Why am I required to submit a Building plan?

This is a LEGAL requirement applicable throughout South Africa. Section 4(1) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act states the following:

“No person shall without the prior approval in writing of the local authority in question, erect any building in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of this Act.”

The requirement to obtain approval before building is not just a local authority requirement. This is a requirement in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act and applies throughout the country and…

1. ensures a safe and healthy living environment for you and your family…

2. is a prerequisite to obtaining a bond…


is a legal requirement which means that building without approval may result in prosecution and financial hardship.

Who can draw my plans?

The law requires that only persons registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) may draw and submit building plans. Please make sure that the person drawing your plans is suitably registered.

What needs approval?

Any building which you plan to build on your property requires that a plan be submitted for approval. This would include new buildings, alterations or additions to buildings, boundary walls, swimming pools, garages, wendy houses and tools sheds to name a few. You will also be required to submit a plan where the use of a property is to be changed. For example, if your want to run a crèche or a business from your house.

Before submitting my building plan

Before your building plans can be considered you will first need to have them checked to make sure that what you plan to do meets the Town Planning requirements. This means that your plans will first need to be seen by the Town Planning Department (Land Use Management). This is done at the same Centre where you will submit your building application. Your appointed architectural professional or our staff, who can be reached on the telephone numbers provided, can advise further if necessary.

What do I need to submit my building plan?

You will need a copy of your title deed as well as generally 4 copies of the plan on which the new work is to be clearly shown together with the application form which you can get from any one of our offices. On submission a fee according to the “Tariff of Charges” will be calculated and which must be paid before your plans can be considered. Remember that only registered architectural professionals can draw and submit your plans. They will be familiar with the submission process and can advise further.

What happens after submission?

Your plans will be circulated to a number of departments (eg: Health, Fire…) after which a decision will be made to approve or refuse your application. If your plan is refused you will be told why in writing and given an opportunity to correct the plan so that it can be resubmitted. If the plans are corrected and resubmitted within 1 year from the date on which they were refused, there will be no additional submission costs.

How long will it take to process my building application?

The local authority will endeavour to provide you with an answer within 30 days of your application being submitted. When your application is approved, you will be contacted to collect a copy of the plan, which will have on it an approval stamp, and a letter containing important information. Only when approval has been granted may you begin to build. Remember to call the Building Inspector when necessary in order for him/her to inspect progress. This is necessary so that on completion of the building the Building Inspector may issue you with a certificate of occupancy which will confirm that the building has been built in accordance with the approved plans and allow you to use / occupy the building.