Large and small building works are commonplace in most neighbourhoods. Do you know when you are required to have plans drawn up and obtain municipal approval for your alterations at home?


You will require plans to be drawn up, quite obviously for new homes. You will also need plans drawn up for additions to your existing building structure or alterations to your existing building structure. This includes your exterior wall.


What may not be so obvious is that you will need building plans drawn up for the following internal alterations:

  1. Walls removed, moved or added;
  2. Walls raised or lowered;
  3. Doors or windows size or location changed;
  4. Use of a room is changed, such as converting a garage into a living space;
  5. Carport converted into a garage;
  6. Existing patio enclosed;
  7. Mezzanine floor added;
  8. Any material changes.


If you undertake minor building works, you still need to contact the building inspectorate at your local municipality who will inspect and provide the necessary exemption. Sometimes you may need to submit a drawing. You should not require building plans to be drawn for the following minor building works:

  1. Braais without a chimney;
  2. Garden sheds less than 3m
  3. Gate for cars within your property, unless partly on the pavement or municipal land;
  4. Replacing window or door frames provided that they are not load bearing and the opening is not enlarged;
  5. Minor repairs such as replacing roof tiles;
  6. New appliances or fitting such as bath or toilets provided there is no new plumbing or drainage.


It is always recommended that you employ a qualified professional to assist you with any alterations to your property and they should be able to advise you if plans are required. As the owner of the property, it is completely your responsibility to ensure that everything is done properly. Please remember that there are potential criminal implications if you go ahead with building on your property without the correct approval in place. You should always contact your local Building Inspectorate to ensure that the correct procedures have been followed before you start any building works.

For any information please do not hesitate to contact Liza Bagley on


Written by Liza Bagley.