Stormwater Disposal

Stormwater Disposal-Part R, What the Regulations Say

a street totally flooded.
When the heavens open up and flood gardens and roads, you rely on storm water drains to deal with the excess water.
A flooded street overflows into a residential property
The house on the far side of the road was totally flooded during a major downpour. The question is, whether the house was built with sufficient drainage to be able cope with all the storm water.

Property owners are responsible for the removal of storm water from their property. They may NOT simply discharge excess water onto adjacent land or into the street unless this is permitted by neighbors and/or the local council or municipality.

SANS 10400: Part R Stormwater Disposal

The law is very clear on the issue of stormwater disposal, although sites used exclusively for “dwelling houses” and dwelling units (defined as “one or more habitable rooms and provided with sanitary and cooking facilities”) are not as carefully controlled as larger buildings.

Note that a dwelling house is (in terms of the legislation) a single dwelling unit and any garage and other domestic outbuildings that are situated on the site. A dwelling unit contains one or more habitable rooms and it provided with both cooking facilities and adequate sanitary facilities.

Part R of the Act states: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.”

The legislation also states that the “means of stormwater disposal” used may be addition to, or in combination with any drainage that may be required in terms of F4(2). SANS 10400: Part F Site Operations is described in more detail in the section on site operations on this website. The relevant section – 4(2) – is also discussed below.

These legal requirements will be “deemed to be satisfied” if the stormwater is provided in accordance with SANS 10400-R (the SANS drawn up by the SABS for “The application of the National Building Relations”, Part R), which is available from the SABS online store  for R174.42 incl. VAT.

SANS 10400, Part R deals with all types of stormwater disposal, including rain water from gutters, downpipes, roofs, and paving, and any other excess water that may accumulate on the property. It refers readers to Part H, Foundations stating that it is essential to have good, effective drainage of areas that are in close proximity to buildings, to ensure that ground movement is minimized.

Scope of Part R, Stormwater Disposal

The focus of Part R is on the disposal of stormwater on individual sites, but also included interconnected complexes that have multiple dwelling units, including both cluster homes and retirement, village-type properties where management of common property is often controlled by a management body of some sort.

Two types of stormwater system are defined in the regulations:

  1. Major stormwater systems that cater for severe, infrequent storm events
  2. Minor stormwater systems that cater for frequent storms of a minor nature

The rational design of these systems – if required – must be undertaken by “a competent person involving a process of reasoning and calculation and which may include a design based on the use of a standard or other suitable document.” The concept of a competent person is discussed in some detail in another article. However Part R states that a competent person required for stormwater system designs must be a civil engineer who is registered in terms of the Engineering Profession Act 2000 as a professional engineer or professional engineering technologist. Alternatively this person must have a tertiary qualification (a degree or a diploma) in civil engineering.

The legislation (the Act itself rather than the deemed to satisfy rules compiled by the SABS) states that it is the right of the local authority to demand that storm water disposal is provided in accordance with “an acceptable rational design prepared by an approved competent person” So if your local authority is of the opinion that a qualified person should design a stormwater disposal system for your property they must notify you (or the owner of the property) and explain their reasons in writing, and demand that plans and particulars of “a complete stormwater control and disposal installation” for the site and any buildings on it, are submitted for approval.

Stormwater Control and Disposal

The legislation states that the regulations should not be interpreted specifically as requiring roof gutters and downpipes if another suitable means of drainage has been provided to remove or disperse rainwater from the roof of the building. There are alternatives that architects sometimes prefer.

As always, the deemed to satisfy rules take this further. These state that any stormwater that emanates (or flows) from the roof, paving or any area that is in the immediate vicinity of a building shall not cause damage to the interior of the building, its structure or its structural elements. Steps must be taken to ensure that water does not accumulate in a way that “unduly inconveniences” the occupants of any building.

Part R also specifies other requirements of stormwater disposal arrangements. The system:

  • must not undercut foundations by erosion or flooding
  • must drain away from all buildings
  • must not allow water to accumulate against or close to external walls
  • must make provision for the drainage of any sites on the property that become waterlogged at any time
  • must be capable of being easily maintained and cleaned

Part R also specifies some of the disposal arrangements that need to be addressed, specifically:

  • those that allow rainwater to flow off the roof and away from the building, including roof valleys, gutters, and downpipes
  • those that channel surface water into stormwater drains that are either on the surface or below-ground, or channels – depending was is needed to remove stormwater from the site or to another part of the site where it will not affect the buildings

Ultimately, all drainage must  be shown on plans submitted to the local authority, and it is up to the local authority to decide whether these are suitable and adequate for each individual site. Also, it is the decision of the local authority whether stormwater may discharge into a stormwater system that is provided for a public road, or any servitude, or onto the street.

One of the major issues is people simply discharging their stormwater onto neighboring properties.  While the Building Regulations do not state that this may not be done, the Building Regulations do give very clear guidelines for stormwater control and disposal, and these DO NOT include the discharge of water into your neighbour’s garden! 

Stormwater Disposal in Interconnected Complexes

While the regulations and deemed to satisfy requirements described above apply to all properties, including complexes that are interconnected, there are additional requirements for the latter. For instance it is essential that stormwater is “controlled, safely routed and discharged from interconnected complexes without unduly eroding land, unsurfaced roads or water courses, contamination water resources or compromising environmentally sensitive areas identified in environmental impact assessment reports.”

In addition, both major and minor systems must be designed to cope with design flood recurrence intervals of both 50 and two years. At present there is legislation that requires flood lines for “townships” to be determined for 100-year recurrence intervals. This is because the storm water flow from 100-year floods is typically 25 percent greater than for 50-year floods. Part R states that major storm systems can be designed for a 50-year flood provided that the certified 100-year flood lines remain unchanged. This is very important.

Other requirements include:

  • the creation of terraces for dwelling units, where needed, that will allow the water to drain by gravity
  • the avoidance of erosion caused by too much water
  • specifications for the velocity of stormwater flow in road-edge channels constructed as part of a minor stormwater system
  • the need for channels built in soil that is susceptible to erosion to be lined
  • a specification that pipes in servitudes must have a diameter of no less than 300 mm

There is also a table that specifies minimum stormwater pipe gradient in relation to the diameter of the pipe. So if the minimum 300 mm pipe is used the desirable minimum gradient is 1 in 80, and the absolute minimum gradient is 1 in 230. If the maximum 1 200 mm diameter pipe is used, then the desirable minimum gradient is 1 in 520, and the absolute minimum gradient is 1 in 1500.

Gutters and Downpipes

There are some important specifications that relate to gutters and downpipes, including a table that gives roof, eaves and valley gutter sizes. In summer rainfall regions, the internal cross-sectional area of a valley or gutter per square metre of the roof plan area served (per square mm) is 140; in winter rainfall regions this is 80; and in areas where it rains all year round, the figure is 115.

In addition, the internal cross-sectional area of downpipes shall be not less than 100 square mm/square m of roof plan area served by such downpipe, or 4 400 square mm.

SANS 10400: Part F Site Operations F4(2)

Part F4 deals with preparation of a site that is to be built on. Point (2) states that when a building is to be erected on a site that is waterlogged or saturated with water, or where any building is going to be situated so that water will drain naturally towards it, drainage must be provided to direct the water away from the site or building, to a storm water drain, or somewhere that it can be disposed of in some other safe and approved manner.

Note that these requirement are in addition to Part R.

SANS 10400: Part L Roofs

This part of SANS 10400 is dealt with elsewhere on this site in the section on Roofs.

Waterproofing and runoff are dealt with in some detail in the relevant SANS for The application of the National Building Regulations.

Other SANS that deal with Stormwater Drainage

Additional SANS that deal with storm water drains and gullies are intended for the use of civil engineering construction and include:

  • SANS 1200 LE – Standardized specification for civil engineering construction Section LE: Stormwater drainage.

This is a drawing from the above SANS that shows how a precast concrete manhole for storm water should be built.stormwater disposalstormwater disposal

  • SANS 10120 – A Code of practice for use with the above, including:
  1. Part 2: Project specification Section LE: Stormwater drainage
  2. Part 3: Guidance for design Section LE: Stormwater drainage
  3. Part 4: Typical schedule of quantities Section LE: Stormwater drainage
  4. Part 5: Contract administration Section LE: Stormwater drainage

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128 comments

  1. My neighbour, whose property level is above mine has no drainage for their rainwater downpipes, all the water from their roof runs over their driveway, down a once grassy bank and into my property. Their bank is being undermined and so is mine, to the point that there is a gap under the fencing where rocks and sand have been washed away. All this mud and water flows down my path and into my pool every time during our Spring rains and Storms. I have tried to dig trenches on my side of the fence to control the water but unfortunatly they get filled up with mud very quickly. Are they obliged to have some sort of drainage system in place or am I fighting a losing battle?

  2. Hello

    My property is naturally lower than my neighbours. They recently paved
    their entire yard and made the lowest point at the back of their
    property where they allow all their stormwater to flow through a
    drainage panel in the boundary fence into my back yard. Is this legal
    and allowed? I now have to do some work to my levels to allow the
    water to drain away.

    Is this allowable? Should they have asked me or the municipality
    before they paved their yard?

    Regards
    Viroshka

  3. I am a trustee of a sectional title complex in the E Cape. With all
    the recent heavy rain parts of the common property have been flooded
    by storm water emanating from the Municipal system which ends suddenly
    with an open pipe at the boundary of our land. The Municipality
    contends that it was the responsibility of the developer of our
    complex to have installed a storm water system to connect into the
    muncipal system which would dispose of “their” water (into the sea).
    Is the municipality correct ? This means running a 450 mm concrete
    pipe over a distance of 130 meters which is expensive and far in
    excess of the requirement to simply drain syrom water otherwise
    accumating on our property. Please advise. Thank you

  4. Good morning, I hope you can help. I reside in Roodepoort. What can I
    do when my neighbour washes his driveway and paving down regularly and
    the waste water then runs onto my property via the opening for the
    drainage of storm water in the boundry wall. My property is lower than
    the neighbour’s, and I know that stormwater must have free flow,
    however can he just use the excuse that as water flow down, he has the
    right to dispose of his waste water onto my property. My plants and
    grass are now starting to die as a result of the excess water and
    chemicals/soap in the waste water.
    I have tried to reason with him, but to no avail.
    Hope you can help.
    Thanks

  5. A stormwater drain has been blocked on our neighbour’s property which
    means that every time it rains, stormwater dams up on our side of the
    wall.
    Our neighbour says that the pipe was blocked by the previous owners
    and refuses to reopen it. He also says that as he is on a higher erf
    he does not have to take our water. This is absurd as we are on a hill
    and it is patently obvious that his property is lower than ours.
    Can I open weep holes in our wall in order to force him to take some
    action?

  6. Please can you advise what is the legal distance for a dwelling (granny flat or garage ) to be from your neighbours boundry wall?

    Many Thanks
    Allan

  7. Hi
    my neighbour’s property is higher than ours by approximately a metre and they had a brick missing in the boundary wall which allowed their storm water to pass from the front of their property into the front “verge” of our property.
    We recently built a new front road facing boundary wall and established that a portion of our property was on the “verge”. Basically the fence was previously built well inside our property. When we completed the new wall on our true road-facing boundary, the hole in the shared boundary wall was plastered in. They have asked us to reopen this hole. Are we required to do this and allow them to divert all their storm water into our front yard.
    Also the shared boundary wall is in a seriously bad condition due to a creeper that they have growing from their side. There is also evidence of water damage/erosion on the wall as the paint has peeled off and the wall is powdery on our side. We have kept the wall bare on our side.
    Are they supposed to have a proper drainage system in place?

  8. They absolutely are required to have adequate drainage. In fact the SANS for drainage are very strict and specific.
    I suggest that you call the local council and ask for a building inspector who deals with plumbing issues to come and assess the problem.

  9. Hi Allan,
    If you go to our sister site Owner Building there is a plan and an article on boundary distances and some information you will find useful on Boundary walls and fences.

  10. That missing brick story is illegal for starters! And no you do not have to oblige. And yes they should have a proper drainage system. BTW the reason the wall is well into your side might be due to extensive foundations – which is a good thing. We have just done a piece on boundary walls that we will be posting in the next day or so – if SEACOM gets its act together. Check back for the new post.

  11. John, you cannot legally open up weep holes in the wall. Stormwater must be discharged into a drain approved by the local authority. If the pipe you are referring to was part of the storm water system the municipality approved, then your neighbour will have to unblock the pipe. Perhaps the storm water drainage issue was part of a dispute between previous property owners?
    I have added to the article on this page, and you will see that people cannot simply discharge water onto an adjacent site. Not knowing the exact layout of the properties to the road and so on, it’s difficult to know what to suggest. Your best bet is to ask your local authority for advice.

  12. Viroshka I have added to the article on this page – and have recently answered several queries very similar to yours. They cannot simply allow stormwater to flow into your yard. While they did not need permission from the municipality or from you to pave their yard, it is their responsibility to ensure that stormwater is channeled to a suitable storm water drain.

  13. I am not sure when you posted your comment Anton, but I recently updated this page. If you want more detail, you can access SANS 10400: Part R Stormwater Disposal from an SABS library.

  14. Yes Errol, the municipality is correct. I have recently added more information to this page – it may be helpful to you. If you need more detail, you can access SANS 10400: Part R Stormwater Disposal from an SABS library.

  15. My Neighbour has been doing extensive building and paving etc to accommodate a B&B and a second dwelling. He has a sloped property and has obviously experienced water drainage problems with the Neighbour below his property. I say this because he has built structural supports to support that wall and it is downside from his property. He also appears t be diverting water from that boundary to my boundary.

    I now notice that he has punched two holes in my/our adjacent concrete wall to allow run off. We have never in 30 years ever been on the receiving side of any run off from his property as we are more adjacent than below his property. I contend that he cannot divert storm water onto my premises and that his building plans must deal with water drainage. Who do I approach?

  16. Peter, Contact the chief building inspector at your local municipality/council.
    The law (The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act) states:
    R1 Stormwater Disposal Requirement
    (1) The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.
    (2) Such means of stormwater disposal may be in addition to or in combination with any drainage works required in terms of regulation F4(2). see below
    (3) The requirements of subregulation (1) shall be deemed to be satisfied where such means of stormwater disposal is provided in accordance with SANS 10400-R: Provided that where a local authority is of the opinion that the conditions on any site render it essential for stormwater disposal to be the subject of an acceptable rational design prepared by an approved competent person, such local authority shall, in writing, notify the owner of such site of its reasons for the necessity for such design, and may require such owner to submit for approval plans and particulars of a complete stormwater control and disposal installation for such site and for any building erected thereon, based on such design.”
    SANS 10400-R is very short – eight pages in all. The requirements are dealt with in three parts, General, Stormwater & Disposal, Gutters & Downpipes. These describe acceptable ways of dealing with storm water – and channeling it onto a neighburs property is NOT an option.

    F4 Preparation of Site (this is in Part F, Site operations)
    (2) Where any site upon which any building is to be erected is waterlogged, seasonally waterlogged or saturated, or where any building is to be so situated that water will drain naturally towards it, drainage shall be provided to direct such water away from such site or building to a stormwater drain or to dispose of it in some other safe approved manner.

  17. Anton Pretorius

    Hi there,

    We have recently bought a Sectional title unit in Benoni. The unit is a first floor unit which makes use of a centralized staircase which leads onto a landing supplying access to the 3 first floor units.

    The staircase has a full IBR roof on it but the staircase landing itself hasn’t got a full roof on it resulting in rainwater and roof condensation dripping directly onto the floor resulting in access water being left on the floor.

    Upon discussing this with the developer they confirmed that they would simply install a gutter that would lead the water away from the edge of the roof onto the floor but instead onto the stair cases roof.
    This was not done…….instead they installed a 40cm piece of gutter with a down pipe that leads the water onto the first floor landing area, resulting in more water being dumped onto the floor causing a slippery hazard as well as possible future damp and water damage.

    Where can we find in the act the piece that covers this scenario described ?

  18. Clearly this is not legal. But I think you need to do more than find legislation to prove this.
    In terms of the National Building Regulations, Drainage is covered in Part P of SANS 10400, but it doesn’t go into gutters and downpipes. This is covered in Part R, Stormwater Disposal which, in general terms, address how stormwater needs to be disposed of.
    First of all, a qualified registered plumber should have been appointed to do this job. But this sounds as if it could also be a design issue with safety implications.
    If I were you I would contact the chief building inspector at your local authority and ask them to do an inspection.

  19. What are the rules and regulations regarding direct discharge of rainwater from a roof (no gutters)into adjacent property creating damage to walls and rising damp?

  20. Peter

    Re the drainage issue from your neighbours site that is above yours.

    Drainage of surface water is a bit more complicated as laid put in SANS 10400 part R.

    Below is an extract from a property law course I did a while back with the relevant cases and decisions listed: (Please note, I am not lawyer!)

    “An owner of property has the right to discharge the natural flow of water onto adjoining property, and the owner of the adjoining property is under an obligation to receive this flow.

    Thormahlen v Gouws 1956(4) SA 430 A (case)

    This right is limited to the discharge of natural flow in its natural course, so the owner may not erect an artificial construction which concentrates or increases the natural flow onto adjoining property. Similarly, the owner may not discharge ‘alien’ water onto the property of his neighbour.

    New Heriot Gold Mining Co Ltd v Union Government 1916 AD 41 5 (case)

    The owner may discharge more than the natural flow of water in the following situations:
    -under contract
    -under servitude
    -through immemorial user
    -under the authority of statute
    -in the course of reasonable natural cultivation

    Re ‘reasonable natural cultivation’ see:
    Benoni Town Council v Meyer 1959(3) SA 97 W (case)

    The aggrieved owner has a number of remedies available:

    These remedies are divided up according to the usage of the property. For this purpose property is divided into two usages: rural and urban. The classification is based on the size and usage of the property, rather than on its location. Thus large property with limited usage will be regarded as rural, whereas a smaller property with intense usage would be regarded as urban. “

  21. Brian Holdsworth

    House A has no gutters,what is the regulation regarding the direct
    discharge of rain water over the boundary wall into my property
    causing damage and rising damp

  22. J – Diverting water is not allowing the water to flow along its NATURAL course. Peter’s neighbour is way out of line!

  23. Brian, please read all the comments and replies at the bottom of the page. I am pretty sure we have covered this already. Basically this in not a natural path of water and so your neighbour (I presume) needs to take steps to channel the stormwater into an appropriate drain.

  24. THANKS FOR THE PROMPT REPLY,THE BUILDING LINE IS 1m AWAY FROM THE BOUNDARY AND WITH THE OVERHANG OF THE ROOF BEEN 600mm AND THE ROOF BEEN OF A BALTI DESIGN,MUST I STILL ACCEPT THIS IN MY PROPERTY AND WHAT ABOUT THE DAMAGE TO MY DWELLING WALLS

  25. Brian it sounds as if your neighbour is in breach. He isn’t allowed to discharge stormwater onto your property in any event. My opinion is that he is liable to damage to your walls. But I am not a lawyer, just an educated layperson. If I was in your position I certainly wouldn’t accept what he is doing. Contact the building inspectorate at your local authority and ask them to help you. If they can’t or won’t – then you will probably need to enlist the help of an attorney. Good luck.

  26. Thanks Penny,this is just the answer I have been looking for.do you recommend that I write my neighbour a letter requesting him to install gutters and down-pipes on the said portion of roof to direct the water to ground level and if need be I will accept his ground run off water,failing which we go the legal route

  27. Brian it’s your call. But (1) the regulations don’t say you have to have gutters and downpipes, just that the water must be carried away … and (2) you do not have to accept his water any which way. But if you feel you will be better off that way then make the offer. By compromising you may find that the resale value of your house decreases.
    If I was in your shoes I would demand that he directs the water to ground level to a legal drain, approved by the municipality, that carries the stormwater to the municipal stormwater drain.

  28. Hi All,
    I have found the relevant clause in the “Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme 2011”. And it states (in full) under section 14 (General conditions applicable to all erven) – Paragraph 2: “Where, in the opinion of the Council, it is impracticable for stormwater to be drained from higher lying erven direct to a road, the owner of the lower lying erf shall be obliged to accept and/or permit the passage over the erf of such stormwater: Provided that the owners of any higher lying erven, the stormwater from which is discharged over any lower lying erf, shall be liable to pay a proportionate share of the cost of any pipe line or drain which the owner of such lower lying erf may find necessary to lay or construct for the purpose of conducting the water so discharged over the erf.”
    I am still investigating if other Local Authorities follow the same or similar rulings. I will post the findings here as soon as I have these.

  29. Hi,

    I have a query, can I create a drainage systems that flows down my driveway and onto the road?

    Thanks

  30. Terence you need a channel of some sort next to the driveway and this needs to direct the water into a stormwater drain – or the council’s stormwater system.

  31. We bought a house in Paarl. The transfer is still in the process. We have discovered that storm water from all pipes/gutters etc. just coing onto the ground. The plot has a slope – so the water is actualy flow down the neighbor’ property. Who will have to be responsible to maintain it in a right way? Am I entitled to force ex-owner to sort that out? Any suggestions please.

  32. Olga you can try and hold the former owner liable, but it is likely to end up in a court case unless you stop the transfer process and use that to force him/her to take corrective action. If you weren’t aware of the situation it would be a latent defect and the previous owner certainly is liable – it’s just that it becomes a legal issue.

  33. Thank you Penny!

  34. Hi , I am currently renting business premises and have been told that this building might be illegal as it has storm water manhole covers on the floor . Anyone know how i can find out more about the legality of this ?

  35. Hi Penny, I am in a complex and adjacent stand is being developed. It has a close to 60% coverage ratio and I guess about 40% of the remaining land will be paved. The developer has informed me that approx 2/3 of storm-water will be directed to the road via gutters etc. The stand slopes back from the road and, for last 1/3, the developer plans to channel any overflow into adjacent stands including mine. Mine may be marginally lower (a couple of cms) at the boundary, but that is the low point of my stand so storm water could pool up to an estimated 15 cm. I have asked the developer to use french drains etc to improve the stand’s water carrying capacity but have not met any enthusiasm.
    Our suburbs by-laws do indicate that a lower lying stand should take overflow with the higher stand contributing to the cost of any extra drainage requirements on the lower stand.
    Does ‘lower’ mean lower at the boundary or lower on average than the other stand’s boundary?
    Does of the owner, have a unilateral right to make a drainage hole in my wall?
    How far does the owner have an obligation to mitigate storm water run off via, e.g. french drains?
    Is there any guidance on what ‘contribute’ means?
    Lastly, what are my obligations?
    I’d appreciate your suggestions and guidance. Thanks v much for your help

  36. Peter, I would think that “lower” means lower anywhere or overall. i.e. Parts could be even lower than on the boundary – or higher on the other side.
    Nobody has the right to make a drainage hole in your wall without your permission.
    But you probably need a lawyer to do a proper interpretation of the bylaws. You might also call the SA Institute of Plumbing (you’ll find regional contact numbers on their website) and ask to speak to one of their committee members who can advise you. In addition to plumbing and drainage issues detailed in SANS 10400 (the National Building Regulations) there are a number of other Standards that deal with drainage.

  37. Peter, IOPSA’s technical advisor, Martin Coetzee (who works for Cobra Watertech) is incredibly knowledgable. Why not give him a call? Or ask Iopsa to pass on your message and get him to call you. Good luck

  38. Jeff you can either ask a qualified and registered plumber to inspect (and pay his fee), or ask the local authority to send someone out to inspect. The latter would probably be the best bet because they are ultimately the people who will take action if there are illegal elements in the building.

  39. I stay in Port Elizabeth <
    I am staying in the same house for 12 years, its a panhandle property and my storm water have been draining into my one neighbour property.
    A year ago new owner build on and we have discussed the "drain hole", as he want to put a floor down. I have agreed to put a pipe down at my cost so to control the water and the floor can go on top.
    Two weeks ago I spotted the hole was completely closed of with concrete , spoke to another neighbour and she had the same issue.
    If it rain now my house will be flooded, what to do??

  40. Hi Kobus, Here is an extract from the Jhb bye-laws:
    “Where, in the opinion of the Council, it is impracticable for stormwater to be drained from higher lying erven direct to a road, the owner of the lower lying erf shall be obliged to accept and/or permit the passage over the erf of such stormwater: Provided that the owners of any higher lying erven, the stormwater from which is discharged over any lower lying erf, shall be liable to pay a proportionate share of the cost of any pipe line or drain which the owner of such lower lying erf may find necessary to lay or construct for the purpose of conducting the water so discharged over the erf”
    All the municipalities will follow the same bye-laws, so PE wil be the same. You can call the local building inspector and report your neighbour for violating the law.

  41. Good day,

    About a year ago my house was build with proper stormwater drainage pipes in the boundary walls. My neighbour started building about 4 months later when I started. Since I am at work during the day, I have not really noticed any problems with draining of excess water, until recently. What I noticed was that the paving of my neighbours house blocked one of the stormwater drainage pipes with about 10% of the pipe open for draining. This unfortunately results in a very slow draining on my side to such an extend that the water level builds up higher than the pipe. Speaking under correction, blocking of stormwater draining pipes is not allowed and these pipes should be kept open at all times? How do I proceed with this issue and is this semi-blocking legal?

    Thank you.

  42. My neigbor drains his pool every month all the water into my yard, not just backwash, I am talking about draining his pool, he floods my braai area and my grass is completely muddy from this. He is very difficult to talk to, what can I do .

  43. Juanita, People are not allowed to simply drain their swimming pools onto other people’s properties. It isn’t a building regulation issue, though drainage is. It needs to be drained into a drain or directly into the road. If he is difficult to talk to – write a letter that states he has no right to do this and that you are going to hold him liable for damage if he does it again – and public nuisance since he regularly renders your garden unusable. If he doesn’t stop then you may need to pay a lawyer to write a letter for you. Nobody needs a neighbour like that!

  44. Aj you are correct in your assumptions. I suggest you contact the local authority and report this to them.

  45. Subject:
    Pipes underground

    Message:
    Recently I installed a Jojo Tank and pump to increase water pressure. The installer ran the water pipes just about 15 – 20 cm below the garden lawn. What is the regulation regarding the depth water pipes and underground electricity pipes/conduits? Kindly direct me to relevant literature. Thanks and regards. Ahmed

  46. Subject:
    Storm water management

    Message:
    Good Day. I would like to see the wording of the law that states that a neighbour whose property is lower than yours are not allowed to prohibit the natural flow of storm water. Also is there a cost sharing
    implication if a drainage system must be put in place to manage the water between to neighbouring properties?

  47. Alleen, Part R of SANS 10400 covers stormwater disposal. I don’t have a copy of that available to me right now, so can’t give you the wording, but you can buy a copy from the SABS online store, or have a look at it at one of their libraries. However the legislation states that the owner of any site “shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” If necessary, the local authority may (according to the Act) insist on a “rational design prepared by an approved competent person” e.g. an engineer. They may also insist on plans for this. Part R – which is the “deemed to satisfy” part of the regs – gives guidance on how stormwater should be disposed – e.g. gullies, drains, downpipes and gutters etc
    So you will see that the owner of a property is obliged to take care of his/her own drainage of stormwater – and this does NOT mean that you must expect your neighbour to take the flow of water onto their property (unless there is a registered servitude for this purpose). There is no law that states neighbours must share costs of anything.

  48. The land adjacent to mine (residential) was re-zoned to religious site. I had given the owners (Trust) permission to build on the boundry line in terms of the approved plans. However they have built thus far not in accordance with the approved plans. The approved plans showed an open basement parking. However, they have deviated in that they built boundary walls with windows and converted this into a hall. My home is affeced by the light & noise eminating from the functions they have during weekend that goes late into the night/ next morning.Their stromwater is draining into my backyard.The building remains incomplete from 2004. After lodging numerous complaints for years with the Municipality, the municipality had issued a letter of non-compliance and summons twice, and no further action was taken by the municipality.

    Now the municipality has notified me that according to the National building regulation I am oblidged to give the Trust permission to construct a storm water drain over my property to be deposited into the bottom stream at their cost which the municipality will oversee.

    Do i have a right to have them remove the boundary walls with widows and deny them use of my property to construct a storm water drain?

  49. Anoop, I would refuse them access and notify the municipality that you are doing so because of the fact that they have ignored the municipality’s non-compliance notifications. Further, I would demand that the municipality take urgent steps to have the illegal building demolished. At the moment it seems that you have the upper hand in terms of the stormwater drain… Probably the people at the municipality who are making these recent demands are not aware of the previous actions. Go into their offices with all the details and any proof you have, and demand to talk to a senior person. From your email address, I’m wondering where you work 🙂

  50. Hi, I’m about to start building my house. The issue I have is the following. I Have the lowest level property. The guy next door made a hole in his wall for his drainage that goes into my property. The thing is, the stormwater of the two properties next to him goes into his property. Effectively my property would carry stormwater of all 3 properties next to me. I Bough a stand next to the boundary wall of the estate, the other issue is that the road on the other side of the boundary is higher than my stand so I can’t even drain all this water out there. According to my knowledge I must carry my neighbors stormwater, but only his. Not all three properties. I have no idea what to do. Please help

  51. Xander – if you read all the responses to questions on this page you will get the information you need. It is NOT for you to be responsible for your neighbour’s or neighbours’ (plural) stormwater. It is their responsibility to drain it off their property – and NOT into yours. There needs to be a stormwater drainage plan that the local authority approves. So check with them.

  52. Hi there. My neighbour replaced his garage and carport roof a few months back, the structures are right on our boundary wall. When the galvanised sheeting was going up I noticed that it was sloping towards our property & questioned this. I was told that they would be putting a gutter in with the downpipe on the neighbour’s side. They did put the gutter up but it is inadequate for the volume of water (Cape Town winter rains) and is causing a waterfall on our side. Very heavy rains will cause an accumulation of water that will result in our back garden and possibly the braai room flooding. A couple of questions : Is it legal for the roof to slope towards us? If not, what recourse do I have to get him to change the roof? If so, how do I get him to get proper gutters & drainage so that we aren’t flooded? Thank you.

  53. Karen, firstly if the garage structure was replaced, your neighbour should have had new plans passed, and these should have included a drainage system that would adequately get rid of all stormwater without it flooding your property. As far as I know, the slope of the roof is not the issue, the issue is that it is his responsibility to ensure the water drains. Note that the City of Cape Town no longer requires a neighbour’s consent for buildings constructed up to the boundary, but approved plans are still required. So first check with the council that plans were submitted – then report the fact that your property is compromised. You must do this in writing – a telephone call is not sufficient.

  54. Hi Penny, thanks for your feedback, will start with the council check and take it from there.

  55. Ahmed, the regulations regarding electricity are not contained in the NBR. Plus both plumbing and electrics need to be undertaken by qualified professionals who are registered with the local authority. So I suggest that you contact a registered electrician and a registered plumber for advice. Alternatively you can contact IOPSA for plumbing issues, and ECASA for electrical issues. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  56. Dear Penny
    The property of my neighbour behind me is higher than mine and last year on two occasions stormwater came through the wall between our properties, flooded my property and the muddy stormwater cascaded into my pool. I spoke to him about this and he undertook to take corrective steps to ensure it wont happen again. This past weekend, with a heavy downpour we had, the same thing happened.

    I am aware that he must ensure run-off of his stormwater off his property but is there a regulation or section of the regulation that states he must ensure run-off into the street below my property.

    Regards

  57. All stormwater installations must be approved by the local authority. These installations must also be undertaken by a registered and qualified plumber. Apart from the regulations and SANS 10400 that relate to the NBR, there are several other regulations that govern plumbing. The Institute of Plumbing SA will probably be able to give you some helpful advice.

  58. Help Please Penny.

    We have experienced a lot of damage over the years from two drainage pipes in a boundary wall. This is flowing from a higher property our new neighbours garden into our garden and sometimes into our house. We want to move the pipes further down the wall to direct the flow past the house. Can you pls advise what is required. They have also just built a pool and a cottage without plans? And I am rather worried about the pools back wash? We don’t want to block the flow just move it further up the wall to still accommodate them?

    Thanks for assisting.

    Kind regards.

  59. Tanya I have added info to this page since you sent in your query – so have a look. You need a proper stormwater system in place – or rather they do. You do not have to accommodate their stormwater or their pool water. It is their responsibility to ensures it is disposed of in a way that complies with the National Building Regulations. They are not permitted to simply divert the water onto neighboring properties. And if they have built without plans you have every right to report them to the local authority.

  60. Thank you for your assistance… and peace of mind now.

    Kind regards,
    Tanya

  61. Please help, need some advice on what legal steps I may take. My neighbour has 3 dogs on his front property which is only paved, no grass, and in the boundary wall (normal pre cast wall) at the bottom he has made drainage holes onto my driveway, so for the past 8 years, once a week, he hoses down his paving and forces all the dog poop onto my driveway. I’m not sure that he has approved building plans, if he did then surely he would have had to see to correct drainage on his property, as every rainfall his house floods. Now my question, can I close the holes in the wall. I am not his lower property as we both reside on a slope and our back neighbours are below our properties, so as to my knowledge I am not responsible for his storm water drainage

  62. Hi

    Would you know when the new legislation regarding residential retention of storm water is coming into effect.

  63. Hi Penny,

    I live in a small complex with 5 units. At the back of the complex are 3 semi attached units, with mine on the one end. All the water from the other 2 units flow into our property (we are the lowest), into a submerged sump under our paving that cannot handle the amount of water. The water then flow up through the nearest drain, which is ours, and our courtyard floods within minutes. Is this legal? Can the other units storm water flow into our property like this? If the Body Corporate does not want to solve this, legally do I have a leg to stand on?

  64. Hi Penny, in terms of the building regulations, does my building have to have gutters and down pipes? If so, would a Cape Dutch manor house with a thatched roof would then need to have gutters? I’m constucting a farm building with concrete aprons and stormwater channels that collect the rainwater discharged off the roof. these channels then discharge into a farm dam.

    kind regards
    Simon

  65. Hi Penny

    We are 3 complexes next to each other on a decline, with our complex in the middle. We are installing drains on the higher side of our complexes’ units for their drainage problems. On the lower side, the complex next to us has blocked off all the drainage holes in the wall so the back gardens are flooded in the rainy season. The actual wall is about to collapse. We are going to replace the wall out of our complex budget as the complex next door does not have funds. We want to know if it is legal for us to insist that drainage holes be put into the wall so that the water can flow through. Thanks, Venecia

  66. Also looking at a green way to conserve water and reuse…thanks

  67. Anyone on a lower property is not obliged to take the stormwater from the higher property. So you cannot just break holes through the wall and flood their garden. You must make provision for the water to be channelled or piped away to the street or a stormwater drain

  68. we are in the dominanr tenament in a townhouse and our neighbours decided to plug the drainage holes in the wall that we share causing the water to dm up in our courtyard. as a result, the cement in our wall is becoming porous. is it legal to plug weepholes if they were approved by the council when the property was built?

  69. Hi

    I recently purchased an off plan property. After signing and the construction going up, I see that they are installing 2 manholes in my property. The developer says he cant do anything about it, Johannesburg water decides on placement.

    If I knew about these placements I would not have purchased etc. After spending so much of money I am dissapointed.

    What can I do? Please assist urgently.

  70. You can object directly to the council. The manholes are there to remove your sewage and that is where they link up to the mains. There are ways to install waste pipes without manholes and by using rodding eyes. These can be used at junctions and bends as well. Look at this picture that I took at a University of Technology plumbing training center. This is how they are taught, from the bottom of the picture up, on the left is the toilet waste pipe this joins to the main line. Bottom right is a rodding eye, next up on the left is for the waste water from a basin and at the top is a rodding eye that is situated at the bend so that any blockages can be cleared. Ask your architect to specify this method if he is allowed to.
    Sewage pipe installation

  71. Hi Penny, hope you can give me some advice.
    I’m living in a full title complex for the last 12 years and there is a drain hole through the wall from the start as build by the developer. Just now my neighbor decided to interfere with the hole and reduce it down to small pipe and basically blocking the hole as it would not handle the water in case of a storm and refuse to remove his blockage. In case of a storm water will flood my garage and could cause damage to the wall. There is no way I can make any plan on my side as the building level do not make is possible for me to alter the flow of water.
    What should I do?
    Thanks
    Martin

  72. Do you have proof that the weep holes were approved by council? I ask because it is your responsibility to dispose of water via drains and not through holes in a neighbour’s wall.

  73. Hi there I know you have answered this question quite a few times but I need to find out how do I approach my Neighbour who has drilled a hole in my wall so that I am forced to take his storm water drainage. Shall I ask him to show me the approved plans indicating this, or shall I send him a letter to just ask him to close the hole up?
    Should I approach a lawyer?

  74. Hi Team,

    My query is very similar to the one posted by luigia. I have lived in a house for approximately three years now and this year, all of a sudden, the drainage holes in the boundary wall that drain stormwater runoff into my neighbours property appear to be blocked off. My understanding from the previous owner of the house where I now reside is that the boundary wall was built by the current neighbour some years ago. The holes that I refer to appear to be properly designed and installed drainage holes (100 mm diameter steel pipes that project through the wall and then turn downwards on the neighbours side of the wall) and I can only assume that the building plans for the wall that were submitted to the Johannesburg council showed these as weep holes. If these weep holes were approved as part of the approval process for the boundary wall, do I have any right to insist that the holes be unblocked?

  75. Hi, I dont know if you would be able to answer my question but here goes:

    we live on a farm close to a river. On our way home on the dirt road the dam of the farm that is higher up from us on the other side of the road over flowed just when we drove past after a short but heavy rain fall, which damaged our car to a point that it is a write-off (we had to swim to safety with our small kids).Unfortuninately it was not yet insured as we just got it.

    The run-off also flooded part of our house but there is no damage. So my question is: will we have a public liablility claim from the farm owners’ insurance who’s storm water run-off caused damage to our car? is it not their responsibility to ensure that the water that come through their lands does not endanger the people on the road or cause damage to the properties below them. The flooding is not the first but at least the third.

    looking forward to your answer!

  76. HI

    I live in a cluster complex with Tuscan architecture where the wall dividing my property from that of my neighbour is a meter away from my back door. We therefore do not have proper gutters around the roofs of the structures. The natural lowest point in the neighbours’ garden where the stormwater was supposed to drain to as per Council plans has been impaired with the installtion of a jacuzzi, wooden fences and artificial grass.

    They have a patio facing the jacuzzi with two holes from the patio roof which flood with water when it rains. In 2010 holes were made in this boundary wall to take the water facing the gutters in the exact spot where the water hits the ground and these drain into my property. It was agreed that the “normal” (after the grass has become saturated) stormwater could drain into my property as a good neighbourly gesture. HOWEVER that was on the understanding that the natural grass would remain and then there was only the jacuzzi and no mention of any more construction. These holes are not made at the lowest point in the next door property and in fact are at a level point in the erf.

    In December 2014 they installed wooden fencing and in the process damaged the wall on my side. They also installed artificial grass in the path which collected the water from the holes on the patio. The spot around the actual holes has also been paved. It is now as good as a tap being turned on and left open. I have serious erosion to my property as well as big damp problems with the foundations and walls of the house. The additional construction and change in the natural grass was NEVER discussed with me.

    Is there anything I can do about this? Please let me know should you require any more information or photographs or the like.

    Thank you
    Regards

  77. Hi

    We have been in our house for about 2 years now. We have recently done the paving as well as new gutters and all the trimmings. We stay on a terraced property and are 3rd from the top. To date our neighbour above us has 5 holes through the wall on his side (higher side) that dumps huge volumes of water on our property, logging it for ages.

    Our neighbour at the bottom has one hole coming from us and he`s now moaning about the volume of water coming through. I asked him to cut another hole through the property at the back to relieve some of the water, but he said the neighbour behind him is moaning with him.

    Our properties slope down from the street inwards, so the natural catchment point is in our far corner. I don`t want to tell my neighbour above us that he can`t flow water through anymore,but if it`s staying on my side then I don`t have a choice. Help?

  78. Hi. I recently built a house in a new complex (full title). My plot is at the lowest point of the complex and is at a dead-end. When it rains the road water from the entire complex flows towards my house and builds up at the wall by the dead-end. Last week it built up so much that the water erroded the soil and gushed under my boundary wall and driveway paving, down the driveway and into the house. The builder says it is my fault and I need to ensure that I dispose of any water coming down the driveway. My opinion is that all complex water should not be directed to my house in the first place and the builder needs the ensure there is sufficient drainage on the road of the complex. Please give me your views?

  79. Hi, We have a house behind us where the owner runs his business from. He recently bought the premises and has done various renovation to the property. Our house has a cottage and the stormwater from this house accumulates behind the cottage and often floods the cottage. The owner of the company refuses to sort this out. He initially had plans to extend and build on his property further and we refused to sign the plans. He states that if we do not sign the plans he will not fix the water problem. What I would like to know is if that water needs to be sorted out by him and if there is anything I can do legally to get him to sort it out.

  80. Hi
    Question; I want to get rid of the rainwater coming from my corrugated iron roof (344 m2 of roofing). Am I allowed to drain into the sewerage system? The slope of the property makes it difficult to drain it into the street. Can someone give me n answer on this?

  81. Hi there
    My neighbour next to us has covered the manhole with paving. Telkom came out to install lines at our house and could not get the Telkom lines through the manhole as the Telkom wires run underground. Is he allowed to cover up a manhole? Telkom doesn’t want to get involved and tell him that there is a problem and our Estate Manager says it Telkom problem.

  82. Manhole as in what? Surely not sewerage? I’m confused. But no, any type of manhole MUST be accessible otherwise why would it be a manhole? If it is a Telkom issue then it doesn’t relate to National Building Regulations. What puzzles me further is that you have posted this in Stormwater Disposal. Am I missing something?

  83. Fred you cannot drain into the sewerage system without permission from your local authority.

  84. That’s blackmail! The law is very clear, that the “owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.”
    The deemed-to-satsify requirements as determined by the SABS are discussed on this page. Start by reporting him to the local authority; you might even find that he didn’t have plans to do the renovations!

  85. I agree with you 100%. The law is very clear on this: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” Part R of SANS 10400 gives guidelines on how this should be done (this page has some commentary on the guidelines). What is clear is that people above you need to take responsibility for stormwater from their properties.

  86. Gary if you have read the article on this page you will see that the law states: ““The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” SANS 10400 – Part R: Stormwater Disposal gives guidelines on how this should be done. It is not acceptable to simply make holes in your wall and drain to a lower neighbour.

  87. Tracy this question probably comes out tops… the law is clear and it is all in the article on this page. There is no way that you have to accept his water. He must take steps to get rid of the water from his property and cannot legally simply channel it onto neighbours’ properties. Plus he cannot drill holes in YOUR wall! Get a lawyer who understands the NBR. Good luck

  88. Hi

    I recently closed up the storm water drains with concrete on the bottom of our walls because of excess water coming from the neighbours, he removed the concrete and the problem is back. What can I legally do?

  89. Chris you have no right to close up a stormwater drain. However, if water is draining onto your property from your neighbour’s, he is legally obliged to rectify this. Start by appealing to the local authority in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (i.e. the law) that states: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” Sans 10400 Part R: Stormwater Disposal provides guidelines of how this can be done.

  90. If there are not proper gutters on the buildings in your complex, they may be contravening the National Building Regulations. I would ask a building inspector to come and look and if it is acceptable, to explain why it is acceptable. The law is clear: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” And Part R Stormwater Disposal of SANS 10400 gives guidelines on how builders can ensure they comply with the regs.
    Essentially your neighbour is breaking the law by draining stormwater onto your property. He/she is also liable for any damage to your wall as well as all damage caused by the water they channel onto your property. If the council won’t do anything then you should take legal action. My guess is they will also be held liable for legal costs at the end of the day.

  91. David you have absolutely no right to drain your stormwater onto your neighbour’s property. NB the law says: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” Part R of SANS 10400 gives guidelines on how to do this.
    I suggest you contact the City of Jhb and ask a) if this is in the plans and b) ask for advice on how to resolve the problem.

  92. Flooding is general considered to be “an act of God” and is not covered by most insurance policies.

  93. You are correct, you are not responsible for his stormwater drainage. He is not allowed to drain anything onto your property.

  94. Rory no it isn’t legal and yes you do have a leg to stand on. Sounds to me like the plumbing is inadequate. also you are not under any obligation to accept the water from other properties. Perhaps a good starting point would be the plumbing institute of SA, IOPSA. The law is very clear: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” Part R (Stormwater Disposal) of SANS 10400 give guidelines on how to ensure this is done.

  95. If soil has been filled in against the wall this makes it a retaining wall, which is illegal. If the roots from their trees are causing damage, they are liable. Simple. And you are correct – insurance isn’t liable.

  96. Simon, gutters are just one way of discharging water. Not all building have gutter and downpipes – but they must then have an alternative method … e.g. I have seen architects use chains instead of downpipes. As long as it does the job you are covered.

  97. The law states: “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.” So you cannot drain onto your neighbour’s property – you need to have proper drainage. The builder should have had proper drainage installed – and you may have a claim against him.

  98. Hi Penny

    The holes are drainage holes at the bottom of our boundary wall, I closed them off because of too much water coming from the neighbours side during heavy rains. If he is legally obliged to take care of his own storm water, why can’t I close up the holes?

  99. My comment was that IF this was “a stormwater drain” you cannot block it. But if it is drainage holes (different entirely) then yes you can.

  100. Hi

    I drained my portable intex swimming pool to correct thé alignment , my drainage systém is well routed to thé outside not affecting any neightbours , láter that day I was confronted by a contractor complaining that my water messed up his tar on the road And that they tried to contact me without any success. No hé is saying that thé tar Will not Last And they need to inform thé local council to close off thé road for repairs again.

    Can i be held liable for thé damages ? Firstly nobody informed me to stop , although they said they tried by nobody answered, secondly , are they not trying to prolong théir work for extra cash perhaps , using my water as an excusé ?

    What to do should thé council decide to bill me for damages ?

    Regards
    M

  101. Normally you would drain a pool into a stormwater channel next to the road. I’m really not sure how this is likely to play out – but remember that generally it is better to be sued than to sue! Perhaps you should talk to the council rather than waiting for this “contractor” to persuade them that you are in the wrong.

  102. paul van der nest

    Good day,
    I hope you can help, I have a drain pipe running through my property with 3 manholes along the way, the manhole in my courtyard nearest to my kitchen door occasionally oveflows. Judging by the content (fats and oils etc) it is coming from the neighbors house as we never pour cooking oils and fats etc. down the drains, when this happens the smell is horrible and comes into the kitchen. Since this pipe runs through my property and is shared by the neighbors as well, who would be responsoble for unblocking/ repairing this, myself or the local KZN council? Thanking you in advance, Paul van der Nest

  103. This sounds like dodgy plumbing Paul. The first thing I would do is check your plans and see if in fact this arrangement is legal. If it is, and if your neighbours are throwing fat, oil and so on down the drain, you need to talk to them about their actions. I would hold them liable for repairs. The council is only liable for their drains, not those on private property.

  104. All the gutters on my neightbour’s large house have fallen off some time ago (2 -3 years). The house is surrounded by concrete paving. When it rains all the water from the roof and from the paving pours into my property and has complelety washed away all the soil. It is now starting to undercut the foundations from the servant’s quarters building. Who do I approach to force the neighbour to repair his gutters, and more importantly to pay for my repairs??

  105. Hi RP, The building regulations stipulate that gutters must be installed on all buildings and the stormwater channelled away to the street stormwater drains so as not to damage any neighbouring property. You must contact your local municipality and speak to the building inspectors to take action. As far as claiming damages this is a legal matter and you will have to consult a lawyer.

  106. Paving?

    Does the regulation stipulate, that when paving is laid, it must make a dip on either side of the Gardens Gate?? one “dipping” down toward the back of the Property & the “Dipping” in front of the gate facing the drive way????

  107. I am a trustee for a small complex. The property has an extreme slope from the street entrance all the way down to it’s boundary wall which separates the complex from a row of neighbouring free-standing houses. In turn, these properties, which also slope further down are bounded by a street and a further row of houses flanked by land,extending less than 10 metres leading into a spruit.

    Originally, there were storm water drain holes in the boundary walls separating the complex and the neighbouring houses. There is a section where water has been accumulating during high rainfall. It seems that previous contractors responsible for maintaining the complex grounds were negligent and there as been a fair amount of growth (duly removed) as well some sections where the holes are above the ground, some silted up and others blocked from growth on the other side of the wall inside the neighbouring properties.

    It will be greatly appreciated if advise could be given on:
    1. Recommended contractors (should I enlist garden landscapers, plumbers/ architects) and experts?
    2. Does the City Council provide any assistance and advice, and which department/ designated title would I need to talk to?
    3. Various contractors have been approached and their proposals have been so different from each other, making it hard to adjudicate the quotations.
    4. I want to re-visit the problem from a fresh start and I am looking for guidelines on how to specify my request for information and scope of work for any recommended contractor to respond to.

    Many thanks

  108. Hi i hope u will be able to help me. My neighbour has done some work to driveway which has resulted in all access water from heavy rainfall to come into our yard. We have tared our yard and allowed for our access water to go down our main drain which works fine until we experience heavy rains which means the excess water from our neighbour is bringing down all the soil from the bank. We have spoken to them countles times to get this problem fixed but they refuse to do anything saying that we must sort the problem out. We did have someone come out from the municipality to inspect their yard and he advised them that they need to sort out the storm water drain especially since they tamperwd with it and thats why the oveflow of water is affecting us. They still refuse to do anything saying that they not going to pay to fix a problem thats affecting us. Please advise on what our next step should be.

  109. Hi,
    I have a shower on our roof terrace. The water run off for this is via a drainpipe that also caters for stormwater runoff from the terrace. This combined runoff is to a central point on the street (we live in a suburb of Cape Town with no council sewerage/stormwater drainage). My neighbor has an issue (not with amount of water or where the runoff is diverted to but) with the greywater from the shower in the dry summer months. He claims that the water is smelly and is making his dogs,who drink it, sick.
    Question: is the shower runoff allowed to join the stormwater runoff into the street or do I have to run it off into a separate greywater facility on my property?
    Regards

  110. Hi ,when i moved into my house some 13 years ago ,i had put a wire fence with wooden poles, it was inbeded into hard soil,my neighbour excavated the land making a bank on her side,now over the years sand washed away the bank, my land have washed away some 1 metre away[25th july 2016] with the heavy rains ,whos responsible for this,i spoke to my neighbour to re-enforce her side of the bank,she is not agreeing to do nothing, so i can do my upper side,now the building inspector says i must have a grid with a channel for the surface water to go in,PLEASE give me some ADVISE or ,to which department can help me.

    help help

  111. Good Morning. Any feedback from the moderators? Will greatly appreciate (With thanks to the great voluntary effort that you are both providing).

  112. It is your responsibility to handle drainage of water from your side. But if your neighbour has done an evacuation that caused the problem, I’d say she needs to sort out the problem. The problem is that maybe it isn’t because of what she did.

  113. There is nothing in the NBR about paving

  114. Drainage is the responsibility of the property owner. Your neighbour may not legally let water drain onto your property! I have written a lot about this on this site, with references to relevant clauses in the regs. You probably need to send them a lawyer’s letter.

  115. You cannot feed into the stormwater without council permission. You should not be running your grey water into the street! Why not run it into your own garden and use it for plants – maybe a veggie garden?

  116. First of all, it sounds as if the drainage is inadequate. Providing drain holes for water to run onto neighbouring properties is not an acceptable solution. Approach the council’s planning department and ask for advice. For the record,
    The law (NBR and Standards Act) says (in Part P):
    – No person shall cause or permit stormwater to enter any drainage installation on any site.
    – No person shall, without the written permission of the local authority, discharge or cause the discharge of any water from a swimming pool, fountain or reservoir, either directly or indirectly, onto any public street or public place, or onto any site other than onto the site upon which such swimming pool, fountain or reservoir is situated. [While this does not mention stormwater specifically, Part P of SANS 10400 does]
    In addition, the Act says in Part R that “The owner of any site shall provide suitable means for the control and disposal of accumulated stormwater which may run off from any earthworks, building or paving.”
    SANS 10400-P (2010), Drainage states:
    4.10.1 Where the owner of a swimming bath, swimming pool, fountain or reservoir requires an overflow to lead away excess rainwater, such overflow shall be designed and constructed to discharge
    a) onto the site upon which such bath, pool, fountain or reservoir is situated, or
    b) into a suitable surface channel, stormwater drain or natural watercourse.
    [ie not onto a neighbour’s land]
    This might also be relevant:
    4.23 Common drains
    Drainage installations on any two or more sites, whether such sites are in the same ownership or not, may be permitted to discharge into a connecting sewer through a common drain.
    [You would need council approval]
    Information in our section that explains SANS 10400-R, Stormwater Disposal gives substantially more information.

    Unfortunately we are not in a position to recommend contractors, but you will probably need an engineer to do a proper drainage plan that will then need to be implemented by a qualified, registered plumber.

    Lastly, there is a very useful document available on this site (Document Downloads) or from the Department of Public Works (from 2000): GUIDE FOR ARCHITECTS CONCERNING DRAINAGE WATER SUPPLY AND STORM-WATER DRAINAGE

  117. Hi there,

    But is water is running into my yard when it rains and previous tenants built a hole / drain in our wall into our neighbours yard for gravitational flow; is that not legal?

  118. I live in a newly developed area in Cape Town & want to know who do I contact to get my neighbours to put stormwater drainage in place? (Currently we get flooded from 3 adjacent properties and our drainage cannot cope with the amount of water)

    Surely it is not my responsibility to confront them about regulations?

  119. The municipality should have ensured this was done when your neighbour built! Contact the planning department.

  120. Good morning,

    I wonder if anyone can help me we had a storm on the 25 July 2016, my flat flooded with suage water as all the drains were blocked on the premises and in the road. When I confronted the owner he told me the Municipality is liable for all my damages, I put in a claim against the Municipality and the report came back stating it is an act of God. I told them that if the drains were not blocked this would never of happened, they came and cleaned up all the drainage with tractore on the 31 July 2016 and until now we have had heavy rain again but all seems fine. In this process I had to get alternative accommodation for myself, and my son and his family. I did not pay rent that month as I did not have the money to do so, We could not live there until we cleaned up as my grand children did not have any clean or dry clothing, bedding and the smell was unbearable, my grand children are 3 years and 9 months they both developed severer diarrhea. Now the owner wants to evict us and the more I try and explain that the property must have liability insurance the less he is listening, the people next door moved as they said this is not the first time that this has happened, the owner is now renervating the flat next door and want’s us out so he can do the same for higher rent. His insurance must of paid out as he did not have money to fix anything when we asked. What can I do as I have to purchase electricity from him and he is making it very difficult to do so.

    I would appreciate and help on this matter.

  121. I live in Winkelspruit another point all the plugs were under water as well and the power did not trip I had to put off the main switch.

  122. Hi Penny

    Could you leave links to these reports you have done for further reading

    Thanks

  123. Natalie Muller

    Dear Errol – I am trying to contact you about your property in Cape Town. Please can you get in touch

  124. Hi, please can you help. I am in a complex with enclosed gardens. Three units are on a slope, I am in the middle. At the bottom of each enclosed garden wall there is a drainage hole. My neighbour being at the bottom has two holes one at the bottom and another between her and myself. With the rains we had there was terrible flooding. The water from the unit above me was rushing through the drainage hole towards me and in turn was running down until it went through to the unit below me. But water can’t and I noticed that the lasft drainage at the bottom of her yard has been closed with rocks and sand.
    Now I hear my neighbour is complaining about the water flow so she decided to closed the hole at the wall between her and I with rocks. Which of cause is going to cause major problems, and might eventually cause the wall between us to collapse.
    Your advise would be appreciated.

  125. Hi Jacqui, This is a huge problem everywhere. According to the regulations the lower property does not have to accept the floodwater from the property that is above it unless this is agreed to with the neighbour or with the local council/municipality. The owner of the property is then (by implication) entitled to block drain holes in the wall. But when it comes to a complex where each unit is walled off then the Designers/Architects/Engineers (competent persons) should have made allowance for this in the planning and building of the complex. The focus of Part R is on the disposal of stormwater on individual sites, but also included interconnected complexes that have multiple dwelling units, including both cluster homes and retirement, village-type properties where management of common property is often controlled by a management body of some sort. I think that you probably need to raise an objection with the complex management or the body corporate and ask them to sort this out. Your last resort will be to have a meeting with your neighbour and come to an agreement with them. When you all agree then this should be put in writing and signed by both parties.

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