and reply.

  10. You will probably need to put plans into council, unless they consider it minor building work. If you are going to include plumbing, you will need to hire the services of a qualified, registered plumber – the same applies to electrical work.

  11. I want to build an extension – a double garage with a room above it on my property. I have looked all over the Internet but cannot figure out the rules regarding FAR etc. is there a website I can use to find out if I can build on my property in the first place? Please help.

  12. Generally you will be able to do this as long as the extension is two metres from your boundary. However there may be preclusions in your title deed (i.e. relating specifically to the property) or your local authority may not permit this. In some developments there are also rules that determine the percentage of the land that may be built on. So check the title deed and visit your local authority and ask them what their requirements are. In terms of the building regulations, you will, in any case, require approved plans to build and extension of this nature.

  13. Hi Penny

    We have a house with my mom and she wants to do the following, is the following allowed without proper plans and building permission:

    1: The back patio – she wants to close it totally with wall and sliding door. There is already a roof. Do we need planning permission to close this and make it into a sunroom? The patio was added to the latest plans a few years ago as it was never there. Not sure if the plans of the patio is approved but say it was. Do we need planning permission to close this and make into an sunroom?

    2. At the back next to the garage under roof, she wants to close some of the area as a room/washing room do we need planning permission for this?They have to add two side walls to close this and a sliding door.

    Thanks a mill

  14. Marguerite, In terms of 1. my educated guess is that this is minor building work, which means you won’t need plans, but your should notify your local authority that you will be doing the work.
    In terms of 2. since you are changing the function of the area, you probably do need plans.
    Your best bet is to check with the local authority because at the end of the day, they are the ones whose requirements you have to comply with.

  15. Hi Penny

    Good work with the site!

    We live on a plot and we are planning to build an extension of our house. The thing is; we want to have it seperate from the existing house. Is it possible to be building an “extension”, without the builings being connected at all?

  16. I don’t see why not Peter. Your only “problem” might be if the council sees the “extension” as a separate dwelling, in which case it will depend on the bylaws. I suggest you check the bylaws before going ahead with plans. In many cases the “label” you put on a building makes all the difference. For instance you may be allowed to build a workshop with a bathroom incorporated, but not a granny flat.

  17. I currently have boundary walls that I would like to make higher. How high can I go without getting a structural engineers certificate?

  18. Hi Penny
    We would like to convert our yard into a garage. Could you please advise what the regulation is on car parking size area, as well as the lowering of council drain within our property. Thanks!

  19. There is no specific regulation relating to car parking areas. If you want to build a garage in your yard you will need plans to be drawn by a competent person [click here for more info on competency]. In terms of council drains – you cannot lower this. You will have to ask them to do it for you.

  20. Local authorities have their own requirements, some stricter than others.
    Generally though all walls need to be designed by a competent person who might be an architect or an engineer; both would know their own competency – i.e. the architect would know the parameters in which he can work – including the height of a boundary wall. Click here to find out more about competent persons.
    Having said this, your local authority will advise whether you can extend the walls upwards without additional plans. This will probably hinge on the existing foundations.

  21. Hi,

    I would like to know the law/regulations on converting my garage into a maids quarters, problem is that it makes up a boundary wall. Is there any law/regulation that will stop me from converting the garage to a living quarter?
    The other problem is that the main waste drainage runs directly under the garage, is there a law/regulation stopping me from building on top of that pipe? The garage only has paving, no slab.

    Thanks.

  22. The National Building Regulations are very clear in terms of purpose for which any structure will be used. Many people put a “name” on plans – e.g. a store room – and then use it for something else – e.g. a bedroom. You might get away with this for a while, but if someone files a complaint, or you decide to sell the property, you will face problems… and usually fines. A garage is for cars; to be able to convert this to living quarters requires plans and permission from your local authority.
    When it comes to plumbing, the regulations and SANS are even more stringent, largely for health reasons. There are LOTS of laws and regulations that you need to be aware of. Don’t even consider trying to do this conversion without professional help.

  23. My parents would like to put a vibecrete fencing infront of their home. Do they need to have plans drawn for this or can they just put is up.

  24. Hi Penny,

    we bought a house that was built in 1972. When houses only had one gargage. One of the previous owners converted the original Garage into a storage room/laundry. He added an Awning to the garage (this was not shown on any houseplans, when we bought the house in 2009) Since the floor of the awning are sunken, retaining walls of (700mm) was build on 2 facades, by means of red facebrick. DPC was installed and the walls are sound. I would now like to enclose the awning and convert it to a bedroom.

    The original garage as well as the awning were built well over the building line, and actually ends on the boundary between us and the neigbours.

    Who should I approach to have this approved?

    Since the retaining walls are sound I thought about building up to the roof with Shiplack board, insulation and drywall. Would this be allowed?

    Thank you very much for your book. It has helped a lot.

    Kind regards,

    Hannerie

  25. Glenda, the National Building Regulations state that “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,” is a form of minor building work. And minor building work does not require plans – as you will see if you click on the link above. However, you do still need to notify the local authority of minor building work, and they may require certain documentation to be filled out, including a site plan. Furthermore, some local authorities DO require plans for ALL walls and fences. Your best bet is to check with your municipality what exactly they require. Presuming the vibracrete (precast concrete) wall is below the 1,8 m height specified in the regs, point out to them that you are aware the project falls under “minor building work” in terms of the NBR.

  26. I am a little puzzled by your question Hannerie, because an awning is an overhead structure. Do you mean the floor or patio below the awning? Or do you mean a carport? No matter; whatever it is, you will need to have plans drawn up to be able to build on a bedroom. And you will undoubtedly have to get permission from your neighbors before the municipality will approve the plans. The materials you mention will probably be acceptable, but as I say you need approved plans before you can start building. Since the building regulations were amended in 2008, it is now mandatory for you to use a competent person to draw plans. You can read more about competency HERE. The legislation is also very informative regarding what is required – including when it is an extension. You can download the amendment HERE. If you were to go ahead without plans, your neighbour could very easily objection to Council and you MIGHT then be required to demolish what you have built. So it really isn’t worth it. A friendly chat with your neighbour is probably the first step you should take.

  27. Andrew du Toit

    Hi,
    Hi,
    I need some advice, I currently have a second story covered patio
    (it’s part of my normal roof) it has 4 openings, front two governed by
    ballustrades and the side two have walls up to 1.5m can I enclose
    these holes i.e put 4 windows in without the need for new plans? Or is
    this more effort than I thought?

    Regards,
    Andrew

  28. A need to find and understand what the building regulations are
    regarding bolton structures.
    Not only Bay Windows, but extensions where the floor area has been
    enlarged by such bolton structures. Is the load that such a floor is
    able to support also 150kg/m2?

  29. Hi I am in the process of drawing sketches for extending my semi
    detached council house in Durban.I am considering the block and beam
    system for the decking, but want to know what size hollow blocks I can
    use for the exterior walls.

  30. I am busy looking at remodeling an old house, and would like to move
    the bathroom and toilet where it has no external walls and hence no
    windows. Is this a problem?

  31. Good day,

    Could you please let me know what I need to do if my builder has
    already taken 50% of the agreed amount and has hardly done any of the
    work for alterations on a outside building? He keeps making excuses,
    has not pitched in the last two weeks. He does not answer my phone
    calls or messages in the last two days.

    Your advice would sincerely be appreciated.

  32. Hello

    Where can I find regulations governing the building of a carport as
    well as enclosing my pool? That is putting a polycarbonate roof on and
    closing the sides with window panes?

    Thanks

  33. Question.

    I want to install a carport Between the side of house & Boundry wall.
    The space between house is boundry is 3.5m wide. & length is enought
    to park 2 cars behind each other. There a 3 windows on the side of my
    house facing the boundry. Can I replace the windows (sice they cant
    open) with glass bricks & install the carport here. I understand the
    building inspectors are strict with regards to safety & carports these
    days.

  34. I would like to find out more about were to make an arch in a load
    bearing wall. How long the span between arches must be and how big an
    arch can be. Were would I find more info about that?

  35. Julian Middleton

    We have just seen a house we are interested in buying but the
    alterations made now have the Bathroom/Toilet window opening into
    another bedroom. I’m sure this is not acceptable. Could you please
    confirm ?
    Many thanks

  36. Audrey Potter

    After suffering several broken bones I have decided to extend my
    bathroom to accommodate an easy-access shower. My architect says the
    regulation state that I have to install solar heating but I don’t
    understand why as I am not adding to or changing my existing geyser. I
    am only making more space and modernising the bathroom suite. Is what
    he says true? It seems like a money making plan to me. I switch my
    geyser off every day for at least 12 hours so am not a wasteful user
    of electricity.

  37. Hi there, we are in the process of buying a property in Jhb where the
    original garage has been knocked thorugh to what was a garden
    Storeroom according to the plans and tiled to be used as an
    office/workshop. The original storeroom was next to the maids’
    quarters and a bathroom was added into the storeroom for the maid. The
    plans state that it was an “Existing Garage converted into storeroom”.
    We wanted a garden cottage to rent out and so we have broken through
    the bathroom into the maid’s quarters to make it en suite and added
    another small bathroom to the old storeroom.We will be adding a
    kitchenette inside the old double garage. What do we have to do in
    terms of building regs? Are we required to submit plans for approval?
    We have not structurally changed any walls (although we will be adding
    a small bathroom window) but simply added another bathroom and will be
    putting the kitchen cabinets etc in (all electrics etc are in place
    and have COC’s).
    Many thanks,
    Kirsty Savin

  38. Mike Williams

    I wish to erect an lourve aluminium awning over an existing open
    patio. Do I need to submit plans to the Municpality? I believe it is
    considered a Temporary Attachment and does not require planning
    permission.
    It is also being fitted by a reputable supplier.
    Regards, Mike

  39. Hi Penny,

    Can I build a garage (for three cars) with a little storage and
    external toilet on the boundary (two neighbors affected here, one at
    the back and the other on the side). I also want a floor on top of
    these garages with a storage and a toilet too. on both floors these
    toilets are enclosed with walls and doors. what do i need to do to get
    plans through council like this? I’ve seen this around on other
    properties(building onto boundary line) so it must possible. Area is
    Goodwood, Cape Town

    thanks

  40. Hi Audrey,
    I am very sorry to hear of your predicament. But the answer is yes. The new legislation came into effect last year and portions that relate to you read: “In order to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases buildings, and extensions to buildings in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of the Act” and they go on to read under section XA2 “At least 50% (volume fraction) of the annual average hot water heating requirement shall be provided by means other than electrical resistance heating including but not limited to solar heating, heat pumps, heat recovery from other systems or processes and renewable combustible fuel.” Ask your architect what alternative heating methods are available that satisfy the requirements of the act, hopefully he can find an economic alternative for you.

  41. I am a homeowner in Benoni, currently busy with alterations by a
    “registered” contractor. I urgently need assistance to force the
    contractor to complete alterations to my satisfaction

  42. Hi there,

    I am going to draw detailed house plans for amendments to be made for
    a family member but I am not an architect. Someone told me that if the
    size of the amendments does not exceed 500sq meters, it does not have
    to be signed off by a registered architect.

    Is this true and if so, please refere me to the legal documents
    stating this.

    Thank you,
    Crizette

  43. Hi Crizette,
    I’m afraid that what someone told you is incorrect, the law has changed and now a “Competent Person” has to endorse or draw-up the plans. “Minor Building Work” can be carried out without plans but the local authority must be informed in writing before any work can begin. Go to our “Minor Building Work” page and see some of what is allowed and the requirements. You can go to our other site Ownerbuilding and read more about “Competent Persons”. There is also a page of info on “About the NHBRC” that I think you will find useful.

  44. Hi Mr Muller,
    If you want to find out if the contractor is “registered” you can go to the NHBRC website and check their database free of charge here nhbrc-verify-builder. If he is registered then you can lodge a complaint on the same website and they will follow up and take action. If he is not registered then the only recourse that you have is to withold payment until the job is completed to the agreed standard. If you have paid out all the money then unfortunately you have a problem and you will need to take legal action.

  45. Hi Andrew,
    From the explanation of your situation it seems to me that you will not need any plans. You are only filling in openings and not compromising any structural elements of the building itself. Just make sure there is enough ventilation to meet the standards (SANS 10400: Part O Lighting and Ventilation). I would also send a letter to the Council Planning Department informing them of the alterations, this should cover you in the event of you selling your property at a later stage and the inspector seeing the changes and requesting plans and possibly delaying the sale.

  46. Hi Lizette,
    Is the builder registered with the NHBRC?
    If he is then this is what the NHBRC says: “The housing consumer (home owner) should contact the home builder within three to seven days. The housing consumer can approach the NHBRC if the home builder fails to attend to the problem.”
    If you are not sure if he is registered then you can check here on the NHBRC website.
    If he is not then your only other recourse is to take advice from a lawyer.
    This is why the NHBRC was formed, to protect the public from builders who do not deliver.

  47. Hi Dave,
    Ventilation in toilets and bathrooms is essential. I have seen some toilets and bathrooms that do not have openings to external walls, they have used electric ventilators and extractor fans. The other consideration if you do not have an outside wall, is the waste pipes that connect to the mains sewage or to a containment tank. The health regulations are very strict about these, and I suggest that you contact the Local Authority and ask what they suggest for your situation.

  48. I am planning on building on my property. Going up on the garage and sideways onto a grass bank thats higher than the garage.

    Where do I find my house plans and who do i get to see if the foundations are strong enough, design/approve building plans etc.

    I have no idea where to start.

    Thanks.

  49. The plans should be lodged with your local authority. Unfortunately, though, it appears (from comments we continually get) that plans go missing quite frequently. In this case you would need to track the previous owner/s down to see if they can help.
    In terms of the National Building Regulations, you need a “competent person” (see link) to draw plans. An architectural designer, architect or draughtsman will be able to tell from the existing plans if the foundations are adequate or not. If you cannot locate plans, I guess they would need you to dig a trench next to the foundations to see how deep they are. You might be able to tell from digging whether they were reinforced with steel or not. The competent person will also need to submit the plans to your local authority, check on building progress and basically sign off the job. So start at your local authority planning office and see if you can locate the plans. You will need to give them your erf number.

  50. I have a duet stand and I am in the process of doing extensions to my home. I am looking for an agreement document between the neighbour and myself so that he agrees for me to proceed with the construction.

    Thanks

  51. You can get this from your local authority.

  52. Hi, i am currently busy doing extensions around my house, like building a garage. The guy who draw the plans told me that there’s a new law which came into effect from 1st of March 2013(is that true), and apparently your veranda in front of the house, must be 1.5 metres from the boundary wall, and the garage must not exceeds 6.5 metres in width,leaving now a 1.2 metres from my neighbours boundary wall and the garage wall(which is a waste to me), and the garage doors must be 2 metre from the boundary wall. Just need advice pls

  53. Hi Marion, That sounds very strange. Please ask him what law this is (and let me know) – because the building regulations (the law) changed in 2008, and the guidelines (SANS) were published progressively until last year. I am not aware of any new law! However, there might be a new by-law in your area. As you will see from this article on Boundary Walls and Fences (click the link), the local authorities have the power to make demands in terms of what they look like. There is an article about boundaries and boundary walls on our sister site HERE’S THE LINK.
    My suggestion is a) find out which law this guy is referring to; and b) call you local planning office and ask them what the standard distances are in terms of boundaries and building lines.

  54. Hi Frik,
    I have contacted Simon from Beautiful Structures in Johannesburg (011 795 1827) and he confirms that most bolt-on structures are considered “Minor building work” and do not usually need plans. Where the floor area is increased the concrete must be mixed to the specifications that suits the load that the floor must carry, see our “concrete mixes” page. If you are concerned that the load is such that reinforcing might be needed then you should contact a structural engineer for advice.

  55. Hi Imran,
    The specifications for loadbearing walls will depend on the weight that the wall will have to support. This needs to be calculated and designed by a structural engineer. Your best option is to contact one of the pre-stressed concrete manufacturers in Durban who have the engineers specifications for all their products on hand and will be able to help you. One word of caution, in terms of the new regulations plans have to be drawn up and submitted by a “competent person” please have a look at the link.

  56. Mornig

    I would like to find out, we are wanting to take over a lease of a
    business but it has been brought to our attention that they have made
    alterations to one of the buildings withour having an approved plan,
    how can we rectify this and what would be reqquired. We have been told
    that we would have to restore its original shape, break everything
    down and then apply get it approved and then rebuild. Please can you
    assist us with this query

  57. Debby, From what you say you are wanting to take over the lease of a property from a business, (rather than “a lease of a business”) – that’s a bit confusing for starters. But let’s see if this helps you.
    If the current lessees (tenants) have made illegal alterations to the buildings, the owner of the property needs to take some sort of action – not you.
    It is possible to submit rider plans for work that has already been done (i.e. you don’t necessarily have to destroy the illegal sections of the structure and then start again). However, there may be hefty fines involved. In any case, the owner of the property is the only person who can appoint a competent person to draw up and submit plans. See this LINK for more on competent persons and the law.
    The owner must either do this for his own account, or hold the current tenants liable for damages. There is no reason for you, as the new tenant, to be held liable.
    If you go ahead and start further alterations, you will not only be liable for costs, but could eventually be held liable for the damages mentioned above. So sort out the problem first – not afterwards.
    A last thought, usually the owner of a property would need to approve someone taking over a lease agreement. So be very careful.

  58. Hi…I am looking into donig some extentions on my house. I have a small erf (+- 350m2). Is there a restriction on how much land I can build on?….ie only 50% of the land. Thanks for the help

  59. No not specifically, but there are building lines that you have to accommodate. The article on this page of our sister site http://www.ownerbuilding.co.za will give you more information. If you want more detailed information I suggest that you contact your local authority.

  60. I would have liked to see infos about staff quartes on the property or a definition of dwelling. I am about to buy a house in SR zoning as a Single Dwelling but see there is a staff quarter in in own building on the boundary wall with a very small room for a bed and a shower/toilet. I don’t know if I can renew/rebuild that at all.

  61. Hi there, I am planning to extend my home by about 60m2. The original plans indicate the sewer line from the kitchen and bathrooms is running past the side of the house where I am planning the extended portion, only to connect to the main line on the perimiter of the erf. My question: may I build on top of the sewer line or must the line be moved so that it is not under any structure?

  62. Denton to add to my previous reply; I have discovered that some municipalities do have a restriction on how much land you can build on. But this may also relate to the zoning of the property. I have found a clause in the City of Cape Town’s by-laws that refers to coverage for buildings on a specific type of land unit that may not exceed 60%. So you will need to contact your local authority and check with them.

  63. Zoning is a local authority issue. Contact your local authority and ask for advice.

  64. Hi Mike,
    Have a look at this page on “Minor Building Work” As you will see this should be considered minor building work and there are no plans needed for what you want to erect BUT you will need to notify the municipality in writing that you are putting a covering over your existing patio.

  65. Hi Ismail,
    The building of the carport will fall under >>minor building work<< (Click the link to read more). But enclosing your pool sounds as though it is more than the minor building law allows so you may well need plans and approval from council. I suggest before you do anything contact your local building inspector and ask their advice.

  66. Hi Ryan,
    You can install a carport on a boundary wall if you have plans and you get them approved by council. You must also get permission from from the relevant neighbours and submit those with your plans as well. You can read more about boundaries here: Boundary Walls & Fences and here Boundary Lines and here Minor Building work. The regulations for windows is determined by what the rooms are used for, if any of them are for a toilet then it is not only light but also ventilation that is needed, you can read more here lighting-and-ventilation

  67. Hi Kirsty,
    The building regulations refer to the usage of any given space in a building not wether the structure has been altered or not. It seems as if the garage/storeroom/maids quarters/garden cottage/bathroom/kitchen has been considerably altered you should have got plans drawn and planning permission before starting to build. You should get a “competent person” to draw up some plans and submit them ASAP. If at any time in the future you would like to sell you will have a problem because what is being sold and the registered plans differ and you could be penalised and delay the sale.

  68. There shouldn’t be a problem building over the sewer. If the line does need to be moved you will need to get a registered plumber to do the work. But in any case, you will need approved plans to do the extension, and if the council needs the sewer to be moved, they will tell you.

  69. Brynn the City of Cape Town has new zoning regulations that came into effect in March 2013, that allow building on boundary lines, with certain restrictions. Generally this means that you no longer require neighbour’s consent. It is no longer relevant where your property is. Size of the plot is the issue. e.g. If your plot is between 350 and 650 sq m in size, then the street boundary building line is 3,5 m and common boundary building lines are 0,0 m for the first 12 m measured perpendicular from the street and 0,0 m for 60% of the total remaining linear distance along all common boundaries around the land unit, and 3 m for the rest (presuming your property is zoned single residential – “The single residential zones are designed to provide locations for predominantly single-family dwelling houses in low- to medium-density neighbourhoods, with a safe and pleasant living environment.”)
    “Where a building is permitted in this zone within 3 m of a common boundary, the height will be limited to 4 m measured from base level to top of roof.”
    “Notwithstanding the provisions in subsection (c)(ii) (which is what I have quoted above), within the first 12 m along a common boundary measured perpendicular from the street boundary line and where a building is not set back from such common boundary, the height is determined in accordance with the ‘Table of floor factor, floor space, height and building lines in Single Residential Zone 1’;”
    There are additional requirements including:
    Window and door placement
    Any portion of a building which contains an external window or door facing onto a common boundary shall:
    (i) be set back a distance of at least 1,5 m away from such boundary; and
    (ii) the portion of building to be set back from the boundary shall include the door or
    window, together with such additional length of wall as is required to make up a total minimum length of 3 m.”
    “Garages, carports and outbuildings
    (i) A garage, carport and outbuildings are permitted within the common boundary building line provided that the garage and carport do not:
    (aa) extend higher than 3,5 m from base level to top of roof;
    (bb) contain more than a double garage façade; and
    (cc) exceed a width of 6,5 m.
    (ii) For land units of 650 m2 and less, a garage or carport is permitted up to 1,5 m from the street boundary provided the garage or carport:
    (aa) is not higher than 3,5 m from base level to top of roof;
    (bb) does not contain more than a double garage façade; and
    (cc) does not exceed a width of 6,5 m.
    In the table, maximum floor space = n/a and maximum height to wall plate = 8 m & to top of roof = 10 m.”
    I hope that helps. If you comply with these, you shouldn’t have any problem getting your plans passed.

  70. Hi Penny,
    Thank you for a most informative website! It has been very useful.

    My wife and I bought a fixer upper home about four years ago and have been slowly bringing it back to life. We are struggling to solve a damp problem in the one room which has a patio built over it. The ballustrade is built up wall so there is no way for the rain water to run off and the builders never incorporated sufficient drainage, so when it rains the water seeps through into this room where the slab meets the walls. I use it for storage since it is not safe to occupy as result of the damp.

    We have been considering enclosing the patio by building a roof and two walls, one on the western side and the other the eastern side, leaving the north facing side open with a steel ballustrade so we can still look out onto the garden. Essentially it would be a covered patio built of bricks and mortar. The cost effective route would be a steel structure to cover it, much the same as a carport.

    With this in mind, would you advise that we still need to get plans drawn up and approved to start the process even though we want to raise a basic patio?

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Regards,
    Wayne

  71. Wayne, the first thing you need to do is get a professional to assess what can be done to sort out the damp problem. It may simply be due to a build up of water, but it may be necessary for you to take steps to get rid of the damp before you even consider further building. Water can cause a lot of damage and is often very difficult to pinpoint – because quite simply it flows everywhere.
    But to answer your question, building walls and erecting a roof does not fall under minor building work and so you will need to have plans drawn up by a “competent person” and approved by your local authority.

  72. No Julian it is not acceptable.

  73. Hey Penny i am looking for regulations / standards referring to roof extensions onto existing buildings. I want to add a 25m squared Harvy tilled roof to my patio but its in a sectional title(BC and HOA approval) and the property manager seems to think the whole scheme needs to go to the deeds office to be re registered once iv done my alterations. Im hoping this is a addition that does not require approval

  74. I can’t imagine why it would have to go to the deeds office! Basically you probably need the approval of the BC and possibly plans approved by the local authority – but 25 sq m should fall under minor building works, in which case you would simply notify the local authority. I suppose there might be a clause the HOA has that requires extensions to be registered on the title deeds; I suggest you check this with them. In terms of any roof structure, you need to be guided by SANS 10400: Part L Roofs. There isn’t a Standard specifically for roof extensions. If you do need plans (and the planning department of your local authority will be able to advise) then you will need to enlist the services of a competent person. I have added links that should help you.

  75. Apologies for taking so long getting back to you Gretchen – your query went to Comments and their was a gremlin in our system (we weren’t picking these up)! I have now added some information about arches that might be helpful to you and others who need this information. You will find it HERE.

  76. Good day Penny
    We want to convert a double garage into a granny flat and add a wendy hut/ log cabin to the garage for the bedrooms, will we need building plans or aproval of any sort?
    Thank You

  77. Sonika, yes, you will need plans. Furthermore, you will need a competent person to draw these up for you and submit them to your local authority for approval. The link I have given you will take you to our sister site, Owner Building – to an article that explains what a competent person is, and why you need to use one.

  78. Hi

    We want to build onto the granny flat but what type of flooring options are available when going up?

    What is the cheapest?

  79. Shanaaz it depends on the method of construction you decide to use. Presuming you are building with bricks and mortar, you would either throw a concrete slab a) in situ or b) use one of the several precast decking products – and then finish it with a screed. That can be carpeted, tiled or left as a concrete finish that could be painted and covered with rugs or loose carpets. Or you could construct a suspended timber floor. There is more information in my book on Owner Building.
    Probably the cheapest would be a precast slab that is simply screened. But it can be cold, and may not look that cool!
    Don’t forget that you will need approved plans.

  80. Hi Penny,
    When renovating, what percentage of your budget do you allocate to electrical?

  81. Hi Penny

    I am wanting to do an extension to my bathroom but was told that the house needs to *fit into the envelop* ratio between down stairs and upstairs. I then approached an architectural technologist who now tells me it is more costly to do an extension following the method you mentioned on the top of this page, ie build in phases. According to the archicet Should I wish to build in phases, I will have to submit / phase my plan which will cost me more, since i can only get occupation for a addition from the Local Authority once everything on an approved plan is completed and inspected. I am also told that I need to get a occupation certificate for every addition before I may occupy or use that addition or space, and if I do not book a final inspection to obtain that occupancy certificate my plans will laps 12 months after approval or the last inspection done. I am wanting to have plans drawn for the extension of the garage ( to comply to ratio) and the upstairs bathroom but it seems i have to do it all at once, is this true. Please advise
    Regards, Aman

  82. Kate it will depend on so many factors, I can’t even begin to fathom an answer. So sorry.

  83. Mike you might also find our article on temporary structures useful. See: http://sans10400.co.za/temporary-buildings/

  84. Aman, there is nothing to stop you submitting plans in phases. i.e. You only submit a plan for the core section and then submit rider plans when you are ready to build on. You could have an architect draw up a series of plans, or have the rider plans drawn up at a later stage. It certainly wouldn’t make sense to submit the full plan unless you were confident you would be able to complete it within a limited period. Sometimes people plan for later additions but never do them.
    The same applies to an extension. There is nothing to stop you submitting a plan for the extension of the garage and than at a later stage submitting another rider plan for the bathroom. Or the other way around.
    I am a little puzzled by the envelop ratio issue.
    The building envelope is defined in the NBR as “elements of a building that separate a habitable room from the exterior of a building or a garage or storage area” – and it’s relevance relates directly to energy usage. This in turn relates to fenestration (glazed and other openings that let light into the house) – which has a required ratio. Perhaps this is what you are talking about? Orientation is the other issue.
    Of course if the garage extension and bathroom form part of the same part of the structure (specifically the walls), it would make sense to build the two together.
    I hope that helps.

  85. Hi Penny

    Please advise…………

    It is +/- 4yrs later after building renovations….. have major damp problems/floors are not level……… what if proper processes were not followed with regard to foundation etc…..how does one establish this? what was the role of building inspector?

    Thanks

  86. Hi Penny,

    I live in a sectional title and is planning to set up a doll house for the kids. The side of the dollhouse is nearby my neighbor but she has given approval. Is there any by law that further permits me setting up this house.

    Regards

  87. Hi Faye,
    There are specific regulations dealing with waterproofing of buildings from the ground up, this is SANS 10021. As it was a renovation you must have had plans from a “competent person” and you should have had them check that the contractor was doing the job correctly. Mostly the inspections are done after completion of foundation trenches or excavations, prior to casting of foundations. At completion of the walls and roof construction. At completion of drainage installation. After building (including finishes) completion. As you can see the inspector does not check if the correct dampproof was used. If they did put in the correct dampproof membrane and the damp happens all year round then you should check if you maybe have a water leak that is causing the damp.

  88. Hi Anton,
    Besides your neighbors consent you will have to notify your Body Corporate. You can read up more about “minor building work on these two pages: buildingregulations/minor-building-work And here: ownerbuilding/minor-building-works You do not say where in SA you are but I am copying from the Tshwane By-laws for your info:
    (e) The Municipality may, subject to such conditions as it may deem fit, give permission that:
    (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;

  89. Want to know whichcoarse in construction i can do to build houses

  90. Kindly please provide me with the rules/regulations on which you can
    convert a garage to a’room’

  91. JP it depends what aspect of construction you want to work in. It also depends how old you are and what level of education you already have. e.g. the FET Colleges have school-leaving level courses that will qualify you to be a bricklayer, plumber etc. Universities of Technology offer degree and diploma courses in various aspects of engineering. There are other courses that you can do on for e.g. concrete work, bricklaying etc, but many of these are offered by construction companies. I suggest you contact companies in the industry in the area in which you live.

  92. Sandile you will need plans that must be drawn up by a competent person and passed by the local authority. The competent person will know what you need to do to make the garage habitable.

  93. Hi.
    I am wanting to know what legal recourse do i have against a builder.

    We had alterations done last year.

    I have already had one builder in to fix one side to value of R20 000 and now again another section needs to be fixed – the plaster is falling off the wall and rain is leaking into my house- another R20 000 quoted.

    What can i do against my original builder

  94. Diane by law anyone undertaking construction work for monetary gain (i.e. all builders) needs to be registered with the NHBRC. If the builder is registered – you can check on the NHBRC website – then you can ask them if they can take action against him for shoddy workmanship. If he is not registered, then you can call their fraud hotline and report him for operating illegally. To get your money back you will need to either take action via the Small Claims Court or go to an attorney. Since it is only R20 000, the Small Claims Court is probably your best option.

  95. Hi Penny

    I own an apartment in a setional title block and am on the top floor. I would like to convert the space between the ceiling and the roof into a loft and certain areas open up the roof to a double volume space. I will obviously need permission from the body corp? Would I have to buy this space form the building or is it considered part of my apartment?

    I suppose the next step will also include permission from council to do so?

  96. Jacques I would think that you own that space, but it’s an interesting question. In terms of the Sectional Titles Act, I think the roof itself is “common property”. This means that insurance, maintenance, repairs etc to the roof would be the responsibility of the body corporate.
    There should be a sectional plan of the whole building that shows the different “sections” that were for sale. If your section only extends to the ceiling (which may be the case) then you would need to buy the space – if permitted to do so. There is a section in the Act that deals with extensions, and I think this is what will come into play. Probably the body corporate will need to get permission of all those who have a share in the “common property”.
    And yes you will need approval from the local authority as well.

  97. I have tried for almost two years to have a neighbour stop building an extension to his property as A. He does not have my approval as the extension is against my wall and I have not given permission and B, if he goes ahead I will never see the lgiht of day, I have reported his illegal building activity to council four times, apparently they go to his property tell him to stop – which he does and then starts again some months later, I am at my wits end, what can I do? Surely if it is illegal I can lay a charge at the police station? any ideas?

  98. Simone you probably could lay a charge at the police station. Whether they would be more effective than the council is anyone’s guess. Probably what you need to do is institute proceedings against your neighbour and the council via an attorney. Where do you live?

  99. Hi

    I’m trying to get hold of the original building plans for my property but the municipality in Roodepoort can’t seem to find them. Where must I go or who can I contact to get the plans?

    Regards
    Paulo

  100. Paulo, this is a common problem unfortunately. This is where the plans should be. The only other thing you can do is track the previous owners via the deeds office and contact them to see if they have plans, or can tell you who the original architect, designer or draughtsman was.

  101. I went to NHRBC office here in East London as I have a dispute with my contractor. I was given a form to fill in and attach any supporting documentation related to communication between myself and the
    contractor. When I visited the offices again with all the information, I was told by the receptionist NHRBC only deals with new homes that have been built from scratch. I did not expect that.
    May you please clarify this to me.

  102. Khaya this is so. They only deal with new homes. All you can do is check that the contractor is registered with them. If not, report it as fraud.

  103. Hi, i am planning to extend my house i have meet with the municipality and they have given me the list of planners that are accredited. however the planner want R2500 for site visit and doing the plan and further more he wants 1/3 of the total money to be spend on the house extension. this confuses me, as his role once the plan is done is finished. please advice.

    reagrds

  104. Ndumiso, in terms of the National Building Regulations you must have a competent person draw the plans for you – so I assume that the names the municipality have given you meet this requirement. If I were you I would get at least two or three quotes before deciding which person to use. You will probably find they structure their rates differently.
    In terms of the role of the competent person, the “new” regulations require that same person to follow through with the build to ensure that it is done according to the approved plan, and they need to sign the job off at the end of the project.

  105. Subject:
    Poor quality

    Message:
    Hi; I have had an absolute nightmare with a contractor where his work
    is literally falling apart. What recall do I have & what is the
    process??

    Thanks. Brett

  106. Brett, Normally with building work your first recourse is to the NHBRC. Their role is fully discussed on their web site (link given), as well as on our page about the NHBRC. I see you have logged this query into Building Extensions, so I am assuming it is an extension that you are having done. Unfortunately the NHBRC doesn’t get involved with extensions. However, check that the contractor is registered with them, and if he is lodge a complaint anyway because if he is producing shoddy workmanship for you, he is probably doing the same elsewhere. If he is not registered he is operating as a contractor illegally and you can report him for fraud with the NHBRC. You can also take legal action against him, via an attorney.

  107. Hi, I would like to change the pitch of my roof. It is flat at the moment. Do I need plans first or can I go ahead and get a roofing company to go ahead?

    Regards

  108. To change the pitch of your roof Dawn, you will need roof trusses to be designed to suit the structure. And you will need approved plans. However a roofing company should be able to organise this for you.

  109. Subject:
    Building a wall against the road

    Message:
    Hi
    I want to build a wall or fence next to the road for security reasons
    and would like to know what the minimum distance from the road should
    be please? We live in Protea Heigths in Cape Town

  110. I want to do extensions in my current house and when we did a plan it showed that all the outside walls will be demolished because of the cracks and extensions which will be like a new house. We now want to opt for a second option of a double storey but we ‘ know how much both plans will cost us, how best can I do this before doing a second plan which will cost me getting an architect?

  111. Hi

    I currently have a swimming pool (2mx2.9m, full title within a complex) but I want to extend the pool/add on an additional pool (converting the current to a spa pool). One of the swimming pool construction companies have told me that since October 2013, you do not need council approval for new swimming pools in the Johannesburg area. Is this true?

    Thank you
    Jadie

  112. Hi Jaidee, I have been in contact with the Johannesburg Town Planners and yes there has been a amendment. I will be doing a full story over this weekend (Feb 8-9 2014) so do come back and have a look then. In the meanwhile in your case as you are in a complex the restriction is, if the pool is less than 2 meters away from the boundary then plans have to be submitted and the Council Services Division has to give a clearance that no services are affected before the plans can be approved. More than 2 meters, depending on the zoning in your area, then no plans are required.

  113. Thank you Janek! Look forward to reading your full article.

  114. Hi Mamsi, You cannot just add a second story to a building that was designed as a single story. The foundations might not be strong enough to carry the weight of a second story and could collapse. You need to consult with a Structural Engineer or at least with the Architect that did your current plans. The cost of the Architect is minimal if you consider how much a collapsed house will be. Your insurance will not cover this if the house is not built according to the Building Regulations.

  115. Lientjie Potgieter

    Hi Janek,

    I would like to know if we buy a full title house in an estate and we would like to build a flat on the property. Do you know if there is any law preventing us from renting the flat out if we living in an estate on a full titled property?

  116. Good day

    I am Thabiso. I’ve been interested in adding a storey to my house. The only thing is, I am not sure if the architect is ripping me off. First I had to pay R4400 for the plan itself and now I have to pay R4000 to the municipality, through my architect again, for a slab for the first floor?

    Please help

  117. Our bedroom, sitting room, garden and toilet are lover looked by a neighbours attic conversion. This extension was there before we bought our house last year, but now that the neighbours house has been re-sold, the new owners often stand at the window of the attic, staring into our house, how can we find out if their extension is legal?

  118. Hi,

    We bought a house in Nov 2013. Last week we got the building plans as we wanted to give them to an architect to draw up some extensions and renovations. However, it appears that the previous owner made changes to the building without having the plans approved. What sort of recourse do we have against him / the real estate agent. We now have to get the existing building ‘approved’ as well.

  119. Lauren this is something that you should have checked when you purchased the property. At this stage, the only thing you could do is employ an attorney to demand the seller updates the plans at his cost and threaten to take him to court if he doesn’t (because this is clearly a case of withholding information that is now going to cost you to rectify) which will take time and cost money. You could also complain to the most senior person in the estate agency and lodge a complaint with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (though I believe they have a huge backlog).

  120. Annie, they should have had approved plans prior to doing the conversion. YOur local authority will know whether this was done. You will need the erf number and address. And you are likely to get more info if you physically go to their offices.

  121. Thabiso, why don’t you contact the municipality directly to find out what they require and what they charge. There will be certain fees to pay, but they will be able to tell you what these are and how much you should be paying. You can also contact SACAPSA for advice. I have given you a link to their contact details.

  122. Hi Penny,
    I would like to know about lofts. How high should the roof be or how high should the wall be for the loft to be built or attic to be built? Is it cheaper to make loft than to build extra rooms on the floor? Cost wise what is more affordable and what are the regulations? My friend wants to know if she builds a small house then she can have bedroom on the loft and use the space below as kitchen and lounge with bathroom.
    Is it possible, if yes then how much does it cost and what regulations have to be followed. And does it have to be a wooden structure or cement and which one is cheaper wooden or cement one. Please enlighten.
    Thanks for your time and patience
    yusuf

  123. Yusuf I suggest you contact a company that builds lofts and get a quotation. Your friend can build a house with a loft and use that space for a bedroom, but she will need to have plans drawn up by a competent person and passed by the local authority. That person will be able to advise on materials. A suspended timber floor will probably be cheaper, but there are many concrete slab solutions that may also be used. (Concrete is made with cement, sand, crushed stone and water).

  124. Conrad Le Chat

    Good day

    We had plans drawn up for some alterations to our house that included extending our roof across an existing deck, paving, removal of an outside braai area and wall as well as a stack block retaining wall at the rear that would push the bank back. We have done all except the retaining wall element. Is it possible to have the completed work signed off by the inspector? The builder advised that that it would not be possible and that a new plan would have to be resubmitted. The architect said that a general amendment could be requested from the inspector. What is your opinion on this and furthermore is it possible to retain the retaining wall as a separate approved element (in case we decide to do it later)?

  125. Conrad I think that you can request the local authority inspector to sign off what has been done and then amend the plan accordingly. However there may be a timeframe in which you have to complete the building work. I am not sure if it would be possible to resubmit the existing plan (if deleted from the plan by an amendment)… if not you would, I suppose, have to resubmit a new plan. But the only way to be sure is to contact the local authority. It is ultimately they that will make the decision.

  126. Lientjie the law doesn’t prevent this, but the estate may have a policy that disallows it.

  127. Contact the City of Cape Town for details – it is governed by their bylaws.

  128. Renier Blignaut

    Hi there
    I would like to convert my garage into a garden flat but have been told to apply for second dwelling rights.
    This does not sound correct to me.
    Thx

  129. Renier, I know that municipalities do sometimes demand this type of application. I think it probably has to do with rates and taxes. Maybe apply for it to be a garden studio that you will use yourself. i.e. It won’t be used for another person or family to live in.

  130. Renier Blignaut

    Hi Penny.
    Thx for your response.
    2 follow up questions if I may.
    1) If the flat is attached to the main house by brick and mortar does it form part of the main house.
    2) if the building inspector tells me to stop building and I DON’T, what is his/their next course of action. Will this end up in court with a judge making a ruling?

    Many thanks.

  131. Subject:
    buidling extension

    Message:
    Hi,

    I bought a house with 121 sqm finish and 192 foundation not completed. I need to complete 192 the side with foundation. Does the builder has to request approval for the 192 when building or as this was part of the plan doesn’t need approval.

  132. Subject:
    Number of Dwellings

    Message:
    Hi

    Please can you let me know what the rule is with the number dwellings per stand.
    I would like to build 3 separate households on a stand which is 5700 sq meters.
    Can I do this….

    Thanks
    Ray

  133. Subject:
    Poor workmanship
    Message:
    Good day, i need advice as I added a new section to my house and the roof is leaking very badlt. The water is seeping through between the wall and ceiling. Please can you advise me what to do as The builder is not answering my calls.

  134. Shawn you need to find the builder and take action against him. If he is unable to fix the problem then you need to put him to terms and hold him liable for whatever it costs you to get it fixed. However – if you can’t find the builder and you don’t have a proper contract for the work, you have a problem and will probably end up footing the build for someone else to fix you leaks.

  135. Ray this will be covered by your local bylaws – not the building regulations. Contact your local authority for this information – it varies.

  136. Violet, all parts of the plan must be approved.

  137. Renier, If the flat has its own entrance and there is no access between the two then it does not form part of the main house. If they tell you to stop building and you ignore them, they will have to follow the legal channels and issue you with a written notice to stop building. If you still ignore them they will probably issue summons and it will then end of in court – but not the Supreme Court – rather the Magistrate’s Court – with a magistrate making a ruling. This could take quite a long time.

  138. I have a double story house which i want to extend at the back. The problem is that I have a sewage line
    running apprx 1.5 meters fromm the main building. Can i extented over this sewage line.

    Kind regards
    Cole

  139. Hello,
    We want to place an offer on an abandoned Quicksell house but found out that the existing approved plans do not include the double garage, the pool and the divisions of the rooms and bathroom built on the ist floor. What does this mean for me as a buyer? Doe sit mean that as new owners we will be asked to demolished what is not approved? Or can the plans be amended and resubmitted for approval since as the new owners it was not our doing?
    Thank you
    Aida

  140. Aida, Generally you can submit “as built” plans. But check this with the local authority before buying.

  141. Provided you have approved plans Cole.

  142. Dear Penny,

    We want to build a braai room attached to our house. What is the rules for the distance to build from the boundary wall between me and my neighbor’s wall? I have a corner stand, is the rules different for a normal stand and a corner stand?

    My neighbor is also busy building, she is building 4 rooms with 2 bathroom for students. She is currently renting her house out to about 8 students and will rent this rooms out to also about 8 students. 16 people on one stand. Does she not need a special license to multi rent? Her wall is also about 30cm from our boundary wall. Does she not need her neighbor permission to build so close to the wall or to multi rent?

  143. Esme it is the local authority bylaws and zoning schemes that determine how far from a boundary you are able to build. They will not normally be different for corner stands, though this may affect the percentage of the distance along which building alongside a boundary may be permitted. Contact your local authority for clarification. BTW You will need approved plans to add a braai room, and these need to be drawn up by a competent person.
    As far as your neighbour is concerned, she needs approved plans to be able to add on to her house legally, and there may be zoning implications in terms of the number of people who can live on the property. In addition, the Occupancy or Building Classifications for buildings differ in terms of a number of things, including the space required for specified numbers of people. There are five categories for houses: Hotel, Dormitory, Domestic Residence, Dwelling House and Hospitality – see General Principles & Requirements on this website. This classification should be registered on the plans. PLUS she will need to have a license from the local authority allowing her to run a hospitality-related business. Again they will be able to give you the relevant information in terms of their specific requirements.
    As far a neighbour-permission regarding building so close to the wall is concerned, unless she is in Cape Town, she does need neighbours’ permission. Or rather, I am not aware of any other local authority that does not require neighbour’s permission – and this must be in writing.

  144. Janine Pugh-Jones

    Subject:
    Building Dispute

    Message:
    Please advise what legal body I can direct a complaint to for a builder who has done an appalling job on a private build. His electrical work is un insurable and extremely dangerous. they cannot move back into the house until it is corrected and made safe. this builder has been the worst builder I have ever witnesses. we urgently need to establish the correct channels to lodge a complaint and
    rectify the situation. please assist with information. his application for Master Builder Association is pending.
    thank you
    Janine

  145. Janine if he has an application pending with the MBA I suggest you contact them and draw attention to this job. I also suggest that you contact the NHBRC and find out if he is registered. If he isn’t then he is working illegally and the NHBRC must take action. Only qualified, registered electricians are permitted to do electrical work! So if he is doing it himself this is also illegal.

  146. Hi there,
    I have an apartment directly above my garage (in a sectional title block) and would like to run my tumble drier from the garage without drilling down through the garage ceiling (lounge floor) – can I run a cable over the balcony and down the wall into the garage – is this legal? There is lighting outside the garages with external cables so I think its not a problem but I heard otherwise.. Please advise?
    Maxine

  147. Maxine you can’t run a permanent cable unless it was done with conduit piping (possibly external cabling, but you’d need to check with a qualified electrician) – but there’s nothing to stop you using an extension cable when you want to use the tumble drier – then pull it in when you are done.

  148. Hi
    What are the laws bout patio enclosures and restructure of new patio. Not sure to build a new roof or get these pre assembled skylight patio solutions?
    Want to close my existing patio with x 2 alimiuim sliders and create an entrance on one wall with pivot door and small porch?
    Do i need plan approval?
    Please advise by laws re this alterations..Thank you

  149. Hi Penny – great site, very useful.
    I’m trying to find out the criteria, where planning becomes necessary according to the Sectional Title act. I bought a property that has a small enclosed braai area – which was previously outside. The bodycorp recently deemed this an unregistered extension and want to see plans and have this updated on the deeds etc all at my cost. I have since tracked down the builder as the extension was commissioned by a previous owner, and he explained there were never plans drawn up for this small job. The boundary of the property has not increased neither has the floor area (as this was previously a patio). Is it possible that the enclosure/extension does not need planning and approval?

  150. Hi.

    I have a 300 sq metre double storey unit that I would like to divide into two units. I would like to close the staircase with rib and block and therefore have to change a bedroom on the first floor into a kitchen. Is this allowed. This is a sectional title unit. The unit downstairs already has a kitchen.

    Regards
    Johan

  151. Rob yes it is quite possible that it is minor building work. Even construction that is not officially categorized “minor building work” in the NBR may be categorized as such by the local authority. However, body corporates also have their own rules and regulations and these may have been flaunted by the previous owner. Without seeing the area, I’m going to guess that it is because the area is enclosed that there is a problem. I am also going to guess that the local authority WOULD want plans for an enclosed area. Unenclosed patios are not normally included in the floor area of a house (and therefore not included in rates and taxes charges). You will see from the link that all pergolas, and open-sided carports and other structures under 40 sq m are consider minor building work – and don’t require plan approval. There’s no reason why these cannot have paved or even concrete (possible then tiled) floors.

  152. Open-sided pergolas do not require plans, but as soon as you enclose the area you will need plans. You need to contact your local authority to find out exactly what the bylaws say – as these vary.

  153. Johan you will need approved plans and I assume permission from the body corporate. A competent person will need to draw up the plans for you and submit them to council. I have no way of knowing what your body corporate requires from you – or allows.

  154. Hi Penny

    If the Body corporate approves this, will the local municipality approve a plan that has been drawn up by an architect which shows two kitchen as my question desires?

  155. Johan, Presuming that the body corporate has approved the plan, the municipality will then ensure that the plans meet the requirements of the National Building Regulations and SANS 10400, plus other relevant regulations – as per any plans submitted to council.

  156. Hi

    Our title deed says no building 3.5mtrs from the bank,
    Can we get permission to build atleast one meter from the boundary wall or is there no
    Exceptions allowed?

    Also generally, would building a double story room vs ground extension be much more expensive?

    Thanks
    Nes

  157. Nes, probably not because it is in the title deed. Exceptions usually relate to local authority by-laws. And I’m afraid that the answer to your second question is tantamount to, How long is a piece of string? There are too many variables to be able to answer this, though if you are going up you will need to remove the roof and also ensure that the existing foundation is sufficient for a double storey. This could make it more expensive.

  158. Collen M Kekana

    Subject:
    building registration

    Message:
    hi..i have just got an approval from the municipality and would like to know more about the procedure to follow in order to register the building before it commences.

  159. Hi Collen, You do not say if this is a new house that you are building or if the plans that you have approved are for an extension or addition. If it is a new house then you will have to register the house with the NHBRC. They will give you all the paperwork to fill in by your “competent person” and the amount that you will have to pay for registration. By law you must register all new houses with the NHBRC. You can get their contact numbers and addresses on their website here: http://www.nhbrc.org. Any alterations or additions to an existing house do not have to be registered with the NHBRC.

  160. i would like to inquire. We are wanting to buy a home and was told that the extra added bedroom and bathroom has not been approved by the municipality (no plans was handed in). What is the risk we are facing if we purchase the property and is there any possibility that a building inspector can request that we break down the extension.

  161. Wilma there is a possibility that the additions would have to be demolished (especially if the building regulations have not been complied with), though more often a municipality will ask for “as built” plans to be submitted. If you buy the house that has additions that have been done without plans, then it will become your problem, and you will have to pay for as built plans and any penalties that may be imposed by the local authority. If you require a bond, it is likely that the bank will want plans before they approve it. So I would insist that the current owner sorts out the problem first.

  162. Hi,

    We recently had a house built, and storage space is becoming an issue now. I would like to add storage space into the roof. This will not be used as habitable space, but only a place for storage. I was wondering if I need to submit anything to the municipality, need inspections or need a registered builder to do the alterations.

    I would ideally like to have some flooring put down, around the trusses to maximise the amount I can store in the roof. something similiar to this http://bit.ly/YbGbJt . My roof isnt that high, and I dont plan on putting weight on the trusses, so the support and flooring would ideally be on the walls on the structure.

  163. Hi,

    We have purchased an historic property (120+ years old) in cape town and we can see that there have been extensions and alterations done some at some point. The only plans the council have are from the 1920’s and show a very different building footprint.

    Firstly: Is there a cut off point at which old extensions no longer require planning permission? – for example if they have been there for 4 years or more and meet building regs?

    Secondly: If we are planning some extensions of our own that will require planning permission is that going to cause us problems when the building inspector come round?

    Happy to get as-builts done but wouldn’t really want to knock down and pay fines etc.

    Thanks.

  164. Hi,
    I am looking at buying a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house and extending it into a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom with possibly an extra living space. I know that you are restricted to a ratio of building area to erf area when building. How do I find out what that ratio is and if I can extend before I purchase the house? Also, if i cant extend outwards, how can I find out if I can extend upwards, etc. Any advice would help, thanks.

  165. Hi there
    I live in Edenvale, Gauteng and my neighbour is building a double storey cottage in the garden directly behind us. How far from the boundary wall can they build? Do they need permission from neighbours? Can I raise an objection based on the new building obscuring the sunlight to our garden and pool area?
    Thanks

  166. Our property is a corner plot with the driveway access on a busy road. We would like to wide the driveway but I’m concerned that there might be some sort of regulation regarding how close the driveway access can be to the corner. And is this measure to the corner of the street or the corner of the boundary wall? Please advise. Thank you.

  167. i purchased a home five years ago in kzn, which had existing carports. the municipal authorities are now asking me for plans for the carport. are they allowed to do this? my neighbours all have exisiting carports and have not been asked for plans? since when do we require plans for carport?

    I have read on another website if a carport is open ended and less then 40 sqm area, no plans are needed. is this true? does open ended mean all four sides open?

    thanks

    andy

  168. Hi,

    Are you allowed to do extentsions on a RDP house horizontally not a big extentsion just in the yard available, the title deeds are in the occupants name. Do you need to still get approval from the council? And if so how/where do we go about doing so?

    Thanks 🙂

  169. Hi my garage are busy cracking i want to tear it down and rebuild it on the old foundation do i have to submit plans or do i have to let municipality know what i want to do

  170. If you rebuild it exactly the same as is on the plans that are lodged with the Council then you should not have a problem. The problem comes in if you change anything from the foundations to the type of roof then you will need to possibly submit plans. The best is to contact them and ask.

  171. I have answered your other query about plans and with this query each city/town has their own rules for carports. It is at their discretion and if they want plans then that is what has to be supplied

  172. Please have a look at our post boundary-lines-walls-fences that will give you a good general idea of the regulations. Yes as he is going double story he needs to get neighbour approval. It is not only the light but the privacy with windows that may not be allowed to face your property. Contact the local building inspector and challenge them.

  173. We have a few zoning schemes in our category: zoning-schemes. You must contact the local municipality give them the address and ask them what is allowed.

  174. You will have to get a copy of your site plan and find the boundary pegs. You can widen your driveway up ot the limit of your boundaries you cannot make a driveway on someone elses or council land.

  175. Hi
    We stay in a complex and I want to build a cellar with a garage on top in Port Elizabeth, is there any building regulations against it, can anybody help me with the criteria needed for such a structure.
    Regards
    Natie

  176. I have approved plans for a carport.I wish to enclose three sides with walls.do i need a plan?

  177. Ref:- Extending in a complex.
    Am looking at extending my 2 bed roomed 1 garage simplex semi detached home. What guidelines must l follow to get permission for this process. I cannot extend sideways but up only and this will mean the roof will have to be touched which l share with my neighbor.

  178. Firstly you need to discuss this with you Home Owners group before getting any plans done as there might be restrictions on what you are allowed to do in your development. You will have to get the ok from your neighbours in writing (good luck with this). If they say it is ok for what you want then you must consult with an architect or draughts person and get plans done and all the other paperwork together then submit those to council for approval.

  179. Carports are generally considered to be minor building work, but since you have approved plans, you will need to submit an addendum to the existing plan otherwise it will not match the plan you have, which could cause future problems.

  180. If you comply with the NBR you can do this… but you need a qualified person to draw up plans, and a competent person to supervise the build.

  181. What are the procedures once a building exstention is completed regarding ‘signing off’ and/or notifying the municipality ?

  182. Hi,
    I’m trying to find out if I need building plans for close a porch in.
    It has a floor, roof structure, load bearing pillars and lintels holding the roof up.
    all I want to do is move the window out and close the one wall and put the door in the other closed up wall.
    Everything stays under the existing roof, the closed in walls, window and door will be under the existing 3 lintel of the porch.

    Can anyone provide some advice if I need building plans?
    I can’t find anything specific in the NBR that explains this scenario.
    Thanks
    Guy

  183. hi

    I just bought a house in the new development houses in Cosmo City, Johannesburg. I would like to extend but I need to know before I get a plan and approval, what must be the distance between the new building and my wall fence which is adjacent to the street (Front) and between the wall fence which is adjacent to my neighbour (Sides)

    thanks
    Sandi

  184. Hi, I want to build a double story house, on the boundary wall. The plan drawer told me that the upper level must be 3m away form the boundary wall and that this is a new law.

    Is this true? This will mean the upper level will be reduces from 80sm to 40sm which doesn’t make any sense.

    I understand neighbors don’t want people looking into their property, but what If I don’t have any windows in the back that face them?

    As you can see this is a small house, and I cant loose half the space upstairs. please advise urgently?

    Thanks.

  185. We have built a deck, The deck does not touch or tie into the existing building. This i am told is free standing? and no plans are need if it is above 1m from the ground level. Is this so as i cannot find it in the building regulations. I also cannot find a definition of free standing according to building law. I cannot find any legislation regarding decks, local or National law.
    Please help
    Regards,
    Grant

  186. Any feedback on my query? I am in Durban.
    Thanks.

  187. Rolen contact your local authority… it will relate to their zoning regulations and not to the National Building Regulations

  188. Grant, the National Building Regulations do not cover decks. They are not even mentioned in the section of Part A of SANS 10400 that deals with minor building work. A freestanding deck is, as you correctly say, one that is not attached to a building. You need to check what your local authority by-laws say about decks – if anything. The council will also be able to advise whether plans are required or not (ultimately it’s their call – and requirements may be different in different parts of the country). You are more likely to need plans the higher off the ground the deck is. This would be for safety reasons.

  189. Hi

    Kindly advice lm planning to build 3 back rooms and the wall as my house is the corner.

    kindly advice what rout must l take?

    Regards
    Sabelo

  190. The first step is to have plans drawn up. You need to get a competent person to do this (see link). This person will then submit the plans to your local authority. Once they are approved, you can build.

  191. It depends on the zoning regulations Sandi. Building lines should be on your title deeds. If you don’t have access to these (e.g. if the property is mortgaged) just ask the council. You might find some useful info in this City of Jhb document. This article on boundary lines should also be helpful to you.

  192. Generally if an alteration doesn’t affect load bearing walls then you don’t need plans. But at the end of the day the local authority makes this decision, and if you decide to sell one day and the change is not on your plans then you might be required to get an addendum to the plans – and they might fine you. So it’s really best to ask them whether or not it is necessary.

  193. Rosco I don’t think you need plans – but be careful in terms of the additional weight. And don’t be tempted to use it for anything else.

  194. As soon as you are dealing with an historic building you have a whole new/different set of rules in addition to the building regs. Generally the local authority is not going to be concerned with the historical aspect, but they will be concerned with illegal extensions, even if done decades ago. You will have to negotiate with them regarding “as-built” drawings. I think they are mostly very fair.

  195. Colleen, the obvious answer is to ask your local authority. Each has slightly different requirements and bylaws.

  196. Could you please advise me how much would it cost to build a standard room by a size of a garage that could fit only one car

  197. halo penny
    I am from Williston and I have submit a plan in October 2013and again in November 2014 because there was some faults tell me ,is it not the municipality responsibility to have there own building inspector .because the reason why my plan can be approve is because the civil engineers is the ones that approve the plans know and I feel that it is not write because here were a health inspector that approve the building plans but since the new municipal manager come he sad that that guy can do it any more no tell me I and now gatvol for it I want to start building and they cant get so far and approve my plan can I start build or will it be not a write move to make please tell me what to do .or tell me can a building inspector come and knock my house down if I have start without a plan

  198. We bought a house in a complex that is not access controlled or part of a body corp. We would like to extend the current building up and over to raise the exiting garage as well. Can you give me any info on the foundation requirements when converting single to double story?

  199. Im still paying my bond house I need to build rooms outside what route must I takd?
    And if I want to extend the house how and where I get a permit and title deeds?

  200. You need to have plans drawn up and approved by the local authority before you can build on. If you have bond, the back will be holding the title deeds, so you can ask them if you can look at them (they won’t release them to you, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t allow you to see them to check whatever it is you want to check) or go to the Deeds Office in Pretoria and ask to see them.

  201. There is substantial information on foundations on this website. But since you want to extend the building and build up, you are going to need approved plans and a “competent person” to draw these up and take responsibility for the build. That person (or an engineer) will specify your foundation requirements. In any case, if you are going to increase the height of an existing building, an engineer will have to determine how this is done – e.g. by underpinning.

  202. I want to add an entire second floor as a seperate residence. What planning etc do I require?

  203. Hi John, There are a number of things, your local by-laws will say how many dwelling units you are allowed, and the area coverage you are allowed on your erf. All by-laws are different for each area. If that is OK then you will have to get an engineers report to state that the existing foundations are strong enough to carry the extra weight of another story. He could also make recommendations as to how to underpin the foundations to strengthen them, this depends on your local council if they find this acceptable. Then you will have to get an architect, or a “competent” registered person, to draw up the plans and you will have to submit them for approval before you start building.

  204. Dirri, It is difficult to advise you without knowing what the municipality’s objections to your plans are. They certainly have no legal right to hold you up for such a long time without telling you what the problems are. To answer your questions. Yes the municipality must have building inspectors to be able administrate the National Building Regulations. There are times when a civil engineer has to involved, in which case the municipality will ask the owner of the property to ensure certain things in the plans are up to specific specifications. Health inspectors do not have the authority to pass plans, though they may be called on to check health-related issues. There may be a civil engineer in the municipality’s planning department who is responsible for approving plans, but that is no excuse for a hold-up of 20 months. If you go ahead and build without approved plans, the municipality won’t do the required inspections, and they could tell you to demolish the house at a later stage. They can also halt the building construction because you don’t have plans. I would give them a letter in writing demanding that they given you notice IN WRITING of what they require from you to get your plans passed.

  205. Graham Watters

    What would a fair price be for plans to be drawn up for about a 80sqm extension to an existing dwelling in the Highway area of Durban?

    Graham

  206. Hi Graham, Not an easy question to answer, I suggest contacting the Architect Associations directly here: saia or sacapsa

  207. i do house plans
    contact me 072 196 7129

  208. Is it allowed (by banks) to extend the house while still paying home loan?

  209. hi

    i need to complain on someone that wanted me to rent their outbuilding but they don”t have any plans done for it and the building is already up with extentions. i was very upset to know how the building went up without a plan.

    please help on who i can call and complain to

  210. Hi Guys,

    We looking at demolishing our out-building, which is totally separate to the main house and building a granny cottage. Can anyone give me some advice on the process to follow in terms of plans, approval, etc. I live in the Durban area.

    Regards,
    Scott

  211. Good Day

    Can you please explain this to me

    I want to build a garage next to my existing house. I have contacted the architect to update the drawing and submit for approval. Now i apparently also need engineering services for structural design of the garage. Why are they necessary because the the municipality people come out to view the foundation before it is started. Please help me understand why its necessary to have engineers for the structural design? Is the person who builds not going to build according to the architects design?

  212. I have a 3bedroom kitchen,dining and a lounge house and I want to extend up with a main bedroom insuite,a study and a living room.i need to know the estimated cost

  213. Is it possible to draw up and submit building plans at local authorities if you are registered as a Professional Engineering Technologist (Civil, Structural)?

  214. You need to be what is defined in the NBR as a “competent person”. competent person will give you all the info you need.

  215. You wouldn’t normally need an engineer to draw a garage plan. You need to press the architect to give you a proper explanation.

  216. All the information you need to know is on this website. In a nutshell you need to get a competent person to draw up plans and then submit to council for approval.

  217. Contact the local authority and give them a complaint in writing. Then follow it up to make sure that they do something about this.

  218. HI, can someone pls tell me if it is possible to go double storey on a semi-detatched house?

  219. Hi
    I have a bond house and I want to extend it, so can you guys please tell me how long does house plan take to be approved by the local council?

  220. We have a U-shaped house. We would like to install a thatch roof between the 2. Where do we start the hole process. Thanks

  221. All roofs need plans Marna, so start by finding a competent person to draw these for you.

  222. Amos, it’s impossible to say. All council’s have there own time schemes. You can ask them though.

  223. It isn’t the fact that it is semi-detached that is the issue Erika, it’s whether the foundations will support a second storey and whether your zoning allows this.

  224. Then I suggest you contact building contractors for quotations.

  225. I don’t see why not. Check the small print in your bond contract to be sure.

  226. All extensions require approved plans.

  227. Hi,

    How many days on average does a foundation take to cure?
    The area is Sunninghill and I’m not sure of the type of soil in the area and how much difference that makes to the time it takes to cure.
    I want to get some idea as to when the builder should start with the walls being built onto the foundation – someone told me you should wait 28 days as an average.

  228. Building usually takes place a couple of days after the concrete has been laid. Concrete hardens before it has cured thoroughly – and it will continue to cure until it reaches full strength – anything from seven to 28 days. The only accurate way to determine how long it will take to reach full strength is by making test cubes to check the strength of the concrete and this will tell you how long it takes for the concrete to reach the required strength. An engineer would do this.

  229. Do we need a plan to convert a garage into a granny flat?

  230. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF A PERSON IN A RESIDENTIAL ZONE CAN PRACTICE FROM HIS HOUSE WITHOUT LIVING THERE AND ALSO CALL IT A MEDICAL CENTRE AND LET OUT ROOMS TO OTHER DOCTORS???????????

  231. How much will roughly it cost to add an extra bedroom to a house?

  232. Manie Paulsen

    Hi Penny, do I need a engineer’s foundation report and he’s design telling me I must have re-enforcing laid down before poring my concrete. I am adding a 3.5 x 4 metre to my existing bedroom, I had soil tested and the report says my soil is fine for building. My papers from our local council says a dolomite test is not required, so do I need a engineer’s design for my foundation. Is there anyone I can contact on the East Rand that can assist me with the correct information. Please reply to my email.
    regarrds

  233. You need approved plans – and if an engineer’s design is required, the request for these will come from the council (that approves your plans). Generally you should include reinforcing even if the soil is okay. Dolomite is a whole different story.

  234. No idea – it depends what materials you use and how big the bedroom is

  235. Only if the person has approval from the local authority.

  236. Hi,

    Is it true that you cannot have more than one granny flat on a property?

    We draw up plans to turn our existing double garage into a one bedroom outbuilding and intended to build on top of that – another one bedroom outbuilding. Architect draw the plans, we got a structural engineer to come out – paid both these professionals.

    Went to submit at out municipality and they said you can’t have more than one outbuilding on a property. Why did neither of these professionals tell us this – now we have spent over R10 000 for nothing.

  237. Hi I would like to build an outside building that serves as a guest house .what is the correct procedure to do this and how long do authorities usually take to approve the requisitions to do that?

  238. Hi,

    How are timber decks treated in terms of the NBRs. Are these seen as minor building work and will formal approval be required in order to install an outside decking area?

  239. Can you please advise of approximate cost of submitting plans for a two bedroom upstairs and downstairs in newlands West durban

  240. Paul Hinrichsen

    Good Day

    Please could you advise me on the following as I cant seem to raise anyone at the City Council.

    I am considering the purchase of a house in Centurion. The current owner has converted one of the two garages into an office. This involved the erection of a brick wall between the two garages plus the replacement of the existing garage door with a window. Also the insertion of a door from the “office” to the interior of the house and of a ceiling.There were no alterations which impact on the external boundaries of the house.

    My concern is should the current owner have had such alterations approved by the City ? When I ask the Estate Agent for proof that the plans for the above alteration have been approved she tells me that such alterations do not need City of Tshwane Approval.

    Thanking you

    Paul

  241. Hi

    When drawing up an addition to a house do you need to redraw the entire house plan again with full dimensions and details etc?

  242. If I already got a extension plan drawn and it expired but I already got the foundation done must I still go and renew the plan again?

  243. Hi

    I want to build an apartment on top of a double garage, do i need plans for it, and how much will it cost more or less.

  244. Hi

    Is it necessary to notify the council / submitted plans, if I am planing to install a built-in bay window?
    I have been told that the installation includes the following:
    1. Removal of existing window, widening of opening and replacement with lintels.
    2. Installation of the bay window with floor and specially designed roof.

    I was also told that the existing roof will not be effected by this installation.

    Your assistance with this is highly appreciated.

  245. It depends on size and design

  246. The best approach would be to ask the council if they need plans. They might because lintels have to be replaced. On the other hand they might not!

  247. Yes you do need plans. I have no idea what it will cost.

  248. I imagine so. Approach your local authority for advice.

  249. Plans should have been submitted and approved. The estate agent is incorrect! I suggest you contact the City of Tshwane and ask for confirmation in writing. Then you can give the estate agent a copy of the document – and threaten to report him/her to the Estate Agents Board. It’s about time estate agents started operating honestly! In the unlikely event of the council not requiring plans, you will be covered.

  250. You will need to have plans drawn up by a “competent person“, and these will have to be approved before you can build. In addition you will need planning approval from your local authority in terms of a) whether you can build and b) whether the zoning of your property will allow you to run a guest house. Please contact your local authority for information on how long approval is likely to take.

  251. It normally depends on local bylaws and zoning. The professionals should have checked these first. Perhaps you can get them to change the plans so that it only one building… though they would have to find a way to link them.

  252. Hi. What does building regulations say about minimum dimension for a double garage? My garage is 6m long wall to wall measuring from outside.

  253. hi thr…i want to extend my existin house also go up and build seperate guest house..my architect insists that im going to have a problem with coverage as i can only cover 50 percent of my property …others differ though..what wil b correct

  254. It depends on the zone your property is in. All local authorities have their own zoning regs, so you need to get hold of your local council/municipality and see what your zoning is. This will specify coverage. Note that there are also bylaws relating to separate dwellings on a property.

  255. There is nothing specified in the NBR. 6×6 m is considered minimum!

  256. Hi
    I want to build 3 flats on my property 30m2 each.
    Will I beable to do this?
    If possible must they join onto the exciting property?
    I was thinking of possibly putting a high pitched roof on for the bedroom, what are your thoughts?

    Your help will be appreciated

  257. I presume you mean existing property Robin? However obviously any additions will be on the existing property – so maybe you mean the existing house?
    It may be possible for you to build three additional units on your property, but unlikely. It depends on the size of the property and the zoning. Municipalities are very strict when it comes to what are classed as additional dwellings and more often than not they will limit people to a second dwelling only.

  258. My neighbors would like to extend their house, obstructing my ocean view. At what point will they require neighborhood permission. Their alteration will grossly affect my property value.

  259. Hi Brett, The law states that you are entitled to the full enjoyment of your property. So a neighbour is not entitled to obstruct your view. He may do this if he has an agreement with you. I have no idea why you would agree to this as the value of your property without a view would fall dramatically. The council is obliged to protect your rights and you can object to any build that has an adverse effect on these. If you do not get any joy from them there is the PAJA that you have recourse to, read more here: http://sans10400.co.za/paja-law-protect-rights/

  260. Yes you do because you are changing what the building is used for, from a garage to human habitation.

  261. Can anyone please point me in the right direction?

    I am buying a house. I am planning on adding a second story, not on top, but above the current house… I am planning this by building a steel frame supported on steel beams, which will be set in concrete…

    How do I go about getting this approved? And do I do this at the local municipality offices?

    It won’t be used as a living space, but more like a workshop for my electronic developments…

  262. Hi Jan, From what you are saying you will need an engineers report to accompany the plans that will have to be submitted to your local council before construction starts. The submission can be done by yourself or your architect/draughts person. You will also have to apply for a permit/exemption to have an industrial business operating in a residential area.

  263. Hi

    I would like to buy a small house with a spacious yard in a township in Pretoria or Ekhuruleni since finding land is a problem. The plan is to demolish that small house completely and build 2-storey apartments/rooms for short term or long term rentals. Is this possible and legal? What are the chances that this would be approved? Is it possible for me to submit plans before I purchase the property to avoid disappointment?

  264. You need to prove ownership before you can submit plans to any local authority.

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