Architect Councils & Approval

The Authorities of the Industry

The ‘design’ phase of any project can be incredibly exciting and ambitious, but realistically, the realisation of a building all boils down to whether or not council approves its design. Council approval is an integral part of every project, so every document required for the submission needs to be stringently considered before being proposed. There are several prerequisites for council submissions. Thus, Architects are to inform clients properly of how the processes work.

‘Council’ can often seems like an abstract obstacle to clients — one that will eventually have to be overcome. In reality, ‘council’ refers to the branch of your local municipality that deals with all issues pertaining to the built environment. Every major town and city has their own municipality, which will always have a head-office that is accessible to everyone. Approving a building plan will almost always require a few visits to your municipality’s head office. Before you begin the approval process, ensure you have all the prerequisite approvals. By this point, your property should be fully registered. From here, you can begin completing all the other requirements necessary for the approval of your project.

cape town civic centre

Building Plan Application Form for Architects

In addition to the finalised plan of your project, you’ll need to attain a ‘Building Plan Application Form’. You can request this form from your local municipality. Various documentation should accompany the Building Plan Application Form. This documentation is dependent on the type of project you are submitting. You’ll need to attach your ID and your municipal rates account to the form, and you’ll need to pay the fee prescribed by the municipality.

If your project requires the demolition of any existing structures, you’ll have to acquire a ‘Demolition Permit Application Form’. You can request this form from your local municipality, or alternatively, download it from your municipality’s website. If a project requires demolition, you will need to provide a ‘waste management plan’ along with your application. Bear in mind, it is mandatory to inform your Building Inspector about any demolition ten days before its intended date.

Other Certificates Required

You will require an ‘Engineers’ Appointment Form and Certificate’. If you have appointed an engineer to undertake any design or structural work, you’ll have to complete several forms which form part of SANS 10400-A. 

Another basic council requirement is the submission of the ‘Notice of Intention to Commence Building Work’. You’ll need to provide your Building Inspector with this notice at least two working days before his inspection.

An essential prerequisite for the completion of any project is the ‘Request for Certificate of Occupancy. After all construction work is complete, you may apply for this certificate. The municipality will provide you with one within fourteen days of your request. This approval is on the condition that the end result conforms to the original plans. As well as, that all other relevant certificates have been submitted. These certificates include the ‘Engineer’s Completion Certificate’, the ‘Drainage Certificate’ and the ‘Electrical Compliance Certificate’. 


concept council certification

Additional Information

If you’d like to allow for separate ownership of part of your property, you’ll have to apply for a ‘Sectional Title Consent Form’. You can complete this at your local municipality.

If your project is a temporary structure, such as a public installation or a stage at a music festival, you are required to have a ‘Special Events and Temporary Structures Application Form’. In addition, you’ll also need the respective forms that pertain to any work undertaken by the engineer.  Depending on the type of event, you may need to submit supporting documentation.

Lastly, for any projects which include swimming areas — you’ll need to attain a ‘Swimming Pool Indemnity Form’. Complete this form to ensure eligibility for installing a swimming pool on your property. For swimming pool approval, you will need to ensure it has controlled access. You can submit the Swimming Pool Indemnity Form along with the general application for a swimming pool to your local municipality. 


For more information about Architect Services and on how we can assist you, get in touch with our team of Durban Architects on 031 566 1221 or via email to

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