Why do I need plans? – Quite often we received emails and phone calls from property owners wanting to know if they require plans for Local Councils if they are doing minor additions and/or alterations.
There is a misconception among property owners, that think any internal additions or alterations made to their property does not require Councils approval. This is totally untrue, the only time that the Local Council does not need to be informed, or approval granted from them, is on what is considered aesthetic changes only.
Aesthetic changes, are those minor changes such as changing to the paint colour of a dwelling (please be cautioned that if the dwelling is with in a Townhouse or Cluster development Estate, that the property owner may require the consent of the HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION, as most of these associations have predetermined guidelines referring to paint colours on exterior walls of properties.), Or changing windows & doors for example from timber window frames to aluminium window frames. THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION may have to be consulted in certain circumstances.
The rule of thumb when changing the aesthetic’s of one’s dwelling, is that the changes are not an eyesore to your neighbors, which is usually what sparks off complaints to the Local Council.
When changing out items such as windows, it is important to note that the size of the new window should be approximately the same as the window being replaced. For obvious reasons one cannot always replace a smaller window area with a large window, as of this may effect the supporting lintel above the window, which in turn could lead to a walls structural integrity. This simply means that the wall may develop structural cracks, misalignment of bricks or even collapse due to the roof stress load.
Why do I need plans? – The National Building Regulations & 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.
If you are undertaking renovations or if you are putting in a swimming pool, there are rules and regulations that have to be complied with and a plan is required, even putting in a pool you will require plans. Whenever the nature of the work involves excavation of land, electricity supply, plumbing and drainage, you must contact your Local Authority to find out exactly what is required.
If you are intending to erect a boundary wall, Council approval is required.
If you have decided to add another story to your existing dwelling you will require an Engineer’s report and plans must be submitted.
Another very important aspect is if your building is going to be used by the public you will require a fire protection plan.