Building Regulations South Africa - An Introduction

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 to the legislation.

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

  1,153 Responses to “Building Regulations Introduction”

Comments (1153)
  1. Are there specific standards such as SANS or ISO in respect of container conversion accommodation and ablutions etc. I would specifically be interested to see what standards will be applied when containers are being stacked. I know that 5 levels has successfully been done in other countries.

  2. Please help me, I’m a student in this field. What are the 3 avenues by which a developer can comply with the requirements of the NBR in terms of NBR and Bldg std’s ?

    • Hi Silas, Sorry but we have a policy of not answering students questions and doing their research for them, this you will have to find out.

  3. I was always wondering who is actually responsible for the setting out of the building? Is it the Architect or the Structural Engineer? On which plans should the building dimensions and coordinates be given?
    Does the code stipulates this responsibilities?

    • The builder. But the competent person – whoever this is (it could be your architect or an engineer) – is expected to check that everything is done according to plan. Part A of the NBR details all this and has copies of the documents that should have been signed.

  4. Hi,

    We bought our house in Umhlanga in 2008, which has a precast (Vibracrete) wall between us and our neighbours.

    When we bought our house, part of the precast wall was covered in a vigourous climber that completely hid about 10m of the wall and, as we were busy with renovations to the house, we only cut the creeper back about six months after taking occupation of our house, at which point we noticed that the wall was leaning over towards our side. The level of the ground on our neighbours side of the wall was (and still is) about 500mm higher than the level of the ground on our side of the wall. Furthermore, there is a growth of bamboo, wild bananas and various other large trees on the fence-line on our neighbours side which we are convinced is causing the fence to slowly fall over towards us.

    At the stage when we noticed the situation, we approached the neighbours and asked if they would cut back the trees and remove the soil lying up against the lower panels of the precast wall. They agreed to do so, however, a few months after our request, the sold their house and moved to another province.

    After giving our new neighbours a chance to settle in, we approached them with the same request and they quite happily trimmed the bamboo, bananas, trees and bushes back, but didn’t clear any soil from the wall. Plants also continue to grow and with last weekends heavy rain, the wall is leaning over even more.

    Yesterday (11 May 2015), I got a fencing contractor to come and quote to do repairs and his opinion was that the neighbours should be responsible for the damage.

    I would just like a second opinion on this before I discuss this with our neighbours. We are prepared to go 50/50 on the cost of the repairs, even if they are completely liable for the damage.

    • I agree with the fencing contractor – and if you are prepared to pay half, I’d be very surprised if the disagreed.

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