​​5 things you need to know before making an alteration or addition to your house

Most people are under the impression that once you've bought a property, you can do whatever you want with it.

It's my house, I paid for it... I can do what I want

This is however not the case, your property is still under the guidance of the local municipality of the area you live in. By law, you have to adhere to the rules and regulations under which the local authority operates. _But you should already know this..._This information can be found on the title deed of your property (You can get a copy from your bank by asking them).

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Let's get started

1. You need help

You will need to appoint a professionally registered architect, technologist or draughtsperson to assist you with the design and plan approval process._The point here is that you need someone to help you navigate the process, all of these professionals will have the knowledge to help you with your alteration or addition and prevent you from incurring any extra cost._Make sure you get a professional who is registered with SACAP (South African Council for the Architectural Profession) - you can search to see if your professional is registered with SACAP here 👈🏾

2. The Municipality

Regardless of the type of building work you're planning to do it is best to consult with your local authority to find out what building plans/alterations require plan approval. Examples of things that might require approval:

  • A boundary wall
  • A carport
  • A swimming pool
  • An extension of a house
  • Internal alterations
  • Adding a second story to the building

Remember, although there is a National Building Regulation the rules will still differ depending on what Municipality you fall under - it's better to just check.

3. Zoning

It is also important to consider the zoning information for your property, this can be obtained from your local municipality. It'll give you and the designer an idea of how much space you have to work with for your extension. Keep in mind: there are certain restrictions imposed on your property such as; building line restrictions, municipal servitude, coverage, height restrictions as well as parking requirements. These will determine the extent of your extension.

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4. There are Engineers too?

Depending on the type of building alteration/addition you are doing, and how the structural integrity of the building may be affected, you may need to appoint a professional structural engineer to make sure that your building will still be safe after the changes are made.We definitely don't want your hard work to fall apart after a few years. Bonus: You can check to see if your engineer is registered here 😉

5. Don't Forget the Neighbours

Lastly, if your extension will have an impact on your neighbour, you will need to get your neighbours consent. Imagine if your house had a beautiful sea view... and then your neighbour built a 20 storey building right in front of you - you would probably want them to at least tell you about it first right? This is important when your extension is positioned very close to the boundary between you and your neighbour and the proximity of your extension might have an impact on the neighbouring property.

Any questions?

We like to help where we can, drop us a question you may have about your building plans and we will do our best to get you an answer.