In the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Properties have building lines, which determine how close buildings can be to the boundaries. They are town planning tools to manage development. They separate buildings for safety, privacy and possible future infrastructure improvements.

The municipal zoning scheme sets how far the building lines are from the street, rear and side boundaries. The distance varies, depending on the; title deed conditions, zoning of the property and by-laws. 

In a previous article, I pointed out that if there is not a restrictive title condition, the Municipality may consider a relaxation of a building line for non-habitable structures, i.e.; garages, carports, or covered patios. However, habitable rooms (fully enclosed) like; lounges, entertainment rooms and enclosed patios, require a full departure, approved by council. This can be a long process, delaying your planned improvements and there is no guarantee the council will approve it.

An owner must apply to the municipality for a waiver, or relaxation. There are specific conditions which they may consider; the levels of the site, or of adjoining land, the proximity of buildings already over the building line, or any other special circumstances. This is subject to the Zoning Scheme regulation 8.5, not closer than 5.0 m to a main road).

Private garages to residential properties, may be erected over the street building line and/or side spaces, subject to:

  • The width of the garage measured along the street boundary, not exceeding 7,0 m.
  • Must obtain the written consent of the owners of abutting properties, in the case of a side space, and of abutting and opposite owners in the case of a street building line.
  • Gates or doors to control access must not opening over the boundary line.
  • The design of the garage being aesthetically acceptable to the Council.

Consult your property professional, before considering construction over the building lines.