There is an argument that comes up regularly about sectional title owners installing mezzanine floors in their sections. One may well ask how there can be room for a mezzanine floor in a flat but there are plenty of higher-end apartments that have double volume living rooms and, of course, a section need not be a flat, it could be a house, an office or an industrial unit.
Adding a mezzanine floor is a clever way of increasing the space available, no matter what the use of the section. The argument is on whether or not the addition of a mezzanine floor is an extension of the section as provided for in section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act, 95 of 1986 (“the STA”) and so requiring a special resolution of the body corporate to authorise, the approval of a draft sectional plan of extension, its registration and, of course, an increase in the contributions the owner must pay.
One must start by looking at the provision in section 24 of the STA. It says if an owner proposes to extend the “…boundaries or floor area of…section…” A mezzanine is built inside a room, usually, so it does not extend the boundaries of the section. An argument that a mezzanine floor is not an extension of the section therefore hinges on whether a mezzanine is floorage.
The Johannesburg Town planning scheme definition of a mezzanine is, “An intermediate floor in a building.”
The National Building Regulations definition is “mezzanine storey” means any mezzanine storey the floor area of which does not exceed 25% of that of the floor below it”.
The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 103 of 1977 definitions provide that, “architectural area” means the sum of the areas of the several floors of a building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate floor tiers and penthouses of headroom height, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls.”
Clearly the building regulations accept that a mezzanine is floor area.
Owners who wish to install a mezzanine must therefore follow the STA requirement for the extension of sections. A point to note is that the land surveyor or architect who prepared the draft sectional plan of extension is required to include in their submission of the plan to the Surveyor-General for approval a certificate that the extension is not contrary to any town planning scheme, statutory plan or conditions of approval of the development. Structural alterations or additions to buildings require approved building plans, so the installation of a mezzanine must be approved by the local municipality as well as by the body corporate.
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Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 13, Issue 11.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.