Building Work, Building Plans and Building Lines

Questions about Building Work, Building Plans and Building Lines

approved plans and house building work

Hardly a day goes by without questions from disgruntled homeowners relating to issues with discrepancies with house plans and building work. When I’m inspecting, I often find discrepancies between the approved plans and the built structure.

If you are selling your house, and don’t have municipal approved plans or necessary permissions, you could be in trouble. If you are buying a house, and don’t ask for approved plans or permissions, you might have very expensive problems.

Homeowners can also be in trouble with the municipality for the erection of illegal structures. Some municipalities have aerial photographs of suburbs taken every four years to check if alterations have been made to homes. In addition to this, municipalities assign building inspectors to monitor developments on the ground.

Legal Implications of Selling a House Without Approved Plans

The law requires all major building work to have plans drawn up and approved by the local authority. Therefore, it stands to reason that every house should have plans. But this is not always the case! A lack of approved building plans is a major problem for many people buying and selling houses and other buildings.

Sometimes people only discover that there are no plans years after they have bought a property. This comes to light either because they eventually want to do alterations, or because they want to sell. Buyers often find that a house they are buying does not have plans. They then want to know whose responsibility it is to have plans drawn up retrospectively (“as-built”).

It can become quite a complex legal matter if alterations and additions have been carried out on a property without municipal (local authority) approval.

Are Building Plans and Building Approval Always Required for Houses?

The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act specify the need for building plans and approval. More specifically, it is the local authority that governs exactly what can be done in terms of its zoning regulations and the National Building Regulations. So it is they that give approval (or deny it) for all building work and renovations on all properties. However, most municipalities are more lenient when it comes to minor building work.

The Act states that the municipality may grant relaxation in the case where the approval of plans requires the necessity of relaxation. However, you will have to apply for relaxation in writing and receive approval in writing.

If your property is within an estate or townhouse or cluster complex, you will also need to get a copy of the Estate Guidelines from the Aesthetics Committee, Body Corporate, Residents Associations etc.! Usually, there is normally a list of requirements that ensure aesthetic harmony and good building practice within the estate or complex. Furthermore, you will need your plans stamped and a letter from the Body Corporate for Council indicating that they are happy with your planned building.

How the Issue of “Voetstoots” Affects Building Approval and Plans

The purchase agreement made between buyers and sellers of the property will include a voetstoots clause. Essentially this clause indicates that the purchaser accepts the risk relating to defects existing at the time of the sale, patent or latent (but not visible). The exceptions to this clause are instances where the seller deliberately and fraudulently conceals latent defects from the purchaser, that he or she was aware of at the time. In this instance, the seller will remain liable for these defects. But of course, the purchaser will have to provide evidence that the seller knew what was wrong.

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Coronavirus (Covid_19)

Coronavirus, the Lockdown and The Home Detective

Home inspections are not regarded as an essential service during the Coronavirus Lockdown. Therefore, I will only be available after the isolation period for inspections.

However, I am still available for your queries and question concerning inspections between 7 am and 5 pm daily.

Please go to my Contact Page if you want to contact me. I will either reply with an email or I will phone you.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the end of the isolation period, feel free to go to my website and blog if you are looking for useful and interesting posts and pages concerning you and you home.

Please keep safe!

Best wishes.

Jurie Fourie

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Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®

SEE WHERE I INSPECT IN GAUTENG!

THE HOME DETECTIVE » inspection

Buying Property

home purchase

Buying a house, townhouse or flat?

Imagine what could go wrong with your home purchase! Houses are made up of hundreds of different parts and materials from a nail to a roof tile and much, much more!

New or used, the home purchase will most likely be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make! Therefore, with this type of investment, it only makes sense to have a professional home inspection done beforehand.

If you’re thinking, “Why do I need to spend the time and money on a home inspection?”

My question to you is “Why take any unnecessary chances with your hard-earned money?

Protecting your home purchase

An inspection and report will give you a clear, concise picture of the important components and systems of the home. Therefore, you can make an informed decision on the purchase of the home. In doing so, you avoid buying a new home only to spend thousands of rand on unexpected or unforeseen problems.

My thorough, impartial inspection will let you identify any minor or major repairs or maintenance issues. Furthermore, the inspection report is a valuable tool in the bargaining stage to address any issues before finalising your home purchase.

Moreover, you will have a highly trained, experienced and dedicated professional on your side. My report will help you make the right decision with your property purchase.

Don’t make the mistake so many other home buyers are making over and over again!

Protect your investment by having a home inspection!

CONTACT ME

Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®

SEE WHERE I INSPECT IN GAUTENG!

THE HOME DETECTIVE » inspection

Home Inspectors and Inspections

Home inspections: A must for every home buyer

inspector
Jurie Fourie – Owner of THE HOME DETECTIVE and Certified Home Inspector and Member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

When you’re buying a home, you don’t want to skip the home inspection step. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. An inspection by an InterNACHI certified home inspector can prevent you from purchasing a home with serious issues such as mould, structural defects, faulty plumbing and more.

Firstly, you should insert a contingency in the “Offer To Purchase” which states that the sale is dependant on a satisfactory home inspection. In addition, you should also agree on an “Inspection Contingency Period” which will give you time to have a home inspection done. Furthermore, this period should be between four to seven days depending on how soon you can get an appointment with a home inspector.

Based on the results of a home inspection, the contingency will then give you the right to cancel the sales agreement. In addition, you can walk away from the transaction without recourse if you are unsatisfied with the seller’s response to a request for an inspection and inspection contingency.

You lose the right to have the home inspected and to negotiate over defects found in a home once the contingency period ends.

What is a home inspection?

As a home buyer, it is your right to have your future home inspected for potential faults and defects. Therefore, don’t skip this step!

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Section Title Schemes

Responsibilities of Owners and Body Corporates

Body corporates

I do a fair amount of inspections in sectional title schemes. Often, owners ask me if body corporates will pay for repairs inside their units. Obviously, their concern is about damage caused by external factors such as rainstorms, burst geysers and so on.

Each case is usually based on its merits. Usually, the body corporate’s trustees use their discretion when deciding to whom they allocate the cost of repairs and replacement. However, there are many grey areas and the differences between the owner’s and body corporate’s liability and responsibility.

The Body Corporate’s obligations

Body corporates are responsible for the repairs and maintenance and upkeep of the common properties.

Furthermore, the body corporate maintains all pipes, ducts, wiring etc. for the common property and services to more than one unit.

Your obligations as an owner of a section

You must maintain and keep in good state your section. Moreover, you must also keep any part of the common property to which you have the right neat and tidy. These are exclusive use areas such as gardens, patios, balconies, parking areas, garages etc.

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