06 Nov How do you obtain approval for building plans?
From point-of-sale solutions, our services range from the drawing of new and existing projects, plan submission and approval as well as obtaining of clearance occupational certificates. We offer a variety of building plan services to support your needs.
Things to know before you start
What background information do you need?
Before you start preparing a building plan submission, be sure to obtain copies of the following information in respect of your property:
- A copy of the property title deed or deed of transfer.
- A registered survey diagram from the Surveyor-General’s office (Revenue Building, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town, tel 021 467 4800). A survey diagram clearly indicates the boundaries and dimensions of your property or any other relevant land area.
- The correct information on the zoning and development parameters or restrictions relating to your property from your local district office.
- A copy of any previously approved building plans held by the City of Cape Town from your local Building Development Management district office. This is usually required in the case of extensions, additions or alterations.
Who may prepare building plans for submission?
According to the Architectural Profession Act, any person who prepares a building plan involving architectural work for submission to a local authority must be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act requires the name and SACAP registration number of the person drawing up a plan to appear on all drawings and documents submitted to a local authority.
If you do not meet these requirements, you may not submit a building plan application to the relevant Council. If you have already applied to SACAP, but are still awaiting registration, you may include in your building plan submission SACAP’s written acknowledgement of receipt of your application for registration.
For more information on when registration is required, visit the SACAP website at
or contact your local Building Development Management district office.
Preparing your plans
Once you have established that you do require building plan approval, and you have obtained the necessary background information, you can start preparing your plans for submission. Pay careful attention to the following content and format requirements to ensure that your application is accepted without any problem and processed within the shortest possible time. Content requirements for site and layout plans Any site plan that you submit as part of your building plan application must at least show the following:
- The erf number
- The north point
- The distance to the nearest named cross street (and the name of that street)
- The name of the street onto which the site fronts
- The dimensions of the site boundaries (where the planned building work is to carried out)
- The position of any building lines
- The position and width of any servitude or right of way
- All new proposed buildings (coloured red)
- All existing buildings (uncoloured)
- All existing structures and pools on the site (uncoloured)
- Buildings proposed to be demolished (in dotted lines)
- The distance of all new and existing buildings from the site boundaries
- The site ground level(s)
- The level of the lowest floor in relation to the abutting road
- The position of any municipal services (including any drain, stormwater drain or surface channel on the site) and any connection points to such services
- Any existing or proposed point of access from any abutting public road, and the position of any street tree, street furniture, apparatus or equipment in relation to the access point
- Existing and proposed on-site parking and loading bays Any layout drawings must also include the following:
- Sufficient plans, sections and elevations to clearly illustrate the construction and layout of every portion of every building (with section lines clearly indicated on the plan view, and all plans, elevations and sections fully dimensioned)
- The intended use of every room or compartment
- Sanitary and plumbing fixtures
- The location, type and capacity of water-heating installations, where provided
- The details of fenestration and insulation required to satisfy the energy usage requirements of National Building Regulation XA, where applicable
The minimum requirements must comply with SANS10400-A
Content requirements for drainage installation drawings Any drainage installation drawings must show the following:
- The position, size, gradient of and connection point(s) to any drain in relation to a reference point on the site, and the ground levels in relation to these, including the finished floor level
- The position of any trapped gully and sanitary fixture
- The position and size of any soil, waste and/or ventilation pipe
- Symbols to illustrate details according to the table in National Building Regulation A8
Format requirements for plan size The City of Cape Town changed to an electronic system and all documents must be submitted as PDF files. Plan sheets submitted as part of your building plan application may not be:
- smaller than A4 (210 x 297 mm);
- larger than A0 (841 x 1 189 mm);
- larger than A3 (297 x 420 mm) in respect of minor works.
Content requirements for other plans In specific instances, you may also be required to submit certain additional drawings. The following table indicates which other drawings, and when these are required:
Format requirements for plan scale Plans must be drawn to a suitable scale, which may be any of the following and must be clearly indicated on the drawings:
Format requirements for plan colouring All plan sets and drawings that form part of your submission must be coloured as follows: