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

If you’re planning to build a new building, or to alter an existing, you are required to submit building plans to the Local Authority. Or, if you’re selling a property, which has been altered over the years, building plans would also need to be submitted. It’s always been a requirement, but the recent implementation of the SPLUMA Act and related municipal by-laws, have highlighted the non-compliance by many property owners in the past.

But why must building plans be submitted? The National Building Regulations, Title Deed Conditions, Zoning Schemes and By-laws, manage how property is utilised. The regulations ensures that there is no conflict in the use of the property and that there is no risk to users, or neighbouring properties. Therefore, the building plan approval process checks whether the proposed property improvements comply.

The process is reasonably straight forward, however there are a number of requirements and steps which need to be followed. A property professional needs to be consulted, to assess your proposed improvements, the applicable conditions and regulation. To summarise the process, the following steps should be followed:

Appoint an Architectural Professional – For the preparation and submission of building plans, an Architectural Professional registered with the South African Council for Architectural Professionals, needs to be appointed. This can be an Architect, or Architectural Technologist.

Assess the site conditions and regulations – All fixed property has specific conditions governing development. These need to be assessed and the impact on the proposed improvements considered.

Prepare proposals – The Architectural Professional will assist you with the design of the proposed improvements. Taking into account your requirements, the site conditions and construction technology.

Prepare Application – The Architectural Professional will prepare the Building Plans in accordance with the National Building Regulations, Town Planning Conditions and By-laws. In addition, they will complete the required Application Forms and ensure that the required documentation is included.

Once completed, the Building Plans and applicable documentation is submitted to the local authority. A Plan Submission fee has to be paid and in Nelson Mandela Bay, the Occupation Certificate fee is also paid, up front. 

Property owners are to note that; no building work may proceed without approved building plans. Building Plans must be submitted and approved, before starting construction, as the Council can’t approve any illegal construction. Owners will incur costs for the abortive construction, demolishing and legal fees.

Property owners who would like assistance can contact me, or the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, either:

Senior Building Inspector (Admin), Mrs. Christelle Marais:

 Tel.:                 041 506 2188



Town Planner, Mrs. Ntombi Klaas:

 Tel.:                 041 506 2129