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  1. Caroline Huyser says:

    Goeie middag. Ek wil kombuiskaste in my oop plan eetkamer insit.
    Ek het ‘n kaggel in die middel van die vertrek wat aangrensend is met sitkamer. Hoe naby aan die kaggel mag ek kaste insit.

  2. Good day,

    Should all fire safety signage(exit signs, extinguisher etc. be photo-luminescent and framed?



  3. christiaan says:

    good day, i would like to now what is the distance allowed to put up a free standing store from a fire hose that is attached to a wall,

  4. Wouter Van Rooyen says:

    I have a question for some one that can advise me please. What is the flow and pressure requierments according to SANS for a fire hydrant system. I am trying to satisfy our Insurance from the body Corporate side.
    I have it as 1200 liters/min at 3 Bar at furthest point from pump supply.

  5. Solly Ngwenya says:


    What is the minimum required size of a building used for business to qualify for fire hose reel?

  6. Hi
    I left a message here the other day but it seems to have disappeared.
    Where can one find in SANS 10400 a table, diagram or chart highlighting how one chooses the size of a symbolic safety sign (150×150, 190×190, 290×290 etc) according to the distance it is viewed (5m, 10m, 15m etc)? I bought SANS 10400 – A but it has not directed me, I assume it may be in part T but before I buy more standards I would prefer to know which one it is in. I also bought SANS 1186 – 1 to 5 which deals with Symbolic safety signs but its not in those either so thought its probably in the application of the building regulations. I would appreciate some direction if you are able to assist.
    Thanks Mike…

  7. Hi
    Are you able to tell me which of the ‘application of the building regulations’ SANS standards has a chart for deciding on the size of a symbolic safety sign based on the viewing distance. I have all of SANS 1186 1 – 5 for symbolic signs but I need to establish where I would find size choice information before I go buy the actual standard. I have bought SANS 10400 – A but it is not helpful about exactly which one would have this chart in it.
    Thank you

  8. Tony Bentel says:

    Hi. I have a double storey building facing another property, 1,5 m from the boundary. The boundary wall is 2,4m. plastered brick work.
    On the other side of the boundary wall is a 5,5m. right -of-way servitude. So the building on my side will never be closer than 7m. from the nearest building.
    I am trying to calculate permissible window areas on my bulding, and am having difficulty interpreting the SANS documnets. Can you help ?

  9. Jim Goodwin says:

    What are the legal requirements regarding fire escape routes in residential family homes ? I live in a home with ONE external door for access( entry and exit) other than a double garage door accessible from inside (the one external door and the garage door are on the same side of the house and relatively close to each other ( 3/4 metres).

  10. Contact your municipality fire officer and ask. Generally homes do not need fire extinguishers by law.

  11. If you are building, your architect will be able to tell you. If not, contact your local authority. This is something you cannot mess around with!

  12. wat are the requlations relating to the provision of fire escape to a dormitory (hostel buildig?

  13. Nadia Fourie says:

    Good afternoon,

    I would like to know how many fire extinguishers is needed per square meter for home and office space.

  14. This has nothing to do with the National Building Regulations

  15. Nkosinathi Thango says:

    Good day

    when shall firefighters and fire marshal shall attend a refresher training?

    Nkosinathi Thango

  16. Hi

    From a legal point, Does a healthcare institution need to retain original wet signature plans and rational designs from the Fire consultant?

    And what if the original wet signed records are lost?

  17. Ruaan Eloff says:

    Hi good People

    I am a builder and completed a new garage. The owner moved the exit door (normal meranti 800mm)
    next to the house and there is a bathroom window 500mm from the door. The building inspector does not
    want to issue the occupation, saying the door must be 1000mm from the outside window.
    If I install a fire door there would this then be legal according to sans 1253 ? or should we demolish the door and move the door to the opposite wall.
    There is a fire door going into the house inside the garage.

    Thank you very much.

  18. Hi Industrial building of 2150m2 under roof – mainly warehousing with offices of approx 300m2 of the 2150m2 — what is the extent of the fire detection required – Jan 2021 Cape Town?/ Lulu Stroebel Realnet property consultant broker of spaces

  19. Good Day

    Please advise if all business properties are required to have a fire hydrant?

  20. Long story short, I am an trustee in a sectional tittle scheme. someone removed a fire hose reel to move it without obtaining the necessary documentation

    i know it is illegal to tamper with or remove fire safety equipment, but for the life of me I cannot find the Act it is stipulated in.

    Please guide me to where I access the laws and regulations on hydrants, reels extinguishers etc.

    Your assistance is greatly appreciated

  21. Hi
    Are there specifications for an Arrestor Screen?

  22. Lourens Meyer says:

    I am in the process of buying a house and discovered that the integrity of firewall between the garage and the house had been compromised. There is a hole about 300x300mm through the wall through which the electrical wires are running. What do the fire regulations say about the repair of such a firewall? The seller only want to repair it with bricks and mortar. Thanks

  23. Hi we’re in a complex ( now 10 years old )that goes up 4 levels . Each level has 4 units . On the top level there’s naturally a roof and a roof cavity . Inside the roof cavity it’s now been discovered there’s no cure walls between units roof space .
    Please advise what regulations are in place or necessary to rectify this developers oversight? What current building regulation decides what is needed to make the buildings compliant to a standard that is accepted by the NBHRC and our insurance . Thank you

  24. George Engelbrecht says:

    I am living in a complex with 8 units, brick and mortar. each 81 sm and motor verandah is connecting every two units.
    Do we need to install fire extinguishers and how many per vk m

  25. Good day. I am wanting to know to what height can you stack lucerne in a warehouse.

  26. Good day, must buildings that are erected in rural areas have a plan approved by the local municipality?

  27. You are correct Melanie. The door needs to be controlled by a device to ensure easy exit and closed when not in use . The fire door must remain shut during a fire because they have a fire rating example 2hourly rating, Some child/children play hide and seek or are curious and could wonder in the store room within seconds( that’s how much of time it take for an incident to occur)

  28. Please advise on the following

    Number of FIre extinguishers required for

    G1 – Multi story offices
    F1 – large shop
    F2 – small shop
    H3 residential flats/apartments

  29. Karen Hewson says:

    Hello, I live in an older apartment block where there is a small lobby with stairs leading to apartments above and an open walkway to the rest of the upper level apartments. The entrance to the lobby from the parking lot has doors with no locks. My question is, would it be against codes to put a lock on the foyer door when putting a lock on that door would force residents to travel 5x the distance to escape?

  30. Hi.

    If the building super structure is steel, concrete and brickwork, but, internals are only structural steel, timber and gypsum walls… Currently building is being occupied as residential… Is this approved?

    There are fire sprinklers and smoke detectors…

  31. Claudette says:

    We have a townhouse that is rented out. I just want to check: is there any regulation regarding placing fire extinguishers in a residential home? We would rather do it the correct way.

  32. Roland Loftie-Eaton says:

    Good morning, I need some help with regards to service shafts.
    1. is it allowed to have a sprinkler valve and electrical cables in one shaft.
    2. is it allowed to have fire water lines and electrical cables in one shaft.

    in which SANS regulation is the references.

    kind regards

  33. EUGENE HAMMAN says:

    Hi Jacques

    The smoke detectors does not have to be indicated, however the smoke detection system should be serviced every year. The smoke detection system must have been installed in accordance with SANS 10139, which would require the plans to be submitted to the local authority and inspection to see if they are installed as on the plans. Thus, when the people service the fire alarm and detection system, they can just have a look on the plans to see where the detectors are situated to test if they are still in working order

  34. Good day,

    I’ve seen there’s a new SANS Part T regulation that has come out earlier this year. Is there a list of new updates that have taken affect anywhere, and do you know specifically if SANS PART T Table 10 has been altered?


  35. I think we need to talk more about fire safety and make sure that all the municipalities and private sector spent more efforts on training their members about this section of fire service. Senior officials are not doing enough to educate their members or even informing the employers about what is needed for the members to be empowered ,So that the communities can be saved including their properties.

  36. Good day Penny and Rudolph
    SANS 10400 Part T is broken down into several parts:
    guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation (this is completely new),
    We have so many inquiries from the hospitality industry for treatments on curtains, sofas, carpets and soft furnishings to be flame retardant and certified. We have our own Proudly south African flame retardant tested successfully according to SANS 10177 Part 9: Small-scale burning characteristics of building materials: ignition, flame spread and heat contribution. “Fire testing of materials, components and elements used in buildings.” Our flame retardant is also HALOGEN – FREE and does not contain fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine which release dangerous substances.
    With our product we test the material before treatment and when treated correctly is does not burn nor does it give off smoke.
    My question is what is the minimum requirement for treatment of fabrics and wood and is a 5 to 15 second flame retardant good enough for the fire department, insurance compliance and official authorities? This question comes up because there are fabrics which cannot be treated after manufacture like polyester and many synthetic fabrics which are hanging in schools and community centers which has claims it has been treated with a flame retardant bust is not flame retardant.

  37. Thomas Benjamin says:

    As a tennant in a Sectional Title complex, should there be an Evacuation Emergency Plan & Route in every apartment? In addition, should there be periodic Fire Drills?

  38. Now that electricity110 has become so expensive and households are using gas, it is very important to install gas cylinders outside and allow a steel pipe to connect to the stove as there is increasing incidents involving explosions from gas cylinders

  39. Hello– I have a question about 4.57.1 (section d.) on page 68 of Part T. It states that “the opening in walls to right angles at the boundary are at least 500mm away from the boundary.”

    We have a wall along the boundary (0,0 m), with no openings, but we want openings on the perpendicular walls stretching away from that boundary, both on the ground floor and one on the first floor. These openings would be more than 500 mm from the boundary, but less than 1000 mm from the boundary. That 4.57.1 mentions this rule for only a single-storey dwelling, but ours (already approved plan) is double storey, and we want to move the doors on both storeys a little closer to the boundary, but of course still farther than then 500 mm minimum. Please help us interpret this rule in our situation. Thank you.

  40. Cathryn Bonadei says:

    Does anyone know if sprinklers have to be painted red? I cant find it in the regulations??

  41. Do you know if you are allowed to make regular use of the emergency door / exits?

  42. Our landlord has made no provision if a fire breaks out on the plot. There is empty fire extinguisher cases with nothing in it. What stand us to do as myself and my baby nearly lost our lives as I went into stress induced labour and baby into respiratory distress and was in ICU?

  43. Keaton Du Plooy says:

    Hi could someone help me with what is the minimum and maximum distance between fire doors in a warehouse.

  44. will a 1000m2 , 2 story office building require a overhead sprinkler system?

  45. Jack Lewis says:

    Hello. I need some advise. I am constructing an agricltural greenhouse on my farm. Its a fire-resistant poly carb structure. Its divided into 6 units of 933 sq m each. Its a highly ventilated structure with evaporate cooling pads at one end and fans on the other. Are we required to have a fire door in each greenhouse? There is obviously water in each greenhouse and fire hoses could easily be provided. A fire door will get in the way of either the cooling pads or the fans and potentially allow unfiltered air into the structure. Can you advise what regulations apply?

  46. Hi All.
    Council came round to inspect my house before granting occupancy certificate. There are 2 aluminium and frosted glass doors from the garage into my house, one to the scullery and one to the lounge. The inspector says these must be fire doors so I have to change them to 30 minute rated solid doors. Has anyone heard of this before, even the architect didn’t seem to be aware of any such requirement for a single residential home?

  47. roger hammond says:

    can anybody inform me as to the rules regarding fire hydrants in estates .
    how many homes per unit .must there be hose reels and if so what length

  48. Hi Janek,

    In terms of process and incorporation of fire detection/equipment:

    1. Should the installers hand out a final certificate for new work installed/fitted?

    Or is it the responsibility of fire engineers to inspect new work specified?

    2. How will we know that the work is satisfactory? If in such case if the system installed does not meet the necessary requirements upon completion of work how can one take action towards contractors

    3. Should the JBCC minor works or PBA be used for these installations?


  49. Is glass fibre considered a mineral wool,


    I am constructing a wall between a garage and a residential room which needs to be 30 minutes rated. The deemed to comply table says a gypsum dry wall with the cavity filled with mineral wool will comply. My understanding is that glass wool (e.g. think pink) is a type of mineral wool, however will the building inspector see it this way? is there a section which defines what mineral wool is?


  50. Manny Misra says:

    Good day,

    I’d like some advice please. I live in a semi-detached house (built in the 40s) in Cape Town, and there is an alley between my house and the neighbor.
    The neighbor’s house has a door and window into this alley. The owner cannot find planning permission for these. I was told by an architect that my neighbor’s window and door would not have been approved due to the fire risk, whereby a fire at my neighbor’s house may more easily spread. I can’t find where this code / by law is specifically recorded.

    The alley actually falls on my erf, and my title deed does not stipulate it is a common use servitude.

    I’d appreciate any advice.

  51. Hi, I wanted to ask if it is okay to use a fire hose for personal use, the lady in the flat below me uses it to wash clothing and to water her plants, if not, what actions should be taken?

  52. Hi. I am interested in installing one of those concealed cast/steel iron fire place (eg Morso brand). What are the regulations in terms of the installation. Distance from boundary wall; adjacent neighbours building; height that the flute must protrude; etc?? And does it have to be reflected on building plans?? Thanks in advance

  53. Johann Lerm says:

    I found a fire hose reel cover at a residential complex which takes a fair amount of physical effort to remove the cover from the fire hose reel. Is there a Sans regulation for fire hose reel covers? Kindly reply to me on my email if possible.

    Kind regards

  54. If this is being followed still : Can anyone assist me on what is legally required from a fire protection for a small 5 bedroom lodge on a wildlife estate less than 400m2 of buildings

  55. Newby Charnley says:

    Hi There,

    We are currently installing a fire Hydrant system specified with 110 mmm HDPE pipe and class 16 Plasson fittings.
    What is the requirement to test the pressure of the system in terms of bar and how long must that pressure be held for?

  56. What are the similar requirements for fuel stations?

  57. Does a residential building (4 floors)
    12 flats required 2 enclosed fire escape staircases.
    The this a regulation requirement or an occupancy requirement

  58. Jerome Lakey says:

    Good day,

    We are a small Facilities maintenance subcontractor tasked with hard services at a few sites for our clients.Recently they are demanding us to paint hydrants, although we don’t have a SAQCC qualified technician.

    Are we within our scope if we continue with this practise. My understanding is none without a proper licence can do maintenance on fire fighting equipment.

  59. Good day
    A Company has bought two shipping containers, placed above one another to be used : Bottom as canteen, top as Change rooms. What regulations apply here? Staircase leading to top container.
    How will fire escape be addressed with only one access?
    Regulations in regards to stairs used?
    Thanks C

  60. John Rowan says:

    This is an amazing resource and thanks for making the information so public.
    As far as escape route diagrams are concerned, I am struggling to find information related to this. The OSHA doesn’t make specific reference to a diagram on the wall, and I can only find a by-law in the cape that mentions the display of escape route diagrams. Does this requirement fall perhaps under Fire or Building regulations? Does a hospital have a specific set of requirements?
    Any direction in this matter would be appreciated. Thanks

  61. SANS 10400-T 4.7.2 and related table 6 on page 27 refer. Your intended occupancy of A3 would entail a minimum structural fire resistance of 30 minutes for single storey construction.

  62. Hi
    I need to enlarge the door from my garage leading to my living area to cater for mobility devices. It would be beneficial if it can be a sliding door as a 1.5meter swing door is too cumbersome to operate.
    Is there somebody that can advise me on where to get the correct spec sliding door for a single story free standing house. I believe I need a 30min rating (at min) but can’t really find fire proof sliding doors other that big steel doors for commercial use.
    Is glass sliding doors perhaps good enough? Your advice will be appreciated..

  63. Hi, I am opening a 40 square meter small retail store in a residential strip centre. What are the Fire Regulation and prevention items I should ensure are in place to comply with Insurance and to ensure my staff member and business are protected?

  64. Hi
    What are the laws governing security gates in retirement complexes. In the event of a fire we cannot get to our residents because they have security gates on their front doors. This is high risk. Please advise.

  65. Good day,
    Can you please advise. If you do an emergency evacuation, do you take the first aid box and a portable fire extinguisher with you?

  66. Hi Jacques, The SANS10400 does not go into detail about visibility etc. Here is an extract from this section:

    4.31 Fire detection and alarm systems
4.31.1 Any building containing an occupancy classified as
    a) F1, with a floor area of more than 500 m2; or
b) H1, H2, E2 or E3, irrespective of height or floor area,
    shall be equipped with a fire detection system and alarm system that is designed, installed and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.
    NOTE 1 The term ‘‘fire detection system’’ is used here to describe any type of automatic sensor network and associated control and indicating equipment. Sensors may be sensitive to smoke, heat, gaseous combustion products or radiation. Normally the control and indicating equipment operates a fire alarm system and it may perform other signalling or control functions as well. Automatic sprinkler systems can also be used to operate a fire alarm system.
    NOTE 2 The factors which have to be considered when assessing what standard of fire alarm, automatic fire detection or voice alarm or communication system is to be provided will vary from one set of premises to another. Therefore, the appropriate standard will need to be considered on a case by case basis.
    4.31.2 All occupied areas within a building that exceeds 30 m in building height or contains any storey exceeding 5 000 m2 in floor area, other than a building contemplated in 4.31.1, shall be equipped with a category M and a category L fire detection system, and an alarm system designed, installed and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.
    4.31.3 Any occupancy classified as A1, A2, C1, C2 or F1 shall have a manually activated visual and audible alarm system that is designed, installed and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.

    You might want to contact the department that deals only with Fire.

  67. Hi..
    I work in a building where there are hidden smoke detectors ( above suspended ceiling). There are no markers or any indication where these “hidden” smoke detectors are or any indication below the ceiling that these detectors are functional. Is this correct or should there be some indication.

  68. Hi Hendrik, That is a question that only a building inspector can answer for you, please contact your local planning department.

  69. Hi Trevor, Yes by law it is.

  70. Hi Shaun, The management of your complex are obliged to have regular checks and services done on the equipment. This is part of the municipal fire department duties. You can contact them and report this and they will make management do the right thing.

  71. Jared please see my reply below 🙂

  72. Hi Jared, I is not simply a matter of how high above the FFL a hose reel must be. It all depends on the design of the system where the water pressure, size of pipes and distance from the mains is calculated. This is not covered in detail in SANS10400 but is referred to in SANS 2001-DP2 or SANS 2001-DP6. Here is a diagram that shows the scheme:
    Hose Reel Scheme

  73. Hi everyone is there a standard height adobe the floor level that a hose reel must be?

  74. Hi everyone.

    I’m to install a 30m fire hose reel and was wondering if there is a spacious high above the FFL that is must be?

  75. Hi there, I’d like to know in my complex all the fire hoses boxes don’t have keys, the glass has been broken and all missing, boxes are locked. Is this legal as no one knows who has the keys to open the fire hose Boxes? Also some have had last service in 2015. What right do we have about this issue?

  76. Hi Kgomotso, you need to ask the fire department this falls under their regulations.

  77. Hi what is a possible fines that one may get if caught misusing firefighting equipment

  78. Hi Monique, that is not a Building Regulations question but actually is under the fire and safety standards regulations. Contact your local planning department and they can help you.

  79. How many sprinklers to put in a 800 sqm store ?

  80. Hendrik Redelinghuys says:

    Will a cat ladder be viewed as a sufficient, second means of escape, from the top of a silo at a mill?

  81. David Miller says:

    Imho depending on the designed occupancy and whether there are flammable materials or special risks: in most cases you can use a fire escape as an entrance. The main criterion is the door must self-close to prevent influx of fresh air which would fan a fire and distribute smoke throughout the building.
    Check with local fire authority. I have done access control on many fire doors with keys and cards and tags. Biometrics are safest.
    David Miller.

  82. This is not specified in the NBR

  83. how many exit doors should an apartment on ground floor of a complex have?

  84. Approach it from the other way around. Determine what isn’t safe and ask the owner to rectify.

  85. This is not an NBR issue. Contact a fire officer… no idea where you will find one but someone here might know.

  86. I can’t find anything specifying the colour of fire doors in the NBR, however there is another SANS where you might find this information: SANS 1253, Fire-doors and fire-shutters. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy and so can’t check it for you. You can buy a copy from the SABS or go to one of their libraries and have a look there.

  87. I can’t answer that question because it is the insurer that will either pay out or refuse to if there is a problem down the line.

  88. I don’t think emergency exits should be used for general entrance/exit. However I can’t find a reference in the regs. Perhaps you should go to a SABC library and read SANS 10400-T, Fire Protection yourself. I presume this is where it would specify something of this nature.

  89. Start with the local authority.

  90. The words spark arrestor do not appear in Part T. However, if you are dealing with a thatched roof you will need to refer to SANS 62305-3: Protection against Lightning (2011)

  91. This isn’t covered in the NBR

  92. This is not covered by the NBR

  93. Mandisa mawasha says:

    Hi all

    Please assist , i need to know what the laws ays about the training of the fire marshalls in the workplace?


  94. Good day

    As I’m sure many people whom stay in a commercial property does not always look for marking nor test on extinguishers, in my complex were I stay they never test it nor does it comply to regulation as the fire hose had been cut shorter and not sealed whom can I contact to complain a bout this?

  95. Good Day

    I need some assistance with of fire equipment requirements in a HOA

  96. Bongani Momoza says:

    Which SANS or Act in South Africa that demands fire fighters to don SCBA?

  97. Chris Watson says:

    Good day.
    Is there anywhere in SANS 10400-T:2011 that it says that one must have a spark arrestor in a chimney or a flue?

    Regards Chris.

  98. Belinda Nissen says:

    Hi all,

    I have a client that’s on the first floor of a building, they want to know if they can use the emergency exit as an entrance and exit for their clients. Please note that this is the only door on the first floor. If they can, could you please supply relevant information regarding this matter.

    Your response would be highly appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Belinda Nissen

  99. Lucy McDermid says:

    In a complex is it permitted to use the fire hose to wash the driveway thank you for the info

  100. Hi…
    We are a small cluster complex who are looking at getting our external buildings and boundary wall insured. The insurer is calling for “Fire fighting equipment to be installed and maintained in terms of National Building regulations.”…. The external building houses our electronics for the CCTV and electric fence, would a fire extinguisher be sufficient to adhere to this clause?

  101. What colour are the fire doors suppose to be?

  102. Hi there

    Can a staff member be trained to evacuate someone stuck in a lift?

    And if so where can I get more information regarding the training.

  103. Dianne Morran says:

    Please advise. My daughter is a student renting an old house in Grahamstown. I very much doubt that this house meets the standards for fire safety. What recourse do we have to ensure that this house is made safe?

  104. I am not aware of anything in the NBR that relates to water storage tanks. Contact the SABS and see if they can locate any relevant SANS. Best if you go into one of their libraries to do this if you are able to.

  105. Part T: Fire Protection of the National Building Regulations. You can get it from the SABS

  106. Roelf Reyneke says:


    Could you please confirm if there are any law, regulation or statutory requirement for the testing of performance specification compliance of an installed fire system at industrial or commercial sites e. g. malls or plants.

    An example would be: A site has an installed fire fighting capacity (fire water pumps and reticulation circuit) of X liters per minute / hour or whatever performance metric refers to the deliverable flow in the rteticulation circuit. My question is therefore, are sites required, by law, to verify the performance of these installations and prove the deluge system will operate, as designed, through annual performance checks.

    The checks I am referring to would, for instance, verify the motor / engine (pump driver) condition is suitable for reliable on-demand operation and that the flow through the reticulation circuit is as per the design specification.

    I would be highly appreciative if you could refer me to the correct standard / regulation / law.

    Thank you in advance.


  107. I am trying to find out is their is a law stating water storage tanks have to be kept on the roof of buildings in relation to their height. Basically what are the requirements

  108. Aaron I honestly don’t know. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  109. Aaron Smith says:

    Thank you Penny for letting me know.
    What kind of lawyer handles this kind of case? Is there a specific kind that I need to consult? A claims lawyer? I would be so grateful for your response.

  110. The complex MUST comply with the regulations and if they haven’t then yes they can be taken to court.

  111. This is covered in the Building Regs but there may be additional SANS as well. I suggest you contact the SABS for advice and info – better still go to one of their offices.

  112. Felicia Pearce says:

    Good morning,
    I would like to know what the regulations are in terms of specifications of Fire Doors and insulation.
    If I could be given an email address for someone I could obtain this information from please?
    Thanking you

  113. Aaron Smith says:

    Hi there,
    Is it against the law as regulations if a residential complex of over 150 flats does not have any fire hoses or hydrants to put a fire out in one of the flats?
    Is it against the law to have no official fire fighting equipment within the public area of the residential complex?
    Can the building management or agents be taken to court?

  114. Hi Llewellyn, ALL BUILDINGS in South Africa have to adhere to the National Building Regulations. You have to put your objection into your local authority planning department.

  115. good day ,i hope someone can assist me regarding the following :do the National Building Regulations apply to the organs of the state (Government) of S.A I iI do have a situation whereby a post office building do not comply with part T

  116. we are considering installing a door between the kitchen and the garage
    is fire door required by law

  117. Temporary buildings are discussed in Part A of SANS 10400. However, I think details like distance between units will be found in the bylaws of the local authority – and might differ from area to area.

  118. If you mean what do you do if a window has burglar bars and there’s a fire, then you need to follow an accepted escape route. But these apply to commercial and business rather than residential buildings. In a house burglar bars are not mandatory. You need to consider your options in terms of security and risk of fire.

  119. Apologies for the delay in responding. The only thing I can point you towards is the fact that Part T of SANS 10400 that states you cannot use the water that forms part of a fire installation for anything other than fighting fires. Alert the local authority as it is they that must prosecute.

  120. This is not covered in the National Building Regulations. Further, SANS is not an Act. The various South African National Standards (SANS) either give guidelines in terms of how the law (e.g. The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act) is deemed to be satisfied, or to explain what the requirements of a particular SANS is.
    Why not contact your local fire department and ask them for advice. Alternatively ask the local authority – it may well be a bylaw.

  121. Rob the National Building Regulations are the same for all parts of the country. If there is anything specific to Cape Town this would be contained in the City’s bylaws – and you would contact them for details. SANS 1253, Fire-doors and fire-shutters looks as if it might deal with type – and/or materials and quality. All fire doors must conform to this standard. Click the link and go to preview. Just for the record, the definitions of fire door and fire shutter are:
    “automatic or self-closing door or shutter assembly especially constructed to prevent the passage of fire for a specific length of time”
    Have you looked at the SANS 10400 documentation, viz. Part T: Fire Protection?
    I realize your building is not residential but if it was, “any door between such garage and any such room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and such doorway shall require a threshold of not less than 10 mm; and.” I mention this because it seems to me that the most important factor is fire resistance rather than type of door as such. It also states that “Any solid timber door constructed with double rebated joints, that have a thickness of not less than 40 mm, shall be deemed to comply with the requirement of 4.9.2 for a rating of 30 min.”
    Also this part of SANS 10400 gives guidelines in terms of escape routes, exit doors etc.

  122. Where the population of any room is not more than 25 persons, the clear width of any exit door shall be not less than 750 mm. Where two or more exit doors are required, they shall be positioned as far apart as is practicable, but not closer than 5 m from each other. I don’t think it is thickness as such that is important, but rather the need for fire resistant materials to be used. If you want to know more, I suggest you go to an SABS library and have a look at Part T of SANS 10400 – or buy a copy of it.

  123. Muhammad there is nothing in Part T of SANS 10400 (viz Fire Protection) that specifies the colour of fire hose reels, however there is reference to other SANS that may make this specification. For your information:
    “4.34 Hose reels
    4.34.2 Any hose reel installed in such building shall comply with the requirements in SANS 543, shall be installed in accordance with SANS 10105-1 and SANS 10400-W, and shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements in SANS 1475-2.”
    I suggest you visit your nearest SABS library and check these additional standards.

  124. Frank, these references are all to parts of Part T of SANS 10400. You can get a copy of it from the SABS – either from one of their offices (from the library) or online. It costs R517,56.

  125. Where Can I get to understand what the following requirements are; Is there a manual that tells me what this is?
    Hose Reels T 4.34
    Provision of escape routes T4.16
    Stairways and other changes of level- escape routes T4.23
    change in level to comply to T4.23.8

  126. Muhammad Dawjee says:

    Do visible fire hose reels have to be painted red? Where does it stipulate so?

  127. What is the width of a final fire escape door? I heard that it has been increased to 1500mm???
    What is the thickness of such a door? I heard it is 25mm???
    And would such a door with its width at 1500mm become a rebated double door???

  128. Rob Rademeyer says:


    We are busy renovating the middle floor of a 3-floor building where we rent the middle & top floors for business pursuits i.e. we are only occupied from 08h00 to 18h00 Monday to Friday.

    The architect has told us that we require a fire door to be fitted to the [glass & aluminium] entrance way on the middle floor. The entrance way is in a stairwell that services all three floors.

    There is a fully functioning fire escape at the back of each floor i.e. escape doors, & stairs to evacuation area.

    There is NO fire door on the ground or top floors.

    Can you please advise whether or not the architect is correct, or where one can review the regulations on this issue [for Cape Town]. This must be something other than the SANS 10400 documention which only deals with the TYPE of fire door to be fitted, but not WHEN such a fire door should be fitted.

    Thanks in advance

  129. Hi, hope the forum can assist. I am trying to find legislation where it specifically says that companies need to do fire training/Evac training. This does not exist in the Ohs act and was directed to the sans act. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  130. Johan Germishuizen says:

    What should the distance be between tempory housing erected by local municipalities and under wich section of sans will i find it.

  131. When it comes to fire regulations the local municipality building inspectors must inspect the site and make their recommendations because each and every site is unique and there cannot be one rule for all.

  132. This is specific to each installation. The SANS10400 Part-W says: “so many isolating valves shall be provided to control the flow of water to the installation, and to such points within the installation, as the local authority may require” So it is up to each site to be inspected by the local authority and make their reccomendations. There are specialist fire installation companies that can advise you about your specific site.

  133. This is a tricky one! 😀 I would suggest contacting one of the major laminate glass manufacturers as they will have their Agrement certificates to hand and will be able to tell you right away. Here are two: Glass South Africa and PFG

  134. Hi All. I have a client that wants to build a new garage attached to his house that is going to house an Astin Martin. He wants to have glazing between the house and the garage so that it is visible from the inside – are there applicable Fire Regulations here? I know that a half hour rating is needed on the door but have no experience with glazing between. Is this even allowed? Thanks.

  135. Thanks for the extra advice Marius, much appreciated.

  136. The same on this Antonie, all contributions are welcome. Ntobe Fire Control contact: 013 754 6674

  137. Thanks for giving advice on this Antonie, as it is out of our field all contributions are welcome. Ntobe Fire Control contact: 013 754 6674

  138. Thanks for the heads-up on this Antonie. I see you are with Ntobe Fire Control and customers can contact you on 013 754 6674

  139. Antoine Jaume says:

    Sprinkler Pumps need to be tested on a weekly basis.
    Pumps must be serviced every year
    Sprinkler control valves must be serviced minimum every three years

  140. Antoine Jaume says:

    Fire Sprinkler Control Valve must be serviced by an ASIB approved person every three years,
    The Fire Sprinkler Pump needs to be serviced every year.

    SANS 10287

  141. Antoine Jaume says:

    The cheapest would be a normal DCP powder Extinguisher. You can use them for Class A – (Ash), Class B – (Liquid Fires) and Class C – Electrical fires.

    The problem is the white powder – the clean-up afterwards could be tedious.

    A CO2 extinguisher can also be used – but with caution.

    Best Regards

  142. The SANS 10400 deals with the construction, quantities and placement of fire equipment and not with the class of extinguisher. You will need to see SANS 1910. As far as I am aware the two types that are used for electrical fires are CO2 (carbon dioxide) and Dry Chemical Powder portable extinguishers. Contact one of the experts:

  143. Ray Martin says:

    What extinguishers are required in the case of an electric fire? Urgent response please.

  144. The SANS 10400-Part T only deals with the building, escape routes, number of extinguishers per sq m etc etc. The maintenance of sprinklers is part of a different SANS that we do not deal with on this site but it could be SANS 10287 that covers maintenance by a competent person.

  145. paul morris says:

    Can you please confirm what section in the NBR Fire Protection Systems – service date for sprinkler systems?

    Need urgent reply.

    Thank You.

  146. The fire regulations are very strict and if that is what the fire marshall says must happen then yes the sprinkler needs to work. You can read more here: fire-protection BTW if the sprinkler is not working then you will not be covered by your insurance if you do have a fire.

  147. Hi
    I would like to find out something. WE have moved to a new business premises abut 7 years ago. We use the warehouse for the storage of diapers and pads. WE have an existing sprinkler system bt it is not operational. According to the fire Marshall that gave us an inspection report he says that we need to have the sprinklers in working order. The building is more than 200m square
    Is it correct as per the fire marshall and could you give me some reference points please

  148. Hi,

    Could you please tell me what the requirements for fire suppression and protection is for commercial kitchens.

  149. chris evert says:

    Can any of you tell me at a pyrotechnical plant (factory) what the requirement is in distance between fire hydrants.

  150. Hi Guys
    What is the fire escape regulation for burglar bars at windows in a residential building?

  151. Anton Pienaar says:

    Hi I would just like to find out where to look for regulations concerning the tampering of fire equipment and The prosecution of offenders

  152. Rudi,

    Contact ASIB Automatic sprinkler installation bureau or any fire servicing company registered with ASIB.

  153. Hi Cristo, The standard building lines for dwelling houses are 3,5m from street boundaries and 3,0m from common boundaries and going up to 6,0m depending on the size of the property. By-laws do not refer to roof type and building lines. Thatch roofs need to be treated with fire retardant.

  154. Hi Guys,

    What is the standard building line for a thatched roof, if there is any?

  155. Marius Faure says:


    In accordance with ASIB regulations is Sprinkler system required to be tested/service:

    a) Sprinkler Control Valve – every 3 years
    b) Pump House – yearly

    Please contact me on email for assistance regarding any services on sprinkler or conventional fire eequipment

  156. Rudi there is no reference to pump houses in the building regulations. It stands to reason that all fire protection equipment should be tested regularly to ensure it is in working order. I have no idea who would do this though.

  157. Firstly Rudolf, the regulations require a fire hose (hose reel) for every 500 sq m of every floor.
    4.37 Portable fire extinguishers
    4.37.1 A building that contains an occupancy given in table 11 shall, for the relevant occupancy and floor area, be provided with portable fire extinguishers in unobstructed positions approved by the local authority.”
    Table 11 —— Provision of portable fire extinguishers
    Class of occupancy = H3 (which is domestic residence – occupancy consisting of two or more dwelling units on a single site)
    Number of portable fire extinguishers requireda per m2 = 1/400
    Minimum charge: water = 9 l, foam = 9 l, carbon dioxide = 5 kg, dry chemical powder = 4.5 kg
    Also, “mobile fire extinguisher may replace half the required portable fire extinguishers”

  158. No Dean it doesn’t sound as if you do. Most “firewalls” are between the garage and house because of the danger of petrol or diesel – both of which are flammable.
    In Part T (Fire Protection) of SANS 10400, under 4.9 Partition walls and partitions, it states that all partition walls “a) shall have a nominal fire resistance of not less than 30 min and be non-combustible, or
    b) where combustible materials are present, shall not contribute a fire load of more than 5 kg/m2 of floor area in a division”
    “4.9.2 In any building classified as H3 or H4 [NB – H3 = domestic residence; H4 = dwelling house a) below, would be what we call a “firewall”, but this word – firewall – doesn’t appear in the regulations. There are tables in the regulations that specify the need for ALL walls to be fire resistant to certain specifications. An occupancy certificate would not have been granted for the house if it had not been built according to these regulations.]
    a) any separating element (wall and floor) between any garage that is not large enough to be classified as J4 and any habitable room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and the wall shall extend to the underside of the roof;
    b) any door between such garage and any such room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and such doorway shall require a threshold of not less than 10 mm; and.
    c) no combustible roof components shall penetrate the separating element dividing the space between the garage and the habitable room.”

  159. I want to make sure about 1 thging please. I am in ablock of flats, 7 floors. On each floor is a fire hose.Is it required by law that there are extinguisers for electrical fire as well on each floor ? If well , which clause states that. I am in a bit of a dispute here , and I want to quote it to the relevant parties.

  160. Hi Guys

    I would just like to know what the law is regarding a pump house for our sprinkler system. Does it need to be tested on a regular basis, and who needs to test it?

  161. Good afternoon. I have a tenant who says I need a firewall withing my house which goes to the ceiling. Could you enlighten me as to what eaxctly I should have as we bought the place as it stands. it is a three bed, two bath place with kitchen and lounge.


  162. joyce price says:

    Thank you for your prompt answer.

  163. Dave, according to Barend Esterhuizen who is a fire protection expert: “The National Building Regulations (1981) require (in addition to fire hydrants, hose reels and fire extinguishers etc) fire detection in any building with a floor area of more than 5 000 m² (Category M and a category L system).
    “The Automatic sprinkler systems can also be used to operate the fire alarm system (Incorporated into the alarm system)
    “A rational design may be submitted to the local authority for approval.”

  164. Barend Esterhuizen was good enough to answer your query. He says:
    “It is illegal to use or tamper with fire any protection equipment except as may be necessary during emergencies, maintenance, drills or prescribed testing. A person that fails to comply is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or even imprisonment as prescribed in the Fire Brigade Services Act.”
    So the short answer is yes it is illegal!

  165. Joyce Price says:

    Is it illegal to use firehoses as a means for water supply for other than a fire? e.g. Building construction/ repairs or cleaning?

  166. Hi Penny

    I have a Warehouse that is 9000m2 single storey, with Hydrants, fire hose reels, sprinklers and hand held fire extinguishers, all approved by ASIB, do I still need to install category M and a category L fire detection system as per SANS 10400-T:2011 Edition 3 ?

    The building was built + 20 years ago and the usage hasn’t changed since then.

  167. Nicky you need to check the Occupational Health and Safety Act, not the National Building Regulations. The NBR governs how the store should be built and what fire protection measures should be taken. If there are flammable products being stored then the storeroom will be categorized either high risk, moderate risk, or low risk storage (viz. J1, J2 or J3), and Part T of SANS 10400, Fire protection has very specific requirements in terms of safety distances, location and size allowed within any building. There are also specific requirements that relate to the provision of portable fire extinguishers (which are a must in these occupancies) – and when sprinkler systems are required.

  168. Dewald this is not covered in the NBR, but there are some comments that you will find if you read through them that mention similar matters.

  169. Does the law require you to have trained fire fighting teams (in a factory environment)?

  170. Hi

    I would like to know what the maximum stacking height for flammable products, like paint would be in a retail hardware store without a sprinkler system.


  171. I have no way of knowing Gideon. I suggest you contact the water department of your local authority.

  172. Gideon van Der Merwe says:

    Insurers say that the water pressure is inadequate in Mtubatuba
    What size tanks and pumps are required per square metre for a commercial building?

  173. Olwen Erasmus says:

    Many, many thanks. This does help a great deal.

  174. Barend Esterhuizen who has considerable experience in this field says that he is not aware of any regulations that require a fire marshal to be certified
    “The Regulations do require certain buildings to have an emergency evacuation plan in place. For this plan to be effective the company should have a sufficient number of competent people in place that can perform the evacuation duties. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all the staff that is identified in the emergency plan receive more comprehensive training.
    Note: There must be a positive decision by top management that emergencies is a vital part of their loss control programme and it must receive continuous supervision and periodic re-assessment to ensure that it is in line with the company’s development plan.”
    I hope this helps.

  175. Olwen Erasmus says:

    Please could you advise if it is essential for Fire Marshalls within a 3-storey building are required to be certified to do this function?

  176. Eric, this response is from Barend Esterhuizen who is a specialist in the field:
    “SANS 10400 require enclosed malls bigger than 500m² in floor area to be provided with fire detection and alarm system that is installed throughout the centre
    If the restaurant is inside the mall then it should be protected by the same fire detection system. If completely separated with fire walls from the mall then you can install your own system
    You indicate that you want to connect the additional sensors to your existing alarm (I presume that this is a burglar alarm)
    I recommend that you speak to the mall management to establish if they have space available on the existing fire alarm system panel to add additional devices
    Please note that the fire detection system must be installed by a registered installer in accordance with the SANS 10139 code”

  177. Kevan, According to Barend Esterhuizen who is a specialist in this field, fire ladders are not acceptable for use as a fire escape route in South Africa.

  178. Jan from the little information you give it sounds as though it does – presuming it is a regular residential dwelling.

  179. Kevan McNamara says:

    Can you please assist or advise me on the fire escape regulations for fire ladders.

  180. Jan van Eeden says:

    Double storey woodframe house. Entrance: second storey. Folding doors on front second storey. No further stairs. Does it comply with fire regulations?

  181. Eric Nkomo says:

    Fire sensors

    We are a restaurant in a mall and we would like to install fire sensors, can we link them to our existing arlam or the control room for the mall, what does the law require in this regard ?


  182. Barend Esterhuizen says:

    The National Building Regulations require fire extinguishers to be wall mounted at the hose reels at a rate of 1 x 4.5 kg DCP per 400 m² or one per floor

  183. Barend Esterhuizen says:

    Hallo Clyde

    The National Building Regulations require any rational design (i.e. rational designs, Sprinkler installations, fire installations where pumps and tanks are required etc) only to be signoff by a Pr Eng (ECSA registered)

    When designing a fire water system with only hydrants and hose reels that comply with the requirements of the relevant part of SANS 10400 (Part W) Competed person can signoff

  184. Clyde I am going to ask Barend to respond.

  185. Jayson the way I read it, you need the portable extinguishers as well. I may be wrong.
    4.34 Hose reels – is one section – and I’ve given you the option there … which obviously is not relevant since you have hoses.
    4.37 Portable fire extinguishers
    4.37.1 A building that contains an occupancy given in table 11 shall, for the relevant occupancy and floor area, be provided with portable fire extinguishers in unobstructed positions approved by the local authority.
    [I gave you the requirements of Table 11 for H3. The only building in the H occupancy range that don’t feature on this table are “dwelling houses” (H4) – which are regular houses that might include a garage and outbuildings.]
    4.37.2 A local authority may specify the type of portable fire extinguisher to be provided and may require that a number of fire extinguishers shall be installed in excess of the number indicated in table 11 if, in its opinion, any particular hazards or risks warrant such increase.
    4.37.3 Portable fire extinguishers installed in a building shall comply with the requirements in SANS 1910, and shall be installed, maintained and serviced by competent persons in accordance with SANS 1475-1 and SANS 10105-1.
    4.37.4 Such portable fire extinguishers shall bear a certification mark from an accredited certification body.
    4.38 Mobile fire extinguishers
    4.38.1 A fire extinguisher that exceeds the capacities prescribed in SANS 1910 or SANS 1151, as relevant, and that is fitted with wheels for transportation, shall be deemed to be a mobile fire extinguisher. Transportable, rechargeable fire extinguishers shall comply with the requirements of SANS 11601.
    4.38.2 A mobile fire extinguisher may replace half the required portable fire extinguishers as given in table 11, provided that ……. ”
    NB Table 11:

  186. Hi,

    Thanks for the reply. I think our building is classfied as H3. We currently have a fire hose on each floor. Is the requirement for fire extinguisher per 400 sq. m additional?


  187. Barend Esterhuizen says:

    Yes, the owner or the person in charge may formulate the emergency evacuation plan detailing the appropriate action to be taken by the staff or the occupants in the event of a fire or other threatening danger.
    The plan mentioned above must be revised if an aspect thereof is no longer applicable or if the building for which the plan was designed has changed.
    The emergency evacuation plan must be tested in its entirety at a maximum of six-monthly intervals or when the plan has been revised and a record of the testing must be kept in a register.
    The register must contain the following information:—
    (a) the date and time of the test;
    (b) the number of participants;
    (d) the outcome of the test and any corrective actions required, and
    (e) the name and signature of the person supervising the test.
    (6) The register, together with the emergency evacuation plan, must be available on the premises for inspection by the controlling authority.
    The controlling authority may be approached to assist or evaluate the formulation and implementation of the emergency evacuation plan and may officially communicate any recommendations or remedial actions to improve or rectify faults in the plan.
    Consultants or your local disaster management / Fire department should be able to assist you
    Please forward me the details. I will send you an example that can be adopted for your premises
    Barend Esterhuizen

  188. The response I have received:
    4.2.4 (b) refers to public place and includes public roads (See definitions of public place in SANS 10400)
    Public place
    Square, park, recreation ground or open space which
    a) is vested in the local authority, or
    b) the public has the right to use, or
    c) is shown on a general plan of a township filed in a deeds registry or a Surveyor-General’s office
    and has been provided or reserved for the use of the public or the owners of erven in such
    Does that help at all?

  189. Darryl, I’d hate to hazard a guess. I have though asked another person from the industry if he has any thoughts. Let’s wait and see what he comes up with.

  190. If it’s a complex then the fire protection issues including escape routes should surely be on the plans? If not you’ll need to get someone to track the escape routes retrospectively to ensure that you don’t close one off. If you have approved plans then I presume the owner could go ahead. I assume that as long as he can get out of the property in the event of fire – and no-one else needs to use this route there shouldn’t be any problems.

  191. Niel the National Building Regulations do not cover old buildings, only the construction of new ones – and gives specifications for the way the floors are constructed and basements built to make sure that they are fireproof.
    Any basement storey which exceeds 500 m2 in floor area should have an automatic sprinkler and other fixed extinguishing systems. That could apply.
    But to do retro fireproofing you’ll need to consult with a specialist.

  192. Jayson, SANS 10400, Part T Fire Protection states that hose reels must “be installed any building of two or more storeys in height or in any single-storey building of more than 250 m2 in floor area, at a rate of one hose reel for every 500 m2 or part thereof of floor area in any storey, provided that such hose reels shall not be required in any building classified as H4 or in any dwelling unit in an occupancy classified as H3 where each unit is provided with independent access to ground level.”
    H3 = domestic residence
    H4 = dwelling house
    Your townhouses would, I think be classified H3, viz “Occupancy consisting of two or more dwelling units on a single site”.
    This section goes on to say that if “no water supply is available, two 9 kg or equivalent fire extinguishers that comply with the requirements of 4.37 shall be provided in place of each required hose reel.”
    It also states that a building classified H3 must have 1 portable fire extinguisher for every 400 square metres. Secs for “minimum charge” = water / foam 9 litres, carbon dioxide 5 kg, dry chemical powder 4.5 kg. These extinguishers must be placed “in unobstructed positions approved by the local authority.”
    AND “Any owner of any building who fails to ––
    (a) provide sufficient fire extinguishers to satisfy the requirements of subregulation T1(1)(e), or who installs fire extinguishers that do not comply with the relevant South African national standard, or who fails to ensure that such fire extinguishers are installed, maintained and serviced in accordance with SANS 10105; or
    (b) maintain any other provision made to satisfy the requirements of subregulation T1(1)(e), shall be guilty of an offense.”
    I hope that clarifies the situation.

  193. Hi,

    What are the requirements for fire extinguishers in complexes or townhouses? I live in a complex with four floors and over 20 blocks. There are no fire extinguishers in the blocks. Do we need these?


  194. Hi
    What are the requirements for fireproofing of old buildings with wooden ground floors with a basement underneath?

  195. Darryl Duffield says:

    Hi Penny

    A query regarding (4.2) Safety Distances and its application to street facing boundaries.

    The code doesn’t seem to clearly exclude a street facing boundary from the limitation to glazing/openings and the set back of the external walls as per Table 2. I have spoken to a number of professionals who agree that (4.2) relates to the prevention of fire from one property to another (joining, adjacent, abutting etc.) and not a street. (4.2.4) (b) makes mention that Table 2 does not apply to Public Places, Servitudes etc. although it is clear whether a street can be defined as either of these.

    Would you having any comments?

  196. Hi, Please can anyone assist me. We are managing agents for a complex. one of the owners would like to take out a pedestrian gate and further down he would like to build a wall. to close his garden off. We are now not sure if this gate is for a fire escape route. I have been contacting the fire department and Municipality and we cannot get help. We have plans showing the gate and the wall that the owner would like to put up. Anyone???

  197. Subject:
    Emereency evacuation plan

    do i need an approved fire emergency evacuation plan thats approved or can we draw one up ourselves at work.We are in a big factory with about 250 per shift we are in manufacturing industry and have a
    building of about 30×30 metres

  198. Hi, Penny

    when designing a fire water system, including hose reels, hydrants and sprinkler systems, is sign-off by a Pr Eng acceptable, or is there additional sign-off required form other authorities (eg FPASA accreditation)? Thanks and regards

  199. Matt I’m sorry but I have no knowledge of this at all. If you would like to write an article on the subject, I’d be happy to post it – and then you would be more likely to get comment from other architects. I will email you my direct email address.

  200. Hi Penny/Janek,

    Are you aware of any amendments currently being processed with Part T SANS 10400.

    We’ve previously been in discussion some time ago with the NRCS with regards to some problems with Part T, and at the time they informed us that they were aware of some issues, and were looking into it. I have just emailed Rudolf Opperman from the NRCS to follow up on this, however thought I’d also inquire with you, to get another perspective.

    Some issues faced with our current building application relate to some major design changes, resulting from the current Part T regs referring to fire escapes, distances from windows, distances from alternate fire escapes etc. It appears that simple, practical designs of multi-storey apartment blocks are no longer possible.

    I’d love to hear any comments from other architects facing similar issues? Thanks…

  201. All fire doors must comply with SANS 1253, Fire-doors and fire-shutters.

  202. What are the related standards for requirements of Fire doors in buildings ??

  203. Casper there is no definition in the National Building Regulations; there might be something in the local bylaws. But this section refers to a number of different applications – “In any industrial park, permanent amusement park or exhibition ground, shopping centre or group housing, cluster housing, or townhouse complex there shall be installed ground or raised hydrants so placed that no point in such amusement park or exhibition ground or shopping centre or in any building in such housing complex shall be at a distance greater than 90 m from any hydrant.” – Clearly they want fire hydrants wherever there are groups of buildings. So it doesn’t matter whether there are a small number of shops, or hundreds, the clause will apply. The question will then be how many hydrants are needed.

  204. 4.35 Hydrants
    4.35.4 states that ‘shopping centers’ shall have hydrants installed – is there a definition or area limitation applicable to ‘shopping centers’?

  205. Hi John, It’s not for us here to judge who is right or wrong. There are National Regulations and the regional by-laws that can vary from area to area. They will know their own local regulations. Having said that your existing prefab might have been ok if you wanted to use it for storing non-flammable materials, but you are wanting to change the “Class of occupancy” for people to occupy the building and this has a whole different set of by-laws. The fire engineer is also right as any building has to have “safety distances” depending on windows, doors and type of material the walls are made from. The best is to ask them both for clarity.

  206. Confused about fire regulations concerning prefab buildings. We wanted to use a second hand existing prefab as a church Sunday School classroom, but the fire inspector refused to give clearence, saying that the panels needed to have a 30 minute fire resistance whereas the existing structure panels only has 15 minutes. When I spoke to a fire engineer, he stated it was not a problem as long there was sufficient clearance to prevent fire from going to another building – he suggested 3m. I’m confused since the fire inspector and the fire engineer don’t seem to be on the same page. Who is right?

  207. Hi Gerrit, this is what I can find:
    SANS 10400 Part T
    4.52.1 No liquid fuel dispensing pump or storage tank shall be situated less than 3,5 m from any
    lateral boundary or street boundary of any site except where there is a boundary wall and such wall a) has a fire resistance of 120 min,
    b) is not less than 1,8 m in height, and
    c) extends not less than 2 m on either side of such pump.
    Hope this helps.

  208. Hi, Jacques as an attorney I am sure you are more qualified to answer the question yourself, but I will give a reply from my perspective. Firstly you do not mention the class of occupancy of the building as this is a factor when it comes to fire regulations. We focus mainly on the SANS 10400 on this website, and Part-T Fire Protection has to be read with a number of other SANS pieces of legislation and can get complicated. Then there is The Occupational Health and Safety Act, No. 85 of 1993 which you are familiar with. When it comes to public safety I do not think any council will be lenient and would say that any new legislation would be retrospective when it applies to older buildings and fire safety. It is in the legislation that all premises be assessed on a “case by case” basis.

  209. Jacques Maree says:

    Hi. I would like to know if it is compulsory for a building erected in the 1950’s to have fire equipment installed. If so, please clarify in terms of which legislation/regulations. I hope you can help.

  210. GERRIT KRIEL says:

    I need advice. My property is at back of Fuel-station. My property has Servitude Right of Way up to Main street along one side. This Servitude is the only way up to Main street, is also Emergency route, Escape route, Fire lane.
    23000 Liter Fuel Puts in front of house 14,77 meter from house.
    Fuel puts 7,30 meter and Fuel pumps 11,33 meter from Flats, that’s inline with Servitude past fuel puts and fuel pumps.
    Fuel puts 2,41 meter and Fuel pumps 6,95 meter from from Servitude.

    Must there be a Firewall in between Fuel-station and house?
    What is the safety distances that must be followed regarding SANS?

    Must there be a Firewall that protect Servitude that’s also Emergency route,Escape route and Fire lane?
    What is the safety distances that must be followed regarding SANS?
    No Fuel-tanks (underground) allowed on Emergency routes,Escape route or Fire lane?

    What is the safety distances for vehicle parking lots / car port’s, away from Fuel pumps and from Fuel puts?
    What is the safety distances for vehicle parking space away from Fuel pumps and from Fuel puts?

    I like your comments on all questions, look forward for these ones. Thanks

  211. Hi Daniel, SANS 10400 PartT – Fire Protection has quite specific and extensive regulations when it comes to stairways and fire escapes. From the way doors open to ventilation and windows and the changes of levels along the escape route. These have to be read in conjunction with SANS 10400 Part M – Stairways. Consult your local building inspector if you need assistance, I have always found them quite helpful.

  212. Is there any specific requirements or specifications when it comes to installing a fire escape staircase? Thank you!

  213. James I am not entirely sure. Here are some references from Part T:
    “no suspended floor shall be permitted to be of combustible material unless such floor has ground directly below it or is not more than 50 mm above a non-combustible slab.” I presume shutter ply would need to be treated to make it fire resistant, but again I am not certain. The SABS would be able to tell you.
    “The use of a combustible material as a ceiling, a fitted floor covering or a wall finish could make a considerable contribution to the fire load in the building. Since it is neither reasonable nor practical to preclude the use of such materials, it should be taken into account both that they are combustible and that, in burning, they might help to spread a fire and might make a significant contribution to the quantity of heat, smoke and noxious fumes generated.” There is a table with various classifications.
    Part J: Floors of SANS 10400 cross references SANS 929 Plywood and composite board which I presume specifies the standard. It also covers how suspended floors must be fixed into walls.
    It is probably worth mentioning that the section on “Suspended timber floors” gives specifications on the timber that must be used – “Composite and plywood board Boards shall comply with the requirements of SANS 929.” Metal is not mentioned.

    * H3 = domestic residence; H4 = dwelling house

  214. Hi Tracy, This is a Fire Regulations question and is not Building Regulations related. My thumb-suck answer would be, so long as the key and the box are easily accessable in an emergency then it does not matter which side it is on. Check with your local fire department for further advice.

  215. I have a suspended floor manufactured from light steel with a 21mm shutterply on top as floor with no underfloor ceiling/suspended ceiling in a normal residential duplex unit. Is this allowed in terms of SANS 10400 : Part T : Fire Protection or do I have to cover the shutterply on top and bottom to comply? Is it possible to refer me to any Regulations, codes etc?

  216. It seems to me Toni that the lease states it is the tenant’s responsibility.

  217. Maria it depends how the plans were configured, and how the property is zoned. Your local authority should be able to answer the question.

  218. Maria Laura says:

    Hi, I would like to know if a 110 mm thick clay brock partition wall between two flats is fire compliant. the flats are not separate ownership (there is no sectional title but the whole building is one propertry) , they are just rooms.

  219. A warehouse is leased out to a tenant and on the lease it says

    “The Tenant shall ensure that there is sufficient Fire Hydrants and / or Fire Hose Reels on the Premises, and shall provide the Landlord upon request of its service history. The Tenant shall ensure that these Fire Hydrants and / or Fire Hose Reels are at all times in a good working order and access to these is not hindered at any time, where and if applicable”

    In a case like this, who is responsible if landlord made tenant responsible for fire hose will the landlord still be responsible or is it the responsibility of the tenant?

  220. Tracy Elser says:

    I wonder if you can help me I need to know what are the laws to placing a a locked key fire cabnet box in next to the fire hydrant. Is it neccessary to place it on the right or left is there a laws that enforces it to be placed on the left hand side?

  221. Elmarie, treated for what? The only information I have on thatch roofs relates to lightning protection, and waterproofing systems. There may though be additional requirements that the body corporate can enforce. Building regulations issues are enforced by the local authority; complex issues are enforceable by the body corporate.

  222. Elmarie Hall says:

    Hi there, thank you for the great information.

    In a sectional title complex, is there any law requiring an owner to produce a certificate indicating that a thatched lapa had been treated? And if so, how can it be enforced?

    Thank you for you assistance.

    Kind regards

  223. Erez I am pretty sure you can use a motion sensor. And as far as I know lights should not be on 24/7. There have recently been several discussions on talk radio (specifically on John Maytham’s afternoon talk show on 567) about the fact that many companies do not turn their lights out after hours, and how the City of Cape Town should be setting an example. These are not building regulations issues; why not give JM a call or email him.

  224. Here are some pointers from Part T of SANS 10400 (Fire protection) that should help you:
    4.16 Provision of escape routes
    One or more escape routes shall be provided in every building.
    Where the travel distance, measured to the nearest escape door, is not more than 45 m, subject to the provisions of 4.16.6, 4.16.7, such escape route shall comply with the following requirements:”
    “c) In a building of two or three storeys in height, such escape route shall not be required to include any emergency route, provided that a building
    1) of two storeys in height where the population of the upper storey is more than 25 persons, or 2) of three storeys in height;
    shall be provided with not less than two such escape routes.”

    “4.16.3 Where the travel distance measured to the nearest escape door is more than 45 m, not less than two escape routes shall be provided and an emergency route shall form part of each such escape route.”
    4.16.6 (which is referred to above) “The exit door from any room shall lead directly into a feeder route or a common path of travel” … with certain specifications including “the total common path of travel shall not exceed 30 m.”
    4.16.7 (also referred to above) “Any dead-end corridor shall not exceed 10 m in length.”

    I hope this helps.

  225. What does the SA Building Regulations Act say about how many fire exits are required per floor if the building consists of 3 floors? Ground floor exit is main entrance, and alternative route through warehouse. First floor is onto the warehouse roof and then right accross to the fire escape on side of building. Second floor is also onto the warehouse roof and down same fire escape.

  226. Hi Dale,
    Yes there is under PART-T of the NBR. The regulations are not that simple, it depends on quite a few factors such as the occupancy (what the building is used for) the open areas the materials that the structure is built from (fire resistance) etc etc. This is from “4.3 Different occupancies in a building” and says “4.34.1 Hose reels for the purposes of fire fighting shall be installed in any building of two or more storeys in height or in any single-storey building of more than 250 m2 in floor area, at a rate of one hose reel for every 500 m2 or part thereof of floor area in any storey, provided that such hose reels shall not be required in any building classified as H4 or in any dwelling unit in an occupancy classified as H3 where each unit is provided with independent access to ground level.”
    H3 & H4 are domestic dwelling and residence.
    “4.38 Mobile fire extinguishers” For portable extinguishers, water, foam, carbon dioxide and dry chemical,depending on the class of occupancy, the average is 1 for every 200sqm. For class H3 it is 1 for 400sqm. Hope this answers.

  227. Hi Guys,

    I understand tat there needs to be a fire extinguisher for every 400m squared, is there a by law for this by any chance?

    Your help would be highly appreciated.


  228. Thanks Penny, will do.

  229. Melanie, In addition to my reply above, accessibility to storerooms – the way boxes are stacked and kept – floor area etc are all covered in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. These regs are available free on the Internet. Stacking is covered under the General Safety Regulations.
    I would be more concerned with whether the boxes form a) a hazard or b) prevent people being able to use the emergency exit route. If the latter is true then they are contravening both the NBR and the OHS Regs.
    In terms of the NBR – Part T, Fire protection is more concerned with doors not being locked. It also states “an access door or any other door that is a component of an emergency route shall be a hinged door which shall open in the direction of exit from the building.” I can’t find anything that says it must be self-closing or kept closed.
    Another thought, perhaps they are keeping the door open simply because they consider it to be a fire risk.
    This kind of thing is not covered in the NBR’s part of public safety, but there are probably local bylaws that do cover this. Maybe contact the local authority – or your local fire department.

  230. WOW Penny thanks, I was merely asking, as I was told by the owners that the door has to be open, which I found strange, therefore was wondering what the building regulation rule is. As I might close it leave the store and they open it again, so it was merely a question, but thanks will look for another site that could be helpful

  231. Melanie – listen here – this is a web site about building regulations. Look after your child and if you think the store is at fault… do the right thing. You could investigate the health and safety regulations if you are really serious, but we can’t help you. Or you could even go and close the door yourself. Get proactive.

  232. Listen I wanted to know, in a babies/toddler store, is it the correct practice to have an fire exit door stand open. What if a kid ran in there, bearing in mind it’s concrete flooring and filled with boxes, containing stock. Is that not dangerous.
    Should that door not be closed and just be easily accesible with a self-closing door, and proper latching devices?

  233. Leon the building regulations only cover fire installations. There must be other SANS that relate to the manufacture of sprinkler systems, but I don’t know what these are, or even if they would be relevant. I doubt very much that there would be a standard that regulates maintenance. You could phone the SABS and ask. If you don’t have an instruction manual of some kind, or don’t have access to the manufacturer or installer, then you will need to find someone who specializes in sprinkler systems to help you.

  234. Good day Team

    What a wonderful website

    Can you please assist me?

    How regular should one service a springler system and what regulation stipulates this. (SANS?)

    Thanks in advance


  235. Lebo this is not an issue that is governed by the National Building Regulations. I suggest you complain to your local authority – somebody senior in charge – and to the fire department.

  236. Hi, can someone please advise. I stay in a townhouse complex where behind my unit there’s a stream of water which normally has grass that is not maintained well as well as trees growing in the stream. For the past week and a half, the maintenance people have been burning the grass wth the trees catching some fire and they use a normal hosepipe to stop the fire. We have been experiencing the smoke in the units for more than a week now and it is starting to make us all sick in the house.
    i am in Johannesburg and would like to know what the law is with regards to starting fires in residential areas.
    Please help!!!

  237. erez shaked says:

    I am looking to reduce the power [electricity used] in the stairwell of a 5 storey commercial building. the stairs now have 2x58W flourescent tubes on each landing.
    The owner was told that the lights need to be on 24/7, is this correct ?
    Is there a minimum Lighting/ lux level required. Can i put a ‘motion sensor on the light so that it will come on whenever say, landing doors, are opened.


  238. Hi Peter,

    If you are in the Gauteng area. I would be happy to meet with you and compile a survey of your building in order to determine whether it requires a sprinkler system or not. Sprinkler systems are generally installed during construction of the building along with a Fire Rational Design.


    Clyde Becker
    076 012 4712

  239. Hi Stan,
    You do not say where about in SA you are. But to help your cause I am giving you an extract from a Cape Town media release. This by-law must be pretty similar across the whole of SA.
    NO. 554/ 2009
    02 SEPTEMBER 2009

    All buildings, with the exception of single residential buildings on private even, are required by law to have working fire protection equipment which includes fire extinguishers, hose reels, hydrants and fire alarms.
    The type and floor area of the building determines the number of fire protection equipment required, for example in high risk industrial buildings, one fire extinguisher for every one hundred square metres of floor space is required.
    The 11257 By-law Relating to Community Fire Safety of the City of Cape Town states that fire protection equipment must be provided and installed on premises as required by the controlling authority -in this case the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service – and in accordance with the National Building Regulations.
    The maintenance of such fire protection equipment is regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the SA National Standards Code (SANS 1475) and the City’s 11257 By-law. They make it mandatory to maintain the fire protection equipment and service it annually, or after use.
    Servicing only by qualified persons
    The servicing can only be done by a person certified by the South African Qualifications Certification Committee (SAQCC).
    The service technician must, upon request, be able to produce his/her valid SAQCC registration card and a valid SANS 1475 permit. Their registration can also be queried at SAQCC, or their Administration Office on tell 011 455 3157.
    The owner or person in charge of the premises may not allow fire protection equipment to be filled, recharged, reconditioned, modified, repaired, inspected or tested by a person not in possession of a permit or certified by the Committee.
    A further legal requirement is that all fire protection equipment must be maintained in good working order and that the maintenance records must be kept in a safe place.”
    BTW. I have put the paragraph in bold that refers to who might be allowed to work on or maintain your house reel.

  240. Hi Charles,
    I am copying directly from the National Building Regulations Part T Fire Protection section 4.34.1 that deals with Hose Reels:
    “4.34.1 Hose reels for the purposes of fire fighting shall be installed in any building of two or more storeys in height or in any single-storey building of more than 250 m2 in floor area, at a rate of one hose reel for every 500 m2 or part thereof of floor area in any storey, provided that such hose reels shall not be required in any building classified as H4 or in any dwelling unit in an occupancy classified as H3 where each unit is provided with independent access to ground level.” Note. Occupancy class H3 & H4 are “Domestic residence” (Duplexes etc) & “Dwelling house” respectively.
    Part 4.35 deals with Hydrants and I copy the first few paragraphs here:
    “4.35.1 Hydrants in positions subject to direction by the local authority shall be provided in
    a) any building that exceeds 12 m in height, and
    b) any building (excluding buildings classified as H4) of any height with a total floor area that exceeds 1 000 m2.
    4.35.2 Any hydrant required in terms of 4.35.1 shall be provided at a rate of not fewer than one per 1 000 m2 or part thereof of total floor area and not fewer than one per storey located in the firemen’’s lift lobby in such building or occupancy, or emergency stairway where no firemen’’s lift is provided, as the case might be, and shall be distributed in such a manner that the fire hose referred to in 4.35.3 can reach to every part of the relevant area.
    4.35.3 Any hydrant shall, where required by the local authority, be provided with an appropriate fire hose of 24 m or 30 m in length, together with couplings and a 16 mm internal diameter nozzle, all of which shall comply with the requirements of SANS 1128-2. Such hose and nozzle shall, when positioned in the open air or in any factory building, be suitably housed in a cupboard.”

    The first sentence says “subject to direction by the local authority” so it is ultimately up to them.
    You can lay your own pipes but a registered plumber must check and sign off the job to the satisfaction of the local authority.

  241. Hi Peter,
    National Building Regulations Part T deals with Fire Protection and under the Requirements there is a NOTE 2) Regulation T1(2) empowers the local authority to require that a rational design be submitted should this be deemed necessary. The only one that will be able to tell you is the local authority in your area. All the council contact numbers are here: municipality-contact

  242. good morning,

    I have waited for 4 weeks for a fire hose to be put back.
    We had an incident where contractors worked in the complex and removed
    the fire hose reels completely from the walls as they painted the
    reels white and then realized the mistake they made. They then took it
    off the walls and painted them red again and reinstalled them but it
    is painting contractors and not a certified fire system installers.

    Will you please send me the rules and regulations on how it works that
    only a certified company is allowed to work on fire systems and needs
    to be certified after work has been done as we are not sure if these
    hoses are still working and need to be checked but we just need the
    regulations to forward it on to the Body Corporate as this is a huge

    I will really appreciate if you can assist me with this matter urgent.

  243. Charles Nuyten says:

    When is a hose reel required in a Sectional Title environment with simplex duplex and self standing units? We have conflicting opinions from our local Fire Dept! One says a hose reel is required on buildings 1 per 250 sq m and another says only when the entrances are shared. What is the situation when in a duplex situation, there is an entrance upstairs as well as downstairs?
    Then on fire hydrants; is it correct on the basis of 1 per 90 meter radius? Do we need an authorised plumber to lay 75mm polycarb pipes and to connect to the hydrants or if we have an effective maintenance team, can we do this job ourselves? Your comments will be appreciated.

  244. Good day,

    How do I know if my building needs a sprinkler system or not ? How is that determined ?


  245. Hi Ansie,
    As a “rule of thumb” most solid timber doors have a fire rating of 30 minutes (hollow core have a zero rating). This is what is required by the regulations. As each municipality in SA has their own by-laws this might be different in other areas. The Cape seems to be quite OK with timber unless special circumstances require a higher rating.

  246. Ansie de Beer says:

    Good Morning
    Can you please advice what is the regulation regarding a fire door and the FRAME in the Western Cape?
    Can the frame be wood?
    I know in Gauteng it had to be Steel.

    Thanks, just concerned.

  247. Hi Werner,
    Thanks for the compliment.
    I have had a look at the clause and to my understanding it is that any building that has an opening (window) in the wall above the roof of, for example a double garage, needs to have a fire resistance for that occupancy within that distance away from the roof. This does not relate to your normal fire resistance wall between a garage and a residential category 1 house that should be up to standard anyway. If you are quoting from the Standard then there is a drawing just below the clause: “Figure 2 —— Roof fire resistance” that shows how it looks.

  248. Werner Senekal says:

    SANS 10400 T – states that a a roof joining a diffrent devision in a building needs to be fireproof for 5meters away for that joining section. Should one have a double garage with say a 2.4meter scullery next to the garage ( all single storey) joining the double storey dwelling part, would one still need to be 5 meters away even if there is a divisioning wall (Fire-wall) between the garage and scullery? Meaning the scullery should be 5 meter wide to accommodate the distance or is the divisioning wall of 2.4m meters away sufficient? Thanks for your help..the website is great!

  249. Hi Sandy,
    The general Building Regulations even though they do deal with fire in Part W: “Fire Installation” there is nothing specific on distance from roof trusses. This might be covered in one of the many other regulations dealing with fire protection in particular circumstances. Surely the company that sold you (installed) the fireplace know their business and should have advised you correctly. As a precaution I would advise cladding with a heat protective material.

  250. Kevin I think that the term they use now is division wall: viz. “internal wall that separates one division from another division in any building and that has a fire resistance of not less than that specified in this part of SANS 10400 (see 4.6)”
    This is from SANS 10400-T: 2011.
    This standard does cover garages from houses (H3 = domestic residence; H4 = dwelling house; J4 = parking garage for +10 vehicles)
    4.9 Partition walls and partitions
    4.9.2 In any building classified as H3 or H4
    a) any separating element (wall and floor) between any garage that is not large enough to be classified as J4 and any habitable room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and the wall shall extend to the underside of the roof;
    b) any door between such garage and any such room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and such doorway shall require a threshold of not less than 10 mm; and.
    c) no combustible roof components shall penetrate the separating element dividing the space between the garage and the habitable room.

  251. Hi, I am installing an open fireplace flue in a double storey lodge and i am in need of the reg`s for clearance distances from roof trusses etc. ( flue material is 3CR12), and must it be clad with fire restant material?
    Thank you.

  252. kevin owen says:

    Good day. I am looking for the section in the regulations which covers firewalls. That is, the wall in a domestic dwelling which is between the dwelling and the garage(s). Far as I know, this must be a double
    brick wall for fire protection purposes. Will you please assist.
    Thank you

  253. Hi Gregg,
    The SANS 10400-T:2011 Fire Protection is quite long and involved. The section that relates to your query “4.16 Provision of Escape Routes” does say in section 4.19.6 “The last component of any emergency route shall discharge at ground level directly into a street or public place or into an open-air space leading to a street or public place.” Many of the Part-T regulations are subject to a number of other clauses within the regulation and far too long and involved to insert here. I would suggest that you contact your local authority and hear what they advise. We have a full list of municipalities here: municipality-contact

  254. Hi Leandra,
    It is difficult to give you a solution without having seen the site first hand but I will make a couple of suggestions that I hope will help.
    The hydrant should have been positioned “subject to direction by the local authority” – i.e. the local authority would normally specify where the hydrant should be positioned. The regulations say “In any …….. or group housing, cluster housing, or townhouse complex there shall be installed ground or raised hydrants so placed that no point in such ……. building in such housing complex shall be at a distance greater than 90 m from any hydrant.”
    My suggestion is that you contact the local authority and ask what steps to take when building your wall, and you might ask why it encroached on to your property. The final solution would be to build the wall with a setback recess to allow the hydrant to be accessible. A word of caution when digging the foundations is to be careful not to damage the pipes as these could be expensive to repair.

  255. Greg Scott says:

    Dear Penny,

    I am part of a body corporate that is looking to alter a fire escape. The fire escape currently exits out onto the road (which has become a security concern – hence the move). The proposal is to move it to face into the parking lot of the building (180 degrees behind).

    My gut feel is that this is a bad idea for 2 reasons: 1) prevents access by fire fighters and 2) prevents occupants from properly escaping the building site in case of a fire.

    Is there anything in the rule book that I need to consider further before we make a decision?

    Thanks for your comments in advance!

  256. Hi,

    I live in a complex. we are on the ground floor & are allowed (if we get permission from the body corporate) to put up a wall in the front of our unit.

    My only concern is that we have a fire hydrant that would then be enclosed by this wall should we build it as per those that have already been built.

    What are the regulations regarding building a wall around an already existing fire hydrant?
    Would we be able to do this? would i have to build the wall in such a manner as to exclude it from the proposed garden? what are the chances that it could be moved?


  257. Thanks Penny

  258. John there is nothing in Part T, Fire protection that refers to water sprinkler systems in relation to thatched roofs. Insurance companies may refuse to cover you if you don’t have a water sprinkler system in place. Your local authority may also have some additional requirements in terms of their by-laws.

  259. Hi Penny

    Is the installation of a water sprinkler system on a thatched roof a building regulation?


  260. Arthur we are not architects or town planners. Sorry. And I have to say that “Juliet” balconies are not listed in the National Building Regulations. Your “competent person” should be able to advise.

  261. We are busy planning a three story development and submitted plans. They were returned to us for necessary amendments and the safety and security department noted ‘ 1m between openings (sliding doors) vertically to be provided’. The building has sliding doors with Juliet balconies above each other and I would assume they are referring to this.

  262. Definitely not in terms of the National Building Regulations Moses, and I don’t think there is any other regulation that makes it “a requirement” in any context.
    Part O, Lighting and ventilation states: “Where in any building the requirements for lighting contained in Regulation O1 of the National Building Regulations (see annex A) shall be complied with by the installation of a system of artificial lighting, such lighting shall be in accordance with the relevant recommendations contained in SANS 10114-1.” This Standard is titled, Interior lighting Part 1: Artificial lighting of interiors. It covers requirements for good lighting and also basic guidelines for, and recommendations on, the design of artificial lighting installations for general interior locations. It is primarily aimed at new installations in interior workplaces, but also applies in general to other interior locations.
    So this is not a standard that could FORCE people to use LED down lighters.
    SANS 10400-XA, Energy usage in buildings, doesn’t cover artificial lighting, except to give guidelines, in table form, of the hours per day/week that artificial lighting must be available in a range of different types of buildings. Minimal to say the least.
    SANS 204: Energy efficiency in buildings says in the section on Lighting and power
    “Depending upon occupancy and activity, the minimum lighting levels shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of SANS 10114-1 and SANS 10400-O.”
    “Designers are encouraged to use daylighting in their designs to reduce the energy used.”
    So it seems to be trying to change a mindset.
    In addition there are several SA Standards that specifically cover luminaries and LED lighting, but these don’t say that they must be used, rather how they must be manufactured, used etc:
    SANS 475, Luminaires for interior lighting, streetlighting and floodlighting – Performance requirements
    SANS 60598-1, Luminaires – Part 1: General requirements and tests
    SANS 62031, LED modules for general lighting – Safety specifications
    Eskom has its own technical performance specification for LED downlighters, formulated in 2011. Basically this spec is a guideline for LED “lamps” that will replace those currently in use. It isn’t a regulation. However it seems from the spec that Eskom recognizes the fact that LED is the way to go in terms of energy saving for lighting, and the document states that “Eskom is working with National and International bodies to develop standards for energy efficient lighting”.
    Ironically, though, on the Eskom website there is this statement: “There are low-energy LED (bulbs) bulbs available for down lighting applications. However, these can be a little pricey, and opting for lower-cost varieties usually means compromising on colour, quality and distribution (spread) of light.”
    Hopefully by 2020 it will be a requirement.

  263. Hi

    fire rated luminiares (LED Downlighters) are they a requirement in south africa

  264. Tabs, I would contact your local authority planning department and lay a complaint based on the fire protection regulations (see safety distance table on this page). While a brick braai will probably be considered minor building work (which means that plans are not required), people are obliged to notify the council of their intention to build. There is also the issue of nuisance and smoke pollution, though I am not sure how you would approach this. Ask you council for advise. If the local authority can’t or won’t help, contact your ward councillor for help.

  265. Hi Penny and Rudolf

    I live in a complex that is free hold. Between houses there is a shared boundary wall, houses are about 2 meters away from the boundary walls.
    My neighbour has just built a brick braai against the boundary wall without prior consent. The smoke from the braai will travel into our house and directly onto our patio where kids play. I doubt council approval has been obtained and there is no fire protection of this braai, what rights do I have? And what should I do?


  266. Hi Penny

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, in a perfect world both sides would have at least 2,4 meters between their property walls and the lateral boundary. As you know, that is not always the case, especially with the older houses.

    My house is 100 years old and protected by the Heritage Committee. It has only one meter between the wall and the lateral boundary. The law accepts that those houses are legal and have to stay put until they are destroyed by fire or demolished, after that, when re-building takes place, I shall also have to comply with the new building rules and would not be allowed to put the same structure in the same place. Until then and in the meantime, fire safety regulations HAVE to be satisfied as my home is a legal structure.

    Existing legal structures takes preference over new structures in the eyes of the law.

    Can of worms indeed! The fire safety regulations, based on empirical data that had been collected over years of trial and error, HAVE to be implemented. The fire safety regulations still stand and haven’t been relaxed. Only the building regulations have been relaxed.

    It’s a case of misinterpreting the existing strict fire regulations by only applying one half of it….

    In a court of law, your right to safety trumps your right to build next to the wall or 1,5 meters from the wall.

  267. Matt I think you need to refer to SANS 1253 Fire-doors and fire-shutters. SANS 10400-T: 2011 has a table (7 – page 30) that gives the “class” of fire doors/shutters. Looking at it, I think this would, in terms of type of wall, be “occupancy separation”, in which case if the minimum fire resistance of the wall is 60 min, a class A fire door is required; and if the wall is 120 min, a class B fire door may be used. It doesn’t give a classification for 30 min except for protected corridor and protected stairs, in which case the fire door should be class E; and for “openings in all walls” = class F. I presume that these classifications will be found in SANS 1253.
    10400-T has a section on partition walls and partitions and this states that in dwelling houses and domestic residences, any separating elements (walls and floors) “between any garage that is not large enough to be classified as J4 [which is a parking garage] and any habitable room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and the wall shall extend to the underside of the roof”. And “any door between such garage and any such room shall have a fire resistance of not less than 30 min and such doorway shall require a threshold of not less than 10 mm” It also states that any “solid timber door constructed with double rebated joints, that have a thickness of not less than 40 mm, shall be deemed to comply with the requirement” (above) for a rating of 30 min.
    This link might be helpful as it has specs of a wooden door and wooden frame that comply with 1253. Swartland is a highly reputable company too. And here’s a test report from the SABS.
    Hope that helps.

  268. Jan – I get your point, but you are only concerned with your property and not the neighbours, so surely you don’t double the distance if it is house to common boundary? You BOTH ensure that the specified distance is allowed. And there are other factors that need to be taken into account that may lead to a greater distance being required.
    But you’ve just opened a can of worms because local authorities do allow people to build ON their boundaries and this seems that they are allowing a contravention of the fire regulations! What do you think? In fact the City of Cape Town’s new zoning by-laws – which came into effect in March this year – allow people to build on the boundary without neighbour’s consent. The smaller the property, the closer to the boundary they can build.

  269. Mark, the previous version of this part – in relation to H2 – stated that if it had a height of more than 8 m then it should be “equipped with a fire detection system and an emergency evacuation system complying with SABS 0139” (which is now SANS 10139). So it seems that it will depend on the height of the building. The new legislation came into effect in 2008, though Part T of SANS 10400 was only published in March 2011. Since the Standard states “the appropriate standard will need to be considered on a case by case basis”, I think you need to query this with someone who is considered a “competent person” in terms of fire protection. Perhaps the local authority can advise.

  270. Hi Penny

    The definition of “safety distance” clearly states that when they use that term in SANS 10400-T:2011, that safety distance always means wall-to-boundary i.e. in the case of a real boundary or, in the case of a notional (denkbeeldige) boundary.

    The values reflected in table 2 have to be doubled in both cases, otherwise roofs on either side of a real boundary (real boundaries between neighbouring properties do not reach past the roof overhangs, they are much lower and do not provide a fire break) would have a 1 meter – 1,2 meter gap (or even less) between roof overhangs, which is not nearly enough to satisfy the fire regulations.

    Roof overhangs are sitting ducks when a fire breaks out and are also always the point of entry for fire….long before anything else catches fire.

    If the fire regulations are applied correctly, (doubled) the distance between roof overhangs would increase and the chance of fire spreading from property to property would be reduced.

    I’m not saying you cannot build 1 meter from your boundary, for instance, a neighbour’s house might be 7 meters away. In such a case the fire safety regulations would clearly be met, even if you build 1 meter from the boundary wall.

    Safety trumps everything else. “Nobody wants to see their house or business premises go up in flames.”

  271. Hi Penny

    Thank you , just for clarity does this apply to new buildings only or existing building as well , these hostels were built 1996 – 2010.
    Would stand alone smoke detectors suffice for installation in these hostels.

  272. Mark, SANS 10400-T, Fire Protection, states that
    “Any building containing an occupancy classified as
    a) F1, with a floor area of more than 500 m2; or
    b) H1, H2, E2 or E3, irrespective of height or floor area,
    shall be equipped with a fire detection system and alarm system that is designed, installed and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.
    NOTE 1 The term ‘‘fire detection system’’ is used here to describe any type of automatic sensor network and associated control and indicating equipment. Sensors may be sensitive to smoke, heat, gaseous combustion products or radiation. Normally the control and indicating equipment operates a fire alarm system and it may perform other signalling or control functions as well. Automatic sprinkler systems can also be used to operate a fire alarm system.
    NOTE 2 The factors which have to be considered when assessing what standard of fire alarm, automatic fire detection or voice alarm or communication system is to be provided will vary from one set of premises to another. Therefore, the appropriate standard will need to be considered on a case by case basis.”
    F1 occupancy = a large shop
    H1 = a hotel
    H2 = dormitory “Occupancy where groups of people are accommodated in one room.”
    E2 = hospitals
    E3 = Other institutions
    So the short answer is YES!

  273. Jan I presume you are referring to Table 2 that gives minimum safety distances in metres?
    A couple of comments.
    I agree with your interpretation/understanding of the definition. As I understand it, it is then up to the person drawing the plans to ensure that the distance is doubled if there are two buildings on the same site. And this distance will depend a) on the fire load; and b) on the occupancy class of the building.
    I assume that the “other” tables you have seen have been developed by people who believe it makes it easier to interpret than having to do a simple times-two mathematical sum. The table in SANS 10400-T: 2011 is the table that applies. And if there are two buildings on one site, the distance must be doubled.

  274. Hi,

    I’m battling to find specific details regarding fire doors in the SANS 10400. This is regarding a Fire Door that is positioned internally in a fire wall separating a garage and living area of a small house.

    My client did the alteration some years ago, however the door is currently a standard hollow core non-fire rated door. I’ve advised them that in this application they require a 30min fire rated door. So I need some clarity on the spec of the door and frame?In other words, can the existing timber frame suffice, and can a new solid timber fire-rated door leaf now be installed with in this frame in order to comply?

    We’re in the process of submitting plans to the local council, and I’d prefer this to be corrected prior to the building inspector’s visit.

    Thanks for any help…

  275. Hi Penny, maybe Rudolf Opperman can weigh in here as well. I see he is from the the NRCS.

  276. We have hostels at our schools do they require fire detection equipment by law? ( Smoke detectors )

  277. Hi Penny
    The definition of “safety distance” ( see definitions in the beginning of SANS 10400-T:2011) states that whenever they use the term safety distance, then safety distance means “distance provided BETWEEN ANY BUILDING AND THE LATERAL BOUNDARY of the site or, ….etc”.

    That means that the safety values given in the table above are the minimum BOUNDARY DISTANCE between a house and a boundary wall and not the MINIMUM DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO BUILDINGS/HOUSES . In other words, those values given in the table above have to double and not divided between two adjacent dwellings.

    I have come across other tables and graphs of fire safety that showed the safety distances in more detail (values doubled-up as well )than the current table of SANS 10400-T: 2011, which is reflecting only one half of the overall distance.
    What is your opinion, please?

  278. Part T – fire protection – states that where there are two or more buildings on the same site:
    “where any external wall of such building or division is of type N or contains windows or other openings, any circle of radius equal to the safety distance given in table 2 for the occupancy concerned, drawn from any point on any window or opening in the external wall of one such building or division, shall not intersect any circle of radius equal to the safety distance given in table 2 for the occupancy concerned in the external wall of such other building or division, drawn from any point in any window or opening in the external wall of such other building or division; provided that the intersection of such circles shall be permitted where
    1) the included angle between such walls is more than 135°, or
    2) the included angle between such walls is more than 90° and the distance between the nearest points on such windows or openings is more than 2 m.”
    NB A type N wall is a combustible wall with full fire resistance.
    Table 2 shows the safety distances. For a residential dwelling (classified as low fire load), if the area of the openings “in elevation” are less than 5 sq m then the distance is 1 m. The distance then increases according to the area of the openings. So if they are 10 sq m the distance increases to 2,4 m; if they equal 210 sq m, the distance increases to 6,3 m. Nothing less than 1 m is allowed.
    I hope this helps.

  279. No they don’t have to be enclosed at all. And the SANS (Part V) say nothing about needing an engineer. A built-in brick fireplace and/or brick chimney that is part of the structure would need to be on the plans, and so the “competent person” responsible for the build as a whole would be in charge. And if a brick chimney was added at a later stage you would need plans. I have added content to the page on Space Heating – this might be helpful to you.

  280. Thank Rudolf, that would be great.

  281. Rudolf Opperman says:

    Hi my name is Rudolf Opperman and is employed by the NRCS as Technical advisor for Architecture and the National Building Regulations. I find your web page very informative and would like to engage you on some of the finer technical information at my disposal. I believe that it should become part of your information. This I would like to provide free of charge as it should be available for all within the building industry.
    Please provide me with your contact details.

  282. Shawn the retrospective stuff isn’t clear. I don’t think we have the manpower in SA to even consider ensuring that all old buildings comply with the “new” regulations. I have had a look at the section of Fire Protection (Part T) but it isn’t clear to me. I think you need to talk to someone in your local authority and/or the fire department.

  283. Hi Jan and Penny

    What is the regulations regarding firewalls in the roof of the buidling? In old buildings that do not have these firewalls as the legislation was not in place then, what does the law say now?

  284. Caroline Reid says:

    I would like to know whether all flues have to be enclosed/encased in a brick chimney? Many fireplaces like the pot bellied ones, and variations of the Queen Ann are installed with just a flue through the ceiling and roof cavity. Is this illegal? Does one have to employ an engineer to sign off the installation of a fireplace?

  285. Hi Penny,

    Thanks for the information, very helpful indeed.

  286. Jan, I have added to this page. But in addition, here is some more information.
    Part T of SANS 10400 (2011) has guidelines for “safety distances” based on the classification of the external walls of the building (which is rather technical) – and for a building classified H4 (a dwelling house) it should be resistant to fire for 30 minutes.
    Here are a few extracts that might help:
    eg “Type F, which has a fire resistance of less than that given in table 1, is constructed with non-combustible external cladding and, when tested in accordance with SANS 10177-2, complies with the requirements for stability and integrity for a period of not less than that given in table 1 for the occupancy in question.” [NOTE: Table 1 is where the 30 minutes comes from.]
    “4.2.3 Where any external wall of a building is of type F and such wall does not contain any windows or other openings, the safety distance required shall be not less than the relevant values given in table 2, provided that” [NOTE: I have added Table 2 to the page – safety distances].
    “b) for any building classified as H4, where the area of elevation facing any boundary is not more than 7,5 m2, such safety distance may be reduced to 0,5 m.”
    “4.2.4 Where any external wall of any building is of type N, or where any building is provided with external walls containing windows or other openings, such building shall, subject to the requirements of 4.2.8, be so sited that a circle of radius equal to the safety distances given in table 2 for the window area and occupancy concerned, drawn from any point on any such window or other opening in such exterior wall, shall not intersect any lateral boundary of the site;”
    “4.10 Protection of openings
    4.10.1 Where an opening in any external wall of any division is less than 1 m measured horizontally or vertically from an opening in another division, a 500 mm projection from such wall shall be constructed between such openings. Such projection shall have a fire resistance of not less than half that required for the element separating the divisions concerned, provided that any other equivalent means of fire protection which ensures that the flame travel path from one opening to another is not less than 1 m shall be permitted.”
    Your local authority will be able to advise how close to the boundary wall your neighbour may build. This does vary. For instance the City of Cape Town has just changed its zoning by-laws and now people in residential areas are permitted to build right ON the boundary without getting neighbors consent. But there are restrictions, including not being allowed to have windows right on the boundary. If you happen to be in the CT area, let me know the size of your plot and I can give you more information about this. Otherwise go directly to the local council in your area.

  287. Hi there, can someone please tell me what the minimum spatial separation regarding fire safety between two buildings (houses) on adjacent erfs must be? My house was built in 1918 and there is only a space of one meter beween my house and the boundary wall.
    My neighbour now wants to build 1.5 meter on the other side of the boundary.

    My house has windows just over 9.7 square meters facing the boundary wall. ( boundary wall not a fire break, as windows are above the boundary wall) Windows are “openings” as you know, so how much must my neighbour allow from wall to wall (not boundary wall, but building to building) or eave to eave to satisfy the minimum safety rules regarding fire safety? Thanks.

    PS Neigbour also wants to put windows on his side facing the boundary.

  288. Hi Divan,
    You are not allowed to put the cylinder under the stove or hob, it can be put into a cupboard within 1 metre either left or right. With domestic regulations you can have any size, I guess the size of your cupboard will determine the size of the cylinder. If you want to keep it outside then it must be at least 1 metre away from a door or a window and 2 metres away from a drain or a gulley. Many people enclose the cylinder to prevent theft and to stop children tampering with them.

  289. Johan Alberts says:

    I own a townhouse in a two storey building. What must the dimensions be of the fire break wall at the windows between me and my neighbour?

  290. Divan Muller says:

    Can anyone please tell me what the regulations are for using gas
    cylinders in a kitchen for gas stove cooking? What is the maximum size
    that can be used in a kitchen, what is the minimum distance the bottle
    should be away from the stove (Can it be placed directly under the
    stove or should it be in a cupboard next to the stove.) And any other
    important info.

  291. It depends on the slope of the ground. It probably also depends on the type of building and whether you need facilities for persons with disabilities. There is no quick, easy answer I’m afraid.

  292. Hi, Please advise on the following:

    Escape route, whats the distance from the building before one can design the first step

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