What constitutes minor work or construction – not requiring plan approval | Legal Articles


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What constitutes minor work or construction – not requiring plan approval

Building Plan Approval Requirements

There are certain construction projects that require plan approval before building may begin. Although home owners have the opportunity to turn their existing home into their dream home by extending and adding onto the building, it is imperative that the homeowner follows the correct procedures.

Building plans not required

According to property experts, should the relevant protocols not be adhered to, the building process becomes costlier as well as more complicated than it needs to be.

If the construction project falls outside of what is considered minor work, building plans must be submitted for approval before commencing with the building project.

What then is minor work?

Section 13 of the National Building Regulation and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 defines which building projects are considered minor work:

  • A private swimming pool as well as a change room for a private swimming pool
  • Poultry house, tool shed or any storage shed that does not exceed 10m2
  • Removing or adding of a wall which does not compromise the safety of the original structure
  • A greenhouse not exceeding 15m2
  • A free-standing wall of any kind no taller than 1.8 meters
  • Car-port which is open sided or any other vehicle shelter no bigger than 40m2
  • An aviary not exceeding 20m2
  • Replacing of the entire roof or only part of the roof
  • Any form of pergola
  • Installation of a solar geyser which is no bigger than 6m2
  • Converting a window to a door or a door to a window as long as width is not increased

These are all building projects that don’t require approval, but any other type of project will need to be approved.

A certified copy of the plan approval must be readily available at the construction site for the entire duration of the project and until the homeowner obtains a certificate of occupancy from the area’s authority.

Requirements for building plan approval

In order for the relevant building plans to be approved, there are certain requirements that should be met:

  • Fire installation drawing
  • Site plan
  • Drainage installation drawing
  • Relevant certificates that may be required

In addition, should there be any buildings already existing on the property that first require demolishing, details of the building in question as well as the method of demolition is required.

Although the application process seems complex and tedious, it will save the homeowner a lot of long-term trouble.

Consequences of an unapproved building project

An unapproved building project will affect the potential resale of the property as the buyer may request the building plans and will notice that they were not approved.

Furthermore, possible consequences of an unapproved building project are that a building inspector may have the right to call a stop to the project and to obtain a court order to have it demolished. All legal costs and the cost of the demolition will be the responsibility of the home owner.

In addition to the costs of any associated with legal processes and the demolition, the costs of the initial project, materials and labour included, will also be at the homeowner’s expense.

Should there be extreme insubordination with regards to the unapproved building project, the homeowner may potentially face a hefty fine or even jail time.

Considering the possible consequences of proceeding with an unapproved building project, it is clear that it is the homeowners best interest to follow the relevant protocol to have their project approved before proceeding with the construction thereof.

Property Lawyers South Africa – Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated

For more information about what constitutes minor work and matters related to building plan approval contact our property attorneys in Cape Town or Johannesburg.


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