Like so many things these days, effective sectional title scheme management depends on reliable information. As an illustration of the point, think about how quickly and radically our lives have changed with easy access to the seemingly limitless information on the internet.
Some of the information needed in sectional title scheme management can only be found in the plans for the scheme, both the building plan and the sectional plan. They are very different! The primary purpose of the building plan is to show the detail of the site and the buildings, while the primary purpose of the sectional plan is to show how the property is divided into sections and common property.
The building plan
The building plan consists of a site plan, layout, drainage, and structural drawings. A fire protection plan must also be submitted with the building plan.
Information shown on the building plan commonly required in scheme management includes building lines, visitors parking, connection points to municipal services, and location of drainage and plumbing and electrical connections in the buildings.
The dimensions of buildings and the rooms in the buildings are also shown on the building plan. This is particularly useful when matching the sectional plan with the building.
The location of structural and load bearing walls in the buildings are shown on the building plan and that’s very important information for scheme managers when considering applications for alterations and renovations to sections.
The sectional plan
There is so much information on the scheme found only in the sectional plan that it would be safe to say it’s not possible to do a good job of scheme management without having the complete plan ready to hand, knowing what it contains and being able to identify that information. A complication is that each scheme/developer/architect/land surveyor combination is different, which means that parts of individual schemes may be dealt with differently to other schemes, for example, gardens, garages, parking bays, courtyards, and so on.
All sectional plans must have certain information presented in specific ways and this means there are specific sheets of the plan that show specific information.
- Sheet 1 is the Title Sheet. It states the scheme’s name, location, Surveyor General and Deeds Registry numbers, identifies the buildings (and perhaps their uses), names any sheets that detail exclusive use areas. It also indicates whether there are encroachments on the land, and whether the developer reserved the right to add buildings to the scheme at a later date.
- Sheet 2 is the Block plan. The Block plan shows the general layout of the scheme, what other erven and roads form the boundaries, it shows the location of registered exclusive use areas, beacons and certain measured distances.
- Subsequent floor plan sheets, also consecutively numbered, show each section in the scheme and if the building is multi storied, the sections and parts of sections on each floor, and any part of the building that is common property, walkways, stairwells, service rooms, for example. If necessary there could be cross-section drawings of the buildings as well.
- There could be additional sheets that detail registered exclusive use areas.
- Last is the sheet or sheets that form the participation quota schedule – vital, of course in determining each owner’s share of the levy.
A particular point to emphasise is that the block plan, floor plan and exclusive use area sheets have a portion reserved for notes on the drawings. The notes section of the sheet explains certain features of the drawing and must always be checked.
Amending sectional plans
Certain physical changes to the scheme require the preparation, approval and registration of an amending sectional plan.
The extension, consolidation and subdivision (yes under the right circumstances it’s possible to subdivide) of sections, as well as the creation of registered exclusive use rights, all require a specific process to be followed, from appropriate authorisation to registration of an amending sectional plan.
It’s worth noting that changes to sections are driven by the owner concerned. It is the owner who must get the required scheme authorisation, deal with the municipality, appoint the professional to prepare and submit the draft amending sectional plan, and appoint the conveyancer to deal with the registration of the approved plan. And it is the owner who must pay all the fees!
Alteration and amendment of sectional plans
If a sectional plan is wrong, it is possible to have it altered, or replaced. The local Surveyor General must be notified of the error, and if necessary, the Surveyor General will order the plan altered or replaced. If the body corporate incurs costs as a result of the alteration, it can recover those costs from the surveyor, architect or developer concerned.
If the Surveyor General feels that anyone could be prejudiced by an incorrect sectional plan, he or she must advise the local Registrar of Deeds who will not register any transfer of affected units until the plan has been rectified. The Registrar has the discretion to register a transfer if the purchaser concerned gives his or her written consent.
Future development plans
It’s possible for the developer to reserve the right to extend the scheme. This must be done when the scheme is developed in phases and might be done if the developer thinks there might be an opportunity to add to the scheme in the future.
When applying for the reservation of this right, the developer must submit plans showing its intentions. While the plans are not approved at the reservation stage, they are required to be quite detailed, which would help those managing the scheme. One of the requirements relating to future development rights is that the body corporate charge the holder of the right for any costs incurred by the body corporate in respect of the portion of common property subject to the rights. That means the trustees and managing agent must be aware of the existence of the rights and what parts of the common property are affected.
As mentioned above, the existence of a future development right must be disclosed on the Title Sheet of the sectional plan, but all the details should be in the schemes register at the local Deeds Registry, and copies should be kept in the scheme records.
A sectional title scheme cannot be effectively managed without access to all the relevant information. There are many sources of this essential information: applicable legislation, the conditions of title of the scheme, its rules, the requirements of the local municipality, minutes of scheme meetings, financial statements, and many others, including the various types of diagrams and plans that apply to the scheme.
Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 11, Issue 08, Page 02.
Anton Kelly is an extremely knowledgeable specialist Sectional Title and HOA teacher and consultant. Having been the lead teacher on all the Paddocks courses for the last 7 years, Anton lives and breathes Sectional Title and HOA law, all day every day. There are not many issues he hasn’t come across before.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.