Nov 132012

How far from the boundary wall must I build?

OB siteplan s Boundary Lines,Walls & Fences


We get a number of questions asking “How close to the boundary am I (or my neighbour) allowed to build?” The site plan above is a sample and is only a guide to the approximate building lines and distances that the Building Regulations allow a house as well as other out-buildings to be built. All the measurements on the plan are in metres and show the distance from a road at the bottom and at the top, from a public open space. You will also see that the side measurements that go on to the neighbours properties is less than that for the road and the open space.

We must point out that this is just a guide. All properties have their own characteristics and features and the boundary distances may vary. You MUST check with your local authority even before you have plans drawn up to avoid having to re-draw and re-submit the plans again and incur extra delays and costs. There are roads, public open spaces and servitudes that all have their own unique set of boundary requirements. If you want to build within the specified building lines you will have to apply for a waiver to the local planning department. They will, more than likely, require you to get your neighbours consent in writing before you can get approval .

  173 Responses to “Boundary Lines,Walls & Fences”

Comments (173)
  1. Hi there, I live in Benoni Gauteng and I have recently seen buildings being built directly onto the boundary wall facing the street. Is this now allowed? I hope so, because I would like to build a granny cottage and this would give me more room on the limited area I have available to build.

    Thank you and kind regards, Karan

    • It depends on the zoning by-laws in the area and on the size of the erf that the house is built on. Mostly properties that are under 500 sqm are allowed to build up to the boundary but the best is to call the local council planning department and ask them about your property.

  2. We have a palisade fence between properties. The new neighbours have cut down all the foliage on their side of the fence and we can now see completely into their property as we are slightly raised. Are we allowed to attach trellising to this wall and grow plants etc up it.

    It is such a stupid thing they have done as we can see everything that goes on including their patio and into their house.

    • Fences that are up to 1,8 m are considered by the National Building Regulations to be minor building work – and therefore do not need plans (although some municipalities do call for plans). So if the fence is lower than 1,8 m you can add to it without plans. BUT – this is only if the fence is yours. You need to ascertain whether it is on your property or theirs – or exactly on the boundary. You should also find out who paid for the fence in the first place. Our current neighbours did something similar though we have a vibrecrete wall in-between the two proerties; they cut down a gorgeous fruit-bearing plumb tree because it had thorns! Doesn’t worry us cos they overlook our washing line – but we can see right into their garden now. As you say – stupid :-)

  3. Good day,

    I stay in La montagne, Pretoria. Simon vermooten road is right behind my house. The municipality decided to widen the bridge. This caused the bridge to move closer to my back wall. It also cuased the wall to be lower on the outside of my yard than it is from the inside. If you stand on the outside, it is about 1,6m tall and should be 2m or a bit higher.

    Is there any liability on the municipalities side to extend my wall so it is higher again to about 2m when you stand on the outside.

    • Hannes I know a fair bit about the National Building Regulations, but this falls outside of this particular law. There must be some law that governs this type of thing though I imagine it would be the Roads Agency – the dreaded SANRAL. If you click on my link you can download the Act. Alternatively go into your local authority office and see if anyone there can give you some good advice.

  4. Hiya my nan has lived in her house for over 70 years and has a neighbour who wants to put up 5 inch insulation and 1 inch rendering on the wall of their property which is then coming over my nans property they even have the guttering close to her window and the builder says he is allowed to do so. I don’t think this is allowed as my nan is now losing 5 inches of her property? Could you advise me is this allowed? Many thanks

    • Samantha I really don’t know what you mean by “5 inch insulation and 1 inch rendering” – render is plaster and this should not be applied in layers that are more than half an inch (0.5 mm) thick. So that implies two layers of plaster. Insulation? Is this an existing wall?
      Anyone if whatever it is they are doing is encroaching on her property it is illegal. If there is guttering involved then it sounds more like a building than a freestanding wall, in which case they MUST have approved plans from the local authority. My suggestion is for you to go to the local authority offices and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate asap.

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