I own a sectional title unit and I love the view from my balcony and would like to enjoy it on a windy day, so I decided to enclose my balcony.
You would think that it is a simple decision, easily implemented. Wrong, think again.

If you want to renovate or extend a sectional title unit, you will have to do a lot more than merely obtain comparative quotes.
Sectional title ownership is regulated by the Sectional Titles Act as read with the Sectional Titles Regulations. It is for this reason that any renovation which necessitates the extension of the floor area of a unit needs to be done in strict compliance with this legislation.

So what does this mean and where to begin?

In terms of the National Building Regulations and Standards Act, all extensions and enclosures require approved municipal plans. An architect or a draftsman can be employed to draft these plans. When instructing the architect or draftsman it would be prudent to check with the body corporate as to whether there may already be a list of the materials which may be used when enclosing a balcony. The reason for this is that all materials used for construction within a sectional scheme must be similar.

The proposed plan must then be submitted to the body corporate, to consider and approve the enclosure of the balcony, and to pass a special resolution.

Once the approvals from both the body corporate and the municipality have been obtained, work can be commenced to enclose the balcony.
The problem which a number of unit owners are faced with, when selling and wanting to pass transfer, is that the extension has not yet been registered at the Deeds Office.

To enable registration of the extension, the unit owner must appoint a conveyancer and a land surveyor.

The land surveyor will measure and draft an amended sectional plan. The plan will reflect the increased size of the unit. This, in turn, will affect the participation quota (PQ) of the unit.

If the new extent of the unit creates a deviation of more than 10% in the PQ, then the conveyancer will be required to obtain consents from the mortgagees of each section in the scheme. This can be a tedious task, especially if the unit owners do not co-operate in providing the conveyancer with their bond account numbers.

The amended sectional plan will have to be approved by the Surveyor General and will be lodged and registered together with the application for extension of the unit.

Upon registration, the amended extent will be endorsed against the holding title deed for the unit.

The unit will now include the balcony and monthly levies will be adjusted accordingly.

So, although enclosing the balcony of your sectional title unit sounds easy, the procedure may be lengthy and is relatively costly. However, it is a necessity and part and parcel of sectional title ownership.