By: Alan Cohen (originally published on www.ecobuildonlne.co.za)

Section 17(h) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 (the NBRS Act) empowers the minister to make National Building Regulations (NBRs), including regulations “regarding the provision of water and of sewerage and drainage services in respect of buildings, including the compulsory connection with the supply, distribution, or sewerage disposal works in question of local authorities”.

The National Building Regulations (NBRs) include mandatory requirements for certain water services:

  • Regulation A18, CONTROL OF PLUMBERS AND PLUMBING WORK, deals extensively with the requirements for persons to perform the trade of plumbing, but includes no requirements for plumbing work.
  • Part P addresses drainage of sewage and industrial effluents into a water-borne sewerage system;
  • Part Q addresses non-waterborne means of sanitary disposal;
  • Part R deals with disposal of stormwater; and
  • Part W covers supply of water to fire installations.

Surprisingly, although the NBRS Act defines a building in such a manner that it includes “any facilities or system, or part or portion thereof, within or outside, but incidental to a building, for the provision of a water supply, drainage, sewerage, stormwater disposal, electricity supply, or other similar service in respect of the building” there are no provisions that relate to the provision of a potable water supply in buildings. The original reasons for this omission are unknown.

Water supply in buildings is regulated by local authorities through enforcement of bylaws. The authority for exercising these powers is derived from the Water Services Act (Act No. 108 of 1997) and Part B of Schedule 4 of the Constitution that makes local government responsible for the provision and regulation of “water and sanitation services limited to potable water supply systems and domestic wastewater and sewage disposal systems”.

Read the full feature in the February issue of Plumbing Africa, page 65