Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Respect your restrictive covenants

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis
Craig Francis


Good day readers. Thanks for your continued support of this column. This week I want to continue in the vein we have been for the last couple of weeks by looking at the building eaves and its effect on our restrictive covenants.

The eaves of the buildings many times cause significant problems for homeowners who ignore or forget about them during the building process and in their home extensions and or modification.


What are the eaves



of a building?


The eaves of a building are the edges of the roof which overhang the face of a wall and, normally, project beyond the side of a building. The eaves form an overhang to throw water clear of the walls and may be highly decorated as part of an architectural style.

The main function of the eaves of a building is to prevent rainwater from running down the side of the building walls and to prevent water from going between the joining between the roof and the building wall. They also create a shelter around the house from the rain; help prevent dirt and mud splashing onto the walls and also prevent erosion of the building footing. So, eaves are very important to a building. The eaves are also called cantilevers.


Eaves are considered as



the building itself


Many persons just see the eaves as an appendage to the building but don't consider it as being the building itself. So, when they consider setbacks as stipulated by the restrictive covenants the eaves are not considered. However, the eaves of the building are (for the purpose of restrictive covenants) considered as part of the building itself unless expressly stated otherwise in the wording of the restrictive covenant. This means that when you are doing any construction you must take the width of the eaves into consideration with regards to your building setback.


Setbacks should be



from the eaves


So, when you are setting out your building, if the restrictive covenant has a minimum setback distance you must not set out the building footing to that minimum. The minimum should be from the eaves. So, for example, if the minimum setback distance is five feet and the eaves width is one foot then you would have to set the building back six feet.

If the eaves hang over to the five feet mark then the building is in breach. Even if there is no eaves and then there is addition done vertically (add on upstairs) then the roof upstairs and that eave will affect the setback so whatever you do the eave must be taken into consideration.

Also, many times the eaves form part of the floor when persons add on upstairs. This then, will see the upstairs eaves further encroaching in the minimum setback distance stipulated by the restrictive covenants.


Take note of the



restrictive covenant


So readers do take note of what your restrictive covenant says about your minimum setback distance and any reference to the eaves. If it doesn't state expressly that "for the purpose of this covenant the eaves shall not be considered as part of the building" (or any variation of this) then it is and proceed accordingly.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land, until next time traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Service