Can I build a wall around my house in South Africa?

Boundary walls can cause quite a lot of conflict between neighbors. I have seen countless issues resulting in both legal and civil consequences that are well worth avoiding. What are your rights if you want to build a wall around your own house?

In South Africa, you can build a wall around your house as long as it complies with the National Building Regulations. The wall may not be over two meters high and may not extend beyond your boundary line. You’ll need to submit plans to your municipality for approval before you can build the wall.

Essentially, there are a handful of essential things to consider when you decide to build a wall around your house. These include the positioning, the height, and the aesthetics. In this article, I would like to briefly touch on each so that you are well equipped with the correct information before you start this process.

Positioning of the boundary wall

All residential properties are surveyed and pegged so that it is easy to identify each site’s boundary line. However, these pegs are often lost or removed during construction. Before building anything or even starting any planning, make sure you know where exactly where your boundary line actually is. Suppose you accidentally build over your boundary line. In that case, you may be required to completely demolish your wall, costing you thousands of rands. It is important to note that not even the foundation of the boundary wall may extend beyond the boundary line.

If you cant find the pegs, you may need to get a land surveyor to conduct a survey according to the SG diagram that comes with the title deed of your property.

You and your neighbor may build a wall together. In this case, the wall may be centered over the boundary line, which belongs to both you and your neighbor. This can be a great way to share the cost of the wall, and you will do well to avoid disagreements.

How close can you build to a boundary wall in South Africa?

While your boundary wall and free-standing yards walls and fences are allowed to be built right up to your boundary line, any structure such as a garage or building may only be built within the building lines. Building lines determine how close you can build to your boundary line. This distance varies between municipalities, but generally, the side space (the building line for the side and rear of your property) is two meters. The building line at the front of your property is usually 7.5m.

In layman’s terms, you may not build a structure closer than 2 meters to your side or rear boundary line or five meters to your front boundary line.

Boundary Wall Height

How high can you build a boundary wall?

According to the National Building Regulations, the maximum height allowed for a boundary wall is 2.1 meters high. Unless the wall is less than 1.8 meters high, you will need to submit plans before starting construction.

If your boundary wall is less than 1.8 meters high, you will not be required to submit actual plans to your local municipality. However, you will need to make an application for “minor building works”, which needs to be approved before you may begin construction.

If you really need a wall higher than 2.1 meters, or if the nature of the land requires that the wall be more than 2.1 meters high, then you can apply for special consent to do so. Obtaining special consent requires that you get permission from your neighbors. If they have no objections, then it is likely that the applications will be granted.

If your boundary wall is retaining soil, it may not retain more than two meters of soil, and this change in level will require a balustrade of at least one meter high. Keep in mind that you may not remove soil that will threaten the stability of any of your neighbor’s structures. Also, no wall that retains soil may be built without plans under “minor building works”.


Unless you live in an estate with aesthetic standards enforced by a Home Owners Association, you are not really limited to the aesthetics of the wall. However, it is essential to be considerate to your neighbors, even if you are not legally required to do so. It goes without saying that an unsightly boundary wall can have an extremely negative effect on the appearance of the area and will devalue your neighbor’s properties, as well as your own.


Be very sure about the extent of your boundary. Do not simply trust that existing structures are positioned correctly. If you have any doubt, it would be better to spend the extra money to get a surveyor to confirm the exact position of your boundary. It may save you thousands of rands and weeks of construction work.

No boundary wall may be more than two meters high. Any boundary wall higher than 1.8 meters, or any wall that retains soil, will require building plans to be submitted to the municipality before the building may commence.

While the construction and materials of boundary walls have many regulations, there is not much that governs what your wall must look like. With that said, make sure that the wall is not unsightly. Take the surrounding buildings into account when you decide on the aesthetic elements of the wall to uplift the neighborhood instead of dragging it down.

3 Replies to “Can I build a wall around my house in South Africa?”

  1. How much is your consulting fee? I have a unique situation and need advice regarding my situation with regards to a boundary wall and also a multi-family dwelling. Thank you and best regards.

    1. Hi William, I am not consulting at the moment, but if you leave a detailed description of your problem on here, I will do my best to assist you.

  2. Hi. Can you please advise? I have an open space next to my house which the new owner has started digging and preparing for building a 3 story house. Does he have to put up his own wall between us and him next to my wall? As he will be building up and be much higher than my yard, so it will be easy to lean over my wall…

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