06 Nov How does the building plan approval process works?
Applications are typically submitted for:
- minor works, such as installing a swimming pool, putting up a small wendy house, etc.;
- approval of standard building plans;
- extension of the validity of an approved building plan;
- permission to put up temporary structures;
- permission to put up hoarding structures on building sites;
- permission to carry out demolition; and
- copies of approved building plans.
Almost any building activity within any Council’s area requires building plan approval. This includes the construction of all new buildings, alterations or extensions to existing buildings, or even simply changing the use of existing buildings without physically altering them. The table on this page provides a quick and simple way to check whether building plan approval is required. The far right column also indicates whether the person who draws up the plans, such as the architect or draughtsperson, needs to be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) in terms of the Architectural Profession Act, Act 44 of 2000 to be able to submit the plans to the relevant Council. (Also turn to the section “Who may prepare building plans for submission?” for more information on the SACAP registration requirements.)
If your specific building activity is not listed in this table, or you are still uncertain as to whether or not you need building plan approval, please contact your local Building Development Management district office. Turn to the final section of this booklet for a list of district offices and their contact numbers.
Submitting your building plans
Use the correct application form Depending on the nature of your application and the type of approval you need, you can obtain the following application forms and standard documents from the submission counter at your local Building Development Management district office:
- Building plan application form
- Temporary structure application form
- Hoarding permit application form
- Demolition permit application form
- Form to request copies of existing building plans
- Engineer’s appointment form (for temporary structures)
- Standard engineer’s completion certificate (for temporary structures)
- Sectional title consent form
All the forms are available on the City’s website for downloading and completion at
Include all the required supporting documents Depending on the nature of your application, you will need to include the following supporting documents for your submission to be accepted as valid and complete:
Completed application form (signed by the property owner or his/her authorised representative)
- Fully completed SANS 10400 forms (forms 1 and 2, if applicable}
- Power of attorney (if the application is not submitted by the owner, i.e. by the architect or draughtsperson)
- The application fee/receipt
- A site plan
- A layout plan
- Drainage installation drawings (if applicable}
- Fire protection plans (if applicable)
- Structural engineer’s drawings (if applicable)
- Party wall consent (if applicable)
- A copy of the Surveyor-General’s diagram/general plan
- A copy of the title deed
- A letter of approval for any departure from the development management scheme (if applicable)
- An architectural compliance certificate
- A consent form from your neighbour/sectional title/homeowners’ association/body corporate (if applicable)
- A zoning certificate (if applicable)
If you need to submit various applications for similar types of units as part of a large development, you may contact the Building Development Management head at your local district office to make special arrangements to submit the plans in batches. This will minimise administration and streamline the approval process.
Pay the scrutiny fee
When you submit your building plan application, the City of Cape Town will first check that the proposed building work comply with the land use requirements before staff will calculate a scrutiny fee according to the official tariffs. The counter official will provide you with a formal invoice for payment, which can occur either by cash or cheque at any City of Cape Town cashier. This fee is a set tariff and is non-refundable, even if your application is not approved. It is fully payable when you submit the application.
For a complete list of official Building Development Management tariffs, contact your local district office, or the City’s website.
Adhere to these general requirements
• The registered owner must sign and date the application form as well as all plans and elevations in black ink.
• If the property belongs to more than one person, all the owners must sign the application form.
• If the property belongs to a company, trust, closed corporation or other juristic person, the application must include a company resolution authorising the representative to sign on its behalf.
• The staff at the submissions counter will not accept building plan applications relating to an erf that formed part of a recent subdivision, unless the relevant portion is already separately registered in the Deeds Office (and reflected as such on the City of Cape Town’s property database).
Note the submission times
The public counters at all local Building Development Management district offices are open for the submission of building plan applications on weekdays only between 08:00 and 14:00.
Communication following your submission
Once your submission has been accepted, you will receive a unique reference number. Use this number whenever you wish to communicate with the City about your application. If the City officials note any errors, omissions or shortcomings on your plans during the assessment process, they will contact you via telephone, e-mail or SMS to collect the plans, have them corrected or amended, and resubmit as soon as possible.