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  1. When is it requiered for a neighbour to build a retaining wall ? Instead of building a retaining wall at the bottom. Of their stopped property our neighbors simply pushed their soil down and created a soil bank on our property and went ahead and built . Now after all the heavy rains the bank has all but washed away along with the bottom of their driveway . Building inspectors aren’t doing anything . Its been 2 years of trying to get some answers from them . Any help ?

  2. What are the Municipal by-laws in terms of tearing down internal walls (possibly load beraing) in a residential high rise building in Johannesburg?

  3. Hallo

    Thank you for the information

    I see this article was published in 2011; have regulations changed at all?

    I live next to a construction site and the noise starts at 7am which I find unreasonable

  4. Where do you report noise from a construction that happens on weekends and after 6pm throughout the night. The site has also damaged alot lot on our side and even have a big dry tree with no roots on our roof. My suspicion, the company is operating illegally even, workers don’t know the which company they work for

  5. Companies should erect cloth and keep unnecessary noise to a minimum – but this is not a common practice we have a green school being erected next to our house in Paarl – 6 days a week we have noise not only from speeding cars on site, and their dust besides the diggers and loaders, besides off loading bricks, the staff whistle and shout all day – I know the building is the first of its kind in Africa – unfortunately they decided to build the school opposite my bedroom, pool and our entertainment area and opposite my meditation Centre – It is such a pity that responsible parties do not offer Neighbours explanations and ask for permission to work extended hours. They have damaged our tarred road – and they continue to damage the road regardless of the users inconvenience – our quiet neighbouhood is no longer a sanctuary – no where to go and nothing to do but wait – breathe – accept – allow (on repeat)

  6. I bought a plot in a caravan park and busy building a house. I also have a full time job and can only work there Saturdays. The law says i can build till 5 pm on a Saturday but the chase us away by 1 pm. Do they have the right to do so and stop people from building on their properties and fixing houses and fences over weekends if they dont make a noice or dust?

  7. Charity Matlhare sê:

    Goeie dag,
    I have lived on my property since 2001, the only user of the street leading up to my gate (dead-end). Tyto is building 2 properties either side of my house.
    Property 1: Savile
    Opened a temporary gate (not on plan) and without sign off by me as the neighbour directly affected. They indicated that it would a temporary measure which would not cause much disruption. Since the entrance was opened:
    1. Demolitions and incessant moving of building materials between both sites on weekends – beyond 5pm,
    2. An influx of cars parked towards the dead end, some looking for workers for side jobs, people on foot looking for work.
    3. Dumping bricks in the road instead of inside the site told me it was a public road.
    4. Increase in noise levels together
    5. Dirt from site coats every surface in my house – have to constantly sweep to reduce allergic reactions to dust.
    6. Delivery trucks arrive after 5pm even obstructing my entrance. Supplier parking their cars and littering outside my house.

    Property 2: CopperMill
    Once excavation started, illegally dumped the excavated soil on govt land, displacing wildlife (guineafowl) and destroying natural habitat.
    The height of the wall by the pool area is low meaning that workers, property buyers, and more can see straight into my garden – no privacy.

    I truly appreciate the positive impact that both developments will have on property values in the area, however, I should not have to inform them of by-laws, neither should I be functioning as a watchdog against their complete disregard for ethical building practices.

    Unfortunately, all I have experienced are unsavoury practices to achieve their profit objective.

    Your assistance is appreciated.

  8. No they aren’t! If you read the page on site operations you will see this.

  9. James Knight sê:

    noisy residential building site in Fresnaye are they allowed to build on a public holiday.

  10. Part F relates to Terreinbedrywighede. It doesn’t specify fencing or shadecloth but states “Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise
    Owners of land where excavation work is in progress, or where a building is being demolished or erected, must take precautions to limit the amount of dust that makes its way to surrounding roads and footways to a “reasonable level”.”

  11. I am Estate Manager of a residential estate and contractors have commenced construction of a site neighbouring our estate. Is it a building regulation that they erect shade cloth around their site? It’s becoming a problem due to the dust levels, as well as the fact that their contractors can see directly onto our Estate and into the homes on our fenceline.

  12. SANS 10400-F, Terreinbedrywighede states very clearly when building operations, machines etc may be done/used. If they don’t stick to the times specified they are breaking the law and you should report them, in writing to the local authority.
    Click on the link I have given you and scroll down to Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise

  13. I live next door to a high school in Hout Bay where they have been replacing the roof since November last year, working mainly on weekends so as not to disturb the students.
    It has been very disruptive for me because of the noise.
    This past two weeks, during holidays, the builders have been arriving after 3.00 in the afternoons and they hammer and grind until 8.00 at night!
    I feel like I am losing my mind! I went over and they told me they are working on a deadline, which is what they said in January, after the holidays and the weekend work started.
    What can I do?

  14. You can object to the trustees or body corporate (or whatever body is in charge of the complex) and contact the local authority and report them. You can also report them to the NHBRC. They should be registered, and if they aren’t, building work will be stopped immediately.

  15. I moved into a newly built Security complex. No mention was made in my contract of erection of a building 1.5m from my duplex. It is 5 months now that they are cutting, grinding causing dust and sparks fly around into my yard. Our cars are parked outside and they grond righ next to the cars. We had no written notice of any of this. There are hardly any health and safety on the “building site”, no access control, not to mention the noise pollution, the hours they work, etc. What am I to do, as I feel they are beaching our contract? Can Safety Insoectors come and inspect?

  16. T A Murray sê:

    Can you please tell me are builders allowed to work on Saturday in a residential area.
    Vriendelike groete.
    T A Murray

  17. Jon it seems to be common practise in some parts for workers to live on site while building is going on. But unless the building they are in is habitable and legal, you have every right to lay a complaint with your local authority and demand that they are removed. As far as noise, dust etc is concerned, you’re on the right page … if you scroll down to the sub-heading Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise you will see exactly when they can work and when they can’t. You will probably have to lay a compliant in writing with the council for them to do anything about it.

  18. Are builders allowed to live on sight? Can the work 7 days a week in a suburb with little supervision regarding noise and dust to all neighbors.

  19. If you are employing a qualified surveyor to do the work that person will now what to do. This website covers everything you need to know about planning according to standards. I encourage you to read our content.

  20. Magda Laubscher sê:

    Great web page and all the necessary information.
    Please let me know what the law states on having a surveyor measuring and set out of actual points for building as well as to plan according to standards

  21. Ken Bedessy sê:

    Are you Rajnund from Merebank high the class of ’75 ?

  22. Health and Safety regs – but they are unlikely to improve things for you. In terms of noise – times etc in the section on Terreinbedrywighede.

  23. Hi I moved into an exclusive apartment block in Cape Town since August 2014. Since day 1 there has been renovations in numerous apartments. The BC sends out notes to all tenants stating start dates and end dates. However certain apartments have been building for over 17 weeks and I wish I could have one week without jack hammers and heavy machinery. I have been patient for over 19 weeks now. It never ends. I have also been sick with respiratory issues 4 times since November, due to dust, glues and varnish odors. are there any bylaws they need to follow. Please

  24. I am renting a building for office use. My landlord refusing to put a toilet for my secretary. Who can I contact. I live in Durban.

  25. Nick go into the municipal offices and demand to see a more senior person and complain that the building inspector is not taking action. You could ask to see the town planner and/or the health inspector. The lack of toilet facilities alone is against the law apart from being a potential health hazard.

  26. Hi, we have open plots on either sides of our property and now both are under construction. Both have no toilet facilities and I am not sure what they are using . There also seems to be contractors staying on site but using the house that is under construction as a makeshift roof. There doesn’t seem to be any control of rubbish and rubble . I have complained to the local building inspector however , nothing seems to ever be done . Please could you advise what my next should be?

  27. Hi Justin, As you can see I have put your comment on the relevant page of our website namely Part F of the Building Regulations. It would seem that the police are not well up on certain laws. As you will see that it is THE LAW that NO building that will “unreasonably disturb or interfere with the amenity of the neighborhood” at these times: Before 6 am and after 6 pm any day of the week, Before 6 am or after 5 pm on a Saturday and on Sundays or public holidays. Most city by-laws in SA follow the Building Regulations and have the same times and restrictions as the Regulations. You can insist that the local building inspector tells them that they must stop immediately. Good luck. Please let us know the outcome so that we can help others.

  28. Onderwerp:
    Building on Sunday’s

    I live in a gated estate but on the boundary where the fence abuts a house being developed. The builders have been constructing using noisy machinery on Saturday’s and Sunday’s as well as public holidays. I have asked the Metro Police whether this is legal but didn’t get much interest from them. Who can I report the builders to for building on Sunday’s and Public Holidays as I believe that contravenes the National Building Regulations? The noise is a nuisance but having construction workers looking into our back yard over an entire weekend is an invasion of our privacy

  29. Heather specific products are not endorsed by the NBR.

  30. Hello there.
    Please advise which product is used to poison the soil against termites.
    Baie dankie

  31. Hi Christine, As I am sure you realise, you have no chance of getting the building inspector out this Easter weekend. Your only recourse this weekend would be to go to your local police station and lay a charge. I can’t see what part of SA you are in but almost all of the municipalities in SA have bye-laws for the control of noise in residential areas. They are certainly in contravention of the National Regulations. Sorry I can’t be of more help. I hope the rest of your weekend will be quiet and peaceful.

  32. Christine Lines sê:

    Thank you for the information about building noise and workings hours etc under Site Operations. I live next door to a residential property which is being renovated and the site has been busy for over 1 year and 4 months now. Today is Good Friday and the builders are busy with hammers and angle grinders yet again making life very miserable for the immediate neighbours. Who can I go to to make a complaint about this? I have approached the project manager in the past to show consideration but he is under pressure to finish the project. The frustration is when it is a public holiday and we have no chance of some peace! If I go to the Municipality and ask them to send an Inspector that can surely take several days and he wont come here on Good Friday!

  33. Yes you will need a new plan. I am really sorry I have no idea what you will be charged.

  34. rajnund rabilal sê:

    Hi i want to add another room to my existing granny cottage….do i need to get another plan….How much would a plan drawer generally charge…Thank you

  35. Colette, They can live on site provided there is a temporary structure that the council has approved for them to stay in. Report the situation to your local authority. You don’t have to live in substandard conditions!

  36. We currently have people building next to us. The builders are all living on the site and sleeping there. They are constantly making a fire to cook food and smoking us out of our own house. Is this legal?

  37. The hours are clearly stated in Part F, Terreinbedrywighede. There is nothing that states that they need to advertise when they are planning to work, however this MAY be governed either by complex rules or in a local bylaw.

  38. Haai daar

    I have a strange question as it is somewhat of a debate now. What are the “normal” starting hours for construction in say a complex area and does a notification have to be put in the paper or do the neighbors have to be notified?

  39. Hi Wayne, The earliest that any business can start in any “residential” zone is 7am until 9pm the latest and must close at 2pm on Saturdays according to the bye-laws. There must be a rule that the council must have for this. I suggest you contact the City of Cape Town and ask their help. Please let us know the outcome so we can advise others, thanks.

  40. wayne webner sê:

    Please can you help?

    Hi, i really am hoping you able to assist me. i am one of 5 residents
    who live alongside a area zoned GB1 (Property 12501 constantia village
    – cape town). We are being subjected to 6am early morning deliveries
    with large trucks making a racket Monday to Sunday 365. Please can you
    advise where i am able to get operating regulations for this GB1 type
    zone, any reference to operating hours, noise control etc would be
    most helpful!

    we have also noted the delivery truck are unable to access the
    delivery areas completely and as such delivery area gates cannot close
    making the offloading noise most annoying.

    i hope you able to assist, if not, thank for your taking the time to
    read this. Much appreciated.

  41. Yasmin, SANS 10400 Part F, Site operations verklaar:
    “F8 Waste Material on Site
    (1) Where in the opinion of the local authority, excessive rubble, rubbish, other debris or combustible waste material is allowed to accumulate on a site before or during building operations, it may, by written notice, order the owner of such site to have such rubble, rubbish, other debris or combustible waste material removed within the period specified in such notice.
    (2) Any owner who fails to comply with such notice shall be guilty of an offence and the local authority may remove the said rubble, rubbish, other debris or combustible waste material from such site and may recover the costs of such removal from the owner.
    F9 Cleaning of Site
    (1) Any owner or person erecting or demolishing any building shall remove any surplus material and matter arising from such erection or demolition from the site and from any other land or public street or public place affected by such material or matter during or after the completion of such erection or demolition, failing which the local authority may, by written notice, order the owner of such building to have such surplus material and matter removed within a period specified in such notice.
    (2) Any owner or person who fails to comply with a provision of subregulation (1) or a notice served on him in terms thereof, shall be guilty of an offence.”
    I really don’t see where the JMPD fits in – unless it is creating a hazard – or perhaps a neighbour has complained.

  42. Hi,
    I am currently building on my property and the builder has left the rubble outsideto be removed as soon as they have completed the building. Building work has only been going on for 3 weeks and I have a JMPD officer calling at my house everyday to insist that the rubble be removed. The building works will be complete by 9 October. Is there a time limit in which rubble has to be removed?

  43. Darrell, this falls under SANS 10400, Part F, Site operations – this page! If you read the article you will see exactly what the times are. Scroll down to the heading: Control of Unreasonable Levels of Dust and Noise

  44. Hi, I am a neighbor to a house being renovated.. The builders are busy from very early to late also on week ends.. Pls can you advise the regulated building times as builders by law, thanks you.

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  46. Colleen I think that it is, but it will probably be governed by your local authority bylaws rather than the building regulations. Give them a call and find out what their requirements are.

  47. Hi,
    Would you be able to tell me if it is a legal requirement to put up a
    project notice board stating the proposed work and contractors
    involved or if this is purely a form of advertising and not


  48. Guy, This is an interesting one. I think the key here is “some of” – how many people are you wanting to sleep on site? Legally I don’t think your neighbour can stop you – after all these could be “friends”. If you have a servants quarter and these people are working for you, I would think that you could have people stay in the quarters. But if it is intended for one person, you could have a problem if you had three or four staying there. At the end of the day they are on your property and I imagine you are going to be careful about whom you employ.
    People building or doing demolition work (and I assume major renovations) are permitted to have a builder’s shed – and security personnel are permitted to use the shed. I posted a new article yesterday that deals with tydelike strukture. Have a look at the end – this states exactly what the regulations say about builder’s sheds. It might be helpful. If you are in any doubt, contact your local authority and ask their advice.

  49. I am about to undergo renovations at my property. I have a double garage with a servants quarter attached to it which includes a toilet and hot running water and shower. Am I able to have some of my key labour sleep on site during the renovation period in this area? My neighbor has expressed concern over crime matters and does not want anyone sleeping on site.

  50. Hi Jan,
    The Regulations state that “…..are available on the site or, with the permission of the local authority, at some other place…..”. If there is limited space on your site to place the toilets then the local authority should allow you to temporarily put them on the sidewalk until you have finished the alterations.

  51. Good day. I would like to know about the sanitary facilities for builders. Is it legal to have the chemical toilets for the builders on the side walk in front of my property ( i.e. municipal property) or should it be inside the boundary wall of my house/ erf where alterations are being made?


  52. Hi Thinus,
    The section of the National Building Regulations that deals with fencing is Part-F Site Operations, we have a page that has some info here buildingregulations-site-operations. Each site has its own features and the Local Authority in your area will need to assess the site and they must decide what they require to make the site “Safe”.

  53. Hi Alex,
    Have a look at our “Terreinbedrywighede” page and you will see that there are strict rules about this covered in Part F of the Building Regulations. They are not allowed to and it is up to the local authority to take action, contact your local Municipality and request they send out an inspector.

  54. Hi. What are the regulations behind building work on Sundays or Public
    Holidays? We are living next to a house undergoing renovations and are
    often being woken up early on a Sunday am with lots of shouting,
    hammering etc. And who can we go to if the builders are disinterested
    in our please for peace?
    Many thanks in anticipation

  55. Gooda day
    I would like to know if a building site must be secured with a fence
    to pretect people from getting injured within a Estate?

  56. Hi Wikus,
    This information is found in Part F- Site Operations of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. If you follow the link to our section on Terreinbedrywighede page, you will see exactly what times are one is NOT permitted to work. This section of the legislation was changed slightly when the new Act became law in 2008.

  57. Hi Robert,
    I have contacted MSA Africa senior head, eye-, face- and hearing-protection product manager Loren Pearson. She tells me that in South Africa whereas hard hats are mandatory on any building site, the individual colours and designations are determined by the company, contractor, site manager or builder. It would seem to follow the trend set in Europe and the USA.

  58. Hi Elizabeth,
    The Building Regulations certainly do address the working hours, noise and dust under Part F of the regulations. This in part states that builders and contractors may not “unreasonably disturb or interfere with the amenity of the neighborhood”. The working hours are also given as – “Before 6 am and after 6 pm any day of the week. Before 6 am or after 5 pm on a Saturday. On Sundays or public holidays”. You can read more on our page – Terreinbedrywighede

  59. Elizabeth Watson sê:

    We live in a block of Flats at Blue Heights, Westville Road,
    Westville, Durban. They are demolishing the shopping centre beneath
    the flock of flats and although we accept and understand the noise
    that this has and will generate, is it legal for them to work and
    generate drilling and other noise 7 days a week. We would like to know
    if we can expect some peace and quiet in our block of flats on
    Saturday afternoons and Sundays all day. Many thanks for your urgent

  60. We are a construction company and would like to know if there is a law
    that stops us from working over the holiday period.

  61. Robert Kuhlmann sê:

    Vir wie dit mag aangaan,

    Is there country wide standard for what colours of hard hats different
    people on a building site must waer? For instance the safety officer
    will wear a red hard hat, while crane operators will wear yellow hard

    If so where can I find it?

    Vriendelike groete,

    Robert Kuhlmann

  62. Yes Minette there are, in Part F: Site Operations (of the NBR). Here’s 'n skakel.

  63. Good day are there any regulations regarding dust control while building ?