Building Regulations South Africa - An Introduction

The Site That Tells You All About Building Regulations

NewIntroPic1 s Building Regulations Introduction

Three stages for building regulations; Foundations, Construction and Finishing

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.

InHouseBookAd Building Regulations Introduction 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.

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  649 Responses to “Building Regulations Introduction”

Comments (649)
  1. Who is allowed to draw up building plans, such as alterations / extensions and full house design plans.

    What qualifications are needed.

    Who offers the training to qualify.


  2. Hi, I have a built a patio onto my house, do I need plans if it is open? Or only of I wish to close it off?


  3. Hi there I worked for a Prestressed Lintel company in Cape Town For 10 Years my boss has died and his wife closed the business so I am thinking of starting a lintel business in Cape Town but I cannot find any literature on specs for example what do the lintels be stressed to and I noticed that most of the lintels made now have cutout one wire for instance a 150mm lintel had 7 wires 5 on the bottom and 2 on top are there regulations as to how many wires there must and what tension they must be stressed I look forward to your reply and any help you could give me Regards John Edwards

    • John contact the Concrete Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) for advice. There are also quite a few of their documents with specs on our downloads page. You should also access SANS 1504 which is the prestressed lintel standard. I believe that there is a huge problem in their country with manufacturers making lintels that do not comply with SABS national standards.
      According to the standard, a high strength concrete with a small stone must be used to make the lintels and the cement has to be in the 42,5 N strength class or higher. The standard also says that the concrete must be compacted by vibration. I am sure there will be specs in this standard regarding the wires and tensioning.
      There are additional standards that cover “precast concrete” and a range of precast concrete products. The national standard that tells us how concrete for precasting should be made, handled and tested is SANS 1200 GE: Precast concrete (structural).
      Unfortunately I don’t have copies of these standards, though I may have some more notes somewhere. If I find anything I will let you know – but my advice is to start with the CMA publications.

  4. Hi I just want to find out when you have a complain with a developing company who do you complain to

  5. hi, please can you tell me what the building line distance between houses must be when building in an estate.

    • Richard is varies. Estates have their own rules and regulations and you should have been given a copy of this if you are building. Here is a link to a general article I wrote on boundaries for our sister website.

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