The do’s and don’ts of alterations and renovations in sectional title

Owners can be left frustrated when they have planned an alteration or renovation and then realize that they require the trustees’ approval before any work can be carried out. This is why it is important that owners familiarize themselves with the rules of the body corporate so that planned alterations and renovation can proceed without any unnecessary delays.

Below are some points to consider before carrying out any alterations and renovations in your section, but first you do need to know the difference between the two as the rules make a distinction between alterations and renovations.

  • Alterations is when you are making structural alterations i.e., removal of walls and work that will involve changing the aesthetics from the outside.
  • Renovations involve internal decoration of your unit i.e., tiling, repainting or installing a cupboard.

When carrying out a renovation you will require permission from the trustees as there will still be a rule in place as to when and how the work can be done. With alterations, an application will be required together with a structural engineer’s report and plans that will need to be submitted to the trustees for approval.


1. Aesthetics: Permission will be required when you affect the aesthetics, such as:

  • Enclosing the balcony of your section
  • Installing windows
  • Fitting new security gate
  • Installing a satellite dish

Rules will also apply as to how changes can be made to balconies and patios if it can be seen from the road or by other residents.

You are not allowed to do the following without written consent from the trustees:

  • Paint, drive nails, screws or mark, damage or deface a structure that forms part of the common property.
  • Make a change to the external appearance of the section or any exclusive area unless the change is minor and does not detract from the appearance of the section or the common property.

2. Structural support: A structural engineer’s report will be required before the trustees will approve the removal of any walls. The reason for this is that the wall may be a load-bearing wall, and by removing the wall it will affect the structural support of the building.


As there is normally noise and mess related to renovations, the body corporate may have restrictions as to the time of day that renovations may be carried out.  The rules will clearly define the hours when contractors are allowed on the premises and how building refuse should be disposed of.


Author: Danielle Crewe, Senior Property Manager (Sectional Title)