Plans & Minor Building Work

You Don’t Need Plans for Minor Building Work … But you DO Need Permission to Build

minor building work
If this little 7.5 sq m garden building is to be used as a tool shed, you won’t need plans. If it is to be used as a child’s playhouse, you will.

Anything you build on your property needs plans, unless it is defined as “minor building work”. However the Act states very clearly in Part A: General Principles and Requirements (this was previously Part A: Administration), that any structural building work that is defined as “minor building work” requires authorization by your local authority’s building control officer before you can commence with any work. As long as you have made an application and have received the necessary permission from the local authority, you DO NOT NEED PLANS. But the law is also very clear in terms of compliance with the regulations; minor building work must comply with the regulations.

 

 Temporary Buildings

Temporary buildings also need authorization by the local authority. This includes builders’ sheds, on-site toilets, and any other structure you might want to erect (or be obliged to erect) for the construction project.

The local authority will not give you permission to erect a temporary building until you provide certain information, and they are able to assess it. At very least they need to know:

  1. what the intended use and life of the building will be
  2. the area in which it is to be erected (in other words where you are planning to put it)
  3. the availability of suitable materials from which it may be constructed
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The Definition of “minor building work” in Terms of the Law

a) the erection of:

  1. poultry houses (hoender hokke or chicken coups) that are no more than ten square metres in size,
  2. aviaries that are no bigger than 20 square metres,
  3. solid fuel stores (for storing wood, coal, anthracite or similar) that are no more than ten square metres in area and no higher than two metres,
  4. tool sheds that are smaller than ten square metres,
  5. childrens’ playhouses that are no more than five square metres,
  6. cycle sheds no more than five square metres,
  7. greenhouses that are a maximum 15 square metres,
  8. open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,
  9. any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,
  10. any pergola,
  11. private swimming pool (although most local authorities do insist on plans),
  12. change room at a private swimming pool not exceeding 10 sq m in area.

b) the replacement of a roof (or part of a roof) with the same or similar materials,

c) the conversion of a door into a window, or a window into a door, without increasing the width of the opening,

d) the making of an opening in a wall that doesn’t affect the structural safety of the building concerned,

e) the partitioning or enlarging of any room by the erection or demolition of an internal wall, as long as it doesn’t affect the structural safety of the building,

f) the section of any solar water heater not exceeding six square metres in area on any roof; or 12 square metres if the water heater is erected elsewhere,

g) the erection of any building that the local council doesn’t believe plans are necessary for.

In the last instance, it is up to the building control officer to make this decision.

How This Affects You

We have had numerous queries on this site in terms of when and where plans are required. As you will see, there are a few exceptions, but ultimately it is up to the local authority to decide whether or not you need plans.

It also stands to reason that the structures defined as minor building work will all need to be fit for purpose. So you can’t say you are building an aviary (which can be 20 square metres in area), and then build a brick building with windows, suitable for human habitation!
Read more about this here: A Garden Structure

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458 comments

  1. Can you please send me the building regulations on a boundary wall between two neighbours. I need to build a collapsed wall but want to do it according to the regulations. I also want to require about the storm water drainage holes in a boundary wall. Your help will be much appreciated.

  2. I think you need the help of a qualified builder. There is no available building regulation “on a boundary wall between two neighbors”. There are too many variables. The National Building Regulations simply give the minimum requirements for the construction of walls per se. But when it comes to storm water drainage, you need the assistance of a QUALIFIED AND REGISTERED PLUMBER. Otherwise the wall is likely to collapse again. BTW if you want the building regs you will need to purchase them from the SABS. They are available online. Several apply to walls including Part H: Foundations, and Part K: Walls.

  3. Hi, I want to build a back verandah, basically a roof extending off the exiting roof to create a shaded area directly behind my house. This will be used for outdoor entertainment and will be open to the elements on two sides – the remaining two side encompass the main house and the garage. Does this qualify as minor building?

  4. I think it does. But strictly speaking, as stated in my article about minor building, you still need to notify you local authority of your intentions. So if anyone is likely to object, give them a call before you start work.

  5. Its a structure you need a plan even though its minor building works .
    A lot of awning companies tell you that you dont but you do.

  6. Nikki, the building regulations (legislation – not the deemed to satisfy rules) state very clearly that when “minor building works” are in keeping with the definition given in the Act (as specified in the article above), they do NOT need plans. Part A of the Act states though that, “An application shall be made to the building control officer to erect any building defined as minor building work or to carry out any work falling within the ambit of such definition, and any such erection or work shall not be commenced before such authorization has been granted.” THIS IS THE LAW.
    Awnings are not specified as minor building work in the Act, although they would qualify if they were part of an “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size”, in which case plans would definitely not be required. In addition, you need to note that where the local council “doesn’t believe plans are necessary”, usually because they consider the structure to be minor building work, plans won’t be necessary either – though permission from council WILL still be required to make the structure legal. I am sure that some (many) municipalities/councils regard awnings in this category.

  7. I know what the regulations say and I am not arguing with you.
    Unfortunately the local authorities dont all interpret the regulations the way you do.
    Our LA regards any awning that is built without a plan as an illegal building.
    It is becoming more and more difficult to get bigger plans approved because of structures that have been built previously without approved plans.
    As a professional it can be quite frustrating when a client tells you that they didnt know they were supposed to have plans.

  8. The local authorities have the right to impose additional regulations. i.e. They have the right to over-ride the NBR which are MINIMUM standards. But not the other way around. What part of the business are you involved in?

  9. Hi Penny
    I would like to build a 4mx3m wooden cabin on my property do i need plans for it
    ur help will be great thank you

  10. Fanie, if you look at what is regarded as minor building work, in terms of the legislation, a 4 m x 3 m cabin doesn’t figure. You will definitely need plans unless your local council says it isn’t necessary – which is very unlikely.

  11. Its quite frustrating because you are right. But the Local authorities need to assess an application and how can they do that without a plan?
    We even need to get a structural engineer to sign for a carport and a solar geyser even though the regulations say that a solar geyser less then 5M squared is a minor building work.
    So there arent hassles when you put it in but when you do further alterations then you have problems.
    Windows are another issue the regulations say you dont need plans to change windows as long as you are not going smaller but what about XA?
    So you change your timber windows to aluminium then you do major alterations and the plans cant be approved because the original plans show timber windows but you have replaced them with aluminium and the energy calculations are way over sans 204. Plans wont be approved unless you change all the glazing.
    So after a R3000 rand fine – from AMAFA because you changed the windows without heritage approval You now have to add film to your windows for energy efficiency pay for an engineer for an existing solar geyser and remove the carport that you put up without plans because it is over a servitude and the council wont approve anything over a servitude.
    My advice get plans in the first place

  12. Hi Penny,
    Im still getting my head around all the new building regs,
    Do we need to do the SANS calculations for a new double garage?
    (as its not a dwelling space)
    Thanks

  13. Hi Tersia, I am not sure what you mean by “SANS calculations”? All structures must be built according to SANS 10400. Other SANS must also be adhered to.

  14. Hi Penny,
    What I meant was the SANS energy & fenestration calculations, I was wondering if a simple plan for a double garage would require the calculations submitted as it isnt a dwelling space.

    Thanks,
    Tersia

  15. Tersia, I really haven’t come to grips with this lot either, but looking at the new SANS it seems to me that garages are excluded.

  16. Hi Penny
    We just bought a house with a collapsed retaining wall (between us and the neighbors), it has been left like that for about two years already. The neighbors have said that this wall is not theirs and they will not pay to fix the fallen retaining blocks since it is our property’s wall ( not sure how a boundary wall can only be ONE neighbors responsibility). We took it upon ourselves to fix this wall, but instead of doing retaining, we decided to build a proper steel foundation solid wall on the actual boundary within our side.I got the plans from the municipality and saw that the precast wall was not erected on the lots boundary line. The builder informed us that we do not need an engineer signing off on the wall because it is not more than 3m high. A municipality building inspector has also visited our property twice and informed us that we were not allowed to put any sort of weep holes or anything that will let our rain water drain onto our neighbors property. But he said as long as we put it on our plans we can proceed because he knows of this problem and it needs to be fixed. We are replacing the drains and pipes that were in our lawn and obviously blocked to lead the storm water to the road. Now my question to you is, have we followed the correct procedure here with regards to our wall? We are updating our plans to include this wall on it. Also we have spoken to the neighbors before the building had commenced and have told them that some of the plants will have to be removed since its right on the boundary line. Now that the plants are removed we are worried that the wall might be over the boundary a little and we don’t want the neighbors to be more fussy and demanding as what they’ve already been. How can I determine my exact line of boundary to show them that I am still within my own property? They are demanding to see OUR plans and have someone look at it and want to know if it was approved. I’m just in disbelief about the audacity since I know it is within my property and does not concern them AND since I am carrying the cost of this wall alone. D they have a foot to stand on to make these demands?

    Thank you

  17. I am planning to both research and write a LOT about boundary walls, because they cause a lot of grief! We are constantly getting queries related to similar issues. In the meantime let’s see how I can help you.
    OWNERSHIP
    In terms of wall “ownership”, usually people claim it is theirs rather than the other way around. But the principles are the same. If a wall is on your property obviously it is yours – especially if you erected it. But in the absence of proof that a boundary wall is entirely on your property, then it becomes a party wall – which means that it is presumed to be half on one property and half on the other. You could check these by having the property surveyed.
    To complicate the issue though, some municipalities say that where there is a “party” wall, each side is owned by the property owner on that side, and the two parties share the servitude of support. Other municipalities say that a party wall is owned jointly by the two property owners.
    Where there is a so-called party wall, neither party may do anything to the wall without the consent of the other party. If a party wall is destroyed by an act of God (which I presume would be the case in your instance, since it has collapsed) either owner has the right to rebuilt it, but each “owner” is obliged to contribute to the repair – as well as to the maintenance of the structure.
    Both parties have the right to alter or improve there side of the structure.
    So two things here: 1) you could check exactly where the boundary pegs are located (or should be located)-if these are not indicated on the plans you already have, then you can get a site plan of the area from the Surveyor General’s office in Pretoria (I’m not sure what the procedure is, but phone them and ask); 2) you can check with your local authority to see what their policy is.
    Since you say you want to determine the boundary line – basically all plots are surveyed when a subdivision is done – and the pegs are inserted at each corner. Most times these are removed once the plot has been developed. You will need to get a qualified surveyor to check according to the Surveyor General’s drawings. Diagram numbers should also be on the title deeds.
    PLANS
    The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act states that “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,” is minor building work (CLICK on the link to read more). So the issue here is that if the wall is higher than 1,8 m then you needed approved plans for the wall – which it sounds like you have. Further, these would need to be drawn by a competent person (CLICK on the link to read more) who would need to “sign off” the structure (certificate). If you read the link you will see that a competent person does not necessarily need to be an engineer. It simply needs to be someone qualified in the built environment industry.
    NEIGHBOUR’S DEMANDS
    I don’t believe they have any right to demand to see your plans. If the wall is on your property; you have approved plans; and you have built according to these plans … then you are in the clear. Even if it’s on the boundary, you should be fine.
    If you can prove that the original retaining wall was a “party wall”, then you can claim 50% of the costs from them – but you’d have to get a lawyer involved.
    I hope that helps.

  18. Thank you so much, Penny. This really helps. 🙂
    Great website and forum – I am very ignorant with regards to building regulations etc, and this forum has cleared up a lot for me last night.

  19. I had verbal permission from a Body Corporate to erect a Sundeck –
    about 2.5x3m. Now 4 years later they are requesting plans – is this
    necessary. it is off my verandah.

  20. Body Corporate rules and regs are exactly that – theirs. While they have an obligation to adhere to the NBR these are minimum rules. Further, while this might be perceived by your local authority to be minor building work, the body corporate may have other requirements – though if you originally had verbal permission you could try and dispute this. Have you queried why their attitude has changed? Maybe someone without the correct knowledge of the local authority requirements gave the verbal permission?

  21. Sunet Mattheus

    To whom it may concern.

    Please advise how to go about in order to get permission from the
    municipality for minor building work to be done on a residential
    premises.

    Is there a formal form that needs to be submitted or does one simply
    have to write a letter requesting permission?

    Kind regards

  22. The reason this has now been bought up is becasue they have sold off some of the property to a developer who is building below my unit and in doing so disturbed the bank, and the bank is now sliding, I have requested a retaining wall be built at BC expense as it is Common property and they say no plans no fix – it is my problem.

  23. Chet Diepraam

    Good Afternoon

    Please could you provide information the SNS 10400 with regards paving
    regulations.

    We have a neighbouring property (Residential 1 Business zoning in
    2008) in residential area of Bramley, Johannesburg.

    They have flattened entire garden area (large acre property) in order
    to do paving and do “landscape treatment” and eventual carports for
    over 100 cars. When questioned about the legality of this they insist
    that there is only paving taking place, no building, and as such do
    not need to have Building Plans or council approval.

    What are the requirements or legal status for demolishing, leveling
    and paving of large area?

    We do have pictures of development taking place should you wish to
    see.

    Many thanks in advance

    Chet Diepraam

  24. Good day

    Is there a document describing the national building regulations for
    wendy houses?

    Regards.

  25. Hi Shanley,
    Yes there is reference made to “wendy houses”. There is more info on our page “Minor Building Work“.
    There is also reference to this type of structure on our sister website ownerbuilding.co.za, here is the page “Build A Treehouse“.

  26. Hi Chet,
    Garden paving is not covered as such in the Building Regulations so plans are not needed. But there are definitely Regulations when it comes to excavations, demolition and carports. You can contact your local council and speak to the Planning Department and find out what they recommend.

  27. Hi Cheryl,
    Site Excavations and Stability issues are covered under Part G of the National Building Regulations and is generally accepted that any excavation related to any building work that is carried out on a site, and if those excavations may impair the stability of any property, the owner of the site must take adequate preventive measures to ensure that the safety and stability of those properties or services is conserved. If they have disturbed the bank causing it to slide then it would seem that they have to put that right. You must contact your local Planning Department and request that they send an inspector to the site to make a ruling.

  28. Hi Sunet,
    The Local Authorities might vary in their requirements. It depends where you are in the country, some might need a form filled in while others need only a letter but some will need both. The best thing is to contact your local Planning Department and tell them what work you intend doing and ask what they need.

  29. Heide Janse van Rensburg

    To whom it may concern,
    I would like ot build in a braai on my patio and would like to know if
    there are any specific regulations with regard to this? Please can you
    point me in the right direction?

  30. Hi Heide,
    Yes I can point you in the right direction. Please have a look on my other site, there is an article about, and guidelines for What is Minor Building Work. I hope you will find this helpful.

  31. We are looking at buying a property but in the backyard there is quite a sizable building which they refer to as a lapa. The building how ever is completely bricked up with windows and a sliding door with a thatch roof. The seller has said that it is not registered and that we would have to get it registered.

    What concerns me is that this building is not on a foundation but has been built on the current paving.
    It’s is quite a sizable building, I’m not good at estimating a size but It is bigger than the master bedroom in the house and has electricity.
    In corners of the inside of the building are round wooden poles of the same poles holding from the roof into the ground, the same as the poles in the thatch roof and what you commonly see in a thatched roof.

    Is this building legal? When is a foundation a requirement?

  32. First of all, if the seller says the structure is not “registered”, get clarification. He/she probably means that it was built without plans. The problem with this is twofold: 1) If you are getting a bond, the bondholder is likely to insist on plans. 2) If you decide to resell the house, the buyer is likely to insist on plans. The “issue” regarding “foundations” isn’t necessarily an issue.
    In general, a pole structure might be regarded as minor building work, but it isn’t defined as such in the regulations. See the link for a full description of minor building work. If it isn’t, then there should be plans for the structure, otherwise it’s an illegal structure.
    In terms of foundations, pole structures generally have foundation footings – i.e. They dig a deep-enough hole (depending on the weight the structure has to carry) for each upright and sink that into concrete. In this instance, if there is a floor slab, that won’t be what is carrying the weight. So a paved floor is fine – providing the foundation footings are adequate. The other option that people sometimes use for pole structures like patio pergolas, are post anchor supports. These are usually made of mild steel, and have a hefty metal peg that gets anchored in concrete in a foundation footing. But it wouldn’t be suitable for what you have described. The “new” regulations have various new references to pole structures and thatched roofs, but I don’t know off-hand what they say in terms of foundations (specifically minimum dimensions). A fairly straightforward open-sided carport (defined as minor building work), with a solid tin or fiberglass roof, built with either wooden or metal posts, would require foundation footings that were at least 600 mm x 600 mm square, and 600 mm deep.
    If I were you I would make my offer to purchase dependent on the current owner obtaining approved plans from the local authority for the structure. If they can’t get plans passed, the structure might have to be demolished.
    I hope this helps.

  33. A friend of mine want to erect some temporary, pre-fabricated school
    buildings.

    What is the rules and regulations regarding temporary school
    buildings?

    Thanks
    Chris

  34. We have an existing pergola which is situated in a u-shaped courtyard. We’re considering covering this with a roof and the area is approximately 28sqm. What regulations would apply in this instance?
    Many thanks

  35. Senta this qualifies as minor building work (see the link). So you put a roof on the pergola but you do need to notify the council that your going to do this.

  36. In a nutshell – you may only erect a temporary structure for a specified period of time (because it is temporary) – e.g. builder’s sheds for construction sites. Thereafter you must demolish them. If you want to use this type of structure permanently, you need approved plans.

  37. I’d like to know if a structure of 4 poles with a shade-net roof is considered a structure – even a temporary one or a minor alteration.
    Such a construction could easily be used as a car port but it is not permanently enclosed in any way – merely tensioned between the posts.
    Chris

  38. It is minor building work Chris – see the article HERE.

  39. What do I need to do before I start to extend my cottage e.g. One
    front unit wall? Minor building work. Who do I contact to come and
    inspect the cottage to be extended

  40. I have an existing patio (it is part of my house, on my plans, has a built in braai, connects to my house on the one side with a glass sliding door, has same ceiling as the rest of my house and ‘shares’ the roof) and I wish to enclose it with aluminium&glass folding and sliding doors, do I need council approval and do I need plans? I’m not changing the structure – just putting in sliding doors/windows. I’m not even planning on taking out the existing sliding door to the rest of my house.

    Would the new fenestration regulations apply to this part of the house?

    All the contractors who gave me quotes said that I don’t need approval, but I’m not so sure…

  41. The planning department of your local authority.

  42. The new fenestration regs apply to all parts of the house including additions to an old house. Your local authority MAY not require plans, but you should check with them because you will effectively be changing the function of this space – and function is an important part of the National Building Regulations. Contractors often tell people that approval isn’t required, because it is a hassle for them. My guess is that this will be regarded as minor building work, but that you will be required to submit a rider plan showing the new doors and windows. It’s as well to make sure because otherwise if you decide to sell at a later stage, there may be objections that hold up the sale.

  43. We have a braai area next to our back wall. We are planning to enclose the area with a pergola. Would we need to get approval to do this?

  44. Hilda if the structure is open sided and smaller than the area specified in the regs then no. If you are in fact going to enclose it – e.g. with glass or some sort of wall – then yes you will.

  45. Please advise:
    We would like to extend our kitchen, living room and study – by making use of lots of wasted space (large open areas)… how would we need to approach something like this:

    1. would I need to have an architect draw up plans for approval by the municipality?
    2. do we only need permission to do minor building work?

    we will not be breaking down any other walls

  46. Nadiya, You say you won’t be breaking down “any other walls” so this probably IS minor building work.
    If so, then I suggest you outline the work you intend to do and submit this to your local authority. They should have some sort of a form you can fill in.
    In more general terms, if changes don’t involve load-bearing walls then you probably wouldn’t need plans. For instance, there might be a wall that you could bash out to make extra space. But if this WAS a load-bearing wall, you would need input from an architect, possibly even an engineer – and you definitely would need plans. The existing plans will show which are load bering walls and which aren’t. If the alterations don’t change the usage of the areas involved you also probably wouldn’t need plans. But if the end result involves a total reconfiguration, you’d be advised to submit a rider plan anyway – simply so that you are covered when/if you decide to sell the property.
    I hope this helps.
    When in doubt contact your local authority. At the end of the day they have the final say.

  47. Hi Penny, I would like to extend the height of my boundary wall with either palisade steel panels or precast panels. Will I require a plan for this? Thank you.

  48. Sally, any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil is regarded as minor building work in terms of the National Building Regulations, and does not require plans. However in terms of the legislation, you are obliged to notify the local authority of the work you intend to do. If you are going to extend it higher than 1,8 m, they might require plans. It’s their prerogative.

  49. Hi,

    What happens if an addition has been made to a property before you purchased the property and no no permission was sort?

    Thanks
    Craig

  50. Craig – you might have a problem. However it is possible to have a rider plan drawn up and submit this to the council. You will need to ensure though that the addition was completed according to the Building Regulations. If not, you might have to alter the alterations! If it is totally illegal – i.e. does not comply, the council could demand that you demolish it. So weigh up all these issues.

  51. We’d like to build a “patio” – just foundations and slab – 25m2 – no roof or walls. Do we need plans?
    Thanks!

  52. No Sharee you don’t.

  53. dumsani ndzabe

    hi,

    i want to renovate and alter my house and not sure if the work would need plan approvals.
    there is a big bedroom that i need to partition into 2 rooms and then convert a smaller partition into a kitchen and then change the existing kitchen into a bedroom. do i need approved plans for this work or is it minor change.

    thanks,
    dumsani ndzabe,
    durban

  54. Dumsani, You can partition the room without plans, but as soon as you change the function of a room, e.g. kitchen to bedroom or part of a bedroom to a kitchen, you do need plans. You can probably submit a rider plan that just shows this part of the house, but you will need to indicate new plumbing and electrics and have this work installed by qualified, registered people.

  55. dumsani ndzabe

    thanks penny

  56. I have enclosed a stoep & balcony with windows/glass bricks as weather protection. Is this considered as minor building work, when the original stoep and balcony structures were in place and previously approved by council?

    many thanks

  57. I will like to extend my existing veranda by about a meter, how can I go about getting approval for this

  58. Craig, if you need plans to do this, you will have to consult with a competent person. That person will then submit the plans to council and make sure the work is done according to plan. You local authority might consider this to be minor building work, in which case you won’t need plans. But you will need to check with their planning department, and if it is minor building work they may need you to fill in a form or provide a letter, stating that you are going to be doing the work.
    The major issues will be how close to the boundary the extension will take the verandah – if the house is already close to the boundary line you might have to get approval from the council. And how structural the work is. e.g. if it is built with bricks and mortar and is elevated (which a true verandah usually is) then you will probably need plans.

  59. Presuming the roof structure was already in place, I would think so Ed. It doesn’t sound as if you have altered the floor space or done anything to affect the structural safety of the building. Just bear in mind function. You can’t now make this an en suite bedroom! When/if you sell, make sure that it is clearly functioning as stated on the plans. i.e. Being used for what you would normally use a stoep (e.g. sitting/casual eating etc).

  60. Hi there!

    I am doing internal alterations to an existing building. It is currently being used as a Student Residence and the buyer wants to turn it into bachelor units. Do I need to take part XA into account even though it’s just an internal alteration? Will I need to brick up existing windows to meet with the fenestration requirements so forth?

    Thanking you in advance

  61. Kazerne, As I understand the regulations you will only need to comply with the new XA if plans are required. In general “the National Building Regulations are not retroactive in application”. Health and safety are the primary issues they are concerned about. I have added a page with some more information that might help you.
    One thing you will need to take into account is the fact that the function of the building is being changed, and this will need to be note on the plans. For this reason the local authority may demand compliance with Part XA.

  62. Hi There ( This is a great site for the public well done )

    I have a house with an existing stoep
    The stoep is already on the plan I aim to put a roof over the stoep , will I require a plan for this the stoep is 2m X10 m

    Thank yopu for your answer

    Best regards
    Mo

  63. One more thing

    I am quite competent in drawing up my own plan , can I submit this plan even though I am not an architect

  64. Mo, it is up to the building control officer to make this decision. Probably not, since I presume it is open-sided, and would then be regarded as minor building work.

  65. Mo, Unfortunately not. This has to be done by a competent person – i.e. a qualified person who is registered as required by the National Building Regulations. I have given you a link to our sister web site, Owner Building where I have written an article about competent persons. You might be able to find someone who would sign your plans – which would save you some money (rather like they might use a draughtsperson in their office to draw the plans) – but a competent person must be appointed, and this person has to submit the plans and follow through to the end of the build.

  66. Hi
    I was wanting to know, does one require building plans to erect an
    awning? Specifically a louvre type awning. And do building regulations
    differ from one municipality to another?

  67. i want to build a wall on the roadside of my property which is going to be 9.5mtr across and 1.2mtr high ,
    do i need a plan . It is going to be at 700mm into the trench and from the ground up 1.2mtres

  68. The information on this page spells it out for you thaven. “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,”
    So no, in terms of the NBR, you don’t need plans. But you should check whether the local authority has a by-law that requires plans, and whether you need permission from them in terms of exactly where you build the wall.

  69. Muneera,
    1) An awning would normally be minor building work and so would not require plans.
    2) The National Building Regulations apply to all construction work throughout SA, regardless of municipality or locale – e.g. farms, cities, villages… However, different local authorities (councils and municipalities) have their own by-laws, and some of these will affect what is and is not permitted in terms of building work. Remember that the NBR are minimum standards.

  70. Hi there,

    We are wanting to build a deck that is 50square meters in total,it is a wrap around deck that runs down one side of our house and around half way to the other side.
    What would be the regulations around this?
    We would like to do it ourselves, but thought due to the size that we would need to the structure to be signed off or something like this before laying the flooring.
    Could you please advise.
    Thank you.

  71. Hi Megan,
    You don’t say what material the deck will be constructed from and how high off the ground the finished level will be. Having said that if it is a concrete slab, paving bricks or similar directly at ground level then no plans will normally be needed as it will be considered “Minor Building Work” as we say on this page. A wooden deck will depend how high off the ground it will be. You will be able to have a low retaining wall so long as it is no higher than one meter (1m)

  72. Zane Carpenter

    Good morning, I have a small timber construction company. I have a few questions that no one has been able to answer for me.
    I build wendy houses, but I need to know at what size do clients to go from needing permission to getting plans, or does it come down to intention for use? e then classified as temporay structures?
    Small wendy houses are build on blocks and require no foundation, are thes
    I am often asked to make wendy houses live able, in terms of fire rating, what is the best insulater for wall?
    Do Jungle gyms require plans?

    Thank you
    Zane

  73. Hi there if I add solar panels to my roof or any commercial building, do I still need to submit new plans! surely not !!!!

  74. No Lee-ann you don’t need plans. However you will have some plumbing to do and this must be done by a qualified and registered plumber who may need to sign a certificate of compliance for your local council. Check with them.

  75. Zane here are some links to articles that should help answer your questions.
    Minor building work is defined on this page and you will see that so called Wendy houses built as tool sheds may be 10 sq m max, and kiddies’ playhouses, 5 sq m max. There is another article on minor building work on our sister website, Owner Building. This article also mentions temporary buildings. But to understand the concept of temporary buildings fully, read the article on this site. A temporary building is just that – you cannot leave it up permanently. So you certainly cannot have a timber dwelling classified as a temporary structure.
    So the short answer is that if a timber building – call it whatever you like – is to be used as a dwelling, OR if it is larger than the sizes defined in the NBR in terms of purpose, then your clients need plans. And they need these plans to be drawn up by a competent person. If they don’t have plans the council can force them to demolish the structure. And if they try and sell the property at a later stage and the buyer discovers there are no plans – or if they want finance – there are likely to be serious ramifications.
    When you say you want to make your “Wendy houses” livable … I assume this means you want to ensure they can be used as a habitable dwelling. If so, you need plans, and you need to comply with the building regulations. This includes compliance in terms of fire and insulation (and all the other parts). There are some guidelines on this site, and reference to the specific parts of SANS 10400 you need to follow. But if you are doing any form of construction you should have a full copy of the regulations, and you should be using them on a daily basis.
    Jungle gyms don’t require plans.

  76. hi Penny

    Maybe I was not clear, I was talking about SOLAR PANELS “PV” not a solar geyser or a heat pump.

    please advise

  77. Hi Leeann,
    Gosh I’m surprised! You guys have been in the business for 10 years and now you have to ask us if you need plans. I’m flattered, thank you.
    The answer is – no you do not need plans for residential or commercial use if it is a stand-alone system. BUT if the roof structure has to be changed or modified in any way then you will have to submit a plan. And for a commercial installation you will need the landlord/owners permission. If you are wanting to link to the “grid” that involves another set of rules with the municipality and or ESKOM. I hope this helps 😀

  78. Could building lines be ignored when shadeports for the purpose of parking cars are erected? I have been advised that no plans have to be submitted for shadeports and since they are regarded as temporary structures, building lines do not have to be respected. Your comments please!

  79. Hi Linda,
    This would be considered “minor building work” and you can read more here: ownerbuilding/minor-building-works As you will see you do not need plans BUt you do need to inform the council in writing about your intention.
    All the metropolitan areas in South Africa have their own by-laws that deal with this and do vary. Here is an exerpt from the Tshwane (Pretoria) by-laws regarding car-ports:
    (e) on a property which is zoned “Residential 1”, a minimum street building line of 5,0 m shall be applicable to a garage or car-port which provides access perpendicular to the street. Where such access is parallel to the street then the garage or car-port may be erected on the street boundary of the property.

  80. What is the general requirements to the width of the pavement in Newlands Cape Town? I want to move my boundary wall on the street side closer to the street so that I can park my car off street behind the boundary wall. Thank you.

  81. Louisa it isn’t the width of the pavement you need to worry about, you cannot build beyond your boundary. So if the boundary wall is already on the boundary, that’s the way it will have to stay. The City of Cape Town has strict by-laws regarding walls and fences that relate to both height and appearance. For instance:
    “Solid boundary walls may not be any higher than shall 1.8 m on street boundaries, and no higher than 2,1 m on lateral boundaries.
    “Palisade-type fences may not be higher than 2.1 m on either street or lateral boundaries.
    “Fences may not be higher than 2,1 m on street boundaries.
    “Where two intersecting street boundaries of any property enclose an angle of less than 135 degrees, the maximum permitted boundary wall height above street level within 4, 5 m of the intersection of the boundaries is 1 m.”

  82. Johan Slabbert

    I want to build a 1.8 m solid boundary wall to the street front of my property with an entry gate. The building inspector refuses permission according to sec. 7 of act 103 of 1977, which states that no building work may be unsightly or detract from the value of the neighbour properties. Which i am convinced it does not. He says 40 % of this boundary wall has to be palisade.

    Now the neighbours have given me written permission on his first refusal to build it and now the second time round he has refused it again.
    A few of the neighbours have 1. 8 m solid boundary wall themselves. But i am stuck now, as i have no permission to build. Is this decision of the building inspector valid? And what recourse do I have now?
    I would appreciate any help in this regard.
    Johan

  83. Good day,

    Please could someone advise whether or not a plan is needed for a aluminium carport/awning under 20sqm is required?

  84. Duane if you scroll through the questions and answers on this page you’ll see we have answered this question a number of times. A structure this size is defined as minor building work – further explained on this page – which doesn’t require plans UNLESS your local authority deems it necessary. You will need to contact your council to let them know you are erecting this structure and to double check what they require.

  85. Johan have you read what the Act says? If not you can download it from our downloads page. Section 7 says a lot more than what you have quoted. It covers:
    Approval by local authorities in respect of erection of buildings and refers to “the building” rather than building work. Further it states that if the local authority refuses permission to build (two possible reasons being that it will be “unsightly or objectionable” or will “derogate from the value of adjoining or neighboring properties”) they must give you “written reasons for such refusal”. If you have not received this refusal in writing, demand it. You have every right to.
    Section 9 gives you the right to appeal against the decision of the local authority. (Read the Act and the 2008 amendment).
    The 40% rule is in the City of Cape Town’s bylaws (from your email address it looks like you’re in CT). They have a “boundary walls and fences policy” that specifies:
    “At least 40% of the surface area of a street boundary wall, including gates, if provided, must be visually permeable.” There is nothing about “palisade”. If he said this he is way out of line – or is this your interpretation? Palisade fences are only mentioned in terms of height, see below.
    The bylaw also states:
    “No solid boundary wall shall exceed 1.8 m in height on a street boundary …”
    “No palisade type fence shall exceed 2.1 m in height on a street boundary …”
    And that the height restrictions may be permitted “at the discretion of the District Manager”. Perhaps you should find out who the district manager is in your part of the CT and contact that person. You might find the telephone number on the document you can download HERE.
    You can download the full CT boundary wall policy HERE.

  86. Johan Slabbert

    Thank you so much Penny.
    I have a further question. I had a look at the City of Cape Town’s Policy on Boundary walls and Fences, which requires a 40% visual permeability of the surface area of a street boundary.
    As far as I know ‘a policy’ is a nice-to-have, cannot be enforced as it is not a law or by-law. I know this from years of battles in the field of education. However, does it work differently in building boundary walls and with building inspectors?
    The reason I am asking is that they rejected my boundary wall plans according to sec. 7 of Act 103 of 1977, but then state the reason as this demand for 40% visual permeability from their policy, as if it is in the act.

  87. Johan you are probably right about the boundary walls and fences policy, which is why so many people don’t comply. I think their reasoning is largely a safety issue – so local authority services e.g. fire and water can see into the property. There is nothing about appearance of walls and fences in the City’s zoning bylaws that govern height of walls etc. That document is also downloadable from our site.
    I don’t believe that building inspectors have special dispensation to decide anything that is not covered by the law, NBR and other Standards that apply to building.
    You initially said that they had used the clause about unsightly building or detracting from the value of the neighboring properties. That is in the Act. There is nothing in the Act about 40% visual permeability. You don’t say whether they gave you notice in writing – which they must do according to the law. And as I said in my previous reply, you have a right to object. It sounds to me that the person concerned here either has a personal interest of some kind, or is throwing their weight around. You need to talk to more senior people – possibly even the town planner, if you can get to him. Or how about the mayor? 😉
    Ultimately you may need to resort to a legal confrontation.

  88. Hi
    I would like to erect a carport at home in the Bruma area.
    Please advise the By-laws for this.
    Thank you
    Habiba

  89. Hi, I have a timber home on stilts and want to enclose the area underneath with similar wood panels,my question is,would I need a foundation to throw a concrete slab/floor? The floor will have no load on it.Maybe a strip foundation would be necessary? Any info or help would be much appreciated,thanks very much

  90. Gerry if you are enclosing the section under your house, strictly speaking you need approved plans and you need to build in accordance with the National Building Regulations and SABS guidelines. For instance, in any timber-framed wall, a damp-proof course must be installed between the bottom plate of the wall and any foundation wall or concrete floor slab, and this must extend over the full thickness of the wall. And there are standards for penetration of rain.
    Generally both internal and external timber-framed walls should be constructed in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10082.
    You don’t need a foundation for a floor, but if any part of the floor is to be used for a laundry, kitchen, shower, bathroom, or toilet area, then it needs to be water-resistant and constructed of concrete that complies with SANS 2001-CC1 or -CC2.
    In SANS 10400 Part J, Floors, there is a section that deals with Floors supported on ground or filling . e.g. It must be designed and constructed in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10109-1 under the direction of a competent person (civil engineering).
    OR if it is not going to be used for storage or for industrial purposes (i.e. it’s part of a dwelling), there are certain requirements. In relation to a concrete floor, the Standard says that:
    “a plain grade 10 concrete slab where the slab does not serve as the final wearing surface, or a plain grade 15 concrete slab where the slab serves as the final wearing surface, of thickness not less than 75 mm, laid on a polyolefin underfloor membrane and constructed in accordance with the requirements of SANS 2001-CC1, provided that any panel dimension does not exceed
    •• 3,5 m where floors are covered with carpets and flexible floor covering, or
    •• 2,5 m where floors are covered with semi-flexible or rigid tiles.
    There is another Standard, SANS 10109-2 that deals specifically with Concrete floors and concrete floor finishes.
    I’m not sure about the Standards that relate to the base of wooden walls – but it stands to reason that they should be raised above the level of the ground to keep them away from moisture.

  91. Habiba, As you will see on this page, open-sided carports of a certain size do now require plans. However you do need to tell your local council (City of Johannesburg) you intend to erect a carport. Some municipalities do have plan requirements though, in spite of the minor building law. You need to ask them.

  92. Thanks Penny,the Plans are almost done as it will be Residential but all your other info and guidance will be an absolute life-saver,thanx again

  93. The building inspector insists that I need to submit plans for a 10 square meter wood and iron ( wendyhouse type) toolshed in my backyard. May the building inspector interpret the building regulations as he sees fit. As far as I know, a 10 square meter toolshed is defined in The Act as a minor building work, not requiring plans.

    What do I do?

  94. Derek while the Building Regulations do state that a “tool shed not exceeding 10 m2 in area” = minor building work, which doesn’t require plans, the local authority has the authority to over-ride this. The law does though state that you have to notify the local authority of your intention to build. Sometimes they just ask for a site plan to be sure that the structure won’t infringe on the boundary line. If you didn’t notify your local authority of your intentions, they could prevent you from building at all. The only suggestion I have is for you to approach the head of the planning department and talk to that person. Otherwise you will simply have to submit plans as requested.

  95. I wish to enclose an existing patio with bronzed aluminium & glass sliding doors & fixed glass panels with aluminium windows.Do I need to submit plans? The existing wooden sliding door as entrance into existing sitting room will be retained.All windows in the house are wooden framed.I hear that the enclosure must be wooden framed?

  96. I own a pub in Table View and have been advised to partition the smoking section off by means of 2 dry walls which will include 2 exit/entry doors and windows as well as a strong extraction system and air conditioner. What I do not understand is why I need plans in order to erect 2 partition walls. Secondly, I have been advised that the dry walling separating all the shops are illegal as they are meant to be 60/120 minute fire proof dry walls. Can you please throw some light on these problems / questions.

  97. Nicky we responded to your query on our Facebook page. As I said previously, the issue appears to relate to fire prevention, which is why the local authority is calling for plans. It is their prerogative to do so.

  98. Afternoon
    Can an individual put a container on his site without asking municipal approval?

  99. Hi,

    I know that there are certain instances when putting up a wall doesn’t require building plans. Does this apply to vibracrete walls? What are the rules or where can I find them?

    Thanks,
    PJ

  100. Prevyn – when it is minor building work (the link will tell you more), or if the local authority does not require plans. Ultimately it’s their call. Rule of thumb is that any wall or fence under 1.8 m does not require plans, but you are still obliged to notify the council of the planned work.

  101. Thank you for the speedy reply. I will make sure to read the link you’ve supplied.

  102. No Emmerentia they can’t, though some people do.

  103. Hi

    We have a lapa (brick and tiled roof) on our property that was there when we bought the property. It has now come to our attention that the lapa in not on the original building plan, Do we have to add this to the plan?
    Thank you
    Karin

  104. Hi

    I would like to know the following:

    We want to build a braai on our boundry wall (braai is 130mm away from vibacrete wall that separates us from our neighbour) if they say no, what can we do about it?

    please let me know

    many thanks
    Tara

  105. Good day

    I live in a townhouse complex.

    I wish to block/remove a current window in my open plan kitchen. The board of trustees of the complex has already approved the aesthetic alteration, but they are concerned that it might violate municipal regulations, since they are not sure what the regulation states regarding this matter.

    I would like to apply for exemption from submitting a plan, if this will be regarded as minor building work. I have already received my current building plans from the municipality.

    What is the process that I should follow in order to get approval for this. I phoned the municipality regarding this matter. Their only response is that I should submit plans to the office. I tried to explain to the lady that I am applying for minor building work in order to be exempted from submitting plans, but the only reply I get, is to submit plans. . .

    Can I “red-line” the current plans to indicate where the window will be removed, or should I now appoint an architect for this purpose?

    Is there any way to contact the building control officer directly?

  106. Hi Penny

    I have submitted plans to my local municipality, building and development in Kraaifontein, Western Cape. It included converting my single garage into an extra room and erecting a tandem carport(3.6m x 9m) on the opposite side of my property with a (4.5m x4.5m) carport in front of that to my street boundary.
    Now the council has a problem with the outer carport being wider than 3.6m width. There are other properties that have carports wider than their garages in the same complex.

    My existing garage has a parapet flat roof, the council has told me that i cannot convert it due to me altering the architecture of the development. All that will be done is the removal of the garage door and replaced with an window of the same architecture as the existing house. (Group Housing)

    The thing is that there is about 5 or so properties in the next street and neighborhood that have done the exact same conversion.
    Why would they tell me to comply to these rules when other owners have been given approval for the exact same alterations.

  107. Clint, First of all, if you are in a complex the complex may have restrictions that must be adhered to. I assume this is the case because you are talking about the architecture. But from you describe – changing a door to a window, I can’t imagine why they are objecting. If there is a body corporate perhaps you can get permission from them. You mention houses in the next street – are they part of the same complex? If not it is irrelevant. If they are you have a strong case in your favour.
    If you put your cursor on our tab Building Regulations Introduction, you will see a drop down menu that has several zoning docs – CT, Jhb and Tshwane.
    In terms of your carport. If you have plans, and the roof structure is properly supported, then there should be a problem with the width of your carport. An open-sided carport that does not exceed 40 square metres in size is considered minor building work and does not require plans.

  108. Divan, only your local authority (municipality) can answer these questions. If I were you I would go into their office and ask to see a senior person. Unfortunately there are a lot of people employed in municipality offices who don’t have a clue! If they won’t allow you to see a senior person then ask if they have a form to fill in to notify them you are doing minor building work. If they don’t, give them a letter stating that you are doing minor building work – and get them to stamp duplicate for your own records. And to cover yourself, write a letter to the council stating the procedure you have followed – including any reluctance on their part to give you access to the right people. I can’t guarantee that this will work, but it’s what I would do.

  109. You will also need approval from the local authority – even if you don’t need plans! And if neighbour’s consent IS required, and they say no – then you won’t be able to build it.

  110. Hi Penny

    Thank you for you comments. The municipality will now consider my plans after i took photos and aerial pictures of the complex where the other carports and garage conversions were.
    They missed it on there initial survey of the area.

  111. Hi Ian,
    So long as you are not altering any structural elements, such as widening any openings, and only replacing what is already there, you should be fine. If you are in a complex with a body corporate I suggest that you ask them what their rules are.

  112. Hi ,
    I want to put up a double carport that will be in front of an existing single garage. It will also be hard up against the one side boundary wall with my neighbour. I was planning on a 6.5m x 6.5m structure. My queries are :
    1. Should i rather reduce this slightly to keep under 40sqm and therefore not require plans?
    2. Is there a standard neighbour consent form I should use?
    3. Can I get it erected after getting my neighbours permission but before council permission and then apply to them?
    Thanks for your help.

  113. Hi Penny
    Can you help me regarding regs on coutryard closure, partly or total.
    There is a gully & bathroom window affected.
    Ventilation & maybe natural light is probably in the mix ?

    Thank you
    Harry v Zyl

  114. Harry I am not an architect, and the NBR don’t cover courtyard enclosures as such. A competent person is required by law to draw the plans; that person should be able to answer your questions. Guessing, you might need to move the gully (you’ll need a plumber to do this legally); and you might need to brick up the window and install artificial lighting and a suitable ventilation system.

  115. Can we build an outside toilet without submitting plans to the local municipality for approval

  116. Silas, absolutely not! The regulations governing plumbing – including the National Building Regulations – are extremely strict, and with good reason.

  117. Craig, while open-sided carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size do not require plans in terms of the National Building Regulations, Part A, General Principles and Requirements warns that carports “may in some instances be an exception since, where servitudes are involved, the siting might be important and hence a site plan might be required. In the case of carports to be erected in areas subject to strong winds, it might also be necessary to consider structural aspects”, in which case plans may be required by the local authority.
    In terms of neighbour consent forms, I assume that most local authorities do have a standard form.
    And to answer you last question, no. Getting council approval is the most important part as they would be the body that would demand you demolish the structure if you haven’t followed the “rules”.
    BTW the new Cape Town zoning scheme does not require people to get neighbors’ permission to build on or up to a boundary. However there are other prerequisites that must be taken into account, including how much of the boundary may be built on and the total area of the property that may be built on. All municipalities have similar bylaws, but most do require neighbors’ consent.

  118. Good day Penny

    A part of my lateral wall fell over due to heavy rains, now that I want to claim from my insurance they said that it isn’t build according to the building regulation, it is a face brick wall with a foundation, 2m length is in side and 2m length is outside so if you look from the top it will have a zig zag movement.

    The neighbour’s insurance said it is poor workmanship

    So what both insurance companies say don’t add up, can you please send me or tell me where I can get the building regulations for a boundry wall, and maybe a member of NBR in the Piet Retief area to have a look at the wall and to give me a letter.

  119. Francois, Check the small print in your insurance policy and see if the building regulations are mentioned. Whatever excuse they give must be part of the contract you signed with them.
    Unfortunately there is no such thing as a person representing the NBR. Guidelines for the way walls are built are found in Part K, Walls. You can buy this from the SABS or go to an SABS library (though there won;t be one in Piet Retief) and read it there. The NHBRC also has handbooks that they sell that show how walls should be built to comply with the regulations.

  120. Subject:
    awnings

    Message:
    Hi I want to erect an awning 3.5 x 1.5 mtrs on my balcony in Durban
    will I need planning permission to do this.

  121. Paul you shouldn’t need planning permission, unless it is a solid awning that makes it structural.

  122. Dear Penny,
    Please could you confirm if the conversion of a garage into a living area is against SA Building Regulations? The conversion would not affect the structure/ any structural wall, and a dry wall and ceiling would be put up to divide the garage in half.
    Thank you

  123. Hi Lara, No it not against the building regulations. The way it works is, that each room on the plans that were submitted, when the house was built, has to say what the room will be used for and the house is then built according to the rules for each room. A garage is designated for a motor vehicle and classified as such and was built according to those specs. It is not a human habitable room. Even though there are no structural changes to the garage you will have to inform the council that the “class” of the room is changing to a human habitable class. Each council in SA has its own way of dealing with this and in some cases you might only need to notify them in writing if your intention whilst others will want full rider plans. I suggest that you find out and do it correctly as it might cost you a lot more later on if you decide to sell and the plans in council do not match with your house.

  124. Good day

    Background:
    My neighbour’s garage is 4m from our living room and kitchen. It was extended two years ago to provide for an additional bedroom and bathroom (flatlet). These windows are projecting towards our property, now providing my neighbour with full view into our living room, our back yard, front yard and swimming pool area. The perimeter wall is 1.8 m high but his house is on higher ground due to the sloping topographical area.
    Question 1: According to their architect our loss of privacy is legal. Is this true?
    Question 2: Two months ago our neighbour converted the flatlet into a TV room. Now we hear the noise of their TV and radio inside our house as the ongoing noise projects through their window towards our property. This is very frustrating when we want to have a quiet evening. We know this is an Environmental Health issue. But we also want to know if any building regulations are being contravened?

    Eagerly awaiting your reply.

  125. Hi,

    We live in a townhouse complex in JHB and our neighbours wants to build/erect a carport 4.7m x 4.1m that will be adjacent to their stoep and bedrooms and right on our backdoor. What are the regulations surrounding that? Is that allowed? Do they need plans? Do they need permission from us? The body corporate has approved this. Is there anything that we can do to stop this?

    Please let me know soonest, thanks!

  126. Subject:
    awnings

    Message:
    Hi I want to erect an awning on my balcony, I want to put joist
    hangers on my dividing walls,then hang two joists in them, I want to
    cover them with either shade cloth or IBR sheeting would I need
    planning permission to do this. Also could you explain the difference
    between solid & none solid structures,as either method can be erected
    or dismantled within an hour.
    Many thanks

  127. Subject:
    Low retaining wall

    Message:
    Hi there,

    I would like to build a small retaining wall to terrace our garden, which is on a slop. the structure would be 400cm high, and about 2,300cm wide. the ends would be supported by already existing garden
    walls. I cannot seem to find any regulation governing such a small build – are you able to advise if I would need to apply for permission to build such a wall? It is not load bearing, and the amount of earth it would retain is nominal ( the other, existing retaining walls are doing most of the work already).
    Any help would be great!
    Thanks,
    Grant

  128. Hi Grant, It seems as though you are well within the “Minor Building” regulations. The retaining wall section in the Regulations start at 1.3m. The width of 2.3m is quite long for a 1/2 brick wall without a supporing pier in the middle. The wall should be a minimum 140mm thick. If you are building with hollow block I would advise you fill the cavities with mortar or concrete. Do not use any horizontal damp-proof membrane, and do leave a couple of weep-holes. I hope this helps.

  129. Paul I don’t think that you will need plans to do this (largely it will depend on the area to be covered), but if you look at the section on minor building work you will see that you are required to notify your local authority of your intention to make alterations. If you don’t do this you might encounter problems later on when and if you decide to sell the property.

  130. Karin you should do so because when/if you decide to sell it might be a problem, particularly if the purchaser needs a bond.

  131. Hi there. I have recently purchased a proper with a low precast boundary wall. I want to change this to palisade fencing or possibly built proper wall at bottom and add palisade to top? Do I need to get plans in order to do this??

  132. Chanmare, generally not, but to be sure check with your local authority.

  133. As you can see in the article on this page, “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,” do not require plans. So the carport your neighbors plan to build does not required plans. The positioning will probably depend on zoning. You can download the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme document from this website; that might give you more insight. They probably only need your permission if the carport is to be close to the boundary. You can appeal to the body corporate and lodge an objection with the City of Johannesburg; however it may not make any difference at all.

  134. Alta, the best I can do is to refer you to this article on our website. While they may not have broken any building regulations, they are in contravention of the PAJA. Noise is another issue that you can complain to the council about. But none of this is straightforward NBR. environmental health falls under the Health and Safety legislation.

  135. Dear Penny

    Thank you so much for your reply and the valuable info you provided. We were unaware of the existence of the PAJA document – we will be studying it.

  136. Subject:
    closing of attached carport

    Message:
    Hpoe you can help. My carport is attached to my house i want to close two sides to to create a room and bathroom existing foundation and roof, must i submit a plan for this. Thank You.

  137. Hi Este, It is not about the floor or the roof the Regulations refer to the class of use of any structure. You want to change the class of building from a carport to a dwelling with plumbing and a sewage outlet. All the building regulations apply to your extension and you will have to submit plans for approval before you do the renovation.

  138. romeo jameson

    im busy moving into my new home,but there is half build wall on the left handside of the house thats busy falling apart i would just like to know what i can do or who i can report it to .If asked the nabour cant we fix the wall cause i have kids that will be playing in the yard andim afraid the wall mite fall on one of them.Can i build my own wall and do i need a plan advise me please

  139. If you are renting, report it to the landlord. If you have bought the property you need to sort it out with your neighbour. Ascertain whether it is a common wall (i.e. owned by both parties) or whether it is your neighbour’s wall. You can build a wall on your side – as long as it is below 1.8 m you don’t need plans but in terms of the minor building reg you do need to notify the council of your intention to do this. The problem is that if the existing wall collapses, it might damage your new wall.

  140. Hi

    I would like to add on about 20 square meters to my existing stoep, build in a Braai area and then put clear roof sheeting on as a roof. 2 sides will be open. Do I need to get a plan or could I just go about myself with the council?

    If I could submit it myself to the council, where do I start?

    Thanks Devin

  141. Devin, First of all you cannot draw up your own plans or submit these to council. It needs to be done by a competent person. It sounds like minor building work to me, but best you check with the council to make sure.

  142. I want to increase the height of an existing boundary wall on the side of my house. Do I need plans for this?

  143. It depends on the height and the type of wall. If it’s minor building work then you probably won’t need plans – but again it will depend on the existing foundations and constructions methods used. In any event you should notify your local authority of your intention to raise the height of the wall – so why not contact them and ask if they require planning permission.

  144. jacques boths

    I enclosed an upstairs balcony and the builder indicated that I do no not need to worry about plans. The work is completed and I realised that I needed plans. Can I have the plans drawn up now to correct this? Are there any repercussions/fines?

  145. Jacques there may be a fine; it depends on the local authority. But if you approach them openly, there may not. Good luck.

  146. I reside in a Sectional Unit in an estate in Durban. I wish to replace wooden cottage pane doors and windows with aluminium cottage pane doors and windows. Body Corporate permission aside, do I need to have approved plans drawn up? There will be no structural changes, just the removal of the wooden version and insertion of aluminium, no resizing of any opening, no breaking down of walls etc…all materials used as per quotes meet building regulations.

    The management association state that in terms of SANS 10-400 regulations I need to have plans drawn up by an architect, are they correct?

    I would appreciate your guidance on this.
    Rgds
    Diane

  147. Diane no you don’t need plans in terms of the NBR but the body corporate can over-ride that. If you needed to install lintels or were removing lintels then you would need plans.

  148. I enclosed the patio of my townhouse with aluminium & glass.Two fixed panel & two sliding doors in the front & I fixed panel,1 sliding door & opening windows on each of the two sides.The orininal wooden/glass sliding door to the lounge was retained.
    I am now getting grief about energy efficiency & told that my plans do not comply.The enclosure was erected before the new regs came into force & plans were not required then.We are now selling & having to submit plans as mentioned above.
    Please advise how to deal with this problem.

  149. Ian if you had had plans when you made the alteration, and the alteration followed the plans – and it was indeed prior to the new XA of SANS 10400 (2011) and SANS 204: 2011 Energy Efficiency in Buildings – then they could not demand that you either put in new plans or make retrospective alterations. But it seems to me that you are submitting “as built” plans now. The problem is that plans were required previously – unless it was prior to the NBR (i.e. before 1977) and the local authorities specifically didn’t require plans. By enclosing a patio you are effectively enlarging the size of the house, and apart from anything else, this impacts on rates and taxes. An alteration like this is also likely to change the function of the area. You best bet is to find a so-called competent person who can advise what you need to do to ensure that the addition (and plans) do comply in the easiest, most cost effective way.

  150. I need to repair my leaking roof. I need information on builders residing in Giyani who are registered with your company.

    Regards,

    Joel
    083 414 0019

  151. Joel, Unfortunately we are not in a position to make recommendations. Contact the NHBRC to see which builders are registered with them. I have given you a link to their “Contact Us” page.

  152. When do you need building plans for an open timber deck? The area has a bit of slope and the deck height would vary… Any maximum area and/or maximum height?

  153. Johannes, you have clearly read what is covered by minor building … and so you will have seen that decks are not covered here – so no maximums or minimums. But as soon as there is any elevation, the local authority is going to want plans.

  154. Thanks for the response.

    I hope to keep everything under 1 m high. Surely no plans needed then..!

  155. Johannes, Part D of SANS 10400, Public Safety specifies changes in level, and 1 m is in fact the maximum height that they specify.
    D1 Change in Level
    The protection of the edge of any balcony, bridge, flat roof or similar place shall be designed to prevent any person from falling from such balcony, bridge, flat roof or similar place.
    SANS:
    4.2.2 The edge of any balcony, bridge, flat roof or similar place more than 1 m above the adjacent ground or floor level shall be provided with a balustrade or parapet wall not less than 1 m in height, unless unauthorized access of persons thereto has been excluded by a physical barrier properly erected and maintained.
    But this doesn’t necessarily mean the local authority won’t want plans, because as I said decks are not specified as minor building works (in fact as far as I know they are not even mentioned in the NBR). To be safe give the local authority a call. The last thing you want is to have them fine you or stop a sale going through at a later stage because your deck is not on the plans. In any case, according to the NBR you do need to notify the local authority of your intention to do any form of minor building work – even when plans are not required.

  156. Thanks for the advise

  157. we want to build a boundary wall in Marburg Portshepstone it will be done in blocks and no higher than 1.2m do we need to submit plans for this

  158. Jenny if you read the info on this page you will see that it states very clearly that freestanding walls up to 1.8 m do not require plans in terms of the National Building Regulations. However you do need to notify the council that you are going to be building the wall – and they have the right to demand plans if they deem them to be necessary (in spite of what the regs say). You must also be careful not encroach on your neighbour’s property.

  159. We have just purchase a home and would like to extend the kitchen and build a garage .would we need a building plan for them both.There would be a carport already.Can we take it down and replace it with the garage?

  160. Amanda, if you want to do extensions you will need building plans that must be approved by the local authority.

  161. Hi

    Do I need planning approval for the following scenario? I have asked several different people in the construction industry ranging from contractors to engineers and I get different answers:

    Existing house with a stoep. Stoep roof is concrete roof tiled and with gutters, roof overhangs, etc.
    stoep 8-10m2 in size; on two sides of the stoep is the existing house and a door leading onto the stoep. The two remaining sides of the stoep is open with 3openings with lintols 2 facebrick columns. The stoep has a ceiling and stoep light; the floor is paving.

    We want to cast a floor slab in place of the paving and close up the 3 openings with 2 aluminium windows and 1no alu sliding door and then replace the light fitting with a new light fitting. We also want to add a electrical wall socket which we will get a qualified electrician to do.

  162. Dan my understanding is that by enclosing a stoep and changing the floor structure it will no longer be a stoep, it will become a room, and therefore the classification of that part of your building will change – and so plans will be required. The light fitting and new wall socket shouldn’t be an issue, though as you point out, the new socket wiring must be done by a qualified electrician – who should also be registered with the council. When in doubt, contact your local authority, because they also have powers that enable them to “change” what is required by the building regulations.

  163. We would like to convert our existing Garage into a third bedroom and break a door into the lounge. We would need to brick up the existing garage door and put in a large window. Do we require permission or plans to do this?

    Also, if we were to add a bathroom, would we need any permissions or plans for this?

    regards
    Leigh

  164. Leigh you need plans for all this work because you are changing the use of the garage into a livable space and, in the case of a bathroom, you will obviously need plumbing to be installed. Further, only a qualified, registered plumber can do the work.

  165. Hi I want to erect a double carport and fit the front with garage doors, what procedures do I need to follow?
    Regards
    Merriam

  166. Hello Penny,

    We would like to open up a kitchen and dining area by demolishing an internal wall separating the two. The wall is not load-bearing. Do we need plans/permission? Regards.

  167. Thanks Penny 🙂

  168. stuart dersley

    I live in a gated community in Parklands, Cape Town.

    I applied to the Body Corporate for permission to erect a veranda onto the side of my home.
    They approved it and inspected after completion and said it was fine.

    It’s open on 3 sides and approx. 12m2.
    It uses corrugated sheets
    Has guttering.
    Fixed to the side of the dwelling.

    Do i need plans for this?

    Thanks

  169. I want to build a 40 square metre room and I live in a complex. Besides the body corporate story, do I
    need plans?

  170. Dear Penny

    We are planning to change one half of a double garage into a lounge. The closure of the one half is not going to be done by brick, but with wood and a ceiling will be installed in the one half part of the garage. We are also planning to change the garage door with a sliding patio door. The usage of the garage as a lounge is only a temporary plan as we will restore it again to a double garage in a year or two’s time. Please advise whether we need any authorisation from the local authority to enable us to attend thereto.

  171. Not only do you need authorization, because you are changing the function of the space you will need plans as well, unless the local authority decides it is minor building work and says that they don’t require plans. It’s their call. However, if you are going to “restore” it to what it was later, you will probably “get away” with it. That’s your decision.

  172. Yes you do need plans that have been approved by the local authority in addition to approval by the body corporate.

  173. Freek Myburgh

    Hi Penny
    i wish to extend my current carport .Current size is 8x 5m. I wish to extend it to 10.5x 5m and close the front with a garage door. The left side is enclosed with a 8 foot prefab wall and the right side wall is my house.
    What rules do i need to comply to have a successful application. We live in Port Elizabeth. Freestanding home

    thanks
    Freek

  174. I plan to have 2 single garage doors exchanged for a double garage door. Strictly speaking we won’t be installing or removing lintels, just swapping 2 short ones for a longer steel or precast lintel. I assume I will need plans? None of the quotes mention them..
    Thanks.

  175. Hi Penny,
    Can a retaining wall be regarded as a minor building work? About 5 meters long and the height tapers down from about 1,5 meter to 0,50 meter.

    This retaining wall is erected on die sidewalk/pavement and according to the surveyor’s plan it is on the municipality’s property.

    Is their any or certain regulations regarding the finishing of such a wall? Unplastred cement bricks?

    It really spoils the view from our front door – the wall is right across the steet.

  176. Hi, I would like to know if I need plans / permission to build a 24 sqm shelter for my caravan. It will be standing on poles, in front of my garage. It will be a steel structure with zinc pannels on top, but open on three sides.

  177. Hi, I live in Bfn – Would like to know what I need to erect a 24 sqm “afdak” for my caravan. The structure will be steel, with a zinc roof – open on three sides.

    Thank you.

  178. Hi

    I live in Soweto township in Gauteng,I want to know that, do I need an approved house plan to build a boundary wall?
    My neighbours dont have aproblem with me building.

  179. Christian Jonker

    I wish to add a carport for some vehicles, this will be constructed from Galvanized metal channeling and Perspex “Barrel Vault” style.
    The carport will not have any supports which will need foundations as all the supports will be bolted onto the existing walls.
    Must I still submit plans for this?

  180. Hi Christian, It’s not about foundations, it is about a structure with a solid roof between your existing walls. So yes you will need to submit plans.

  181. Hi Poyoz, In most municipalities it is permitted to build your boundary wall up to 1.8m without plans.

  182. the home I purchased 5 years ago, has two substandard storerooms attached. these storerooms has leaking roofs, no ceiling, previous owner had no plans for these rooms.

    municipality are now asking for plans for these storerooms. is there anyway I can object to this?

  183. Hi
    I just bought a house, planing to do some alterations. There is 2 small bed rooms next to each other i want to break the wall in between to make it a bigger bed room. Do i need plan?

  184. hello I have installed a tool shed 3 x3 m next to precast wall. is there an distance that the tool shed must be away from the wall.?

  185. Hi there . I would like to break out a window and replace it with a patio door . My window is 1m wide and the patio door is 1,5m wide. Do I need plans.?

  186. Hi Penny, my neighbour erected an open-sided caravan port right next to our boundary wall (using the boundary wall as the “closed” side). Did he need our permission, and/or permission from the Tshwane local authority to do so? Thanks

  187. Our neighbour has erected a corrougated iron structure on our boundary wall just outside my bedroom window.It is a very solid structure but they use it as their entertainment area so keep us up at night as it is 2 metres away from our house.They did concrete the polls into the ground and it is bolted to their building.Is this legal and should they have got permission from us before erecting it.We reside in the Germiston area and fal under the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council.

    Many thanks

  188. Hi

    I wish to put up a car port standard 6x6m alum one,
    I have been told that I need plans to do so. The car port will stand on metal pillars and will not be attached to the house.
    Please could you advise me on this ?
    Thanks in advance.

  189. Evening,

    I own on a 12 Acre plot in Benoni, I would like to erect 9 or 12 Wooden cottages for the use to let them to tenants, they will range from 2 bedrooms and 3 bedrooms.

    Is this allowed and do I need to get plans submitted and or apply for council approval?

    Thanks,
    TERRY

  190. You will have to check with your planning department at the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council because each city/town in South Africa has its own by-laws that relate to the different zones as well as the size of the property and these will say if permission is needed to erect something against a boundary wall. While you are there you can check if they had plans approved for the structure and if not then you can put in a complaint to the council and ask them to remove it. Noise is another by-law that you can ask them to enforce as neighbours are not allowed to make a noise after hours.

  191. Part-A deals with this: d) the making of an opening in a wall that doesn’t affect the structural safety of the building concerned. Any structural building work that is defined as “minor building work” requires authorization by your local authority’s building control officer before you can commence with any work. So inform your local authority in writing of what you intend doing and go from there. We have heard of both cases where one municipality will want plans and another not for a similar thing.

  192. As it is only 12sqm it could be considered “minor building work”, see our post here: minor-building-work Even though it has a solid roof covering the council might not want plans. To be safe ask your local council planning department for their assesment.

  193. 12 acres is a fair size but you will have to check with the local council what the zoning is on the Town Planning Scheme for Benoni and what density of housing that is allowed for your specific property. Plans are needed for any building erected on any property in South Africa it does not matter if they are wood or steel or if they have foundations or not. One of the main problems you might have is the sewage and waste water and if the council will allow you to link up so many dwellings.

  194. Most municipalities in South Africa will allow you to build a simple carport without plans but you must tell them in writingthat you are going to put up a carport and get their OK first.

  195. Hi
    I need to replace the existing 1,8 m vibracrete wall with a brick wall of the same height. do I need a building plan for this?

  196. You should just send the council planning a letter stating the erf number and your details and let them know that you are replacing the old wall with an new brick wall.

  197. It is up to the council to decide if you need plans for a carport. All councils have different by-laws. If you are putting on an alum roof then yes more than likely they will want plans. Phone your local council planning department and ask, as you do not want to pay a fine for an illegal structure later on.

  198. Many people get caught after buying a house with unapproved alterations and no plans. If you bought your house with a bond from a bank why did the bank not ask for a set of plans when they bonded the house? I would put them to terms about this. Unfortunately you will have to supply the council with the plans that they want. We want to start a movement on this site to make it compulsory by law to supply approved plans when a house is sold. I guess this is something that you will support.

  199. I want to put a pedestrian gate close to the main gate, do I need permission?

  200. You should be ok with putting a new gate next to the main gate without permission, but to be safe just write the council a letter and notify them that this is what you have done as this should be “minor building work”.

  201. Hi. We have a patio with three walls and a roof which was part of the original plans for the house and has been constructed as such. We want to Close the opening (3m wide) with a wall and sliding door. This will therefore change it usage from a patio to a room. Does this require plans or can it be considered as “Minor Building work”?

  202. It sounds as though this goes beyond the “minor building works” limits and will need plans. You must check what the PE by-laws say, contact them and ask their advice.

  203. Strictly speaking you are doing structural work by making a single opening into one large one and this should require plans. I suggest that you contact the municipality planning department and request a waiver in this case as this might be considered “minor building work”

  204. Hi, I bought a house and after 1-2years my rates and taxes went up with almost dubbel the amount. I query thias issue at the local municipality. Their reply was that my house plans was not correct. I found that it was not correct due to the previous owner building a garage closer to the boundry than the legal limit. I still struggle to get plans approved to demolish the rear wall and correct it by building out to the front and just close the back again within the legal required boundry line. is it legal to add rates and taxes to my account because of this? my neighbours pays R900 where I pay R2600. any help will be appreciated

  205. We cannot give Rates & Taxes assessments but the Law gives the Municipality the right to charge rates and fees as they see fair. You can appeal in writing to them and ask how they get this figure. They are also entitled to levy penalties on illegal buildings of ± R100 per day until the illegal building is approved or demolished. If you bought the house with illegal alterations and additions done then you become responsible for any fines imposed. Please read our post on this matter here: house-without-approved-plans

  206. Dinesh Ramsunder

    Hi I needed to know do I need permission from local building officer to build a boundary fence. Matter of urgency.

    Thanks Dinesh

  207. If you are putting up a fence, a wire mesh with poles/posts, then no plans. You may put up a vibracrete wall up to 1.8 m high without plans. You will have to notify them in writing that you have put up a fence. If you mean a brick wall with concrete foundations then you will need plans.

  208. I am retiling the patio and stairs of an existing home built some 15plus years ago. The owner is now insisting that I make his existing concrete and screed topping stair comply with NBR when all I quoted to do was strip the existing tiles, waterproof where necessary and fix new tiles. Is it now my responsibility to make an existing stair comply with NBR when all I have quoted to do is tiling work? A number of the risers are varying heights.

  209. As the owner has pointed out to you by his own admission he was not compliant with the regulations so what he is in effect asking you to do is to add to your quote to sort out and fix his problem that he was aware of before you started the job. He is trying his luck. Put it in writing that he withheld relevant info from you when you quoted so he must adjust the quote for the extra work.

  210. Hi Penny

    I would like to build a 10m long concrete slab storeroom at the back of my yard do I need to consult building and planning department.?

  211. Stewart Flockhart

    Hi if I want to put up a covered(IBR) Pergola of 2.5m X 3.5m, do I need plans?

  212. You will need plans from a competent person and submit these for approval to your planning department and only when you get the approval can you start to build. The department will tell you at what stages and when the inspectors have to inspect the build.

  213. Not in terms of the NBR, but you have to notify the council of your intention to build the pergola, and they may want plans. i.e. The council has the last say.

  214. You will need plans unless the council decides it is not necessary.

  215. Minyon Basson

    Good day

    If you want to buy a house that has had a braai room built onto the house (size of a average bedroom) and there are no building plans, what are the cost involved if wanting to purchase such a house.

    Regards,
    Minyon

  216. Good Day. I live in Glenhaven, Bellville, Cape Town. I want to build a Free Standing Braai place and also install a swimming pool. Do I need a plan for that??

  217. I replace my windows with sliding doors do i nead a plan?

  218. Hi Zoon, If the opening, in other words the width of the window, has not been changed then you do not need plans. If this is so then you MUST inform the council in writing that there is a same size door where there was a window. BUT if you have put in new lintols and made the opening bigger for the door then YES you will need plans.

  219. I’m planning on building a trussed carport, single.Would this require building plans?

  220. Check with your local authority

  221. I am in the process of purchasing a free standing house in Centurion, Pretoria. The double garage and pool was not in the original plans so I had an architect draw up the plans to include the garage and pool. The plans have been submitted to the Centurion council for approval. I have now noticed that the front boundary wall is built inside the property (0.5m to 1m).The front boundary wall is on both the old and new plans and on the plans it is in the correct position.

    Once the council approves the garage and pool plans, can I break down the front boundary and rebuilt it in the correct position as per the approved plans (1.8m high)? Do I need additional permission apart from the approved plans?

  222. Prenavin, I think you can though it may depend how old the plans are. You are also obliged to notify council that you are doing this. But since you are proceeding in accordance with the plans, I can’t see how this would be a problem.

  223. Retaining walls are not minor building work. ALL retaining walls require plans because of the solid they require.

  224. Sounds like minor building work to me. We don’t supply specs, but have a book on carports that might help you.

  225. As you will see from this page, any “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size” does not need plans.

  226. It depend on the building line – which is part of your zoning regs. Probably 3 m.

  227. If the walls are not load-bearing you probably don’t need plans.

  228. Your question doesn’t make sense. If you mean how much should you deduct to cover plans for the illegal addition, I suggest you get a quote from an architect and find out from council whether there will be penalties that will be levied.

  229. Hi there.

    I have started work on a garage in order to convert the space into a room. The builder said that I do not need plans to close the garage door into a smaller cottage pane door. Is this true? If not how can I go about obtaining permission after the work has started?

    Regards
    Jen

  230. By changing the garage door you are changing the function of the garage … and this DOES normally require plans because it might affect rates and taxes. But you would only need rider plans that show the alterations. I would contact the local authority and check with them… There’s a chance they will say plans aren’t necessary.

  231. Hi

    I urgently needs to erect a boundery wall due to continues crimal activities on my property. these criminal activities are in a stage which directly compromises the safety of my family. I need permission from my local council to start erecting the boundery wall and submit a formal plan for it at a later stage. How do I start this process.

  232. Robert Lawrence

    does a person need plans just to build the front of a garage with garage door.

  233. No, not just for a door.

  234. You get someone to draw your plans – and you can’t build it without plans. That person must be a competent person – and they will take responsibility for the build.

  235. i need to know what is the required depth of a foundation to erect a boundry wall?

  236. Hi Jozzy, Foundations are designed to carry the weight of the wall above so I can’t tell you how deep, how wide or what mix of concrete to use. Get a competent person to give you advice and give them all the correct information.

  237. Hi,

    I stay in Durbanville Cape Town.
    There is a main road running past the back of my yard and a existing wall with palisade fencing.
    I would like to put up a vibracrete wall next to (inside my yard) the palisade fence.

    Am I allowed to put up a 1.8m solid vibracrete wall aslong as it is not higher than 1.8m?
    Do I need building plans for this work?

    Thank you

  238. Hi. I have converted my double garage into two single bedrooms. The garage is attached to the house. I basically took out the garage doors and replaced them with windows and divided the room with a drywall.

    I also added a carport that is attached to the front wall of the garage.

    Would I need building plans for the convertion of the garage and the carport?

  239. Can I object to next doors building if it interfers with my views

  240. Hi, I would like to build a tool shed in my yard using concrete slabs, this building will not be more than 3meters long. Do I need a plan???

  241. Hi Eddie, So long as they have approved plans by council. You can go to council and ask to see if the plans are built to the regs and bye-laws. You can also put in an objection as well. Read this article as well: PAJA – protect your rights

  242. Hi Michelle, Garages are not meant for human habitation. If you want to change the “Occupation class” of any room you have to submit plans and have them approved before you do any changes. You had better go to council and sort this out as soon as possible.

  243. Hi Shaun, Strictly speaking up to 1.8m you don’t need plans but sometimes the council will call for them.

  244. Hi, I have an open carport infront of my house. If i want to just close the carport with concrete wall, do I a plan and approval?

  245. Hi built a pergola for a client. They wanted polycarb roof sheets to prevent rain from falling through. They did not have any plans approved for the job. What would the best way be to get it passed by a building inspector?.

  246. I have had a child’s playhouse built originally by my father-in-law on my property since 1988. I built a base fondation for the playhouse & it stands free on the slab. If I sell my home, would I require plans to be submitted ? Construction consists mostly of galvanized flat side & roof sheets & t&g wood slats to the upper half. Approx. L, W & Height is 2 X 1,6 X 3 meters.

  247. Hi,
    I would like to know if it is necessary for building plans/permission if we are thinking of installing stacker doors on our backyard stoep?

  248. hi, I have a courtyard between my house and garage. It is closed on all four sides with brick wall. I would like to put a roof on it to turn it into a laundry room. Would that require building plans?

  249. Hi There

    We bought our house a while back and only recently found out after getting the plans from the municipality, that internal walls have been taken down in one instance and erected in another, so that the current structure on the inside is slightly different to what is on the plans. We requested the plans so that we could get an architect to draw up plans for a new garage extension (it was our intention to do this extension properly).

    I feel based on your article above that the changes are “minor” (One dividing wall was taken down to make a bigger room, a part of the lounge was sectioned off into a small bedroom and the entrances to the bathrooms have been moved to allow the bathroom layout to be re-arranged) although I realise I might be wrong.

    However my question is rather about how we are to rectify this?

    If these alterations had been done correctly we would have only needed to notify the municipality, so how do we go about notifying them retrospectively?

    We had no idea when we bought the house at the time that we should have called for the plans back then.

    Any guidance would be appreciated, because I feel like we might open a can of worms here.

  250. Hi I put a carport that covers 2 cars which are side by side. It is attached to my building. Do I need a plan for this?

  251. WE WOULD LIKE TO DIVIDE OUR LOUNGE INTO TO BEDROOMS, WHAT PERMISSIONS DO I NEED?

  252. Hi

    We currently have a lapa made from brick and corrugated steel roof however I’m wanting to convert it into a cottage.

    The current plans has allowed for wash basin could I install a full bathroom in the same sewerage line?

    I also want to extend the storage area and convert into garages which will only be 1m outwards. (longer)

    Regards,
    Linda

  253. Can I put a carport structure outside of my house, where the municipality ground is?

  254. why is there no contact numbers to report huts being erected in gardens and I mean 5 I cannot get any numbers to report this?????????????????????????????

  255. Can a door be installed in place of a window on the western side of a house in Western Cape?

  256. It shouldn’t be a problem providing a suitable lintel is already in place and you don’t have to rebuild portions of the wall.

  257. Not without fully approved plans Linda – apart from which a wash basin would not be linked to a sewerage line. That is waste (grey) water!
    You need approved plans for everything you want to do. This is not minor building work (as defined in the NBR).

  258. You could probably do this without permission. It is very unlikely that any municipality would require plans unless you are adding plumbing or actually extending the house.

  259. Read the article on this page to see what qualifies as minor building work. It’s all got to do with the dimensions of the carport.

  260. I doubt that the municipality will require plans unless you have to install lintels to support the doors.

  261. You will need approved plans to do this legally.

  262. Probably – but best check with your municipality.

  263. Hi, We currently have a lapa, however due the the very strong wind conditions in the South the thatched roof is falling apart. It is much more expensive to replace as its situated on a hilltop. Is plans required to convert the thatched roof to concrete?

  264. Tania Labuschagne

    Hallo

    I see for carports etc is the maximum size 40 sqaure meters, does a patio roof fall under the same criteria?

  265. Aubrey Kloppers

    I would like to build a brick garden shed (for security reasons not wood). What exactly do I need regarding plans, approval and documentation? Where would I go to hand these in once done and how long do I have before the completion?

    kind regards

  266. Nevashree Moodley

    Hi

    I want to add a patio to my home 4 x 6m. Do I need plans for a concrete roof or IBR roof.

    Thanks.

  267. Hi, i have a perimeter wall with a 3.5 meter gap between this wall and my garage, there is a neighbor wall, this forms a U shape, do i need plans if i want to put IBR sink to close the U shape for protection against rain, want to put garden tools inside, the opening side of the U shape will remain open.

  268. hello

    do I need approval from my local council , I live in Alberton ( South of Johannesburg ) to put in a New Pool

  269. good day

    I want to raise my wall , not more than 1.8m, I live in a complex in Johannesburg south , I was told by my body corp that I have to get plans for that and they will approve it. I live in a fully sectional title. Also I want to erect a swimming pool 4mx4m and also a lapa , they want that to be also drawn on the plans

    please help

  270. My neighbour has started to erect a very big carport , about 6 x 9m, near to the boundary fence
    about 1m from the boundary
    It is a steel structure without brick walls
    Can he build within the 2 or 3 m ‘boundary’ without asking for permission to encroach ?

  271. Hello, I am in the process of putting up a carport to park two vehicles. The carport area will be 100square meters. The materials I will be using is all steel. There wouldn’t be any walls but the sides would be covered with shade cloth.

  272. You are on the right page, and if you read the information you will see that only “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size” do not require plans … i.e. qualify as minor building work. If yours is going to be 100 sq m you need plans.

  273. If you are in Cape Town neighbours no longer have to have neighbour’s permission to build even up to the boundary. However, a carport that size requires approved plans. So I would contact your local council to see if your neighbour has got plans. And if you aren’t in CT, object to the council because your permission is likely to have been needed as well.

  274. Even if the council doesn’t require plans, your body corporate has the right to demand plans.

  275. You will have to ask your local authority Aaliyah. I believe that the City of Jhb no longer requires plans, but not sure about Alberton.

  276. All roofs require plans.

  277. almarie basson

    Hi Penny,I,m planning a veranda between my garage and house of 46 m2′
    The structure wll be of wood with policarb roof.
    The architect drawing the plans,insist that I appoint a engineer.
    Why do I need a engineer,as I believe the architect should know the necessary requirement and specs needed.
    thank u for u,r advise
    Regards
    Almarie

  278. Technically all roof trusses must be designed (or at least signed off) by an engineer. However with a relatively minor structure like yours, the local authority MAY allow you to simply submit the architect’s plans. Ultimately it’s up to them. Perhaps you can take the preliminary plans into council and ask.

  279. It is unlikely that the council will require plans. You should though run this past them and/or simply notify them that you will be doing this.

  280. You need to have the plans drawn up by a competent person. That person will then submit the plans to council for approval… It’s impossible to know how long they will take, but your municipality might be able to give you a guesstimate.

  281. No. The legislation states “any pergola”, but if your patio has a solid roof you will probably need plans.

  282. Yes you will need plans to change a roof structure.

  283. Phone your local authority. You will find the number in a telephone directory and on the Internet.

  284. Not without permission from the municipality.

  285. Providing the altered walls were not load-bearing there shouldn’t be a problem. If plumbing (pipes, drains etc) were changed, this would need to be changed on plan. Otherwise you can probably relax. Just do the new renovation the right way – with approved plans.

  286. Yes you will need plans, because of plumbing and because of the roof structure.

  287. No Kevin I don’t believe you would need plans for the playhouse you describe.

  288. Technically/legally he should have notified the municipality that he was going to erect this. But he didn’t need your permission.

  289. good day Ladies, boundary wall construction needs plans approval by your local municipality. JHB will charge a minimum fee of R 599,00 for that. and a pool proposal definitely needs to be submitted to the local authority, as issues of fencing around the pool, min to max depths are considered

  290. Ilive on a smallholding and the ground is sloping .I want to level the ground and build a 800mm high retaining wall do i need plans.

  291. Hi. I would like to convert my double garage into a flatlet with bathroom and kitchenette. Would I require council approval for this? Tx!

  292. Joanne Dickson

    Do you need planning permission when converting a garage into a bedroom etc even if there is no additional building structure being built? i.e. internal work only

  293. hi penny i would like to put on a wendy house with full toilet about 3:9 by size..but its council property..do i need approval at council…cape town

  294. Hi,

    I would like to construct a small ablution facility, no more than 10 m2, in the Freestate, will I need plans or permission?

    Kind regards,

    Christian

  295. Hi Penny,

    I live in Pretoria and have build a splash pool (2.5 x 3.5). Do you know if this requires plans in Pretoria?

  296. Hi Penny. I currently have a double pane window in my bathroom and am looking to replace it with 2 single pane Windows that will require widening the gap in the wall. Would I need building plans for this?

  297. Do I need permission to raise my fence to 1.8m and if I have a garage facade looking out into the road /driveway would I need permission for that?

  298. Hi Penny

    I am in the process of buying a property and the plans I have been given are not representative of the property currently. As for example a Bathroom has changed into a bedroom and walls have changes internally so mainly interior changes.

    1. are new plans needed ?
    2. if plans are not needed are authorization by their local authority’s building control officer needed?

    Regards

  299. Hi Penny, I assume that I would need planning permission for a deck extension of about 16 square metres that is at it’s closest point between 2-3 metres from the neighbours fence? The deck would be at a 1st floor level supported by pillars. I live in Cape Town.

  300. Hi, ive enclosed an area by hanging up a door , body corporate now demands an architect to draw the plans for the enclosed area is this necessary?

  301. Hi there
    I wish to convert my single tandem garage into a store room and office.
    The garage door will be removed and replaced with patio doors and we wish to break through the garage wall to allow us access to the house.
    Do we submit a formal plan for this?
    Liza

  302. Hi there
    We are planning to convert a small window into a sliding door and I would like to know if we need to have plans drawn up and permits from the Cape Town municipality.
    Thank you
    Ingrid

  303. We want to build 7.400×3.000 m carport along our house over main sewerage adjoining neighbours boundary corrugated roof onto gumpoles do we have to submit plans can we build it ir must we rather make the roof into a pergola with latte

  304. I live in Cape Town and erecting a carport 6 x 3 attached to the garage wall and in the driveway. IBR roof sheeting, two galvanized poles and wooden support beams under the roof sheeting. Do I need building plans to be submitted to the council?

  305. outside on our plot there was an existing 5mx5m paved block that I want to put on a Roof. Materials im thinking of using is 4 big 3m poles concerted in the ground. The Roof would be made with angle iron as the frame and thin sticks to cover for shade. which i would like to use an entertainment area.

    Do I need plans? im getting 2 answers yes and no… confused

  306. Steel structure building depends on the structural planning so it is effective way to plan.

  307. Hi Penny, I have an open sided carport in my back yard which is 18 m2 . I live in Durban and have received a letter from a building inspector requesting an outstanding engineers stability certificate for structural elements. WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT !

  308. Hi There,
    We live in a sectional title complex in Randburg, JHB… we are considering buying the unit joined to us next door and renovating to make one big unit.(there is only one wall between us that would need to be knocked down) Is this considered minor alterations? If not, what sort of approval and plans do I require? Thank you

  309. Hi, I live in Hillcrest KZN. I want to take out a window and create access between my bar area and the enclosed patio.
    Will I need plans for this internal work?
    I also want to erect a garden shed in wood with a tiled roof approx 4×2 metres, will I need plans?
    Many thanks

  310. My neighbours are building a guesthouse at the back of my border wall the roof is 10 cm from the wall and some of rooms are allready in use the guest are throwing papers and used condoms over the wall and also liquir bottles i have talked to owner but she doesnt care and now they build another room and they work 7 days a week from 7 am to sometimes 11 pm and my family cant enjoy privacy or rest and the rain water from the roof is directed with 200 mm pipes to my yard what must i do because i dont want to take the law into my own hands i stay in queenstown eastern cape

  311. Hi Alan, I think both your questions are answered in our article here: http://sans10400.co.za/minor-building-work/

  312. You need to report this to law enforcement – and also complain in writing to the local authority. Check with the local authority whether they even have plans!

  313. No it doesn’t fall under minor building work. Your first step should be to see whether the body corporate will allow the alteration.

  314. As long as it’s open-sided, no. But you do need to notify the local authority of what you are doing. See article on minor building work

  315. A carport that size is defined as minor building work, so you don’t need plans, but you do need to notify the council you are building. However the sewerage line might be a problem. Building on the boundary may also be a problem and you might need neighbour’s consent. Contact your local authority to check.

  316. Generally if you use the same opening and don’t need to add lintels, plans won’t be required. The issue is whether the door will need more lintel support than the window currently does. If so council might want this added to your existing plans.

  317. Sounds like BS – an open-sided carport that is only 18 sq m is regarded as minor building work. Refer the building inspector to Part A of the NBRand ask him what he is talking about! Let us know.

  318. Yes because you are changing the function of the building.

  319. What do you mean “by hanging up a door?” Generally a body corporate can demand just about anything – as long as it is noted in the agreement. e.g. If it says you are not allowed to make any changes without their permission!

  320. Maybe. Contact the City of CT and ask them.

  321. Are new plans needed for what? As the buyer you can demand valid plans – as can the bank if you are getting a bond. And if your bank doesn’t, when and if you sell, your buyer’s bank might. What is required are “built as” additions to the existing plans – or a rider plan that shows the building as it is now.

  322. Probably not but you should check with the local authority just in case.

  323. Probably not, though you might need to replace the lintel if the new window is a lot bigger,

  324. Check with the municipality.

  325. Yes – and you will need a registered plumber to do the plumbing work.

  326. Of course you do. You can’t build on anyone else’s land without their permission!

  327. Joseph Swanson

    I erected a 3 x 6m wooden tool shed/package shed and I gave the municipality plans. When final inspection was done they told me they cant approve it due to the following:
    1) On the plans it show one window infront and one on the side.
    2) It was erected with two windows infront and no windows on the side.
    I called another Municipality and they told be it is “minor building work” and it doesnt matter where the door and windows are as long as it shows the wooden structure and refer me to the National Building Regulations. Where can i view it?

  328. Morning

    I would like to convert a room into an ensuite bathroom, do I need planning approval up date plans?

    Thanks

    Kurt

  329. Hi Penny, I want to build the three walls to convert my carport into a garage; and also change the corrugated iron roofing (flat) and use harvey tiles. Could this be a major change and require plan modification?

  330. I bought a land in umzinto amongst a few houses.no plans exist for the houses thats there.theres a delapidated outbuilding on the land.i want to build with blocks.will i need plans seeing that no plans exist for all the other houses?

  331. I’m building a small boundary wall with aluminum bars in between but the balustrades are 1 Mt high wil I need a plan I’m living in a flat in phoenix

  332. Hi –

    I live in a RESIDENTIAL area in Bedfordview and have a neighbour who is running a business from home – a trucking/transport business. He has tyres stored and is now building a carport that is more than double the size of the standard 40 metres squared! He has certainly not obtained any neighbours permission, is building the carport within a metre of the boundary wall and certainly has not sought permission to run a business. Please advise who I should appeal to in this regard.

  333. Hi Kevin, Plans are not needed for a boundary wall that size. But is is the best policy to cover yourself that you inform the council in writing that the wall will be built.

  334. Hi Verna, Yes of course you will need plans. Because the old outbuildings do not have plans is irrelevant.

  335. Hi

    I live in a complex on the second floor. All I want to do, is close my balcony with trellidoor (with mesh not glass) as I am allergic to bees but would still like the feel of an open balcony with fresh air. We have another unit that has a balcony with trellidoor (glass) At first my body corp told me I could not, as balconies have to be uniform ( that was before I pointed out the other unit) Then they told me I need to give them photos of what it would look like and a presentation at the AGM. I have been waiting for the AGM to be announced… So eventually I asked if I could get permission from trustees without waiting for AGM. Now they tell me that the city council will require plans and must approve this? Please give me advise?

  336. I have Build and elevated pool deck out of Wood in the Northern Suburbs of cape town – do I require building plans for this

  337. Hi there. We have a wendy house build in the backyard attached to the house. Problem is we want to replace the one side of the wendy with a vibrecrette wall at about 3m wide and 1.8 high. Do we need a plan? It will be a single. Wall

  338. Hi we live in Centurion Gauteng. We wanted to build a carport for a caravan. We explained to municipality that its open and its a minor building work, yet they told us we need to submit plans. The lady daid to me anything that you build id it has poles needs plans, How is this possible?

  339. Hi Magda, If you read to the bottom of the post on this page it says:
    “How This Affects You
    We have had numerous queries on this site in terms of when and where plans are required. As you will see, there are a few exceptions, but ultimately it is up to the local authority to decide whether or not you need plans.”

    I guess you can argue with them as much as you like but they do have the final say.

  340. Willem Hendriks

    Good Day, I am looking to replace my current wooden doors with aluminium ones. Same space and size will be used, no other alterations to the wall. Do I need plans?

  341. HI, I live on hillcrest ,kzn. I have a friend that is putting in an out door jacuzzi. Are plans required for this?
    Thanks

  342. Anusha Pillay

    Hi there

    I’d like to close off a front verandah to extend my small lounge. Will I need plans? The verandah itself has a roof that is part of the main house and has 2 pillars at the front and side.
    Thanks.
    Anusha

  343. Hi there,
    I live in Johannesburg (Melville). Due to a number of security incidents, I want to replace my palisade fence and fence street side with a 1.8m brick wall. I understand from your articles here that I do not need plans I’m not clear though if I need permission from the municipality. If yes, which office? I spent all day yesterday calling CoJ for this information without luck.
    Thanks

  344. Hi I want yo extent my house with vibracte slabs.do I need a plan and what can happen if I do need one and build without a plan

  345. Durban laws differ from other provinces. You need plans for almost everything including Wendy house, veranda, awnings,car ports,Woden deck, wooden shelter etc.

  346. Hi there,
    We own a 2 bedroom apartment in Sea Point, Cape Town. It is a old apartment with ample internal space and we want to reconfigure the inside walls to allow for a additional bedroom with en-suite bathroom. There will be no alterations to the outside envelope (ie. windows or doorways).

    Do we need planning permission or what notification do we need to give the Cape Town City Council.

    Thanks

    M

  347. Pls help I was unaware that building a wall fancing my house Need approval from municipality, now I have build the wall for period of 3 months today municipality came to my house saying I don’t have approval so they Will be demolishing my wall. I was unaware of that, from durban. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

  348. Hi,

    We are opening a new shop in a existing shopping centre.Do we need plans to do portioning inside the shop with drywall ?And would we need plans do build a store room inside the shop with bricks?I would appreciate any advise

  349. Hi my daughter lives in a estate and want to close her patio with aluminium and glass , and also erect a sunroom same concept does she need a plan.?
    Rgards.

  350. Hi
    Are plans and approval needed for building structures on a small holding (Plot)

    Thank you

  351. My question to you disappeared ?

  352. Hello, I would like to turn my carport into a garage, will I need plans for this? Based in Centurion.
    (Single Garage)

  353. Hey I wanna build a precast garage do I need a plan for it?

  354. Hi there

    I am living in a Sectional Title complex in Bryanston. It seems as though some units wish to do loft conversions.

    Obviously this will require plans and engineering reports. Of course, there are also privacy concerns. Some of the units are single storey and some duplex.

    This matter is complicated, and I would like to know, how and where to get the necessary information, to keep our lovely homes compliant with the law and remaining aesthetically pleasing.

    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    Jean

  355. Roxanne Thomas

    Hi Penny, I want to close up what used to be a door along the side of the house – there was a 1m X 1m open area between where the wall and door was, supposed to be a porch, but way too small.

    Do plans need to be approved as I will not be building anything, would just be filling in the open area under an arch with solid brick wall.

    Thanks in advance

  356. Hi there:)

    2 years ago i hired a builder to break down an interior wall that separated the lounge and dining room, he added a lintel for support. Did I require council approval? Do I need to change my house plans ? Can I change the plans this long after the construction has taken place ?

    Also, I now want to convert a window opening into a sliding door and build a patio outside of that sliding door. Do I require council approval and change of plans for this as well ?

  357. Hi.
    We are planning on breaking a wall (non-load bearing) to increase the size of our bathroom by something like 60 extra centimetres and extending a load bearing wall by the same amount. Will we need plans or permissions for that?
    Thanks

  358. Hi I live in the Western cape and we have submitted plans to build a carport which has been declined because of a sewage pipe on the area where the carport is to be built. I am aware that we can not build a garage and decided to build a carport which has failed. Is there other option of building a carport which will be approved by the council.

  359. Hi there

    Our boundary wall collapsed during he heavy rains we had here in Durban a few weeks ago now our insurance is asking for the plans for the wall. Our house and walls were built around 60 years ago and we cant find the plans. we have been to the planning department to get the plans but they say they dont have copies of the plans for our house they only have the lot number for the plot but no plans. Do you know if plans were neeeded fo building back then, or were else we can enquire about the plans

    Thank you
    Sherwin

  360. Jennifer Holman

    I am planning on demolishing 2 internal, non-load bearing walls to make an open plan kitchen, dining room and lounge. I will be bricking up an internal doorway and an external door in my kitchen (my back door) to give me more space for my kitchen counters. I will therefore be making another exterior doorway (back door) to the outside, accessible from my dining room. The effect will be that the external doorway will move a few meters away from its original position. The roof will not change at all. All windows will be kept the same.

    I have 2 questions : a) Do I need permission from my local authority and, b) do I need to submit building plans?

  361. Can someone advise on construction of wooden decks that overlook into a neighbouring property. Are plans required for such?

  362. Hi there,
    We’ve had a problem recently with flooding that has occured in Durban. There are shacks and informal settlements that are on our boundary. What they’ve done is they have excavated so deep on their side to build whatever it was , that as a result our boundary wall of 15m collapsed. This wall continues around our entire property.
    Our insurance refuses to cover it. But what i would like to know is for a wall that is 2.5m high, are weep holes needed and how far apart should the pillars be .
    I would also like to know if a plan is needed for this wall.
    Thanks soo much
    Aish

  363. Probably not. In any case, even now walls up to 1,8 m do not require plans. How high was your wall?

  364. In terms of the NBR you need to inform the council of what you plan to do. They might require plans, but it is unlikely.

  365. Perhaps there is more to the problem … because this shouldn’t be an issue. Ask the council the question.

  366. Probably not, though technically (legally) you are obliged to notify the council of what you are doing.

  367. Walls up to 1,8 m do not require plans, but you do need to notify the council that you are building. So if your wall is properly built according to the NBR specs, and is lower than 1,8 m just talk nicely to them and see if you can avoid this action.

  368. No Monty the law doesn’t differ. However, any local authority may demand plans in spite of what the NBR states. Note that the NBR does require people doing minor building work to notify the council before they start. At this point the council might demand plans! They have the final say.

  369. Yes you do need plans and if the council wants to it can make you demolish what you build without plans

  370. All walls over 1,8 m high require plans. The piers required depend on the height of the wall and its thickness. as far as weep holes are concerned, SANS 10400-K (2011), Walls states: “4.2.4.1 Free-standing retaining walls shall be designed and constructed so that …”subsoil drainage is provided behind the wall by weepholes formed by building into the waIl, and 50 mm diameter plastic pipes, with the non-exposed end covered with geofabric, at a height that does not exceed 300 mm above the lower ground level, and at centres that do not exceed 1,5 m.”
    4.2.4.2 Free-standing boundary and garden walls … does not refer to weepholes.

  371. It depends on the size and extent – and the height off the ground – of the deck.

  372. Strictly speaking you need council permission even if plans aren’t required. You probably won’t need plans for the sliding door and patio, but check with them first. If they need plans for the lintel – which is probable – you can have “as built” plans drawn up.

  373. You can ask to see any plans submitted – presumably they will also need permission from a body corporate? If the conversions affect you then you can lodge an objection with council and the complex. This article may also be helpful.

  374. Yes you will need plans!

  375. This will be a decision that the local authority will have to make. Ask them.

  376. Probably, in fact I’d say definitely for the store room – but check with the local authority.

  377. The NBR state that this is minor building work, but yes you do need to notify (get permission) council. I think it would be the planning department.

  378. Since you are changing the function of the verandah you probably will need plans. Check with your local authority.

  379. You don’t need a plan for the wall, but the size of the Wendy house will determine whether it should have had plans! If neighbours object you might have a problem.

  380. It depends how elevated. You should have checked with the local authority before you built it.

  381. I doubt that you will need plans – but check with the local authority. But your trustees/body corporate will need to give permission.

  382. Contact the local authority (City of Jhb) … the planning dept for illegal structures. I’m not sure which department handles licenses for business… only areas zoned for business (and specific types of business) may be used for business.

  383. I am fairly certain you will need plans.

  384. Yes because function will change and plumbing is involved

  385. You are on the right page! Read what I have written. Minor building work is covered in SANS 10400 (which is the building regulations) Part A-General principles and requirements. You can view this at the SABS offices (in their library) or buy a copy of this part of the regs from the SABS online store.

  386. Hi
    I want to extend my house to a double story. I am below road level to houses across the road from me and about the same level as the 2 houses either side of me. I am also above the houses behind me. My question is, do I need permission from any of my neighbours to go up? If my plans are approved can any of my neighbours object to the extent that I will not be allowed to go up? Do plans get approved by council before neighbours or after neighbours approval?

    Best regards
    Bob

  387. You generally only require neighbours’ consent if you are going to deviate from normal compliance. e.g. If you are going to build out of the building line; on the boundary (though in Cape Town neighbours no longer have to give permission for this) etc. So establish these issues first. If you do need neighbours’ approval this is done after plans have been drawn. They need to be able to see exactly what you intend to build. If consent is necessary I presume council would only approve the plans once you have this.

  388. Contact the municipality and ask them what they require. They are sure to need plans for the bathroom because this will entail plumbing.

  389. Three questions pse. We live in WC.
    1. We changed our garage door into a window without changing the original size of the structure at all – do I need plans for this?
    2. I want to build 2 free standing wendy houses of 18sqm each, away from walls, do I need plans? They will be on stilts and not permanently grounded.
    3. We want to put a covering on top of our balcony, either grass or canvas with 6 gumpoles for shade, do I need plans or permission for this?
    Thank you so much!

  390. 1. If this is the door that enables you to drive into the garage then you do need plans because you clearly aren’t using the garage as a garage any more. If it is another door, probably not.
    2. A structure this size does not qualify as minor building works, so you will need plans.
    3. If by grass you mean thatch, this might require plans. Even if you don’t need plans you do need permission from council.

  391. We live in P.E. in a gated community. Our house is situated in such a way that our patio is in a ‘wind tunnel’, therefor we hv about 10% usage of this facility throughout the year, the wind blows onto our glass lounge doors therefor our lounge and house is always cold. Enclosing the patio will enable us to cut down on electricity for heating.
    The Patio has a louvre roof and the construction is such that there is always a gap under the roof and cannot be closed unless we change the roof structure that we have no intention of doing. We wish to enclose the patio with glass sliding doors and windows on both sides. The glass will obviously comply with municipal regulations. The study window opens on to the patio.

  392. Hi,
    We are planning to put up a lean-to (“afdak”) outside our house; it will cover 21 square metres.
    According to the above it might then be considered as minor building work.
    Is that correct?
    Can someone please confirm whether we will need building plans, especially if the structure is bolted onto the walls and the uprights bolted onto the cement floor of the veranda? As I understand it, when it is bolted on and not ‘built’ on, it is not considered a fixture?
    Advice would be greatly appreciate. Thank you.

  393. Hi,

    I have a neighbour who submitted plans for a new carport/shadeport at his property. He essentially changed an existing lapa into a steel structure. He hired a draughtsperson who submitted the plans. Now months later, the building inspector says that the plans were not approved. But the structure is already built. What happens now? Can he hold the draughtsperson accountable?

  394. I don’t believe what you describe is necessarily minor building work, you really do need to check with the municipality. Ultimately it is their call whether you need to submit plans or not.

  395. You will definitely need approval from the complex and may need plans for council.

  396. It seems a bit odd that your neighbour assumed plans had been submitted and approved. I would think he would have asked for a copy of the approved plans before going ahead and building. Wouldn’t you? Presuming the building was completed according to plan, he can ask if they can approve them “as built”. If there is a problem with the plan, then the council can force him to demolish.

  397. hi penny
    I want to build a 3m by 3m tool shed in my back yard for storing tools. using hollow blocks and cement. how high can it be and do I need a plan to build this. Durban

  398. Anthony Putter

    I let a registered builder / steel worker erect one of these 6x3m D.I.Y. galavanised steel carports bought ready-made from Algoa Steel. The “front” part (crossbar) of roof was attached against my garage wall and the “rear” part was assembled onto it’s steel “legs” and concrete into ground. Do I need plans?

  399. Anthony Putter

    Ps. I’m in Port Elizabeth and this D.I.Y. bought carport will be errected infront of existing garage opening and not next to it.

  400. I want to build a fence infront but there is avtree on the building line. I do not want to cut the tree down. What can i do

  401. You can build around it, or incorporate it in the fence.

  402. As the article on this page states – You Don’t Need Plans for Minor Building Work … But you DO Need Permission to Build. And this includes an “open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,” You structure is only 18 sq m. If you didn’t get permission from council to build they might get grumpy.

  403. Tool sheds that are smaller than ten square metres do not require plans in terms of the building regs but you DO Need Permission to Build – as the article on this page states.

  404. Hi, if you say say you need to permission to build, does that mean you can just send them a letter informing them of what you intend to build, or do you have to make drawings on your plans indicating what you intend to build and show it to the council where and what you intend to build and how would their permission be given?

  405. Hi Berndt, In most cases more info supplied is better as the councils do not want to be caught out giving permission to vague plans. A reasonably done sketch should be ok, with a reasonably worded letter. But again you are a bit vague with your question as you do not say what you are wanting to build. The other factor is each local authority has their own requirements regarding plans so it is best to ask them.

  406. My neighbour is housing people in two caravans, and is now erecting a wooden structure, which looks like it will be a kitchen and a bathroom. This backyard construction is not only keeping my 8 month old daughter from sleeping, due to all the noise, but it is also affecting the sale of our house. Our kitchen overlooks the backyard, and it is a very unappealing sight. Surely it is illegal?

  407. p.s. I very highly doubt he has plans or permission to do either.

  408. Hi Penny,

    I would like to know whether it mandatory to submit and have plans approved when I want to build and extra room using concrete slabs which will then be cemented in/out to look like a brick structure? I am in Uitenhage. There seems to be a grey area as some of my neighbours have done that but I am not sure whether its the right thing to do or not.

  409. Hi
    I’d like to convert my large cottage pane windows into the same width cottage pane doors.
    I’d like to build a pool approx 4x7m. Do I need plans for either?

  410. Hi Debbie, You do not say where in SA you are, local authorities around the country vary in what they allow. Generally if you keep the same width and height of the windows then you can change them out to doors. You will though have to notify the local council in writing of the change. Personally my mother changed a window for a door and when she sold the house and the inspector came to check the house he would not approve the sale (the new buyers needed a bond and the bank needed the inspectors approval to allow the bond) so she had to get an architect to draw plans at a cost, and the sale was delayed by a number of weeks. This was in KwaZulu Natal.

  411. Hi Siyasanga, Any structure that has foundations, floor and a roof needs plans. If you are in an area that has relaxed by-laws then you need to contact your local planning department and ask them what they will allow without plans.

  412. Richard Barnes

    Hi Penny,

    I am plaaning on erecting a steel shadeport 6m x 4.5m, i am from welkom Freestate, this work is being done by a qualified boilermaker. Do i need permission from our local municipality.

  413. If a swimming pool is put in the yard do l need plans or just permission.

  414. Good day,

    Thank you for the informative articles.

    We would like to enclose the area above our pool with a steel structure bolted into the external walls of our home and plates bolted onto floors, covered with IBR sheeting, its approximately 11 x 6m, do we need to have plans drawn up? We are in Johannesburg, Randburg area.
    We would also like to add on a diningroom adjacent to the kitchen and garage, it will require converting the kitchen window to a door of same width and no changes to garage. Do we have to have our whole house’s plans redrawn or can we have it drawn only to indicate the part of the kitchen that will be affected and the new room?

  415. Hi Bianca, Any structure that has a roof covering has to have plans. Most times the councils just need plans for the new additions but I suggest you phone the planning department and check or ask the competent person who does your plans for you, they should know.

  416. Hi Sharon, You do not say where you are but have a look at our article here: http://sans10400.co.za/jhb-swimming-pools-boundary-lines-plans/

  417. Hi Richard, Any solid roof covered structure in SA needs to have plans submitted.

  418. jashmer Debising

    Hi Penny,
    We have a large open bay parking area for 60 cars. This open area, however is on a level above an enclosed parking area .This parking bay stands on pillars and is showing signs of spalling, ie rusting rebars. Some of the residents to the building are demanding carports to protect their vehicles from damage. People from the higher floors are throwing stones at night and two cars were already damaged. Will a carport protect a vehicle from stone throwers, Can carports be built on a pillar raised parking area. Will it not add more unnecessary weight to the pillars and further compromise the structural spalling. The residents do not want to prioritize the work. We have other major problems which needs money and therefore your input will help dissuade their persistence.

  419. Hi,
    I am in MIlnerton and would like to enclose my stoep to turn it into an additional bedroom. The stoep already has a roof and a floor level to the rest of the house, so I would only have to build the walls and break out the windows out of my existing room.
    Do I need plans for this?

  420. Yes you do because it totally changes the function of the area.

  421. With a parking area that caters for 60 cars you are out of the category for home building, and there will be other regulations that come into play. Nothing I do or say is going to help you I’m afraid. Good luck.

  422. Hi

    I’m in Krugersdorp, I would like to extend my verandah by 1 sqm and build it with steel and glass. Do I need a plan?

  423. Hi Penny

    I’ve got palisade fencing with concrete pillars in between in front (street side) of the property which I want to convert to brick or block wall. Durbanville, Cape Town. Do I need plans for it?

    Regards
    Nenad

  424. Hi Joanne, Yes you do because you are changing the class of use of the building from a garage to a human habitable space.

  425. On the face of it, YES!

  426. Lloyd Griffin

    I recently boughta housewith as all wooden wendy house ( tool shed) and a timber deck that dont appear on the plans.

    Should they appear on the plans and who’s responsible for it now.

  427. Hi Lloyd, mostly wooden sheds and low timber decks do not need plans. Read here: http://sans10400.co.za/minor-building-work/

  428. Hi Nenad, The Cape specifications without plans are: Solid boundary walls may not be any higher than shall 1.8 m on street boundaries, and no higher than 2,1 m on lateral boundaries.

  429. Hi Jacky, that is a structural addition to your verandah and will need plans.

  430. Hi Janek
    A friend has bought a house in the Eastern Cape and their architect says there are no plans in council? Surely that’s not right? Architect also saying they can’t just pull out the bathroom, have to have plans drawn for it AND the house.
    Here in WC, you have to have plans passed before you can dig a hole on the property.

    Any advise please? Who’s smokelling who here?

  431. Hi Mecheal, It seems like the building was built illegally if there were no plans with the council – unless of course the council has mislaid or lost them. The bathroom renvation will certainly need plans. Ask the estate agent who sold the house why they did not supply plans with the sale. If you do not get any joy from them then I would report them to the Estate Agency Board.

  432. Does neighbors Cape Town have to give permission if you want to close you front yard or if you do have vibacrete wall that 1,2 m and extend it to 1,8m

  433. Hi There

    Do you need plans and permission to knock down internal walls in a flat?

    Thanks,
    Kate

  434. Hi Kate, there are two things here, firstly the property owners agreement and or the lease agreement will state if this is allowed. Secondly the wall that is being knocked down must NOT be a load-bearing wall. If you are unsure ask a structural engineer, registered builder or ask the local building inspector to have a look.

  435. Hi Jaco, No you do not need neighbours permission so long as it is not over 1,8m. But what we have found is that to have a good and friendly relationship with the neighbours we suggest that you speak to them and let them know what you are doing.

  436. We recently bought a house with a very small domestic room. We wanted to add a nutec structure against the wall
    without breaking any walls to extent the room slightly. Would we need plans for this? Size is 2,5 x 2.
    This will be used as a bedroom with no electric or plumbing required.

  437. Hi, I had a registered builder who built my house structure up to the roof. He did plastering inside only. After some time I could not get hold of him and hired someone to finish up the outside plastering. My question is that the house will be still insured under NHBRC in case of main structural defects?

  438. Are you sure that the builder was registered with the NHBRC and did he enroll the house before he started building? If your house was enrolled with the NHBRC, their inspectors would have visited your site several times during the build to check that work was compliant with the building regulations.

  439. I can’t imagine how you can extend a room without breaking down walls! And the building regulations don’t allow you to have two interleading bedroom (ie with a door in-between them). Contact your local municipality and ask what they will allow you to do (if anything) without plans.

  440. My neighbour has just started to build a ‘Wendy House’. we thought it was a play house until we saw the size. We have now discovered after asking the workers that its for the domestic worker. As the area is very rocky the structure is being built on top of these rocks and therefore the floor is already higher than the boundary wall. I’m told it will have a bathroom downstairs.
    I asked if there were plans and why as the neighbour we were not notified. I was told that its not required as its a temporary structure.
    The neighbour advised my daughter they work as a conveyor in an attorneys office and know the regulations.
    Can you advise if this is the case.

  441. I think you mean a conveyancer … Do you know the size of the structure? For starters, you can’t simply build temporary structures without plans, though this does happen in the township areas. So there are several issues here. Only some minor structures can be built without plans. Generally the max size is 6 x 3 m. Even then the municipality has the right to demand plans. Height is likely to be an issue. Find out from the municipality what the height restrictions in your area are. A house can obviously be higher than a boundary wall, but certainly not a temporary structure, even if it was allowed. If it’s being built on top of rocks it could be a hazard as well. Putting plumbing into a temporary structure is not allowed. All plumbing needs to be done in accordance with the building regulations and other SANS. Contact the local building inspector as a matter of urgency and report the structure.

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