How to Get Site Planning Approved in South Africa

To get a site plan approved in South Africa, you can visit the relevant division of your local municipality, such as the Land Use Planning Division of the Housing and Land Directorate and follow their application procedures.

The first step is to request a zoning certificate for the area in which you want to build or develop and to obtain a diagram of the property, called the Surveyor General (SG) diagram.

The process can be complex. Therefore, it’s best to approach town planning consultants to obtain the necessary documents, perform the site planning and have the plans approved. They’re already familiar with the procedures, which documents to request, how to make submissions, where to get more information and what to do when the application is rejected.

Get an understanding of the terminology

It pays to be informed. However, you most probably don’t have the time or inclination to become an expert in town planning, land surveying, public administration regulations, architecture and engineering just to develop a particular piece of property.

The good news is that expert town planning consultants work alongside the mentioned professionals, and they make sure you understand the relevant terminology. They also take the hard work from your hands, deal with the complexities, communicate with the relevant parties, and keep you up to speed. Time and cost savings, avoidance of critical application mistakes and the convenience of having someone knowledgeable in the field handle the process, are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap

What should the site plan include?

This is one of the first questions town planners receive from clients. Fortunately, they make sure that the documents include the relevant information, such as an indication of the location, size and relation of the following:

• Fire hydrants
• Property lines
• Setbacks
• Easements
• Current structures on the property
• Proposed structures on the property
• Current and proposed landscaped conditions on the property
• Parking
• Access to the property
• Proximity to intersections
• Driveway location
• Street layout surrounding the property
• Service lines on the property
• Utility structures
• Fencing
• Construction limits
• Lay down areas for construction supplies
• Distance between existing buildings
• Distance between proposed buildings, also in relation to existing ones
• Distance of buildings from property boundaries
• Location of ground signs on the surrounding streets
• Drainage facilities

Before you develop a particular parcel of land

The first step entails doing a site analysis. The property is assessed by professionals, such as town planning consultants, land surveyors, environmental consultants, and engineers in terms of:

• Topography of the property, which includes the vegetation, soil, slope, orientation, etc.
• Current structures on the property
• Roads surrounding the parcel of land
• Access to the property
• Traffic in the surrounds
• Zoning of the area and the parcel of land
• Exact location of the land
• Laws and regulations, building codes and land use management policies relevant to the property
• Public services and infrastructure, such as water, drainage, electricity lines, and communication lines etc.

The information is used to determine the suitability of the property for its intended development or use. The results of the analysis are also used in drawing up the plans to be submitted for approval. The relevant officials will assess the submitted plans to determine whether they’re in line with the zoning for the site. The plans will also be assessed by the Building Inspectorate to determine if the proposed buildings meet the requirements for access, energy usage, building codes, access for disabled people, the foundation requirements and fire safety, etc.

You might also have to submit the plans and relevant documents to other departments, such as environmental, traffic and health, depending on the proposed development. These must also be done within a specific time frame.

Documents required for site planing

For the development of a particular piece of property, you will need the site planning documents, in addition to the building plans, completed SANS 10400 forms, Title Deed, SG Diagram, stormwater management plan, zoning certificate, and geotechnical report as relevant, among others.

Final thoughts

Although you can approach the various divisions of the municipality on your own to submit the application and relevant documents, it is a time-consuming process. In addition, you might have to submit documents to several departments. Apart from such, knowing what must be present on the diagrams, which documents to submit, how long each decision-making stage takes, and more is also essential. The town planners already know who to approach, what to do, what must be included, and how to avoid delays.

Help with site planning

Reach out to the Practice Group’s town planning consultants for help in understanding the process, documents required, site analysis, and site planning applications.