Submit plans for improvements?
All building and alterations that adds on to - or alters - the structure of an existing building must be approved by City Planning in the form of plans. Failure to have plans approved could result in huge expenses or, in serious cases, a hefty fine.
Whether it is a small or large project, any building and / or alterations that adds on to or changes the structure of an existing residential property must first be approved by the City’s (Planning) Development Management Department.
Plans are not required for redecorating a kitchen, re-plastering your house, or any cosmetic changes that do not require that any walls be removed or added, or alterations to the drainage system of the house plan. But as soon as you make any changes to the structure, for example, add on a carport, or even just move the front door, you do need permission and these changes be shown on a new house plan.
When you submit a building plan for approval it is essential that you make sure that you have complied with the zoning regulations of the Town Planning Scheme.
What if you fail to submit house plans?
If you decide to build without having house plans approved, a building inspector is entitled to enter your property and order construction to stop immediately. He could even obtain a court order for the structure to be demolished - at your expense - and you would be liable for legal costs as well. In serious cases, you could be fined or sent to prison.
Unapproved alterations could come back to haunt you years later, such as when you try to sell the house and the prospective buyer asks to see approved house plans.
What is the process for submitting House Plans?
You can get application forms online or from the building plan submission counters at your local municipalities. The council needs a completed application form, signed by the owner of the property or his/her authorised representative (proof of authorisation is required) together with a copy of the registered title deed.
The title deed can be obtained either from the attorneys who handled the transfer of the property, the financial institution that granted a first mortgage bond over the property, or the Deeds Office.
A copy of the approved Site Development Plan is also needed, if this is required in terms of the zoning regulations that apply to the stand.
A separate form also needs to be completed by a professional Engineer registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa when structural work such as reinforced concrete floor and roof slabs, special reinforced foundations, and so forth are part of the proposed building. Different certificates or designs need to be submitted depending on the technical aspects of the plan. You should consult an Architect or Engineer in this regard.
What is the cost to submit an application?
Fees are calculated by the Building Control Department when you submit an application, and vary according to the size of the project. A standardised set of tariffs applies when calculating the fee payable.
For more information on the process of obtaining and submitting plans, get in touch with Dawood Kader & Associates.