Lighting and Ventilation

Good Lighting and Ventilation is Vital for Healthy Living-Part O

A beautifully lit, airy bathroom.

In terms of the National Building Regulations Part O, all habitable rooms, including bathrooms, showers and toilets (and interestingly enough garages!) must have some form of lighting and ventilation that will enable people to use these rooms safely. The most important aspect is that it shouldn’t be detrimental to the health of those using the room for the purpose for which it was designed.

If bathrooms are cold and perpetually damp, mould will start to form, and this can make people extremely ill. It will also make the room uncomfortable.

Lighting and Ventilation Requirements

Changes to Part O of the NBR (when the legislation was updated a few years ago) include a welcome move from WC (short for water closet – and a very Victorian term) to “toilet”.

There are also quite substantial changes to this section of the regulations. While the lighting and ventilation regulations are generally “deemed to satisfy” if they quite simply meet the requirements of SANS 10400-O, the NBR states that if there is not sufficient natural light from windows in habitable rooms, as well as corridors, lobbies and on staircases, artificial lighting MUST be provided.

Reasons for inadequate lighting might be due to:

  • the size or shape of the room or space, or
  • the use of thick, patterned or opaque glass for windows, which prevents natural light from illuminating the room.

Similarly, if there is insufficient ventilation, artificial ventilation MUST be installed.

Reasons for inadequate ventilation include:

  • high temperatures which could be dangerous to either the safety or health of those using the room,
  • dust, gases, vapour, “volatile matter” or “hazardous biological agents” that might be dangerous to health or safety, or
  • the purpose for which the room is used may make natural ventilation unsuitable or inadequate.

Compliance Required for Lighting

While the Act states that, “Any habitable room in any dwelling house or dwelling unit, or any bedroom in any building used for residential or institutional occupancy” MUST have at least one opening for natural light – even if there is artificial lighting.

Compliance Required for Ventilation

It doesn’t matter where in South Africa you live, any artificial ventilation system MUST be authorized by your local authority (council or municipality, or City) according to their own specific policies and opinions.

This applies to everything other than regular air conditioners and other appliances installed essentially for comfort.

Further, the “rational design” of any artificial ventilation system must be performed or supervised by an “approved competent person”.

Compliance with Fire Requirements

In addition to the general requirements in this section of the Act, all lighting and ventilation must also comply with Part T of the NBR, a very lengthy section that deals with fire protection.

SANS 10400-O

Part O of the “new” SANS were published in January 2011 after fairly substantial updating by the SABS in collaboration with Agrément South Africa, the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), and the South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA).

Requirements specified in the SANS include:

  • general requirements,
  • requirements relating specifically to lighting,
  • requirements relating specifically to ventilation, and
  • requirements for designated smoking areas and smoking rooms.

Natural Lighting

The SANS specify zones of space for natural lighting which are guidelines that should be adhered to. These relate not only to the measurement of openings, but also to the angles of openings, and they specify how various obstructions affect zones of space.

Natural Ventilation

Generally, natural ventilation should be organized so that doors and windows relate to one another in such a way that the room will be effectively ventilated, and it should be at least five percent of the floor area of the room (or at least 0,2 square metres if the room is very small).

But anyone designing a home also needs to take into account the fact that in cold, wet or windy weather, doors and windows will commonly remain closed. This will minimize natural ventilation.

In holiday homes, or buildings that people only use occasionally, doors and windows will usually remain closed for long periods of time. Where weather conditions are very hot and humid, the interior of the building may become damp and mouldy. Airbricks built into the structure help; as do roof vents that provide permanent ventilation, even when doors and windows are closed.

Artificial Ventilation

The simplest and most common form of artificial ventilation is found in kitchens and bathrooms, in the form of extractor fans.

Extraction in kitchens (from stoves and hobs) not only removes heat or steam and other vapour, but it also has the effect of removing grease that is in suspension, by filtration. Because the greasy air being removed is hot, the regulations state that extraction units must be manufactured from non-combustible material.

In bathrooms and toilets, extractor fans remove humid air and filter bad smells.

Air Requirements in Homes and Other Buildings

SANS 10400-O contains a useful table that shows the minimum requirements for air, per person using the room. Again it is the health and safety of inhabitants that is vital. Where rooms are used for smoking, a considerably higher supply of healthy air is required.

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81 comments

  1. What is the regulation regarding 12 volt down lights powered by a transformer

  2. This isn’t covered in the building regulations. There are specific SANS that deal with electricity.

  3. I have a neighbour who’s kitchen extractor blows into our back door, is there anything we can do about this?and what are the rules regarding this?

  4. Sounds very dodgy to me. Are you in an apartment block? As far as I am aware, the local authority needs to give approval for extractor fan installations.

  5. Hi Penny. what is the light intensity required in a room/office according to the building regulations?

  6. The NBR do not give specifications regarding light intensity. You will need to refer to SANS 10114-1: Interior lighting Part 1: Artificial lighting of interiors, & SANS 10114-2: Interior lighting Part 2: Emergency lighting. I don’t have copies of these standards, but you can access them from the SABS libraries. They may even give you this information telephonically.

  7. Thank you Penny your a great help. Does my company require the services of a professional to do the light intensity test or could we purchase a lux meter and do it ourselves?

  8. I am not sure, but I think you can probably do it yourselves.

  9. Hi can anyone help. I have been instructed to install emergency lighting which conforms to SANS 10114-2 but I cant find the product or description of the product antwhere

  10. Voltex Lighting should be able to help you. See http://www.voltexlighting.co.za/Contact_us.html for contact details.

  11. Hi Penny,
I am looking at some ideas for an alteration to our home. One of the ideas we have will require that the window in our Guest Loo be closed off. Would it be permitted/ advisable that we use a ceiling extractor fan only in this small room. The lighting is adequate, I am quite sure. Thanks

  12. Dean, it will be absolutely essential for you to fit an extractor fan.

  13. Hi Penny,
    Can you advise on the amount of glass that can be used in the design of a house and options available to ensure that a glass design feature gains approval so that it does not to be scrapped altogether. Thanks

  14. Unfortunately no I can’t. But there are many houses that use substantial amount of glass. The trick is in the design (competent persons etc). The only thing I can undertake to do is write a blog on the subject asap. I’ll copy you on the link.

  15. My neighbour has and outbuilding which ends on my boundary, a few days ago she entered into my yard and has now installed a sliding window on that boundary, it that permitted?

  16. Fatima, firstly she has no right to enter your property without permission. And secondly she is in contravention of the NBR and other laws if she has installed a window in a wall or any other structure on the boundary.

  17. I own a small pub and offer the patrons 15 take away meals of which 90% of the meals are prepared elsewhere. The section where the meals are reheated in a microwave and small oven and packed has an extractor fan, a serving hatch and is 4.5m2 in proximity. The area where we make burgers, chips and sandwiches, this on a small griddle, single chip fryer and salamander is 8m2 in extent, is less than 1m away from the back door that is always open. There is a constant flow of fresh air through the entire area at all times. The municipality is now demanding that the area has to be 14m2 with artificial ducting ventilation, a fat trap (we have a dishwasher), a wash hand basin for the staff (there is only 1 staff member in the kitchen and they use the toilet facilities next to the kitchen). Is this fair and just what they are demanding???

  18. The municipality has every right to make these demands. Their concern is health and hygiene.

  19. Thanks Penny but my absolute concern is health and hygiene as well but I cannot see the justification in the installation of a R12, 000 air ducting system, a huge kitchen in extent 14m2 where all I am actually cooking are burger patties and the odd portion of chips in a single chip fryer and the patties are cooked using a dome to ensure moistness. This also prevents splatter although all patties are cooked slowly on a medium heat on the griddle thus there is no splatter of oil. Being the chef, my helper and I always have our hair covered at all times, the kitchen is sparkling clean at all times, there are extraction fans plus the fresh air from the back door. The walls are tiled and there is ablution and hand washing facilities right next to where we work and every single ingredient is packed away in it’s own marked container. Every single part of health and hygiene is taken into serious consideration but a complete ducting system, a fat trap and 14m2 for a few burgers – overkill!!

  20. The NBR covers fit for function and things like space – the number of people who can work in an area etc. No of toilets, basins etc as well as basic ventilation. They don’t cover the kind of logistics you are describing. That is, as far as I know, laid down in local by-laws – probably health regulations. There may also be additional SANS that come into play. I am not sure who you can object to. Which municipality/local authority are you governed by? And have you questioned them in terms of what laws/regulations they are forcing you to adhere to? If you are able to provide photographs that show the area – plus answer the two questions I have asked, I might be able to do a blog post and ask them for comment.

  21. Hi Penny, I fall under the Blaauwberg Municipality and the inspector who deals with my area absolutely dislikes me so his irrational requirements are based on personal feelings and not fact.

  22. Hi Penny, what is the SANS reguilation for miniumum opeings required for natural ventilation for a basement parking area. also 5% or 3%

  23. As I understand it, any openings for natural ventilation should be at least 5% of the tool floor area; however in a basement garage it is vital to ensure that there is sufficient natural ventilation to ensure that noxious fumes and gases do not exceed a safe limit. I guess that roof vents will also be required.

  24. Hi,

    I have heard it is illegal to have a toilet directly adjoined to a
    kitchen. I would like to find out if this is indeed true, or who I can
    contact to find out about such a law.

    Regards
    Mark Richards

  25. Hi Mark,
    Unless I understand the Regulations incorrectly, then this is not so.I don’t have immediate access to the updated SANS-10400 Part P-Drainage; but previously section PP21.1 stated “(c) Where any drain or discharge pipe passes through a room which is used as a kitchen, pantry or for the preparation, handling, storage or sale of any food the means of access to such drain or pipe, for cleaning purposes, shall be situated outside such room: Provided that this requirement shall not apply in the case of the waste pipe serving any waste fixture contained in such room.”
    I don’t think this has changed, and as far as I understand the kitchen and bathroom/toilet can adjoin provided the waste pipes go to an outside wall. The waste pipe must go through an external wall and link to the waste system with accessable rodding eyes (cleaning access points) at every 90º as well as an external vent that must be installed.
    However, please also be aware that there a number of other SANS that come into play, not only 10400.

  26. Rebecca Nkontlha

    I bought a house in Soweto Braamfischerville and there the house has
    no electricity at all and according to my site contractor the
    transformer got burnt,when I call Eskom to intervene they found out
    that no electricity was installed in the area at all and my house is
    still waitng with no elecrticity and is been 3 months now.

  27. There seem to be two issues here:
    1. your contractor’s “story”
    2. a lack of power in the area
    If there is no power, what do your neighbour’s do for electricity? Perhaps you could approach them and together petition Eskom to provide power. Otherwise you will need to think about buying a generator – presuming the wiring was installed when the house was built.
    If the “site contractor” you refer to sold the house to you under false presences (i.e. that he lead you to believe there would be electricity in the house) then you can take action in term of the Consumer Protection Act. If you can’t afford an attorney, you can probably get legal aid.

  28. please advise who is the relevant board/person to report a ventilation
    violation in a business building?

  29. Hi Jason,
    You need to get in contact with your local muncipality. Ventilation will fall under both the building inspector and the health inspector, contact them and tell them what your problem is.

  30. Hi Guy, could you please advise if there is any regulations regarding how many windows/light is allowed in bedrooms? I was informed one is not allowed to have more that 15 %. For me, it does not make any sense.

  31. The only relevant reference to bedroom windows in Part O of the regulations states that: “Any habitable room in any dwelling house or dwelling unit, or any bedroom in any building used for residential or institutional occupancy shall, notwithstanding the provision of artificial lighting, be provided with at least one opening for natural light in accordance with subregulation O1(1).” 01(1) states that lighting and ventilation must ensure rooms may be used, “without detriment to health or safety or causing any nuisance, for the purpose for which it is designed”.
    In terms of windows in general, the Standard states that, “The total area of an opening, a door or an openable glazed window that complies with the requirements of 4.3.1.1.2(a) [an opening or door in an external wall], or (b) [an openable glazed window in an external wall or in a suitable position in the roof shall be not less than 5 % of the floor area of the room”. i.e. these are minimum requirements – this Part doesn’t give maximum requirements.
    The new Part X – Environmental sustainability – and XA – Energy usage in buildings – deals with fenestration [defined as any glazed opening in a building envelope, including windows, doors and skylights].
    This Part has a section on fenestration that states:
    1. Buildings with up to 15 % fenestration area to nett floor area per storey comply with the minimum energy performance requirements.
    2. Buildings with a fenestration area to nett floor area per storey that exceeds 15 % shall comply with the requirements for fenestration in accordance with SANS 204.
    So it doesn’t say you CAN’T have more than 15% – just that if you do you must do it correctly in accordance with the Standard (SANS 204).
    SANS 204 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.
    There are some guidelines HERE.

  32. Tasha I recently replied to another “reader” about the percentage of glass permitted in buildings. You might find this useful. You’ll find it HERE. I have also updated the information on the page that deals with Part N of SANS 10400 – Glazing.

  33. Curious George

    Hi,

    I want to design apartments that do not have access to natural light on one side of a building.

    Will artificial Light suffice or will I run foul of regulations

  34. George, In terms of the law, only a competent person can draw plans. If you are a competent person, you should know the answer to this question!
    The key SANS will be those that relate to lighting and ventilation as well as fenestration. You can download the draft copy of Part X & XA from our downloads page.

  35. Great informative article. Our apartment has a non windowed bathroom, and has literally the smallest extractor fan on the market fitted: it does not remove odour and definitely not moisture/steam. It is connected to a communal exhaust pipe shared with 3 other units, and in my eyes that is the problem, almost as if there is not enough power to suck it out. The walls after just two short showers are so damp that droplets form EVERYWHERE, and it drips from the doorway onto the floor! Does this sound like it conforms to the regulation? I want to take on the builder 🙂

  36. Don, no it doesn’t sound as if it conforms. There are two issues here – one that relates to plumbing and the other being the standard of the extractor fan itself. The latter needs to be SABS approved for function.
    Bathrooms must have sufficient air supply as well: “Air supply required per person with required minimum air changes per hour”
    Bathrooms and shower rooms & Rooms containing a toilet pan or urinal both require 10 air changes per hour; and 25,0 litres of air per person.
    I would do two things. One, consult with a reputable plumber who is both qualified and registered, and ask for a written report. Two, contact the SABS with details of the fan and ask their advice in terms of compliance. You need to ascertain 100% that the builder (developer) has not complied.

  37. Thank you Penny, I will do just that. I will take the cover off the front to get the model type so I can research it’s performance. Reference air supply, does the extractor exhaust pipe qualify as an air supply as well? Because that is all that is in the bathroom, no ventilating bricks or grids, just the small extractor, which doesn’t extract 😉

  38. Don, I really do think you need to ask a professional to look at the setup. But I don’t see how an exhaust pipe could qualify as “air supply” since it is extracting air. Sounds like the only air supply will be through the door.

  39. Agreed! I will bring in a qualified plumber to assess. Thanks for your help.

  40. Hi Don
    Hope you have come right.
    The exhaust duct or pipe forms part of the overall airflow system. If it is restricted by obstruction or if the diameter is less than the manufacturers required specs, airflow is also restricted and the extractor will not deliver its specified capacities.
    At the same time, as Penny’s comments confirms, air intake is equally important. An installation of a fan delivering 500 cubic meters of extraction per hour cannot be effective if the airflow inlet only allows for only 100 cubes per hour.
    Many installers fail to bring this aspect into the equation!
    If your bathroom door is closed during shower sessions, the only airflow intake would be from the opening slit below the door and from the airbrick openings if you have an airbrick in your bathroom. If there is no gap under your door, there will be no airflow through your extractor fan!
    Also, the extractor system requires some form of minimal maintenance and cleaning on a bi-annual basis. With exposure to steam and dust particles the inlet grill as well as the exhaust ducting leading to your communal exhaust pipe may become clogged, which may negatively affect airflow.

    The measurement of airflow as well as the inlet specifications of your specific fan should be easily obtainable from the manufacturer.

    I hope this info may be of some assistance!
    Kind regards

    Reinhardt Badenhorst

  41. Hi i am a civil engineering student n my brother asked me to design a ground plan for him..am i qualified to do so?

  42. Nicholas you aren’t qualified… You need to be both qualified and registered with one of the associations that caters for people who have qualified in terms of the Council for the Built Environment Act, 2000 – in your case engineering. However in your case you may well have the knowledge and depending what it is for, you might be able to get a qualified, registered engineer to sign of the plan for a small fee.

  43. So its not against the law if i design a plan then get a qualified person to sign it?and then again hcan i get registered while i a still a student,if so how shouild i get registered?

  44. You can contact the South African Council for the Architectural Profession and the Engineering Council of SA for more information. They may have a form of registration for students, but you cannot practice until you are qualified. There is nothing to stop you doing the plan, provided a qualified person takes responsibility for it. So if you are designing a house, that person would registered as the competent person.

  45. Dear sirs,
    I am hoping you can assist me.
    I am a supplier of lighting and electrical items.
    I am not an electrician am I allowed to change existing light fittings or even replace burnt out ballasts / transformers.

    Eagerly awaiting your reply
    Craig

  46. Craig I don’t think so. You just can’t rewire a system. You can definitely change the existing light fittings. BUT you do need to know what you are doing – and isolate the area before you work.

  47. Hi I live in a 1st floor flat and the wall of my bedroom is the boundary of the house next door which is also a double story.It has a room at the back of this house which is only about 4 metres from my bedroom window.New owners have just moved in and have installed an air conditioner at the back of the wall and it runs off and on all night giving me very little sleep,it is noisy.I went to see the neighbour and he said that is his bedroom.Can I ask him to put a cover around to quiten it and what are the building regulations regarding air conditioners and noise. Thank you,patrick.

  48. Patrick the NBR does not cover air conditioners and noise! However this might be construed as public nuisance. You could certainly ask him to do something to quieten the noise – that would be a reasonable request. If he refuses, then you would probably have to take the matter to a lawyer to force him to take action.

  49. We bought our property in 2010, we have made no alteration but now want to sell to be told we don’t have an occupational cert for a braai area that was enclosed pre 2002.
    It has effectively left the kitchen with a door and window leading I to a room 8x4m2. We have been told we need an extractor fan to meet building regulation. The kitchen is about 2.5 x 3.9m2. What size extractor would we need?
    Thank you

  50. I am currently renovating and my house was originally built in the 1960’s. There are air bricks everywhere including internal walls. I notice a trend in modern building not to have air bricks. Please advise as i have ecluded these from all my major renovations and now feel i might have made a huge mistake!

    Thank you

  51. Robert I have looked through the old regs (1977 as amended up to 1990) as well as the current regs – Part K, Walls, and can’t find any references to air bricks. If you are doing major renovations you should have had plans drawn up by a competent person who should have known if and where they should be incorporated in terms of good building practice.
    Generally air bricks are often built in above window openings for ventilation and below suspended timber floors. Some local authorities do require them – but this would be specified in their bylaws.

  52. Jannine, you don’t need an occupational certificate for a braai area unless it is enclosed and under a roof. You would only need an extractor fan if there was insufficient natural ventilation. It is not a standard requirement.

  53. Hi Penny,

    A client of mine is completing a E2 type public building but they cannot get both Electrical and Main Water connections from the local municipality, they are contractors, is it possible for them to an Occupation Certificate for the building ? They need to hand over the project / get it to practical completion stage.

    Your assistance in this regard is much appreciated.

    Regards
    Sello

  54. There is no way you can legally get an occupation certificate for a building without mains water. I don’t believe you have to have electricity. For instance the owner may only require gas or alternative types of energy. But water is a must. If I was to hazard a guess I would say the only reason they can’t get the connections is either because the owner of the property has not authorized the application and/or the due payments have not been made. I may be wrong in my assumptions though.

  55. I moved into an apartment 15 days ago. It’s a modern building less than 10 years old. There are no air bricks in any of the rooms. The bathroom is no more than 9 square metres. It’s winter and we keep the bathroom window closed when bathing or in shower. Mould has already started growing. Is there any regulation or by-laws regarding proper ventilation in bathrooms?

  56. The reason I’m asking is that the agent has built into the lease contract that we are responsible for any moulds or mildew that may build up in the bathroom. If ventilation in the bathroom is not according to regulation, that already puts us at a disadvantage.

  57. Is it necessary to have a window in a bedroom, or is it ok to have artificial lighting

  58. If there is no natural lighting then artificial lighting needs to meet NBR standards – AND you will need adequate ventilation. This should be indicated on the plans.

  59. I am thrilled to have found this site but do not know whether I at the right place. In Jan 2010 I accepted a quotation for the electricity installation in a new dwelling. I have since come to the realization that it is totally wrong. When I try to switch off my geyser the plugs in the living room go off and not the geyser. Have still not been able to figure out which switch is for the geyser. I would like to know if I have recourse re this problem. The municipal plans were approved and the final inspection done. According to the quotation this electrician is registered with the SA Electrical Contractors Board and has given his registration number on the quote. Please if anyone could help me with information I would be grateful. Middelburg Mpumulanga

  60. Is it a requirement to have natural light and ventilation in office building. There may be airconditioners, but in the event of a power failure, there is no other source of light or ventilation.

    Must all offices have windows, and should these be openable?

  61. Hello Penny

    I need to install a window unit extrator fan in a restroom, on the 8th floor of an office block.
    I have been told that I need to change the existing 4mm glass to safety glass. Is this correct?

    Regards
    Shaun

  62. Hi
    We’re building a new house and have asked the architecht to have a guest bathroom in the “middle” of the house. It’s not along side any exterior wall. We wanted and extractor for artificial ventilation and a skylight for natural light. He said that it would be impossible. Is it against the law to have a bathroom like this?

  63. tinashe chawawa

    Useful website I am an environmental health student

  64. Yes there are regulations regarding ventilation in rooms such as bathrooms. The SABS 10400-Part O says that a room must have a opening such as a glazed window that is no less than 5% of the floor area of the room or 0,1 sqm whichever is the greater. Artificial ventilation is an “or” if there is no window opening. So it sounds as if the regulations are being followed.

  65. You can ask a few of the other tenants if they have the same problem and if yes then contact your local council and point out all the units that have the same problem and can they please put the landlord to terms to rectify the “fault”.

  66. The issue here might not be because of the ventilation or lighting, which are essential as well, but more the waste pipes and air vent that has to be built into the system.

  67. You must contact the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) and report the situation to them and ask them to send an inspector to examine the installation.

  68. Hi good day i need some information regarding the fans that gets fitted in bathrooms.I have a client that wants to know why i have to fit an 5amp plug with in 1,5m from the fan, can you please help me out with information and can you provide me with the bylaw from Sans so i can liase with my client.Hope you can help me thank you Anthony Hine.

  69. John Akester PrEng

    I own a one bedroom unit on the 7th floor facing east. It only has opening windows on the east facing side. There is no cross ventilation ie there are no openings on the other three walls. Consequently the unit is very stuffy and hot in summer. Plus kitchen smells are not dissipated. Complex regulations do not allow aircon. I have installed ceiling fans with partial relief.
    I wish to quote the regulation that will force the complex to allow me to make a suitable opening in the opposite wall (West wall) which opens into a wide passage well ventilated and in this way provide cross ventilation and remove the hot air. It has always been my understanding that cross ventilation (Even just airbricks) was mandatory.

  70. You need to contact the SABS and ask for information regarding which standard covers bathroom fans. Alternatively contact a supplier. This is not covered in the building regulations. Further, the SABS does not write bylaws – they prepare, publish and sell national standards (SANS) and in the case of SANS 10400, these are guidelines that indicate how we can “satisfy” the requirements of The National Building Regulations and Standards Act.

  71. Funnily enough I don’t think air bricks have ever been mandatory – though they commonly been used to ensure there is adequate ventilation.
    However. If there is not sufficient ventilation in the building, then it contravenes the National Building Regulations. Since the so-called “competent person” responsible for ventilation for any building is (in terms of the NBR) a qualified and registered mechanical engineer who has the necessary experience and training to “undertake rational assessments or rational designs in the field of lighting and ventilation,” you could consult a mechanical engineer and ask for a report that would allow you to do whatever is necessary to ensure proper ventilation.
    The regs cover natural and artificial ventilation. For natural ventilation to be adequate, openings must not be less than 5 percent of the floor area of the room. There are other requirements as well. If natural ventilation is not adequate then an artificial ventilation system which will circulate air through a room “by means of a mechanical apparatus which forces air into or extracts air from such room” is mandatory. So for them to disallow aircon seems ludicrous.

  72. Interesting question. The NBR don’t cover this. There may be other legislation that does. I’m not sure. Certainly there are shops that have to shut down in the event of a power failure or load-shedding. They simply shut their doors.

  73. I have to admit I have no idea, though it would usually depend on the size/extent of the glass. Don’t rely on your glazing contractor – ask your local authority for clarification.

  74. Hi, I have recently rented an apartment only to find that there is no external lighting. Please can you confirm what the building regulations are regarding residential external lighting. Is it mandatory to have external lighting for perhaps safety purposes? Your assistance will be highly appreciated.

  75. This is not a National Building Regs issue. Contact your local authority; it may be covered in the bylaws. But I doubt it is mandatory.

  76. Good day,

    I need more information with regards to extraction within a basement parking of a building when taking exhaust gasses / carbon monoxide into consideration. Does anyone know where I can find more information about this issue?

  77. Jaco there is some information in Part O of the NBR that covers lighting and ventilation, e.g.:

    “4.3.2.6 The artificial ventilation system serving a parking garage shall be separate from any other artificial ventilation system, provided that contaminated air exhausted from such garage may be circulated through a transformer, machine or similar service room in order to dissipate heat from machines before passing to the outside air. The arrangement and sizes of air inlets and outlets in every garage required in terms of this part of SANS 10400 to be artificially ventilated shall be such as to ensure that the level of noxious or toxic fumes or gases at any location in such garage does not rise above a safe limit.”

    There may well additional SANS that cover this. Contact your nearest SABS office with library to find out. They are usually very helpful.

  78. Hi Penny

    I live in a two bedroomed flat and have just discovered there are no air bricks in the walls. Mould builds up on the window frames and pane due to condensation. Yes I could keep the windows open but it does get cold. Is there no regulation of air bricks esp in a bedroom with only one window ?

  79. They don’t seem to build with air bricks any more! There is no mention of air bricks/airbricks in SANS 10400-K, Walls. That said, SANS 10400-O, Lighting and Ventilation states:
    “NOTE In any building which is not permanently occupied, such as a holiday home or chalet, windows providing ventilation might remain closed for long periods. In hot humid areas this can lead to problems such as dampness and mould growth, and some form of supplementary ventilation might be desirable. Airbricks provide a partial solution but as these might not be sufficient on their own, some other form of permanent ventilation, such as a roof vent, should also be considered.”

  80. Hi.
    All bathroom doors in public buildings have self closing mechanism. Is there a law that requires public a bathroom door to the common areas to be closed?
    Is 300x 500mm window sufficient ventilation for a public bathroom containing 2 toilets or must an extractor fan be installed?

  81. In terms of your first question – I am not aware of anything in the NBR that requires this. There may be some other law or bylaw that covers this.
    Re your second question: The law states (i.e. the National Building Regulations and Standards Act)
    Lighting and Ventilation Requirement
    (1) Any habitable room, bathroom, shower-room and room containing a toilet pan or urinal, or any room which is a parking garage shall be provided with a means of lighting and ventilation which will enable such room to be used, without detriment to health or safety or causing any nuisance, for the purpose for which it is designed.
    (2) The requirement of subregulation (1) shall be deemed to be satisfied where the lighting and ventilation are in accordance with SANS 10400-O.
    Part O of SANS 10400 – Lighting and Ventilation states: “The total area of an opening, a door or an openable glazed window that complies with the requirements of 4.3.1.1.2(a) or (b) shall be not less than 5 % of the floor area of the room”
    “4.3.1.1.2 Every such opening shall be either
    a) an opening or door in an external wall, or
    b) an openable glazed window in an external wall or in a suitable position in the roof”
    There are also specific air requirements in the SANS, but quite how you work it out in relation to window size I don’t know.
    The Occupational Health & Safety Act is also applicable in public buildings. You might find that the self-closing clause is there.

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