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Home renovations that don’t require planning permission

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Modern bathroom by Rykon Construction Modern
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Altering one’s property to make it more spacious / modern / whatever your heart desires is all fine and well, but like everything else in life, home renovation projects are also tied to certain rules and regulations. 

According to South Africa’s National Building Regulations (NBR), any building or structural changes must receive planning approval from the relevant city council before renovations are started.

Of course it goes without saying that continuing with a building / construction project without following the necessary protocols will only result in a drawn-out, messy, and expensive project – not to mention, illegal. 

But what type of home renovations can we consider that won’t require planning permission here in South Africa? 

1. Adding small structures

Any work legally classified as “minor building work” can proceed without planning approval. And Section 13 of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 is pretty clear about what can be defined as minor work:

• Any tool / garden shed, poultry house, private swimming pool change room or fuel storage that doesn’t exceed 10 m² in size;

• Any private swimming pool;

• A cycle shed or playhouse for children no larger than 5 m²;

• An aviary that’s no bigger than 20 m²;

• A greenhouse smaller than 15 m². 

2. Adding small structures (part 2)

• An open-sided car port, caravan, or boat shelter no bigger than 40 m²;

• Any pergola;

• Any free-standing wall no taller than 1.8 m²;

• Installing a solar water heater no larger than 6 m². 

3. Changing internal features

Adding onto a room or extending existing walls definitely increases interior space, yet there are other creative ways of doing this. As long as they don’t affect a building’s structural safety, internal walls can be torn down (for creating an open-plan layout) without obtaining planning approval. 

However, you need to be 100% certain that it isn’t a load-bearing wall you’re tampering with. To be perfectly safe, rather double check with your local authority about the requirements for these types of alterations. 

Other clever ways of creating the illusion of more space includes replacing old windows that have thick, dark frames with more modern designs that have more glass panes and thinner frames – this especially will help to usher more light indoors. And bear in mind that the size of the opening (whether it’s a window or a door) must remain unchanged, otherwise approval will be needed. 

4. Updating roof tiles

House Ravenscroft by Rykon Construction
Rykon Construction

House Ravenscroft

Rykon Construction

Want to kick your curb appeal up a notch? Replacing a roof might be costly and tricky, and involve the help of various professionals in the construction industry, yet it remains one of the best ways to spice up a house’s look and feel. But remember that no planning permission is needed as long as you make use of the same (or similar) materials that your existing roof is made of. 

That means changing your roof tiles’ colour is also fine! 

5. The right professionals for your home improvement needs

We always recommend that homeowners check the requirements of their local bylaws before resorting to any major alterations to their residential structures. And if you are in need of first-rate professionals for your home-building project, why not consider Rykon Construction?

Located in Johannesburg, Rykon Construction has become one of the most superior building firms in South Africa since it was founded back in 2001. In addition to nearly 20 years of experience, the Rykon Construction team also offers three divisions uniquely committed to all clients’ project needs: 

• Construction,

• Roofing, and 

• Maintenance. 

Together, these teams ensure unparalleled results for projects such as brand-new houses, alterations to existing structures, plus renovations and extensions (those that require planning approval, and those that don’t). 

Want to shed some more light on illuminating home improvement projects? See these 6 things to know about properly lighting your bedroom

Are you considering a little home improvement project? Does it require planning permission?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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