January 10, 2022

Tenant compliance: What is it and how do you get it?

Professional architecture technology firm Arcitek provides insight into the world of legal compliance in the hospitality,  restaurant and retail industries.

The laws of South Africa dictate that all retail space, from commercial shops to restaurants, are required to have an occupational certificate, which would confirm compliance with all laws and by-laws at the time of issuance.

The definition of tenant compliance

Tenant compliance is the process whereby any retailer obtains the necessary plans paperwork and documentation required by law in order to be compliant with said laws and to assist your business to operate safely without having to worry about repercussions and repudiations of insurance claims in the event of incidents.

Where do I begin with this process?!?

To become fully compliant in the eyes of the law, the following basic certificates and paperwork are required:

  • Fully approved architectural layouts of your store (i.e., the internal layout of your establishment, indicating Front-of-house, kitchen, storage, outside areas, offices etc.);
  • In the event of a gas-fired kitchen, a certificate from the installer of the gas piping;
  • A glazing certificate for your shopfront;
  • An electrical certificate from an E.C.A (Electrical Contractors Association) registered electrician, certifying that the wiring and installation is sound and to safety standards;
  • If you have drywalling, a S.A.B.I.S.A (South African Building Interior Systems) certificate from the installer of your drywall, and, if higher than 2.9m, an engineer’s sign-off that it is to specifications;
  • A plumbing certificate for your kitchen drainage and water points, and if applicable, your on-site bathrooms.

Ok, so what is my first step?

The first step would naturally be to contact a service professional who can guide you on the road to compliance. There are consulting firms who could point you in the right direction, but an architectural firm that specializes in retail compliance would be an ideal match for your compliance needs.

From there, the correct paperwork would have to be attained, and fully detailed, council-compliant plans would have to be drawn up, submitted through the various departments and, once approved, several inspections would have to be made by:

  • The Department of Health inspectorate, to ensure that your premises is sanitary, your waste disposal practices are to specification, your ablutions are clean, and that your general health practices in the kitchen environment are according to the standing health code;
  • The Fire Department, to ensure that your emergency exits are clear, your emergency signage is correctly positioned as per the plan layout, and your emergency equipment (Fire hoses, Extinguishers, fire blankets, first-aid kits etc.) are in their correct places as per the submitted plans;
  • Finally, once the above two have come to do their inspections and have been approved, the Building Control Inspector will make his inspection to ensure that everything in your outlet is as per the approved plans.
  • If the Building Control Inspector is satisfied that everything is as it should be, he will provide the final sign-off approving the issuing of an occupational certificate.

So, how does this benefit my establishment?

As a compliant restaurateur, your establishment will be able to engage with your insurer and negotiate reduced rates. Furthermore, your public liability insurance would most likely be forwarded to your landlord in the event of an incident.

What are the drawbacks of not being compliant?

In the event of an incident, and your establishment not being compliant and submitting the relevant occupational certificates, and all other documents as required, your insurance claim is most likely to be repudiated, and you as the owner would be liable to any claims, not only from injured persons but from stores next-door to yours as well. You may end up paying for your neighbours’ stores that got damaged as well.

Further to that, the town councils have full right and authority to not only issue a closure of your establishment but in addition issue a back-dated fine of R1,000.00 PER DAY, starting from your initial trading date.

Where your establishment requires a liquor license, that would be revoked if it is found that you do not possess an occupational certificate.

Who do I turn to? 

Ideally, specialists in the field of retail compliance would be your first go-to. From there, they should be able to guide you in the right direction. Even if you are unsure, heading to your local town council might help…

About Arcitek

Arcitek is an Industry-renowned firm with a combined total of over 120 years of knowledge in the construction industry and are specialists in the retail sector of design.

Contact details: 

Legal Compliance: 079 770 7619

Specialised Design: 074 139 4855




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