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

  874 Responses to “Building Regulations Introduction”

Comments (874)
  1. Hello.

    I am looking for a copy of the NBR which was active in 1969-1971. Do you know where I could possibly find one?

    Thank you, Regards

    • There weren’t any. Before 1986, the Provinces and Municipalities all had their own regulations even though they were similar they were different to varying degrees throughout the country. The National Building Regulations & Building Standards Act 103 OF 1977 was published and in 1986 the National Building Regulations were promulgated.

  2. Hi,

    I want to by trusses from someone for my new extensition, when the inspector comes to sign over the occupation must i have a A19 for the roof trusses with tiles.

    • The competent person that you appoint has to supply the inspector with the A19 and included in that is the rational design of the roof Part-L and the Agrement for the materials used these you will get from the truss supplier.

  3. Hi

    I am designing on electrical for land development and I only have town plan design, how do I determine the total load of the whole area if I don’t have architectural design yet.?

    • This is out of the league of the SANS10400 and I suggest that before you contact an architect ask you local town planning department for assistance as they will have all that type of information on hand.

  4. HI,

    I have a question with regards to the retrospectively of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 1977 (Act No. 103 of 1977) and in particular with regard to Occupational Certificates.

    Do you require a Occupational Certificate for a building constructed prior to 1977, in that as far as I am aware legislation does not have retrospective effect when they are enacted unless this is specifically made provision for?

    Then, if the act does not apply retrospectively, to what extent must alterations be done to a building constructed prior to 1977 to make it compulsory for a Occupational Certificate to be issued?

    In responding to the above, I would appreciate if you could refer me to the relevant sections of the Act that deal with this and case law if possible.

    Thank you

    • Hi, Please assist me with this.

    • Hi Sushen, I apologise for the delay in replying, we are snowed under after our move and being offline waiting for our line to be transferred. Any house built before 1977 is not subject to supplying a Certificate of Occupation and it is not retrospective. It is not compulsory to have one for a building built prior to 1977. Any alterations done to the building after this date will then be subject to the new act and will have to comply. The certificate should be issued relevant to the new alterations but some municipalities might want upgrades done to certain aspects of the building, such as a new electric DB, as a safety measure before the certificate will be issued. Some banks, through lack of knowledge of the law will demand an Occupation Certificate for any/all buildings. Please go to our Downloads Page and you can download NATIONAL_BUILD_REG_BUILD_STAND_ACT_103_as_Amended.pdf for your records. The section that you need is Article 14. I hope this helps.

  5. Hi,

    I would like to have a small free standing cabin like GR Cabins put up in my garden supported on cinder blocks. Would I need to submit plans for this?

    • Just to elaborate I am aware this structure would be considered temporary/movable and I will require permission from the council to commence building. What is generally the maximum period which authorization of the temporary structure is granted for?

      • Permission for temporary structures is normally granted for the duration of the building process and this is usually a maximum of one year from plan approval. After this an application for a time extension can be applied for.

    • Most of the GR Cabins are for human habitation so they must have plans approved before construction starts.The smaller garden sheds/storerooms will, most times, in most municipalities not require plans but some will want a letter stating that you are erecting a shed/storeroom. Read more here minor-building-work.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

 Leave a Reply


(required but will remain confidential and not be published)