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"There are TWO major determinants of community safety. One is how many neighbours we know by name. The other is how often we are present and associated in public - outside our houses. Police activity is a minor protection compared to these two community actions.
- John McKnight & Peter Block, The Abundant Community
Town Planning, Heritage & Building Control
Resource documents to be found at bottom of page
Who has to submit building plans?
The short answer is everyone who intends to making building alterations to their homes.
It is a legal requirement that any new building and any alteration that adds on to or changes the structure of an
existing building must go to the City's (Planning) Development Management Department for approval. Approval
must be given by the City Council before work can commence on site.
If you paint, redecorate or re-plaster, you don't need permission because you haven't moved any walls or altered
the drainage system. However, if you make a change to the structure, such as adding a carport or even moving
the front door position, you require permission to do so.
When you submit a building plan for approval it is essential that you make sure that you have complied with the
zoning regulations of the Town Planning Scheme.
Why is PLAN APPROVAL important?
1. Stop Orders from the JHB City Council:
If you've chosen to build without having the plans approved, a building inspector is entitled to enter your property
and order construction to stop immediately. He could obtain a court order for the structure to be demolished, at
your expense, and you would be liable for legal costs. In serious cases, you could be fined or sent to prison.
2. Hand-over of Approved Plans on sale of the House:
Transgressions may come back to haunt you in later years when you want to sell your home, and the purchasers insist on getting the approved plans. This is fast becoming the norm in real estate transactions
3. Insurance Implications:
Illegal building work may negatively affect any future insurance claims where insurers may not pay out claims if a structure is found to be illegally erected.
4. Community Harmony:
It is important for the sake of community harmony, to ensure that no structures are erected that negatively affect the neighbours or surroundings. One of the main reasons Parktown North is a sought after and valuable suburb to invest in, is the character of the area. It is in the interest of all the residents to safeguard this precious resource.
Town Planning Issues? Building Plans? Heritage Submissions? How can the PNRA help you?
There are several processes required if you wish to submit building plans.
1. Heritage Applications are required for any structure older than 60 years as these are automatically a protected heritage resource which may not be altered without prior permission of the Provincial Heritage Resource Agency Gauteng (PHRAG). Parktown North is a recognised heritage suburb and all submissions will require proof of when your house was built. Should you not be able to find such proof, or should the house be older than 60 years, you will need to prepare a submission to PHRAG motivating the changes youo wish to make.
It is a requirement of the Act that the local residents' association, PNRA, needs to sign off this submission. This may sound like a daunting and bureaucratic process but the intention is a good one that strives to protect special buildings and the character of the neighbourhood. To assist and ease this process the PNRA has put together a team that will be able to advise and streamline this process as far as the PNRA application and approval is concerned. We will further endeavour to assist where we are able to in your dealings with the authorities.
To this end, we urge you to join the PNRA, and help us to help you. As a volunteer, non-profit organisation that does not receive public funding, we rely on membership fees to enable us to provide services like these and others. Members' applications will be dealt with as a priority before any applications by non-members.
PHRAG Application Form - Click on the icon for an electronic version of the Application Form,
or collect from the Building Plan Submission counters, Ground Floor, Metro Centre, 158 Loveday Street, Braamfontein between 8am and 3pm;
Submission to PHRAG: Building Plan Submission counters, Ground Floor, Metro Centre, 158 Loveday Street, Braamfontein between 8am and 3pm
PNRA Heritage Application Form - Click on the icon for an electronic version of the Application Form;
to be submitted to the PNRA at 32 Cardigan Road, Parkwood between 9am and 4pm
2. Johannesburg City Council Building Control Application
This application will require the services of a professional such as an architect. Application for approval of building plans by the JHB City Council will require PHRAG Approval if buildings are older than 60 years, and may require other prior approvals such as:
* town planning approval for re-zoning or sub-division,
* approval for lifting of restrictive title deed conditions
* approval for relaxation of building lines
Once your building plans have been approved by JHB City Council, and the build process starts, you will have to adhere to many by-laws that are in place to protect the amenity of the neighbourhood. For easy reference, these have been summarised in
The Day to Day Building Control Issues
PNRA's Guide to Town Planning & Building Control
Steps to follow if you want to Build
Day to Day Building Control Issues
Legislative & Planning Framework
Title Deeds, Town Planning, Heritage & Building Control: A Summary