Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, every builder who is in the business of home building must be registered with the NHBRC in accordance with Section 10 of the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act. In terms of section 10 of the Housing Consumer.Protection Measures Act 1998(Act 95 of 1998) any person in the business of home building is required by law to register with the NHBRC.

The fees are designed to provide a warranty cover for 5 year major structural defects for all new homes enrolled. The law requires all home builders to enroll every new home with the NHBRC, irrespective of selling price or whether it is built through cash or mortgage loan. All new homes must be enrolled 15 days before construction commences. Before an enrolment certificate is issued, the homebuilder must pay an enrolment fee that has been determined.

A house valued up to R500 000 is subject to a levy of 1,3%. An additional 1% is added up to R1-million, 0,75% up to R2-million and 0,5% beyond that up to a maximum of R34 000 per housing unit.

The enrolment fee which is paid by the housing consumer covers the following service such as, enrolment of the home, operating costs for Inspection of the home, complaints handling and consequential remedial works. In the case of remedial works, the housing consumer is provided with accommodation, storage and transportation when the home is demolished and is being rebuilt.

The cost of remedial works includes amongst others, demolition of a home, removal of debris, erection of the new home and all professional fees such as architects', quantity surveyors' and engineers' fees).

Yes. Where a contravention warrants a disciplinary process, a notice will be given to the builder advising him that the matter has been referred to the Committee, draw a charge, implications of the charge should be explained to the builder should he be found guilty and the builder is afforded a 30 days period to respond to the allegations.

Following repeated requests from members of the public regarding the role of the NHBRC and the how the warranty scheme operates, this news release is designed to address those issues.

There is nothing wrong with the mix provided the builder is using the same type of bricks. For example, you cannot mix concrete and clay bricks because they have different performance properties, which may result in cracks.

The registration process takes approximately 2 weeks. The Facilitators arrange everything from the Technical Interview, delivery of the Builders Manuals and the Induction.

Yes, the home owner can register as a builder with the NHBRC and get a subcontractor to build. The registered home owner however will then be liable and responsible for conforming to the NHBRC rules and regulations.

You need to appoint a competent person who is registered with the NHBRC for ALL enrolments. No home will be enrolled unless the necessary forms are signed by the competent person (Engineer).

The NHBRC is an acronym for the National Home Builders Registration Council which is an organ of state established in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act,1998 (Act 95 of 1998).

On 26 March 2001 a Statutory Council was installed, in accordance with the provisions of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 (Act No. 95 of 1998).

The NHBRC is an acronym for the National Home Builders Registration Council which is an organ of state established in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act,1998 (Act 95 of 1998).

The warranty scheme protects the housing consumer by providing a five-year warranty against major structural defects on the new home, 90 days defects liability warranty cover, 12 months roof warranty cover. A housing consumer (home owner) will have the assurance that a homebuilder registered with the NHBRC has agreed to abide by the rules and regulations laid down by the NHBRC.

This means that the homebuilder has agreed to build the enrolled house to a minimum quality standard that has been set out in the NHBRC's Home Building Manual.

The Office of the Auditor General has given three consecutive unqualified audits reports in the past three years. It should be borne in mind that the Office of the Auditor General invites itself to conduct audits on any public entity. The independent audit of the Office of the Auditor General has confirmed to the public that NHBRC is properly managed.

The increase in both home enrolments and registration of homebuilders demonstrates public confidence. 

The Act does not make provisions for the alterations, conversions, additions or improvements, but the matter is being discussed with an intent to make a recommendation to the National Department of Housing.

Every new house constructed must be inspected. If the house is enrolled prior to construction, the NHBRC is afforded the opportunity to carry out all necessary Inspections.The number of inspections conducted per house is a function of the size and the complexity of the design of the house.

The NHBRC has established a complaint handling mechanism, which has assisted many housing consumers. Each complaint is professionally and speedily processed on behalf of the housing consumer. According to the NHBRC records the NHBRC has not failed any housing consumer who had a genuine structural defect. All home owners, public and private institutions and media houses are advised to send all the complaints received by it to the NHBRC for evaluation.

The NHBRC may deal with a complaint in one of the following ways: 
* Accept the complaint
* Advise that the complaint falls outside the scope of the Act, and notify the housing consumer of its decision and its reasons.
* Request the parties to resolve the matter through legal proceedings as the matter falls outside the scope of the Act

Home Builders' Responsibilities:

The Home Builder shall:
* Confirm whether he or she denies or accepts the complaint,
* Confirm when any rectification work or any other appropriate action will start and end,
* Arrange necessary access to effect rectification

This is a process where by the NHBRC calls both the housing consumer and home builder to site to check which items of the housing consumers complaints are valid and need to be rectified by the home builder, with the aim of resolving the dispute.

Conciliation covers all relevant structural concerns of the housing consumer and clarifying the homebuilder's responsibility and the housing consumer's obligations.

Was your house enrolled at the NHBRC and do you have a certificate to prove it? If not, the NHBRC will not cover any defects and will not get involved with any claim. If you do have an enrolment certificate you must follow the procedure as follows:

A home owner and a home builder must try to resolve their differences in a reasonable manner before referring a complaint to the NHBRC. Before submitting a complaint to the NHBRC, the housing consumer should: 
* Notify the home builder in writing of all the complaints requiring attention within the applicable time periods set out in Section 13 (2) (b) of the Act;
* Keep a copy of the letter of complaint and proof of the date that it was sent to the home builder;
* Allow the home builder reasonable access to the property to effect rectification; and
* Ensure that all financial obligations to the home builder are met.

A housing consumer may refer a complaint to the NHBRC if any of the following conditions apply: 
* The home builder does not respond within the periods specified in the table below
* The home builder fails to honour their obligations.
* There is an unresolved dispute between the home builder and the housing consumer regarding the extent of the home builder’s liability.

Table: Responce Time from the Home Builder

Type of Complaint Period for the builder to respond or action
Three-month non-compliance 21 working days
One-year roof leak 7 working days
Five-year major structural defect period 7 working days
Deposit theft or irregularity Refer complaint to Commercial Crime Unit
Contractual disputes Refer to your legal representative/attorney
  • Phone the NHBRC’s toll free number: 0800 200 824.
  • Complete the complaint form.
  • Include: Proof of the occupation date of the home, if applicable (e.g. municipalities need the occupation certificate).
  • Proof of notification to the home builder within the necessary time periods.
  • A complete list of the items of dispute notified to the home builder.

As we do not get involved with claims, the NHBRC are the people to be contacted. They will explain exact procedures as well.

The ID details of the individual directors, owners of the companies/close corporations and sofe traders are captured on the NHBRC IT system, preventing re-capture of the same under different companies/close corporations.

The NHBRC is responsible for repair of major structural defects which occur to an enrolled home. The process is initiated once it is established that the home builder is either liquidated, unwilling or is unable to undertake remedial works.

When the homebuilder disputes the findings and recommendations in the conciliation report or the recommendation of a competent person (Engineer), the NHBRC will assis the housing consumer by undertaking remedial work

Over the past five years NHBRC has spent over R25 million in remedial works.

  • The housing consumer notifies the builder.
  • The defect is a result of non-compliance with the NHBRC Technical requirements
  • The homebullder is in breach of his obligations to rectify a major structural defect
  • The home was built by a registered home builder and was enrolled with the fund at the date of occupation
  • The homebuilder no longer exists or is unwilling or unable to meet his obligations.
  • Private drainage system from the structure up to the municipal connection or the cesspit connection
  • Any garage or storeroom
  • Any permanent outbuilding designed for residential purposes
  • Any retaining wall
  • In the case of sectional title unit, it includes the common property In terms of the sectional Titles Act.

The NHBRC's fund for recfiflcatlon covers a home which includes: 

  • Private drainage system from the structure up to the municipal connection or the cesspit connection
  • Any garage or storeroom
  • Any permanent outbuilding designed for residential purposes
  • Any retaining wall
  • In the case of sectional title unit, it includes the common property In terms of the sectional Titles Act.

Yes, the NHBRC has a list of all registered builders. You can find the list and do a search for registered builders on their website.

A track record means a lot in this business. Find out how long they have been operating for. Do a Google search on the company name and go and check out completed developments. Get hold of the chairperson of the body corporate and ask him or her a couple of probing questions. They must be registered with the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council).

Be cautious; pay as little up front as possible. Do not sign any blank release forms and ensure that the correct money gets paid over to the developer as the project proceeds. Check out their PC lists (personal choice) to make sure that the values they have attached to fittings represents fair value.

For example, they might tell you that they have allocated R70 per square metre for carpeting but it is impossible to get carpet for less than R110 per square metre.

Article Supplied by, Iona Minton

Yes you can, but you have to get exemption before you start building from the NHBRC (Minister of Housing). Among other things, you will have to agree that you:

  1. Understand the implications of the exemption and my/our home not being enrolled under the requirements of the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act.
  2. Will occupy the property and not sell the house within 5 years.
  3. Are aware that you will have no warranty protection as laid down in the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act (HCPM Act)
  4. Are aware that you may not be able to sell the home in future, as an enrolment certificate would normally be called for, upon resale?
  5. Are aware that the house I/we intend building must comply fully with the requirements of the National Building Regulations Act.
  6. Will be fully responsible for:
    - Administering the whole building project and purchasing of all building material.
    - Employing and monitoring artisans and labourers
    - Quality of materials and workmanship
  7. Will be receiving progress payments directly from the banking institution that is providing mortgage finance

Yes, you have to get exemption from the NHBRC (Minister of Housing) before you start building.

Act 95, Section 29: Exemption

The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Council on application made to it, in exceptional circumstances and on the conditions that the Minister may determine in general or in any particular case, exempt a person or a home from any provision of this Act, if the Minister is satisfied that -
(a) the granting of the exemption would be in the public interest:
(b) the granting of the exemption would not undermine the objectives of this Act, or the effectiveness of the Council; or
(c) should the exemption not be granted, the effect would be extremely prejudicial to the interests of the applicant and housing consumers.

If you want to add a double garage to an excisting home either attached or detached to the home, must the contractor or owner builder be registered with the NHBRC?

The Act states: Types and dwellings which fall within the scope of the NHBRC Warranty scheme are: All new residential dwellings built after 1 December 1999, regardless of selling price, excluding subsidy homes, should be enrolled.

The following are the types of dwellings covered by the warranty: Houses, Flats, Townhouses, Sectional titles, Cluster homes, Employee/Corporate housing, Marionettes, Rented homes.

A garage is not a residential building and does not need to be enrolled if it is an extension of the home.

A garage does need to be enroled however if it is part of a newly built dwelling.

Even if you are building cash and the bank won't require a certificate, your Conveyancing Attorney is obliged by law to make sure that the house is enroled.

Act 95, Section 18: Obligations of mortgagees, conveyancers and provincial housing development boards

(2) Any conveyancer attending to the registration of a mortgage bond in favour of an institution contemplated in subsection ( 1 ) shall ensure that the home builder is registered in terms of this Act, has enrolled the home with the Council and has paid the prescribed fees in respect of that enrolment.

Yes, a contractor can insist on selling a house as "voetstoots" when it is an existing home. Only in a case where you have a new home built and there is a building agreement between the owner and builder it will not be "voetstoots".

Voetstoots, means that you purchase the house as you see it. It is a good idea to add a clause to your agreement that you have a period of at least 14 days to submit a "Nags List" which will be fixed by the seller, at his expense within a certain period (say 14 days after receipt of the list).

The purchaser must make sure that the house is enrolled with the NHBRC and also obtain the "ORIGINAL ENROLMENT CERTIFICATE" on that specific property. This certificate is also your warranty on structure for 5 Years and roof for 1 year.

Documentation (Approved Municipality Plans) must be submitted to the NHBRC who will decide whether the property should be enrolled or not. A letter to the effect will be issued to developer/builder/owner for financial purposes.

Just the shape of a home alone can affect the price drastically: for example, two homes are the same number of square metres (m2) in size but one home measures 10m x 10m (square) and the other home 25m x 4m (rectangular). Both homes are exactly 100m2 but the walls of the first home are 40m long and the walls on the second home are 58m long. This is 18m of extra walling - almost a 50% difference! This difference alone can cost about R40 000.

Yes, we will assist you with selecting your preferred finishes. The initial cost includes an allowance, based on preferences indicated, for finishes you prefer. Once you have signed a contract, we will guide you through the actual selection of the various finishes.

Yes, although any variation is for your account, over and above the quoted price in the Contract

We encourage you not to do this, as we have already sourced very well priced products and are able to negotiate significant discounts. Using your own suppliers attracts various additional costs.

We will include a time estimate with our quote as we review each house on its merit in order to develop the programme of works. There are some factors that will impact the time line some of which are out of the contractor’s scope, however these will be discussed prior to signing of the contract. A program of works will be available for you at anytime.

In terms of the structure the house will be enrolled with the NHBRC who will ensure the house is structurally sound.

Many building contractors specialise in particular types of projects. So if your job is a renovation, look for a builder who specialises in this sort of work.

We have project management expertise and is included in the building of your home. But that doesn’t preclude you from staying fully informed throughout the project.

Most quality builders will be able to offer professional, trade and credit references. Follow those up and also do your own investigation. Check for industry association membership too i.e.: NHBRC.

To begin with quotes should always be in writing and easy to follow. The project scope should be clearly outlined along with inclusions and extras. Also check for fixture, fitting and finish allowances.

Be sure you’ve been offered a similar level of quality and service. Often hidden building costs and extras make a big difference. So be sure the quotes you have received provide for the job you expect.

Absolutely. A contract sets out in black and white what building work will be provided, cost, and payment. It also provides for recourse and termination if things go wrong. Always ensure the contract is a professional building contract.

If the building work isn’t up to your expectation, your first stop should always be the builder. If you are not able to resolve issues, seek mediation or dispute resolution through industry bodies like Master Builders. Your contract will provide for worst-case scenario.

Most quality builders will happily offer the contact details of past clients for you to speak with. It’s also worth asking about complaints. You can do this by checking against the builder’s license number.

You have to get plans for the house you want to build. They need to be drawn up by an architect or draughtsman. If you are building in an estate, your estate architectural guidelines need to be incorporated into the house plans.

If your stand is in an estate, you will have to submit the plans to the Architectural committee for approval. Hand in your plans at your local Municipal building office once it was approved by the Architectural committee. You usually have to pay a fee for the approval of the plans and complete some forms for every submission

This option is cheaper than getting professionals to do it on your behalf. But keep in mind that you will have to take a lot of time off work to purchase materials and arrange deliveries. Also, the supervision of a building project is the most important aspect that determines the quality of the end-product – your home.

You do not have to wait for building permission before starting with the tender process. You do have to get final permission before you start with the building works, though. You can send the plans to a number of established, reputable builders and request quotations for the project.  In order to ensure that every builder quotes on exactly the same finished product as another, you really need a list of everything that needs to be done. This is called a Bill of Quantities.

It is a comprehensive list of quantified items, listed by trade, for everything needed to build the specific house according to the plans.  If you don’t plan to request a quantity surveyor to draw up a bill of quantities for you, you can ask the builder to provide it for you with his quotation. Reputable builders will be willing to do this for you, if you are serious about the building project. Take into consideration that it is a lot of work on the builder’s side and that it will take some time to draw up.

If you accept the quotation, you need a contract with the builder that stipulates the terms and conditions of the building works / project. Jesmarann uses an industry standard contract, called the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) Principle Building agreements for all its projects. This is a contract that protects the client, as well as the builder, against all eventualities in the construction process. We recommend that you purchase a contract from if your builder does not supply you with it. The contract is to be signed by the builder, as well as the client, at the start of the project.

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