Document Downloads

Useful Building Documents all in One Place

RegsPic453B-sIf you know where to look, you can find an enormous amount of useful information, including legislation and official documents that will assist you with your building projects. We have accessed some of these for you and you can download them from this page here or on our downloads page “download-regulations”.

Just remember that if you are looking for South African National Standards (SANS) or standards prepared by the International Standards Authority (ISO) you will need to visit an South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) office, or buy the standards from their online store.

If you simply want to read through standards, you can do so at your leisure in a library at one of the SABS offices. Their head office is in Groenkloof, Pretoria, and they have regional offices in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Olifantsfontein, all of which are open between 8 am and 4 pm.

The National Building Regulations

The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (No. 103 of 1977) forms the basis of how buildings in South Africa should be constructed and developed to suit human habitation. The legislation became enforceable as law in September 1985, and two years later were published by the SABS as part of the original Code of Practice for The application of the National Building Regulations, SABS 0400-1987.

If you study the legislation, you will see that its intention was to “provide for the promotion of uniformity in the law relating to the erection of buildings in the areas of jurisdiction of local authorities; for the prescribing of building standards; and for matters connected therewith”.

The Act that governs the National Building Regulations has been amended several times, most recently in 2008 when some major changes were made.

In 1990, the SABS published its first revision of its code of practice, SABS 0400-1990, which later became known as SANS 10400-1990. While these standards are not free (you can only purchase them from the SABS), the 1990 version of this standard is now available FREE here. In each of the parts featured on this website, we have included a short commentary on how these have changed since 1990; some parts have changed little, others have been radically altered.

To update the building regulations that are published in this document you will need the 2008 amendment to the National Building Regulations. Note that when you purchase the individual parts of the building regulations from the SABS, they will incorporate the updated legislation in full. Previously, the SABS 0400-1990 document was one single publication.

There are also updates on certain sections of the standards, some of which are draft standards, that you can currently download, free. These include:

Even though the “new” building regulations have been mandatory since October 2008, mid-2011 the SABS was still progressively updating its lengthy code of practice. At last they are complete!

There are 21 parts that currently comprise SANS 10400. These deal with compliance, and they are available as stand-alone units from the SABS – each individually priced. See the SABS online store for details. Two additional parts of the legislation, Part E: Demolition Work, and Part U: Refuse Disposal, do not have “deemed-to-satisfy” codes of practice.

There are a handful of other documents that are available FREE from the SABS.

Browse these free downloads and feel free to take the relevant files:

8 Free Standards and 20 JTC1 Free Standards

Compulsory Specifications (CVs)

Department of Public Works Guidelines

The Government’s Department of Public Works has a range of documents that provide consultants – specifically architects, quantity surveyors, civil engineers, structural engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and construction project managers – with focused guidelines for Department of Public Works projects. Some of these may be useful to home builders and owner builders, simply because the standards are generic. They include:

  • Appropriate Development of Infrastructure on Dolomite: Guidelines for Consultants. Published in 2003, this lengthy 97-page document contains some important background information on dolomite land, as well as departmental requirements for developing any form of building site on dolomite.
  • Guide for Architects Concerning Drainage Water Supply and Storm-Water Drainage. Published in 2000, this 28-page document defines a good cross-section of terms relating to water supply and drainage. Installation methods are covered briefly, and there is a useful table for sizing gutters and downpipes in relation to the size of the roof of any building.
  • Drainage Details. Although published some time ago, in 1998, this 47-page document has some useful drawings, some of which show correct and incorrect methods of installing drains. Even though a qualified plumber must, by law, install your drains, this primarily visual guide will provide some insight into correct ways of constructing drains, installing gullies and so on.
  • Standard Electrical, Mechanical and Architectural Guideline for the Design of Accessible Buildings (Facilities for Disabled Persons). Published in 2001, this 52-page document covers general design elements (including changes in level and wheelchair turning space requirements), general sit elements (including parking requirements), accessible routes (from walking surface and stairways to handrails and lifts), plumbing facilities, communication elements, and some built-in furnishing possibilities.
  •  Hardware Sample List. A 24-page long document that was published in 1995, this is basically a notated description of master keys and locks, bolts, door and other types of hardware.
  • A “Norms Calculator” for quantity surveyors. This is an Excel tool that has been customised for quantity surveyors to estimate Department of Public Works projects. The categories could be easily changed to adapt it for use estimating and costing a home build.



  1. Good day .
    Please forward the Enrolment Fee Table or advise on where to access.
    Required for Estimate purposes.

    Arthur Hackney

  2. Hello Arthur, I haven’t come across an “enrollment fee table”. Do you know which organization publishes it? And what sort of enrollment are you referring to?

  3. Delia Agliott

    I am looking for the latest version of the National building regulations which have just been updated.

  4. Delia these are available from the SABS. You can purchase them from an SABS office or from their online store.

  5. Good day

    Please advise if the SANS code of practise indicates what temperatures the air conditioner should be set in the winter/summer time in a corporate environment.

    Lorraine Maimela

  6. I think you need to contact the manufacturer for this information Lorraine.

  7. This page certainly has been useful to a returning expat.

    However, in the UK, both in Scotland and England, their National Building Regulations and Building Standards are available as free downloads. This is such an integral part to the professions work and they ensure such documentation should be made as freely and widely available as possible. So it should be here too, with the amount of building work that doesn’t always conform to standards. Over R1,000 for this as a download is extortionate!

    I wish SABS would check out the following two links to see how it is done across the oceans;

    But for now, I will have to stick with my antiquated hard copy of SABS 0400, and your free link above.

    Thanks for sharing.


  8. I have to agree with you Dave… but you can go to one of their libraries and access the regs for free. Thing is, the standard of building in SA is soooo bad, the law now requires everyone to have a “competent person” involved from plan stage. So that person would have the regs anyways.

  9. Hello Penny,

    Following on from the comments by David, I am a British Landscape Architect who has just moved to Cape Town. The information you provide on SABS is very helpful, but I wonder if you could tell me if South Africa has an equivalent to British Standards (BS)- these are not the approved building regulations that David mentions (Parts A-P released by government), but standards released by the industry covering all aspects of construction e.g. from a landscape perspective everything from the size and thickness of paving units to the methods of laying them. Any help would be appreciated.

    Many thanks.

  10. Yes Mike, the SABS publishes thousands of standards covering every aspect of building, manufacture etc. In fact you will find that some standards used (not necessary the ones you are interested in though) are in fact BS and standards drawn up by the ISO. Our site focuses on the NBR (i.e. SANS 10400) which is what David wants, and which is just one of many. Having said that, SANS 10400 IS considered the Bible standard for construction (although it doesn’t cover manufacturing standards of things like bricks and other building elements). You can go to the SABS web site and do a search for whatever it is you are looking for, but in all honesty, you’ll do better to actually go to their Cape Town offices in Mowbray. You literally walk off the road into their library, and they are incredibly helpful. Let’s say you’re looking for SANS on paving, they will do an internal search and pull whatever you need. If they don;t have it, they’ll source it from Pretoria (head office). You can read the standards there and make notes (they even have power points so you can plug in your laptop if need be), and they will photostat a limited number of pages for you to take away. Or you can buy the full standard if you need to constantly refer to it. I hope that helps.

  11. Very helpful indeed – much appreciated!

  12. I work for myself and do mostly small residential projects, I find it extortionate to have to pay such a large amount for the building regs, I used to work in the UK and it was free

  13. Tersia, I agree wholeheartedly with you! It probably has to do with funding. You can access the regulations free at SABS libraries, and they will photostat a certain percentage of each standard for you (free). You can make as many notes as you like, and even sit and type on your laptop. This is what I have done on numerous occasions.

  14. Thanks Penny,
    I will see if East London has a library.
    I have managed to find quite a bit for free on the net via other people.

  15. Tersia, I am certain that what you will find free on the Internet will be the old SANS 10400-1990. You can download the whole document here: … and also the amendments to the NBR made in 2008. The latter will show you what has changed, though it doesn’t give the deemed to satisfy guidelines, which is what the SABS adds to the regulations. The first part of each section is the legislation, followed by the SABS guidelines.
    There are vehicle testing labs in East London; but I think your nearest library will be PE 🙁 tel 041-391 8400. Maybe they’d be prepared to organize for you to access the document in EL, though it may not be possible due to staffing.

  16. Hi there, what are the closing dates in December for building and the reopening? Also, are you allowed to do internal work? Thanks 🙂

  17. Generally the building industry “closes down” on the first Friday after December 16 and reopens about a week into January. In terms of internal work – I presume you mean can you alter the interior of a house? Generally you can do alterations providing they do not affect load bearing walls, plumbing or electrical supply. However some local authorities may require plans, so it is best to check with your municipality or local council just in case.

  18. Please forward me the Application Forms together with the enrollment fees

  19. I presume you are referring to NHBRC applications. Here is a link that will take you to the NHBRC website where you can download the application forms.

  20. I’m trying to find out what the “Habitation rules” are when building a flat block, can you perhaps assist me with where to find this?
    Thank you kindly

  21. I don’t know what you mean! Are you referring to occupancy and population? If so, it is in Part 1 of the building regulations.

  22. Regan Lenders

    Hi, i have a manhole in my yard, can it be moved and what will it cost to be moved?

    Parow West


  23. Regan that’s a plumbing issue and you’ll need to call in a qualified plumber for a quotation. It won’t just be a matter of moving the manhole; all the pipes and drains will also have to be moved. Probably not a good idea.

  24. I have a house which is 22 years old. It would now appear that certain parts of it are not constructed in accordance with the approved plans. are there any prescription law which apply to this sort of problem

  25. Bill it doesn’t appear so, and it is an issue that I am currently researching. Generally when someone buys a house utilizing a mortgage bond, the bank will check the plans against the dwelling (when they do the mortgage inspection), to ensure that the two tally. A problem emerges when people pay cash for a property and don’t call for plans. Also, I am finding, through this site, that lots of people – even those who have raised bonds – end up with a property where some degree of illegal work has been done.
    I am not a lawyer and can’t be sure what you can do, but I would imagine that you MAY have some recourse to your bondholder (if there is one) or to the local council, because they would have approved the building work in the first place. If construction was no done in accordance with the approved plans, the council inspector should have picked this up.
    At the end of the day, it probably depends how this situation affects you. If you are going to have to spend a substantial amount of money rectifying this situation, I suggest you get legal advice.

  26. 1.Please assist what are the requirement for being a building inspector?
    2.what relevent question can be answered by person who si building inspector?

  27. I don’t think you completed your question! I am not sure what the requirements are for being a building inspector, but one would assume that he/she should have the same type of qualification required for a “competent person“. When a local authority advertises for this position, they will state what is required. Here is a job posted for a building inspector in the Langeberg Municipality (Western Cape):
    “Std 10/ Grade 12 with 3 year appropriate qualification; 4 years appropriate experience; Code EB Drivers license; Thorough knowledge of the National Building Regulations and workable knowledge of Land Use Planning Ordinance”
    They don’t state what an “appropriate qualification” is, but clearly it would be a three-year diploma or degree of some sort.
    Here’s another example, an ad for a building inspector in Mossel Bay:
    An NTC III with a Trade Test within a building discipline or relevant tertiary qualification in any built environment discipline
    A valid Code B driver’s licence
    At least 5 years’ experience as a building construction foreman or a minimum of 3 years as a building inspector in a local authority
    Eligibility for registration as a Peace Officer (Law Enforcement Officer)
    Proficiency in MS Office l An own vehicle to conduct inspections
    Knowledge of outdoor advertising and signage by-laws will serve as a recommendation.
    I hope that helps.

  28. Hi penny

    I want to build two shops and a flat upstairs on my property in central pmb..

    Only 110 sqare metres and a pain simple rectangular building..

    Please advise where do i start and what will make this task easy for me

    Many thanks

  29. what might be the cause of hire cracks on the wall of i building? And what are the applicable remedies to this defects?

  30. what are the precautionary measures against wall defects?

  31. The building regulations and NHBRC guidelines give you the full range of precautionary measures against wall defects. In essence, if a wall is built in compliance with the regulations, it should not develop defects.

  32. I don’t know what you mean by “hire cracks”?

  33. First of all you need a competent person to head the project. The link I have given here will help you to understand the concept and what is required. The article on owner building and project managing, may also be useful.

  34. If a plot has two road frontages, in this case Martin Crescent and Westville Road, and its address is on Martin Crescent:

    1. Can one construct a driveway on the road that it does not have its address on i.e Westville Road?

    2. What permission is needed for this?

  35. In principle I don’t see why not. If you look at the site plan for the area, chances are there is a number of Westville Road as well. and there would be nothing to stop you from stating the address as “corner of….” There may, though, be a local council limitation in terms of access to the site. You will need to check with your local authority – they are the only body that could object.

  36. Good Day

    What is the standard measurements for parking bays?

  37. Nokuthula, As far as I know this is governed by by-laws rather than the Building Regulations. So contact your local authority for information.

  38. What is the law regarding Photoluminescent signs in a building eg: Hotel

  39. Jonathon, this does not fall under the National Building Regulations. There is a Standard, SANS 1186-5, Symbolic safety signs Part 5: Photoluminescent signs that specifies the particular requirements for photoluminescent safety signs. It is available from the SABS at a cost of R72 + VAT. Here’s the link to their web store.
    This Standard covers the requirements for photo luminescent signage including colour and “luminance decay” of photo luminescent materials + inspection and methods of testing them + packing and marking. It doesn’t cover requirements for specific areas where they may be used.
    There are only three Standards that I can find that relate to hotels:
    ISO 18513:2003 Tourism services — Hotels and other types of tourism accommodation — Terminology
    SANS 1002 Semi-vitreous crockery (hotel ware)
    SANS 1291-2 Flexible polyurethane foam sleeping mats and mattresses Part 2: Foam mattresses for domestic and hotel use
    There may be by-laws that cover these signs; contact your local authority.

  40. Good Day

    How many toilets are required for 100 office /call centre staff? Does the number vary for men and women?


  41. Seelen, The number of sanitary fixtures to be provided in a building is based on the population for which such building is designed as well as the occupancy qualification – in this case G1. In terms of men and women, the Standard states: “where, in any particular occupancy, separate sanitary facilities are provided for each sex, the number of sanitary fixtures installed for them shall be based on the population of that particular sex for which such facilities are intended and, if the number of persons of each sex cannot be determined, it shall be assumed that they are in equal proportions”.
    So you will have to work out how many are required for each sex, depending on numbers of each.
    There is a table in SANS 10400-P: 2010 (Drainage) that shows what is required. If you download the 1990 version of the NBR free HERE you will see the relevant tables on pages 124 and 126 (they haven’t changed). For between 90 and 120 people, there should be three toilet pans, six urinals and five hand basins if all those people are men; and nine toilet pans and five basins if they are all women. If there are approximately the same number of men and women, you’d follow the requirements for less than 60, viz. two toilets, three urinals and three basins for men, PLUS five toilets and three basins for women. [You will see that the figures given are for less than 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 people.]
    You will also see that “In any building where facilities in accordance with table 6 are available to both personnel and the public or visitors, no separate facilities shall be required for the public or visitors.” But if people from the public use the building, and they don’t have access to the toilets, then additional toilets are required.

  42. hi

    My developer has the pipe running diagonally in/ across the back of yard instead while the plan shows that it is running along the border of the yard. He also mentioned that I need to dig around it and put concrete below, on sides and above it should I decide to extend the house. Is this legal and who can I take it up with?

    thank you

  43. If the developer has placed a pipe somewhere other than where the plan shows it should be, take it up with the planning department of your local authority. You need to ask them to send a builder inspector out to the property as a matter of urgency.

  44. thank you Penny

    Is it legal/ advisable though to build on top of a drain pipe of any material other than cast Iron?

  45. Richard it is quite common for people to build on pipes that have been encased in concrete.

  46. There are duplex town houses being built in a complex. is it legal to build without architect and engineers supervision? Who can we report this to?

  47. John it isn’t legal to build without approved plans; and these must be drawn up by a competent person – usually either an architect or an engineer. However that person is not required to be there to supervise the whole time. The competent person or persons takes responsibility for the build, and is required to check certain things during the build. These are specified in SANS 10400 Part A, General Principles and requirements. There are even sample forms in this part of the regulations. If you want to see them visit your nearest SABS library – or buy a copy of Part A from the SABS.

  48. Lindsay Hanekom

    Hi there, We bought a house in a complex while the complex was still being developed. We rented the house out for over 2 years and upon returning to the house only find a double story has been built less than 3 metres away from our front stoep. Their top bedroom window looks directly into our lounge and stoep and it blocks out the sun. Please let me know where I can find information on the legality of building a double storey house in such close proximity without our consultation or agreement, restricting our view and blocking out the sun which is now causing the wall to crumble as it is not being able to dry out after rain. On that, the house in front also built a retaining wall therefore covering up the holes made to drain water away now causing a dam in our garden every time it rains.
    Thank you for your time
    Kind Regards

  49. Lindsay there is some info about boundary walls and fences on our sister call. Also an article on this site. Both mention legal distances that you can build to a boundary wall. But if you bought in a complex, there should be additional building requirements and guidelines that might include height restrictions. In terms of the building regulations as such, it sounds legal – double storey and distance. Your consultation would not normally be required. In terms of the retaining wall, they should have had plans. BUT – you mention covering up holes. If you were draining your excess water onto their property, you were in breach. You need to install a proper drainage system. There are a number of related comments here, mainly people who have the problem of people channeling their storm water onto their properties.
    Anybody buying in a complex where the site is small should make sure that they know what is permitted and how a neighboring building could affect things like privacy and view.

  50. Hi, my landlord said that there is a legal size for signage on a building. We shared a large sign that is 2,3m wide by 1,95m high. This was on a sigle metal sheet with he occupying the top half, me the bottom. Both signs are made from the same stick-on vinyl that most signage firms use. He said that it was too large for the building as it was one large metal sheet. It was taken down and re-erected onto another building on the same premises, and another sign made up from individual letters,(but when combined is much larger than the single metal sheet sign) was put up in its place. I think he made up the excuse in order to move our combined sign to make way for his new and larger sign, or is this correct?

  51. Hi Bill,
    Signage sizes and regulations for displaying them are usually covered by the Local Authority of your area and not by the National Regulations. Contact your local offices and ask them. The company who printed your sign should also have an idea about what is allowed as they are dealing with this every day.

  52. What is the regulation regarding roof pitch?
    We bought a house with an extension added on to it. The size of the room is around 4m x 7m.

    It is a 0.33mm corrugated iron roof, supported by 3 wooden planks 2 m from each other, at a pitch between
    5 and 6 degrees.

  53. Jamy there is substantial information on our page about Roofs and Roofing, including pitch. Have a look at that. I have given you the link.


  55. Hi, I would like to know what the regulations are with regards to building a granny flat at the back of my property. I would like to know how far should the buiding be from the boundary walls.

  56. Trinity the distance you can build from your boundary walls depends on your local authority by-laws. We have an article on this site that should help you, and another on our sister site. Click on the links I have given you to read them. There is additional information in the comments that follow the articles. Have a read, it should help you.

  57. Hi Mohamed,
    Yup we are also a bit chilly here in Cape Town. I hope that you are selling your customers lots more insulation and energy saving things so that they save some money this winter. You will have to go to the Durban/Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality and ask them about rezoning and changing the occupation density for your property, this is a regional decision and not a National Building Regulations one. They will also let you know about height restrictions in your area, but be aware that the foundations of a single storey house might not be designed to carry the weight of a second storey. You might have to under-pin the foundations first BUT you will have to get a structural engineer to design/inspect and give you details and documents for council before they will approve of the alterations. The NHBRC allow people as “owner builders” to get an exemption when they build but the proviso is that they cannot sell the house within 5 years. As you are wanting to build 8 units I guess that you want to sell these asap so you will have to prove to the NHBRC that you are qualified to build houses or get a builder that is registered with the NHBRC to build for you. You will also need a “competent person” to do all your plans for the development. By Law you have to register all new houses with the NHBRC. I hope this helps. Regards, Janek

  58. Ryno Herselman


    I am planning on buying property to build on in Port Elizabeth. What is the regulations on building with logs. How much and which of the building will I be allowed to do myself? What are the steps I should follow? Thank you in advance.

    Ryno Herselman

  59. Ryno the building regulations apply to all forms of building. i.e. You need approved plans that must be drawn up by a competent person. If you are going to owner build you need an exemption from the NHBRC. You still need foundations that are adequate to hold the structure – and all materials should be SABS approved. Familiarize yourself with the basics first – there’s a lot of information on this site that will help you.

  60. I need information, like I have a new private company and I am want to do civil engineering. What documents required.

  61. Hi Enoch,
    The best place for you to start is with the Engineering Council of South Africa, their website is here:

  62. Hi there,

    I am busy building a home in an estate, and have applied for a building loan. The bank documentation indicated that there could be a maximum of 5 progress draws on the project. I would like to know if there is an average schedule on what percentage of the progress constitutes certain stages of the building?
    E.g. Casted slab incl. plumbing and foundations = 15%?
    This will help us with budgeting and planning the cashflow of the project.

  63. Denver please don’t ask us to speak for the bank. Ask them. Generally it coincides with when they do their inspections – and give approval.

  64. Mike the builder

    I have tried several times to download Sans 10400 document from your
    website without any luck. I have a high speed connection so I should
    not have any problems. I have been succesfull to download other docs
    from other sites. Not sure what the problem is but after about an hour
    my explorer just says “cannot access this site”!!!

  65. Which document specifically are you trying to download Mike? We don’t have the new SANS 10400 on this site – if that’s what you are looking for you will need to purchase them from the SABS.

  66. I would like to know the building regulations on attaching a carport (52m2) to my garage. The roof is support by brick pillars and steel trusses. The total weight of roof sheeting on the trusses for this area is 420kg. The sides of the carport between the pillars is going to closed up with either glass or aluminium. Is building plans required for this.

    Thank you

  67. Tony a carport with open sides is generally regarded as minor building work, in which case plans are not normally required. However because you are going to enclose the sides (or rather that’s what it sounds like), you WILL need building plans, and these must be drawn by a competent person.

  68. I bought land about 2 years ago and are now ready to build. The land is located in a golf estate in Gordon’s bay Cape Town. I have contacted the local municipality for advice. I was told that I need to see a land meter company first before I go see an architec. Are you able to give me step by step guidelines in building a house? Looking at everyone I need to contact to everything required in terms of paperwork etc.
    Many thanks

  69. Hey I’d like to purchase the SANS document but I’m unable to access your online store, where else could I purchase this from? thank you

  70. Charline we do not have an online store. You can buy SANS from the SABS online store, or from the library at any of the SABS offices. This second link will take you to the SABS where these are listed. You may also be able to order telephonically, though you would need to pay in advance.

  71. Philip Notte

    Is there anywhere in the SANS 10400 where it states the height restriction for a non-domestic buildings without a lift?

  72. Philip, Height restrictions are normally covered in by-laws.
    Part S, Facilities for Disabled Persons of SANS 10400 covers lifts, which must be provided in public buildings etc. This does not deal with the heights of buildings.
    Part T, Fire Protection states:
    4.44 Lift shafts
    4.44.1 Any building of more than four storeys above or below the level of escape doors shall have
    at least one lift, accessible from all the floors.”
    However this does not specify the height of each storey. But from this you can gauge that if the building is three storeys “above or below the level of escape doors”, then it does not require a lift. The local authority would approve the height at plan stage.

  73. Naude Visser

    Are there any regulations regarding objections to proposed (and even approved) building plans where additions/alterations are contemplated?

  74. Barend Esterhuizen

    I’m in the fire safety business for the last 30 years
    I would like to assist with any fire related questions – regarding the national Building regulations etc
    We also provide fire plans in accordance with the SANS 10400 building regulations as well as rational fire designs that include plan submission etc (Fire suppression systems / Fire detection systems)
    I would gladly assist with clarification / interpretation of regulations


  75. Fantastic Barend, I’ll send you an email. Many thanks.

  76. Barend Esterhuizen

    Yes, as indicated by Penny – SANS 10400 4.44.1 states that any building of more than four storeys above or below the level of the escape doors shall have at least one lift, accessible from all the floors

    (i.e a building comprising of ground floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor and 3rd floor does not require a lift. Any building that exceeds that must be provided with a lift

  77. Your local authority will be able to tell you what to do regarding objections. Any objections will need to go to them and they will be able to tell you what process you need to follow.

  78. Sorry it’s taken a while to answer your question. The plot should already have been surveyed and should have been pegged. Otherwise how did you know what you were buying? My book Owner Building in South Africa (Struik) will give you step-by-step instructions from buying the plot to finishing the house and garden. All paperwork is also covered. What isn’t in that is on this website.

  79. Before you swear and make disgusting comments Naude … THERE ARE NOT REGULATIONS okay!? I will this time refrain from reporting and/or publishing your comments. Good luck.

  80. can a person build a fuel depo and external workshops on a small holding just outside a residencial area without tecnical specs storage facility aprox 10.000.000 l deasel

  81. Only if the zoning allow this. This will be as per the local bylaws.

  82. Hi we are planning to build a granny flat and had the plans drawn up but on completion of the plans the draughtsman informed us that it’s compulsory to have a solar panel geyser install is this true?

  83. No it is not true Giovanni. In terms of Part XA of SANS 10400 (2011), hot water supply must comply with various other SANS including 10252-1. IF “solar water heating systems are used, these shall comply with SANS 1307, SANS 10106, SANS 10254 and SANS 10252-1.” [This in itself shows that solar is not the only option.]
    SANS 10252-1 (2012) lists a number of different types of water heaters (aka geysers) including:
    Fixed type water heaters – “Standard water heaters and solar water heaters shall comply with the requirements in SANS 151, and any electric instantaneous water heater shall comply with the requirements in SANS 1356.” & “Gas-operated water heaters shall comply with SANS 1808-24 and SANS 1539. For information on the mandatory requirements of gas water heaters see annex A.”
    Water heaters that use indirect electrical heating – basically using heat transfer
    Water heaters that use direct electrical heating – two types are mentioned, those that use immersion elements and those that use dry elements. I think is mainly for kettles etc.
    Interestingly this standard states: “In urban areas, the most common method of heating water is by an immersion type electrical resistance element mounted in an insulated storage cylinder, commonly called a geyser. Geysers require little maintenance.”

  84. Hi all

    I have a sewer that runs almost half way through my property and people have being saying that if it’s no longer used by the municipality I can build over it, i do not want to take any chances and get in trouble, is there any restrictions when it comes to building over a sewer? Or a sewer that is no longer used

    Thank you


  85. Kunal there is no way for me to tell whether it is still in use or not. You need to contact your local authority.

  86. Hi

    What is the formula for working out the amount of toilets required in a building or school ect?

    Thank you

  87. Ruan there are several tables in Part P of SANS 10400, Drainage for different buildings. Part A lists the different occupancies, and this is what it is dependent on, not a formula. So the requirements for an office building (occupancy G1) may be different to a school (A3). Further, it depends on the number of people in that building.
    eg Educational institutions:
    Classrooms and lecture rooms (A3 occupancy):
    Students and pupils:
    Peak demand
    No peak demand
    If you confirm what the building is used for and the number of people using it I can help you. If a school, you will need to differentiate between staff and pupils.

  88. Hi please help me i stay in mafikeng North West . i want to demolish a old house, i
    think it was build in the late 1940ties.Must i get permission to proceed and if so what procedure must i follow. Who do i contact and where.

  89. is an Electrical Compliance required in terms of the National Building Regulations, and if so can you direct me to where it states this.

  90. Yes electrical compliance is very definitely required – and this must be undertaken by a qualified and registered electrician. It is not covered in the NBR, but rather in SANS 10142: The wiring of premises.

  91. Hi There

    Is it a requirement to have a storm water management plan for a new building? Does it make a difference if the building is a new unit in an already established complex? Should the complex not have a storm water management plan to cover all units?

    Kind regards,

  92. Hi

    I am looking for the National Building Regulation pertaining to Retaining Walls. Where can I find this information?

  93. Nkosingiphile


    I would like to know the name of the document that deals with concrete base-steel plate connections (Bolted Connections) and if its available online. Thank you.

  94. Karen you will find information about retaining walls in Part K of SANS 10100. I have added an article based on this part that might help you.

  95. I’m sorry I don’t have any specific knowledge of what you are referring to. You need to source a product – either on the internet or via some other source and then find out from them if they have online information. Here’s a link that might be useful.

  96. There are very strict requirements in terms of storm water. If a new unit is being added to an established complex, it might not be necessary to add to the existing system, but then it is essential that the existing plan is effective.

  97. June you need permission from the local authority as specified in Part E of SANS 10400, Demolition work

  98. Can you please help me with the SANS number for rain gauge installation for industrial sites

  99. Hi there, guys.

    Need some info. I’m helping with a design project. It requires wiring a chandelier according to SANS requirements. What does this mean? I’m not using any metal in my design, the fitting itself will not be metal and so I understand that I’ll need no earth connection. Please help.


  100. Alec this is not a building regulations issue it is an electrical one, and I’m not sure which SANS it will fall under. SANS 10142, The wiring of premises is the standard that concerns home owners. You could contact an SABS library – if you can go to one even better because the information you need is likely to be on one or two pages and they can photostat these for you. NB They will only photostat a set percentage of pages of any standard – otherwise you can read it there and take notes. Good luck with your project.

  101. Sorry Anton no we can’t. You will have to contact the SABS and ask them. I can’t get onto their site at the moment – not sure what’s going on. If you can get into the SABS online store search for rain gauge and see what comes up. It should give you a list of SANS … if there are any. If you phone an SABS library they will be able to do a search for you.

  102. Roland Heuff

    Hello Penny, I’m planning on owner building a house in Howick KZN and need some advice on making up the trusses. I feel confident about the fabrication and assembly aspects but am in some doubt as to how one would obtain the Building Inspectors approval once done. Can you advise?

  103. Hi
    Not sure if you can help; I am looking for the warehouse ‘regulations’ which stipulate rack or storage height / roof height and when a warehouse must have a sprinkler system.

  104. Roland, first of all you need to get an exemption from the NHBRC to be able to owner build. In addition to this, you will still need approved plans that must be drawn up by a competent person. This person (e.g. an architect or draughtsperson) may be able to supply plans for the trusses – sometimes specialized competent persons e.g. an engineer – might be required. The relevant part of SANS 10400 is Part L, Roofs. In addition, and more specifically, SANS 10243 provides guidance on the manufacture, erection and bracing of timber roof trusses. You won’t get council (building inspector’s) approval unless you follow the correct procedure.

  105. Avril, stoppage issues are details in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations – not the Building Regulations. Part T of SANS 10400, Fire protection specifies when and where sprinkler systems are required, however it depends on the building classification. If you check the second link and let me know which the warehouse fits into, I can try and help you further.

  106. Hi Penny
    Thanx for your help so far.
    We are a D1 I think, cable distribution. So some cable is low smoke zero halogen but some is PVC and PE polyethylene which if burning would cause halogen gas.
    This I understand but there is a stipulation somewhere that says you may only use racks to such and such a height and then must stack a specific height from the roof. If these parameters are exceeded then you must have a sprinkler system. its these specs I’m looking for.

  107. Hi Penny
    I am trying to establish if there are minimum building requirements for a dormitory – with regards to space per person ,windows,doors,privacy etc.

  108. Hi, can a provincial department, say public works or human settlements, be exempted from submitting plans to the relevant municipality for the construction of new houses?
    Thank you
    P Gumede

  109. Gwynne a dormitory is classified ask H2 in terms of occupation. This is contained in Part A of SANS 10400. The design population is also defined here – viz 5 sq m per person. I can’t answer the rest off the top of my head. You would need to do a search through each part of the regs for anything that applies specifically to H2. I don’t believe that privacy is defined in the NBR.

  110. I am not 100 percent certain but I would think that it would only be the owner of the property that could legally submit plans. Feel free to give us more info to see if what you have encountered is possibly illegal

  111. Pretty Gumede

    Thank you for your response Penny. Let us take the situation where the provincial human settlements (DHS) is building several new blocks (for either rental or ownership). The provincial Public Works (DPW) is the implementing agent for DHS. So effectively, DHS is legally the owner.

    1. Must DPW (or owner) submit plans to the municipality?
    2. Can DPW be exempt from submitting any plan/design by doing it in-house with its own provincial architects, planners, etc. – perhaps submitting plan/design only out of courtesy to the municipality?
    3. If such an arrangements were possible (above 2), under what legal provisions would this happen?
    4. Can a government department (national / provincial), as an owner, be exempt from any of the provision of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act?
    Thank you

  112. Hi Penny

    I want to purchase a vacant plot between houses and build a small block of flats on it ( 3 x 3 bedrooms double story open plan kitchen type with under cover parking. What route must i take to obtain such approval of new development?

    There is currently a run down house on the property that needs to be demolished.



  113. Gert your first step will be to ascertain what the zoning regulations are in terms of what may be built on the land in question. Your local authority will be able to advise.

  114. Is it permissable to erect a garden shed of approx 6 sq m against a pre cast boundary wall without plans . Regards peter

  115. how much will i be charged fees for a residential building plan of 489m

  116. Hi Sbu, Sorry but we can’t answer that one for you. Your best place to ask is on the SAIA (South African Institute of Architects) website and/or the SACAP (The South African council for the Architectual Profession) website.

  117. Hi Peter, No you just can’t put up a garden/tool shed next to a boundary just like that. Even though the shed is below the 10sq m allowed in the Regulations to be erected without plans, permission must still be applied for and approved by the local municipal planning department. In addition to this many of the local authorities will require neighbours permission to erect anything within the building line.

  118. Hi Penny

    I am uncertain as to what fees the council will charge me in terms of Rands per sqm. Thing is we are breaking down an internal wall which is about 5 to 6 meters approx -only . Iam not sure if the council will be charging based on the entire sqm of my home floor plan or just for the demolished wall area about of 5 to 6 meters. Also this is a sectional title so I am not sure if an engineer will be necessary as the unit is on the top floor and does not hold up any supporting structures etc.

  119. Dear Sir,

    is there a size limit to domestic dwellings in South Africa cities (the developed areas)?

    The Japanese are allowed to build on very small parcels of land and have therefore learned to design accordingly resulting in dwellings of surpassing beauty and practicality.

    Can this be done in SA cities? Neighbours’ objections can be appealed against but what is the law that bureaucrats must obey?



  120. Hi, we live in Centurion area. Centurion is also a dolomite area. We are doing building alterations. What is the requirements when doing 3 new doorways on the outside existing wall of the house and one internal single wall arch. It is all standard size doorways.

  121. Hi,

    I do architectural drawings and can help you in this regard if you are still interested.

  122. Hi Madeleen, Putting in new doorways and a new arch is seen as structural building work and needs approved plans before any work starts. The competent person who draws up the plans should know about the soil conditions and will design the alterations accordingly.

  123. I would like to know what the fire extinguisher requirements are for a labour camp facility where workers stay in kwik space quarters. Is it one or two 9kg DCP?

  124. Is there a minimum requirement for ceiling insulation and if so when did it come into force?

  125. All the various councils have their own rates. If you are breaking down a wall even though it might not be a load bearing wall you will need council permission. You will also need to contact your HO and ask their permission as well.

  126. The best people to answer your query is the Fire Protection Association here: or call +27(0)11 397 1618

  127. Albert Forrester

    Good day, I am buildong a prefab office in my yard. Accodingg to law it must be a certsin height of the ground. Please can you assist?

  128. You need plans and you need a competent person to be in charge of the building operation.

  129. hi… i own a 1000sqm erf. more than half i reside on the rest vacant. Can u plz advise regards me wanting to a)brick build 2 small cottages or
    b)wooden chalet type on stilts (as ive heard if on stilts no plan or clearance from municipal required… is it true?)

    id like to rent these as accomodation per night or per month as out buildings

    Plz advise

  130. Hi. What is the law with regards to storm water ie control thereof and accepting it onto your property. When I build must I accept all responsibility to cater for any storm water coming off the road/verges above my property?/ etc.

  131. Good day – what is the maximum variance allowed between the height of a stairscase

  132. What is the required minimum water pressure for residential areas in a municipality? And does this match the minimum requirements for use by a fire brigade, or do houses and fire machines have different requirements for minimum water pressures, even though a fire hydrant and residential property are both fed from the same pipe?
    What are the requirements during Eskom power failures? If a residence then burns to the ground due to too little water pressure for the fire brigade, is it just tough luck or can a claim be made against the municipality for not providing emergency power to booster pumps, during prolonged (2 – 3 hours) Eskom power failure?

  133. Good day,

    We would like to build x3-4 wooden cottages (1 bdr, 1 bthr, kitchen, living area) on our current property based in Centurion (Tshwane).

    I have tried to read the Tshwane Townplanning Scheme 2008 document but I am unsure if it even would be possible to do.

    Thank you

  134. You should be talking to the Tshwane local authority because it is they that will give you – or refuse – permission.

  135. Good day,

    I want to build an apartment block in Eersterust, Pretoria east.

    which relevant office can I contact if I want to buy land from The municipalities which I saw I’m Eersterust. I also want to check the building restrictions in that area too.

    Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience.


  136. Freddy you need to contact the municipality about buying land from them – and to find out if there are building restrictions. These would be in terms of council zoning plans, not the National Building Regulations.

  137. Our section on staircases should help you.

  138. The law states: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” – and Part R of SANS 10400 – which covers stormwater disposal – gives guidelines on how to ensure this is done correctly. It is your responsibility to channel rainwater off your property in an acceptable manner – and NOT onto other people’s property. There is discussion on this page, or you can go to an SABS library and read the section for yourself.

  139. Jo the pressure of the water we get from local authorities usually varies from 500 kPa to as much as 1,200 kPa. Before we can use it in our homes and other buildings, it has to be reduced to make it safe e.g. with pressure-reducing valves. Clearly fire hydrants and fire hoses need a higher pressure than the pressure supplied to our homes – or the pressure found in any water supply pipe for that matter. For this reason direct water supply and large water tanks are used for fire fighting. The direct water supply can be increased to give fire engine tenders the water pressure they need. Fire hydrants provide a means for firefighters to get as close as possible to fires, so they can connect their hose reel to a fire hydrant to fight the fire. The fire brigade will then boost the fire hydrant system to the pressure needed to effectively fight the fire.
    In SANS 10400 Part T: Fire Protection there is a specified calculation for the pressure head at the point of hose reels, pumps and so on. However, there is also a note that states: “The local authority cannot guarantee the pressure or supply of water and can only indicate what the residual pressure at a water connection should be. Accordingly, the owner should assess the risk or secure his water supply by means of on-site storage facilities.” I imagine that limits their liability in law, even though the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act itself says that “the quantity, pressure and rate of flow of water shall be adequate for the supply of any hose reel, hydrant or sprinkler system connected thereto.”
    As an aside, you cannot use the water that forms part of a fire installation for anything other than fighting fires.
    In terms of Eskom, I guess that if you can prove Eskom was responsible for destruction of a house by fire then they could be held liable. We once had a situation where a power line sparked and caused a fire on our land – and certain equipment was burnt… and Eskom paid out. I am not sure what the law says in terms of the liability of the municipality. There is also the issue of traffic lights not working during a power failure. Yesterday I noticed during load shedding that they were working in Somerset West … so assume the local authority (City of Cape Town) was using emergency power. If there wasn’t a potential liability issue (in this case the potential to cause vehicle accidents) I guess they wouldn’t bother.

  140. You need to ask your local authority Ahmed. Zoning regs state how much of the land you can build on – as well as how many dwellings are allowed. The answer to your question re stilts is no. You need approval and plans for all structures, unless minor building works (which a chalet isn’t) or any structure that the council decides doesn’t need plans.
    When you apply to build a second dwelling on a property you will be asked why you need to build them. You might want to do some research to see what your local authority normally allows. They may not allow additional “dwellings” for rental.

  141. Apologies for the delay in responding. I do hope this has been resolved. Sorry I can’t help further. Contact a fire prevention consultant.

  142. Short answer: the National Building Regulations which has MINIMUM dimensions in terms of rooms, and the local by-laws that allow you (in terms of zoning bylaws) to build on a maximum portion of the land. You can, as you say, appeal against this if necessary.

  143. Philippa Higgins

    Please advise where I find information on the regulations pertaining to built in braais’s

  144. If drawings from the architect shows Downpipe from gutter is to connect to Estate storm -water layout, who is resonisble for this?
    Currently the developers are saying the the water from the downpipe from gutters must just flow into my yard. The problem is that my one neighbours water is all flowing into my yard and the water from the one side of my house is flowing into my other neighbours yard. All the run off water from the road and drive way the builders and developers have made flow onto the front lawn in front of the front door.

  145. Is there any law that states how much filing one can store at the office.

  146. Hi There,
    What is the distance between fire extinguishers in a office environment base on SABS standards?


  147. There is a table in SANS 10400-T that specifies that number of fire extinguishers according to building classification and extinguisher type per square metre.

  148. This has NOTHING to do with the building regulations – and no there isn’t a law other than those that relate to fire protection. i.e. If all that paper is a fire hazard then…

  149. The estate should be responsible for stormwater drainage – and your architect is right in showing the water from your house draining into this. If you read the page on stormwater disposal you will see what the regulations say. The developers are breaking the law! Contact your local authority and the body corporate and make a huge fuss. You could also contact your local community newspaper and ask them to do a story.

  150. There are none.

  151. Good Afternoon

    Estate agents in Cape Town have to include the following clauses (a) to (d) in their Deeds of Sale. Where can one access a website which will show what the Plumbers should quote for and what they should NOT – in terms of the attached clauses – particularly clause (a) – with which no layman can be expected to be au-fait. This leaves one in an uninformed position and having no idea whether the contractor is justified in his quote.

     PLUMBING inspection – this is a City Council requirement and is required mainly to address their concerns with possible water wastage, faulty water meters as well as storm water entering the sewerage system. The inspection, therefore, only needs to comply with the following:

    (a) The water installation conforms to the National Building Regulations and the City of Cape Town Water By-law, 2010.
    (b) There are no defects which can cause the water to run to waste.
    (c) The water meter registers.
    (d) There is no discharge of stormwater into the sewer system.

    Kind Regards


  152. Hi

    I would like to buy land in the Pretoria west area to develop into a day care centre. It is a Municipality owned land.

    Who do I contact?

  153. Hi, The local Pretoria Municipality. Doh!

  154. Good day,

    I would like to know which building regulation prescribes the issuing of an occupation certificate for a completed building by Local Authorities.

    Thank you,

  155. Hi Lourens, It is not a regulation but rather it is “The Law” – NATIONAL BUILDING REGULATIONS AND BUILDING STANDARDS ACT (Amended in2008) Please have a look at this page and go to Chapter “14. Certificates of occupancy in respect of buildings” : Law-SANS-10400
    I hope this answers your question.

  156. If the office is on a ground floor (floor directly on the ground) then the answer is correct. If the office is on a suspended concrete slab floor, timber floor, etc then there IS a limit. The load on the suspended floor may not exceed the design load given in SANS 10160. For a typical suspended office floor the load may not exceed about 250 kg per square metre of floor area.

  157. Are you allowed to connect the kitchen sink waste with the dishwasher waste pipe? Or do they requiresseparate pipes

  158. Hi
    What is the current cost of building a double garage attached to the main house per square metres? Probably in an urban area.

  159. Dear Sir /Madam

    I wanna start a business of building blocks and selling those blocks to people so in terms of registration what should I do?

  160. Sanitation facilities must be supplied for every how many people eg for every ?? people in a workplace there must be a facility

  161. Good

    I will like to transform my garage into a duning room. The garage wall is directly boarded with my neibough.
    Is it permited to transform the garage in question into a duning room? What part the regulation can i consult?

    Thank you.

  162. You need plans to do this since you are changing the function of the garage.

  163. Part P of the NBR has this information. Have a look at the link – you will see that it depends on the type of workplace. That information can be found in Part A – and the tables are in this link.

  164. This website is about National Building Regulations – we don’t give business registration advice. Maybe one of our readers can help you?

  165. Contact two or three builders in your area for quotes.

  166. The same pipe should be fine.

  167. Please advise ,does a property owner have any say regarding construction in their nextdoor neighbours property that affects his/her livings space and access to natural sunlight?

  168. good day

    please kindly assist me, i am a conference producer who is looking for an expert who can assist me facilitate a two-day workshop on Building Condition Assessment. If you know an expert in this field kindly advice or provide me wt their name and contact details.

    thank you React

  169. The Act does not prescribe what type or nature of building operations constitute minor building works in terms of section 13. Can you kindly inform me on an application to erect a minor building work for storage of petroleum gas whether same does require building plans when considering that one may be exempted from submitting a plan

  170. No idea – sorry.

  171. The section of the NBR that covers minor building work does not cover storage of petroleum gas, so unless your council gives you a waiver, then you need plans.

  172. It is a constant problem. Have a look at this page

  173. Standards for insulation are not part of the NBR. You will need to contact the SABS to find out which SANS apply and when they were passed.

  174. Are there currently any building regulations that would cover “Shipping Container Homes” in the national building regulations.

  175. I have been advised that i need to rezone my property in order to extend my lounge as i am only allowed to build on 25% of my land.

  176. If the local authority has told you this then that is what you will have to do. If not, contact them and check.

  177. You need an aggregate certificate that details the structure. Refer to Part A of the NBR

  178. Hi Roy

    Most of the National Building Regulations will apply. You do have the option of getting an Agrement Certificate as Penny suggested. (time consuming, costly and big effort because you’d have to erect your structure at the CSIR and allow them to test it. This will limit the certificate you gain in the process because if you change one window you will void the certification) In my opinion, you also have the option of asking your professional team to accept the responsibility of the performance of the building (according to AZ4 of the regulations), which would mean that they would have to prove that their solutions are better than the minimum standards laid out in the regulations. If you wait a few more months, this method is proposed to be the primary method on which the new act is based. It is intended to be legislated in August this year, which means the current act will be revoked.

  179. Hi Penny – maybe a silly question: the SANS provides, for example, the required thickness of the layers on a thatch roof. Now, if I am purchasing a house, the building plans state the roof is according to SANS 10407. Does this mean that the roof was originally installed as per the SANS 10407 regulations, or that it is currently complying to the SANS 10407 regulation? Thanks.

  180. Marlene Van Eeden

    Hi There,

    We live in a complex. In our private garden we have a jacuzzi in the one corner. We want to put up a carport structure 2.6 x 2.6 for shade over the jacuzzi. I know we need the approval from our body corporate, but do we need plans for such a small carport?

  181. Afternoon I would like to know how to go about building a log home where can I see the specifications that I need to build the house according to?

  182. Can my neighbour house domestic and other staff in “Wendy” house units that are located about 2m from my boundary? These do not have any electricity or ablutions for their use.

  183. Not legally. In any case they need plans for these structures.

  184. There are no separate specifications for different types of houses. All the relevant building regs apply (foundations, structural design etc) and of course anything relating to building with timber… you’ll find this in sections like walls, floors, roofs etc.

  185. A pergola! No you don’t need plans though strictly speaking you do need council approval.

  186. If that is what the plan states it means that the roof should have been done in compliance with SANS 10407 – it’s never safe to assume it was checked. Since thatch does deteriorate over time, it may not comply at this time.

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