Industry Update - Exploring the impact of the Application of the National Building Regulations and Planning Legislation on Development

The Research and Policy Branch of the Development Planning and Environmental Management Unit of the eThekwini Municipality has commissioned a study to investigate the impact of, in particular, Part XA of the National Building Regulations, relating to energy in buildings, and planning legislation on the pace of development in the province, but focused on the eThekwini region. 

Part XA of the National Building Regulations has been controversial with certain architects and building designers following its initial coming into effect in 2011. While there was a certain window period allowed for projects already commenced prior to the effective date, this period has now lapsed and all new buildings are obliged to conform fully to Part XA read with SANS 10400 Part XA and certain aspects of SANS 204. The requirements of Part XA deal with matters such as the orientation of the building, solar ingress and exclusion, water heating, ceiling, wall and floor insulation, lighting, etc. This is further complicated by the fact that some communities are, less able to afford the associated costs with these requirements than others and live on smaller erven where there is far less flexibility in design solutions, particularly when undertaking alterations and additions to existing structures. 

The planners on the other hand have had to deal with uncertainty and changes in planning legislation from mid 2010 when the majority of KZN Planning and Development Act became effective largely replacing the Natal Town Planning Ordinance. This transition is far from over with no less than two new planning bills in the wings, that are stumbling to get out the starting blocks for various reasons, while the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill, 2013 will purportedly be operationalised later this year. To compound the uncertainties, the Western Cape has been going down a separate path with the intention of each municipality eventually having its own planning by-law (a mini or local planning act). By all accounts this approach is being actively supported by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and MAY eventually have a spill over effect in KwaZulu-Natal.

The outcome of the study should however be relevant and of interest to those outside of Durban. As part of this study a comprehensive questionnaire has been prepared for completions by those operating in the built environment profession. While it is aimed primarily at architects, building designers and planners, there is often overlap between the different professions and others are accordingly also encouraged to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire has been split into two portions, one aimed at the architectural aspects and another aimed at the planning aspects, but all parties are encouraged to complete both portions if at all possible. 

Your cooperation and patience in completing the questionnaire is very much appreciated and should add to the overall understanding of what people in the field, both in the public and private sector, believe about these and related matters.

The questionnaire is accessible by clicking on: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17sevk4JjORcJSVM6aokcWBFmYLkSdarX-E-QBQFWbpw/viewform

Courtesy: John Forbes Pr.Pln.

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