Building Regulations And By-Laws

We regularly receive questions from the public on compliance with the building regulations and by-laws.

Deeply rooted in the South African construction history, are the building regulation by-laws that were developed by various municipal regions. They were developed because of a lack of national building regulations and were extremely rigid and prescriptive.

With these local by-laws being so prescriptive on the exact standards that need to be complied with, they caused an increase in construction method costs, and further did not allow for the development of new, cost-effective or aesthetically different construction methods.

In counteracting this increase in construction costs, the government of the time, during the 1970’s and 1980’s created the National Building Regulations, under the South African Bureau of Standards. The regulations effected the move away from the strict prescriptive requirements, to a functional regulation, setting minimum performance criteria which certain materials and methods must meet.

The regulations have in effect replaced the by-laws on the standards of building methods and material specifications. However, it should always be kept in mind that the local by-laws and town planning rules on aesthetics and other restrictions, could still apply in your region. Therefore, before you start the building process you should ensure that you comply with the SANS 10400 (National Building Regulations) and ensure that you know what the requirements of your area are.

Finally, any infringements on the National Building Regulations, can lead to prosecution. The accused will in most instances be the owner of the property, but the builder could find themselves under prosecution if serious infringements do in fact take place.

Should you require guidance on the interpretations of the Building Regulations, or the local authority by laws and restrictions, contact the Legal and Contractual department of the MBA North for assistance.

The SANS 10400 standards can be downloaded from the link below:

Written by: E Human
Legal & Contractual Manager
MBA North

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