Emmarentia Residents Association info@era.org.za (000) 111-1111

Procedures for Building Plans submission and Heritage permission from the Emmarentia Residents’ Association and the Lourens Geldenhuys Family

The Emmarentia Residents’ Association (ERA) represents residents of our beautiful suburb.

Our built and natural environment and our architectural and social heritage are important elements of what makes the Emmarentia suburb desirable and amenable to us all and these are worth protecting and enhancing through judicious development. ERA strives to act in a way that is positive, transparent, and equitable and results in the sustainable development of our suburb and is supportive of residents’ endeavours to invest in their properties.

ERA therefore has a role to play in ensuring this for all residents. As part of our brief we provide residents with information on building alterations, town planning requirements and heritage applications. 

We also act on behalf of the forefathers of our suburb – the Lourens Geldenhuys Family (LGF). The LGF has an integral role to play in ensuring that building plans, land use changes and heritage aspects comply with the conditions in a property’s title deeds. ERA, on behalf of the LGF, must therefore scrutinise every single building plan for house alterations in the suburb prior to building plan approval by the City Council – all of which must be done before anyone begins building on their site

ERA endorses the building plans as per the requirement in the title deed.  The City cannot approve your building plans if they do not have this endorsement. 

Importantly, everyone intending to do building alterations must first check their title deeds and advise their architect of the importance of complying with the conditions in the title deeds.

Also, most homes in Emmarentia were built in the 1940s and 1950s making them over 60 years’ old.  The heritage laws and regulations (the National Heritage Resources Act – applies across the whole of South Africa), therefore apply to our homes and renovations can only be undertaken after the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng (PHRAG) has approved the renovations and stamped your plans.  We assist residents by providing advice on this process and writing the required letter from ERA that must accompany your application to PHRAG.

This document provides guidance on how to submit building plans to ERA.

ERA‘s administration of the building plans scrutiny process is intended to guide applicants through the statutory requirements so that we develop our suburb in a positive way, ensuring that the aspects of the area we all value can be maintained and enriched. Coherent and sensible development should improve amenities and property values for all who live in and use our wonderful suburb.

The ERA Building Plans Submission Requirements

  1. Applicants are advised to check that all items required on the ERA checklist are included and marked as such.
  • ERA will examine the full submission set, prior to council submission. 

     This includes on-line submissions to the City.

  • If the work the applicant is proposing is likely to be difficult or contentious in any way and if the title deed requirements are not being met, ERA recommends the applicant first engages with ERA before expending great resources on preparing an application.  We are happy to advise residents and their architects, before the plans are finalised (contact: info@era.org.za)
  • The bundle of building plans (and PHRAG application) is then brought to ERA (the same hard copies that will be submitted to the City and to PHRAG) for endorsement and writing of the heritage letter for PHRAG. 
  • Applicants are reminded that ERA/LGF consent in no way derogates from the applicant’s responsibility and legal obligation to obtain all the required approvals in full, from the relevant statutory authorities. This includes obtaining approval for any changes once construction has commenced.
  • Equally, applicants are reminded that once building plans are approved by all the required authorities and building work commences, applicants must familiarise themselves with and ensure that their site abides by all relevant City bylaws, for example hours of work, storage of materials, disposal of rubble, sidewalk wayleaves.

Checklist for Building Plans Submission to ERA

Applicants are advised to submit this checklist together with their application, with all the submitted items noted to ensure completeness.

  1. Title Deeds – a full copy of the registered title deeds in the name of the current owner.  These are very important because of the Lourens Geldenhuys Family conditions that must be adhered to (these relate to plans approval, roofing and location of outbuildings for example)
  2. Copies of the Original Building Plans, including those of alterations over the years: If originals are not available at Council, a letter from the Council stating this is required – this is especially required if the house if over 60 years’ old and is also used to establish the age of the house, if the owner is uncertain.  Please try ensure that the copies you get include the name of the architect and the owner (often these are “cut off” when copied)
  3. Full Set of Drawings – all plans as you would submit to the local authority for approval – the title deeds also require elevations for corner properties.
  4. Neighbours’ Signatures on the Drawings – signatures on the site plan will suffice.  ERA upholds the principles of good neighbourliness and transparency and so requires neighbours to be informed about the alterations.  It does not mean that neighbours are “approving” your plans, rather their signature shows they have been informed.
    • All the adjoining neighbours must sign. In the event of additional storeys being proposed, the diagonal neighbours, and
    • those across the street may also be required. Applicants are advised to check with ERA before making the final submission.
    • The neighbours can sign and print their names and provide a cell phone number and the date.
  5. In the event of Total Demolition, a Demolition drawing indicating the extent of the proposed works. Applicants’ attention is drawn to the fact that a demolition permit must be sought from the City Council and PHRAG approval is also necessary for houses over 60 years’ old. 
  6. In the event of houses 60 years or older, a full and complete PHRAG application must be included in the pack for ERA to review.  This is because ERA provides you with a heritage letter to be included in your application pack to PHRAG.  To write that letter we require that:
    • The PHRAG application should contain all the requirements of the PHRAG application form (and obtainable from PHRAG directly on 011 355 2713) or here and as updated by them from time to time)
    • Of particular relevance is Section G:  Historical Background information, ownership and architectural in the PHRAG application form.  This requires the applicant to write up a short history of the property
    • The history report should contain the following as a guide: details on the original architect/s, owner/s, social/ architectural style of the building/s (take this from the original plans).  Highlight anything noteworthy like the importance of the owners or the architect in the context of Emmarentia / Johannesburg or the architectural style of the house.  The historical report must address the changes in ownership and renovations done over time and how this changed the original house (what heritage aspects lost or kept).  It must also describe the impact of the changes on the house, the impact on the streetscape, impact on suburb.    
    • In the event of the partial/total demolition of a structure, 60 years or older, proof of public advertising in the newspaper and on the property, for comment from interested parties, must be provided. 
  1. The full PHRA-G requirements can be obtained from PHRA-G by contacting them on 011 355 2609 or check here
  1. Provide a Full Digital Copy of the application (all drawings and all documents) in PDF format for archiving at ERA and to build up a record of our history.
  1. If you have obtained the following information already, it may (not obligatory) be included in your pack of documents to ERA:
  • Zoning Certificate – from the Council indicating the current town planning controls.
  • Surveyor General Diagram – of the site/s under application.

ERA may undertake a site visit and then write the letter, setting out any proposed conditions for approval by PHRAG.  A small fee is charged by ERA for this letter and all the research and providing the letter to assist with your approval.

You are at liberty to inform ERA via the ERA website or email us on info@era.org.za and get advice on building works or to query any suspected illegal building activity.

The City Council’s Building Inspector for Emmarentia is:

Mr Faried Watson – 011 761 0372

Annexure 1

Important Note on Title Deed restrictions in Emmarentia

All title deeds have requirements for the LGF to give consent to certain clauses. It is imperative that all prospective property buyers and owners intending to do renovations always check the title deeds first.  Please ensure that your estate agent provides you with this information or contact us before purchasing.

In Emmarentia title deed restrictions tend to deal with the following matters (extracts taken from actual title deed):

Where a title deed refers to the ‘Applicant’ this means the LGF and it is those clauses that need the LGF to give consent or permission for. ERA must therefore see the plans together with the title deeds and make a written endorsement on the plans, granting permission along with any conditions.

June 27 2022

See here for details of the cost of ERA’s services for building plan and heritage approval.