What role does a land surveyor play in Sectional Title developments?

Over recent years Sectional Title living has grown in popularity. Property professionals believe this increase may be the result of an increased communal way of living, offering a sense of increased security. Sectional Title also appears to be more affordable making this easier for ownership and property investments.

As mentioned in the Daily Dispatch “Legal Eagle” article on 6 July 2021, a number of role players will need to be involved in the Sectional Title development process.

A registered professional land surveyor, is an essential part of the professional team for any Sectional Title development.

As a land surveyor, lets start with what a Sectional Title survey would entail.

Sectional Title surveys involves the determination of the property beacons, positioning of the buildings relative to the property boundaries and the measurement and determining of the median line of each unit, which defines the extent of each section and exclusive use area within the scheme. This information is recorded on a sectional plan, which is lodged with the surveyor general and then the registrar of Deeds.

The process of creating a Sectional Scheme follows a number of steps or phases.

The feasability phase involves the acquisition of a copy of the title deed and zoning certifi- cate of the property, plus a copy of the building plans approved by the municipality.

The land surveyor will assess whether the proposed Sectional Title development would be allowed over the property. Assuming that Sectional Title is possible, the buildings and property beacons will be surveyed to check for any encroachments over building lines or property boundaries. If an application for a rezoning, relaxation of building lines, condonement of an encroachment, or removal of restrictive conditions is required, the land surveyor will advise on, and assist with, the processes to be followed.

Gross negligence will not qualify for any condonation or relaxation of statutory restrictions, which is why it is important to have beacons and buildings confirmed by a land surveyor be- fore development or construction commences.

The second phase will involve the physical measurement of all the internal sections of the buildings, common property, and any exclusive use areas which are to be provided.

At this stage the land surveyor will inspect for any significant deviations between the mea- sured building and building plans. If deviations are noted, the building plans will need to be updated and approved. In some instances, changes to the building might be necessary.

The land surveyor will then prepare draft Sectional plans in accordance with the Sectional Ti- tle Act No. 95 of 1986. This includes computing the areas of each section and determining the participation quota (PQ) of each section.

If the building is occupied by residential tenants, then formal notification to all tenants must be given, and a copy of this notice provided to the land surveyor. This requirement does not af- fect commercial Sectional Title conversions.

The final phase involves the submission of the draft Sectional Plans to the Surveyor General for approval. On receipt of approved Sectional Plans these are handed over to the property owner, who will instruct a property attorney (conveyancer) to attend to the registration phase of the Sectional Scheme.

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NPM Geomatics

About Us

The company has origins dating back to 1905 when the Horne brothers established their practice in Queenstown., and for many years practiced as Horne and Horne, later becoming Horne and Preston. The firm changed its name to Nzelenzele Preston & Medcalf in 2000, becoming NPM Geomatics in 2007. In 2002, the company acquired the East London based firm Parking, Tomlinson and Partners (PTP). The earliest record in the old leather bound notebook belonging to land surveyor Parkin is dated 1918. This book was used to keep records and notes of all surveys done in the various blocks and sections of old East London.

We specialise in Land, Cadastral, Sectional Title, 3D Laser Scanning, Topographical and Engineering Surveying.