Building contraventions Archives » Building Regulations South Africa
Dec 082013
 

Ensure Your Balustrade System is Installed Correctly

Balustrades Balustrade Installation

As it currently stands, the individual or professional company commissioning a balustrade sub-contractor has far more responsibility regarding their project than they realise. The Building Owner is responsible for ensuring that their project is SANS compliant and signed off by a qualified Engineer. The Owner is therefore responsible for ensuring that the Contractor utilises safe methods and techniques when installing their balustrade system.

Many fly by night contractors or “bakkie brigades” will fail to take into account best practices deemed to satisfy rules and most importantly, the SANS Building Codes when installing your balustrades. This can result in structural failure and even injury to the individuals utilising the facility at some stage down the line. At Steel Studio we are regularly tasked to assess or repair the damage caused by these incompetent and inexperienced fabricators.

To help protect you as the Client, ensure the safety of all that utilise the facility and save you time and money, we’ve listed the correct methods that should be undertaken when installing balustrades and what you can look out for during the installation process.

  • Ensure that core drilling is to an adequate and suitable depth of 120mm and secured with a non-shrink grout, which is an equivalent or stronger Mpa than the concrete, subject to the engineer’s approval.
  • Base plate fixings, either top or side fixed are also suitable, provided adequate chemical anchors are used with the necessary cover depth, designed and approved by a structural engineer.
  • A balustrade post or stanchion should never be installed with a pin fixing at the base of a smaller diameter than the post itself. This will create a weak pivot point at the base of the balustrade and lead to structural failure.
  • A pin fixed balustrade is never a suitable fixing method from a loading perspective. Always ensure that the balustrade fixing method is core drilled or base plate fixed to meet with SABS loading requirements.
  • Stainless steel balustrade systems should ideally always be welded together or where the design calls for it, mechanically bolted together. Filler wire and fasteners of the same or superior material should always be used. Systems that are glued or pressed together may not meet the SANS Building Code requirements and also may rattle continuously.
  • All welds should be cleaned and ground either with a suitable pickling acid or mechanically ground or sanded with suitable dedicated abrasives. If pickling acid is used, care should be taken to ensure that the acid is thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water and the effluent is safely discarded. Care should be taken to avoid contact with finishes such as flooring, carpets etc.

Balustrades2 Balustrade InstallationBy ensuring that the job is done right the first time you can avoid any unforeseen costs, damages or even tragedies later down the line. Uncertain if your balustrade system has been installed correctly or just want clarity regarding any of the points mentioned here? Don’t hesitate to ask us at Steel Studio and we’ll gladly assist.

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Article by Rob Blackbeard, owner of Steel Studio.

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SteelStudioLogo Balustrade Installation

 

Contact person: Sandra Blackbeard

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.steelstudio.co.za

 

Dec 072013
 

The PAJA: A Law to Protect Your Rights

DeptJusticeHeader The PAJA: A Law to Protect Your Rights

We get questions daily about buildings blocking views, balconies overlooking neighbours’ bedrooms, building approval without neighbours’ consent, developers not putting in correct storm-water drains; complaints that the neighbours wall is on “my” property; the list goes on and on. People also want to know who they can contact to find out what the situation is, who approved the plans (if indeed they were approved), and how and why their neighbours are “getting away” with these activities. The good news is that there is a law in South Africa that was published in 2000 – The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act 3 of 2000) – that was promulgated to protect you.

The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA)

 

DofJ s The PAJA: A Law to Protect Your Rights>

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This piece of legislation is not well known, and it is there essentially to ensure that the government (and all its departments) act in a fair way when decisions are taken that might affect any individual. It is your basic human right to have just, fair and equitable administrative action.

The South African Constitution guarantees that any action taken by any administration in South Africa has to be reasonable, lawful and must follow procedures. It must also be fair in relation to all concerned.

The law covers all levels and all departments in all the provinces:

  • Departments at national, provincial or local government level,
  • The national, provincial and local legislatures,
  • The national and provincial executives,
  • The judiciary (or courts),
  • ‘Parastatals’ such as Eskom and Telkom.

We will refer to those that deal with building regulations and the building by-laws in South Africa.

Allowance has also been made for anybody to ask for an explanation from any of the government or municipal departments regarding why they made a certain decision. You also have the right to request reasons as to why a certain decision was made that negatively affects you. The law states that it is your right to ask for reasons and they cannot refuse you this right.

It is important to note that these requests and replies should all be done in writing. If you are given verbal response it’s you prerogative to accept it, but if you aren’t happy, you have every right to demand that it is given to you in writing. Of course it is always best to have this type of thing in writing, particularly when there is a substantial dispute.

The PAJA addresses the fact that if after reasons have been supplied there is still disagreement. If this is the case, then provision has been made for a review of “the administrative action” by a court or a tribunal.

Once you have identified something you are not happy with (either issues mentioned above or other problems you are facing) that you feel that the relevant department should have consulted or informed you about, you must follow the correct procedures:

  1. Request the reasons, in writing, from the department that made the initial decision. This must be done within 90 days of finding out the decision has been made. If you are not satisfied with the reasons given then…
  2. You must use the internal appeal procedure for that department (see below), if they have one. Not all departments have an internal appeal system. If they don’t you can then…
  3. Go to court (see below)
  4. Use other remedies (see below)

To help you we have two pdf documents as guidelines when making requests:

Form to request reasons PDF

Form for Prior Notice PDF

I want to request reasons for what has been allowed—What do I do?

Firstly and most importantly your request must be in writing. State clearly, with reference details, which decision your request is for. Next say why you think the decision that they made is wrong. You must include all your details including your full name, postal address, email, telephone/cellular phone contact details and/or fax number. Your letter can be sent by post, fax, email or delivered by hand. Make sure that you send faxes or emails to the correct address or number. It might be best to deliver your request so that you get a signature and proof of delivery. If you do deliver by hand, get a signature and full name of the person who takes the letter, and include the date and time next to the signature.

How will they respond? What reasons will they give?

They must not try to persuade you that their decision was the correct one. What they must do is give you a clear reason why and how they reached their decision. All your questions that you asked must be answered.

How long will they take to respond?

They must give you a satisfactory reply within 90 days of receiving the request.

Can they tell me the reasons over the phone?

All reasons should be in writing, unless you accept reasons given to you verbally. If not you have full right to ask them to please put their response in writing.

What is the appeal process? How does it work?

There are a few departments that have the facility for an internal appeal. If the department you are dealing with has such a procedure then you have to use this first before you can consider further action. Again you will have to put your demand in writing and say that you are not satisfied with the reasons given to you up until now. Then you request that the matter be taken to the relevant appeal section. The next step is to go to court.

How do I take my case to court?

If you are not satisfied with the reasons given to you by the appeal division, or if there is no appeal board, then you can take the matter to court. You must ask a court to review your case within six months of the internal appeal, or if there is no internal appeal, within six months of the decision. Unfortunately though the court review can be costly.

Are there any other cheaper options?

The internal appeal (if there is one) is usually free.

There are a few other options such as:

  • Asking a political party in your area to help,
  • Putting your complaint to the Provincial MEC for that particular department (eg the local authority’s planning department),
  • You can find out who the Minister is, and who is responsible for that department, and write to him/her and explain your problem.
  • There are quite a few non-government organisations (NGOs) that you could ask for help. These are usually free.
  • Paralegals are there to assist people in awkward situations.
  • If you suspect that there has been any corruption involved in a decision that affects you, then you can call the public protector and give them all the details. The toll-free number is 0800-112-040
  • There are legal aid boards and justice centres in most of the major centres that will assist you free of charge. You can ask the legal aid officer at your nearest court to arrange a lawyer, free of charge, to assist you. You can also call the legal aid board on 021-481 2700.
Jul 262013
 

The Housing Consumers
Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998

Updated 2008 – EXPLAINED

House794 Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act

A well built house in a development that was built on time and in budget is all that a Housing Consumer wants.

1. The main purpose of the Housing Consumers Protection Act is to give protection to housing consumers. At the same time it created the NATIONAL HOME BUILDERS REGISTRATION COUNCIL (NHBRC), whose objective is to stand for the interests of housing consumers by giving a warranty to protect against defects in new homes and to give cover to housing consumers in respect of the failure of builders to fulfill  their obligations in terms of this Act.

2. A housing consumer is a “person who is in the process of getting or has taken possession of a home and includes such a persons “successor in title”. What this means is, that for the period that the “original” homeowner is covered by the warranties that may be applicable in terms of this Act, that warranty remains in place no matter the change of ownership. Any other action undertaken by the first owner is transferred to, and enforceable by, the new owner – so long as the original owner did everything in line with the Act. Different time frames apply depending on what the defect is.

3. A homebuilder is defined as a person who carries on the business of a home builder and constructs a home for a housing consumer.

4. An owner builder may contract a homebuilder for the building of a home for occupation by that person. If someone builds himself a home, lives in it and later on sells it, the mere fact that the house is still new does not suddenly mean that for purposes of this Act, the seller of that house suddenly becomes a homebuilder.

5. “Occupation” is either the date that the housing consumer who first gets the home, accepts it as is by signing a document confirming the acceptance, this is  known as a “happy letter”, this is needed by banks before they will pay out the loan on a bond that was registered for a new home, or the certificate of occupancy issued by a local authority in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act of 1977.

6. By signing the acceptance document you take complete ownership of the house and you do not have to physically move in to “occupy” the house for the purposes of the Act.

7. Most important is the part of the Act that states that no person shall carry on the business of a home builder, or receive any remuneration from any agreement with a housing consumer in respect of the sale or construction of a home, unless that person is a registered homebuilder with the NHBRC.

8. If anyone or any company wants to do any sort of building work, they  MUST first be registered with the NHBRC. Before they start work or accept any payment of any kind for the project.

If a builder has finished your entire house for you, and if they are not registered with the NHBRC, you don’t need to pay them a cent. Be aware that you will have to prove that did not know that the builder was not registered from the start otherwise you might  also be found to be complicit in breaking the law.

You can read more about the NHBRC here: national-home-builders-registration-council

Here is a copy of the Act:

Jul 122013
 

The Town Planning Scheme  for the Tshwane Region 2008

Union Buildings Above Tshwane Town Planning Scheme 2008

The Union Buildings from above in the Tshwane Municipal area.

We have included these Tshwane Planning Scheme Regulations to assist you with accessing the the correct information so that you can make the right decisions when it comes to planning any construction, building and renovation or the purchase of property with developement in mind.

This Town Planning Scheme applies to all properties within the municipal boundaries of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, and is established in terms of section 18 of the Town planning and Townships Ordinance, 1986.

Part 1 contains general information, including the date when the zoning scheme became operative and the areas that were consolidated into the new scheme.
Part 2 Refers to Streets, Buildings and Building Restriction Areas and covers Closed Streets and prohibition of access. Building Lines in the New Townships and on Subdivisions and Canopies in front of Building Lines. Land for streety widening is addressed and Building Restriction Areas (Table A)
Part 3 “Use of Buildings and Land” specifies what land and buildings in the various areas are to be used for. Permission from the Municipality and other Consent is dealt with in this part.
Part 4 deals with General Conditions applicable to all properties as well as Detrimental Soil Conditions. The Conditions applicable to Residential Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 Erven are listed separately as well as Conditions applicable to a Public Garage. The important rules for Floor Area Ratios (FAR), Height of Buildings and Coverage is pointed out.
Part 5 Parking and Loading Facilities sizes and limits are covered.
Part 6 “Amenity in and of the Environment and Appearance of Buildings” refers to the Aesthetic Considerations with regards to Site Development Plan and Landscape Development Plan
Part 7 Are General Conditions.
Part 8 Gives all the Schedules under 22 chapters.
Finally there is  a list of tables that are referred to in the various chapters and a list of Annexures.

 

Jun 232013
 

New Electric Fence Legislation Sends Shock Waves throughout South Africa

ElectricFenceX690 New Electric Fence Law

Photograph: Janek Szymanowski

Penny Swift,  23 June, 2013

When the regulations regarding an electric fence were changed in 2011, nobody paid much attention. But now that the authorities are enforcing the regulations, people are totally shocked and all fired up.

Yesterday a homeowner living in a “wealthy” Pretoria suburb was interviewed on eNCA. She said: “I think it is absolutely crazy. I mean we must try and do absolutely everything in our power to safeguard ourselves and the police don’t have the manpower to keep you safe.” The woman told how three would-be burglars had accessed her property and were trying to break through her front door. She said she ran to get her “pistol” and fired at them. The implication was that not even her electric fence had stopped them. But it wasn’t clear whether her electric fence, if there was one, was compliant with the new regulations – or even up to standard in terms of the relevant SANS.

She seemed to be outraged that if people did not comply with the new electric fence legislation, and a criminal was injured by the fencing, the owner could be held liable. Sure it may seem unfair that you could be charged in these circumstances. But if the woman interviewed on eNCA had hit one of the intruders and killed him when she fired her pistol, she could have been charged with murder.

Beeld ran a story on 12 June that quoted Marike van Niekerk, legal manager of MUA Insurance Acceptances: ”The law requires that only certified installers may erect fences. All installers of electric fences must undergo an examination by October this year  before they can be accredited. There are very few certified installers. The Association of South African Electric Fence Installers expected that by October there will only be 300 accredited installers in the country. Not only will the owner have legal fees to pay, but he also runs the risk of criminal prosecution.”

Why is this an issue? We are expected to use qualified building contractors to build our homes. The law says that all electrical work must be carried out by qualified, registered electricians; and that only qualified, registered plumbers may do plumbing work. And we need both electric and plumbing certificates of compliance (COCs) for our newly built homes. In coastal regions, houses cannot be sold without beetle certificates, to ensure that woodwork is not infested.

These compliance issues are in the interests of you and me – as are the newly amended regulations that affect electric fencing. Well, that’s the general idea.

The main issues raised by the media recently are that if property owners don’t comply with the regulations, and get a COC from a registered company:

  • insurance claims may be rejected
  • property owners may be held liable if someone is injured by an electric fence, even if that person is a criminal

Let’s get this into persepctive. If you don’t comply with the National Building Regulations (NBR) and your house falls down, insurance isn’t going to pay. If you don’t have an electrical COC, and your house burns down because of faulty wiring, insurance certainly won’t pay. If you build a staircase that doesn’t comply with the NBR, and someone falls down and breaks a leg, you can be held liable and be forced in a court of law to pay substantial damages.

Electricity is potentially lethal. Would you really consider getting a company that is not qualified to install an electric fence to do the job? … even if they were cheaper? The new registration process is intended to ensure that you and I know who is qualified and who is not.

So What is the Problem?

The main problem is that, as the Beeld article points out, there are very few people who are registered in terms of the new legislation, which should have been enforced from October last year. According to the South African Electric Fence Installers Association (SAEFIA), electric fence installers who are “qualified” may, and have been, granted temporary licenses to issue COCs. But to get a permanent license, it is necessary to pass a test (see next section below). The deadline for registration has been extended to September 2013.

The other problem relates to the COC itself, which must be updated in certain circumstances, including when a property is sold, and where tenants lease a property.

The Amended Regulations

The regulations that apply to electric fences, are the Electrical Machinery Regulations, and they fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993. Until 25 March 2011, when the new Electrical Machinery Regulations were published in the Government Gazette, electric fences were governed by the rather sketchy Electrical Machinery Regulations, 1988 – as well as the relevant South African National Standards (SANS), including SANS 60335-2-76.

It should be noted that the regulations do not only deal with electric fencing, but cover all types of electrical machinery, portable electric tools, portable electric lights, overhead power lines, and personal protective equipment for electrical work. You can download the “new” 2011 Electrical Machinery Regulations HERE.

In the new regulations, an electric fence means “an electrified barrier consisting of one or more bare conductors erected against the trespass of persons or animals”. A person registered as an electric fence system installer is required to have “sufficient knowledge of the safety standards applicable to electric fence systems”. Further, proof of “electric fence system installer proficiency” must be given before registration will be approved.

But this doesn’t mean old electric fences need to be replaced. As long as they comply with the old 1988 regulations, they are perfectly legal. And if they comply, there is no reason why they shouldn’t qualify for a COC. This is important, because if a property is sold, a COC is required (see 2 below).

The regulations state that every “user or lessor” (which implicates tenants) of a new electric fence system must have a COC “Provided that such certificate shall be transferable”. Electric fence systems installed prior to 1 October 2012 don’t require a COC unless:

  1. they have been added to or altered,
  2. there is a change of ownership of the premises.

The Law and Electric Fencing: A Pocket, Ready-Reference to the Legal Dos And Don’ts of Electric Fencing In South Africa is available FREE from SAEFIA, or you can download it HERE.

 

 A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE

The following story, originally published in De Rebus (The South African Attorneys’ Journal published by the Law Society of South Africa) will be of critical interest to all home owners, property developers, body corporates, estate agents and anyone involved in the security industry.

New certificate requirement for electric fence systems

By Carol McDonald

It is important for practitioners dealing with a change of ownership of immovable property to be aware of the latest developments in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (the Act) regarding electric fences.

Regulation 12 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations, 2011 imposes an obligation on the user of an electric fence system to have an electric fence system certificate of compliance.

The requirement does not apply to a system in existence prior to 1 October 2012. However, as with an electrical compliance certificate, this certificate will be required where an addition or alteration is effected to the system or where there is a change of ownership of the premises on which the system exists if the change of ownership takes place after 1 October 2012.

The electric fence system certificate is separate from an electrical compliance certificate and is therefore an additional requirement if the property has an electric fence system.

It will also be necessary to include an appropriate clause in sale agreements concluded after 1 October 2012 if there is an electric fence system on the property.

A transfer registered after 1 October 2012 therefore triggers the obligation to provide a certificate. It will thus be necessary to arrange for an electric fence system certificate if an electric fence system exists on a property that is in the process of being transferred.

The certificate is however transferable: Once it has been issued, there is no need to obtain a new one on a change of ownership.

Three questions arise in response to the above:

• Who is the user in respect of sectional titles? Must the owner of a unit obtain a certificate when the unit is transferred?

• If a property on which an electric fence system is situated is sold and the sale agreement is silent on, who is to obtain the certificate, who is responsible for ensuring that it is obtained?

• If a property is leased and the lease is silent on the issue, who is responsible for the certificate – the lessor or the lessee?

The regulations do not provide clear answers to these questions and they therefore require amendment.

In the interim, I submit the following comments.

Who is the user in a sectional title scheme?

The common property in a sectional title scheme comprises the land and permanent attachments to it that are not included in sections (s 1(1) of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 and GJ Pienaar Sectional Titles and Other Fragmented Property Schemes 1ed (Cape Town: Juta 2010) at 72).
An electric fence system erected on the common property forms part of the common property and is therefore owned in undivided shares by the sectional owners in the scheme (s 2(c) of the Sectional Titles Act).

A general duty is imposed on a body corporate to control, manage and administer the common property for the benefit of all owners (s 37(1)(r) of the Sectional Titles Act).

‘User’ is not defined in the Electrical Machinery Regulations, whereas the Act defines ‘user’ as:
‘[I]n relation to plant or machinery, means the person who uses plant or machinery for his own benefit or who has the right of control over the use of plant or machinery, but does not include a lessor of, or any person employed in connection with, that plant or machinery.’

A body corporate falls within the definition of ‘user’ as it exercises the ‘right of control’ over an electric fence system erected on common property.

The owner of a sectional title unit, likewise, falls within the definition of ‘user’ as each unit owner has the ‘benefit’ of the system. In addition, the body corporate is required to exercise its control for the benefit of all the sectional owners (CG van der Merwe Sectional Titles, Share Blocks and Time- sharing vol 1 Service Issue 14 (Durban: LexisNexis 2012) at para 14 2 14 11).

In respect of existing electric fence systems, a certificate is required only if there is a change of ownership of the land on which the system is situated.

The land does not form part of a sectional title unit being transferred. However, as the sectional owner’s undivided co-ownership in the land is an accessory to the section (GJ Pienaar (op cit) at 65), a change in ownership of a unit brings about a change in co-ownership of the land. The transfer of a unit will trigger the application of reg 12, which stipulates that every user of an electric fence system shall have an electric fence system certificate.

Unlike a certificate of compliance required in terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations, 2009, where the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate is older than two years, there is no such provision in the Electrical Machinery Regulations. As stated above, the electric fence system certificate is transferable and does not expire.

I submit that a separate certificate is not required by every sectional owner. If there is a change of ownership of a unit in a scheme, by virtue of the change of ownership in the common property, the body corporate should be obliged in terms of reg 12 to obtain an electric fence system certificate of compliance. Thereafter, if a sale agreement requires a seller to produce a certificate, a certificate issued to the body corporate and produced to the conveyancer in respect of the transfer of any sectional title unit in the scheme would be sufficient to comply with the requirements of reg 12.

Responsibility for obtaining the certificate

As stated above, reg 12 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations stipulates that ‘every user or lessor’ of an electric fence system shall have an electric fence system certificate.

This wording is similar to that of reg 7 of the Electrical Installation Regulations, which stipulates that ‘every user or lessor of an electrical installation, as the case may be, shall have a valid certificate of compliance’.

Regulation 12 differs from reg 7 in that the former stipulates that ‘if there is a change of ownership … the user or lessor shall obtain an electric fence system certificate’, whereas the latter provides that ‘the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older than two years’.

Regulation 12 does not prohibit the transfer of ownership in the absence of a certificate. It does, however, place an obligation on the ‘user’ to obtain a certificate.

Although there may be a difference of opinion on this point, I submit that there is nothing in the regulations to prohibit transfer in the absence of a certificate and it is the purchaser who would be in violation of the regulations once transfer has passed.

The obligation therefore falls on the purchaser to obtain the certificate.

There is no obligation on the conveyancer to obtain the certificate on behalf of the transferee unless the agreement of sale specifically places that obligation on the conveyancer.

Conveyancers must peruse the sale agreement and establish whether reference is made to the certificate. Provided that the agreement of sale does not prohibit it, transfer may be registered without a certificate having been obtained.

A clause in a sale agreement that places an obligation on the seller to provide the purchaser with an electric fence system certificate serves a twofold purpose: It removes the ambiguity created by the imprecise wording of the regulation and it protects the purchaser.

Penalty

Failure by the user to obtain an electric fence compliance certificate where an addition or alteration has been effected or where there has been a change of ownership of the premises on which the system exists (if the change took place after 1 October 2012) could result in a fine or a prison sentence. In terms of the reg 24 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations, any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of the provisions of reg 12 shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months and, in case of a continuous offence, to an additional fine of R 200 for each day on which the offence continues or additional imprisonment of one day for each day on which the offence continues: Provided that the period of such additional imprisonment shall not exceed 90 days.

Lease – who is responsible for the certificate?

If a property is leased, and the lease is silent on the issue, who is responsible for the certificate – the lessor or the lessee?

The Act’s definition of ‘user’ specifically excludes the lessor, while reg 12 specifically includes the lessor. But it is the lessor of the electric fence system that is referred to in reg 12, not the lessor of the premises on which the system exists – a distinction that creates ambiguity rather than clarity.

It is unclear why the drafters specifically included the lessor.
Applying the definition in the Act, the user is the person who ‘uses … for his own benefit or who has the right of control over the use’ (my emphasis).

Who has the right of control? The lease in each case will determine the answer to this question. In a property with a single tenant, the system may be controlled by the lessee or the lessor. In a multi-tenanted building it is likely that the lessor will control the system. The body corporate will control the system where the lease pertains to a sectional unit in a sectional title scheme.

Who is using the system for their own benefit? The landlord benefits from the existence of the system on the property that he is renting out. However, the tenant also benefits. Without clarity in the wording of the regulation, one must apply common sense. It would be inequitable to require a tenant to obtain a certificate because the landlord has sold the property. The landlord should therefore obtain the certificate.

Nonetheless, it would be prudent to include a clause in the lease to address this issue.
It is hoped that there will be amendments to the regulation to provide more clarity on these issues.

Conclusion

In summary:

• A sectional title owner need not obtain a certificate. Following a change in ownership of a sectional unit, a body corporate should obtain a certificate.

• Unless a sale agreement provides otherwise, the purchaser of a property must obtain a certificate.

• A landlord should obtain a certificate for leased property.

Carol McDonald LLB (UKZN) BCL (University of Oxford) is an attorney at Cox Yeats in Durban.

 

Jun 202013
 

How to contact your Local Authority

and Municipality in your District

DeAarMunicipalityBldg s Municipality Contact

This lovely old building is the DeAar Town Hall and is situated in the Pixley Ka Seme District and is across the road from the Emthanjeni Local Municipality on Voortrekker Road

 

We get requests almost on a daily basis about “How do I  contact my local Municipality?”,  “Where is my local Authority?”, “Where do I take my plans?”, “Where can I contact the building Inspector?”

Well here is the most up to date National list that we can find. The list is also divided up into all the Provinces so just scroll down the pdf pages and find the Province then the Municipality that you live in and the contact details will be there. If you are not sure of the new Municipality name there is a list of all the old District names and towns with the new name of the Municipality and number next to it.

Please comment below if you would like us to display lists of any other features relating to Building Regulations.

Download (PDF, 997KB)

Jun 132013
 

Consolidated Johannesburg
Town Planning Scheme, 2011

Google Jhb Town Planning Scheme   JHB

We have included this Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme document to assist you with accessing the the correct information so that you can make the right decisions when it comes to planning any construction, building and renovation or the purchase of property with developement in mind. This Town Planning Scheme applies to all properties within the municipal boundaries of the City of Johannesburg, as determined by the Municipal Demarcation Board.
This Town Planning Scheme is prepared in terms of the Town Planning and Townships Ordinance, Ordinance 15 of 1986, and is, subject to the provisions of section 3(4) of this Scheme. The Scheme relates to the area of jurisdiction of the City of Johannesburg:
a. Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme, 1979 (The clauses only )
b. Halfway House and Clayville Planning Scheme, 1976 (The clauses only)
c. Sandton Planning Scheme, 1980 (The clauses only)
d. Roodepoort Planning Scheme, 1987 (The clauses only)
e. Randburg Planning Scheme, 1976 (The clauses only)
f. Lenasia South East Planning Scheme, 1998 (The clauses only)
g. Modderfontein Planning Scheme, 1994 (The clause only)
h. Peri-urban Areas Town Planning Scheme, 1975 (The clauses only)
i. Southern Johannesburg Region Planning Scheme, 1979 (The clauses only)
j. Walkerville Planning Scheme, 1994 (The causes only)
k. Annexure F as per the Black Communities Development Act, Act 4 of 1984
l. Lethabong Planning Scheme, 1998 (The clauses only)
m. Westonaria Planning Scheme (The clauses only)
n. Alberton Planning Scheme (The clause only)

Download (PDF, 831KB)

May 012013
 

Temporary Buildings Must be Authorized
by the Local Authority 

Builders Shed 588 s Temporary Buildings

Even though builder’s sheds are temporary structures, they are not defined as “temporary buildings” in the National Building Regulations

temporary adj lasting only for a short time”

People often talk about temporary buildings in terms of structures that can be erected quickly and without plans. Some people go so far as to opt for what is advertised as a “temporary building” because they think it will provide a cheap, quick and easy solution to the need for additional space – either at home or at work. But if you want to erect a temporary building, first of all you need permission to do so, and secondly, you will have to demolish or dismantle it within the time frame that is deemed to be “temporary” for that particular structure.

While the National Building Regulations (NBR) do allow for “temporary buildings”, they are very specific in terms of requirements and permissions. These requirements are incorporated in SANS 10400-A: 2010 General principles and requirements.

The National Building Regulations are not intended to be restrictive, or to make it difficult for people to build. The regulations are also not intended to be a handbook on good building practice. Rather, they have been carefully compiled by experts in the construction industry to ensure that our homes, offices, hospitals, shops and other buildings are safe and hygienic. This applies not only to permanent structures but to temporary buildings as well.

What the term “temporary building” means

Each part of SANS 10400 The application of the National Building Regulations has a list of definitions at the start, that relate specifically to that particular part – this is in addition to the glossary that appears in the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.

In Part A, the term temporary building is defined as: ”any building that is so declared by the owner and that is being used or is to be used for a specified purpose for a specified limited period of time, but does not include a builder’’s shed“.

The fact that it states that an owner has the right or ability to declare a structure a temporary building doesn’t mean that property owners may simply erect them without permission from the local authority.

Even though builder’s sheds are in fact temporary structures, they are so common they are dealt with separately, in Part F: Site operations.

Permission Required to Erect a Temporary Structure

The erection of all buildings and structures are subject to the provisions of a number of laws, not only the building regulations. However plans and permissions are handled by each local authority (municipality, council or city) in terms of the NBR.

Minor building work does not require plans, but even this must comply with any NBR that are specified as a condition of the authorization that is granted by the building control officer.

When it comes to temporary buildings, before the local authority can grant “provisional authorization” in terms of Regulation A23, they must assess the building in relation to:

(i) the intended use and life of the building;

(ii) the area in which it is to be erected; and

(iii) the availability of suitable materials from which it may be constructed.

What Temporary Buildings Might be Used for

The legislation does not specify what temporary buildings might be used for. The declaration of “intended use” is up to the property owner. However SANS 10400-A does mention a few possibilities. These include:

  • stalls and structures that may be erected as part of an exhibition
  • structures that are to be used for “experimental, demonstration, testing or assessment purposes”

Plans Required for Temporary Buildings

The plans and particulars required for temporary buildings are detailed in Regulation A23 of SANS 10400-A. This regulation is titled Temporary Buildings.

When the local authority receives an application to erect a building that the owner (or applicant) has declared to be a “temporary building”, the local authority is permitted to “grant provisional authorization” for the applicant to go ahead and erect the building provided any conditions or directions are complied with.

While plans as such are not required, the local authority has the right to ask for:

  • a statement that specifies how long the authorization is required (in other words how long the temporary building will be needed)
  • a site plan – this of course would be a plan of the whole property showing any existing structures as well as the exact area where the temporary building will be located
  • layout drawings that give enough information to enable the local authority to determine the general size and form of the structure, as well as the materials that will be used to construct it
  • any other structural details that the local authority needs to be sure that the proposed temporary building will be structurally safe

If the local authority gives permission for the erection of a temporary building, it will be for a limited period of time – and this will be stated on the authorization document. 

There is a clause in this part that gives owners the right to apply for one or more extensions of this initial period of time. However they must submit any additional plans and details that may be required no later than the last day specified on the authorization document. In addition, the owner must submit an affidavit that states that the building has been erected in accordance with the plans and details mentioned above (if these were required by the local authority).

If members of the public are going to have access to the temporary building, each and every request must include a certificate that is signed by an approved competent person that indicates that the structure is safe.

If the local authority requires additional plans and details and these are not submitted, or if the local authority does not approved the temporary building, then the owner will have to either remove or demolish the structure.

Normally, if a building has been – or is being – erected without prior approval by the local authority, the local authority may serve a notice on the owner demanding that approval, in writing, is obtained by a specific date. They do not have to serve such a notice if the building is “temporary”.

Temporary Builder’s Sheds

Anyone performing work that is connected with erecting or demolishing a building is permitted to erect a temporary builder’s shed or sheds.

Part F of SANS 10400 states that both the construction and location of these sheds must be in keeping with the requirements of the local authority and they must be properly maintained. Further, they may only be used for a purpose that is directly connected to the building or demolition operation.

If builder’s sheds are not built, located or maintained properly as required, the local authority has the right to demand that the owner or person responsible, moves, rebuilds or repairs the shed within a specified time period. If it is being used for another purpose not connected with the building operation, they can demand that this “unpermitted use” stops immediately.

While builder’s sheds are not intended for habitation, the building regulations do state that security personnel who are employed on the site may be accommodated in builder’s sheds, “subject to such requirements and conditions as may be necessary for the safeguarding of public health and the health of such personnel and for avoiding nuisance or inconvenience to persons in the vicinity of such building”.

Once building and/or demolition work is complete, the shed or sheds must be removed from the site.

Mar 272013
 

Rapid Urban Decay in Jozi Blamed on Illegal Building

Urban Johannesburg s Illegal Building Leads to ChaosThe City of Johannesburg has lost control of town-planning infringements, according to an article published in The Star newspaper at the beginning of February 2013. It seems they simply can’t stop them from happening.

The Accusations

In the article, Ros Greeff, the City’s member of the mayoral committee responsible for development planning and urban infrastructure, said that procedures were slow and not working. As a result, she claimed, they were leading to the rapid decay of many areas across the city.

This all came to public attention at a public meeting in Cyrildene (one of Johannesburg’s “better” suburbs) where angry residents voiced their concerns at the burgeoning number of building transgressions that have been occurring in the area. According to Ms Greeff, property owners are totally disregarding instructions, including court orders, that are issued by the local authority to stop illegal construction.

According to the article, the main concern in this part of the City is the building of additional rooms around residential properties intended to temporarily accommodate Chinese people moving into the country. The structures generally don’t comply with South African national building standards (SANS); but worse, they don’t adhere to proper health, sanitary or fire conditions either, and they inevitably cause overcrowding.

Both residents and ward councillors say that the City of Johannesburg has done absolutely nothing to stop this. They also maintain that telephone calls and emails that have logged many complaints get no response at all.

The current ward councillor for Cyrildene and Bruma, Alison van der Molen, maintains that in her ward alone, 1 200 transgressions of this type have been logged. She has stated  on record that not one of these has been acknowledged, and none have been acted upon.

She was quoted in The Star article as saying: “There are some old cases against illegal building going on in this area which date back to 2006 and which are still stuck in the legal system somewhere.”

The scary part is that in terms of the Municipal Systems Finance Act, the City’s council is obliged to provide feedback to all the complaints of residents. And this is clearly not being done.

Van der Molen says that residents and ward councillors have simply been ignored by the town planning department.

According to Rob Crawford from the local community policing forum, there have been no prosecutions or demolitions, and absolutely no visible signs of action that would discourage this type of lawlessness.

“Some of our complaints go back five years,” he told The Star. “No-one cuts illegal connections. People add rooms as they please, causing overcrowding and health issues.”

Councillor Carlo da Rochas, whose ward includes parts of Bez Valley, Kensington, Bertrams and Observatory, concurs. He maintains that entire “villages” are springing up in backyards in his ward. As a result he regularly sends photos, reports and e-mails to the town planning department, but never gets a response.

“Town planning has lost control over our wards. I have illegal businesses in almost every block in my ward. Neighbours are losing money in their investments and the council, therefore, loses out on revenue.”

Ronaldo Sorban of the Observatory Residents’ Association said that the blight was spreading to his area as well, and yet again, he claimed that no-one was listening to complaints.

“The rot has to stop.”

It’s not all bad though. According to Ros Greef positive things have already been achieved in Cyrildene. For instance, a survey has been conducted and out of 85 properties visited, 32 transgressions were found, 27 of which were illegal accommodation establishments. Of these 22 have been handed over to attorneys for legal action, and two court orders have already been issued. That’s really GOOD news.

But, she says: “The by-laws are not tough enough and the city has not been proactive enough. Even when we are alerted immediately at the start of building operations, and we issue stop orders, we are ignored, and once they have put a roof on the structure… we can no longer evict as the high court has ruled that we then have to find the occupants alternative accommodation.”

Action to be Taken

The mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Parks Tau has asked Ms Greeff to put together a new task team to specifically address this issue.

“We are looking at solutions which will include immediate demolition by JMPD, transferring the matter from the high court to the magistrate’s courts, reintroducing fines, and involving the SAPS and laying of criminal charges.”

We wish her luck and success in her endeavours.

Mar 052013
 

The NHBRC – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Houses 510 NHBRC   Q&As

 

The NHBRC has a page with a number of questions that we also get on this website. The most common questions and answers we have listed here below with thanks to the NHBRC.  We must point out to all home owners and potential home owners, as well as all contractors and home builders, that the home being built has to be registered with the NHBRC. The builder or contractor also has to be registered with the NHBRC. The NHBRC will not consider a claim or complaint if this is not done. If the house or contractor have not registered then they have broken the law and might be liable to a fine. There are links to the NHBRC site at the end of the Q&A’s where you will find more answers.

 

Q - How Does One Know Whether A Builder Is Registered With The NHBRC?

A - The NHBRC has established customer centers in all provinces. To find out if a builder is registered with the NHBRC you can contact your nearest customer center, search online or by calling the toll free number 0800200824.

 

Q - Does The NHBRC Conduct Inspections?

A - Every new house constructed must be inspected. If the house is enrolled prior to construction, the NHBRC is afforded the opportunity to carry out all necessary inspections. The number of inspections conducted per house is a function of the size and the complexity of the design of the house.

 

Q - What Does The NHBRC Inspect?

A - The following inspections are carried out:

Foundations
Roof height
Practical completion
Stormwater
Carpentry
Plumbing
Electrical
And waterproofing

 

Q - How Many Inspections Are Carried Out By The NHBRC In The Building Process Up To Completion Of A House?

A - A minimum of four inspections are carried out to ensure that the house is of good quality and that it will be fit for habitation. Housing consumers and home builders are encouraged to demand an inspection from the NHBRC during construction.

 

Q - How Does The NHBRC Handle Complaints?

A - The NHBRC has established complaint handling mechanisms, which have assisted many housing consumers. Each complaint is professionally and speedily processed on behalf of the housing consumer. According to our records the NHBRC has not failed any housing consumer who had a genuine structural defect. All home owners, public and private institutions and media houses are advised to send all the complaints received by it to the NHBRC for evaluation.

 

Q - What Should a Home Owner Do When There Is a Problem with a Builder’s Work?

A - The housing consumer (home owner) should contact the home builder within three to seven days. The housing consumer can approach the NHBRC if the home builder fails to attend to the problem.

 

Q - Under What Circumstances Will The NHBRC Do Remedial Work To My House?

A - The NHBRC is responsible for repair of major structural defects which occur to an enrolled home.  The process is initiated once it is established that the home builder is either liquidated, unwilling or is unable to undertake remedial works. When the homebuilder disputes the findings and recommendations in the conciliation report or the recommendation of a competent person (Engineer), the NHBRC will assist the housing consumer by undertaking remedial work.

 

Q - What Happens If Major Structural Defects Arise Within The First Five Years Of Occupation?

A - The NHBRC’s fund for rectification covers a home which includes:

Private drainage system from the structure up to the municipal connection or the cesspit connection
Any garage or storeroom
Any permanent outbuilding designed for residential purposes
Any retaining wall
In the case of sectional title unit, it includes the common property in terms of the sectional Titles Act.

 

There are more Answers on the NHBRC site.