Building Regulations Introduction


  • Inspections when building
    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.

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 23 chapters as follows: Part A: General Principles and Requirements, Part B: Structural Design, Part C: Dimensions, Part D: Public Safety, Part E: Demolition Work, Part F: Site Operations, Part G: Excavations, Part G: Foundations, Part J: Floors, Part K: Walls, Part L: Roofs, Part M: Stairways, Part N: Glazing, Part O: Lighting and Ventilation, Part P: Drainage, Part Q: Non-water-borne Sanitary Disposal, Part R: Stormwater Disposal, Part S: Facilities for Disabled Persons, Part T: Fire Protection, Part U: Refuse Disposal, Part V: Space Heating, Part W: Fire Installation and Parts X & XA: Energy Usage

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.

Regulations for all phases of building

We give advice on Regulations for all phases of building.

We Rely on Regulations

  948 Responses to “Building Regulations Introduction”

Comments (948)
  1. Hi

    I have approved plans and im ready to build. I now would like to move my dwelling from 3 meters to 4 meters away from the boundary walls. Can I do this as it is moving away from the wall and not towards the wall.
    Or do i need to submit amended plans ? This would just delay the building another 3 to 4 months.

    • Hi Jay, What many people do is change the way a building was approved and after the build then put in “as built” rider plans. You might hit a snag when the inspector comes to inspect your foundation trenches before the concrete is placed. Point out to him that it does not encroach any building lines and you will submit new plans at the completion of the house.

  2. I would like to put up a carport at home. Do I need a plan?

  3. Good day

    Im looking at purchasing a plot of 975 sqm, and would like to build x4 120sqm townhouses. Is this possible according to regulations? Who should i contact to get confirmation?


    • Hi Morne, Site densities are not covered by the Building Regulations but rather by the Zoning Bye-laws for the area that the plot is situated in. You will have to contact the Planning department of the Council for the area and ask them what is OK.

  4. Hi

    Does a geyser leaking into a wall have to be fixed by the seller of a property?


    • Hi Abrlour, It all depends what the sale agreement with the seller says. If the geyser was defective when the sale was made and the two parties agree who will pay to fix it then this should have been written into the agreement. If it is a latent defect and the seller was aware of the defect at the time of the sale then the buyer will have to prove that the seller was aware of the defect and concealed this fact when the sale was made. This may not be that easy. The estate agent must be challenged as they then did not do a proper job when they inspected the property before putting it up for sale. You could approach the Estate Agency Board for advice. This is a civil matter and the costs of litigation could be more than the cost of fitting a new geyser.

  5. We live in Langebaan in a quiet residential area, in a single family dwelling. The house next door to us, also a single family dwelling, has recently been sold and is being rented out to up to 10 unrelated young people living in the main house, the domestic quarters and a Granny flat. The owners do not live there. When we wanted to build an extension on our house in 2011 we had to sign an affidavit to the effect that this room would not be rented out and be used only as a home office before they would approve the plans. Are they allowed to rent the house out to this number of people and who could we talk to in this regard? Thanks

    • Hi Wendy, apologies for the delay with this reply. I suggest that you contact the Council planning department for Langebaan and report this. Contact the inspector in Malmesbury, he will know who can do something for you in that area, his name and number: Michael Jacobs 022 487 9400

  6. Is it true that if you build a swimming pool you must pay R3000 to get your swimming pool drawing approved by you’re local municipality?

  7. Can a builder dig trenches without passed plans

    • He can dig trenches but he needs plans to build – and the trenches need to be checked against the plans before the concrete is placed in the trenches.

  8. Hi I’m renting on a property and have a small business which I have permission from my landlords to run,I wanted to find out if I have advertisements put up regarding my business,will this affect my landlords rates in anyway,will they be fined by the municipality?

    • This is not an NBR issue, but it shouldn’t make any difference to his rates at all. The issue is whether the council will have any objection to you running a business from home. Generally you can do so as long as you don’t have members of the public visiting the business premises because then parking because an issue.

  9. Greetings,
    Who do I complain to if a contractor has been fully paid to build a swimming pool- but has disappeared prior to finishing. Before finishing with the pool, the builder realized that the pool is leaking- he no longer responds to our telephone calls and email messages. He has also been paid for a pool cover which he has not fitted.

    • Never ever pay in full for building work until it is complete. The only recourse you would have in terms of a leaking pool would be if the contractor was a member of the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI). All you can do now is go to a lawyer and take action through the courts.

  10. Hi

    After a contractor has contractor has completed a house, how long is the warranty period and what should the warranty entail?

  11. Good day I want to find out, if you have a shop in a mall can you carry in your goods through a fire escape route?

  12. Hi

    How long can the previous owner be held accountable for structures that were not included on the set of plans submitted to and approved by council?


    • Under the Prescription Act a buyer has 3 years from the date of becoming aware of the “latent defect” to claim from the seller. The “voetstoets” clause does not cover the seller in this case. The CPA (Consumer Protection Act) does not cover a once off sale from a seller to a buyer unless the seller is in the business selling houses. Here the estate agent should be cited as they are in the selling business but most of them will hide behind the fact that they never asked the seller if their plans were up to date.

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