CIfA Newsflash 01/2020 | High Court Judgement – National Building Regulations Review Board

Dear CIfA Member

  • We remind our members of the 2017 Gauteng High Court judgement which declared ‘…….that section 9 of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, No. 103 of 1997, to the extent that it empowers the National Building Regulations Review Board to exercise appellate power over decisions of a municipality, is unconstitutional and therefore invalid’; Judgement can be downloaded here
  • Even though it is a June 2017 ruling on a 2015 case number, it may be that many of our members are not aware of this judgement – hence we are issuing this Aide Memoire;
  • This judgement was based on the Constitutional competency given to municipalities granting them executive authority in respect of building regulations;
  • National legislation cannot and may not obstruct a municipality from exercising such authority;
  • It means that the NBR Review Board cannot consider or overrule a decision of a municipality;
  • This in effect makes the NBR Review Board powerless and without a reason to exist;
  • Therefore there is no appeal mechanism or body to whom an aggrieved party can submit an appeal on a decision made in terms of the NBR;

The Cape Institute for Architecture (CIfA) understands that the City of Cape Town, along with other municipalities, is considering how best to provide for an appeal mechanism in building by-law matters but this will take time and needs to be done in conjunction with the national Department of Trade and Industry whose responsibility it is to review the NBR and propose amendments to section 9.

In the meantime an aggrieved party will have to take a decision to a review court.