General Principles & Requirements

Design, Planning and Supervision of All Construction Work Must Follow a Legal Process

Each section of SANS 10400, the Code of Practice for The application of the National Building Regulations (NBR) is presented with the relevant extract from the building regulations (which is law), and is then followed by a general commentary explaining how the law should be interpreted to “satisfy” the law.

Generally the regulations themselves are remarkably short, while the deemed to satisfy rules (now referred to as deemed-to-satisfy requirements) are quite lengthy. But in Part A of SANS 10400, General Principles and Requirements, the regulations cover about 15 pages. By contrast, the regulations section relating to excavation covers just half a page.

You can download the standards (as published in 1990), as well as the most recent version of the regulations (the Act) published in its entirety, HERE, as well as the recent amendments to the Act. Just be aware that while the amendments to the regulations are complete, the SABS commentary in these documents, that explains how the regulations should be interpreted and applied, is not.

You can buy specific sections of the most recent edition of The application of the National Building Regulations SANS 10400-2011 from the SABS, either at one of their offices, or online at the SABS Internet store.

What is Covered in Part A: General Principles and Requirements

This section of the NBR covers details of requirements for plans, drawings and various documents that MUST be submitted to your local authority before you are allowed to build any sort of structure. For instance, you need to have:

  • a site plan,
  • layout drawings,
  • a fire installation drawing,
  • drainage installation drawings,
  • particulars of any existing building or structure that is going to be demolished – and you need to state how it will be demolished,
  • and any other plans and particulars that your local authority requires.

These general principles and requirements also specify the details that must be included on different plans, as well as the size and scale required on plans and drawings. They also state what colours to use to identify different materials on plans. For instance, new masonry must be shaded red and new concrete green. All existing materials are shown in grey.

When architects, designers and engineers draw plans, they use symbols to identify certain details. These are also specified in Part A.

There is also information regarding building control officers and their qualifications; specifications relating to plumbers and anyone doing plumbing work – only trained plumbers are permitted to do this work – specifications of who may design buildings, as well as inspect and assess them.

Changes to Part A of The application of the National Building Regulations

Previously referred to as SABS 0400-1990, these regulations were totally overhauled in 2008. This meant that the deemed-to-satisfy elements had to be overhauled and rewritten too. Reasons given for the overhaul were:

  • the fact that the apartheid system had been abandoned
  • the fact that South Africa’s population had doubled since the regulations were first written
  • the fact that local authorities throughout the country had been completely restructured
  • formation of the National Home Builders Registration (NHBRC)
  • the introduction of much more complex building control and systems
  • the introduction of an increasing number of innovative, new construction system for building

Furthermore, Section 24 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution states that everybody has a right to: “an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being”. So if our buildings aren’t healthy, and aren’t built with our health and welfare in mind, they are essentially unconstitutional!

Perhaps the greatest change – certainly the one that will impact on both individuals and the building profession – is the fact that all applications to build must now be accompanied by a declaration by a person registered in terms of a built-environment professional council, as to how the applicable functional requirements are to be satisfied. All plans must also be submitted by a “competent person” who is professionally registered in terms of the Engineering Professions Act, the Architectural Professions Act, or the Natural Scientific Professions Act. So unless you are a qualified architect, engineer, designer or somebody specifically with the required “education, training, experience and contextual knowledge” to judge whether a dwelling will meet the functional regulations, you are not a competent person!

Class of Occupancy of Buildings from the NBR

The NBR classifies all the different types of buildings, and when you look at the regulations, you need to be sure that what you are referring to refers to the correct type of “occupancy”.





The following table shows what the “design population” is for each of the occupancies above. In other words, it shows how many people are allowed in the various buildings, which area categorized according to function. Design population

Structural Design



About Penny

Penny Swift is a highly regarded journalist and author of books relating to homes and construction.

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  1. hey i would like to know the impact of NBR in Public Sector

  2. can we please get more

  3. With pleasure Knolitha. Let us know more specifically what it is you would like to know.

  4. I am not sure what you mean Peter. Are you wanting to know how it affects the construction of Government or quasi-Government and/or local authority buildings? If so, the NBR apply equally to ALL buildings. Any person or organization, institution – whatever – MUST comply with the legislation and the deemed-to-satisfy guidelines published by the SABS in the form of SANS.

  5. Good Day

    I would like to know the following about the South African Building Regulations. . .

    What is the purpose of the current South African Building Regulations?
    Why was this document drafted?
    Does it have any disadvantages or negative impact on the construction industry?
    How does government ensure that the rules and regulations are inforced?

  6. what are the impact of building regulations on a quality management system in building project for the Public sector?

  7. Are you doing some kind of test? As the regulations themselves state: the legislation aims “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 legislation and its amendments is available free from the Department of Trade and Industry – you can download it via this site. The legislation is also published as part of the SABS publication South African Standards Code of Practice for The application of the National Building Regulations SABS 10400. These are “deemed-to-satisfy rules” that describe methods of design or construction that is deemed (or considered) to comply with a particular functional regulation in the legislation. These are available from the SABS at a fee that varies according to section.
    The “deemed-to-satisfy rules” are non-mandatory and provide invaluable comment about the regulations and how designers (including architects and engineers) and builders should interpret them. More importantly they expand on ways to ensure that all construction work results in buildings and homes that are safe.
    The impact of the regulations and accompanying code of practice is positive and mainly aimed at safety elements. They do not aim to limit, for example, design specifications or innovative building methods.
    The government doesn’t ensure that they are enforced – this is up to the local authorities that have been established in all our major cities and towns.

  8. This sounds like a question for some sort of assignment! I think you should familiarize yourself with the building regulations and come up with your own answer. Good luck.

  9. Hi Penny
    I wish to build my own house,I live in the Natal midlands on a family farm and want to slowly build on my time off.
    Am I allowed to build with no plans what so ever !!! Is that illegal? (having nothing passed) Or do I have to follow the `correct` route? I have the land but not the lump funds to outlay on a house.
    Many thanks

  10. Hi Jonathan,
    No you are not permitted to build without any plans – although I have discovered that many farm buildings in SA are built without plans. While many people seem to “get away with it” (i.e. building illegally without plans) if the local authority gets wind that you are building, or if you sell one day and the purchaser needs a bond, you are going to be in trouble. If an entire house is built without plans, the local authority may demand that you demolish it! So not a good idea.

  11. Dear friend

    Ineed definitions for two terms in a Title Deed:


    2.”STOREY” Please help me.
    Thank you and greetings
    Felix Bosch

  12. Hello Felix,
    Terms like these are usually defined in legislation or national standards.
    I haven’t come across a “legal” definition of attic – and an SABS search for the term gives no results. This of course doesn’t mean that it isn’t defined in one or other standard. The dictionary defines attic as space OR a room in the roof.
    Storey is defined in the Building Regs. [NB This is not word for word, but gives the general idea.]
    Basically a storey is the part of a building situated between the top of any floor and the top of the floors above it.If there isn’t an upper floor it is the portion between the floor and the ceiling above it (including a mezzanine floor, catwalk or gallery).
    The regs also list different storeys:
    Ground storey: on ground level
    Basement: below the ground storey
    Upper storey: any storey above ground level
    Further, the height expressed in stories is the height above the level of the ground storey – and doesn’t include the basement.

    So as I understand it, if an attic is habitable, and has a floor as such (many don’t), then it would be loosely defined as a storey. I am not sure why you need this information, but if it has to do with habitable space, many attics are constructed for storage. Some may be converted into habitable space, depending on the pitch of the roof.
    Let me know if I can help further.

  13. Hi Penny

    …It was an assignment…

    I would like to know, What the National Building Regulations have to do with “Total Quality Management” ?

    Is there a check list that the Local Authorities use to check if the newly constructed buildings comply with sustainability requirements? For example the new regulation that requires all new buildings to have atleast 60% of their hot water come from sustainable energy.

  14. The short answer to your question is that the National Building Regulations simply provide the requirements to ensure that buildings are designed and built in such a way that people can live and work in a healthy and safe environment.
    The NBR = legislation which everybody needs to follow, but they provide MINIMAL guidelines.
    I am sure that all the local authorities have their own way of working. Why not contact your local authority and ask them?
    It’s an interesting question… Let me know what you find out.

  15. hi penny,we have a business concern next to our duplex with business rights,They now wish to extend their boundaries from 4,5 metres to within 1,5 metres from our boundary and build a problem is if this is allowed to go ahead they can in future apply to extend their double storey building almost on our building line and thus blocking almost all sunlight as well as infringement of privacy.
    the municipality requires me to accept or reject tis building alteration from the standard.What legislation is in place to provide evidence of a solid objection ?

  16. Your municipality will be able to tell you exactly what the situation is. But if you are concerned, reject it. I doubt very much that they can go ahead if you DON’T accept it. That is the general law… MUST have neighbor’s consent. And don’t let them bully you either.
    It sounds like a horrible plan which could easily go further, and possibly more easily next time.

  17. Hi penny,

    What are the requirements to owner build. Does the owner builder need to have or provide evidence of any specific skills relative to building? Further to that which specific roles need to be performed by a licenced or registered tradesperson in cottage building?

  18. Hi Penny,
    Is there a regulation for new developments of how many Indigenous trees must be kept? Who would be the appropriate people to contact for more info?

  19. Hi Penny, we recently move into a complex where we rent a unit. there is no outside lighting and the pathways leading to the units are dangerous and very poor workmanship especially at night time. What does the law say about common area lighting and safety of tennants

  20. Steve,
    Anyone can owner-build, as long as you draw on the required professional assistance to ensure it is legal. If you want to lay all the bricks yourself, you can, but you will need a “competent person” to submit your plans and ultimately oversee your workmanship.
    The newly revised copy of my book, Owner Building in South Africa should be in the bookshops round about now. It covers this question fully. Cottage building is not a specific variation; building is building. Because the dwelling is smaller doesn’t matter at all.
    The most important roles that relate to “licensed or registered” people are plumbing and electricity.
    I hope this helps.

  21. Dennis this isn’t something that is covered by the building regulations, but safety is a priority of the law in general. I suggest you complain to your agent or the person from whom you are renting.

  22. Edgar, I am not sure what you mean. Are you referring to indigenous trees that are being cut down? If so, it is only endangered trees that are protected. If a property owner has a plot covered with indigenous trees, and they are not endangered, he/she can cut them ALL down. i.e. They can clear the plot and build whatever is allowed in the area. If I have misinterpreted the question, feel free to let me know.

  23. You cannot reject the alterations out of hand as this may be prejudiced. You need to give reasonable and fair objections to the infringements before they will be considered.

  24. Hi, As far as I know it varies. In our area we have to replace any indigenous tree felled with minimal 10 seedlings of the same species. In my opinion put in twice as many. The world needs plenty more of them.

  25. Hi Penny,

    I own a house that is next door to a double-storey complex. The garages for the complex are next to my boundary wall. I have just heard that the owner of the flats wishes to demolish the garages and build more double storey units – blocking both my view and sunlight and also overlooking my property. Will I be asked for my approval at any point? What laws are there to protect me from my neighbour having a negative impact on my property?

    Thank you

  26. Andrew there are several similar queries on this site. Off the top of my head, I am pretty sure that they must have got special permission to build garages next to the wall because there are minimum building distances – 3 m being the most common. At that stage they would have had to get neighbors’ permission. But this permission would be for garages and not any type of living unit. So if you know this is to happen, go to your local authority and draw their attention to the issue.
    In terms of laws protecting us from what our neighbours do, I don’t think there is any straightforward legislation you can rely on. For instance if a neighbour decided to build a triple storey building, provided it was within the building line/height limits, you aren’t going to be able to stop him or her. I think the only other alternative would be to take legal action on the grounds that the development will devalue your property. Costly and not failsafe. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  27. Which part of SANS covers parking requirements for various building types?
    I have only seen parking for people with challanges.



  28. hi im doing my first project on desighning a building (a reception office ) ,where can i find specifications on how much space is needed around a toilet ,basin,ect. ? I can’t find information,please help
    thank you

  29. My neighbour’s house is built in such a way that the outside wall of the house is on the boundary between our properties. He is now looking to install a window in this wall to allow natural light into his house. Is this legal and would it be approved by the council? I spoke to an architect who advised that this is illegal for two reasons: it is a fire hazard/risk and it encroaches on my privacy. Can you confirm that this is in fact illegal and the clause within the building regaultions that I can refer to when I reply to the neighbours request for consent of his plans.

  30. Hi, I would like to know what is the municipality submission fee and what is the calculation based on.This is the fee I came across while gathering information about bldg as I plan to build next year.

  31. Thami you will need to contact your municipality to find out what the fee is.

  32. Naomi Combrink

    Hi, I want to know how many people may legally stay in a 3bedroom house, and does that change if the single garage is changed into a 4th bedroom. Also what is the legal restrictions if changing a single garage to a bedroom?

  33. Hello, I would like to know whether construction can commence with Site Development plans only, no Provisional Authorosation 7(6) was applied for? is my building insured

  34. Hi Penny
    I need advice please. My home was bought from a developer 8 years ago. My home is directly accross storm water drains that is an open pipe drainage system leading into a stream behind our homes.We we flooded many times as those storm eater drains failed t drain the water effectively.Complained to municipal at these times.Last year due to heavy rains- we were flooded where the water rose 1.2m high in our garage that led to car damage and other damages as well. We placed a claim with the municipal.They have declined our claim stating its not their fault even though we have proof and written report from the municipal engineers stating the pipes via cctv showed dmages and the outlet into the stream was covered by 1m high of sand.The municipal claims that a road next to my home is too high and that it should be lower so if the storm drains could not work efficiently the water could flow through into the stream. Tell me please- who supposed to pass the road ? The municipal does not want to take any responsibility yet building plans etc goes through them.What are my rights as municipal claims I bought the property at my own risk ?surely the municipal inspectors should have been aware of the drainage situation and seen that our home was not at risk when their system gets to overflow ?

  35. What is the rule of thumb regarding windows in a room? Especially a bathroom, can I install an extractor fan instead of a window?

  36. Hi Fritz, I have updated the section on Lighting and Ventilation which you might find helpful. You will find additional information in the relevant section of SANS 10400 (Part O). The only time you will be permitted to install an extractor fan in place of a window is when the bathroom is not located alongside an external wall. The installation will, in any case, need to be done with approval from your local authority.

  37. Hi Deen, If your house is in a development, then the developer would have been responsible for the roads – and your claim should be against him and his company. The municipality would only be responsible for public roads. However it is not up to them to “decline” a claim. If it is a public road, you can take them to Court. You are also correct in assuming that the municipal inspectors should have known about the drainage situation. Of course the other issue is that if the drainage system belongs to the municipality, they do have some form of liability. Unfortunately it seems to me that you will have to get legal advice on this one. Good luck.

  38. I would think not. However this is an issue that is separate to insurance.

  39. I am not aware of any law that restricts the number of people who may legally stay in a three-bedroomed house – although there is a “design population” table in the National Building Regulations (SANS 10400-A21) that states there should be two persons per bedroom. Apart from anything else, it would be impossible to police. You will need plans to change a garage to a fourth bedroom, because the requirements for garages and habitable rooms are not the same.

  40. I agree with the architect you have spoken to. Also, unless the two properties were developed together (e.g. semi-detached) I wouldn’t be surprised if the building itself is illegal. There are strict restrictions in terms of the distance from which house walls must be from boundaries. I wouldn’t wait for them to ask for your consent; I would contact your local authority immediately and find out if the wall itself – and the way the house has been built – is legal. To be allowed to build on a boundary, the original owner would have had to have firstly consent of the local authority (and a really good reason why this should be permitted); and secondly the consent of neighbours. I am absolutely certain that even if he (or a previous owner) had permission to build on the boundary, he may not tamper with the wall in any way at all – e.g. by making a hole or window in it.
    You might also want to check that the wall actually IS on the boundary. If it encroaches on your property, you can demand that your neighbour demolishes it – or pays you compensation.

  41. These are design specs which you are more likely to find in some sort of architectural text book, rather than within regulations. This information comes from my book Bathrooms for the South African Home which unfortunately is long out of print. The measurements given are MINIMUMS.
    Allow 200 mm on either side of the toilet, basin and/or bidet.
    Allow 600 mm in front of toilets, basins and bidets.
    If a toilet faces directly opposite a basin, then you can allow an overlap of about 150 mm.
    Allow 700 mm on the side of a bath or shower – if the two face one another then the space can be common.
    I hope that helps you.

  42. SANS 10400-D, Public Safety covers pedestrian entrances to parking areas in buildings. I don’t know of any SANS that covers parking requirements though. I did a search on the SABS site and it doesn’t come up with anything except, as you say, facilities for disabled people. (Section S of 10400).
    I have found a reference to parking requirements in relation to shopping centers:
    Local authorities do have their own requirements; so maybe contact yours and see what they can tell you.

  43. Hello Penny,

    It seems that the building was illegally constructed untill the Occupancy Certificate issued, in the National building Regulations Act No. 103 of 1977 in point 4 it says no Building can commence without approval, or is there another Act that indicates you can.

    My Insurance company refuses to pay out a claim as they indicate the building was illegally erected?

  44. The NBR is the legislation that covers when you can build etc. There is no other Act that over-rides it. But if you have an occupancy certificate, this is acceptance of the building meeting the requirements – even though initial permission was not obtained. i.e. It is no longer an illegal structure. Seems to me you’re going to need some legal assistance here.

  45. Hi.
    I just want to find out if all these building approvals are still required if one is building in the villages

  46. Building approval is required wherever you live, assuming of course that there is some sort of local authority that controls things like electricity, water, building of roads, schools and so on. Which village in particular?

  47. The village is called Dilopye, previously grazing land belonging to the local tribal Authority.Now being allocated for residential use by the same tribal authority.

    Northen Pretoria – Hammanskraal to be specific.

  48. That is an interesting one. I will try and find out; though I assume that the tribal authority should ensure that anyone building should abide by the legislation. But would they allow people to build traditional dwellings? Do you know whether they are supplying electricity, running water and so one for building?

  49. I know for electricity you can just apply at the local Eskom office, and will have cables pulled from the closest Poles/feeders, dont have a clue about water plans yet. the thing is : in such areas people can just erect A shack and have eskom feed the electricity there. Will send you GPS co-ordinates and you can check via Google earth Hybrid-not sure if streetview is available.

    thx for your responses.

  50. Rob Mulholland

    Hi. I was wondering what time the legal time to start construction in a residential area is?

  51. The NBR specify:
    6 am – 6 pm during the week; 6 am – 5 pm on Saturday.
    No noisy building work is allowed on Sundays and various public holidays including Good Friday and Christmas Day (+).

  52. Hi,my neighbour is building on his premises and builds on sundays too,starting at around 8am.Im not on speaking terms with him.What can i do?
    He also made holes through my wall to unblock the water that flooded his house when we had a storm and all the rubbish from his house went into my pool.What can i do about this?
    He also extended a boundary wall and plasterd the wall.It is now all cracking off.Any assistance to all this,will be great.

  53. The National Building Regulations state very clearly (See Part F Site Operations, Control of Unreasonable Dust and Noise) that building work is not allowed on a Sunday if it involves machines, machinery, engine, apparatus, tools etc which “may unreasonably disturb or interfere with the amenity of the neighborhood”. So if your neighbour is making a noise, you should report him to the local authority and ask them to take action to force him to stop.
    Is the wall that he has made holes in a boundary wall? If so, did you build it, and are you sure it is on your property? If so you can sue him for damages to the wall. In any case you can sue him for damage to your pool.
    The Reader’s Digest Family Guide to the Law covers Disputes with neighbors. My copy is quite old, but it states that if there is no proof that the wall is entirely on one of two adjoining properties, it is presumed to be on one property and half on the other This implies joint ownership of the wall. But, neither party “may tamper with the wall in any way, such as making a hole or window in it.” So unless the wall is on his property, he is in trouble.
    The boundary wall that he has extended: Is this on your boundary? The same comments apply.

  54. By local authority,do you mean the police?Yes the wall he made holes in is a boundary wall,it separates our properties.It was already there when i moved into the house.To sue him,i would have to spend money on lawyers too which i feel i shouldn’t have to spend.I have fixed my pool myself in the meantime.The boundary wall he has extended is on both our properties i suppose as it separates our houses.The worst is he is putting all his building waste like cement and concrete through the storm water which is coming into my property and has completely damaged my paving and grass.It actually looks like someone has thrown a bucket of concrete on my paving!This is only suppose to be for storm water,not anything else.Who can i phone or contact to help me please.The people at my municipality (germiston),battle to understand me over the phone and don’t sound very intelligent and don’t know who to put me through to help me either.The NHBRC also cannot help me.Thanks for your resonse.

  55. Hugo your local authority will be a municipality or similar. Perhaps you should go in to their offices and find someone who can help you. Ask for an appointment with a building inspector or someone who deals with this type of thing. Don’t try and explain anything to a telephonist. They need to get a building inspector to investigate the situation as a matter of urgency. It sounds to me that what he is doing is completely illegal.
    The NHBRC won’t be able to help you, nor will the police. And you are correct that to go to a lawyer will cost you money. But you could go to the Small Claims Court without a lawyer. Another idea is to contact your local newspaper and suggest that they write a story about what your neighbour is doing. It could make a good story. Have you taken photos of the damage? If so, it might make the paper more interested.

  56. Hi Penny, do I need building plans to build a two bedroom wooden house on stilts. Because several people have told me that I don’t need building plans as soon as I build a wooden house on stilts.

  57. Nico you need plans for every type of house. The stilts themselves, as well as all the other elements, need to comply with the National Building Regs as well as local council/municipality requirements.

  58. Hi Penny,

    I want to know what is the requirements to register as a draftsman with the local authorities. I am trying to make a appointment with the only local registered draftsman/architect to draw me a house plan, but it seems he is to busy or something i dont know… I do have the skills and the knowledge to make working drawings for a house and do have technical drawing education, but are not registered with any draftsman/architect body of any kind.

    please give me advice, Yul

  59. nomava Kobese

    I am dissatisfied with my building contractor. I occupied my house on the 20 of july 2012 but my garage in still not complete, there is no door and the roof was just finishe weeks ago. I dont know what to do because my car is not safe in a garage without doors. Zania Property developers promised to finish the garages as soon as we occupied the house but up untill now it is not complete. also there are other things she promised when we bought the housese but now she does not deliver.

    Could you please see to my complain

    Nomava Kobese

  60. Normally the owner of a property will retain some of the money owing to the builder until ALL construction work is completed satisfactorily. Have you paid them in full? If not, be sure to withhold monies so that if they don’t fit the garage doors, you have the cash to get it done yourself. Having said this, since they are members of the NHBRC, I think you should contact the NHBRC and explain your dissatisfaction.
    If you go to and then click on the region where you live, you will find the relevant telephone numbers.
    Good luck.

  61. Yul you need to have a formal, recognized drafting qualification to be able to register as a “competent person” and draw up plans. If you have the experience without the qualification, you could try and find someone willing to oversee your work. When you say you are trying to make an appointment with “the only registered draftsman/architect” what do you mean? Where do you live that there is only one qualified person in the area?

  62. Nandi Haughton

    I have a big stand (1700m2) with the main house situated to the left of the stand and a huge section on the right that is open. I would like to build a small freestanding 2 bed house there for my parents with its own entrance, garage and services. What do I need to do to get started and also I would like to get confirmation on what are the regulations concerning building near a borehole pump as there is one in this section of the garden.
    Your assistance is appreciated.

  63. Nandi, You are going to have to get plans drawn up by a “competent person” (qualified architect, draughtsman etc) who will have to submit the plans to your local council. That person should know what the local authority regulations are concerning a second dwelling, and would be the best person to advise you.
    Regulations concerning the borehole will probably fall under plumbing, and somebody from the Plumbing Institute should be able to advise. I know that some councils restrict the building of a second dwelling. There may also be restrictions in terms of services, specifically electricity. In some areas there may only be one main meter per property.
    You could, of course, contact your local council/authority independently and ask what is allowed and what isn’t. Ask for their planning department.

  64. I have been living in my home for 9 years. We now have a new neighbor who recently bought the house next door. They have begun renovating the house and I have discovered that they are converting their single story home into a double story house. The reason I bought my home was because of the privacy it afforded me. Now that my neighbor is converting their home into a double story it is going to infringe on my privacy. I would have thought that in approving their plans for a double story home my permission would need to have been sought. Is this the case?

    Thank you.

  65. Not necessarily. It depends on the requirements of the local authority. I suggest you give their planning division a call and ask what their policy is, and how you go about lodging an objection (which you can do).

  66. Hi Penny

    We recently bought a house and the plumbing certificate was passed. When we took transfer we were surprised to find 3 plumbing issues, which we were previously not made aware of by the plumbing certificate or the seller. We are based in CT, and as such our transferring attorney has explained the plumbing certificate was required to comply with the CT Municipality requirements, which he summarised as:

    1) the water installation conforms to the national building regulations;
    2) there are no defects in the installation and functioning of the water meter; and
    3) there is no discharge of storm water into the sewer system.

    The plumbing issues which we have identified:

    1) The water from the kitchen sink (on 2nd floor), exits the house through a pipe which is embedded into an external wall of the house. The pipe then exits the wall and the kitchen sink water flows into a large drain. We noticed that the water was leaking out of the wall, and onto the floor area, instead of all going into the large drain. We broke into the wall and identified that a screw holding up a wall bracket had been drilled into the pipe in the middle of the wall and had made a big hole which water was escaping from into the wall, which is we have identified as the cause of major damp issues in the lower parts of the home, and then running down along the pipe and onto the floor.

    2) When we run the tap in the garden to water the plants, the geyser overflows, and there is a fast dripping from the geyser outlet pipe.

    3) Dripping from the outlet pipe under the sink, when the water runs out of the kitchen sink

    With the above 3 issues, would it be acceptable to pass the plumbing certificate? Could we have expected that the plumber should’ve pointed these issues out to us? Or is this not within his mandate? Do you feel there is any form of recourse?

    Many thanks.

  67. Good day,

    Does the municipality come and inspect the construction of a new building?

  68. Kate my opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the water installation probably does NOT conform to the NBR. In any case, these sound like latent defects for which the seller should be liable (unless there is a clause in your deed of sale that specifically indemnifies the seller – which is unlikely). Were you aware that there was a damp issue when you bought the house? If you were not aware of the problem, and if it was not pointed out to you, I think you have a strong case in terms of latent defect. If you can prove that the installation does not conform to the regs then the council absolutely should not have issued the certificate. Then you could sue them for damages. The problem of course is that in both instances you are going to need legal representation. If the damp problem is going to cost a lot to be rectified, then it’ll be worth your while.
    If I were you I would contact IOPSA and ask who they suggest you get in to assess the situation. If you don’t have any joy, I can call someone for you and ask his advice – but it would be best for you to try first. What you need them to do is establish a) whether the certificate should have been issued and b) what defects there are.
    Let me know what happens.

  69. Yes Trevor they do, and at various stages of building. For instance a building inspector will inspect the foundation trenches to make sure they are in the correct place and dug to the correct dimensions; a health inspector will inspect the plumbing before you can be linked into the sewerage system. The municipality will decide exactly who does what, and when.

  70. Lara de Villiers

    Good day
    I hope you can assist me.
    We are looking at buying a plot of 1.4 hectar which is classified as D4 dolomite. We have received the geological report, and it is very confusing. After speaking to the geologist, he is stating that we must do another report (which will cost us R40 000). The current report is 2 years old.
    I wonder if it will be possible for me to forward the report to you, so that you can assist us in with the knowledge you have gained. We would like to build a 300m2 house on the plot.

    Kind Regards

  71. Lara be very careful of dolomite land. You might spend R40 000 and discover that you can’t build on the land – or that to be able to build you have to invest in very specific foundations for the house. I have updated the section of site operations which should help you. I have also added a document to free downloads on dolomite. It is the first document under Department of Public Works Guidelines. It’s lengthy and quite technical, but perhaps it will help you get your head around the dangers of building on dolomite land. I don’t know where the plot is (obviously), but you might also be able to talk to people in the vicinity who HAVE built to see if they have experienced any problems. You can send me the report with pleasure, but I am not an engineer or geologist 😉 But I’ll certainly try and help you decipher it.

  72. Good day

    I want to build a granny flat at my property, i’m not sure as to the process to follow from beginning, in terms of plans, where do i get a plan, where do i get it approved, when can i start with construction, etc. Can you please assist.

  73. You will have to find a qualified professional to draw up plans for you – unless you are buying a “granny flat” that is already assembled, in which case some companies have standard plans that may be submitted along with a site plan that relates to your property. But a “competent person” will need to handle this for you. See more on this on the page that discusses Site Operations. The official definition of what a competent person is is on this page. For approval, the competent person must take the plans to your local authority for approval. They will tell you when you can start building. The section on general principles and requirements details exactly what they normally require, though sometimes a local authority may have its own additional requirements.

  74. If a neighbour in a complex(body corporate) wants to add a double storey alteration do they require the neighbours signed consent and if so can the construction continue should the neighbour not agree??

  75. Wayne a complex will have its own specific rules, but even so they will need local authority permission. I suggestion you check on the requirements of both the local authority and the complex. The building regulations don’t address these specifics. Even so, I think that you can lodge an objection with both the body corporate and the local authority if you have concerns.

  76. hi there. We want to put up two wendy houses on our property. We heard that if it is smaller than a certain area or if its not a fixed structure we do not have to approve it with builders regulations? Its in the northern cape if there are any regional regulations

  77. The National Building Regulations apply to every part of the country. Local authorities also have regulations, but they are additional to the NBR.
    Plans are required for all structures other than “minor building work” as defined in the building regulations. If you have a look at the post about minor building work, you will see that there are two structures that might be defined as a Wendy House, a tool shed or a child’s playhouse. If you are wanting to erect a Wendy House for human habitation, you will need plans. If it is to be used as a tool shed, and isn’t going to be bigger than ten square metres, you won’t need plans, but you will need permission from your local authority. If you are going to use it as a kiddies playhouse, it can’t be bigger than five square metres without plans; and you will still need permission from the municipality or council to erect it.

  78. after door height, how many brick course’s do I skip, before I insert Brickforce

  79. If there is a lintel, lay your first course of bricks over the lintel, and then use Brickforce with the next two or three brick courses. Otherwise simply use it for the two or three courses above the door opening. Don’t skip a course.

  80. Hello Penny

    I have a neighbour who erected a wendy house almost right next to the wall between our two units in a small complex. The wendy house is used as a tool shed but does the close proximity of the wendy house to the wall not pose a fire danger? I read that they are not oblidged to have plans for the wendy house but can anybody just go and erect as many wendy houses as they want to without needing any form of approval?

  81. Rene, in terms of minor building work a tool shed less than 10 square metres in area does not require plans, but the building regulations DO require the property owner to notify the local authority that the structure will be built. i.e. A wendy house to be used as a shed still needs approval. Also, local authorities do have regulations regarding how close any structure may be built to a boundary. I suggest you contact your local council to check what their requirements are.

  82. Good Day.

    I would like to know,I own a renovation company and have been asked to build a garage.I know how to build and a arcitect have drawn up the plan,awaiting for the approval from the minusipality.Can I go forward with building when the plans are approved? or are there more regulations I have missed.


  83. If you are building for someone else, you need to be registered with the NHBRC.

  84. Good day.

    I want to build a boundary wall at the front of our property in Eldoriange, Centurion. I want to find out if I will need a building plan for it or do I only need a plan if the wall is higher than a sertain height or if the wall is solid and there are no palaside fencing involved?

  85. Hi there,

    Thanks for the informative site.

    I am looking at building a 2 bedroom dwelling on a farm. The aim it to build a eco friendy, energy independent structure. I am investigating alternative building materials (such as hempcrete), alternative energy (solar / wind), alternative heating methods, and low-energy building techniques.

    What regulations and authorities will I need to adhere/report to, to commence with this venture ?


  86. Hi Wynand, There is a new section of the Building Regulations specifically Part X: Environmental sustainability & Part XA: Energy usage in buildings that will help you. You can download a draft of the new standard here.Just be aware that the final version of the standard is only available at a fee from the SABS.
    Good luck with your venture. You might like to post information about it on our sister website and pictures on our Facebook page.

  87. There is some information at the end of an article about tree houses on our sister site that specifies what the Building Regulations say about “minor building work” and the height of freestanding walls. Note that you should, strictly speaking, notify your local authority of your intention to build a wall even if you don’t need plans. In fact it’s a good idea to check with your local authority because some require plans for any type of fence or wall – in spite of the NBR minor building work clauses.

  88. I would like to know how long does it take for building plans to be approved. We submit plans in 201 and still no answer. Last year they we were told we need an engineer which was allready nearly 2 years after submission. We asked for exemption because of the delay and were refused from the council’s sisde and were refused.
    What does the regulation say about how long plans should stay at the council. a friend told me he waited 2 weeks for approval. I would like to know the exact time period. This is pathetic.

  89. Re my previous post. Beg ur pardon. The Plans were submitted in 2010, so it is more than 2years allready.

  90. The National Building Regulations do not specify a time frame. Basically the building plan approval procedure is in the hands of your local authority. If they asked you to involve an engineer, you probably need to do this before they will approve your plans. Go in and talk to them.

  91. Hi There, I would like to find out from you, we just bought our first home and now our neighbour is upset with us as we chopped off a few trees next to the house but unfortunately now we can see into her yard and she in ours, its a very old house and there is no wall between our two properties as the trees use to close off the two properties, but there is a small fence between us, now because of this she contacted a building inspector and got them to come inspect our house as according to her knowledge all the extra rooms and flat-lets was illegally build there, now the house is 60years old and they could not give me plans for the property and I have to draw up new one’s but now in the interim, she wants them to break down everything else on my property except my house and garage, and the building inspector agrees, without court orders or lawyers letters – Is this legal what she is trying to do?

  92. The council can issue a demolition order – but they have to follow a very specific procedure. Furthermore, if she has been aware of this situation for some time, and has ignored it until now, I would be tempted to take legal action against her, because this is clearly vindictive. But you will need to consult an attorney to find out how you can do this; and on what grounds. The other thing is that if the Council doesn’t have plans for the property, they can’t prove that the rooms and flatlets are not on the plans! We will make some calls for you on Monday and I’ll let you know what I can find out.

  93. Evening

    I have situation that my neighbour has erected a wooden fence up against my fibrecrete and there is no fininishing done on my side or approval given. When putting up this wooden construction it was done by 2.1mt on his property although the natural level of the ground is on my level. When building his house he increased the height on his side from the driveway that slopes from the top to the bottom at a angle. Thus the wooden strcucture is standing at certain areas at over 3meters on my side as the owner did not use the natural ground level. No retaining wall was build as the cars drive up and down to the driveway and the full fibrecrete wall has nearly collopsed. He plans does not show the natural level of the ground and on the plans it is the same level. Also cement blocks were put into the ground the fill up higher so he has a wooden wall of over 3mt on my side. your comment would be apprecaited,

  94. You mention plans Andre, but if they were approved by council, they would have to show the level of the ground. I suggest you call your local council/municipality and ask if they can send a building inspector out to assess the structure and see if they consider it legal. In addition to this, if this fence has compromised you and your existing wall in any way, you could have a civil claim against your neighbour. But in this case you would need to take action through an attorney.

  95. When purchasing house as plot & plan, which compliance certificates
    should owner receive from builder upon completion of dwelling??

    Kind Regards
    Dee October

  96. Graham Anderson

    Hi, I am trying to establish the new requirements regarding working
    hours specifically regarding construction work over weekends and
    public holidays as well as how noise is to be controlled

  97. I am a food service consultant and design kitchen layouts for
    retirment villages.
    I want to increase my knowledge of the rules and standards for
    equipment techincal standards distances for safety, gas installation
    etc , equipment requirement
    Can you help.

  98. Is there a bylaw that says you may not build structures within 30 m of
    a farm boundary? i am searching for this and cant get an answer at all

  99. Belinda Ferrando

    To Whom It May Concern

    I stay in a townhouse complex and we are looking to extend our
    boundary wall. Could you please tell me what the legal height of this
    wall should be?

    If you could also give me more info on boundary walls. What are the
    do’s and don’t?


  100. Jeff Anderson

    Due to the steep nature of the plot, we opted to keep the parking on
    the easement/access at the top of the property. As there was a 2.4m
    retaining wall and fireplace/braai area, we roofed it and it’s become
    as small garden flat. No plans we’re submitted at the time. What are
    the regulations concerning building on a steep slope and on an
    “access” as we would like to build a garage on top? J Anderson

  101. Dirk Claassens

    We provide shower facilities for our workers. Must the showers by law
    all partitioned from each other for privacy reasons?

  102. Hi Dirk,
    There are different standards for domestic and for other buildings depending what they are used for as well as the number of occupants. I see from your email that you are in the auto industry, but I can’t be sure of this. A20 deals with the Classification of Occupancies then there is a Table I that defines the Class of Occupancy, with those in mind Part F Site Operations and Table 4-Provision of Sanitary Fixtures have to be read together. This gets a little complicated and can only find reference to males and females being seperate. If it is an issue with your employees I would suggest that you contact your local planning department and ask for clarity on this.

  103. Hi Bruce,
    Your query goes beyond the scope of our Building Regulations site but you can get all the information you need from the SABS and we have all their numbers on our SABS Contact page.

  104. Hi Grahame,
    This information is found in Part F- Site Operations of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. If you follow the link to our section on Site Operations page, you will see exactly what times are one is NOT permitted to work. This section of the legislation was changed slightly when the new Act became law in 2008.

  105. Anton Dahlmann

    Good day
    i purchased a property(flat)that has just been finished,and transfer
    took place in July.My daughter has moved in and the flat is extremly
    hot.We tried to have an airconditioner installed,but were refused
    permission from the newly formed body corporate.
    i have two questions in this regard firstly can this permission be
    refused,and secondly with the new sans standards is there not a
    tolerence as to what the internal temperatures should be,by following
    the necessary building practices,like roof insulation,cavity walls
    etc,and if so would there be recourse against the developer.
    the flats were sold and marketed as luxury units,yet i am told i cant
    install airconditioning.

    please help


  106. Hi Penny

    Great website. Very informative. I have just purchased a house and we would like to convert the existing carport into a garage and attach the carport to the new garage. I have plans from the municipality which were drawn up in 1997 for the garage however they never erected it and simply installed a carport in its place.
    My understanding is that although we have the plans, we would still need to get approval again due to the time period lapsed. We would also need approval for the carport to be moved.

    Is this correct and can I obtain these approvals myself and how do I go about it?

  107. Michael, you will definitely need to get approval, but I am not sure whether you can do it yourself. CAll the council’s planning division and ask. Since the amended NBR require a ‘competent person‘ to draw plans and take control of all building projects, you may not be able to. But the legislation does state that “the erection of any building that the local council doesn’t believe plans are necessary for” is regarded as minor building work. So if the council already has approved plans, and there are no issues with these, then I see no reason why they wouldn’t allow you to go ahead. They would send the building inspector to check foundations etc. as per their usual procedure.
    You will see in the article on minor building work (link above) that “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size” are also regarded as minor building work. I think all you would need to do to move the carport is give the council a site plan showing where it will be moved to (provided of course it isn’t bigger than 40 sq m). Check with them and see if there are forms that you need to fill in as the owner of the property. Good luck.

  108. Thanks Penny for your information! Keep well……..

  109. Could you please send me the regulations on clinics

  110. Hi Yolandi,
    The National Building Regulations are very specific when it comes to the “Classification and Designation of Occupancies”. In other words it depends what the building is going to be used for and who will occupy it. When it comes to a clinic there are a host of rules, sub-clauses and cross references that have to be read in conjunction with a host of others. I wish it were as straight forward as sending you one document but it does become complicated. You could contact your Local Authority and ask if there is someone in their Planning Department that might help you. Otherwise you will have to consult a “Competent Person” (For example an Architect) to help you.

  111. I am a Civil Engineering student at Technikon and I have so much interest in drawing house plans.I have been asked by my local church to draw a church plan for them.Actually my church purchased a house that was incomplete to be built.I have drawn a church plan but they need an extension of male and female toilets which will link with the main hall church.I have browsed in the internet to get the proper dimensions and I have found out about the National Buildings Regulations.I am a bit battling with the roof design but a plan is perfect.Please give me an advice Janek.

  112. I would like to install tubular skylights (between rafters) thus not affecting the structural stability of the roof.

    I have been informed that I should obtain permission from the municipality in terms of building regulation SANS10400xa (Greenbuild).

    Please advise.

  113. Hi there,
    My son has the subject “Civil Technology” at school and needs the building regulations for a 2 unit guesthouse sharing one kitchen. I have no idea where to look for this? Any ideas?
    Kind regards

  114. I’m afraid there is no simple answer here. The building regulations and SANS: 10400 will apply in their entirety. The starting point, though, will be to pinpoint the type of occupancy a guesthouse falls under. That would be H5 Hospitality – which was added to the definitions when the law was updated in 2008. Then you will find several individual regulations that have specific requirements for H5 occupancy. e.g. Part C: Dimensions specifies minimum room areas for different types of occupancy as well as minimum heights. But everything else applies too. e.g. The structural design must comply, foundations must comply, wall structure, roof, glazing, the whole lot. Since it is a guest house, public safety, fire protection and facilities for disabled persons will all be specific issues.
    I would imagine that if it is a school project, the information he needs would be quite general though. You can access the various SANS 10400: The Application of the National Building Regulations from any SABS library. I find them incredibly helpful, particularly when people are needing information for their studies. Ask the librarian to do a computer search within their system for guest house/ guesthouse to see if anything specific shows up. Then you can pull that particular section from the library and see what it says. There may well be other SANS that apply as well.

  115. Thanks, Penny. I now have a starting point 🙂

  116. Piet van Wyk

    please help. I need the regulations regarding oil and paint stores.
    i need to know what the required distances are between other buildings and the oil/paint stores.


  117. 1.where to look for :The requirement for thached roof structure on a residential stand in terms of SABS0400-1990.

  118. Enock, SABS 0400-1990 (which was renamed SANS 10400 in 2008, even before the SABS code of practice had been updated) doesn’t deal with thatched roofs.
    But in any case the national standard you need is SANS 10407, Thatched roof construction (available from the SABS – here’s the LINK) It costs R129 and covers the installation of thatch on roofing structures. It does not cover the design or erection of the supporting roofing structure. This you will find partially under pole structures in SANS 10400 – if you go to this page CLICK HERE on this site, scroll down and you’ll get an idea of what it covers.
    I recently update the information relating to roofing and there is additional information (also from SANS 10400) HERE. I hope this helps you.

  119. Hi Mfundo,
    Firstly as a Civil Engineering student you will have to prove “competency” to the local authority when you submit your plans. If I were you I would approach the Local Council Planning department and ask them how far they will let you take the plans before you go any further. You can read here what the law says about a “Competent Person”. As far as the roof design is concerned there are many factors to consider, firstly what type of roof covering is going to be used, as this will determine the beam structure, span as well as thickness and class of timber that the regulations say must be used. I have always found the Local Council Planning Departments to be very helpful and I think you should contact them first.

  120. Hi, I want to extend some rooms’ walls to the same height of the rest of the house and replace the roof with the same pitch, tiles, etc. However I was told that I have to get prefab roof trusses made and the rafters must be 152mm wide?

    Please advise
    Many thanks

  121. Mauritz we have recently updated our pages on Roofs – this is the LINK to the page where you will find several very useful tables. The first table MAXIMUM TRUSS SPANS FOR VARIOUS RAFTER AND TIE-BEAMS is what you need to refer to. [TC = top chord, BC = bottom cord, web = the cross bracing]. Note that the timber sizes are from the specifications in SANS 1783-2, and depends on several factors including roof covering, pitch and the maximum clear span of the timbers.
    BTW The NBR do not say you have to use prefab roof trusses, they can be assembled in situ, but prefab is much easier to handle.

  122. Vanishree Govender

    Hi, My father-in law erected a carport that is about 40sqm, 4 poles with an aluminium roof, all side open, not attached to any wall of the original building. He has received a notice from the Ethekwini Municipality that he is in Contravention of the National Building Regulations Act and will need to submit plans to the council for approval.

    Can somebody help with any more info and if this is correct?
    Umkomaas, KZN

  123. In terms of the law (The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act) the construction of “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size” is defined as minor building work (lick on the link to read more) that does not require plans. If the structure is 40 sq m or less, then construction is not in contravention of the NBR. He should, however have notified the local authority that he was building it. If it is larger than 40 sq m then he is in contravention of the regs.

  124. Hi Piet,
    This is not an easy one to answer with limited information. This is partly covered under Part-T Fire Protection of the SANS 10400. The distance will depend on a number of factors, including 1. The class of occupancy, 2. The fire resistance of the built walls, 3. The size of any openings in the walls, 4. The elevation of the building in relation to surrounding buildings, 5. Whether the store is a Low Fire Load, a Moderate Fire Load or a High Fire Load, 6. The overall size of the building. These are a just a few of the issues the Building Regulations cover. I suggest you contact the Local Authority (Municipality) in your area and request that an inspector has a look at your site and give you more detailed guidance relevant to your property.

  125. Hi There,
    I own a small holding and is busy constructing a boundary wall. The small holding is classes a section 8 which is agricultural land. To what hight may I build my front boundary wall?

  126. Check with your local authority John. They are mandated with this. Usually though you can build up to 1,8 m without plans. However, you will still need to notify your local authority that you are building the wall.

  127. Sylvie Vantillard

    Hi there
    We recently had some plans approved by Matubatuba Municiplaity in KZN
    , and the approval form quoted ‘act 103 of NBR of 1977’ – does this
    mean our plans were approved according to the old NBR ?
    The plans were submitted in 2011 and approved in 2013.
    I’f possible, I would be grateful to discuss this with someone at
    Building Regulations..
    Many thanks

  128. What are the regulations concerning a part of my house as office space
    as I work from home for a company. Is there a set amount of space I am
    allowed to use and may not exceed? Secondly must I register anywhere
    to be allowed to use my house as an office? I own a town house in a
    complex and complex rules allow office use. Please advise. Thank you

  129. Please supply us with the new building code for houses 80sqm and

  130. Hi Angel,
    If you go to our “Download Regulations” page you will find the free version of the SANS 10400. If you want the most up-to-date version you can go to our “SABS Contact” page and they are the ones that will have copies for you to purchase.

  131. Hi Thomas,
    The regulations only have limitations for the type of business being run from home such as a manufacturing or a mini-factory business. They impose limits on noise, gasses, odours etc. You may also have limits on a “face to face” service business where there will be a number of customers coming and going during your trading hours. But as you are in a complex your body corporate may have additional rules that limit the number of visitors. Technically the space must be built according to what it is going to be used for, an example is a garage is for cars only but many people use this space for an office etc. What you might also be referring to is what percentage of your house area you are allowed to claim back on your annual tax return if you run a business from home, SARS have tables for this so I suggest you contact the nearest office and ask them.

  132. Hi Dee,
    There are four certificates for a new house: 1. – A “Competent Person”, this could be a Structural Engineer if one was needed for the build or an Architect and they must issue a Completion Certificate saying that the structural work was done according to the plans. 2. – An Electrical Compliance Certificate from a registered electrician. 3. – The Occupation Certificate that is issued by the Inspector from your Local Authority & 4. – The NHBRC Compliance Certificate that the builder must get from the NHBRC, this certificate is only issued for new houses.

  133. Sylvie, The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 is the legislation that still applies. It has though been amended several times since 1977, most recently in 2008. This is standard procedure for legislation, unless it is abolished and replaced with a totally new piece of legislation.
    As we explain on this site, the SABS has updated its SANS 10400: The application of the National Building Regulations – which essentially gives guidelines in terms of how the legislation should be interpreted and applied – progressively. This procedure is now complete.
    So in a nutshell, the major changes to the building regulations are in the “deemed to satisfy” regulations – i.e. the SA National Standard. So your plans need to comply with these guidelines which run parallel to the Act itself.
    I hope that helps. There is a lot more information in various sections of this web site. If you are still puzzled, download the free (outdated) 1990 version of the SANS. The legislation is shown at the beginning of each part, and the deemed to satisfy rules given thereafter. We have tried to explain the changes to the legislation on this web site, and have given some pointers on the SANS; but if you want to see exactly what the new SANS say, you will have to either buy relevant sections from the SABS, or read them in an SABS library.

  134. Hi Belinda,
    There are two pages of info that we have: Boundary Walls & Fences and Boundary Lines, Walls & Fences. Your townhouse complex body corporate rules might have more regulations and guidelines that you have to follow, I suggest you contact them to find out.

  135. Hi Jeff,
    Firstly, unless designed by an engineer, a retaining wall cannot be used as one of the walls of a dwelling (habitable room) because a garden retaining wall normally has no waterproofing built in, the building regulations require walls to be water-tight before they can be used for a living room (including a garden flat). You will have to employ the services of a “competent person” (possibly an architect and/or a structural engineer) to design a structure with foundations, walls and slabs that will be strong enough to take the weight of the soil behind the retaining wall as well as the weight of the garage and cars above. If suitable drainage was not built behind the retaining wall as it stands at the moment then this will have to be done as well, as the weight of any water build-up behind the wall could cause the building to collapse. Apart from which, plans are required for any type of retaining wall and habitable “rooms”.

  136. Hi Alta,
    I spoke with Andrew from Cape Loft Windows and he tells me that with their domes and skylights they do not need plans as their Velux Windows all meet the requirements. The only time you might need to consult a “competent person” is when the skylight is wider than the roof truss gap and they have to be cut and cross-braced. Their contact details are on their website >HERE<

  137. I would like to purchase a freestanding spa(jacuzzi). It will plug into a 15 amp plug and be filled with a hose pipe.It will be drained into the garden and water used to water the flowers.The size is 2.5m x 1.8m x 750mm deep.Total litres are 1200.The pump system is located underneath the frame behind doors.Do I require a plan?? The frame it stands in is made from timber and i live in Pietermaritz burg

  138. No Allison you don’t need a plan. Just be aware that you do need to sanitize the water and the chemicals are not great for gardens.

  139. James Sexton

    Hi Penny and Janek,

    I am looking for information about the Building Control Officials and if there is a governing association.

    We provide a business application that runs on electronic handheld devices for documenting the Building Control process (using smartphones and tablets with a camera to record defects).

    Can you forward any contact info for the associations that might be interetsted in Noratek’s CityReporter?

    Thank you for your help
    James Sexton

  140. Unfortunately this is outside our area of expertise, but I doubt it. However if you would like to submit an article about the system in general – that doesn’t simply promote your business – we will consider publishing it on this site Let me know.

  141. Hi Suzi,
    This is what the general regulations for the Northern Cape say:
    “Building Lines: the street is 4,5m, rear- and side building lines are 3,0m for the primary residential house. No building or part
    thereof, with the exception of the primary residential house and farm stalls, boundary walls or boundary fences,
    may, where the premise borders another premise with a different zoning, be erected closer than 30m from the
    said boundary of the premise and these building lines are 5m where the premise borders another premise also
    zoned as “Agricultural zone I”.”
    But each Municipality has it’s own “land use management scheme” divided into zones that determine where buildings can be erected, so I suggest you contact yours in your area and find out what the zone restrictions are. I hope this helps.

  142. Hi

    I hope that you can advise me.
    We are relocating and wish to sell our house. The agents have advised
    me that the floor plan does not include the exstensions done,
    obviously by a previous owner. This fact will reduce the value that we
    may get for the property. Pls could you tell me what the process is to
    get the corrections reflecting. Thanks Yvette

  143. Good day

    This looks like a great website, and I would like to congratulate you
    guys with it.

    I have a question with regards to property and I hope that you can
    direct me or if you have the answers I would appreciate it. How many
    rooms can one build on a residential property and what are the ratios
    that one should be aware of like how many bathrooms there should be
    per x amount fo rooms, car parking and so forth? Hope to hear from you

    Best Regards

  144. If the Muncipality request the size (in square meters) of a dwelling,
    would this be the outside wall measurements, or would it include the
    roof overhang??

  145. This normally refers to the area of floor in the dwelling – ground floor and any higher floors.

  146. Thanks for the compliment. Local authorities have requirements in terms of the percentage of land that can be built on – or this might be a percentage in terms of floor area of the house (i.e. it might relate to all floors). I don’t think that there are limitations in terms of the rooms as such. They also have requirements in terms of parking – but it’s not usually much of an issue. Which local authority do you fall under?

  147. You will need to have a rider plan drawn up by a competent person and submit this to your local authority for approval.

  148. Hi. I am looking at buying a house, but I am worried because there seem to be a lot of problems. The owner is asking a lot for the place and it has potential, but I dont want to open a can of worms by buying someone else’s rubbish. I need to know what the inspectors will be looking at during the sale process.
    Asbestos roof – One of the roofs seems to be in need of repair. What does it cost to get one removed when it gets too old?
    Verandah too close to boundry – does the owner have to rectify this before he sells, or will he have to pay penalties?
    Glazing – some of the large windows do not have safety glass, will a building inspector check this before the sale goes through, and will the owner have to replace them?
    Plumbing and electrical – A lot of the work has been done by handymen, not professionals. Will this be checked?
    Crumbling retaining walls – Can a building be sold if the retaining walls are about to fall over?

  149. Nicole, I am not sure which inspectors you mean. If you are aware of these problems you should put in an offer to purchase that either demands the current owner rectifies these things, or reduce your offer so that you have the money to rectify them. Bank and building inspectors may or may not pick up the problems – if they don’t then they will become your problem and you might have difficulty reselling the house at a later stage.
    1. Asbestos roof. Asbestos as a material was banned in SA a long time ago. Hopefully the roof is fibrecement – if it is in fact asbestos it would be best to replace it anyway. You will have to get a quote from a roofing contractor to see what it will cost to repair or replace the roof.
    2. Verandah. Have you checked the plans? If the verandah is too close to the boundary, this could be because it was added later or because the house has been incorrectly positioned. If the former – the council could demand that the verandah be demolished. If the latter, a new site plan should be done. Perhaps you should discuss this issue with the local authority’s planning department. Tell them you are concerned and ask their advice – they are the people who would require the situation to be rectified.
    3. Glazing. It is unlikely that a building inspector is going to demand they replace the glass.
    Plumbing and electrical. The work may or may not be checked. If you are concerned you should call in an independent plumber/electrician – these people should be qualified and registered. Then you will know what needs to be rectified. This could be very costly.
    Crumbling retaining walls. Yes a building can be sold if the retaining walls are crumbling.
    At the end of the day most sales are done voetstoots – and the fact that you know these things are wrong will count against you unless you make your demands now. Once the sale goes through you will inherit the problems you have knowingly bought. If there are latent defects you don’t know about, that will be another story.
    Bear in mind that there is nothing to stop people selling houses that are falling down – but the buyer isn’t going to get a bond, and won’t be allow to live in it until an occupancy certificate is issued.

  150. Anton, Part X & XA of the National Building Regulations (that deal with environmental sustainability [X] and energy usage in buildings [XA]) states that air conditioning and mechanical ventilation must be in accordance with SANS 204, which specifies the design requirements for energy efficiency in buildings and of services in buildings with natural environmental control and artificial ventilation or air conditioning systems. The current edition was published in the second half of 2011 and is available from the SABS at a cost of R297.
    In addition to the section about air conditioning, there are sections on building design and building sealing.
    In terms of the body corporate’s refusal to allow you to install air-conditioning, your first step should be to double-check their rules and regulations. If the building is indeed unbearably hot, apart from the fact that I don’t believe they have a right to refuse permission (I’m just not sure what route you would take to counter it other than go to a lawyer), there is a good chance that the insulation is not up to standard. Roof insulation is easy to check, but the wall structure isn’t. There are though people who have devices they can use to check for you. You could also try asking the NHBRC for advice. If the developer was not registered when the building was constructed, he’s going to be in trouble. If he was (and/or still is), then the NHBRC must get involved.
    Good luck, let us know the outcome.

  151. Please help. I am in the process of fixing a defactive roof of a house I bought. This meant breaking down a wall that was not buildt correctly. Do I need plans for this and was I suppose to nify the council. Because I was unaware of this and now there is an issue. I am aware that if I am extending the house I wiould need a plan and permission, so why do I need a plan now for fixing some one elses messy job

  152. Soomayya, What is the issue? Has someone complained, or has the local council taken action? I cannot be the judge of what the council requires, but I imagine that they would need to be informed, especially as you are probably rebuilding load-bearing walls. Presuming you are building according to the original approved plans, I don’t think you would need new plans. But even with minor building work, you must – by law – notify the local authority of your intentions. There is nothing sinister about this; rather it is to ensure that all construction work is done correctly and will ultimately be safe and sound.

  153. Hi
    what are the requirement for toilets in a school?

  154. Liz if you go to this page, and scroll down to the second comment from Seelen (posted on April 29, 2013), my reply to her covers what I would say to you. A school (place of instruction) is classified A3, and if you download the old NBR – I gave her the link – you can have a look on page 126, Table 6, that will tell you. The population numbers on the left now read “less than” and the number; and the last line of the table is for more than 120 – and that now reads:
    for males – Add 1 sanitary fixture to the above for every 100 persons
    and females – in terms of toilet pans (no longer WC!) Add 1 sanitary fixture to the above for every 50 persons & in terms of basins – Add 1 sanitary fixture to the above for every 100 persons
    This has also been added:
    “Population is the number of personnel only of a particular sex in an occupancy. The total number of personnel will, in some cases, be the total population obtained from Regulation A21, the public and visitors being very few in number. In other cases the proportion of personnel to the public and visitors will have to be established. The total number of personnel in a shopping complex, or in any particular shop, may be taken as 10 % of the total population for such complex or shop calculated in terms of Regulation A21.”
    A21 has a table that relates to design population. For A3 occupancy, it is 1 person per 5 sq m.

  155. Cathy Wagener

    Good afternoon,

    We started building a second story on top of our garage. The plans was approved by the municipality. Our deut neighbour has given permission for the project. The neighbour on the street has said he will do all to stop this. What right do we have and what right does the neighbours have. Also what is the regulations about use of side paths.



  156. Cathy it depends where you live, because city/town by-laws do vary. For instance the new Cape Town City zoning by-laws that came into being in March this year, don’t require neighbors’ permission to build on a boundary. Normally you would only need neighbors’ permission for boundary distance and not for building a double storey if it is the required distance from a fence or wall. But if the plans have been approved by the municipality, then you will have done everything required by them. Your neighbour can try lodging an objection, but it will need to be based on legalities.
    In terms of side paths – are you talking about a servitude? If so this will be noted in the title deeds. If you can be more specific I may be able to help you further. Also, I ma not sure what you mean by a “dent neighbour”. Do you mean a neighbour who shares a common boundary but at the back of your property. The street neighbour sharing a common boundary at the side – both accessed from the same street? I hope this helps.

  157. Cathy Wagener

    Thank you for the quick reply.

    We live in a duet sharing a drive way with them (they have given permission) . The area is Pretoria. The street neighbour is the one wanting to get stop this project. The garage and thus the second story will look onto their property. In the approved plan is windows on that wall. We are not going to put windows there. Building only a solid wall on there side. Is there any regulations about height of walls looking onto properties.

    In regards to the side paths – can we use it to put building materials on it and how much of it is neighbours property and what is our responsibility with a side paths.

    Thank you

  158. Hi Penny

    I see you mentioned “The Reader’s Digest Family Guide to the Law” that covers disputes with neighbours, walls and fences etc. It is quoted in your first answer to Hugo Arotta, see above.

    My question to you: Is this specific publication based on South African Law – specifically for South Africans – or is it just a general rule of thumb spread over many continents? (I always thought that Reader’s Digest was an American thang?)

    Thank you for many hours of riveting reading. I really enjoy your site!

  159. Hi Jan, thanks so much for the kind, complimentary words. I do refer to the Reader’s Digest Family Guide to the Law in South Africa now and then. I see in this case that I didn’t give the full title! It is very much a book based on SA law, written by a bunch of legal people and other experts. The only problem is that it hasn’t been updated recently. I have the revised third edition published in 1986, which is, of course pre “democracy”. But a lot still applies; and I usually advise people to get legal advice.
    In terms of Reader’s Digest in general, it is an American thing, but the magazine is published in various translated and edited forms all over the world. I did a couple of stories for the local RD magazine some years ago, but hated their approach (even though they paid relatively well). I was given an American article and told to make it relevant to SA. The one that worked quite well was Little Known Signs of a Heart Attack (if I can find it I’ll “publish” it on my personal website one day). I had to find local people who had had the same weird symptoms as those in the original article. But often they don’t “match”, and so I decided it wasn’t for me! Although I haven’t seen the magazine on shelves for a long time (it used to be at every checkout till in every supermarket), I see from their website that it is still being produced – looks like in print and electronic. But it also seems that they have become more of an online store than a book and magazine publishing business.
    Over the years Reader’s Digest SA produced many specifically South African books by SA authors, including Family Guide to the Law in South Africa. A lot of these were travel and related – e.g. about national parks, mountains, wildlife.
    Some useless information 😉 The SA company was based in Strand Street Cape Town for many years. International Colleges Group – Intec, Damelin etc moved in there and transformed the building internally (I did some work for Intec as well, and it really weird walking in the same front door and being faced with a completely different environment) – but aren’t there any longer.

  160. Cathy, the only meaning of the word “duet” I know is a piece of music for two people. So I am still puzzled… Are you in a panhandle – you have to use their driveway to get to your piece of land? If so, and if the driveway is on their land, you should have a servitude registered because if they sell, the new owner won’t necessarily be bound by the agreement. It must be done legally to protect all parties.
    On the double storey, there is nothing in the building regulations that prevents you from building a double storey. Height restrictions are generally governed by by-laws; and these generally permit double-storey structures. Views and privacy are not their priority – which is why it is usually only in private estates that this becomes an issue. Your local authority will be able to advise and confirm what is allowed. But as I said previously, if they have approved your plans, then the plans must be in accordance with the by-laws.
    One thing bothers me, and that is that you say you are not going to put the windows on the one side. That means you won’t be building according to plan. You need to have the plans changed – not having windows might affect lighting and ventilation requirements. You need to check this.
    I still can’t fathom your “side paths” issue. I have no idea how much is on your neighbour’s property or yours. This will depend on the building lines.

  161. Good morning,

    I want to build a house for my mother and would want to follow all
    current regulations.

    I was told get SG diagram and water and sewer connection points from
    the municipality before drawing a house plan.

    Somebody told me there is new rules about geysers and fenistation.

    Please provide me details I need to build a house.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jan Lesetja

  162. Jan you have come to the right website. There is quite a lot of information that you will find here, but you will need to do some reading. The surveyor general’s diagram is a starting point, because apart from water and sewer connection points, it also shows the boundary lines accurately. However you cannot draw your own plans; you will need to get a competent person to do this for you. Click the link I have given you to read more.
    In terms of geysers (hot water cylinders), the new regulations state that “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”. But in any case all plumbing must be done by a qualified, registered plumber who will be able to advise you.
    You can read more about the new energy usage legislation at this link.
    Fenestration relates to glazing and is an extremely complicated subject in theory. The person you use to draw your plans should be able to advise you. I have added a link where you can read more about fenestration.
    Lastly, you must follow the current National Building Regulations otherwise your mother’s house will not be legal and you could be forced by the local authority to demolish it.

  163. Danielle Postma

    Good morning. We have a claim made out to our insurance – and the
    insurance wont approve until they receive the documents made during
    the time of which the building was built. I was told I can receive it
    from the National Building Regulations – Can you please let me know if
    this is true?

  164. Danielle, The National Building Regulations = legislation. This is not some sort of organization that can supply you with anything tangible. What documents does the insurance company require? Approved plans? Certificates of compliance? Certificate of occupancy? Your local authority should have all of these on file; and you can obtain copies from their offices.
    They may want the enrollment certificate and other documentation from the NHBRC, in which case you will need to contact the NHBRC.

  165. Refurbisment is taking place in our area, one block is completed still busy with opposite block which less than 20 feet from the completed one, are they allow to move residents back in their homes while construction is still in motion, bit concern of safety of the elderly and children

  166. Cheryl as long as the builders comply with SANS 10400 Part D, Public Safety and Part F, Site Operations, there is no reason why the residents cannot move back to their refurbished homes.

  167. can u pls assist me if finding a book of al the buliding regulations in south africa,iv searched various book stores and they dont have it. Wer can i get the building regulations book that displays all the regulations?

  168. The National Building Regulations and Standards Act is available free for download on this site. But the South African National Standards (SANS) that cover the application of the NBR – i.e. what you need to do to comply with the legislation, are published by the SABS (SANS 10400) and are available from their offices or from their web store. There is a section on each standard on this web site and links to the SABS.
    In the past you could buy all the building regs in one package from the SABS; now they sell them in parts. Please read through our site to find out more. If you are still stuck I will do what I can to help you.

  169. Jacobus Smith

    Please assist.
    I live in a detached own title development 11 units.
    2 blocks of 5 and 6 units.
    We currently share a commen area to our garages.
    I want to add a consevatory to the balcony facing a public road .Do i need any permission-Planning or from my neigbours?

  170. Jacobus, you need to check the development guidelines. These will be in addition to the National Building Regulations and the local authority by-laws. You local authority will be able to advise what their requirements are across the board. Generally if you are building within the boundary lines of the property, you don’t need neighbour’s consent. The design (in terms of materials etc) and size of the conservatory structure will determine whether you need plans. If you do need plans these need to be submitted to the local authority for approval. In addition, the development may have requirements in terms of style and materials for any additions/extensions.

  171. Good day

    I was wondering whether there is a specifcation on the height of building floors/levels?
    Such as each floor being 2m??
    Is there an industry average of height that we can use in an excersize of valuating the building?

  172. Veronica Magudulela

    Please help
    I am a flat owner. It is a one bedroom and a stoep/balcony. I want to enclose my stoep with an alluminium window with a double door. I want to do this since all the units have done it except 5 units on ground floor. Other flats on ground floor have enclosed theirs with buglars. Does this need to submit application to local authority?

  173. Hi Tammy,
    Yes there are regulations specifying the height of rooms. They can be found under SANS 10400 Part C – Dimensions. We have an explanation on our Dimensions page here: size-dimensions-room-height

  174. Franco Hanekom

    Good day Penny, I and my wife are planning to build a new house at Fraai uitsig, Mosselbay. We are planning a wooden structure with Zinc alume corrugated cladding. We are doing it to SABS regulations, but the municipality have referred our project to an architect who acts as consultant re the esthetics of new houses in the area,I have attached an email from the architect. We appreciate positive input, but we have a budget to work to and want to, within that budget, do something that is special to us. Can such a consultant and planning department of a municipality prevent us from building a certain type of house? Before we bought the plot we made sure that there weren’t any restrictions or prescriptions on the title deed.
    Kind regards

    Email from architect

    Beste Franco & Valerie,

    Baie dankie vir die aanstuur van die inligting m.b.t. die nuwe woon/werkplek wat julle in Fraaiuitsig beoog.

    Ek moet eerlik wees as ek sê dat wat ek sien my nou juis opgewonde maak nie en dat julle na my mening, veral as kunstnaars, iets veel meer opwindends en oorspronklik kan doen. Afgesien daarvan dat dit ‘n slaafse ‘kopie’ is van die huis op die fotos, is die beplanning regtig nie op standaard nie en is die ‘wow’ faktor totaal afwesig.

    Wat dadelik opval is die ontoereikende badkamer geriewe op die boonste vloer – geen toilet, geen bad, slegs die absolute minimum. Onder is die toilet onder die trap ingedruk, geen venster, artifisiële ventilasie, geen wasbak, beknop. Is dit wat julle wil hê of is dit die tekenaar se interpretasie? Nog ‘n ding wat baie pla is die 2,40m afmeting wat in die studeerkamer en twee van die slaapkamers voorkom (waarvan een die hoof slaapkamer!), wat heeltemaal te smal is om behoorlik te meubileer, afgesien van die beknopte gevoel wat dit tot gevolg gaan hê. Die oriëntasie van die hoofslaapkamer is slegs na die ooste, na die straat en in die gesig van wat uiteindelik die motoringang sal wees. Daar is tog seker fantastiese moontlikhede na die noordekant met al die vryheid wat die groot erf bied?

    Verder is dit uiters belangrik om op hierdie stadium die volledige beplanning te doen, al gaan dit in fases gebou word. Die plasing van motorafdakke, bykomende buitekamers, ens., moet nou gedoen word sodat ‘n mens weet waarna jy uiteindelik mik.

    Hierdie is maar ‘n paar indrukke en ek hoop nie jy om dat ek so direk is nie maar eerlik, ek moet die punt maak dat julle baie beter kan doen. Sien dit as konstruktief, eerder as negatief – nou is die tyd om dit te sê en nie eendag as die huis staan nie. Met ‘n bietjie vindingryke ontwerp kan die ruimtelike gevoel, plasing van vertrekke, oriëntasie, ens., dramaties verbeter word. Per slot van sake wil ‘n mens waarde toevoeg en ook die beste kry vir die geld wat dit gaan kos? Terloops, die binne afwerking op die een foto is fantasties!
    Skakel gerus as julle dit verder wil bespreek.
    Vriendelike groete,

  175. I would like to know to which organization i should register if i want to be 1.Building Contractor 2.Architect 3.Quantity surveyor.
    And also minimum requirements to qualify as being competent person also state regulation date and number (i.e SABS 0400 of 1990 states that 🙂
    Also where and how to register a form can be produced as example
    Please help !!
    Blessed day
    Kind regards

  176. What a presentation i can produce to produce findings under the two headings.Building regulations and local goverment by-laws and , competent person and regulatory bodies in terms of drawings.
    Kind regards


  177. Vincent, if you take the trouble to read what is on this website you will see that SABS 0400 (1990) is out of date! I’m guessing that you are doing an assignment.
    You will find reference to the correct legislation on this page. It was promulgated in 2008.
    There is more information about competent persons on our sister website – I have given you the link.
    The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is the regulatory authority for the architectural profession. SACAP is responsible for: Providing for registration of persons within the architectural profession; Protecting the public against unprofessional conduct by registered persons; Guiding the profession and promoting the standards of education and training in the Built Environment. I have given you a link to their website.

  178. Vincent if you are studying to be a professional in the built environment, you will need to find this information for yourself. There is plenty of information about the National Building Regulations and government by-laws on this web site.
    Download the documents from the City of Johannesburg and City of Cape Town to read more about their by-laws.

  179. Hi Veronica,
    It sounds like “minor building work” and you will not need plans approved. But what you will need is the consent of the body corporate of the block of flats and you must also send the municipality a notice of what you have done or intending to do, in writing.

  180. Hi Franco,
    You really do not want your “dream home” to be a “nightmare” later. The picture looks really great but take the advice given to you about size seriously. We have recommended in our book “Owner Building in SA” that if there is a budget constraint when you start, then build a “core” house and add on to it later when funds become available. You can read more here: extensions Even though it might cost more later for submitting additional plans you will end up with a house you will be happy with. The other consideration to look at is the resale value (even though you do not intend to sell) of a “tiny” house.

  181. Hi Please Help!

    I am planning to build a house, i am having the plans drawn it is almost complete and ready for council submition. The architecht says i need an engineer to complete a “Form 2”. Is it neccesary to complete form 2 as i was planing to put in a precast slab (1st floor) and will recieve a “Form3” from the company doing it. Do i need an engineer for something else also?


  182. Hi Isgaaq,
    If you are using a reputable decking company to manufacture and install your precast slab/floor then they will have all the necessary Agrément certificates and engineers reports that you will need. So you do not need another engineer.

  183. Kashief Booley

    Can you please advise as to what the building regulations are with regard to building next to a stream.


  184. Just wanted clarity

    We want to break a door through from my child’s bedroom to the garage. The doubble garage will then be converted into 2 bedrooms with a small passage which offers extra storage space. I am advised by the contractors that I do not need to fill in any documentation and that there is no admin process. Please confirm this for me.

    Thank you

  185. Hi Kashief,
    The National Building Regulations do not deal with this specifically, it is left to the Regional and Local Councils to regulate. The by-laws do take into account the 50 and 100 year floodlines when approving building plans. Contact the municipality in your area and ask them. You will find all the municipality contact numbers in South Africa here: municipality-contact

  186. Hi Corlia,
    They are completely wrong! By law any structural changes need plans to be submitted before commencing work. Most garage walls that seperate the house will be a load bearing wall and this is a major structural alteration and needs a “competent person” to draw up the plans. The other point is that the occupation class of the garage and a room for human habitation is completely different and has to be applied for and approved “By Law”. Please check if the contractor is registered with the NHBRC here: nhbrc/verify-builder Again it is the law that any one doing any type of construction work must be registered with the NHBRC. If you use him and you are aware that he is not registered you might also be liable for a fine.

  187. While discussing renovations at our home, my wife mentioned that she wanted a patio area covered with a roof. The contractor reverted with a quote of sorts that didn’t include any drawings- only a verbal description that included mention of a steel frame, the roofing material and the ceiling material. Unbeknownst to me an initial sum of money was paid to the contractor. One day on a site visit I noticed the large, admittedly well-build steel structure extending from the house to the boundary wall. I insisted that all further work immediately on that structure be suspended as it was in violation of at least two regulations: the first that plans for all erected structures including steelframe roofs be submitted and approved, and secondly that approval is required before any house be extended to a boundary wall- even if we and our neighbours are seperated by road. We live in Sandton.

    Is my understanding correct? Who would have been responsible for submitting the plans? My wife or the contractor?

  188. Hennie, You need to take the written quotation into account. This should at least state the size and location of the patio roof. Open sided shelters that are no larger than 40 sq m are regarded as minor building work, and do not require plans (unless the local authority calls for them). The council would also decide whether it could be extended to the boundary or not. Unfortunately many people doing this kind of work tell their clients that plans are not required, when they are. Unless you have plans and then ask a contractor for a quote based on these, if that contractor is constructing structures that do need plans, they would need to negotiate beforehand who was responsible for the plans. Since it sounds as if the structure is his design, I would hold him responsible for submission of plans – if indeed they are required. I suggest you contact the local authority and ask them to send a building inspector to see what their take is on the situation.

  189. Withheld by request

    extented house,damp problems/
    floor not level/roof issues
    /etc… – need to know how this is possible when the builing inspector
    was involved?

    Please advise…….Thanks

  190. Can I add a 4m long x 2.5m wide block brick structure onto an existing single vibracrete garage? This new section will have a 1.8m sliding door and 1 window and will be used as a kitchen. The existing garage will be used as a bedroom. The floor will be concrete.

    A passage that is 2m long x 1.2m wide, will link this section to an existing covered patio. This passage will also have a window.

    Both the garage and the patio was built and approved about 10 years ago and is on the house plans.

  191. I forgot to add that there will be no foundation built for this addition. Is it then better to go the Timber/Nu-tec route for this structure?

  192. Venetia you will need new rider plans for the structure (drawn by a competent person as defined by law), and these will need to be approved by the local authority. If you are planning any form of structure you will need foundations.

  193. Hi,
    Your note looks like notes that you make to remind yourself what it is you are wanting to ask us.
    When you put your plans into council the forms that are submitted with those plans state who your “competent person/s” is/are that you appoint to oversee the build. They are the ones that are responsible for all your problems.
    The local inspector only inspects:
    • After completion of foundation trenches or excavations, prior to casting of foundations
    • At completion of drainage installation
    • After building (including finishes) completion
    Before any building may be occupied, it must be inspected and an occupation certificate issued.

    It is your appointed “competent person” who signs the document advising the council that all the building requirements were done satisfactorily. You need to approach the person you appointed to rectify the problems.

  194. We verbally agreed with the developer building our house that we would change the ensuite bathroom layout such that we remove te bath tub and rather have a bigger “wet area” type of shower. He has now built a shower with a raised floor and when I querie this to say that this is not a wet area shower as a wet area shower should be level with the bathroom floor with a glass screen, he says he can’t change it now and if he does it will be for our cost is this right?

  195. Gugu, This is why you should always put agreements in writing. However you do have a verbal contract and can hold him to it. Presuming you have not already paid him in full, withhold payment on the grounds that you want the job done as agreed. If he refuses, get someone else to do it. Just be warned that this might end up in the hands of lawyers.

  196. Harry Van Houten

    The new building regulations requires that at least 50% of the waterheating in new buildings should be done by systems that do not use resistive electrical elements. This refers to solar energy or heat pump usage but is not limited to these two solutions. This is LAW and therfore normal geysers can not be used on their own. My experience is that certain municipalities do not control the execusion of this LAW and still allow new buildings and developments to be erected with normal geysers.
    I am running a renewable energy business and would like that municipalities follow the new law. They should refuse to sign of a house which is not conform to this law. Where can I complain or report municipalities that do not follow the law?
    Builders should be aware that there are good and cheap alternative solutions other then expensive solar or heat pump solution. They create big savings and will comply with the law and are SABS aproved.

  197. Harry I am not entirely sure but I’d like to try and help you find out. I will mail you privately during the week.

  198. On what date did the new Act & regulations come into force & is it retrospective in application?

  199. The National Building Regulations & Standards Act was amended and came into effect in 2008. The deemed to satisfy regulations – SANS 10400 – were published progressively up until 2012! I wrote an article for a client’s website in 2010 which gives some commentary on the issue. HAve a look at this link. It is not retrospective as such, but local authorities do have the power to make certain demands.

  200. I understand the NBR 2008 amendment puts the responsibility for securing/protecting his property (ie building a boundary wall) squarely onto the owner. But where does it actually say this?

  201. Ian it doesn’t. There is nothing in the NBR that states an owner must secure their property. However the responsibility to do so – if this is what the owner choses to do – falls on the owner. If a tenant wants a wall or fence, and the owner is not prepared to construct or erect one or other, it would then be up to the tenant to get the owner’s permission plus whatever other permissions are required. If there is something dangerous on the property – that is perceived as a risk to the public, then the owner would be required to build some sort of fence or wall to make it inaccessible from the street.

  202. Thank You Penny

  203. me and my partner bought a plot and plan in a new development.we were told that two weeks after payments is made(we bought cash) the house will be build…that was end of june.we have now however been told that because we bought a semi-detached house our “neighbours “still need to qualify before they can start building!!!!is that at all possible?as we were not told this from day one!!

  204. Dolores this is not governed by Building Regulations. You may be protected by the Consumer Protection Act, it depends what you signed, and also what you did or didn’t get in writing. You should probably take your paperwork to an attorney who has a good knowledge of contracts.

  205. Hi Harry

    Please help with more info on the alternative for expensive solar and heat pumps.

  206. Good day,

    I own a duet, but would like to extend my patio. Is there any regulations pertaining to an extension of a patio? Is it seen as part of the actual house structure?

    Please advise regarding this situation.


  207. Hi Ineke,
    Firstly if it is only the floor area that you are wanting to extend ie. an open paved section only then as you are in a duet you will have to inform the neighbour/body corporate of your intention and get their approval. This is in terms of the Sectional Title Act that states that basically you own the inside of your home only, and that all outside areas are common areas and use is by consent of the other party/ies. Secondly if you are wanting to cover the extension and leave it open sided and it is less than 40 sq m (minor building work) then building plans are not required BUT you must inform the local authority in writing about your extension. If on the other hand you want to enclose the patio then you will need plans. Be aware that some local authorities will want plans for minor building work even though the National Regulations do not require them. The local authority has the last word.

  208. Hi there,

    We are busy marketing a home for sale. We have people interested. The owner has covered the deck area with wooden roof structure. Does he need plans for this? it is not enclosed…it is a wooden deck entertainment area with a wooden roof.pls help

  209. Hi, we have a tandem garage build onto the house with side walls and roof tiles. We make use of a gate as a garage door. Would we need plans to remove the gate and close up the garage entrance and build a wall? We would not be building or laying any foundation. We only want to close up the front and install a door on the side of the one wall where part of the wall have been built with other type of bricks.
    Thank You

  210. Hey there, I would lile to know if I need plans to put up a steel car port.Many thx

  211. Michelle it depends on the size. This article explains…

  212. First of all Cindy, you cannot build a wall without laying a foundation. Secondly, if you are closing up access to the garage it seems to me that you are altering the function of the space – unless of course you are on a corner and the door will be large enough for cars to drive in and out. It will ultimately be up to your local council to decide whether plans are required or not. In any case the law states that you need to inform the council of any building work, even if it is classified as minor building work (that doesn’t need plans).

  213. Rivke it depends on the size of the structure. If it is classified as minor building work he didn’t need plans. However it is the council’s prerogative to demand plans if they feel it is necessary (in spite of the legislation), so if he didn’t notify the council when he did the work there is a possibility there could be a problem. Probably the easiest would be to put a clause in the deed of sale to say that while the structure is “minor building work”, in the event of the local authority calling retrospectively for plans, these (and any fines payable) will be the responsibility of the seller.

  214. Hi there,

    Would like to know what the SA Regulation stipulate regarding Lightning Protection to a pool that will be used for swim training for small kids Pool is outdoors.


  215. Cor there is nothing in the Building Regulations, and having written a great deal about swimming pools, I have never come across any other regulation. Generally you should not be swimming in a storm – it’s dangerous.

  216. I own a property with a double garage. The problem is that the garage is wide to fit 2 average cars but not long enough to walk comfortably around the cars. I have an average size car but can just about walk around the back when the garage door is closed. I intend to sell the property eventually. The question is: Do I extend the garage to make the property more marketable? Or do I leave the “small double garage” as is and when selling make a point of notifying prospective buyers


  217. Hi enny what are referred to if own Planning asks me for the 60 by 40 calculations that has to be done by the Draughtsman.I know about the new boundary lines tat has been revised, but not too clear on what they are asking for, can you assists pls.


  218. Good day

    Is there any mention of innovation and how the NBR promotes innovation in the construction industry in any of the documents?

  219. Hi,
    I’d like to know if outside toilets are still mandatory to have both when building a new house as well as for an established house that already has an outside toilet. I would like to incorporate my existing outside toilet as part of an additional bathroom inside my house.

    Any information in this regard will be of value. I have tried bylaws and building regulations etc but do not seem to find anything.


  220. Derreck Morris

    GooD Afternoon, I need to find out as to what the legislation say about detection systems in Basements of Office Building

  221. What is the maximum building height one can have on the industrial building

  222. I have bought a unit in a complex under the sectional titles act.
    In the complex there are two buildings that the developer
    has not completed. What can we as owners do to force the developer to complete the buildings as it is not only a safety risk, looks ugly but it also lowers the value of our units should we wish to sell

  223. What are the requirements for farm worker housing?

  224. The National Building Regulations relate to ALL types of housing. Note that these regs give minimum specifications, so most homes are built way above the minimum requirements.

  225. Maria you will need to take action via the Body Corporate, and/or take action as a group, putting the developer to terms, putting emphasis on the fact that your units are being devalued. You would need a lawyer to do this.

  226. Paul you need to check the zoning restrictions. These vary between local authorities/municipalities.

  227. Detection systems for what Derreck?

  228. Leonard, This is covered in Part F of SANS 10400, Site operations.
    F11 Sanitary Facilities
    (1) No owner or person shall commence or continue the erection or demolition of any building unless approved sanitary facilities for all personnel employed on or in connection with such work have been provided or are available on the site or, with the permission of the local authority, at some other place: Provided that where such facilities have not been so provided the local authority may order the cessation of such work until the required facilities have been provided, and, should such order not be complied with, the local authority may install such facilities and recover the costs of such installation from the owner of the site.”
    So you should be covered.

  229. Yes Viwe. In fact the “new” National Building Regulations have been designed to encourage a more flexible approach to building that will facilitate innovation and the introduction of new technologies. The way this works is that when building materials or techniques fall out of the norm, you need an special approval and an agreement certificate:
    Agrément certificate that confirms fitness-for-purpose of a non-standardized product, material or component or the acceptability of the related non-standardized design and the conditions pertaining thereto (or both) issued by the Board of Agrément South Africa that is a body that operates under the delegation of authority of the Minister of Public Works.
    Part A of SANS 10400 – General Principles and Requirements – states: “Agrément certificates represent an entirely different approach. The original intent of the Agrément certificate was to present as complete an assessment as possible of any new building system, building component or building material, in addition to indicating whether it was considered suitable for use. The certificates also state which of the National Building Regulations, if any, the system or component may be deemed to satisfy.
    “It should be noted that although test reports may be adequate to supply the information that a local authority might need to assess an application, the Agrément certificate serves an additional, very important, purpose in that it provides more information of a type which might be useful to anyone buying or promoting a new building system or building component. In addition, the Agrément certification process requires that certificate-holders have an acceptable and functioning quality management system in place, thereby providing assurance of consistency of quality of the end product.
    “Nothing, of course, precludes a local authority from considering favourable test reports from other sources, such as universities or independent laboratories run by private enterprise but it should be stressed that such reports are not automatically deemed to satisfy the Regulations as are the reports from the SABS or CSIR.
    “The validity of each report would have to be checked before the test results could be used in the assessment of an application in terms of the Act.”

  230. That’s your decision L. You need to weigh up the cost of adding to the garage vs the increased price you are likely to get if you spend this money.

  231. Do I need a council permit to transform my garage into an entertainment area?

  232. Jacques Smith

    Do I need planning permission to build a house on a farm in South Africa?

  233. Subject:
    people keep on building

    Hi I would like to lknow if people is allowed to keep on building rooms for tenants to pay and stay on at the house where they keep on building on

  234. No Tanya, not unless they have approved plans from the local authority (council or municipality). I suggest you contact their planning department and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate.

  235. Yes Jacques you do. You need planning to build anything, whether it is in a town, city, village or on a farm.

  236. You will need rider plans that show any changes you are making to the structure plus the change in terms of function. These will need to be approved by your local authority.

  237. Jenny Ravenscroft

    It would depend on whether the Sectional Title register has been opened and may also depend on whether the Developer has reserved a Section 25 Right to Extend and the time period limited stipulated.

  238. Daniel Faria

    I Had submitted my plans for alterations they approved it and now i have been building
    1. why is it that i had to apply for a certicate of occupancy if i already live on the premisses
    2. i did a slite change on the plans now i have to resubmit the changes as as-builts and now they asking me to apply for a 2nd certifficate of occupancy and i havent even recieved the first and the drawings have to re circulate for a internal change

    please advise if this is correct with the ekhurleni council

  239. Hi, i am considering extending my double garage upto the boundary line making it a 4 car garage and to make it a double storey. Can the upstairs also be built upto the boudary ?

  240. Is it allowed to build an Aircraft maintenance hangar close to a terminal building in an Airport, and if possible, can someone help with the allowed distance between the two buildings…

  241. Is there a time limit on the completion of a dwelling ?

  242. Dear Penny

    I would like to ask if i would require permission to replace a window with a door?
    The window looks out onto the driveway and i would like to make the entrance to the house there.
    I would also like to know if/should i make any internal alterations ie – put in an open doorway between 2 rooms (internal) would i need permission/plans?

    Thank you

  243. Hi there

    I would like to know if developers are allowed to build double story homes (4 places in one building – 2 above and 2 below) next to a simplex. the problem is that they have balconies very close to the boundary wall between us and people that will be living there in the future will look straight into our kitchen and our daughters bedroom. We literally have the blinds in both rooms constantly closed and we have no privacy (the builders look in at the moment). We are so upset because we feel that our lifestyle is being altered so as this developer can make loads of cash:(

  244. lorraine van de Berg

    can you please tell at the city of tshwane in pretoria what is the regulations to put carports on where the cars can be park under.

    many thanks

  245. Where would I find out what the regulations are regarding how close someone can build to a boundary line?

  246. Lorraine, In terms of the National Building Regulations, carports are generally regarded as minor building work. You might also want to download the Tshwane Planning Scheme that will give you more information about their requirements.

  247. Jonathan have a look at this link for some general guidelines. Generally this is governed by town planning or zoning schemes. We have three available for download – so if you live either in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Tshwane you’re in luck. Go to the first tab on this site “Building Regulations Introduction” and see the drop-down menu.

  248. Shane, generally if the width of the door is the same or smaller than the window you won’t need permission – because you’ll be able to use the existing lintel.
    As long as internal alterations do not affect load-bearing walls, you won’t need permission. But be careful about this.

  249. Hi Penny

    Thank you very much, i greatly appreciate your response. 🙂

  250. Yes there is, but you can apply for an extension.

  251. Good day.

    I would like to know when starting your own construction business in South Africa do you need to have any special qualifications by law if you are just overseeing the work?



  252. Karoline you can set up a construction business without qualifications, but you can’t officially oversee the work in terms of what the local authority requires and what is required according the the NBR. In other words you can watch (and in this way oversee) work, but a qualified person will need to monitor if the work is being done correctly.

  253. Daniel I assume that the “second” certificate of occupancy would only cover the new section. It sounds as if there is some confusion in the council office though. Why not go in to their offices and ask them to explain what is going on?

  254. Alzaar, whatever you want to do is going to require plans that will have to be drawn by a competent person and approved by the local authority. They may not allow you to build to the boundary at all.

  255. Subject:

    what do i do if 5 months old (new)start cracking -building cotractor
    or bank and can anything be done to fix the house

  256. Hi Matwetwe, You mention a bank so I am assuming that you have a bond and that the bank would have insisted that your builder had to be registered with the NHBRC. The NHBRC has a process that you must follow when you have building defects that have happened with one of the builders registered with them. You can call them toll free on 0800200824 or go to the website here:

  257. Are there new rules in Cape Town for the replacement of existing windows in terms of the minimum height from floor level to the sill? If the existing sill is say 700mm high does one have to install a fanlight to bring it up to say 850mm or 900mm?

  258. Hi Simiso, I am sorry but your question falls outside the National Building Regulations. Your query relates to Fire Regulations and to Airport Security, I suggest you contact them for further assistance.

  259. Riaan Du Plessis

    What does the latest regulations require in the JHB area say with regards to the water supply to a factory? Mu knowladge are that there must be two separate supplies when it comes to the fire water line and the general domestic water supply line. It seems that miost sites are now supplied with one line. Is this in line with the regulations? Thank you

  260. I have a store room/workshop +- 15/m2 made from all weather masonite, which now needs to be replaced. Can I replace & enlarge to 30/m2 using “pre cast walling” & IBR roofing. or do I have to submit to the council? Do I need planning permission as it is not a perminint structure



  261. Pernilla Larsson

    Download – Problem


    I have a problem to download your building regulations. I have registered (username perniiila). How can I do?

    Kind regards

  262. Hi Pernilla, I have reset your password – I’m sure this will help.

  263. Tish whatever they build they need to have approved plans. You can also object if you believe that your privacy will be compromised. This article will give you some insight into what you might be able to do.

  264. Jeremy I don’t understand the question. Perhaps you should ask your draughtman for clarity.

  265. Michael any storeroom or workshop will require plans approved by council. Here’s an article about temporary (i.e. non-permanent) structures that may be helpful to you. The fact that it is not permanent is not going to help you at all.

  266. Hi,

    Does one need to submit plans when adding a wooden patio to you house?
    thanks pieter

  267. If you mean a deck Pieter, it depends largely on the size and it’s elevation off the ground. The larger the deck, and the higher it is, the more likely you are to need plans. There are some structures that are regarded as minor building work; but as you will see from the article I have linked to, even then you do need to notify the local authority of you intention to build.

  268. Thanks Penny

  269. Happy New Year!

    My company registered NHBRC and built over 20 residential so far.
    What qualification do I need by the law to build commercial building like hotel, offices, warehouse etc.
    When I start building, where do I report( Like NHBRC enroll) and which department may control building process?

    Many thx

  270. Tony I am not aware of any organization like the NHBRC that controls commercial buildings. You need to comply with the National Building Regulations and make sure that the correctly qualified people – including various engineers – are involved with the project. You will deal with the local authority.

  271. Riaan best you contact the fire authorities.

  272. If i want to convert a garage which is attached to my house, Do i need plans passed at the municipality? I would be removing a garage door and replacing it with a window, and basically extending my lounge area. I was thinking of making a playroom-cum-den for the kids, so there would be glass door(s) between the two areas. There is no structural changes to the roof. Please could you advise. Thanks

  273. Yes Sandra you will need plans because you are changing the “function” of the room.Contact your local authority for more information in terms of what they need you to submit.

  274. The only “new rules” I am aware of for Cape Town is their zoning scheme. The requirements for building are the same for other parts of the country – viz The National Building Regulations – and generally they are not retrospective. So if you are replacing an existing window, as long as the glazing is the correct standard In terms of Part N Glazing of SANS 10400 (NBR) – as amended 2012 – that’s all you need to worry about. i.e. If safety glass is required because of the position, height and area of the glass, that’s what you fit.
    Here’s a quote from the regs as amended:
    “Safety glazing materials that comply with SANS 1263-1 shall be used where (see figures 2 to 4)
    a) doors and sidelights form part of any entrance up to 2 100 mm from finished floor level; Amdt 1
    b) a window has a sill height of less than 500 mm from the floor or external ground level; Amdt 1
    c) a window has a sill height of less than 800 mm from the floor or external ground level without any permanent barrier that prevents persons from coming into contact with the glass panel, and is so placed that persons are likely, on normal traffic routes, to move directly towards such window;
    Amdt 1”
    There is also quite a useful drawing HERE.

  275. Hi Penny,

    Our house has had structural changes that may or may not require updated plans – some of these changes were effected before we acquired the house in 2004. How could these changes affect a potential sale of the property? What would we be required to do to have no accountability after a sale?

    Thank you,


  276. Koos van Rooyen

    Good day!

    What does the building regulation say about a mast for lightning protection for a thatched roof house. Is this a must?


  277. Annelie Gildenhuys

    I have Gazetted Rezoning on Erf to build four units. Currently commenced with alteration to the existing House and cottage without altering the footprint. Am I required to submit a site plan for this as again when the tow other unnits are built, each time with the approval of all the neighbours?

  278. Hi penny

    We want to build a modular house and a brick and mortar house on a vacant property. If we make both look the same for example using cladding, is this possible?
    Many thanks

  279. Hi Penny,

    I’m not sure if you saw a question I posted last week. It related to building alterations that occurred prior to our acquiring a property in 2004 that we now wish to sell. I’ve seen the plans the council has and there are definitely changes that require plans but are not reflected, leading me to believe that plans may never have been submitted. Now that we wish to sell, we will become responsible for declaring whether the plans are accurate or not. Where do I stand?


  280. Hi Rick, This is a problem that many people have when they want to sell their house. Unfortunately there is no recourse, the plans have to be redrawn updated and submitted to council. The alternative is to put into the deed of sale that the purchaser accepts and undertakes to have the plans drawn up at their expense and they take full responsibility for submissions and approvals.

  281. When I submitted plans for my carport I needed all my neighbours approval
    however behind my home they are busy building a security village. They built two double garages behind my house and attached to my bound wall.blocking out the sun and leaving the wall unpainted and messed up. How can I get this corrected.

  282. Hi Rick, When a house is sold and a bond is applied for by the prospective buyer, the financial institution will ask for a clearance certificate from the local authority. When the inspector does his inspection and finds that alterations have been done and the house as it stands differs from the plans lodged with the council, then they will need this to be rectified before the certificate is issued. The bond will not be granted until this is done. The downside to this is that you could lose a sale, and the new plans could take quite a while to be drawn, submitted and approved.

  283. H Koos, read our article here: thatch-roofs-and-lightning I don’t think insurance will pay out if there is no mast and a fire starts from a lightning strike.

  284. Charmaine Raaths

    Info please
    Good day,
    I am planning to build on to my house. Please canyouemail me the steps to be followed to get started?
    Much appreciated

    Charmaine Raaths

  285. Piet Ackerman

    Boundary distance

    What are the distance from the boudary that you may erect your building walls? May you build from boudary to boudary?


  286. Hi
    If I am located in a rural area, being a farm in Theewaterskloof Municipality. Where do I find out the regs regarding building workers housing and farm sheds?

    Any advice would be appreciated


  287. Anthony, the building regulations for workers houses and farm sheds is no different to any other building regs. It is just the classification of the building that differs – this is found in Part A of SANS 10400. Use of the shed will be the determining factor, but I guess it would be F3 – “Wholesaler’s store – where only a few people would be present in the shed at anyone time. Housing is housing … either a dormitory H2, domestic residence H3, or dwelling house H4. H3 and H4 have mostly the same requirements.

  288. Piet no you may not building from boundary to boundary. Here is a link to a page on this website that will give you more information, and a page from our sister website, Owner Building. Scroll through the questions and answers on these pages because you will find a whole lot more info that we have given to people with similar questions to yours.

  289. Hi Amber, that certainly sounds possible.

  290. Hi Annelie, The “footprint” is not the issue it is the re-structuring of the entire building and yes you will need plans. A note of warning, if the original building on those foundations was a single story and you are now building a double story then your foundations will be rejected by council and you will have to do new ones or at least underpin the old ones. This must be inspected by council before you start to build. Yes you will have to submit the full set of plans, including a site plan, with each unit.

  291. Hi Alan, you need to get hold of the building inspector in your area and put it in writing that he comes to inspect the buildings immediately. Have a look at this page on our site: paja-law-protect-rights There are two forms that you can download and submit to the council. The PAJA is there to protect people in your situation. The NHBRC also has a fraud line that you can phone if you suspect anything. NHBRC Fraud Hotline 0800 203 698

  292. Hi, please can you assist me, I would like to know whether my outbuilding can be double storey when the main building is single storey.

    Thanking you kindly.

  293. Gail you need plans for your outbuilding – but there’s no reason I am aware of that should stop you building a double storey, unless there is something in your Council’s bylaws. Their planning department will be able to help.

  294. Step 1: Get a competent person to draw plans that conform with the Building Regulations and your local by-laws.

  295. If your Neigbour builds a garage and requires your permission to sign it off for the town planners. Is it legal to convert part of the garage (which is within 5m from your bedroom window) to a room for rental. What does the law say, and what are our rights.
    Does a home owner have the right to build 5 outbuildings for rental purpose in a suburban area?

  296. Chantal if your neighbour requires your signature, whatever you signed off must be followed through 100%. If there was not mention – or allowance – for a rental, then what he is doing is illegal. It doesn’t matter how far or close to your window it is!
    In terms of building outbuildings for rental, this depends a) on whether approved plans have been submitted and approved – and followed, and b) whether they have permission to rent the buildings out. You will need to contact the local authority for this information. It is very unlikely that they do have permission, but it is possible.

  297. Good day, i recently inherited a piece of land which is considered as Tribal land in the Madibeng Municipality. they cannot provide a SG diagram for the land as i would like to develop rental units on the land. i am absolutely clueless on requirements i would need to make my buildings legitimate and according to code….please advice as i was previously ill-advised.

  298. Good morning,
    I live in Oudtshoorn, I just wanted to know if it is posible that i am alowed to build 2 flats on my property,
    if not can i build a big one and make it like a duplex place, I want to do this not for income,but fo family who
    cant realy afford to buy or rent,my parents and my wifes parents….


  299. Subject:
    BUILDING Hours

    Please could you advise the laws regarding building in a residential area and the times that one is allowed to do so during the week and on weekends.
    Thank you.

  300. Hi Paul, The hours are specified in the Building Regulations here: Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise Some Municipal by-laws do vary these times so you will have to check with your local authority.

  301. Simon, to be honest I have no idea what is allowed and what isn’t allowed on tribal land – particularly in terms of development. It seems our president has opened a can of worms here! If there isn’t an existing SG diagram, you’ll have to get a surveyor in to draw a new one. In terms of legitimacy, if you comply with the National Building Regulations, you will be fine.

  302. Hi there,

    We are currently renting a property and from the looks, and inspections we had done, the place is litterly falling apart.
    Were can I lodge a complaint against the owner as we now just got a report back from an inspector that the foundation and pool area is severly damaged and sinking and cracking away.

    We are currenlty awaiting for our tribunal court date, but i would like to take this further.

    Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  303. Michelle if it is a new building contact the NHBRC. It’s tough one though – If the place is untenable then you have a right to terminate your lease agreement. I think there is also a rentals board. But that falls outside my area of expertise.

  304. Hi, I wonder if you could help please. I have tried with no success to find out what falls under minor building works. Does a perimeter wall/palisade fence and internal walls fall under this, and up to what height can one go. Any help would be appreciated, many thanks

  305. Subject:
    building regulations

    What is the latest version of this act?

  306. Subject:
    Building Plans Agricultural holdings

    HI There. I would like to know what the current law is with regards to building dwellings on Agricultural zoned property. We bought a 6 hectare plot in 2002 that had buildings on but no plans. We have just
    sold it and the new owners want to do alterations and asked us for plans. The buildings were already built in 2002 when we purchased the property. What do we do now? It is in Gauteng area.

  307. Hanlie Michau

    Hi, where can I find the regulations for a daycare. The specifications and designs.

  308. Can a contractor build still water ponds in the middle of a community .Id like to know if it is legal because i think it poses a health and danger risk to the community.Should it be fenced in and what about mosquitoes and water born diseases plz help kind regards Lorna

  309. Question must I obtain permission to break an exterior wall of a building to install an emergency exit door, apparently a building older than sixty years are classified as a national heritage building is it true

  310. Hi there, can you please help me with what the law say when building a new house about the direction a house should face?

  311. Yes that is true and so you will need special permission. But in any case an exterior wall will be load-bearing and so you will need plans. This will have to be drawn up by a competent person and submitted to your local council.

  312. Hi
    I live in a duplex in a complex in Durban. My neighbour has indicated that he wants to put a swimming pool in the garden of his unit. He also wishes to build a wooden deck extending out from his upstairs windows.
    What rules must he comply with and does he need my approval before he can commence work, as he has stated that he will make the changes to his property regardless of what our views are.

  313. Peter he needs plans to be approved for a swimming pool. And he certainly cannot build a deck above ground without plans either. Contact your local authority. Further if it is a complex he will need approval from the body corporate… he’s not going to go anywhere fast. He may not need your approval … but he might

  314. Leon, SANS 10400-XA Environmental sustainability (X) and Energy Usage in buildings (XA) discusses orientation, which is the direction that “a building envelope” element should face. It states that for both dwelling houses and domestic residences “the orientation and shading are in accordance with the requirements of SANS 204, external walls are in accordance with the requirements of 4.4.3, fenestration is in accordance with the requirements of 4.4.4, roof assembly construction is in accordance with the requirements of 4.4.5, if in-slab heating is installed, it is in accordance with the requirements of 4.4.2, and services that use energy or control the use of energy, including heating, air conditioning and mechanical ventilation in accordance with SANS 204, and hot water systems in accordance with the requirements of 4.1 (services exclude cooking facilities and portable appliances); or
    “a competent person certifies that such building (excluding garage and storage areas) has a theoretical annual energy consumption and demand less than or equal to a reference building that complies with the requirements of 4.2.1(b).” (the para above)
    It also states:
    “4.4.1 Orientation
    “ The building should be compact in plan, with the rooms that are used most and the major areas of glazing placed on the northern side of the building to allow solar heat to penetrate the glazing during the winter months.”
    SANS 204 is Energy efficiency in buildings and Part 1 covers General Requirements. It doesn’t cover orientation

  315. andre hattingh

    Hi, in February this year a portion of the gable in our main bedroom fell through the ceiling and caused some damage. It seems that the builders who did alterations about 7 and probably 13 years ago, did not follow proper building practice [in my opinion as a home owner and not an expert] and our insurance claim has now been refused for “poor design or workmanship” ? Seems very unfair for me to now sit with the cost of this if I had no part in it and also it has been some years since the work was done ? Your opinion will be appreciated !

    many thanks


  316. Andre unfortunately insurance companies often use poor building practice as an excuse not to pay out. What I believe should happen is that they should inspect a house and be transparent right from the start in terms of what might not be covered due to shoddy workmanship. People take out policies – pay regularly – and then when there is a problem they are told that they are not covered. Unfortunately once you have bought a house, any problems, including those that might arise later (like this one) become yours. It’s irrelevant whether you were part of the cause or not. Before you bought the house you could have got an independent professional to inspect the house to see if there were problem areas. In fact if you had done this, and had some kind of certification (if only in the form of a letter say from an engineer) then the insurance company would have found it difficult to avoid paying you out. But it’s always easier to think of these things in hindsight.

  317. If you mean a daycare building, it will be in the National Building Regulations – generally and specifically anything that relates to the occupancy classification, A3 (for schools). There is no regulation as such for “daycare” (in terms of buildings) and no designs. Municipal bylaws specify things like hygiene, how many carers are required etc.

  318. Iorna I think that these would need to be part of the original development plan that would have to be approved by council. If you believe it is a danger and/or health risk, approach your local authority and ask them to investigate. A health inspector would need to assess whether water-borne diseases and mosquitoes are really an issue. I can’t comment because I haven’t seen the site, but the likelihood of water-borne diseases seems to me to be a bit of an over-reaction. And mozzies will breed in any type of stagnant water.

  319. Detmar are you sure there are no plans, or were you just never supplied with plans? You would need to check this with the local authority. If there are no plans then somebody is going to have to have plans drawn up. It is clearly too late for you to hold the previous owner responsible for this. If you were aware that there were no plans (or rather that the buildings were built without plans) and did not divulge this information I think you could be held liable to provide plans. Otherwise you will just have to come to an arrangement with the purchaser.

  320. Shaun, The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act was last amended in May 2008, and it came into operation on October 1 that same year. It was first published in 1977. The “deemed to satisfy” SANS which were previously published together in 1990, were updated from 2008 until about 2012 – i.e. progressively. Each new Part was published separately. These go hand-in-hand with the NBR, and are available from the SABS. So the irony is that while the Act was updated in 2008, it is only relatively recently that the official interpretation of much of the Act has been published.

  321. Jen if you looked under the page Minor Building Work on this website it would tell you all you need to know! NOT internal walls of any type! Any freestanding walls and fences – up to 1.8 m

  322. Lyall you will need to contact the local authority and ask what the bylaws say. It is a zoning issue rather than one that falls under the National Building Regulations. Most local authorities do allow a second dwelling, but there will be limitations in terms of size.

  323. Vanessa White

    Hi, could anyone please give me advice on cob building regulations in South Africa?

  324. The regs are the same – i.e. you need to follow the National Building Regulations – but you also need an agrement certificate as per Part A of SANS 10400 – General Principles ….

  325. Cathy Martin

    I rent a “timber-frame” house. It is a structure on supports, the frame is made of timber and is covered with cladding. It’s 20 years old, and I have the plans and photo’s.
    The owner wants to sell it. I would like to know if anyone can help me with how I get it valued. Whilst the Timber-frame association has been extremely helpful, they are unable to give an answer until it is inspected for R3000.
    Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Thank you,


  326. Subject:
    NBR pre 1977

    What laws and regulations pre-date the introduction of NBR?

  327. hi can anyone help me..
    according to the National Housing Protection Act what are the minimum requirements (regarding size/area) for one to register a building with the NHBRC?

  328. Sinotando please call the NHBRC and discuss this with them. My understanding is that ANY house that is being built needs to be registered irrespective of size – unless you are owner building, in which case you need to get an exemption.

  329. That sounds like a bit of a rip-off on their part! Why don’t you take the plans and pix to manufacturers and/or builders and get quotations for a new house like this. Obviously it will cost a lot more, but it will give you an idea of replacement value.

  330. Declan, Prior to 1977 building was governed by local authority bylaws, which meant that there was no standardised set of building laws. This also meant that in the rural areas one could virtually get away with anything – which many people still think is the case.

  331. Mariette Kirsten

    Hello, we are the 3 rd generation living on a inherited farm.
    Although there are plans of the first dwelling, it does not at all resemble
    the houseplans of the house that we inherited.

    I do want to make my own changes now, but are afraid
    that I would be held accountable for all the building changes that
    was done in the late 50’s by deceased family.

  332. Mariette, the National Building Regulations only became law in 1977. Prior to that local authorities’ had their own rules and regulations, and in rural areas people often didn’t even bother with plans. Probably your best approach would be to get someone to draw up “as built” plans as the house is now, and then incorporate the new plans (differentiating from as built – i.e. existing structure). Approach the local authority and ask for advice.

  333. Hi there, I’m planning on building a patio onto my house. Basic brick or paver with metal poles on the corners to support a wooden lattice over which a creeper of some sort will grow. Do I need to get permission or lodge any applications with the relevant authority before doing so? Many thanks.

  334. To clarify : I have seen your post regarding minor building additions, but patios aren’t mentioned.

  335. Brendan patios are not structures. No plans or permission required to lay a patio alongside your house or in your garden.

  336. The pergola you are planning is considered to be minor building work if it is under the specified size. However you do need to notify the local authority that you plan to erect one. You do not need permission to pave the ground.

  337. Many thanks, Penny, I appreciate your time.

  338. Penny, I’ve seen a few instructional vids on YouTube regarding patios etc, and they talk of things like, the number of mm drop per metre for drain off and the measurement of how high the paving must be in relation to the entry to your house etc. Would these rules come from the regulations, or the SABS standards documents?

  339. First of all Brendan, it is highly unlikely that any of these videos are locally made, and so the regulations they follow (if any) might be different. They also do things differently in the UK vs USA vs Oz vs SA. If you can get hold of one of my old books – either Build Your Own Paths, Steps and Patios or Step-by-Step Decks & Patios, both published by Struik, you will see how we construct patios locally. But you will only find these particular books in secondhand book shops or on the internet.
    Before I answer your questions, to clarify, the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act is the legislation; and the SABS docs – specifically SANS (SA National Standard) 10400 in its various parts – are considered to be the “deemed-to-satisfy” rules that help us interpret how to comply with the regulations. And there are no SANS that govern paving. However, in terms of the height of the paving: This should be in line with the NBR requirement that the finished ground level should be 150 mm from the top of the floor slab (or other finished floor level) – or at least 150 mm below the damp-proof course in the wall. So if you are laying paving you will excavate to accommodate the bricks, slabs or whatever paving you are using. As far as run-off is concerned, this should always be away from the house, and it only needs to slope minimally – no more than 1:40 (it could be as little as 1:100) depending on general climate.

  340. I shall indeed look for your books, my thanks again.

  341. Pieter Botha

    Hi Penny.
    We live in a residential complex, with our unit backing onto another directly. We noticed a higher than normal noise level ( voice ) from the adjoining unit. We approached the neighbours, and they confirmed. After a joined inspection, we discovered that no firewall exist between the two units (DANGEROUS). While in the roof, we noticed roof trusses held together with wire. We complained to the owner and we got a lovely new firewall, constructed with old, throw away ceiling board. This is just not right. Please tell me who to contact before somebody dies. ( By the way: We are moving out ), but i still have to report this.

  342. Pieter you can report it to your local authority. Ask to speak to the senior building inspector or another senior person in the planning department.

  343. Subject:
    need info

    Good day
    I have 1200sqm land and i want to build a 3 floor block of flats. 4 flats on each floor of about 60sqm. What is the first step i should take. what kind of approval should i apply for?


  344. Zee the first thing you should do is to contact the local authority and see what the zoning regulations are for the area where the land is. Once you know this, you will need a competent person to draw plans for you.

  345. Hi there,

    We have decided to fill our pool which has been done by loosening the bottom filling with sand and compacting at intervals. We are now wanting to install a log cabin over the newly filled pool that will serve as an entertainment area only. Solar lights will be used and there is no digging, simply wooden structure going up probably at 1.8 or 2.1m, can you please advise if Council approval is required.

  346. All structures require plans Jolene, unless it is minor building work – and even then the local authority might calls for plans. The best is to contact them and ask if you can go ahead and build without plans.

  347. Hi there,

    Can you advise what specific by-laws for the greater Johannesburg, area or regulations in the NBR apply to any structures erected against boundary walls?

  348. Leon you should contact the City of Johannesburg to find out what the bylaws are in relation to the specific zoning of the property. This is not something that is specified in the NBR.

  349. Good day

    Are there any limitations on how many bedrooms a house may have?

    Based on the above, are there regulations as to how many persons may occupy one stand?

    Thank you

  350. Please let me know whether one needs approved plans from the Council in order to cover a verandah, stretching from the house, across to two existing concrete columns. The roof cover is to be pollycarb sheets. There will be no walls built as it is not an enclosed area, only a roof cover.

    Tank You

  351. Part A of SANS 10400 details the different occupancy or building classifications. The two you need to look at are H3 and H4 (I have given you the link). Part A also has a table that specifies design population. For some buildings this is given per square metre for each person. For H3 (domestic residence) and H4 (dwelling house) – you need to read the definitions of both of these in the link above – the specification is no more than two persons per bedroom. There is no specification in Part A in terms of the size of each bedroom. Dimensions are specified in Part C of SANS 10400. This specifies that the minimum size (plan area) of any habitable room must be at least six square metres in size, with no linear dimension that is leads than 2 m.
    The other factor is that local authority bylaws specify how much space on a plot a house can cover – and the local authority obviously needs to approve plans before a house is built, and before any additions are made.
    Lastly, the building must be fit for purpose – so if it is built as a dwelling house, that is what it must be used for. It cannot be used for dormitories or as a guest house.

  352. I don’t think you need plans Jenny, but ultimately it will be up to the local authority to decide.

  353. Hi, can you please tell me what is the minimum size fire door, between the house and garage.

  354. It would be the standard door size Cobus – it is the materials that are important not the size.

  355. Can your neighbour start building a double storey house (building up on current house) without consulting all their neighbours? Construction is already on the way and to date they have not even expressed one word of their intended plans.

  356. Yes Anita they can – but only if they have approved plans from the municipality and do not require any type of waiver from bylaws.

  357. My neighbour built on the common wall between our properties, he’s made a huge mess because he did not plaster properly, or paint at all, on my side. On his side it looks very nice. I want to know if it is legal, or who can I approach to have it demolished. Thank you.

  358. My neighbour built onto the common wall shared by our two properties, he’s refused to touch up and paint and plaster on my side, on his side it looks very nice. I want to know if the structure is legal or not, if not, who do I approach to have it demolished. Thanks.

  359. Vanessa you may only build freestanding walls up to 1.8 m without plans. So if it is any higher, contact the municipality to check whether they have plans. Also check that the wall is in fact between the two properties, and who the legal owner of the wall is. The municipality should be able to help with this as well. A common wall may be owned by both parties in which case they would have required your permission to build onto the wall.

  360. I have already answered this question – but here you talk about “a huge mess” – in addition to what I have already said, if there is rubble, excess mortar on the ground etc. on your side of the wall, he is obliged to tidy this up and remove anything left behind from the building project.

  361. PLease can someone tell me if it is illegal to rent out condemed buildings for residential use?

  362. i have a school behind me and my home is semi detached and the other side is the road ,now on the road side must i leave 3 metre space or can i build on the boundary and not include any windows cos bar in mind on the boundary was meant to be the retaining wall so i was thinking ill build my outbuilding incorparated with the wall and not include windows .can this be done.

  363. Only if you have approved plans. These will need to be drawn to comply with the local authority zoning requirements which will state how close to the boundary you can build. Also bear in mind that ALL retaining walls require plans in terms of the National Building Regulations.

  364. Can u tell me how many parking spaces are needed for gift shops in relation to per mt qr of floor space thanks mike

  365. Willie Du preez

    What is the minimum requirement for foundation brickwork- minimum coarses

  366. Good day I want to find out I am renting a property and the garage has been separated in two with soft board timber to create a flat and the occupants if they switch a kettle and the two plate stove on the power trips is this legal to use timber. as far as I know the Waal should be brick and up to the tiles on the roof and the flat should have its own power supply and not run in conjunction with the plugs for the garage

    thanks Deon

  367. Hi Deon, It sounds like the power tripping is the least of your problems. Firstly the garage was built as a garage for cars and not for people so no one is allowed to live in it unless plans have been submitted and the usage code is changed and approved by the council. The electrics, the walls and ventilation and sanitation will all have to be on the plans before council will approve the conversion. What you have there sounds totally illegal and needs to be reported to your local council building inspectors.

  368. HI
    I have my plans submitted and passed. But i notice that the bathroom is too small.I want to change the size of my bathroom and the layout of the shower/wc and basin.Do I have to resubmit? because it is only minor internal changes and not external walls?

  369. A condemned building is normally condemned because it is not safe for people to go into and definitely not to live in.

  370. Good Day Penny,

    When submitting plans to municipality who qualifies as a “competent person” i.e: what qualifications etc does one need to be able to submit plans.

  371. You can read the explanation of a competent person in this article: a-competent-person

  372. Good Day Penny,

    Does a neighbour whos husband died have to give a copy of her husbands death certificate if we need her consent to build on an existing home?


  373. It all depends on who the legal owner of the property is. If the husband left the house to the wife in his will and the house was registered into her name then no you do not need a death certificate, you only need her OK. If the husband died recently and the house is in the estate and is still being finalised by the administrator of the estate then you can get the OK from them and a death certificate as well.

  374. Here is a small drawing from the regulations showing the measurements:
    Foundation measurements

  375. You should be fine with just the internal changes that you want to make without putting in new plans.

  376. Guys, im having problems. The person who did my house plan passed aways last year, this is before my plan was approved by the municipality. However we were under the impression that our plan has been approved since well the guy who did the plan gave us a go ahead to build. We continued with the construction and im now buzy with the roof. It just appeared that my plan was not approved. Kindly assist me. What channels should i take now

  377. Tina Hattingh

    What is seen as a second dwelling

  378. I have a pre-fabricated concrete boundary wall. On my neighbor’s side, the soil level is much higher than on my side(my side is natural ground level). My neighbor is now complaining about my electric fence being unsafe because on his side the fence is lower than 1.5m. I believe that my neighbor(or who ever owned the property before him, raised the ground level for a garden, and is thus using it as a retaining wall. To my knowledge thuis is illegal. Any comments?

    Thank you

  379. Are you allowed to build 3 story house in residential area in Johannesburg.

  380. Hi how do you find out if the builder is registered and legal as a builder on its own .
    2 guys is working for him.

  381. You can check with the MBA (Master Builders Association) they have branches in all the provinces, and with the NHBRC:

  382. If the bye-laws of the area/suburb you are in allows it then yes. Check the zoning laws with your local council.

  383. Contracted a builder and he has made a mess and left my house no when l call him he makes excuses to come rain is coming in it is rubble all through out the house Mosiwa construction for notate Mokwena please advise

  384. I live in a complex and my one boundary is shared with another complex. I have recently noticed that there are new buildings being erected in front of my house in the other complex. Should I have been notified of this and do I need to give permission to build? Thanks.

  385. Hi can builder start digging trenches without approved plans.

  386. He can dig trenches but he needs plans to build – and the trenches need to be checked against the plans before the concrete is placed in the trenches.

  387. A second dwelling!

  388. You need to find a competent person who can get the plans approved for you – and there may be penalties that you will be required to pay. If you talk nicely to the local authority you might get lucky.

  389. Neil Samdass

    Who is responsible for the building of a retaining wall between to properties?

  390. i wold like to build a flat apartment (double storey)for renting what are the legal procedures

  391. Hi

    I have my own property( farm) and want to build small rooms for my workers
    what are the requirements

  392. Hi. I live in a residential area. Our neighbors are building next door – adding on to the current residence. The builders start at 7.30 am (sometimes earlier) and finish at 7pm (but sometimes continuing on to 11pm). Are there working hours that they have to adhere to? It is often loud construction with power tools and the noise is driving us crazy. Thanks

  393. Hi Lisa, the times etc according to the Regulations are in our article here: This is Part F of SANS 10400 you can point this out to them and if no response then contact the building inspector in your area and ask that they enforce the law.

  394. Hi Dinesh, Mostly farms are allowed to have 5 dwellings (1 main & 4 workers houses). Plans have to be submitted and approved before building starts farms are no exception to this law. Contact your nearest municipal offices and get confirmation on this from the building inspector.

  395. Good Day,
    We are tenants in a 10 storey building. Floors 1 to 9 are office areas and each floor is an 1100 square meters.
    What is the maximum amount of people allowed per floor? Do I apply the 15sm per person regulation as explained under occupancy and design table?
    Each floor has 5 evacuation doors/exits
    Please will you advise as I’m busy with capacity planning and do require the correct numbers.
    Thank you in advance.

  396. I assume so Deon, although the building would have an occupancy classification as per the plans. It would be best to contact the local authority to check.

  397. To build anything you need plans that are approved by the local authority. Once you have something built you can let it out.

  398. It depends where you live and what the zoning requirements are + what the local authority bylaws say. There may also be regulations that apply to the complex. Unfortunately nothing is cast in stone … and this allows people to get away with all sort of irregularities.

  399. If you haven’t paid in full with-hold payment.

  400. If they raised the level of the ground and thus made this a retaining wall it is indeed illegal.

  401. Nope Mike. This has nothing to do with the building regulations. Contact your local authority – it should be in their bylaws.

  402. Usually the owner of the house where the soil needs to be retained. And you DO need plans for a retaining wall.

  403. Hi. We work in a building with around 300 employees. Is there a specification on how many toilets the building owner should be providing?


  404. We have lived in our home for 20 years. We want to extend our verandah and when we got hold of our plans noticed that our closed in verandah at the back is not on our existing, old plans. What do we do now!

  405. You will need to have “as built” plans drawn up and submit these.

  406. Yes – it is contained in Part A of SANS 10400. It depends on the classification of the building.

  407. I would like to build another 2 bed flat on my property it’s zoned multi residential.

    My question is if I get plans drawn up and approved can I build it. I have knowledge in building but am not a qualified builder.

  408. Hi Simon, If it is multi-residential and you are within the square meter coverage of the erf that is allowed then this will be a NEW dwelling on your property and the law states that you will have to register the house with the NHBRC. You can then apply to be an “Owner builder” and do a short competency test, the caveat with this is that you cannot sell the house for the next five years. Read more here:

  409. I want to extend and add on an existing house a plan is drawn do i need an engineer before the house can be approved?

  410. Hi,
    I’ve purchased a piece of land in Blue Valley Golf Estate and the esthetics committees are restricting me in terms of my first floor size.

    Please confirm if council have specific requirements as to how big the first floor should be in comparison to the ground floor.

    I would also like to know if an esthetics committee can dictate to the owner where the pool and patio must be located

  411. Hi we just knocked out a few walls inside the house that was not bearing walls ( supporting the roof ), to make an open plan room. do we need plans for that

  412. Hi Archie, Please read up on this here: Plans & minor building work

  413. Hi, just a simple question.
    Is there a way of building small property to rent on the same land as your house..
    As in no plans.
    Something like a minimalist home on stilts with your car parked under it or using shipping containers…if you could refer me to a site or give me feedback on how to do it without complications is really appreciate it.

  414. Hi Jason, the simple answer is NO. Please read the articles here: Minor-building-works and here: Plans & minor-building-work

  415. Hi Ashley, You have bought into an estate that has its own rules and regulations that all owners must stick to. These are over and above the general building regulations and local bye-laws. So the answer is yes, they can dictate where and what can or cannot be built. You can put in your objections to the body corporate and ask for a waiver.

  416. Hi Selina, I can’t speak for the council, you must phone your local planning department and ask, because each one in SA is different.

  417. what is wrong with having both wall ties and brickforce in a cavity wall?

  418. Hi Penny,I just bought a Plot/Vacant land.
    I need to build a Shed 360 m2 and a small office on the property for my own use as the owner.
    I have build and designed a few sheds and houses for farm owners but I”m not registered with the NHBRC.

    May I carry on?

  419. Hi we are doing a building that Public Works is our client. Do they have to pay for council approval & occupancy fee if the original building was build in 1932 & it falls under Heritage. It has been vacant for over 20 years. Now we are doing refurbishment to the building. Do they have to pay?

  420. Jeepers – if you’re doing work for a government department I would have thought you knew the business and what is required. If it is a heritage building then there are very specific requirements including some that you will find in the NBR. The municipality will be able to advise what is required in terms of fees and approval – who is liable to pay will depend on the contract you have with Public Works.

  421. You need permission from the local authority to do this – not the NHBRC.

  422. Good day,

    Would you be so kind as to inform me the following:

    How do i register my cc?
    What is required to register for my cc?

    Please provide information or link.

    Kindest regards,

    Charles Taylor

  423. Good Day the property who is to the right of our property to the back has built a double story with a balcony which overlooks my back garden and my next door neighbor. We have never signed a consent to this building is this correct they can do this

  424. You do not have to give consent – but they need to have approved plans.

  425. All company registrations go through CIPC now … but they no longer accept new close corporations.


    Hi there i want to build a shed to store spades, lawn mower and tools. Before i biuld one do i need plana drawn up and will there be permission and a fee eith the local municiplatity regarding this?

  427. You need plans for all structures except those that are defined as minor building work. Go to the link I have given to read more.

  428. Zelda Bennett

    Hi, I have a shed type building where the roof was constructed on I-beams and the walls followed afterwards. It is partially enclosed by bricks. The centre wall was built from the slab and not from the foundation. This is a non bearing wall. Is this not according to building regulations.?

    This wall consisted of a double brick wall measuring 21m in length and in some places up to 10m in height.

    If this is not according to building regulations, please advise what should have been done.

  429. Hi Zelda, It is impossible for us to answer any of these questions without doing a site inspection. Unfortunately we do not do this, but there are a number of firms that do this for a fee. You could also get a “competent person”, an architect or qualified draughtsperson to inspect and advise you.

  430. Good day, I work in a multi-tenanted office park. We are renting a portion of the first floor. The building plans (for the entire building) that were submitted to Council in 1998 only indicate open floor space and internal walls of the various floors, not the drywalls. I am in the process of removing existing drywalls and installing one new for our kitchen area. There will be no change to load-bearing structural walls. Unfortunately, the owner of the building says we are responsible for submission of new plans to Council, regardless of our small changes. Is this true? We are “on hold” with our office renovation because they insist that it is our problem to have new plans drafted for Council approval. Is this true, and what are the implications in terms of fire safety? Do we have to get plans drafted and approved by for those too? There are existing fire/smoke sensors, and extinguishers.

  431. Hi,

    Do the building regulations differ between urban and agricultural areas or are each bound by the same regulations and standards?



  432. Hi there! We want to build our house bigger by adding some rooms. When we are done, the surface square metres of the house together with the outside building is more than 50 percent of the total surface of the yard. We live in a residential area. Is this allowed by law?

  433. Ronelle Jordaan

    How far may you build From the street and what is the rules concerning Relaxation ( Easement of Building Lines)

  434. This is governed by municipal bylaws

  435. Only with approved plans

  436. No there is only one set of building regulations

  437. What does the regulations say about the responsibility of the developer and owner with regards to cracks, peeling and flaking on exterior walls that are less than 3 years old?

    – Who’s responsibility is it to fix these cracks, flaking and peeling? (developer or owner?)

  438. Peeling and flaking sounds like bad paintwork – that’s your problem. Cracks could just be from the ground settling. If they are from serious structural faults then they would recourse via the NHBRC’s warranty plan (5 years). All builders must be registered with the NHBRC and so must the house.

  439. Check with the Council. It’s an interesting situation if the existing walls aren’t on the plan and the owner now wants plans for changes!

  440. carel laubscher

    is NHBRC required for Student accommodation with shared kitchen and living areas

  441. All residential dwellings.

  442. I would like to know about roof underlay. If it is old and breaking up and falling and basically of no more use. The buildings are 20years and older

    Does the law require it to be replaced. If so by whom. The owner if privately owned or by trustees account of a body corporate.

    I do realize the importance for roof leaks but can another method be used with all the new sealing products available.


  443. The building regulations don’t cover maintenance. If the roof deteriorates badly enough the council could demand that you do something about it. If it is part of a development where there is a body corporate, they will have their own rules and regulations.
    I suggest you call in a roofing specialist.

  444. Hi, do I need a building plan for a carport?

  445. It depends on the structure and its size. Check with your local municipality. If it is minor building work then they might not require a plan.

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