Extracts from the National Building Regulations

First introduced in South Africa in 1977, the National Building Regulations specify the minimum requirements for design and construction to which all buildings must comply. The regulations have been revised and updated a number of times since then and are essential to ensuring the safety and longevity of buildings being constructed.

It is a fundamental requirement of the cover we provide that all buildings and subsequent extensions have been built according to the national building regulations in force at the time of construction.

The regulations are extensive and cover all aspects of building design and construction. Below is an extract of certain regulations that are particularly important to residential buildings.

Please note the information is provided below for general awareness purposes only. The advice of a professional architect, quantity surveyor or engineer should always be sought when embarking any building construction or extension project.

Further information can be obtained from the following websites:


Unfortunately, we often find that boundary walls are not built in compliance with legislation. This can result in a very unsafe situation – especially in the vicinity of children.

As per SANS 10400-K there are varying requirements for walls depending on the width and the height of the wall. For example, a single brick free standing wall can only be built to a maximum height of 1.4m and needs double brick support pillars every 1.8 meters to comply with the regulations.

In terms of legislation any wall that retains more than 30cm of soil is considered to be a retaining wall. Retaining walls (which may also be operating as boundary walls) are required to have adequate drainage by weep holes. Weep holes of at least 50mm diameters, must be installed at every 1.5 meters of the wall. Any retaining wall higher than 1.2 meters must be designed and signed off by a professional Structural Engineer.

Additions and alterations to buildings:

In terms of SANS 10142 where any alteration or work on the electrical reticulation of a building is done, a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained in respect of the work that has been done.

Change of ownership:

When purchasing a new property, the buyer must ensure that they receive a current (not older than two years) Certificate of Compliance from the seller. A Certificate of Compliance is valid for two years but there is no requirement to obtain a new one unless you alter the electrical reticulation or sell your building.

In other words, if you purchase a building with the appropriate electrical certificate of compliance and make no electrical changes, you need not obtain a new certificate until you sell the building.

Gas stoves or any other gas installations like gas geysers or gas fireplaces must be installed in accordance with the SABS and SANS (South African National Standards) regulations. An installation certificate must be issued by a SAQCC approved installer.

As per these regulations gas bottles larger than 19kg must be stored in a well ventilated separate cage outside the building. The cage housing the containers must be more than 1m away from any window, drain or door.

Dangerous gas work can be deadly. Badly fitted and poorly serviced appliances can cause the following gas safety risks:

- Gas leaks

- Fires

- Explosion

- Carbon monoxide poisoning

To ensure your safety and compliance with regulations only use a registered installer to install, fix or maintain your appliances.

In terms of SANS 10400 Part D: 4.2 the edge of any balcony, bridge, flat roof or similar place more than 1 m above the adjacent ground or floor level must be provided with a balustrade or parapet wall not less than 1m in height. In the case of an interior balcony or mezzanine floor, like lofts, hand railings or balustrades must be fitted to the open section of these floors or balconies. The balustrade or railing should not have openings wider than 100mm.