Urgent help needed please - house renovation

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
Hi,

URGENTLY need advice please. I'm renovating an old house (104) years old. I considered extending part of the house, but the cost was too much, so am just rebuilding part of the house on the old foundation. I understood that rebuilding on an existing foundation did not require planning permission.

However the building inspector arrived on Monday and has stopped building claiming that because the house is more than 60 years old you need building permission regardless of where / how / what you are doing.

Can someone enlighten me on what the law actually is in this regard and more importantly how I convince the building inspector that he is wrong about the law?

This is really urgent. Any and all help greatly appreciated.

PS I am in love with the house how it is and I am doing my utmost within my budget to keep the character of the house as it is. All I am doing is fixing (there is a LOT of fixing), repairing, and rebuilding a wall that was made out of stone with brick.
 
Last edited:

naeem

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2004
Messages
1,021
over 100 years? I wont be surprised if they block you from breaking down or extending any exterior walls.

Joburg has a similar heritage building law.
 

MickeyD

RIP
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
139,117
over 100 years? I wont be surprised if they block you from breaking down or extending any exterior walls.

Joburg has a similar heritage building law.
PE as well.

Am pretty sure it is a national standard.
 

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
NO-ONE including the guy from the Heritage Society said any of this to us. His words were 'Heritage doesn't care what you do at the back only the front, go ahead'.
 
Last edited:

tRoN

Executive Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2007
Messages
5,868
^ you can't mess with these heritage society people.
In Durbs it's run by a bunch of old timers who meet when they feel and decide if you can renovate an old building.
Process can take years.
 

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
104 years old.. you need written permission from heritage to touch the property. It is irrelevant what some heritage officer says unless it's in writing.

Unfortunately you will now struggle with that since you started work without the permission. Our heritage guys are about 15 years behind places like the UK in terms of being open to modernising etc.
 

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
The problem is that we have tried to do the right thing, and relied on various people including the Heritage guy we spoke to to inform us correctly. Now it turns out that we have been misinformed, by everyone. Not sure what our position is now.

1. Sub-division not passed.

2. Estate agent withheld LOTS of important information.

3. Transfer held up by sub-division / deceased estate issues

4. Knocked down half the house (half fell down when old wall taken down because of poor condition)

5. Not informed of issues with drains - house has an old French drain which both the owner and Estate Agent have sworn blind is functioning - now am informed that all the neighbours have HAD to have theirs taken out because a. the law changed b. the sub-soil is too stoney and doesn't allow proper drainage.

6. Not informed about Heritage Society - then misinformed.

Seriously unsure how to proceed. I'm homeless at the end of August as current lease expires and was planning to move - now I dunno.
 

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
The problem is that we have tried to do the right thing, and relied on various people including the Heritage guy we spoke to to inform us correctly. Now it turns out that we have been misinformed, by everyone. Not sure what our position is now.

1. Sub-division not passed.

2. Estate agent withheld LOTS of important information.

3. Transfer held up by sub-division / deceased estate issues

4. Knocked down half the house (half fell down when old wall taken down because of poor condition)

5. Not informed of issues with drains - house has an old French drain which both the owner and Estate Agent have sworn blind is functioning - now am informed that all the neighbours have HAD to have theirs taken out because a. the law changed b. the sub-soil is too stoney and doesn't allow proper drainage.

6. Not informed about Heritage Society - then misinformed.

Seriously unsure how to proceed. I'm homeless at the end of August as current lease expires and was planning to move - now I dunno.
Honest and brutal answer, find another place to stay since the issues with the place you are renovating will not be solved inside of 2 years, if ever.

In terms of the Estate Agent stuff and the subdivision aspect, they may be sufficient to get a deal reversed though... but that in and of itself will be a big fight.
 

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
I so wish that were an option. This IS my 'find another place to stay' solution. Basically finding affordable accomodation in South Africa is nigh on impossible. This has to work or I'm sleeping in the car.
 

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
I so wish that were an option. This IS my 'find another place to stay' solution. Basically finding affordable accomodation in South Africa is nigh on impossible. This has to work or I'm sleeping in the car.
I'm going to be incredibly blunt about this...

This won't work, not anytime in the forseeable future. Get used to sleeping in your car if you can't find alternative accomodation.
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
24,541
Just saw this thread.

I did a major renovation in Oudtshoorn. It had to go to Cape Town (Provincial) for Heritage approval. Architect spent two days walking it through the bureaucrats in that benighted city.
 

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
Just saw this thread.

I did a major renovation in Oudtshoorn. It had to go to Cape Town (Provincial) for Heritage approval. Architect spent two days walking it through the bureaucrats in that benighted city.
And that little exercise cost you a small fortune to "fast" track it didn't it?

What do you reckon the time frame would have been if you didn't fast track it?
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
24,541
And that little exercise cost you a small fortune to "fast" track it didn't it?

What do you reckon the time frame would have been if you didn't fast track it?
Red Tape is infinitely elastic, so who knows.

I'd had some prior experience of Heritage quasi-expropriation in my previous life in Houghton - the Heritage commissariat there is (or was) despotic. So this time I made sure to get buy-in from the local Heritage politburo. And using a good contractor who knows the local scene also helped.
 

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
Red Tape is infinitely elastic, so who knows.

I'd had some prior experience of Heritage quasi-expropriation in my previous life in Houghton - the Heritage commissariat there is (or was) despotic. So this time I made sure to get buy-in from the local Heritage politburo. And using a good contractor who knows the local scene also helped.
Yeah true...

And of course you got them involved prior to starting any work, which the OP unfortunately didn't technically do (other than a verbal thing)... which will now complicate matter infinitely and add massive delays to anything.
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
24,541
Got the approvals before wet work started. But it took five months to sand all the doors, window frames, shutters, staircase, and rip out all the old plumbing and cabling. That gave breathing room for us to placate the socialists.
 

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
Well I'm going to try to positive about this and hope it works out. Otherwise I'm in the dwang. F-cking p-ssed at all the people who just LIE! WTF is wrong with people that they can't just tell you the truth? I asked a lot of these questions before I even put the damn offer to purchase but no-one says - you need a. b. c. d.
 
Last edited:

ToxicBunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
85,588
Well I'm going to try to positive about this and hope it works out. Otherwise I'm in the dwang. F-cking p-ssed at all the people who just LIE! WTF is wrong with people that they can't just tell you the truth? I asked a lot of these questions before I even put the damn offer to purchase but no-one says - you need a. b. c. d. I mean what the ---- is the issue with just saying things clearly in plain language? Why at least didn't the guy from the Heritage committee just tell me straight instead of - no you don't need, don't worry, blah blah - its not his house, not his problem, and all it is going to do is come back to bite him on the arse because I'm not allowing his bull**** to make problems. He is the one who actually made the problem because I was going to get approval. All he had to say was - you need to get approval no matter what you do. What the ... does he gain from bull****ting for no reason whatsoever?
Do you have any evidence he said what he did? The word of your contractor will count for squat btw.

Be wary of fighting with Heritage over this btw, you fight they will deny you ANY approval and you will be even further up shyte creek.

When it comes to property, someones word means nothing until its in writing.
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
24,541
Sage advice. These are tin-pot dictators, so their ire is easily inflamed. Be super-nice and uber-polite, bowing obsequiously to their majestic selves. Tell them how your only intention is to preserve the historical character by sprucing up and modernising the internals, etc. Speak to Hazel J. She's probably still the main energy.
 

Zoomzoom

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
5,479
Sage advice. These are tin-pot dictators, so their ire is easily inflamed. Be super-nice and uber-polite, bowing obsequiously to their majestic selves. Tell them how your only intention is to preserve the historical character by sprucing up and modernising the internals, etc. Speak to Hazel J. She's probably still the main energy.
I am doing that routine in my interactions - just venting here. And yes I am saying all that - every decision we have made has been with the view of preserving and restoring - even down to the bathtub we are putting in. We've sourced all old materials etc. Putting in reclaimed materials, reusing (where it isn't as vrot as can be) material from the house etc. I'm even whitewashing the walls instead of painting as that is more authentic.

All a load of bollocks problems because people can't keep their tempers.

This house was derelict - and abandoned - they should be THANKING us!
 
Last edited:
Top