Planning tips from land purchase to building ready

2019-08-02T10:19:11+00:00June 12th, 2019|Features|

By Stephan Fourie, SAARDA (South African Affordable Residential Developers Association)

After purchase and preliminary studies, a site analysis needs to be done by your professional team and must include the following:

  • The geotechnical engineer needs to assess the soil conditions to inform you what kind of development will be allowed and what the extra costs are to install engineering services. If the land falls in a dolomitic area, the report needs to be submitted to the Council for Geoscience, which will issue approval of the report.
  • The environmental assessment practitioner needs to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA), which should be submitted to the relevant department and after approval issue a Record of Decision (ROD) for the proposed development. Flood levels need to be investigated to determine the 1:50 and 1:100 year flood line.
  • The traffic engineer must conduct a traffic impact assessment (TIA) to see what effect the proposed development will have on existing roads in the area.
  • The civil and electrical engineer must obtain a bulk link for electricity, water and sewer and obtain confirmation of services available for the development.
  • The town planner may obtain a contour plan and start to draft a layout. Applications must be sent to the Department of Minerals and Energy to obtain mineral rights holder consent.
Stephan Fourie of SAARDA.

Stephan Fourie of SAARDA.

After any necessary amendments the town planner may draw the final layout plan and the civil engineer can do the outline scheme report. The town planner needs to submit the township application to the Town Planning Department for township establishment and the application must be advertised in two newspapers, provincial government gazette and on the proposed development. This allows for any objections regarding township approval.

The township application includes the following:

  • Layout plan
  • Geotechnical report
  • Traffic Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (ROD)
  • Title deed
  • Memorandum to motivate the need for the proposed development
  • Outline of scheme report
  • Department of Minerals and Energy consent
  • Flood line report

During the township application process, the local authority receives comments from its internal and other departments such as Eskom, Rand Water and Telkom. The local authority then issues a letter approving in principle the establishment of the township subject to conditions. If the developer accepts the conditions, they become final and are subject to pre-proclamation conditions that the developer needs to comply with within one year of approval. This will mostly require engineering outline scheme reports.

The developer and the local authority now enter into a service agreement. Usually the developer will install the bulk services and the local authority will maintain it. The service agreement should include the outline scheme report, which indicates where the bulk services connect points are, current capacity and cost estimates for installation.

The electrical engineer should also apply to the electricity regulator in the area to request electricity supply. After township approval, the land surveyor has a time limit of one year to lodge an application for approval with the surveyor-general. The land surveyor draws a general plan, pegs the stands and submits it for approval. A copy of this must be submitted to the local authority.

Before a township register can be opened, the developer needs to comply with all pre-proclamation conditions determined by the local authority. When all conditions are met and necessary documents submitted to the local authority, they can issue a section 101*. This means that the services are available and that the township can be proclaimed.

After approval of the general plan, signed services agreement and approved civil drawings, the developer may proceed with installation of services. After services are installed, a section 82* is required before transfers of erven can take place. A section 82 will be issued only once all engineering services have been installed and approved and all the bulk contributions are paid. The developer also needs to provide a guarantee (10% of construction cost) to the local authority. Erven can now be transferred and building plans handed in for approval.

*The sections referred to is for townships in Gauteng established in terms of the township ordinance 15 of 1986. All municipalities now have their own by-laws established in terms of the SPLUMA act and each one has different section numbers.