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Home plans – building plans

Why do I have to submit building plans for approval?

  • 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. IE. Home plans – building plans or plan build homes

How do I go about submitting building plans for approval?

  • A registered professional “SACAP” 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 plan or home plan,  approval should first be obtained from the Fire Department, who will  stamp the drawings.

home plans

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 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?


  • New Masonry: Red
  • New Concrete: Green
  • New Iron or Steel: Blue
  • New Timber: Yellow
  • New Glass: Black
  • All existing materials: Grey


  • Proposed work: Red
  • Existing work: Not Coloured
  • Work to be demolished: drawn with black dotted lines


  • 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 in Johannesburg 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 supplied) prior to the approval of the building plan,  but the National Building Regulations at this stage 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 minimize 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 stipulated in your title deeds 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,  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.

Whom do I contact to get building plans approved?

  • The Building Plans Approval unit is responsible for the assessment of  building plan applications. It is divided into six sections, each  serving a geographic area. These are the people in charge of each of  these units: Listed below are the most relevant to Gauteng.

How do I contact the building inspectors in my area?

  • Three statutory inspections of building work in progress are prescribed  under the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act – one for the foundations, one for open drains, and one when construction  is completed. These inspections are done by the City’s  staff of building inspectors, the majority of whom are situated in  satellite offices close to the sites that are inspected. The contact  details given below are those of the Chief Building Inspectors in the  various geographical regions.

Do I need permission to erect advertising billboards? Whom do I contact (and) Do I need permission to erect a cellphone mast? Whom do I contact?

  • The Outdoor Advertising and Signage unit is responsible for the  assessment and approval of outdoor advertising signage applications, as  well as the assessment and approval of applications for the erection of  cellular telephone masts.

Building plans application forms Jhb
Download 3 forms below for building applications.
Print them out and get them filled by your Professional, then submit them to the Development Planning Department  counter on the ground floor of the Metro Centre in Braamfontein.

The forms, in Adobe Acrobat format, are:

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