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

  2. 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?

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

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

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

  5. 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,

    • 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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


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


    • 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.

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

    • 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…

      • 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.

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. Philippa Higgins

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

  12. 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.


    • 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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?

    • 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.

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

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