One of our readers recently wrote in with an interesting question, one that often arises and now seemed like a good time to discuss it.
I recently bought a house. It has an 18m² lean-to structure built from the outside of the kitchen to the vibracrete boundary wall. The structure consists of a tiled floor, a metal sheeting roof, a brick wall at the front of the house, an opening at the back of the house and on the side is wood paneling attached to timber poles from the roof to the vibracrete boundary wall.
Can I close this up with bricks to be a permanent structure? I want to build a glass sliding door into a brick wall at the back of the structure and a brick wall along the side of the vibracrete boundary wall. The whole structure is built outside the permitted building line of 3 metres.
My neighbour’s entertainment area is also built on the boundary wall with bricks in the front of the house and then paneling at the side of the vibracrete. Is it legal for us to basically have the two houses built next to each other with a vibracrete fence keeping the two walls apart?
To sum everything up, can I extend my house onto my boundary wall as a permanent brick structure?
Les's answer to our reader is as follows:
The simple answer to your question is that in terms of the National Building Regulations, you may not build a habitable room or structure on your property boundary. Covered entertainment (braai) areas, garages, car ports, lean-to shelters, and temporary structures like shadeports, etc, are generally permitted.
The basic issue is that the living areas of your house may not be permanently open to an area constructed over your building line.
You may not for instance remove your kitchen door or remove the window in your dining room and permanently open it to this area. You are however permitted to replace the window in our dining room with a sliding door in order to access that area but it must remain an "outside" entertainment area. Installing a sliding door to the end of the structure which will open onto your back garden is quite acceptable.
One issue that I am not able to comment on is whether your local Council Zoning regulations for your suburb permit you to do what you are suggesting. It could be that your neighbour has done his alteration without council permission and possibly contrary to those regulations. If he did go the legal route and has approved plans for what he did then there should not be any difficulty for you to do the same. If he did not submit plans for what he did, then it would be prudent to make the enquiry with your local municipality building section before proceeding.
I hope that this helps you.
Technical and Marketing