Minor Building Works

What is “Minor Building Work”?

two barbecues
“I only want a braai on my patio.” you might say. Well these two are both on a patio and both have braais but the one on the left will be minor building work and the one on the right is not.

Whatever you construct on your property needs plans, unless it is defined as “minor building work”. Even so the Act states very well 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 approval by your local authority’s building control officer before you can commence with any work . So long as you make an application to get the proper approval 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 adhere to the regulations.


Temporary Buildings

Short-term structures also need permission from the local authority. This includes builders’ sheds, on-site toilets, and any other structure you may want to build (or be obliged to erect) for the building project.

The local authority will not give you approval to build a temporary building until you give certain information, so they are able to evaluate it. At very least they have to know:

• what the planned use and life span of the building will be
• the space in which it is to be built (in other words where you are intending to put it)
• the availability of proper materials from which it may be constructed

The Definition of “minor building work” in Terms of the Law

a ) the erection of poultry houses (hoender hokke or chicken coups) that are no more than ten square metres in size, aviaries that are no bigger than 20 square metres, 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, tool sheds that are smaller than ten square metres, childrens’ playhouses that are no more than five square metres, cycle sheds no more than five square metres, greenhouses that are a maximum 15 square metres, open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size, 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, any pergola, private swimming pool (although most local authorities do insist on plans), 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 example , it is up to the building control officer to make this assessment.

How This Affects You

We have had quite a few inquiries on this site relating to when and where plans are required. As you will see, there are some exceptions, but in the end it is up to the local authority to determine whether or not you need plans.

It also makes sense that the structures defined as minor building work will all need to be fit for purpose. So you can’t say you are putting together 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:  Plans & Minor Building Work, A Garden Structure

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  1. Clint Dalglish

    I put up a 29m2 carport in front of my double garage. Will I need plans for this?

  2. Hi Clint,
    As you have seen from the info on this “Minor Building Works” page, these sizes are a general rule and each municipality will have it’s own set of by-laws. If it is under 40 square metres in size then no plans are required in terms of the NBR, BUT you will have to notify the Local Authority Planning Department in writing. This has to be done before construction starts. I suggest you do this ASAP before they ask you to demolish it (which they are entitled to do). The other thing is, you have not said how close to the boundary your carport extends, as this could also affect the approval if neighbours boundaries and street boundaries are encroached. I would contact your local Planning Department and ask them what the by-laws for your area are, then get all your paperwork into them quickly.

  3. I am a bit confused.
    All building to be done, minor or bigger projects must be registered and a competant person be involved.
    Surely the above does not apply when building done on small holding or on a farm?
    I want to start building in a month from my own drawings on small holding just outside residential area of Pretoria.

  4. Hi Louis,
    You should not be confused as the law is very clear about this. All building and construction projects must have a “competent person” prepare and submit plans to the local authority for approval. If your plans are underwritten by a “competent person” then the council might approve them. You must have approved plans before you build, the only difference with farmland is the the building boundary lines and the handling of sewage, and these may vary depending on your area, check these first before you start. As an owner builder, you do not have to register with the NHBRC – but you will then need to apply for an exemption from them – and you will not be allowed to sell the property for at least five years. We have a Town Planning Scheme for JHB here: town-planning-scheme-jhb – even though it is not your area, it will give you some idea of what is required on the Highveld. Minor building work such as a braai or carport etc. on the other hand does not need plans, but the local authority needs to be informed in writing. It is advisable to follow the regulations – otherwise you risk having your home demolished for non-complicance!

  5. Ryan Rutgers

    Hi. I recently purchased a home in parow north and would like to put up a boundary wall. From reading the above, I understand that I do not need pland if 1.8m or less but I do need to inform my local authority. Can you assist me with who my local authority would be or where I could get this information? Thanks

  6. Ryan, Parow falls under the City of Cape Town. I have given you a link to their directory of different offices and departments. It looks as though Parow North is under the jurisdiction of Tygerberg 021-938-8111

  7. Hi, I want to demolish our current prefabricated garage as our caravan does not go through it. I would then like to rebuild it with bricks. The one wall is on the neighbour boundry. Do I need a plan for this? Then I also want to replace the existing roof of our house and increase the pitch as the roof is leaking, do I need a plan for this?

  8. Yes Linley you will need plans for the garage and the roof. You don’t say where you live, but unless it’s Cape Town, you’re going to need neighbour’s consent to build on the boundary as well.

  9. Hello

    We recently bought a caravan and would like to build a chromadek carport.
    The size of the carport would be 7.5m x 3.5m with two of the sides attached to the house.

    We live in a estate that follow the Tshwane city counsel’s laws / guidelines. The property is a full title property. The big question… do I need plans for the structure?

    Thank You

  10. Hi Andre,
    You can see the Tshwane Town Planning Scheme and by-laws on our other site here: tshwane-town-planning-scheme-2008 Generally all carports under 40sq m are considered “minor building works” and are allowed without plans BUT you must notify the council in writing of what you are doing. Height of the carport is also restricted, page 30 has this clause:
    (d) a single storey garage; car-port or shelter; laundry; private swimming-pool; change room for a private swimming-pool, tennis court, squash court; or storeroom may be erected on any portion of a building restriction area other than where such structures are adjacent to a street boundary:
    Provided that
    (e) (i) the position thereof is not detrimental to the amenities of the adjoining property or properties;
    (ii) the height above natural ground level thereof shall not exceed 3,00 metres;

    As you are part of an estate there are also rules that each body corporate has and you will more than likely have to inform them first and get their approval to put up your carport.

  11. Janene Oosthuizen Oosthuizen

    Can u tell me how a brick boundry wall should look like hight and then it was said that there should be pillars between dont know what and how to start

  12. Hi Janene,
    Any flat wall longer than a few metres is in danger of falling over if it does not have any lateral support. This could be dangerous as well as costly if at a later stage the wall has to be rebuilt. All you have to do is look around at some of your neighbours walls and see how they are constructed. Sometimes you might not see the support pillars/columns from the outside but they will be there on the inside. The average height that most municipalities in SA allow without plans is 1.8 metres, check with your local council on this. Precast walls have support columns embedded in concrete every 1.5 to 2.0 metres or so. Some people plan and build their walls incorporating features such as planters. Have a look at this picture of a wall with pillars and a planter built in between two of the pillars:

  13. Hi

    I cannot post pictures here to enable you to see what I am talking about. We have this covered patio area (roof only). We would like to convert it into a braai room – would we need plans to build a braai there for starters?

  14. Hi Tracey,
    You can send a pic if you go to “contact us” in the top menu. Just be aware the setting is for a max 2Mb file. What is the distance from other buildings and boundaries? What suburb are you in greater CT?

  15. Garth Petersen

    Good Morning…please can you advise if their is a place that i can report the company that i used to.

    They have installed and manufactured my balustrading which definitely does not conform to any regulations?

    Thank you in advance.

  16. Hi Garth,
    Your first stop is to get hold of the Building Inspector at your local municipality. We have a list of all municipalities and contact numbers here: municipality-contact The section of the Building Regulations that deals with balustrades is Part-M Stairways as well as Public Safety Part-D. There is more on this here: stairways The other option you can use is the “Hello Peter” website: http://hellopeter.com/

  17. Thanks Janek…i did explore that option but after speaking to the guys at SABS…sounds like it only applies to public areas and not residentual…thanks again! We have a gap of 300mm on two of the corners which a child cld easily fall thru.

  18. Hi Garth,
    A bit more info in this post gives me more of an idea of what you are looking for and I think it is this.
    In Regulations Part-M Stairways it says this, (and this is ALL stairways not only public);
    4.3 Prevention against falling
    4.3.1 Any flight of steps which contains more than three risers shall have protection on both sides provided by a secure wall, screen, railing or balustrade which shall be not less than 1 m high and so erected that any such wall, screen, railing or balustrade in any occupancy classified as E2, E3, E4, H1, H2, H3, H4 or H5 shall not have any opening above the pitch line that permits the passage of a 100 mm diameter ball; provided that such protection in any occupancy that is not an occupancy classified as E2, E3, E4, H1, H2, H3, H4 or H5 shall consist of at least a handrail and one other rail midway between such handrail and the stair tread.”

    H4 & H5 are domestic dwellings.
    Hope this helps 🙂

  19. Gee thanks again Janek! I really hope you right on this one as i assumed that the gent from the SABS which is apparently the guy in charge of stairways etc would know his stuff. He was very adamant that it would not apply to myself as my house is not used as a public area hmmm.

    Let me give it another go Janek and i will keep you updated along the way. Thanks again

  20. Yes, please let us know the outcome so we can help others in the same situation.

  21. Dayalan Govender

    Hi. I have spoken to the NHBRC and they will not help me with a builder who put in a new roof for me and the roof still leaks. This is my existing home that i did extensions/alterations on. Who can help me. Thanks, Dayalan Govender

  22. Hi Dayalan, Unfortunately the NHBRC only deals with new houses that are registered with them. They do not get involved with other building and alteration disputes. If the builder is registered with one of the reputable organisations such as the MBA (Master Builders Association) then you can contact them and complain. If it is a bakkie builder that did the work and he is not a registered builder then you can try and take him to court. Many people have been taken by “builders” who take cash and do a bad job. That is why it is always best to use a reputable builder even though it might cost a bit more.

  23. We are looking at replacing a 1m high brick wall with a 1,8m pre cast wall in Cape Town. A builder told us we don’t need plans/ permission. Is that correct?

  24. Hi Ian, Up to 1.8m is allowed in Cape Town without plans and you should be OK as there is already a wall and, hopefully, this wall is on your plans. What they would normally require if there was no wall previously would be to inform them in writing, without plans, of the intention of erecting a wall.

  25. I managed to get hold of a building inspector who says that ANY changes to the current structure would require plans. all the contractors I have spoken to seem to agree with you (no plans needed up to 1.8m) but we live in a relative’s house (she is supportive and will fund the job) and she lives overseas. my only concern is the repercussions of doing this without plans…

  26. Hi Ian, This is unfortunately the way it is, any municipality has the right to demand plans if they want them even though the building regulations say that what you are building is “minor building work”. If you are concerned about the repercussions then you must go in person to the planning department that deals with your area with your address and erf number, and possibly a few photos of what is there at the moment, and speak to a senior planner and ask for the reason why they want plans for “minor building work”. Please let us know the outcome.

  27. Desire oosthuizen

    Good day

    I would like to know if I can extend my existing carport. I live in Centurion and my existing carport is 12x 6 m. It was there when I moved in years ago and I see it is not on the house plans.I want to extend it by 10 m. Therefore in the end it will be 22x 6 m. Do you think I ill have a problem as the existing one is not on the plans and do you think I will be able to erect it with just asking for permissions. I need to urgently extend the carport due to the hail season. I am a woman and do not know all about this kind of stuff and i do not have alot of money to pay architects ect.

  28. If you have a look at our post on “minor building work” it explains what is allowed. The regulations say: “an open-sided car, caravan or boat shelters or carports that do not exceed 40 square metres in size,” so you will need plans. It may cost a lot more at a later stage if you build without plans and permission first.


  30. Celeste Steegmans

    Good day

    I want to extend my garage by 1.3m in width and them change the roof from zinc flat roof to a a frame and will not be a boundary wall but it will be extended to the inside of my garden. The builder says it’s ok no plans needed. I want to check if this is ok.

  31. Sorry Celeste but your builder is telling you an untruth as many builders do to get work. You will need plans approved


    you start building. Many people have been caught out this way and when the council have caught up with them then the fines can be very costly. If you want to sell your house at a later stage and you did not get plans done and the proper approval you might not be allowed to sell the house until this is put right and this could be very expensive.

  32. Does a pizza oven need counsil approval?

  33. Marie' Herder

    I want to put up a covered patio structure, similar to a car port. 4 or 6 steel columns dug into the ground and concreted in. IBR sheeting for the roof. Less than 40 square metered. Does this require building plans.

  34. I live in plumstead and want to have a braai 2m long x 75 deep by 3m high with chimney build against the back of our shared boundary wall which is 3.5 high – does this need plans?

  35. If you are building a braai like this against your neighbours wall then you will need to inform them in writing. They might object as the smoke might interfere with their enjoyment of their own property and by law you are not allowed to do anything that will affect your neighbour badly. The best is to discuss this with them in an open and friendly manner. You will have to inform the council in writing as well that you have have carried out “minor building work” and built a braai. Read this as well: minor-building-works

  36. Hi, I have recently bought a house which has an entertainment area on the outside of the house. It is directly on the other end of my dining room wall. I wish to know if I will have to re-draw my house plans if I want to make it accessible by means of an aluminium sliding door? Kindly help me please 🙂

  37. I wish to break the dining room wall and insert a sliding door to access the entertainment area.

  38. Be careful before you take out any walls inside your house as they could be loadbearing and essential to holding up your roof if you have a single storey or walls above if it is a double storey. Get on site advice from an expert. If it is loadbearing then you will need plans, if not then you may do this without plans but you should inform the council in writing that you have done the alteration. You must keep a copy of the letter for your records so that if you sell at a later stage you are covered when the buyer sees that the house and the plans differ.

  39. This exterior wall sounds as though it is a loadbearing wall so any alterations to this wall will need plans to be approved before you do any work.

  40. Technically yes, usually not. It’s like a braai. They are brick structures and although not mentioned in the section on minor building works, are usually regarded as minor building work. But check with your council to be sure.

  41. I would like to put up a 4m X 2m Chromadek carport type roof on a balcony for the rain.
    Raw bolted to the 4m wall and the front two poles raw bolted to a base plate with 4 raw bolts on the floor.

  42. Hello Janek,

    I am a new trustee on our complex’s Body Corporate. One of the owners wants to put up a metal roof carport next to his unit to protect his vehicles from sun/hail etc.
    – this parking is not next to another unit
    – it will be affixed to his garage on the one side and a double wall on the opposite
    – THe work is to be professionally
    My question is what is needed to approve this?
    – Do we just need to inform the local authority in terms of materials and cost
    – I cant find any resolutions that this isn’t allowed in our complex
    – All 3 trustees approve
    – Similar structures have been erected at units (at the back over their patio’s)
    There is one person objecting to this erection, what is his/her rights and ours.

    I know this is a mouth full but appreciate your input as I am very unfamiliar in this territory.

  43. We would like to convert a wooden garden shed into a domestic worker’s quarters. Do we require councils’ permission to install the plumbing and lights?

  44. Hi Lauren, Yes you will need to get permission and according to the regulations you will have to have both a registered electrician and a registered plumber do the work and to issue certificates for the council.

  45. Hi Gideon, depending on your municipality but with most municipalities for this extent of “addition” the owner would only have to inform the local authority in writing that they intend to erect the “carport”. The law puts the onus on the local authority to decide if plans are required for any extension or addition. A word of advice, if the owner wants to sell at a later stage and plans are called for and the addition is not reflected on the plans, or if there was no written notification relating to the addition, then there could be fines levied and they could lose a sale because of the delay this could cause.

  46. Hi Janek

    Kindly advise, I had a precast fencing on the road side of my property that was becoming unstable, Due the high accidents in my road where motorist crashed into 3 houses, smashing through their boundary walls and fences, I had the fencing removed and built a boundary wall with the highest point from ground level being less than 1.2m,the boundary wall doesn’t seperate any neighbours property but provides a barrier from reckless drivers crashing into our property.As the level of the ground declines towards the entrance of the property, the height of the wall increases to 1.6m. and the highest column is 1.8m.

    Is this considered “Minor Building Works”? Do i need to submit a building plan now that the wall is completed?

  47. Hi, I would like to know if it is legal to build your braaiplace right next to the boundary wall of your neighbours, where there are trees and big shrubs that reaches your neighbours roof??

  48. The braai place is just the standard one build from bricks with no chimney.

  49. hi ,i have approved plans ,on those plans it shows one big entrance gate for entrance and exit , i was wondering if i could put two gates (entrance and exit) instead of one ,and if so would i need to re submit plans ? thanks

  50. Mrs Sylvia Blore

    I have a lean too tiled roof attached to the side of the bungalow on wooden poles it is not of good construction, this I want to replace with a thatch structure to allow more light into the room and give a more pleasing look to the building. Does this need approval.

  51. hi
    we are in the process of selling our home and relocating to the cape.
    all plans are up to date (it was built in the 40’s).

    however there is a carport (steel and corrugated roof – open all sides which measures 25 square metres) that isn’t on the plans. the buyer and his bank are refusing to grant the bond as they say we need council approved plans.

    i am so devastated as we thought this process was almost over. what can we do?

  52. I want to add a sloped roof at my entertainment area which is detached fr my house. It will be built in a corner, and attached to my boundary wall and a current existing wall (which will be the back wall) this is what i refer to when i mention corner. There is a braai area and brick floor in place already. No walls or doors will be added just a roof that is 7×3.5 and at its highest 3m’s and will slope. Gutter to be added and electrical/lights. Must i get permission for this?

  53. They DO NOT require plans – It is regarded as minor building work. Go in with guns blazing and tell them you know what the law requires. Good luck

  54. You need to ask you local authority. Nothing we say will alter what they want

  55. Yes Tanya you must – and you will, in all probability, require approved plans. There is a good chance they won’t allow you to attach a roof to your boundary wall unless you get a waiver signed by your neighbours.

  56. It probably does Sylvia, but contact your local authority. Even if it is classified as minor building work you technically need approval.

  57. If you are worried about whether or not plans will be required ask the council. In any case you will need to get an okay from them to do the structure.

  58. Probably not but you still need to contact the local authority and let them know what you are planning. Officially they need to approve the project

  59. Unless the local authority decides that this is minor building work, they need plans to build a braai anywhere. Plus in most parts of SA neighbours’ consent is required to build against a boundary wall.

  60. Devan this does qualify as minor building work, but you are obliged to notify the council that you are doing the work. Perhaps you should contact them and make sure they don’t want plans. If they do (and it is their call) then you would have to supply “as built” plans. Indicate that you built the wall as a matter of urgency, for the reasons you have given here. There shouldn’t be a problem.

  61. HI
    I’m currently busy with drawing plans of existing structures for council approval. We have the approved plans of the house from way back but additional buildings has not been approved yet.

    There is a carport open on all sides that is over the building line, do we have to apply for a building line relaxation if it qualifies as a ‘minor building works’ structure?

    The covered patio attached to the house has a concrete floor with two walls(openings at the top) and extends over the building line to the site boundary. does this patio area still qualify as a ‘minor building work’ structure? and is it also necessary to apply for building line relaxation?

  62. Venessa Oosthuizen

    Good day we have erected a tree hous for our son 2 years ago. We got a notice to take it down within 21 days from local inspector after neighbour lodge a complaint. We took it down well within the 21 days even cut down the tree. Now almost a year after we have received a summons in criminal case contravening section 4 (1) of the national building regulation. What are we to do please help!

  63. Hi Vanessa, I seems like you did not notify the council at the time that you had complied with the order. Mistake. What you can do is put it in writing and include a photo or two and personally take it to the council legal department and tell them that you complied 2 years ago and ask them to withdraw the charges. Please ask them what they mean by “section 4(1)” as this does not tell me what Part (A to XA) of the regulations they refer to.

  64. Hi Marie, This all depends on the municipality, some do and some don’t consider it “minor building work”. Many municipalities base their rates on “covered area” so they will need any covered structure to be approved. You will have to give them a call to find out.

  65. Sorry was browsing the comments to knowledge myself more about ‘Minor Building Works’ – My opinion on this situation ….i feel that irrespective if the carport falls under ‘Minor Building Works’ and does not require approved building plans according to SANS. You may require to submit plans for Municipal approval as the carport will definitely affect the ‘Town Planning scheme’ – F.A.R and Coverage.

  66. Hi

    I have a stoep next to my house. It has walls all round. The one is the boundary wall. The walls and stoep are on my existing plans. The boundary wall is the street wall. I have a conner yard. The foundations is also on the drawings . It is shown as Prop Walls on the existing plans. Do I need plans or just approval to put a roof over it.

    Regards Stephan

  67. I am not professionally registered as a technician or technologies but have the relevant experience working for a mechanical engineering consultant,What i would like to ask is if i am eligible to draw carport plan without any registration.

  68. Please advise if I require plans to build a wall which is 1.8 meters high on fairly flat land. I reside in the Durban area.

    Alternately please advise up to what height can you build a wall without plans.

  69. Hi i have a big marbelite swimming pool (11×15m).I want to make it smaller by building a wall in the middle and re marbelite the one side and then fill up the other end to plant grass.Do i need to get out a building inspector and do i need to get plans drawn up.Thanx herman(bloemfontein)

  70. Swimming pools are not covered by the NBR … but rather by bylaws. But if you are changing an existing pools I really don’t think plans will be necessary. If you want to be certain contact the municipality and ask.

  71. Without the registration you are not a “competent person.” However if the carport qualifies as minor building work then you don’t need plans.

  72. Only your local authority can answer this question.


  74. I want to erect a balcony(2.5m width x 4m length) in a Sectional scheme. the flat does not have a view other than that of the building next door and nobody would actually be able to see the balcony other than the other flatlets in the sectional scheme as well as the apartment building next door – provided they hang out the window. the reason for the balcony would be to make a washing line as the scheme has sold off all the communal area where washing was previously hung.

    Would council need to authorize the balcony? (PS: i will need to change a window into a door using the same size of course) Your help on the above is greatly appreciated.

    City: Cape Town Metro – Building is NOT heritage or infringing on boundary walls…

  75. You will need approved plans to erect any sort of balcony, unless the council gives you a waiver. Also, since this is a sectional scheme, you will probably need body corporate (or similar) approval as well.

  76. You don’t say how it was built Karl, but if it is a minor structure you shouldn’t need permission as long as it is within legal boundaries etc. If you are worried, then give your local council a call and ask them if they have any requirements.

  77. 1.8 m is the maximum height allowed without plans. You do though need to notify your local authority of your intention to build the wall, and they can quite legally demand plans if the feel they are necessary.

  78. I desperately need help. My dad’ s neighbour has built a lapa with a thatched roof on the boundary wall. With the slightest breeze smoke fills my dad’ s house. My dad can no longer have a braai out of fear that the lapa’ s roof might catch fire.They have long periods without water and the neighbour is seldom home The lapa is attached to the neighbour ‘s house and there are gasbottles in and outside the lapa. The walls are covered in unsightly plastic and wooden panels. During rainy periods water from the roof drowns my dad’ s plants.The building inspector was not sure whether the neighbour had submitted building plans. He promised to write a report about the lapa but is now ignoring all my e -mails.. Potential buyers indicate that their insurance companies will not insure the property,because of the unsightly lapa and the potential fire hazard.Where can I get help?The neighbour is very aggressive.My dad did not give his permission to build against the wall..Thank you.

  79. Chances are it is an illegal structure. Contact your local authority and ask them to send out a building inspector to assess the situation.

  80. Hi There

    I have a question. A school next door to me (we share a boundary wall, which is my back wall) has put two 20FT containers right next to the wall. Firstly I hate the fact that now I look into them from my kitchen, but what concerns me is that if someone climbs on top of the wall they can simply step into my property? So from a security stand point I feel now that this has been overlooked by the school? I have asked them to move it and which they in a very nice way told me NO as they need the space for storage and that is the most suitable place? surely they are over stepping some regulation? Let me know please

  81. Hi I want to build wooden cabin attached to out building, for human inhabitation,what action should be taken.

  82. We want to enclose one side of our afdak with a wall half way up and put in sliding windows. We have plans for our afdak when we had it done, but dont have any for erection of a wall half way up.

    would we need plans?

  83. Hi
    Do I require a plan for a 14 X 1.8 m boundary block wall with driveway gate.


  84. Hi Lee, Depends on the municipality, all municipalities will require you to inform them in writing that the wall will be built but some may call for plans, most of them don’t. Please have a look at our article here: http://sans10400.co.za/boundary-walls-and-fences/

  85. Hi Michelle, You don’t say which municipality you are from. Most municipalities would only require that you notified them in writing that you are doing this and refer them to your approved plans.

  86. Hi Bruce, Any building or structure, no matter what size or building materials used, that will be used for “human habitation” will require plans and approval from your local council before building starts.

  87. Hi
    I have bought a house in Randpark Ridge and I would like to know the process for the following:

    I need to:

    1. Build a boundary wall at the front of the house. I have the SG drawings and the setting out. Do I need permission and neighbours approval? In writing?
    Do I need drawings? It is a simple wall with a standard foundation.

    2. I am planning to extend the house with new foundations and a slab with engineer’s sign off.
    What process do I need to follow with this? (With regards to council, neighbours etc)
    This is a small extension but will certainly change the size of the house’s footprint by about 10%

    Your advise would be appreciated.

  88. Hi,

    I am on the ground floor of a flat complex and the people above me wants to build a balcony which will destroy my natural light. How can I stop them from building the balconies or prevent the balconies from being too wide?

  89. Hi we want to build a small storage room/garden shed to store boxes and furniture. Cement foundation and sink walls. What is the max height can we make the roof. And do we need plans we stay in Roodepoort Johannesburg

  90. Londiwe Buthelezi

    Hi Penny

    I will be doing some bathroom and kitchen renovations, adopting the open-plan/wet shower concept. This will include breaking down internal walls (creating an arch where the original walls were) as well as closing a window and widening an opening on another window. Will I need my municipality’s permission to widen the opening of an existing window and to close the other one? I’m based in Cape Town?

  91. Hi. Do I require building plans for a metal structure on my patio in my back yard? I want to erect a metal structure with a sliding door , windows , and an IBR roof. No solid brick walls and I have an existing floor surface. I reside in Parow, Western Cape.

  92. Hi I want to build a carport but hearing I needs to do so whether freestanding or not its about 7×4 many people are doing it in the area so why should I get plans for it I don’t think any of them got plans etc? I’m in city of cape town can you please advise as it is it extremely necessary for my car thank you

  93. Hi Penny.

    I replaced my carport shade net with corrugated sheets.

    This in a complex that is run by a body corporate.The structure of the carport exists of 3 brick pillars with a wooden frame structure on top.This was build when the complex was build years ago and all ready approved on the plans by the city council.The previous owner had the carport covered with shade net.I replaced the net with the corrugated sheets.

    Do I need plans for this?
    The carport is open on 3 sides.

    Thank you

  94. I’ve bought a house with a Double Garage and carport in 2014. I recently received a notice to obtain written approval for the unauthorised building work(Double Garage and carport). Can anyone please help me?

  95. I had an floating carport erected do I need a building plan cape town

  96. Hi there. I am wanting to build a roof deck at the back of my house in observatory. it has a slightly pitched roof and would possible require converting the roof to a flat roof before building the deck. Do I need to acquire formal building plans and permission for such a structure?

    Any help would be much appreciated!


  97. From Tswhane, we want to dlighly enlargd the kitchen, this mean we gave to break thought the current wall where the sink is and build a 5m wall closing off the lounge, this will be at the back of the lounge snd then move our machines, sink and dmall pantry in that area, it will thus be a extension to current kitchen just nakung it bigger, will we need plans or will s building inspector come out snd check and tell us if we do? Thx

  98. Hi
    I would like to found out. Is true we don’t need plans to put a 80 square log cabin

  99. Thanx for this info. So a carport 6m x 6m x 3m, built on a concrete slab, don’t need “plans”, since it’s considered “minor building works”?

  100. Strictly speaking, even if it is minor building work, you need to notify the local authority of your intention to build.

  101. NO it is not true! You need plans.

  102. Floating? where is is floating to?

  103. Charles Botha

    Hi Penny,

    What would be the structural implications if the square tube support columns for a carport are 76x76x2mm instead of 76x76x3mm/

  104. Do I need an city council approval fo a patio 3 x 4 meter – woden beam with fibre glass sheets.
    Living in Pretoria RSA

  105. In terms of the NBR any open-sided carport that does not exceed 40 sq m does not require plans. However you do need to notify the council of your intention to build, and they have the right to demand plans. See: You Don’t Need Plans for Minor Building Work … But you DO Need Permission to Build

  106. Charles you’d have to ask an engineer that question.

  107. You will need approved plans. A qualified, registered plumber will also have to do all the plumbing work.

  108. Presuming there are no existing plans, you can have “as built” plans drawn up.

  109. You would need approved plans to change the roof structure.

  110. Hi Please advise as I am getting no help from my queries with Ethekwini Municipality. We have recently bought a small wooden hut that does not have an floor, but it does have n window, door and airvents. We want to be able to rent it out. It’s 3×3 square meters and we have placed it more then 3m away from the boundary wall with the window facing away from the neighbors side. We have a very low boundary wall between our properties and they have an granny flat next to the wall with a huge window and the back door looking into our back yard. (The neighbors favorite pass time is to look into our back yard esp when we outside so we don’t use the space) Due to us not using the space we figured an hut would be a good extra income and the space won’t just be unused. We have an outside room that has an bathroom for use until as the hut is not a permanent fixture. Please can you tell me what is required and how to get our hut legal. The neighbor wants to have it removed as its invading his privacy and to him its a start to low cost hosing, but to us its an extra income that will allow us to to do more to improve our property. The hut is very basic and will need some work done before one can actually move in, like insulating it and having the wood treated. It is made from old palasades so its recycled wood. Please any advise or help would be very welcome as Ethekwini is not coming back to me with their requirements. I get the feeling our neighbor has friends there and that is why we having such an delay in getting advise.

  111. If the plan shows a carport with corrugated sheeting no. Otherwise it will depend on the requirements of the complex.

  112. Contact the local authority and see if they want plans. If they do you would be advised to comply because they have the right to tell you to demolish any illegal structure! You could of course raise the question that other people have built similar structures …

  113. As soon as you change plumbing you are going to need to have approved plans. You may not need plans for the windows, but you need to check with the municipality.

  114. Check the dimensions given for minor building work. If bigger than this you will need plans. In terms of dimensions, the regs give minimum rather than maximum heights. Just remember you will need to notify council of your intention to build. BTW what are “sink walls”?

  115. They will require plans – and you can submit an object the local authority.

  116. 1. If the wall is 1,8 m or lower you don’t plans according to the NBR. But check with the council because they might want plans. You will only need permission from neighbours if you are asking for regs or bylaws to be relaxed.
    2. You do need plans for an extension.

  117. You are on very dangerous ground and are lucky that the council hasn’t told you to remove the hut! In terms of the structure you have erected, the only legitimate use you could make of it right now is a tool shed (viz. tool sheds that are smaller than ten square metres do not require plans – however you would still need council approval to have the shed). If you are planning to use the hut for accommodation, you will need plans and approval from the council that you can in fact erect what will be a second dwelling. That opens up a whole new can of worms since the National Building Regulations state that “The overall plan area of any dwelling house shall be not less than” … “27 m2 in the case of permanent category 1 buildings, or 30 m2 in the case of any other permanent building.” Furthermore, the Act states: “The floor area of any dwelling unit shall not be less than that necessary to provide one habitable room and a separate room containing toilet facilities.” So you are going to have to plumb in a bathroom – and this must be done a) with plans and b) by a qualified, registered plumber. There are also regulations in terms of roof height – minimum is 2,1 m.

  118. Probably – but check with the local authority.

  119. Thanks. Just one more question, the hut is not permanent as we are going to be moving it later on. We just need a little extra income for now. We are however planning on putting up a full granny flat at an later stage for family to stay with us. But that will be much later as we are still not financial able to do so.
    Can I also ask would we be able to clear it as an tool shed then slowly upgrade it to a level for someone to stay and then have it reclassified or won’t that be allowed? As I said it is very basic and needs some work done on it so if we had time we could do it a little at a time? We had no idea that we needed plans as those we spoke to that have huts they are renting out said they did not need any plans and that those that rent the space share bathroom facilities with the outside room. So you can see where we were taken by surprise when told we needed plans by our neighbors and that they were going to have it removed. If we’d known we’d have sorted the paperwork first then put the hut up.

  120. We would like to enclose our verander. It is already under the roof so no change to the outside walls. We would just put in a door and sliding windows obove the ballistrade. Would this require plans?

    Thank you in advance

  121. If i want to build a three bedroom log/wendy house (7.3 x 9), does it constitute minor works or temporary buildings?
    does it require municipal approval especially when it is in a village?

  122. No it doesn’t constitute either minor building works or a temporary building. You need properly drawn up plans that must be approved by the local authority.

  123. By enclosing the verandah you are changing its function and making it part of the internal area of the house so the council might require plans. You need to check with them.

  124. If the council allows you to keep the “hut” as a toolshed, in the event of you wanting to upgrade, you will need plans. The problem with illegal structures is that if a neighbour complains, or if the council becomes aware of them some other way, you risk having to demolish.

  125. Hey, I have two projects that I need to know if I need building plans for.

    1. Existing open sided carport that that has a corrugated iron roof on, that I just want to enclose by bricking the sides up. Do i need plans for this?

    2. I want to build a wooden poled carport with shade net roof attached to the main house and boundary fence. Do i need plans?

    Thanks. 😉

  126. 1. You will need plans if you are going to brick up an open-sided carport.
    2. As long as the wooden carport is no bigger than 40 sq m you don’t need plans – unless the council decides you do!

  127. Thank you… You wouldn’t perhaps know who the right person is to contact at the Municipality for permission do you? Eg. Is there a specific department for this type of request?

  128. Generally it’s the Planning Department – i.e. the same department you go to to submit plans.

  129. I’m not sure how municipalities deal with containers in general, but if these are being used for storage then I would say they qualify as “temporary structures“. The first step in any controversy like this one is to contact your local authority and ask them to do something. I would also be concerned about the security risk.
    Please note that while we do answer as many queries as possible, we are not in a position to get involved in disputes. This is a voluntary service and one that takes up more time than you can imagine.

  130. Hello.

    I live in Parkhurst and would like to build a patio 5×6, steel structure with IBR sheeting do I require plans.


  131. Hi Ross, It depends how high off the ground the floor level will be, and if the structure will be covered then you will need to submit plans. Call your local planning department and ask them

  132. Good day Penny
    I would like to build a braai area not joined to the house. The area will have one side bricked up and a roof and the other side open. Please advise if plans are needed for such building

  133. Hi Richard, Any covered area on your property needs approved plans even though there is only one side wall.

  134. Hi, I have 2 rainwater tanks on one side of my house. The house is on the building line. No windows in this wall.
    To protect the pump and the tanks can I build a 1,2m wide x 6m long canopy over them? Also a open fire wood storage box 2m wide and 2m high by 35cm deep?
    Roof (canopy) is mounted to the wall.

  135. Hi, i want to farm pigs, i want to build sheds not more tha. 10 squ are meter, do i require plan cafefranchesca@gmail.com

  136. Hi Kevin, many people think that if you are on a farm or smallholding then you do not need plans, this is not true the law in SA states that ALL buildings must have plans and be approved by the council for that area. Check with the Council in your area.

  137. Hi Heinrich, This on the face of it seems to fall under “Minor building work”. Each municipality has its own rules when it comes to minor building work so I do suggest you try and contact a friendly person at your local planning department and ask them the question.

  138. Hi.. I want to build a carport 6m wide x 11m long.. Do I need building plan for that. Also I want to convert my sunroom to be build with block.. Do I need building plan for that

  139. Ricardo de Franca


    If one has a two story building (home) that needs a wall repaired, what responsibilities does the owner of the house have with regards to health and safety? How much of the HS responsibility lies with the contractor and how much will lie with the home owner that is a “layman” when to comes to OHS?

  140. If you use a registered builder you will probably be covered – and the contractor will be responsible. If you employ a so-called bakkie builder off the street, you will be held responsible if anything goes wrong.

  141. Contact your local authority. Different municipalities have different requirements. My guess is that you will need plans for both.

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