Legal Architectural Documentation

by William, April 1, 2015

There is a formal process to go through once we are at this stage with our clients which gets the ball rolling with the agreed designs and ensures that all legal architectural documentation is delivered.

Prepare Documentation Sufficient for Local Authority:

It is at this stage that general structural engineering input may be required. It is often a good idea to meet with a structural engineer and run through the design to ensure that the documentation is as structurally accurate as possible when submitting to the municipality.

Depending on the site it is also often in the client’s best interest to undertake a Geo-technical Survey. This will ensure that the foundations, retaining walls and any potential piling is designed in the most sensible way in relation to soil conditions.

A typical set of municipal submission drawings would include the following:

Area schedule


Sections including the building, driveway and pool


Glazing schedules

Sewer and drain water layouts

Energy efficiency report

    • It is recommended that an environmental engineer produces a rational energy design report. The architect can use SANS 204 (municipal design criteria) to produce an energy report. This report often leads to extremely high specifications particularly in regards to the glazing however the cost of an initial rational energy design is normally easily off-set against the eventual cost of having to specify the most energy efficient (and as a result expensive) items in order to make the building comply with energy regulations. The purpose of a rational energy design is to consider the building as a complete system analysing, for example, what effect the glazing, insulation, heat pumps and lighting play on the overall system. This informs the most sensible specification from a cost and energy perspective.


There are 2 stages to an architectural submission process:

Pre-scrutiny application

This submission is where municipal town planners check that the building complies with the zoning for a particular site. This is also the application where the architect would apply for building line relaxation or re-zoning if it is necessary. Once Land Use Management has approved the application, only then can the formal submission be processed. If the project requires no relaxation or re-zoning then there is no fee required for the pre-scrutiny submission.

Formal Municipal Submission

The municipal submission has to comply with the regulations as set out in the National Building Regulations and building Standards Act, 1977(Act No. 103 of 1977). It is referred to as SANS 10-400 which has a comprehensive set of submission forms that ensure that the client has appointed the relevant registered professionals and those professionals certify that the building complies with the national building regulations or SANS 10-400.

There is always a fee when making the submission that is calculated on the proposed new built area. On submission to pre-scrutiny an invoice for 10% of the agreed fee will be payable. On the formal submission an invoice for 20% of the agreed fee will be payable.


Complete Construction Documentation and call for tenders:

This stage requires that the professional team prepare a set of documents and specifications that will enable a contractor to price the construction of the building with reasonable accuracy. Justin Bate Architecture will then produce additional details and drawings to enable an accurate costing including the following:

Any details that are fundamental to describing the project

Projects often have bespoke feature elements that require design resolution

Internal door schedules

Electrical layouts

Lighting layouts

Typical details such as cills, cornices and ceilings

Finishing schedule

Engineering Documentation

On completion of the architectural tender documentation the invoice for 10% of the agreed fee will be payable.

The professional team would then establish a list of contractors who would be eligible to tender. The tender document would then go out and a deadline set by when the contractors should have their costings completed by. On receipt of the tenders, with the client’s approval, the tender is awarded to the successful contractor.

The next stage in the process can be found at Architect’s Role in Construction Process