What is minor building works in South Africa?

Every construction project on your property typically requires architectural plans, except for those categorized as “minor building work.” This “minor building work” is outlined in local building regulations, which describe the guidelines and exceptions. Despite the category, every project must receive approval from the local authority’s building control officer and comply with regulations.

Minor building work is legally defined and includes specific structures of certain sizes. Temporary and minor buildings require approval from the local authority but might not need formal plans. Compliance with building regulations is mandatory.

What Constitutes Minor Building Work?

“Minor building work” is legally defined and refers to specific structures within certain size restrictions. This includes structures like poultry houses no larger than 10 square meters, tool sheds smaller than 10 square meters, and children’s playhouses no more than 5 square meters. Other examples with specific size restrictions include cycle sheds, greenhouses, carports, freestanding walls, pergolas, and private swimming pool change rooms.

Further inclusions are roof replacements with similar materials, conversion of doors into windows or vice versa without expanding the opening, the creation of openings in walls that don’t impact structural safety, room partitioning or enlargement without affecting structural integrity, certain solar water heaters, and any structure the local authority deems unnecessary for plans. It’s important to note the building control officer has the final say in these assessments.

Temporary Building Work

Temporary buildings, such as builders’ sheds and on-site toilets, also need authorization from the local authority. The local authority requires specific information for approval, including the intended use and lifespan of the building, and the area it is to be erected. The provision of this information allows for proper assessment and approval.

How This Affects You

There are exceptions to needing plans, but these are dependent on local authority decisions. Structures defined as minor building work must be fit for the purpose they are intended for, and discrepancies can lead to legal issues.


“Minor building work” covers a range of structures with specific size restrictions that require local authority approval but may not necessitate formal plans. These structures, however, must adhere to local regulations, and any misuse could result in legal complications. Therefore, understanding your local building regulations is crucial before commencing any construction project.

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