Why do I need council approval to build or alter my property?

Building regulations, the approval of building plans and the inspection of building sites by municipal building inspectors ensure that buildings meet the minimum standards of safety and health in their design and construction.

When do I need council approval for my building plans or alterations?

Council approval is necessary to use land or change the use of any land or building or erect or alter any building. If you intend making changes to a historically listed building or a national monument, or buildings over 60 years other regulations apply and are stricter.

What kind of land use changes are we talking about?

  • Re-zoning of land, such as changing from residential status to business or from business to residential
  • Special consent to deviate from freely permitted land uses and town planning controls/ restrictions.
  • Removal of restrictions, such as getting permission to change the use of land when the title deed stated a different use.
  • Subdivision of land, to change the erf from one to two or more dwelling areas.
  • Establishment of a township area, permission to build a new housing estate.

What buildings or structures don’t require plans?

In certain instances building plans may not be required. This is when the work is of a minor nature and does
not pose a danger or interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood.
Before starting any construction or alterations check on what is required. Consult the plans examiners or the
development planning information center who will tell you what the National Building Regulations requires.

Where do I go to lodge a building application?

Building application are to be lodged at the submission counter by any SACAP registered architectural professional to the local council.

Why should I pay a professional for doing this?

Building is a expensive and complex process. Plans must be submitted in certain colours, with certain size lettering, and must show a range of information such as drainage pipes, soils, waste pipes, building materials
and the whole plan must be drawn to scale. Unless you have the ability to prepare suitable plans, it is recommended that you get professional help, which is in a long run will make you application approved much faster.

Is there anything special about filling in the forms?

  • The application form must be completed in black ink no correction fluid is permitted.
  • The application forms must be completed in full and the relevant signatures required.

If I don’t have a plan of the present structure, where can I get a copy?

Copies of approved building plans can be obtained, for a fee at the various regional offices.

What if my plans are not accepted?

Plans are checked to ensure the minimum submission criteria are met, if not they are pended until the required information is provided. Should they meet the required minimum requirement a full assessment is undertaken and the decision thereof is provided in writing. The plans are not posted so they would have to be collect from the regional offices.

Once my plans are passed, can I start work?

Yes, but at certain stages, a building inspector will need to come and look at the building, to check that the plans have been followed.

It all sounds very complicated.

The Development, Planning and Management Unit are there to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. They will be only to happy to help and advise you every step of the way.

Can I contact the Planning Unit by phone?

Yes you may come in to see the planning department or you may contact them by phone.

Regional Offices Contact Details

Building plan submissions/ collection and town planning:

North region: 031- 561 1101
South region: 031- 913 4300
Central: 031- 300 2069
Inner West: 031- 718 2111
Outer West: 031- 765 6012

Building Inspectorate:

North region: 031- 561 1101
Verulam: 032- 533 8970
Tongaat: 032- 944 1155
South region: 031- 913 4300
Central: 031- 300 2198
Inner West: 031- 718 2466
Outer West: 031- 765 6012

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