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Building Plan Amnesty extended for a year

Home-owners have been granted a further year to apply for amnesty from fines and penalties payable for incomplete or incorrect building plans.

The extension was approved by the Kouga Council at a virtual meeting on 26 June.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the amnesty period had originally been approved for the period January 2019 to June 2020.

“The resolution will take the closing date for applications till June 2021 and follows on numerous requests from industry professionals for an extension.”

He said almost R1-million in fines and penalties had been waived since the start of the amnesty period.

Kouga Planning and Development Portfolio chairman, Alderman Ben Rheeder, said the purpose of the amnesty period was to give home-owners the opportunity to ensure their properties complied with the National Building Regulations.

“This non-compliance is not always the fault of the current property owner, hence Council’s decision to declare the amnesty period,” he explained.

“In some instances, previous owners built, extended or altered their properties without building plans having been submitted or approved.

“There are various reasons for this, including, architects and draughtsman not always returning building plans to the municipality for final approval.

“There are also properties that are in use despite not having occupation certificates as the final building inspections were never conducted.”

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He said property owners in this position would typically be fined in terms of the National Building Regulations and municipal standard application fees.

“It is these fines and penalties that will be waived during the amnesty period. The normal application approval fees will, however, still be applicable and payable.

“We would also like to emphasise that the amnesty must not be construed as a relaxation of any standards, regulations or legislation. It is simply an attempt to legalise illegal structures within the municipal area in accordance with the relevant legislation.

“Building plans must still comply with all relevant regulations, both national and municipal.”

All submissions for exemptions must be put in writing and emailed to the Department: Planning and Development at [email protected] or [email protected]

Rheeder cautioned that building plans for unauthorised structures submitted through this process would also be subject to inspections by the municipality’s Building Control section.

Any structures that do not comply with the required standards will not be approved until such a time as the necessary corrections have been done.

“Each case will be dealt with on merit and the municipality remains the final decision-maker,” he concluded.

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