Containment drainage tank install
A new drainage and sewage containment tank installation.

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  1. Hi do I have to install hot and cold water and drainage pips in sleeves wherever they go through a wall or slab.

  2. karen west says:

    I am living on a parkhome which has a septic tank i am finding it is filling up weekly the overflow from the tank was blocked but what bothers me is the overflow is running directly from the septic tank there is only one small tank and the pipe goes out into the river surely this is wrong? Seems to me someone has mucked up badly here as there is no soak away either and the tank itself is very small

  3. Contact the plumbing department at your municipality and ask them to do a site visit to inspect. They are qualified to make a decision. I am not!

  4. Lance Peters says:

    Hi, I am about to rent a new industrial unit. the unit is at the end of the sewerage run before it reaches the road and had 8 other units deeper into the park along the run.

    There is a manhole inside the unit which is a standard manhole, not double skin or screw down. the landlord says it is seal but it is just some car grease in the joint.

    I am concerned that if there was a blockage, the sewage would pop off the cover. Should this not be a screwed down double skin?

    The original cover from when the area was outside was a heavy round cast iron with a hinge. it looks like the rectangular one was just laid over the top of the hole in its pre-cast surround.

  5. Morning. please can you tell me if gutters may be installed on a boundary wall overhanging onto my property over my workshop roof . City council thinks its a civil matter to dispute.

  6. Good day

    I want to know when you subdivide a property (there is one existing house on the property and they are subdividing the ground that’s left) is it necessary that both houses have it’s own manhole for the sewer or can both houses sewer pipes run to one manhole?

  7. Good evening

    We want to enclose our courtyard, but the eyelets are situated inside the coutyard, can I install a roof with only an opening over the eyelet? Or some kind of “window” that I can open if they need to get to the eyelet?

  8. J Stander says:

    Good day

    I would like to find out if a plumber must do the following job or if we can as home owners. I want to move the opening of the waste drain hole of a toilet a few cm back so to we can instal a close couple toilet suite closer to the wall, and if possible what is the rules and regulastion regarding that, as we are planining to use the same sort of PVC pipe but maybe instead of straight down it will need to be at an angle (20-30degrees). Many thanks in advance.

  9. Juan Pretorius says:

    Good day.

    I would like to know if you must have a vent at the start of the toilette line or can every think vent trough an vent in front of 3 toilette’s connected to it, its over 2 floors and the pipe goes down another floor before connecting to the vent, can any one tell me if this is wrong and or if this is legal, i can not find the right sans 10400 P for this.

    thank you

  10. Hi there. My sister recently took out a bond to buy a property, and noticed an odour soon after they moved in last weekend. She now found out from someone that the building extensions done by the previous owners, were done on top the drain. Isn’t this illegal? What can she do about this? And, who may she contact for assistance? Thank you and kind regards.

  11. I own a vacant stand in the Western Cape. There us an existent home on the stand next door.
    I live in another province and visit the area maybe twice a year.
    On such a visit I saw that there has been a trench dug from the neighbours house down the inside of my property to the end of the property.
    I was not notified nor do I know the neighbours.
    Please advise my best way to proceed

  12. Good Day all
    I have bought a house and it has a main hole drain at the back of my house. The smell that comes out of it is unbearable inthe morning and at night. Is the a way that it can be closed or moved out of my yard , should I do it or municipality must do it
    I also want to extent the house in future

  13. Hi ,
    I’m moving my toilet from one side to the other and putting my basin were the toilet was. Am I aloud to put a 110mm pipe under the concrete approximately 3m long from my new toilet position to the wall exit.

  14. Good Evening, Could you please give me some advise, we had some very heavy rains in early March, we stay in a complex, one of the owners thought his house was going to fall down, as there was a lot of rain coming onto his property, he called the insurance co, who gave him a contact no for a plumber, who came out and diverted the water onto municipal property, and not into a storm drain. I contacted the plumber and told him that is incorrectly done, and the water needs to be correctly channelled to a storm drain, he wants me to find the storm drains on the common property so that he can do his job. how do I respond to him.

  15. Hi can I use washed concrete debris to fill up my frenchdrain ?

  16. Carl Le Cordier says:

    Hi .my neighbors daughter knocked his water meter while reversing out of his driveway which caused damage to the meter.municipality was called to fix damage ,but little did I realise that damage was not been fixed but rather their meter was getting moved from inside their yard and put directly outside my yard .we I asked them to please remove the meter they told me if I want to move it I must move it myself they are happy with it in front of my wall .

  17. nomthandazo wendý says:

    Hi I’ve got sewer drain in my yard and I’ve built a toilet and 2rooms on top of those sewer line. I’m I not gonna encounter problems in future. From the municipality coming to demolish my building?

  18. Mason Naicker says:

    Good Day Guys,

    I require some assistance ,at our complex in Southcrest, Alberton, We have been experiencing major issues with our sewer system from the time we took occupation from the developer ,its now been 4 years ,once 2years has passed he had pulled out of the complex ,Our Main issue is that these costs are extremely high and we get Charged close to R20k every 3-months to Get a septic tank and repair the pumps ,we have had many plumbers replacing pumps and repairing in the past 3 years ,Ekhuruleni says its an internal issue ,how can we permanently get this resolved ,Any Referrals or Advice ???

  19. when are you required to provide Inspection Eyes in a plumbing drainage system?

  20. I have public sewer in my yard and I need to extended, what process I need to follow to have them removed?

  21. Hi Penny
    Not sure if the site is still running.

    Palm Beach Area does it have municipal drainage lines or septic tank applications?
    South Coast Natal Edward Rd

  22. Chris Greeff says:

    Hi Penny

    I bought a house in 2018, and we had heavy rains in Dec 2019.
    The storm water from the adjacent (uphill) properties were duckted into two 110 mm PVC pipes that disappeared into the ground.
    The previous owner, who built the house, (when we were viewing to buy), proudly told me the two pies run the width of the property and spill onto the sidewalk from where it goes into the storm water system.
    This was not the case.
    The two pipes went underground into the properties sewer system.
    With the heavy rains, the excess water and sewerage pumped out of the lowest toilet in my house, causing a lot of damage.
    Everybody I spoke to told me it was against the SA building regulations to connect storm water to you sewerage system – can you please advise me where I can the find the relevant SA building regulations that deals with that?
    Thank you

  23. Hi bought a house including the backroom which I found out there is a man hole in the backroom.My question to you is can I move the man hole and connect it outside the backroom?

  24. Cam I put a shed on top of a sewage pipe . And can I build a pool next to sewage pipe

  25. Good day

    I am in need of advise. I recently bought a new home. It has come to my attention that my neighbours toilet drain pipes are basically in my back yard. Their homes’ wall is basically where my backyard starts, and then they have a toilet pipe coming out of the wall (which would now be in property). I tried to contact my my real estate agent from whom I bought the house, but they aren’t getting back to me.

    Is this legal? Worst part is that the pipes leak slightly so I have urine on my grass most of the time.

    Advise will be greatly appreciated.

  26. Hi penny
    I got a problem i cant extend my house as my neighbours.
    The sewewr lines of houses accross the street run to the main line at the back of my property where my 4 next door and behind neighbours lines connect to.
    I am the one with my own drain and a main municipal drain connection on my property.
    I do pay my taxes for erf size ect.but cant use my property like my neighbours.
    What do i havd to do..?

  27. Are you on a slope? I am on a slight slope and have my neighbors from behind running together with mine, under my garage floor. This I hear is normal as it has to follow the sloping ground to get to the sewage system.

  28. I hope you can help me. I have a brick on edge, stepped, boundary wall, built 1989, which has fallen over onto my neighbor’s side. I have noticed on his side, he has fixed a garden tap to the wall “without any drain,” or distance from the foundation. If his gardener or a garden service, unsupervised, forgot to close the tap, and it ran for a few hours, or almost a day or if somebody stole this tap and the water was left spurting out for quite some time, would this cause the foundation to become muddy, slip, slide and collapse? Beneath the sandy soil, there is some clay, which was found when the pool was dug in 1990. Can this cause the foundation to slip/become unstable/swim/tilt/fall over if waterlogged? The boundary wall which collapsed is approximately a car wide, which all fell into his driveway. Thereafter, he maliciously placed the bricks into my garden, together with a huge, heavy section of intact, fallen wall, which he placed leaning up against the undamaged section on my boundary side, which I feel has since interfered with the assessor’s report. I am concerned it might weaken that section of the wall. At the end corner section, where the wall meets the street, it appears he has positioned or tilted the damaged corner section of mortar and bricks, now leaning toward my swimming pool pump, perhaps, in the hope that it will fall, damaging my swimming pool pump. Besides, if I look over onto his side of the wall, it appears as if the front corner section looks like it is separating away from where it meets with his front garden wall and where it continues along, becoming my front wall, the same brick on edge wall. Also, do you think, he or one of his guests could’ve reversed into the wall by accident, causing the structure to weaken and collapse at some later stage? The cracked open boundary wall is about the width of a car, the bottom section of the wall appears to be cracked across the length, at about the height of a car bumper or tow-bar, without any cracks showing below that point. Shortly after this boundary section of the wall collapsed, two sections of my front garden wall followed, seemingly within days, both being the same continuation of the wall, near, to where the damaged brick on edge boundary wall had collapsed. In terms of “impact vibration,” being the driveway side of their wall, and the poolside of mine, with my front section being a continuation of it. I later discovered a municipal shrub and a large tree with roots stretched toward my front wall’s foundation, on the municipal verge, which must have weakened the structure for this to happen. If there was an “impact vibration,” would this not reverberate through the front wall being the same continuation of the wall? Your opinion would be much appreciated? Lastly, with the high water table in our area, and the underground rivers drying up, will the ground not subside, to replacing the missing water? In 1990, when the pool was dug, we could not reach the intended 8 foot, as we had reached the underground river, which was spurting up from beneath.

  29. Dave Wilson says:

    A neighbour of mine built a French drain on his property and then sold the property.
    I don’t believe that this French drain was built correctly as water originally came out of it onto his front lawn. He wasn’t happy with this and installed pipes to carry the water to the front of the property, from where it now runs through the holes in his front wall and across my driveway, leaving stains on my driveway.
    Who would know the council rules relating to French drains?
    Dave Wilson

  30. Gareth Anderson says:

    Hi Penny,

    What is the minimum fall ratio for a shower floor from the edge to the waste?

  31. I have a soak pit on my property my nabour is now complaining that it seeps into the ground and comes on his property can the municipality force me to connect to the main line and then force me to drain and close up my soak pit

  32. colin van jaarsveldt says:

    We are an estate of 8 stand alone houses each of which have their own septic tank / soak pits except for 2 units which share a septic tank which then leads on to a soak pit on “common property”
    their soak pit has now ceased operation (+24 years old) and are claiming the replacement expenses on the Body Corporate even though they have “sole use” of the soak pit
    Any advice would be appreciated

  33. Hi Penny, we have been living on a golf estate for several years now without any water and sanitation problems until October 2018, at which time the developer on the estate upgraded the sewer system by installing an electronic pump type sewer system to pump sewerage from the West side of the estate over a ridge to the East side from there it runs down a steep decline through several manholes and connects to the main sewerage line on the East side and then out to the main municipal line which runs along the street on the outside of the estate, the problem is that our direct sewerage line also connects to the sewerage line on this same system and whenever the pumps operate they cause a blow back of what we can only call methane into and around our home. I have complained on several occasions to the municipality, the developer and the HOA, I have also spoken to my architect, builder and plumber with very little success at all from anyone. It seems that we are stuck in a catch 22 situation where the developer has done the construction and then handed the line over to the municipality and neither of them will accept any responsibility for the problems we are experiencing. Over and above seeking legal advice on the matter, in one last ditch attempt I am trying to get some positive feedback on what I should possibly do before taking the legal route. Hopefully you are able to offer me some advice?

  34. Hi, how deep should PVC piping be buried if it is below a gravel roadway? Thanks

  35. Talitha Botha says:

    Hi, We want to build a prefab house on our property, do we need plans for this? And what is the regulation regarding the sewage? Can we do the it ourselves?

  36. Hi

    I have a vent pipe that runs from the point where my toilet outlet exits the house and enters the ground. It runs straight up the outside of the wall and through the roof overhang, I don’t see these on newer houses. Can I legally remove this ugly pipe “

  37. dazel bridger says:

    I have an issue of a building that has been built over a main sewage line in our complex , is this allowed or does it just have to be approved on the plans or building inspector.

  38. Charm Kisten says:

    Hi Penny,

    My neighbor is slightly higher than me has not made proper storm water drainage on his property. No gutters and downpipes,etc. He now wants to connect to my drainage system. Is this legal?

  39. Good day, we have a lapa built over a municipal sewer line it seems. We bought the house like that and now wanting to sell and needing updated plans, we wonder if we will be able to have the plans updated without having problems.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  40. Annalie Blignaut says:

    Hi Penny
    We live on a plot. I have a vegetable garden in one corner of rhe plot. This is on a slope. Our neighbours above built a domestic quarters and installed a hole for the sewerage..I do not believe that it is a septic tank. They have been pumping out this water onto their grass. They have flooded my vegetable garden previously. I have reported the issue to council. They have send people to investigate. But unfortunetaly the ground is still always wet below were this hole is..according to them they are pumping out and the reason for the ground being wet is becouse of the turf and rain..which is hard to believe becouse the rest of the garden will dry up after rain..I also have chickens on the corner there ..should I ignore? Or is there a way to stop water from entering my garden..there is a cocrete wall between us and I have planted bamboo to help clea the ground.

  41. Raymond C Geldenhuys says:

    Dryka N.

    Good Day,

    I submitted a Garage. The council gives you consent to build onto your boundaries. My friend aslo submitted a Carport to the council.

    I have an existing (RE) Rodding Eye which will be inside my drainage leading to the RE.

    My friend has an existing Manhole at his boundary normally 1.0m away from the boundary

    All both us has the same amendments and gave reasons for alternativs

    Now an amendment has Reasons for alternative : Requirements saying not in order

    No permanent structures over sewer connections point or the rodding eyes or manholes fitted with a double sealed cover/frame in garages and carports at the municipal connections point.

    Please Advise.

    Kind Regards

  42. For starters, if you have converted the courtyard into a room then the council likely would have required plans. A registered plumber would need to be involved when it comes to sewers and any other drains.

  43. You need to rattle cages very loudly. Phone the council every day – or better still go there and insist they send a building inspector to investigate. If you can identify the erf that the neighbour is living on, you should be able to find out who owns the property. Maybe a local estate agent can help you.

  44. Hi Penny.I recently moved into my new property & discovered that my new neighbors connected his sewer pipe onto my pipe on my property the very same day I moved in.Ironically they were living on my property before they were legally evicted & unfortunately moved next door which was a vacant plot.I’m not even sure if they are squatting but he insist its his property.
    Anyway when I confronted him about the sewerage connection he claims 2 properties shares a sewerage connection which then obviously runs to the mains outside.I then ask him to show me papers to confirm his claims or who gave him permission to dug trenches on my property without my consent.
    He only showed me an areal template of the 2 properties with red arrows indicating the layout of the sewer pipes but it clearly does’nt indicate it being connected to my drainage pipe.
    I not an expert on plumbing but this doesn’t sound right.What if there were a concrete fence in place & my drainage system gets blocked .I did inform the municipality regarding this matter & they informed me they will send out a building inspector but its been a while now & I’m still waiting for someone to assist me.

  45. Hi
    I walled an area in my courtyard that had an existing shelter, making the sheltered area into a tiny room. Problem is that there is a toilet outlet and it is now considered to be “under-roof”, so part of the pipe coming from the wall is above concrete. I put a melamine box around the pipe with a granite lid, for easy access to the sewer pipe. Apparently it is not right. How do I fix this?

  46. You will need plans drawn by a competent person before you can build the garage. Chances are you will be able to build over the line as long as you don’t cover manholes or inspection eyes. You cannot relocate pipes or drains … this must be done by a qualified, registered plumber (or under direction of same).

  47. Good day.
    Help needed pls.

    My sewerage line coming from the back of the house is running at an angle across the yard to the connection in front to join main sewerage line in the street.

    I am planning on building a garage accross this area. My question now is. Can you leave sewerage line (owner side) as is and built over it or do I have to relocate pipes?

    If I need to relocate pipes can I do this myself as I am a good diy person?

  48. This very basic information is freely available in the NBR – your architect ought to be checking the regulations and not expecting his/her client to find the answers!
    Please note that we do not replicate the NBR on our site, but simply give useful guidelines. There are a number of other tables in SANS 10400-P, Drainage. I suggest your architect buys a copy.

  49. Your neighbours have no reason to allow you to drain stormwater onto their property. Please read this article for clarification.

  50. It shouldn’t be a problem as long as the inspection eye is accessible.

  51. Vents would normally be required – and the plumbing installation should have been done in accordance with approved plans. So the first thing to do is source the plans and see if plumbing was done correctly, according to plan.
    Also, someone at IOPSA might be able to help.

  52. If you are asking us this question, you are clearly not a qualified, registered plumber. This will also mean that the installation is illegal. You could check with one of the FET Colleges, a plumbing textbook I wrote for them a few years ago detailed all the tests.

  53. We are leasing a building with insufficient access to toilettes. There about 40+ people in the building. 2 Female toilettes, 1 urinal, 1 male toilette and 1 disabled toilette. The landlord wants to close of the disbaled toilette as a unisex toilette for another tenant. I dont think this is correct or legal. Some advice would be appreciated.

  54. Maxyplumb says:


    I did plumbing installation on a block of flats , Now everything is installed and they want me to do a test. Which test can l use and how do l go about doing it?

  55. Hi there!

    I have a question relating to the plumbing vents that need to be installed on a property. I live in a complex, and there is a horrible smell and noise that comes from our shower drain when the neighbours shower. A plumber who regularly services our complex said that the reason is that the complex has no vents. He says he has brought it up with the body corporate a few times but they ignore him.
    Is there a legal requirement (what are they?) to have vents installed and can I force my body corporate to do something about it?

    Many thanks!

  56. From my understanding, the minimum distance of septic tank from house is 6m!

  57. Hi, I want to remove the grass patch that doesn’t get any sun around my pool and lay a thin concrete slab around it and then tile it all… there is a portion of sewer line a meter before the boundary wall… this portion of sewer line (connects the two main lines running from either side of my house), and would be under the very edge of the slab (the inspection eye will be protruding the top of the edge of the slab)…
    Seeing as the other main lines are under paving, can I lay the concrete slab over the sewer line?
    Can I then also continue with building a low 40cm high planter/ waterfeature with seating over a section of this edge of slab?

  58. Hi

    I’ve just had a plot and plan home built and noticed a lot of pooling in certain areas around the house. Is it reasonable to expect the builder to take steps to improve the drainage at his cost. It was his plot and architect. The soil is “clayey” and both the builder and architect have built several times in the area.

  59. Hi,
    I have an existing building and i do not have a storm water drainage in front of my house. My house is below road level and i have been relying on my neighbours who were good people, they allowed me to bore a hole through the side wall into their yard for the past ten years. My neighbours semi-detached house is now sold and I am afraid that the new neighbours will not allow us to use their yard as our storm water drain.
    Please advice…

  60. Good day, we are busy updating the living arrangements for our farm workers. My architect is not sure about the exact number of toilets necessary for the workers and whether the above table applies as it is informal and with only a few permanent workers and seasonal temporary workers.

  61. Contact the SABS, they will tell you which SANS have information about Polycop piping.

  62. Chris Naidoo says:

    Hello All
    I’m interested to know the regulations around the use of and prohibition of Polycop Piping in residential homes and would greatly appreciate if anyone can refer me specifically to a SANS STD.

  63. Hi im busy with a little office on a farm. In indicating the septic tank 3meters away from the building. Is that adequate enough or could i move it closer perhaps 1.5meters from the building? Your help will definitely be appreciated.

  64. That sounds like a cess pit to me Yvonne – and no it is not legal. We had the same when we rented a house near Malmesbury. You can read about our plumbing sagas here. The cess pit (outside the kitchen) was for sewage from a guest loo. It was covered with a piece of ply – which had rotted – and collapsed when I stood on it. Fortunately I didn’t fall inside. The owner of the farm also did an alteration to an outbuilding and didn’t have a septic tank or any other form of tank for the sewage. I suggest you alert the local authority … ask for a health inspection to do an investigation.

  65. Yvonne Grobler says:

    Hi, I’m renting on a farm. I would like to know how far away from your residence is your sewage drain suppose to be. The sewage drain at our flat is directly next to my bathroom and bedroom walls. It is basically just a hole in the ground filled with stones en covered with a steel plate. Is this legal?

  66. Mike I suggest you talk to a qualified registered plumber. Alternatively contact the SABS directly to find out what the specs are.

  67. Sharon you should be working with a qualified plumber who is registered. If this a problem regarding an already built line then contact the plumbing institute of SA.

  68. Jab please consult a registered plumber for this information – or your local authority.

  69. Willy, the National Building Regulations on their own don’t tell us very much about how to build or how to install plumbing. SANS 10252-1 of 2004 deals with water supply installations for buildings, and SANS 10252-2 which deals with drainage installations for buildings.
    The regs are particularly strict about protecting all types of drainpipes laid under buildings. Pipes that are made of a rigid material must be encased in concrete that is at least as wide as the pipe. Flexible pipe must be protected by a concrete slab that is laid over the pipe. I think the specs are in SANS 10252-2. This would be below the level of the floor slab.

  70. All plumbing must be done by a qualified plumber who is also registered. But it is not only the NBR that is important. There are many other SANS that relate to plumbing. Perhaps you should call the Plumbing Institute of SA and ask their advice.

  71. Hi Guys
    My Landlord owns a bar above my store and we have had lots of leaks in the last year from his plumbing drip and leak through our ceiling sometimes ruining product in our store. I have withheld rent on a few occasions until it has been fixed but every couple of weeks there is a new leak and a new hole that he has to cut in my ceiling to try find the problem.

    In terms of the National Building Regulations Act is there a authority I can get to come and check if he has Plumbing compliance?

  72. Hi, is there any regulation stating that ALL sewerage piping should be encased in concrete, not referring to pipework underneath concrete flooring?

  73. what sort of pipe should be used from the municipal mains (by the meter) to the house. is it 22mm copper?

  74. Good day

    My neighbor has build a stand on top of underground pipes, then the nuisance is coming out of my house drain and he is not willing to fix it. where can I report this I am in Cape Town

  75. If you are doing this kind of job I assume you are a registered plumber – in which case you should have copies of all the relevant SANS. I am not a plumber and would have to read realms of paperwork to try and find and interpret this information.

  76. Lee Osner says:

    Good day
    I am on a project which is a SANS compliant.
    We have done an ablution block Male/Females three toilets 2 basins and 1 urinal.
    All drains joining into 110mm pvc pipe. i have installed two breather pipes one for each Room.
    I have installed the new two way breather cap on them with a 500m long and 50mm diametre pipe on both
    Is this in regulations?
    Can you guide me to the proper referances in the SANS compliancy so i can send it to my client for clarity

  77. Here are the heights from the regulations:
    Foundation heights

  78. Yes that is how the effluent is taken away from the house, all grey water and sewage pipes are linked then go to the council mains.

  79. Is it legal to connect a kitchen sink drain pipe to the sewerage drain pipe?

  80. Is there a specification that requires a step between the floor height and external paving ? The height difference between the interior floor (kitchen) and the external paving is approx ,<20mm and the developer says that this is in order. Please advise urgently

  81. Copper pipe stays the best for the job and it looks so much more professional to…..just get a good plumber to do the soldering work properly…

  82. Yes you can extend from copper to poly pipe just make sure that the poly pipe is SABS approved and if there is to much rocks and stone where the poly pipe is laying……buried the poly pipe in nice building,plaster or river sand to protect pipe…

  83. You must box your sewer pipe min 250mm all around pipe meaning 360 deg….according to building regulations.

  84. You can get permission from the council for this but you will have to encase the pipe in concrete and it should not have any bends or inspection eyes along the way. The “competent person” who does your plans for approval should know this and will do drawings for the council.

  85. So long as there are no inspection covers/eyes or any bends then you can build over them so long as you encase the pipes in concrete.

  86. Yup, you are right as well galvanised is out.

  87. Just another correction. No galvanised pipes are permitted anymore,not on the water supply & not even on the TP discharge of a hot water cylynder.

  88. Coen thanks for the comments, we appreciate them 🙂

  89. Mike you are absolutely correct that “polycop” is not a good idea as it has never been approved for hot water. The new PPR pipes that are approved for hot and cold water is the way to go. Thanks for spotting that Mike.

  90. Hi. A number of things can be done. First problem I see is a perched water table – meaning that the plot at higher level is watering his garden and the water seeps thru to the lower plot. The only way to take it away is by sub surface drain. Preferably before the water gets to the retaining wall, but can also be done on the lower plot. Be careful not to excavate before assessing the foundation design of the retaining wall. Consult a civil engineer to design your subsurface drain and to ensure that the retaining wall is still doing what it is supposed to do – holding the earth back

  91. What are the laws regarding building over a sewerage pipe? I would like to extend a room but the pipes are very close to the walls

  92. Hi there. Can you have a sewer pipe which connects to a septic tank, underneath the slab of a new garage? We want to build a garage over the place where there is an existing pipe which runs to the septic tank.

  93. What pipe must be inside the house from the toilet and what pipe outside? I know there are standards on the uv effects on the pipe?

  94. sharon walker says:

    Hi, I hope you can help me. I am trying to find out what the minimum/maximum distance allowed between two manhole covers (for sewerage) on a residential single-building dwelling.

  95. Baths must have traps … I suggest you ask a registered plumber to have a look at what you have and then take the appropriate action. Plumbing Standards are extremely high and include a number of Standards in addition to the National Building Regulations SANS 10400 sections that relate to plumbing and drainage. You could also contact IOPSA – the Institute of Plumbing in SA and ask them for their advice.

  96. sipalo@bld says:

    I recently brought a property in Pretoria West and the bath does not have an access point for the trap. What does the building regulation says about the provision of the acess point on the bath

  97. The property owner of the plot where the water is coming from needs to have adequate drainage. A qualified plumber will be able to assess what should be done.

  98. The stand behind me is much higher than my own. Water keeps coming through underneath the boundary wall. who is responsible for making provision for the excess water. What methods can be used to drain the water.

  99. Neil using “Polycop” pipe on hot water is a bad idea. The pipe is not made to take hot water. In my yrs as a qualified plumber I have had to replace Polycop pipe more often on hot water systems due to failure. as far as I understand Polycop pipe does not have SABS to carry hot water, you will need to check SABS standards on that yourself to make sure. All hot water systems need min of 1m metal pipe (copper or galvanised) at the inlet side and outlet side of your hot water cylinder.

  100. Toyer you should be using a qualified, registered plumber who will know exactly what is permitted in terms of the various SANS. There are numerous plumbing regulations that fall outside of the National Building Regulations.
    In terms of shower enclosures, there is no one standard size. Here’s a link to shower enclosures provided by just one South African company. You will see that there are a myriad of options. Choose the enclosure you want before you build. Of course you can also have a shower that does not have a solid enclosure – that is either open or has shower curtains.

  101. Hi, can a plumber extend onto the origanal copper cold water supply pipe of my house with polycop pipe, to create a new supply line. Bearing in mind that this will run under the concreate floor of the house.
    and is there a standard size for a shower enclosure?

  102. Neil you can use Polycop pipe. It is a popular type of polypropylene (which is a type of plastic) pipe and it can be used for pressure pipes that can carry hot water, and for pipes that supply cold water.

  103. What is the standard for plumbing pipes used on the outside of a building that lead from a geyser to a water connection? Can plastic tubing be used or does it need to be copper piping?

  104. I honestly don’t know Neel, though I think they are using them more and more. You should consult with a registered plumber or the local authority.

  105. HELLO

  106. Yolande the NBR do not have specifications that relate to these tanks. You need to contact the local authority and find out what their requirements are in terms of the location of this.

  107. Hi, I have a neighbour of whom has placed a large jojo tank, of which is higher than the boundary wall, of which is a six foot wall, right against the wall, with out any consent. What should the distance of a jojo tank be from a neighbours boundary wall?

  108. From your email Charlie it looks as if you are in the plumbing business. If so you should be a qualified and registered plumber – which I am not. You should then also know which SANS to look at. Perhaps you could call IOPSA and ask them.

  109. Calvin you will need to consult a registered, qualified plumber for this.

  110. Charlie Roestroff says:

    I want to know how many ventvalves and where it is needed on a sewerline?
    Please assist me.

  111. Calvin Naidoo says:

    Moving a storm drain

    Good day,
    I have recently built my new home, only to have my drive in line with a storm drain.
    Please can you provide me with some advice on how I can have this storm drain moved such that it no longer obstructs my drive way

  112. Jeannene it all sounds totally illegal. Call your local authority and ask them to send a building and/or health inspector to investigate.

  113. I am currently renting a property with a flat attached to the back of the house. The on-suite bathroom and the main bathroom windows have been blocked off as this looks into the flat. The drains from both bathrooms (toilet and baths) run into the flat. They are not covered or sealed at all. Is this legal?

  114. Skhumbuzo, there are several issues to take into account including the type and size of work place. Generally it will be up to 30 people as you can see from Table 6 on this page.

  115. skhumbuzo says:


    Can you please advice me as to how many employees are to use one toilet in any working environment

  116. Danique it is only allowed if there is a specific reason and the council gives permission. Generally waste water systems must be designed according to the relevant SANS with water discharging into a gully that in turn discharges into an underground drain. Detailed plans are required by council when the building plans are submitted.

  117. Is it possible and lawfull to have water outlet pipes (normal WHB water pipes) run into an existing storm water drain?


  118. Hi Sebastian, I can’t locate the Cape Town bye-law at the moment but the Gauteng bye-law should be a good indication of most bye-laws in SA.


    2. Where, in the opinion of the Council, it is impracticable for stormwater to
    be drained from higher lying erven direct to a road, the owner of the
    lower lying erf shall be obliged to accept and/or permit the passage over
    the erf of such stormwater: Provided that the owners of any higher lying
    erven, the stormwater from which is discharged over any lower lying erf,
    shall be liable to pay a proportionate share of the cost of any pipe line or
    drain which the owner of such lower lying erf may find necessary to lay or
    construct for the purpose of conducting the water so discharged over
    the erf.
    d. The owner of the erf must make the necessary arrangements to the
    satisfaction of the Council to ensure that drain pipes convey water
    away from the foundations of buildings;
    e. Water shall not be permitted to collect on the erf and the erf shall
    be drained to the satisfaction of the Council.”

    If you are still unsure contact the local council planning department.

  119. Thanks Leslie, notes like this really are appreciated 😀

  120. Leslie Marthinussen says:

    Just a note to say thank you for your website. Just browsing through the discussions helped me.


  121. Sebastian says:

    Hi, could you tell me about the requirement for water drainage from one neighbor to another. I live in a cul de sac in the South Suburbs of Cape Town. I have a number of neighbors on either side of me as well as on the other side of me. Their properties would be slightly above me. The neighbor on my right constantly has problem with rain water running through his garage and has asked me to open a whole in his wall that will allow the water from his property to run through my property. What does the law say about this? Am I obliged to do this?

  122. We are in no way linked to any local authorities or governing bodies so are unable to help you Le Roux.

  123. Le Roux Visser says:



    I need somebody to contact me.
    We are suppliers of Bathroom Products and is looking at new products
    for Next Year.

    I was informed by a Retailer that the Building Inspectors accept
    JASWIC Approved Products as well.

    Can someone please confirm this for me.

    Le Roux

  124. Ron, regarding the unusually heavy rains in the Cape last weekend, even properties that have 100% compliant stormwater disposal systems experienced flooding. So I doubt very much that you’ll have any success trying to get the developer to “rectify” your situation. My advice to you is to wait until the ground water has dissipated, and then call in an independent plumbing professional and ask for an assessment of the situation. All stormwater disposal systems must comply with Part R of SANS 10400, including the way they connect to stormwater sewers or street surface drainage systems. However, this section of the new regulations were only published on 31/8/2012, which could give your developer an “out”.

  125. Ron Klass says:

    I bought a stand from a Developer in a Walled Estate in 2010. The Developer then built me a hous on the stand which was completed in March 2011 and i moved in in December 2011. We had very little rain in the Overberg until July this year when I found that a large part of the stand bounded by my Boundry Walls was flooded. When i spoke to the Developer hs said it was due to the heavy rain that had saturated the ground and he could not help. Over this past weekend we had very heavy rains in the Western Cape and once again the same area of my property was flooded to the extent of +/- 180mm of water was traped on my stands side of the wall. Obviously the Developer has made No Provision for Stormwater Drainage/Disposal. In Terms of the National Building Regulations I would have thought that a Developer needs to make “Adequate” Provision for Disposal of Storm Water. Would you think that the Developer is “Responsible” to Rectify my situation. Thanks Ron Klass

  126. Yes Riaan you can get into “trouble”. Perhaps you should take the plans you have to your municipal offices and check with them before you start building.

  127. Hi,

    I am planning to buy a house, but on the building plans I got, a part of the building is build over the sewage line (About 5 meters is covered). On the plans it says that the pipe is encased in concrete. I dont see any stamp from the city council that the plan has been approved.
    Can I get trouble if I want to build on the property and need to approve the new plans?


  128. Andre this does sound very dodgy. I suggest you get in a qualified plumber who is registered with your local authority to have a look. Alternatively ask the local authority to send out a health inspector to check. The National Building Regulations relating to drains are VERY strict.

  129. Andre Landsberg says:

    I have open drains in my house. the owner extended the house but did not move the drains, Toilet, washbasin, shower and bath. It is not even covered. Is this a: a health hazard and b: not in building regulations

  130. Debbie, Your “per 20” is NOT correct.
    I assume then that the building would be categorized either D1 High risk industrial: Occupancy where an industrial process is carried out and where either the material handled or the process carried out is liable, in the event of fire, to cause combustion with extreme rapidity or give rise to poisonous fumes, or cause explosions. OR
    D2 Moderate risk industrial: Occupancy where an industrial process is carried out and where either the material handled or the process carried out is liable, in the event of fire, to cause combustion with moderate rapidity but is not likely to give rise to poisonous fumes, or cause explosions.
    …but they both have the same requirements (as does Low risk industrial D3).
    Showers are not specified. For more than 60 but less than 90 males, you need 3 toilets, 5 urinals and 4 basins. For less than 15 women, you need 2 toilets and one basin – but I guess if there’s only one woman, you could get away with one loo.
    I can only see showers specified for sporting participants. For 60-80, 5 showers are required.
    But the regulations do say “In any occupancy where personnel are exposed to high-risk substances, dirt, filth, dust, soot, oil, grease or any similar substance, exposure to which is such that showers are necessary, at least 1 shower per 15 persons shall be provided separately for each sex and such showers shall be located in, or have direct access to, a change room.” I assume you would need a shower for the woman.

  131. Debbie Lipman says:

    Thank you for your response Penny. We are a foundry based in Phoenix Industrial Park. We have 75 employee’s working in the foundry itself, 1 of which is a female (this number excludes our 15 office/admin staff who have seperate facilites). We are looking to refurbish our current change rooms and just want to clarify that we are above board when it comes to the requirements. I have read that 1 toilet and shower per 20 staff, not sure if this is correct…?

  132. Debbie, According to Part P of SANS 10400, “The number of sanitary fixtures to be provided in a building shall be based on the population for which such building is designed, and such population shall be calculated in terms of Regulation A21” – So to be able to answer your question I need to know what type of building this is. It also depends on the ratio of men to women – “if the number of persons of each sex cannot be determined, it shall be assumed that they are in equal proportions”.
    If the building is designed as an office [G1 – Occupancy comprising offices, banks, consulting rooms and other similar usage.] you will require only toilets and basins (not showers) … If all male you will need 3 toilets, 5 urinals and 4 basins; if all female you will need 7 toilets and 4 basins. Some occupancies do required showers.

  133. Debbie Lipman says:

    Please could you tell me how many toilets and showers are required for 75 employee’s.

  134. Dale you need to talk to a qualified, registered plumber. We are not qualified to advise on plumbing installations. In any case you should be using a plumber to do the work for you.

  135. Hi I need to move the current drainage pipe (40mm for sink) and reroute it. it will have to have 3 90deg bends in it and can only fall a total of 500mm over approximately 19m is this OK

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards

    Dale Hellmann

  136. Mohammd, You can build over a pipe that has been laid for sewage, provided it is done correctly. e.g. You may have to encase it in concrete and provide additional inspection eyes. You will need approval. If it is the Council sewer line you will also need approval. So step number one: contact your local authority health inspector for advice.

  137. Hi

    We wanna build an Extra room, but before drawing plans and getting them approved,
    I need to know if it’s possible to build over the sewer line running behind the house, the line is in an awkward position and I can’t see any other way of extending


  138. Rowan – no it is not legal. Plumbing requirements are very strict, and unless you are in the local authority governed by the City of Cape Town, neighbour’s consent is required to build up against a boundary wall. Wherever in the country you are, plans are required for building, unless it is minor building work – and a toilet would NOT be classified as this.

  139. Rowan Kyzer says:

    Is it allowed that the neighbour may build a shack with toilet right
    against the boundary wall?

  140. The amended National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (the legislation) states as of 2011, “XA2 At least 50% (volume fraction) of the annual average hot water heating requirement shall be provided by means other than electrical resistance heating including but not limited to solar heating, heat pumps, heat recovery from other systems or processes and renewable combustible fuel.”
    Also, SANS 151 for Storage Water Heaters changed in 2012, and geysers must now be labelled according to efficiency.
    In terms of retrofitting buildings, if plans are submitted to council, they may tell you to install energy efficient equipment. It’s not up to Eskom. If you were not required to submit plans (though if it’s an extension you should have been), then the whole matter becomes irrelevant.

  141. Good day

    I am adding a full bathroom as well as a guest bathroom (toilet and basin) to my house. I am told according to the new green laws I have to put in a solar geyser / heat pump. However after phoning Eskom, they told me that with alterations or extentions, they do not force people to install a solar geyser unless its a new house you’re building?

    Please advise

  142. Occupancy/building classification is covered in SANS 10400, Part A: General Principles and Requirements. It doesn’t specify offices as such, but I assume your block would fit into category B3: “Low risk commercial service
    Occupancy where a non-industrial process is carried out and where neither the material handled nor the process carried out falls into the high or moderate risk category.” Floor space is only relevant to how many people may work in such a space, viz. ”1 person per 15 m2″.
    The provision of sanitary fixtures is covered in Part P: Drainage, and is based on the population for which the building is designed.
    Where “separate sanitary facilities are provided for each sex, the number of sanitary fixtures installed for them shall be based on the population of that particular sex for which such facilities are intended and, if the number of persons of each sex cannot be determined, it shall be assumed that they are in equal proportions”.
    “Where fixtures are to be situated in separate groups, the number of fixtures in any group shall be based on the calculation of that portion of the total population for which the group is intended”.
    If there are less than 15 people working in the office space, you must have at least one toilet pan, one urinal and one wash-hand basin if they are all men; and two toilets and a basin if they are all women women. The toilet facilities required increase according to the number of people “populating” the building. Technically you could have well over a hundred people working in that space, in which case you will need three toilets, six urinals and five basins if they were all men; and nine toilets and five basins if they were all women. And there are figures in-between for less than 30, 60 and 90 people. You would need to work out ratios from these figures.
    If members of the public are able to access the toilet facilities, you don’t need more – but if they cannot access them, you’ll need an additional toilet and basin for visitors.

  143. Good morning
    I run an office block and would like to know the ratio of number of toilet cubicles per person – floor space is 2667m2
    Thank you

  144. Do I understand this? You have a gutter that runs across a building that forms two garages – yours and your neighbors, and they are preventing the flow of water through the gutter? If this is the case NO THEY ARE NOT permitted to do so.

  145. Good day,

    We have a common building garage with a the neighbours. We always had the same gutters and there was no block between in the gutters between the garages. No the neighbours had changed their gutters, but they put a block between in the gutters between the two garages. My question is can they do it?


  146. The rules and regulations as they apply to plumbing are extremely strict. I do have SANS that I can look at (starting with the NBR Part P: Drainage), and will get back to you asap. Perhaps I will write a blog post and include some of the drawings to show how the guttering etc should be done. I can tell you one thing though, if the water is draining into the building the drainage has not been done correctly and is therefore illegal!

  147. Mike Bondi says:

    I live in a sectional title complex and we have an issue with the drainage of rain water off the roofs and into the gutters to be drained away via the downpipes (when they are not blocked by leaves and/or bird droppings). The problem I see is that the gutter has been placed directly on the outside wall and does not hang from the roof away from the wall. The back upright bit (the bit under the edge of the last tile) of the gutter trough is lower than the front bit facing the property. When a heavy downpour occurs and there is a blockage in the side downpipes, the water has no other option but to run over the back bit under the tile and then into the house and onto the ceilings inside. It seems the gutters are installed the wrong way round.

    I’d like to know if there is an official building standard available that I can show the trustees, who are dragging their heels and hesitant to repair this and finding excuses why not to repair it.

    Just this last December I incurred severe losses in my personal possessions due to water damage that could have been avoided had the gutter issue been sorted out many years ago. This debate in the complex has gone on for years now, without remedy.

    Any help would really be appreciated.

  148. YOu do have a responsibility to drain the water away from the building – and not onto someone else’s property. My first thought is that perhaps digging a soakaway on the common land would help to alleviate the problem. I have no idea what type of soil you have, but for example if it is clay, then it won’t drain easily. Alternatively you may have to build a drain that will channel the water to a municipal stormwater drain.
    If you believe that your neighbour had a problem prior to construction of your garage, you need to ascertain where THAT water was coming from.

  149. Jackie Semper says:

    We have just built a garage on the side of the house (all permit and permission has been granted by the Municipality and the Body Corporat) The unit is a cluster hom. We have a down pipe put in at the side of the garage to drain the excess wast away. The water goes onto common property.which is a pan handle to two other units. They are complaining that we are flooding their property, which never happend before the garages was built. (Which I know for a fact they did have a problem) Could you please advise what we can do to elevate this problem for all concerned.

  150. Hester that it totally illegal. I suggest that you contact the health inspector for the Parys municipality and report the establishment immediately. You will probably find that the building work they have undertaken is illegal too. Furthermore, there are laws that govern buildings that cater for visitors, as well as local authority by-laws that require lodges etc to have a permit to operate. You might also call one of the local newspapers in Parys and tell them about your experience.

  151. Hester Basson says:

    My husband and I went to Parys in the freestate for a breakaway weekend, what was meant to be an enjoyable weekand was soon destroyed by the stench of urine and feaces in the room we booked at the river bush lodge parys which was very clearly just an old house which they rhinowalled into seperate rooms. We soon dicovered that the drain pipe for the washbasin is connected to the drainage pipe for the toilet. Is this in anyway according to any south african building code?
    Thank you

  152. Thanks

  153. There aren’t any regulations that require you to lay paving. The regulations relate to adequate drainage rather than specifically gutters, paving or anything else. Generally though you will need gutters to channel rainwater from the roof. Sometimes architects design other ways – e.g. using hi-tech chains – but these aren’t common and need to be correctly designed.

  154. Are there regulations regarding either having gutters on a house or the minimum width of paving around a house?

  155. Are you trying to answer some sort of test? The questions are not specific enough. e.g. Rainfall runoff method for what/where? Return period for what? Minimum pipe diameter for what?

  156. Are you saying that the overflow from your toilet flows into your shower? If so it sounds as if your plumbing installation is illegal. Ask other tenants in the building if they have the same problem, and call in a registered plumber for a quotation to rectify the situation. Once you have this, contact your landlord and demand that the fault is fixed. If you still have problems, you might want to contact the Plumbing Association of SA for further advice.

  157. Contact the Plumbing Association for assistance. They will be able to tell you EXACTLY what should have been done. I do know that if an extra bathroom was added, plans would definitely have been required. Please let me know what happens either way.

  158. Hi Penny
    I have neighbours in the unit above mine, who have added on an extra bathroom. The new single stack 110mm pipe runs down the wall and connects to the main existing sewer via a manhole, situated at least 10 meter away, outside my kitchen, but on land belonging to the Body Corporate. The neighbour has completed this alteration without submitting any building plans to the local authorities, or the Body Corp. for approval and is contending that no building plans are needed. This problem has been compounded by a building inspector who has agreed that the national building regulations have not been violated. I believe it is necessary to obtain permissions prior to building These plans, I believe, need to be lodged and approval granted in writing, which would become a permanent record for all present and future owners. My question is: Are plans needed to be submitted to the local council for approval for this alteration from a drainage perspective?
    Many thanks

  159. Good day. I am currently renting a flat where I have found that all my drainage is flowing into the same line, as result if the drain bloks up the over flow goes directly into my shower. At previous residanses this was not the case. There was atleast a split in the line like an open drain witch seperated my water from he sinks and shower from the tiolet. I would like to know if this is according to standard or not

  160. Hello,
    I’m looking for some info on South african building regualtions would you be able to answer some questions for me?
    1. what rainfall runoff method is reccommended to use?
    2. what return period do the regulations reccommend that you design for?
    3. is there a minimum pipe diameter that can be specified?
    4. What is the minimum velocity reccommended a self cleaning flow?
    5. what is the minimum distance between access chambers?


  161. Wendy there is no one type of pipe or size pipe that is suitable for water drainage. But all plumbing jobs MUST be undertaken by a qualified and registered plumber who will know which is the best for your job. The SANS are lengthy and there are several of them. If you want to wade through them yourself you can go to your nearest SABS library and ask them to give you anything that relates to water drainage.

  162. Dear Penny,

    Could you kindly advise what type of pipe and size is the SABS approved for water drainage? This would be for our upstairs shower. Where could I possibly find this information?

    Many thanks

  163. Barry the building regulations and other SANS (of which there are several) that relate to plumbing are VERY strict. If your home is being flooded as a result of bad drainage, I am sure that you have a claim of some sort. The question is against whom. And as you say, whose responsibility is it to manage the flooding. You say you have bought in “an estate”, but it isn’t clear what sort. e.g. Do you have a body corporate? Also did you buy a new home?
    I would start with your local authority. Query the drainage issues with them first. And/or, contact the Plumbing Institute of SA, IOPSA. You will their contact details on their website:
    I do know that IOPSA has tables that indicate how much rain different sized gutters can channel off roofs when a certain quantity or rain falls per hour. This is intended to assist plumbers fit the current outlets etc. They will also be able to tie you info about the specs for drainage pipe.
    Please let me know what happens. Good luck.

  164. Barry Meyer says:

    To Whom it May concern

    I am seeking information regrding unit standars or guidelines for stormwater drainage, my problem is as follows, I live on an estate with over 250 Units, 55 of these units have a single 110mm PVC pipe running through the back of there properties for the drainage of storm water, these are fed from the gutters of each home. Surely this is insufficient, the reason why I am upset is when it rains my property floods as I am the second last house of the 55 houses thus I am at the bottom of the hill, I bought one year ago and have had 3 floods which have destroyed my garden and blown a pool pump. Where can I get help and information so I can have clarity on who’s responsibility it is to manage the flooding!

  165. You are not permitted to start building before plans have been passed by your local council. They will then inspect at various times, the first being once you have dug your foundations. All plumbing would need to be signed off by a registered plumber.

  166. HI There, I am currently builing a laundry room in my yard and I plan to have plumbing for the washing machine and sink. Please can you kindly tell me if I need to have this inspected by the council?

    many thanks