New building regulations affect all changes made to property

In the past, renovations needing plan approvals were limited to changes to the exterior of the building and excluded minor building.Now changes to the interior of the home must have approval as well, and if you did not get plans approved you will have to do so before you sell the home.

Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, commented on this as a case dealing with this particular sort of problem came up recently, where a home has been sold but the seller now has to get approval for some of the changes made to the home.

The types of renovations that would need planning approval include:

  • building a core house and then adding to it later according to existing plans;
  • converting a garage into extra living space;
  • converting an attic into habitable space;
  • constructing rooms in a roof where there is no existing attic;
  • adding or converting a cellar; or
  • adding a conservatory, sunroom or pool room, usually with glass.

In all instances it is essential to ensure that your new house extension complies with South Africa's building standards.

"Before things become more onerous in terms of receiving planning approval in future," said Steward," it would be advisable those who do not have approved plans from the City Council for changes made to a home to get them done even if you're not intending to sell now.

"Do not wait until the time comes that you do decide to sell as this will cause unnecessary, costly delays in the whole sale process," she said.

The legislation has changed and the Amended National Building Regulation Standards Act has many rigorous stipulations that must be adhered to.

Already some agreements of sale stipulate that all plans of all existing structures must be available and approved.

With the increased Consumer Protection Act legislation, which gives greater protection to the consumer (the purchaser), it would be advisable to get all the necessary paperwork done before one finds oneself in a position where a prospective seller, in order to comply, would have to then make further costly necessary upgrades to comply with building regulations.

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