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Why must I submit Building Plans

The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (no 103 of 1977) stipulates that no person may erect, alter, add to, or convert any building without the prior approval of the Local Authority. How do I go about submitting building plans for approval? You or your architect/draftsperson must prepare one set of building plans for submission by colouring in the plan as set out in the National Building Regulations. If there is work of a structural engineering nature, then a person who is Registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa must sign the drawings and also sign a form (obtainable from City of Johannesburg Building Control) taking responsibility for the structural engineering work; this form must also be completed by you (the owner of the property, who is the "applicant"). A copy of the Title Deed must accompany the application, as well as a completed application form and a Zoning Certificate (Zoning Certificates can be obtained on payment of a fee from the Geographical Information Service on the 8th floor of the Metro Centre, 158 Loveday Street, Braamfontein). If your building project is anything other than a residential house, approval should first be obtained from the Fire Department, who will stamp the drawings. If the zoning certificate stipulates that a Site Development Plan is approved prior to the commencement of building work, then the approved Site Development Plan must be submitted as well (if this process has not been followed, it is necessary, then, to employ a Town Planner to submit a Site Development Plan to the Land Use Management Department for assessment and approval before you can submit a building plan). Then, you or your architect/draftsman/representative must bring all the documents that have been prepared as described above to the Ground Floor Building Control Office, Metro Centre, 158 Loveday Street , Braamfontein. A plan submission fee will be calculated for you on presentation of your submission documents. The fee must be paid forthwith (there is a cashier on hand; payments can be made by cash or cheque). You will then be given a receipt for the payment, your documents will be taken in, and a file drawn up (which is referred to by means of the erf number and township, eg Stand 4268 Merry Gardens Extension 23). The file will then be placed in circulation. If there are alterations to be made to the submission, or extra fees to be paid, or further specialised information is required, you will be contacted telephonically by the Plans Examiner who is responsible for assessing your plan. It is then your responsibility to visit the Ground Floor Building Control Office at the Metro Centre, where your file can be obtained from the "pending" (sometimes termed "alterations") cabinet and the necessary additional requirements attended to. Your file is then returned to the Plans Examiner for further assessment and final approval. You will be notified by post once the plan has been approved. What are the "standard colours" that must be used on the plans that are submitted for approval? BUILDING MATERIALS New Masonry: Red New Concrete: Green New Iron or Steel: Blue New Timber: Yellow New Glass: Black All existing materials: Grey SITE PLANS Proposed work: Red Existing work: Not Coloured Work to be demolished: drawn with black dotted lines DRAINAGE Drains and soil pipes: Brown Waste pipes: Green Soil and combined vents: Red Waste vents: Blue Industrial effluent pipes: Orange Existing drains: Black Stormwater drains: not coloured What drawings must be submitted with a building plan application? The National Building Regulations require that a site plan and layout drawings be submitted (layout drawings include plans at each level, sections through the proposed building(s) and elevations; drainage must be indicated on the layout plans). What scales are stipulated for the drawings that are to be submitted for approval? Site Plans may be drawn to any one of the following scales: 1:1000; 1:500; 1:300; 1:200 or 1:100 Layout Drawings may be drawn to any one of the following scales: 1:100; 1:50 or 1:20 Fire Installation Drawings may be drawn to any one of the following scales: 1:200; 1:100; 1:50 or 1:20 Drainage Installation Drawings may be drawn to any one of the following scales: 1:200; 1:100 or 1:50. What are the compulsory building site inspections? An excavation inspection (foundation trenches) An open drain inspection A final inspection Where can I find a copy of the National Building Regulations? The National Building Regulations, as well as detailed codes and instructions for their application, are published by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in a document entitled SABS 0400 1990 South African Standard Code of Practice for the application of the National Building Regulations. This document can be obtained from the offices of the SABS at No 1 Dr Lategan Road , Groenkloof, Pretoria (Tel 012 428 7911); E-mail marketing@sabs.co.za; Website http://www.sabs.co.za What is an Occupancy Certificate? An Occupancy Certificate is a document that is issued by the Building Control sub-directorate in accordance with the National Building Regulations to certify that a building has been completed in accordance with the approved building plan and all other relevant City Council requirements (for example, the installation of fire fighting equipment to the approval of the Fire Department, payment of all fees and contributions, approved water and electricity connections etc). Arrange with the Chief Building Inspector for your area for the issuing of an Occupancy Certificate once your building work is complete, a final inspection has been conducted by the Building Inspector, and all other Council requirements have, to the best of your knowledge, been complied with. My building plan has been approved - can I start building straight away? Before you start building it is advisable to ensure that your builder notifies the local Building Inspector (via the Chief Building Inspector of the area in which your property is situated) and arranges with the Building Inspector for the first inspection (foundation excavations) to take place. You may not proceed with the next stage of building work until the relevant site inspection has taken place. My neighbour has submitted plans to extend his house and there are windows that overlook my property, can I stop him from building? No, you may not stop anyone whose building plans have been approved by the City of Johannesburg . You may discuss your concerns with the Assistant Director responsible for the area in which you live (see names and contact details above) prior to the approval of the building plan, but the National Building Regulations do not make provision for a formal "objection process" by neighbours and/or other interested parties when a building plan is submitted for approval. The National Building Regulations are silent on the question of "overlooking" and "privacy". Privacy, on a stand in a built up urban area is a privilege, not a right (the same applies to a "view"). While reasonable precautions can be taken to minimise the intrusions upon neighbours' privacy by new buildings or extensions to existing buildings, this is not a legal requirement and, if done, it is a courtesy extended by the owner of the property where the building works are taking place to his/her neighbours. You, and your neighbour, are entitled to fully utilise the property rights that attach to your property by constructing buildings to the full height - which can be up to three storeys in many Johannesburg suburbs - and as far as the street building line, and, as permitted by many of the town planning schemes in operation in Greater Johannesburg, right up to the side and rear boundaries of the property. Where a building is constructed on the rear or side boundary of the property, however, no windows may be placed in the wall that is situated on the property boundary. Windows are permitted in the walls of buildings alongside your property as soon as the walls of these buildings are set back from the side and rear boundaries - even if that setback is as little as one metre.  
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