Nov 192011

The NHBRC gives protection

against shoddy workmanship

The NHBRC was established in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 to regulate the building industry and protect home buyers against shoddy workmanship.

Motivation at the time was largely charged by fly-by-night-builders who were conning people all over the country. There was undoubtedly a huge need to regulate the home building industry and improve building standards in this part of the construction industry.

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) – which is a Section 21, non-profit organisation – states that it has a vision to be “a world class organisation that ensures home builders deliver sustainable quality homes”. The way it set out to do this, was to establish a registration process for all home builders and contractors working in the domestic market, together with an NHBRC Defects Warranty Scheme for all new homes built by their registered members.



Registration with the NHBRC

Since December 1999, all home builders have been required, by law, to register with the NHBRC, and no financial institution is permitted to lend money against the security of a mortgage bond unless the builder is registered. As a further safeguard, conveyancers are not permitted to register bonds unless these requirements have been met.

However to register with the Council, builders must have not only the appropriate technical and construction skills, but also sufficient financial resources and management abilities to carry on a business without exposing “housing consumers” to unacceptable risks.

The NHBRC has a register of home builders who are members and they are in the process of establishing a grading system so that potential clients will get an idea of the quality of work to expect. Members will be able to use this information when they advertise their services.

In addition, the NHBRC keeps a database of any previous members who have been suspended or deregistered.

NHBRC Warranty Scheme

The primary concern of the NHBRC is “major structural defects” caused by poor workmanship. The warranty scheme was established to counter this problem, and because of it, the NHBRC is able to provide warranty protection against defects for all new homes: five years for the structure itself (foundations and walls), and a minimum of a year for roof leaks. Noncompliance and deviation from plans and specifications is also covered.

However, funding of the warranty scheme has historically been the most controversial issue relating to this organisation. Apart from the registration fees and annual levies, “enrolment” fees are charged for every building that is constructed. From the start fees were based on 1,3 percent of the price in the deed of sale or offer to purchase document, or the sum of the prices on the building contract and land sale agreement up to R500 000; thereafter a percentage scale is used.

NHBRC Manuals

One of the most valuable contributions the NHBRC has made is the publication of comprehensive home building manuals (which was a requirement of the founding Act). These are available directly from them at a very reasonable price.

Simple reference documents based on normal construction procedures and recommended practices, the manuals cover every aspect of building, including planning, design and construction. They contain numerous tables, definitions, diagrams and specifications, all of which encourage good building practice. Even though drainage installations and other belowground work is excluded from the NHBRC’s warranty scheme, relevant construction methods have been included in the manuals as a guide. Interestingly, some non-standardised construction methods not covered by the National Building Regulations are also included in the NHBRC manuals.

Comprehensive as they are, the NHBRC building manuals are not intended to replace existing building regulations and/or codes of practice determined by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act  remains in force and must be adhered to.

The NHBRC and Owner Builders

While the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act was promulgated to protect consumers, unscrupulous builders found a loophole in the Act. By claiming to be “owner builders”, they were able to get away with certain construction projects without registering with the NHBRC and paying the necessary fees.

In 2007 the Act was amended, defining an Owner Builder as”

“a) a person who builds a home for occupation by himself or herself; or

b) a person who is not a registered home builder and who assists a person contemplated in paragraph (a) in the building of his or her own home”.

The Act also introduced People’s Housing Process projects, or PHP Projects which are approved in terms of the National Housing Code: Housing Subsidy Scheme, and which are exempt from the Act if they use there own labour to build a home.

The updated legislation also gives owner builders the right to apply for exemption from being forced to register as a “home builder” if they wanted to build owner build their home.

You can connect to their website:

You can search their database for registered builders on their website: builder-search




  503 Responses to “National Home Builders Registration Council – NHBRC”

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  1. I am extending my bedroom and the garage,my plan has been approved by local authority and the engineer who helped me died before the building started.My builder organised another engineer when he comes for inspection I must pay thousand rand all in all its three thousand rands ,no receipts given to me.Please help me cos I was never told about paying this engineering

  2. Bought a house in Nov 2015.The seller was owner builder in 2000.Harvy tile roof is not according to approved plans,since the slope was 11 degrees and the plans asked for cromadek ibr roofing.The roof leaked like a sieve during the past rainy season.I had to replace the whole roof as well as the garage and carports roof to match the main roof.All 453 square meters of it!The seller now lives in Dubai.I think he built the house with an ABSA loan.What are my rights?Is there a possibillity to claim the full amount or a portion thereof?

    • I’m afraid that I don’t think you have any rights now. You should have checked the plans at the time. Once you took ownership liability shifted to you.

  3. Good morning my name is Xolani, I just recently bought a house. The developer has been paid, and I had made pre-arrangements with him that I would like to move in on the 16-04-2016 which he agreed upon, the thing is he still had “small touch ups” to complete. Which he had also promised will be over and done with by the day we had agreed apon, when I got to the house to my surprise most of the so called “small touch ups” weren’t complete yet, I called him and he showed up late told me that he was going to a funeral, but so guys where supposed to come complete everything, but they didn’t show up. When I called him he started getting rude with me and never called me back again. Please help on what should I do as I want to move in now it’s long overdue

  4. I have purchased a property for rental and plan to undertake some renovations prior. Do I need to register it with the NHBRC even if the Contractor is registered with you?

    Thank you, Navan, Germiston Gauteng

    • Nobody is registered with us. We are an informative web site! However renovations do not fall within the scope of the NHBRC – only new building.

  5. To whom it may concern. I would like to find out whether a builder that is registered with the NHBRC takes out like an insurance protection from the NHBRC against whom an owner can lodge a claim if a dispute has arisen between the builder and the owner.

    If so what is the procedure that needs to be followed by the owner.

    Many thanks

  6. I am planning to have a Granny Annex Built by a registered local Builder. His quotation states that NHBRC levy is for my account. am I obliged to pay this levy? if so how is it calculated. I own the land for the intended site. The cost of the build is estimated at R800,00.

  7. Hi, I’m Glenn. I need some advise.(1)On my plan from the Developer, is a boundary wall ,plaster and painted.Theirs an existing face brick wall ,now the developer don’t want to plaster and paint it.Can I ask for a refun for this wall on the plan.(2) My plot have rocks on it,the developer refuse to flatten it,now I have table mountain in my back yard. need some advise.(3) In his contract is gutters and down pipes. he don’t want to install gutters.what is my rights.

    • Whatever is on your contract is what you should expect. If this is not done, you can demand a refund – but you might have to take the developer to court. However, all home builders must be registered with the NHBRC. Contact them to check that he is and that your house was enrolled. If not he is building fraudulently and you can report him.

  8. I have approval to build (plan)a house by municipality. I was not aware that I need to register so I continued with building at this stage the structure is more than 2mtrs high. The inspector came an instructed that I stop the building and register he told me that I will get a penalty charge of about R80 000 I’m so scared cos I don’t have such money and I’m building from my pocket as I don’t have funding from the bank. How can I deal with this situation?

  9. Good day,

    I have been trying to load the nhbrc website for days now and the only time the page did load it went to a gambling website, is there another means of registering?

  10. Good day

    I need assistance please.

    The size of my yard -stand 1454 as per application and measurements is supposed to be 520 square meters and the actual house 82 square meters. However because of stand 1430 being an old house that was built before the development started, a portion of it is in my yard. Part of the portion in my yard is a swimming pool. I have addressed this with the developer from which I bought the property and they are not willing to handle this .I am frustrated because the portion in question is not a small portion which I can ignore.
    A surveyor was appointed by the seller of 1430 and he confirmed that the demarcations of the 2 yards are incorrect. I have also been to the municipality town planning and they also confirmed this.

    My question is: because the title deed (mine-1454) is reflecting the size to be 520 square meters which it isn’t. How do I go about resolving this?
    I have attached the Arial view I got from the town planning.

  11. Good Morning hope someone can assist.
    My neighbour is building a dwelling, the builder dug trenches & caused the vibracrete boundary wall to shift the Inspector now insists that the wall be taken down & with this my property will be exposed. The builder never reinforced or checked where the pegs are be digging trenches.

    • If this is your wall and the neighbour’s building cooperation has damaged it, he must sort it out. If it is his wall there isn’t much that you can do.

  12. Good day , my house was built by someone who is not registered . He did not complete it but it has roof . Now I have learnt that I need to have a builder’s certificate in order for me to be able to sell the house. If I get a registered builder to finish the house will he be able to issue me a certificate if the house was not started by him. Thanks

  13. Good day, I bought a plot and plan through a developer in 2014. Its a security complex in the western cape. I gave a substantial deposit at the end of December 2014. However due to sloppy work, I ask them to fix some snags and email other snags while visiting the premises. Up to today, they have completed some of the snags but are not entire finished yet. The construction company informed me that the workers will come this week to continue work.
    I feel they are dragging the whole situation and it is only a two bedroomed semi detached house.
    I need some information what to do from now, because I don’t understand the delay. I haven’s signed the happy letter, yet, just the hand over papers.
    Thank you.
    Kind regards
    Joan Frank

  14. Good day

    Looking for your training prospectus for 2016 w.r.t building regulations, standards etc.

    • I am not aware of any training prospectus. We do give all the relevant info on this website though. If you want to purchase the National Building Regulations you will need to get them from the SABS.

  15. Good day, As I could not either connect to your website ( or find your E-mail address, therefore I use this space to describe my problem:
    I have the roof (ceiling) insulation in my house which is cellulose kind of powder called Eco-Insulation. That insulation was installed by previous owner of the house and I don’t have any certificate or document which confirms that it is fire and smouldering resistant. Fire risk comprise down lighters and chimneys. My house insurer (Momentum) says that if house catches fire due to this insulation it will be treated as my negligence and no insurance compensation will be paid for damage. Therefore, I need some kind of certificate that this insulation conforms to SABS standards and is fire and smouldering resistant, and was installed properly, etc. My house insurer (Momentum) suggested that NHBRC could help me help me with obtaining such certificate by sending your inspector or otherwise. Please help me. My tel: Home (012) 807 2105, Cell: 083 2476288, Address: 42 Montery Place, 140 Griffiths Road, Equestria, 0184 (Pretoria).

    • Hi Adam, As you can see our website is and is a private information service we offer the public and are not associated with any para-statal or state orgainsation. Please contact the NHBRC directly Phone: 011 317 000 or Toll Free: 080 020 0824

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