Our Services

Arch@Ease together with our partnering companies provides a comprehensive range of Architectural and Engineering services.

An architectural professional registered with the SACAP would be registered under a specific category of registration.
Where architectural professionals with registration with SACAP of architect are employed, in a standard service the architect is appointed to fulfil the obligations provided for as architectural professional, principal consultant and principal agent, described as a ‘Full Service’. Partial and/ or additional services may be agreed.
Where architectural professionals with registration with SACAP of other than architect are employed, the service to be rendered, and functions to be fulfilled are informed by the ‘Identification of Work for Architectural Professionals’, as separately determined by SACAP, and such appointment may include the ‘Full Service’ .Partial and additional services may be agreed.

The essential functions of each work stage relevant to the service are identified herein as: –

Stage 1: Inception

Receive, appraise and report on the client’s requirements with regard to:

  • the client’s brief
  • the site and rights and constraints
  • budgetary constraints
  • the need for consultants
  • project programme
  • methods of contracting
Stage 2: Concept and viability (concept design)

Prepare an initial design and advise on:

  • the intended space provisions and planning relationships
  • proposed materials and intended building services
  • the technical and functional characteristics of the design
  • Check for conformity of the concept with the rights to the use of the land
  • Review the anticipated costs of the project
  • Review the project programme
Stage 3: Design development
  • Confirm the scope and complexity
  • Review the design and consult with local and statutory authorities
  • Develop the design, construction system, materials and components
  • Incorporate and co-ordinate all services and the work of consultants
  • Review the design, costing and programme with the conSUltants
Stage 4: Documentation and procurement

4.1 Prepare documentation sufficient for local authority submission:

  • co-ordinate technical documentation with the consultants and complete primary co-ordination
  • prepare specifications for the works
  • review the costing and programme with the consultants
  • obtain the client’s authority and submit documents for approval

4.2 Complete construction documentation and proceed to call for tenders:

  • obtain the client’s authority to prepare documents to procure offers for the execution of the works
  • obtain offers for the execution of the works
  • evaluate offers and recommend on the award of the building contract
  • prepare the contract documentation (and arrange the signing of the building contract)
Stage 5: Construction
  • Administer the Building Contract
  • Give possession of the site to the contractor
  • Issue construction documentation
  • Initiate and/or check sub-contract design and documentation as appropriate
  • Inspect the works for conformity to the contract documentation
  • Administer and perform the duties and obligations assigned to the principal agent in the JBCC building agreements, or fulfil the obligations prOVided for in other forms of contract
  • Issue the certificate of practical completion
  • Assist the client to obtain the occupation certificate
Stage 6: Close out
  • Facilitate the project close-out including the preparation of the necessary documentation to effect completion, handover and operation of the project
  • After the contractor’s obligations with respect to the building contract are fulfilled, the architectural professional shall issue the certificates related to contract completion
  • Provide the client with as-built drawings and relevant technical and contractual undertakings by the contractor and sub-contractors
1.2 Partial services and Additional services

The Architectural Profession Act provides for the appointment of various architectural professionals to fulfil each or any stage of a standard service or parts thereof.
Partial and additional services may be agreed, the options most regularly utilised are:-

1. appointed as architectural professional and principal consultant (not as principal agent)

2. appointed as design architectural professional (design only)
3. appointed as architectural professional of record (design by others, can be principal agent)
4. appointed as principal agent only
5. appointed as architectural professional to work stage 4.1 (documentation to achieve approval only)
6. appointed to perform additional services


The following services are additional to the standard services and rank for additional fees. These
services may be added individually or in varying combinations and shall be provided by prior
agreement between the client and the architectural professional:

Special design services
  • The preparation of special designs within or in relation to the facilities which are contemplated in this service, which may include:
  • Rational design by other consultants – participate in the preparation of rational designs
  • Town planning and/or urban design including participation in the application for the establishment and/or amendment of regional and local town planning and urban design schemes and the amendment of title conditions, negotiations with interest groups and authorities
  • Master planning – defining and planning the layout of future development of buildings and/or services on the same site
  • Landscape design – participation in landscape planning and construction
  • Interior design – the design of interiors and the selection of furnishings and fixtures and special finishes
  • Liaison with special designers and specialist consultants
  • Purpose-made items – the design and documentation of purpose made items
  • Promotional material and art work – participation in the preparation of promotional material
  • Plant operation and production layouts – participation in the definition of plant operation layouts
Special management services
  • Elaboration of architectural professionals’ services including inter alia: the preparation of broad project parameters, project scope statements, project milestones, budget and cash flow forecasts, tender enquiry documentation, contractor and supplier selection, adjudication and tender awards, progress status monitoring, variations management, quality management, communication management, payment processing and final account close outs
  • Cost and valuation services – participation in the administration of costs and payments where a quantity surveyor has not been appointed
  • Special inspections – more intensive inspections and assessment of the works than the norm to assess compliance with specifications
Special studies
  • Preparation of the client’s brief – assist the client in the preparation of his requirements with regard to the purpose, scope, use of and operation of the project
  • Site selection – research the suitability and location of a site for a proposed project
  • Feasibility studies – participation in technical and/or economic feasibility studies
  • Environmental studies – participation in environmental studies
  • Energy analysis studies and planning
  • Energy studies – participation in energy studies
  • Market surveys – participation in market surveys
  • Traffic studies – participation in traffic flow studies
Work on existing premises
  • Surveys and inspections – inspect, survey, measure and prepare documentation of existing premises, with other consultants as needed
  • Restorations and renovations – services in connection with work on existing buildings
  • Heritage buildings – services in connection with work on heritage buildings
Other Services
  • Participation in litigation and dispute resolution (where a concurrent service is rendered)
  • Mutually agreed additional service
For more info on fees and structures please visit the Architectural Professional Fees Guideline : Architectural Profession Act: Professional fees guideline (www.gov.za)

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages such enhancement projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, programming, research, communicating with the stakeholders of a project, construction management, and execution of the design.

Interior designer implies that there is more of an emphasis on planning, functional design, and the effective use of space, as compared to interior decorating. An interior designer in fine line design can undertake projects that include arranging the basic layout of spaces within a building as well as projects that require an understanding of technical issues such as window and door positioning, acoustics, and lighting.[1] Although interior designers may create the layout of a space, they may not alter load-bearing walls without having their designs stamped for approval by a structural engineer. Interior designers often work directly with architects, engineers, and contractors.

Arch@Ease working together with GdL Consulting offers the following Engineering services:

At GdL Consulting cc we integrate engineering principles and practical experience with our knowledge of the latest technology offerings to create unique technology solutions, we integrate these solutions by considering the implications of risk, the total cost of ownership time and production constraints, and sustainability to offer clients appropriate engineered options that will add value to there operation.

•   Engineering Services   Civil Engineering
         •   Reinforced concrete
         •   Foundations
         •   Piling and underpinning
         •   Retaining walls
         •   Suspended slabs
         •   Roofs
         •   Columns
         •   Beams
    •   Structural masonry design
    •   Timber design including lapa’s

•   Structural Engineering
    •   Steel portal buildings
    •   Steel trusses
    •   Steel support work
    •   Multi-story steel buildings
    •   Roads
    •   Stormwater
    •   Sewerage

•   Engineering Management Services
    •   Feasibility studies
    •   Project management
    •   Construction management
    •   Infrastructure rehabilitation

What You Need To Know Before Starting With Additions Or Alterations To Your Building. 

In general, the National Building Regulations are not retroactive in their application. This means that if you are adding to or altering a building, you won’t have to ensure that the entire building complies with new regulations that have been imposed since the building was originally erected.

This will be of particular interest to people who are concerned about the implications of the new energy efficiency legislation and regulations. 

But if you need plans for any additions or alterations, then you will need to ensure that the new section of the building complies.

Part A of SANS 10400, General Principles and Requirements, deals with alterations and additions.

This part of the National Building Regulations states that where an application is made to make an alteration or addition to any building that was approved before this version of the Building Regulations and Standards Act (i.e. prior to 2008):

The  alteration must comply with the requirements of the Act, but “consequent changes to any other part of the building which would be necessary in order to make such other part comply with the requirements of the Act shall not be required unless in the opinion of the local authority such consequent changes are necessary to ensure the health or safety of persons using the building in the altered form”

The addition must comply with the requirements of the Act, “but no changes to the original building shall be required unless the addition :

will affect the structural strength or stability of the original building;

will render any existing escape route from the original building less effective; or

will affect the health of persons using the original building.

Problems May Occur When Adding To Older Buildings.

In addition to the above, the lawmakers are aware that problems might arise when alterations or additions are carried out on buildings that were erected in compliance with earlier building by-laws.

In the case of such an addition, the local authority (which is of course the body that will approve any plans that might be required for such addition or alteration) might decide to treat the new portion as an entirely separate part. If this happens, then the alterations will have to be designed to comply with the National Building Regulations “without having any effect on the original portion of the building”.

This is not likely to happen often with alterations, though the local authority will decide “to what extent that part of the building which is not to be altered should comply with the National Building Regulations”. Generally, they will be more stringent when it comes to the application of fire regulations (Part T, Fire protection), and particularly when it comes to escape route requirements. Since this doesn’t affect “dwelling houses”, it is unlikely to have any effect on residential buildings.

The regulations state: “It is obvious that a pragmatic and essentially practical approach is necessary.”

Their primary concern is the health and safety of those people using the building. But they advise local authorities that any decisions “should be within the context of what might be practical and economically sound in an old building. If an owner or entrepreneur cannot alter a building to suit his purpose at a cost that will enable him to have a reasonable economic return, he will probably not alter the building at all. This could lead to the perpetuation of a situation that might be dangerous but one which is in compliance with old by-laws and is thus perfectly legal. Such a situation could often be considerably improved by making certain changes that are practical and economically sound even though they would not provide the same standard as would be expected in a new building.

“Both the owner and the local authority will have to consider what they are trying to achieve with the Regulations and the answer should be tempered by the knowledge of what is reasonable and practical to require of an existing building.”


Before any additions and/or alterations can be done, a site analysis needs to be undertaken by the Architect or Draughtsman.

When doing a site analysis, several factors need to be investigated before the drawing process even begins.

The first step is for the client to obtain a copy of his Title Deeds, this can be obtained from either the bank which handled the property transfer or from a registered Estate Agents, who will have access to the Deeds Office database.

The reason for the Title Deeds is to see if there are any restrictive clauses therein. Restrictive clauses, for example where only one dwelling the property is permitted or where specifically specified, that no dwelling may exceed the building line on the street front of the property or height restrictions are imposed on that dwelling.

A copy of the zoning certificates, indicating which town planning scheme the property is subject to, but also be looked at for any Restrictive clauses. The zoning certificates will indicate the stand size, building line restrictions on the road friends and side boundaries if applicable, servitude lines, permissible coverage allowed and permissible FAR (aka Floor Area Ratio), parking space required, and height restrictions for the area as defined by the Town Planning Scheme.

An SG diagram (aka Surveyor General diagram) showing roads, neighboring stands, stand numbers, boundary lengths, and stand orientation relative to North, sewer servitude, or any other servitude that affects the property.

Copies of the existing approved structure plans. Most local authorities have archived microfiche copies of these plans and related documentation when the file was first opened, however microfiche copies are usually of such poor quality, that at times copies of these plans are illegible. If this is the case the architect or draughtsman may have two do an on-site measurement in order to confirm the structure’s size.

The Architect or Draughtsman will then analyze all the relevant data together with the client’s brief of his intended additions and/or alterations, prior to starting any sketch plans.

The Architect or Draughtsman will consult with a client, to inform him of any potential problems which may delay or obstruct the plan approval process later on.

Once the client has been informed of whether or not his proposed additions and/or alterations will be supported by the Local Authority, only then can the client make an informed decision to either change is project brief or if all is in order to instruct the architect or draughtsman to proceed with sketch plans.

We encourage our clients to scrutinize the sketch plans, and possibly measure out the size of the proposed additions on-site to verify that they are happy with the room sizes. We continue to make changes to the sketch plan as requested by our client to facilitate a smooth transition from sketch plans to the final design.

The final design is the point where the client has accepted the sizes and position of the proposed addition and/or alterations as proposed by the sketch plan. During the final design, we will make some 3D renders for our clients, that they may easily visualize the scale of the proposed changes in relation to the existing structure. Among our clients, we recognize that a 3-D model helps to visualize the space and storage capabilities of a kitchen or bathroom setting as well as the rest of the building.

Once the client is satisfied that all the parameters of his brief have been fulfilled, they then sign off the final design and the preparation of construction and local authority drawings are then processed. These are known as working drawings.

The completed set of working drawings and related documentation as required by the local authority in compliance with the National Building Regulations and SANS 10400 regulations are then handed over to the client for submission to the local authority or we can assist with the submission processes if the client requests.

The Implications Of Selling A House Without Approved Plans

If you are selling your house, and don’t have approved plans, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. And if you are buying a house, and don’t ask whether the seller has approved plans, you might end up inheriting some very expensive problems.

Legal Implications Of Selling A House Without Approved Plans

Since the law requires everybody to have plans drawn up in a particular manner, and approved by the local authority in their area, it stands to reason that every house will have plans. But this is not always the case, and a lack of approved building plans is clearly a major problem for many people buying and selling houses and other buildings in all parts of South Africa.

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get asked questions on this website that relate to issues concerning plans. Sometimes people only discover that there are no plans years after they have bought a property, either because they eventually want to do alterations, or because they want to sell. Other times people find at the point of sale that a house they are buying does not have plans, and they want to know whose responsibility it is to have plans drawn up retrospectively (“as-built”).

The reality is that if alterations and additions have been carried out on a property without municipal (local authority) approval and the property is then sold, it can become quite a complex legal matter.

An article by STBB Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes that we have referenced gives some clarity about the implications of selling a house without approved plans.

Are Building Plans And Building Approval Always Required For Houses?

As STBB explains, the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act specify the need for building plans and approval. More specifically, it is the local authority that governs exactly what can be done in terms of its zoning regulations and the NBR. So it is they that give approval (or deny it) for all building work and renovations on ALL properties. “Minor building work”  is viewed differently and most municipalities will be more lenient when it comes to minor building work.

The Act states that the municipality, at its own discretion, may be approached for a relaxation of the necessity to obtain approval of plans. But note that this must be asked for and approval received in writing. Read our page on minor building work for more information.

Problems That Can Arise

The lack of approved plans could lead a municipality to refuse to allow any further renovations a purchaser might have had planned. In the worst-case scenario, the municipality could order that the illegally erected structure or additions be demolished.
A (latent or patent) defect that is of a significant nature, and affects the use and enjoyment of the property, does allow the purchaser certain remedies. The most far-reaching of these is the cancellation of the agreement, which he is entitled to do if the purchaser can prove that the defect is so serious that he would not have bought the property had he known this. Other courses of action include the reduction in the purchase price or a claim for damages, depending on the seriousness of the defect and the specific circumstances involved.

In many cases, an offer to purchase a house will be dependent on the purchaser obtaining home-loan finance from a bank or other institution. And in most instances, (though not all), the financial institution will want to see up-to-date approved plans before finance will be granted. If the plans lodged with the council do not match the house as it stands, then the sale could fall through and set the seller’s plans back for quite a length of time, together with additional costs to rectify the problem.

The local authority is also entitled to levy fines on any “illegal” building work that was done without approval.


As-Built Municipal Drawings

If you are in the position of having a building or house in your yard without plans or approval from the Local Authority, we can assist in doing As-Built Municipal plans for the building. We will come out and inspect the building to accumulate if it complies with the National Building Regulations of South Africa. We will then check the position of the building over the SG-Diagram to see if was built within the Building lines of the yard. When Inspection is done we can make a call about what the necessary steps will be to get the structure approved.

An example of what the procedure will be on a structure that complies with the National Building Regulations of South Africa and within the Building Lines of the yard will be as follow:

A structural engineer will be appointed to inspect existing structures and to issue a SANS 10400 Form 4 if the building complies. As-Built Measurements of the building will be taken by our draughtsman to draw detail As-Built drawings. The Municipal Approval As-Built Drawings will be submitted with an SG Diagram, Water and Lights Account of the owner, Engineer report on structures, Copy of Title Deed, Fenestration, and Energy Calculations

he Quantity Surveyor is a professional who works in the field of construction management by providing effective cost control for the project. A Quantity Surveyor is neither a Land Surveyor nor a Building Surveyor. Some clients who are not familiar with the Quantity Surveyor term often cannot differentiate between a Quantity Surveyor and Land Surveyor. Quantity Surveyors have adequate knowledge about Engineering, Construction Design, and Architecture. Quantity Surveyors help their clients to keep the project within budget and time.

Our Quantity Surveying Services: 

  • Client Budget Planning and Advice regarding building types and costs. 
  • Design Cost Estimate to determine if the design will fit the client’s budget. 
  • Combining a Bill of Quantities with the quantities of every material to be used on the building. 
  • Pro-active project cost control throughout the construction process to ensure the construction of the building stays within the client’s budget. 

Getting municipal approval for a new construction or renovation project may seem daunting at first, especially when you don’t know where to start.

After drawing up the plans with a professional, SACAP-registered architect or draughtsman, the plans need to be submitted for approval at your local municipality. It is a common misconception that smaller construction plans such as renovations or extensions do not need approval, but the reality is that any additions or alterations to an existing structure have to be authorized by the local authority.

Any building work done without the relevant approval can legally be halted or even authorized for demolition by a building inspector. In addition, fines could also be imposed if construction work has begun without approval.

Not obtaining municipal building plans approval can be an unnecessary, costly mistake. Arch@Ease is here to facilitate the whole approval process on behalf of our clients.  

Which Documents Will You Need For The Building Plans Submission?

Building plans approval application.

South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) registration form.

A copy of the property’s title deed.

Power of Attorney for your architect or draughtsman to submit your building plans for you.

The Surveyor General diagram, along with a zoning certificate, contour map, and an aerial view of the property.

Depending On The Scale And Nature Of Your Project, You Will Also Need To Submit These:

Stamps from the relevant authorities. These could include the fire department and environmental health authority.

An Engineer Certificate of Appointment/Completion.

  Permission from the Body Corporate or Aesthetics Committee.

  Official building line relaxation permission or rezoning consent from a town planning authority.

  An approved and updated Site Development Plan.

  Your home’s energy efficiency calculations, along with the lighting layout.

  Your property’s water and sanitation layout.

  If you’re renovating or extending a home built before 1951, you will also need a heritage approval stamp from the council.   

The approval process does take time, so it’s vital to take this into account in planning your building project timeline.

Almost 60% of the world’s electricity is used by residential and commercial buildings, making it a rapidly increasing and pressing matter of concern. It’s due to the global climate changes and an increase in costs and energy consumption requirements that the need for energy efficiency and energy-efficient buildings is being emphasized.  70% of South Africa’s buildings were designed and built when electricity prices were economical, but the constant price hikes are making it not only hard to maintain a livelihood but also depleting the energy resources at a very rapid rate. Thus, the increasing burden on the South African national electricity grid forced the government to make amends and introduce The South African National Standard – SANS 10400 – XA and the SANS 204 to regulate energy use and encourage energy efficiency in building for better utilization of resources and ensuring improvement in the ecological changes and declining ecosystems.

Energy-efficient buildings are a simple and very innovative idea to introduce required changes in the existing buildings and practical measures that save energy when new buildings are built and designed.  With the introduction of new regulations and policy in the existing sans 204 and national building regulations, the government of South Africa is taking a step ahead towards making the country a cost-efficient country!!

Many modern and especially commercial buildings have been built without much consideration of passive design and rely strongly on technology such as Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems and electric heaters to provide a comfortable indoor climate. Using electricity for these functions is very inefficient and costly.

What Is SANS 10400 – XA?

The SANS 10400-XA standard is a summary of the SANS 204 and other standards into a single reference for homeowners to ensure compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Regulations (NBR).  These Requirements include:

Buildings should face north so as to make most of the sunlight along with suitable roof overhangs to maintain the adequate temperature during both summers and winters.

Use of energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems wherever required;  

At least 50% of water heating must be done through a solar water heater or heat pumps or any other energy-efficient manner.

The SANS 10400-XA is part of the National Building Regulations (NBR) and must be adhered to. Municipalities are responsible for assessing and approving development applications including their adherence to the NBR.

The SANS 10400–XA Regulations

The latest amends in South African National Building Regulations (NBR) list the following regulations and adherence to which is mandatory to all homeowners.

XA1 – all homeowners must use energy efficiently and reduce greenhouse emissions and use energy within the given limits.

XA2 – not more than 50% of the annual volume of domestic hot water should be heated through electrical resistance heating, i.e., 50% or more of hot water used must be heated by energy sources other than electricity.

XA3 – compliance with the XA1 Regulations must be accomplished by one of three methods. If homeowners or competent parties build in accordance with SANS 10400–XA, then the buildings will be ‘deemed to comply’ with National Building Regulation XA1.

Which buildings are affected by the SANS 10400 XA requirements?

Buildings that consume energy as a result of human occupancy are the main target of the new regulations. All new buildings must comply with these regulations, and any additions or extensions to existing buildings must be strictly made in compliance with the new regulations. If the existing building is unaffected by an addition, only the addition will have to comply with the regulations.

How is compliance achieved?

To avoid delays in achieving planning approval and receiving occupancy certificates, homeowners should communicate to their architects and professional teams that the home must be designed in accordance with the SANS 10400–XA Regulations. Compliance with the SANS 10400–XA Regulations requires that the design of new buildings satisfy certain conditions. There are basically three routes by which homeowners can comply with the new regulations, these three routes are-

The Prescriptive Route

The Reference Building Route

The Performance Route

The Prescriptive Route is generally available to all persons and will commonly be used for houses and smaller buildings. This route requires that a set of rules is adhered to for water heating, insulation, and glazed areas, i.e., windows, glass doors, and roof lights.

Homeowners need to choose the most practical and cost-effective route, depending on their financial resources and project timelines.

What documentation must be completed?

Once the plans are ready for submission, the Appointed Person (or Responsible Person, if a professional has not been appointed) must inform the local authority and Building Control Officer which compliance route has been chosen, by completing a set of four documents (Forms 1 to 4). These forms can be downloaded from the SABS website (www.sabs.co.za).


Mainly the roles and duties of the homeowner are discussed here. The competent person making a declaration wherein the means for SANS 10400 -XA regulations have to be satisfied.


In this step, the Competent Person agrees to take on full responsibility for all the energy-related duties in this section the competent must declare that he/she has the qualification, knowledge, and contextual experience necessary for completing the work with compliance to the regulations.


Under this the Competent Person is required, to make a declaration that the person is the best for the task at hand and has strictly adhered to the regulations. This form also has the second part which states the critical design information of building and its energy consumption.


Here, the Competent Person has to make sure that he/ she has completed and attested the Certification of Completion. It is also the responsibility of the approved competent person who will retain the role of seeing all the energy aspects of the project.