Download our Free booklet (On the right of this page below the quotation) that explains the requirements for preparing and submitting your Renovation and Alterations building plan application – from the background information
you’ll need, to specific requirements for
preparing your plans, to submitting your
papers at your local district office.
Homeowners may be very confused as to what is permissible and what is not permissible when it comes to home renovations and alterations in Cape Town, with the various building regulations, as there have been many changes with building regulations over the years. To make things even more complicated, the rules vary from one municipal district to the next.
Homeowners in 2021 who are embarking on building alterations and renovations in Cape Town need to be mindful of the new energy rules and regulations SANS 10400X (2011) and SANS 204 (2011). These rules basically regulate the use of windows, skylights, doors, glazings, or fenestrations.
Fenestration (windows, skylights, or glazing in Homes)The definition of Fenestration, is any glazed opening in the walls or roof, including doors, windows and skylights that is fixed or movable, transparent or opaque.
The rules state:
“ Issues relating to fenestration include solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) which is the ratio of the heat gain that enters the space through the fenestration area to the incident (or amount of) solar radiation (which is reflected and direct).
The general rule is that the alteration and renovated portion of the building needs to comply with these new energy rules, and it is not expected that the existing building be converted to the new energy fenestration rules.
Alterations, Renovations and Additions to Existing Building Structures The National Building Regulations – specifically SANS 10400 – is not clear in defining the rules on alterations, renovations and additions to existing building in Cape Town. However, Section Part A, General Principles and Requirements is explicit in terms of what is expected of you as a homeowner.
“states that while in general the National Building Regulations “are not retroactive in application, a problem might arise when alterations or additions are carried out on buildings that have been erected in compliance with earlier building by-laws”
“In the case of an addition it might be possible to treat the new portion as an entirely separate part which can be designed to comply with the National Building Regulations without having any effect on the original portion of the building.” This clearly refers to the regulations that have been introduced progressively since the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 was dramatically amended in 2008.
“In the case of an alteration, this will seldom be so, and it therefore becomes necessary to ask to what extent that part of the building which is not to be altered should comply with the National Building Regulations. This might be particularly pertinent in the application of fire regulations where escape route requirements, for instance, tend to be more stringent.”
In this example these rules do not infer to any energy or fenestration matters but they most certainly have relevance to the remainder of the building renovation and alteration.
Hence embarking on a building renovation and alteration one has to be practical and the alteration needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Safety is always a major consideration to building inspectors and in the case with industrial and offices health and safety compliance regulations will be looked at with a stringent eye.
Budget. This is the first consideration. Many Homeowners start off with wanting major changes and then are cut down in size as they do not have the budget for unrealistic expectations. Start off with your budget before you call a builder in, before wasting your time and his time.
If you would like to develop a property in an area, consider the area first. Make sure you are not over developing the property for that area as you will not enable a decent economic return on your investment. It is better to make smaller cosmetic changes that are practical to a property in this situation.
If you are a Homeowner and about to embark on renovations and alterations to your property in Cape Town, its always best to consult with your local building authority, to find out what the building regulations are, before you spend a lot of time and money, to find out that what you would like to do is not permissible.
If you feel that the local authority’s decisions are unreasonable in some instances there are recourse actions for you to take.
If you are doing a renovation or alteration to your existing home, you will need to complete the form XA and submit with your renovation plans that comply with the energy (fenestration) rules.
The National Building Regulations do not look back at your old building plans. Thus, when you submit your new building alteration and renovation plans in Cape town, it is a relief to know that the authorities will only asses the new portion which will need to comply with the new rules and regulations – as the older part of the building had to comply with older rules and regulations.
If you would like to ensure that your renovations and alterations in cape Town comply with the new rules and regulations look at “Part A of SANS 10400, General Principles and Requirements, deals with alterations and additions.
This part of the National Building Regulations states that where an application is made to make an alteration or addition to any building that was approved before this version of the Building Regulations and Standards Act (i.e. prior to 2008):
Renovations and Alterations to Old Cape Town Buildings. Any building that is 60 years and older is considered to be a historical building in Cape Town. Anyone who wants to alter or renovate a building of this age needs to make an application to the Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for their permission and comply with their rules and regulations.
When embarking on such renovations and alterations one may experience many additional hurdles in trying to connect new structures with the existing structures, as the old compliance rules and new compliance rules are quite different.
One could apply to the local authority as a completely new structure in this instance, whilst leaving the old structure intact, and design the new structure to comply with the new energy rules and regulations, whilst it is still aesthetically pleasing and practical.
The local authority will probably be a lot more strict about safety rules and regulations, especially fire rules impacting on the old portion of the structure. (Part T Fire Protection) and escape route requirements. This doesn’t normally effect “dwelling homes” so its doubtful to have an effect on residential homes.