Building Regulations Introduction


  • 01 building inspections 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    1. During the building process there are a few inspections that most municipalities require. This will be of the building and the standard of work done, these are briefly explained in the following slides.
  • 02 Site for inspection 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    2. When plans are first submitted the building inspector will do a site inspection to see if the planned house will fit on the site and if the building will be within the allowed building lines.
  • 03 Foundation trench reinforcing 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    3. Foundation trenches must be inspected and approved before the concrete is placed.
  • 04 House at roof height 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    4. When all the walls have been built up and have reached roof height the next inspection will be done; this could be combined with the next level - roof trusses.
  • 05 roof trusses 01 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    5. The building inspector might want the roof trusses to be erected and in place for the inspection at this stage. This you should ask at the start so you follow the correct procedure.
  • 06 Drainage 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    6. All plumbing fixtures and fittings as well as the sewage connections may be inspected, checked, tested and and must be approved before the trenches are backfilled.
  • 07 Completion Occupation certificate 603x325 Building Regulations Introduction
    7. When the final completion inspection is done, an occupation certificate will be issued and the owner can take possession of the house and move in and finish off the interior.

The Site That Tells You All About Building Regulations

South Africa’s National Building Regulations were originally produced as a set of functional guidelines for anybody building any type of structure. They were not intended to be prescriptive in terms of what people should build, but they do stipulate important “dos” and “don’ts” – many of which are in fact mandatory. So if you are planning to build, this is a document you should familiarise yourself with.

If you want to know more about these important regulations, have a look at the scroll-down menu under National Building Regulations (SA). While these topics are those found in the regulations, we have not duplicated the regulations. Instead we have discussed the issues the regulations cover in easy to understand pages.

The Building Regulations are divided into 22 chapters as follows: General Principles and Requirements, Structural Design, Dimensions, Public Safety, Demolition Work, Site Operations, Excavations, Foundations, Floors, Walls, Roofs, Stairways, Glazing, Lighting and Ventilation, Drainage, Non-water-borne Sanitary Disposal, Stormwater Disposal, Facilities for Disabled Persons, Fire Protection, Refuse Disposal, Space Heating and Fire Installation.

Additional blogs (which we are adding to over time) under the various chapter headings give further information, some personal experiences, and case history-type articles that share what others have experienced in terms of the regulations. We have included an A to Z Glossary of definitions and terms used in the National Building Regulations to help you understand the meaning of the various terms used in the context of the legislation and national standards.

You can find the following on our downloads page:
Guide for Architects Concerning Drainage Water and Storm-water Drainage.
Drainage Details
(guidelines in the form of technical drawings covering most aspects of drainage).
Standard Electrical, Mechanical & Architectural Guidelines for the Design of Accessable Buildings (Facilities for Disabled Persons).
Hardware Sample List (guidelines for the required finishes etc. of hardware when submitting tenders)
A “Norms Calculator” for Quantity Surveyors

Here are a few articles that you will find useful:
Building Extensions
Alterations & Additions
SANS 10400X & XA – Energy Use In Buildings
Boundary Walls & Fences
New Electric Fence Laws
Waterproofing Roofs
Stormwater Disposal
Download Regulations
NHBRC Questions & Answers
Competent Person
Concrete Mixes
Concrete Mixes – By Weight & By Volume
Owner Building – The Pros & Cons

Our Documents Page has free downloads of all the important building codes of practice for example SANS 10400-1990 and the 2008 amendment.

Our LinksPage to Local South African Websites of interest: NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council), SAIA (The South African Institute of Architects) and SABS (The South African Bureau of Standards)

 International links on our Links Page to information rich sites such as the International Building Code (IBC)  and the International Code Council (ICC) entries on Wiki (or you can go directly to the ICC here) we will keep you updated with more current sites.

Although we have launched the site (and gone public), there is so much to cover that the site will technically be “under construction” for a while.  If  there is something specific you need guidance on, please post a comment on the relevant page and we’ll see how we can help. Please only use the “contact us” if you want to advertise or if you have a suggestion on how we can improve your visit with us.

We Rely on Regulations
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  842 Responses to “Building Regulations Introduction”

Comments (842)
  1. Good day sir /madam

    I live in durban, phoenix. I would like to enquire is it possible for me to do an extension on an existing outbuilding? it is a free standing building. I would like to extend it in a vertical direction. Please can u assist with this. Your help will be highly appreciated.

    • Hi Sunil, Yes I am sure that you can do extensions to your out building BUT you will need to draw up plans by a competent person and submit them to council and get them approved before you start building. You should also check if the foundations of the outbuilding will be strong enough to carry the extra weight of a second storey.

  2. I am currently building a house in a development of 20 clusters. The complex will form a HOA at a later stage as the development is not yet complete. I am having a discussion with the developer regarding the perimeter wall of the complex and if it would be possible to modify it to create a better view. Currently it is planned to be a 3m high solid brick wall. We have requested him to install brick columns with a partial wall with 2m high palisade inserts instead. The cost would be covered by us. The height of the columns and palisade would remain at the 3m level. He is claiming that the site development plan would have to be updated and that change cannot be made.

    Firstly who would ultimately own the wall once built? Is it the HOA or the owner of the portion that it is built on?
    Secondly what planning permission would we need to get for the modification done?

    We have consent of the neighbors already.


    Regards Paul

    • Hi Paul, Unfortunately he is right that the materials used and the changes from a “solid brick wall” to one that has columns and palasaides built in changes what was approved by council so rider plans will have to be submitted. You could contact the council inspector and ask if they would consider a waiver on this. The ownership then becomes a legal matter and you would have to draw up a legal agreement that would have to be approved and passed by the HOA at the later stage.

  3. Hi ,I have a few queries
    1 ) I live in Bedworth Park Vereeniging ,in one of the first houses built in the suburb back in 1977.The stands are nice and big average 5000m2.
    2 ) The Potch NW university vaal campus as well as the Vaal technicon campus border on Bedworth Park , so the Suburb has become a student Mecca with loud music and all night parties.So every house that is sold is turned into a digs.this would be fine if 5or six kids moved into these houses,but these houses have internal alterations and additional rooms added so that the average house now houses 12 kids
    Do the new owners have to subbmit drawings for municipal approval for these alterations.If so how long would this process take .the house next door was recently sold and within days there were builders on site busy with internal and major external additions .Can the existing infrastructure cope with regard to sewer and water reticulation.
    3 ) The vacant stand opposite me now has a double story 24 room house nearing completion,the whole stand is house, surley these plans could never have been approved,
    4 ) Do the owners of these digs properties have to declare this student rental as income or remuneration
    on there IRP5 to SARS every year because 12 X R2500 per month some R360000 per year

    • Hi Mike, This really sounds suspect from what you tell us. If you get the erf numbers of the properties then go to your local municipality planning department and ask them if plans for alterations and building on the site was ever submitted and approved. This is serious and you can lay a complaint with the local municipality. If you do not get any help you can approach PAJA see our article here:

  4. Hi. i recently purchased a semi attached property. on the left hand side of my house is a Hugh power box which has my power meter and 4 other neighbours meters there as well. is this legal? what can i do to have it removed?

    • Hi Shane, This sounds like a utility on a public servitude and should show on the site plans of your house as such. I am not sure if you can have this removed.

  5. how or can you get a house plans for extends that have been build without any plans?

    • H UV, You will have to employ a “competent person”, ie. a registered architect or draftsperson, to draw up the plans and then submit them to your local council planning department.

  6. Hi

    I’m planning to build a home with shipping containers do you know if it needs a concrete base(foundation) and if that’s the case will I need to get an inspector to check it.

    • Hi Angel, You will need planning permission for the containers and plans will have to be drawn up and submitted. The architect or drafts person will specify if concrete foundations are needed.

  7. Good day,

    I am hoping you can assist me. We have a property in Kenilworth which we are doing substantial renovations to.
    The front of the house will remain the same however the renovations will extend through to the back area of the house. Our situation is the property is classified as a grade B heritage building. We would like to know what the process is and how long it wold take to submit plans for this project please?( Would the local heritage offices(Plumstead) need to pass the plans first or could we go direct to council?

    Thank you for your assistance.

  8. Hi there

    I would just like to find out if there is any laws on this, our new neighbours built a house in less than six months. They put up a wendy house against the vibercreatwall seperating us. The wendy house is basically a fully functional home, with pipe lines and electricity. Our brick paving next to the wendy house is now starting to break and fall in ward. Is this something to consult someone with?

    • Hi Marizaan, This sounds like a totally illegal structure. Go directly to your local council planning department and lay a complaint immediately

        in writing

      giving them the address and any other information that you can. You can ask them to keep your name anonymous if you are worried. If you do not get any help from them please read our article on the PAJA and download and submit those forms.

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