Building plans & Local Authority Submissions

building plans
Click here for a copy of the "Building plan checklist"

In South Africa, Local Authorities administer building plans approval.

Local Authorities have to apply the National Building Regulations & these functional requirements to approve plans.

Prior to submission, check that you have everything in place.

Applications require the following:

  • Application forms obtained from your Local Authority.
  • 1 x Coloured set and 2 x Black and White set of each drawing sheet.
  • Standard forms from Architect / Draughtsman and Engineers, where applicable.
  • The appointed Professional will have to complete his / her SACAPcompliance certificate.

Registered professional will have to complete:

  • Part XA energy efficiency compliance certificate.
  • SANS 10400-A:2010 Edition 3 form.
  • If an Engineer was required Schedule B “Approved competent person appointment”- SANS 10400 Form 2 will be required.
  • A copy of the Property Owner or Company Title Deed.
  • Zoning certificate.
  • Copy of S.G diagram (S.G – Surveyor General).
  • In the event of Additions and/or Alterations, a copy of the previously approved plans.
  • Sectional Tile developments, require SDP (Site Development Plan).

Copy of plans

The law requires every developed property to have approved plans drawn up in a prescribed manner.

When buying and/or selling developed properties, failure to provide approved building plans may result in problems.

It could become a complex legal matter, if alterations and additions have been carried out without Council approved plans.

Sometimes people discover that there are no approved plans, only years after they have bought a property.

It is the current property Owners responsibility, to have copies of approved plans. 

Building plans approval fees

building plans Johannesburg Metro Council
Local Authority have their own rates and formulas which apply to the calculation for an application:
  • The Local Authority calculates the square meters of new construction area, for the application and multiplies the area with their rate.
  • They add on fees for items such as new swimming pool, building line relaxation, Consent Use, and SDP (Site Development Plan).
  • On some development bulk services contributions may be calculated into their fee’s.
After payment to the Local Authority, a file is opened for the new application:
  • A unique reference number is allocated to this file.
  • The application is circulated to the relative departments for scrutiny.
  • When the plans arrive at a department, they update the database using the files reference number.
  • Some Councils have implemented an on-line application submission system. 
  • This system has its benefits, mainly better record keeping and data retrieval.
  • The danger of the system, is the loss of data due to human or server error.

In an effort towards a GREENER paperless society, we believe this is an initiative to provide faster service delivery.

Client’s submitting their own applications may encounter delay’s, due to the circulation process.

Johannesburg Metro Council have informed clients of a turnaround period of approx. 6 to 8 months. 

We have had client’s that experienced an application turn around period of 12 to 24 months.

The opposite is also true and under certain – unknown circumstances – our clients have had approval within 4 weeks.

Note the time frames as stated above, was based on pre COVID turnaround times.

Due to COVID restriction, Councils cannot currently commit to turn around time for applications.

We offer an application submission service, to assist with fast tracking the application process.

The fee structure for our building plans submission service:

building plans examiner

Council search                                                                   R500.00

This refers to inquiries to be made at Council, to obtain copies of:

  • Existing house plans,
  • Zoning certificate.
  • SG diagrams.
  • Town Planning Scheme

And any other information which may only be obtained from the Local Authority and its archives.


NORMAL plan submissions                                             R4000.00

Are plan submissions is defined as, a plan submission that does not require the application of special plan considerations such as :

  • Building line relaxation.
  • Rezoning.
  • Consent Use.
  • SDP (Site Development Plan) application

Building line relaxation                                                   R6000.00

Our runners meet with the building inspectors to discuss conditions under which a building line relaxation would be required.

Building line relaxation needs to be granted prior to any application submission.


Special consent use                                                             R Neg.

This is usually required for structures which are larger than accepted Council standards, for example a staff quarters greater than 50m/sq.

The property owner must place advertisements of notification in the local newspapers in both English and Afrikaans, for a period of 28 days.

This is to allow any interested parties to lodge objections to the proposed structures.

The plans need to be signed by all adjacent neighbors.

The Council will require a letter of motivation, explaining the application.

Only on approval of the Special Consent Use, may a normal application submission be applied for.)


SDP (Site Development Plan)                                              R Neg.

These are require for Townhouse, Cluster, Hostel or Apartment Flats, Commercial or Industrial developments.

Roads, sewers, water, electrical, fire and health and safety departments will be considered.


Rezoning                                                                                  R Neg.

Zoning is a plan that shows what and where can be built in a community.

Not only does it control what can be built on the property but also the development density.

The main categories are:

  • Residential.
  • Commercial.
  • Industrial.
  • Agricultural.
  • Recreational.

Each category is divided into additional categories, e.g residential can include single family, low density or high density.

In the event of a Company wanting to purchase land classed as residential and build expand onto the property.

If this is near you, then it can lower your property values.

There will probably be an increase in traffic, and possibly from large trucks.

On the positive side the company may hire more people, which benefits the community, but not you.

Should you wish to object such a development, anyone has the right to attend the hearing and speak to express your concerns. 

You can ask that the harmful effects be mitigated, at least if you do not want to look at a factory, you can request that the company be require to landscape to hide the building.

If traffic is the problem, ask for road improvements. If noise ask that no trucks before 6:00 am.

(If you do not ask what is going on, or go to the hearing, then you get what they give.)