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 bought my townhouse in 2014. on the 20th August 2016 there was an awful cracking sound and the floor in my passage and room lifted, like an earthquake. the tiles in this area shot up and cracked and the wall outside running under the roof has cracked. I was informed that the body corporate insurance are not responsible and that this is for my own cost. I have been in this home for two years, surely this is not right.

  2. I am a pensioner who has bought into a Retirement Village called FYNBOS HEIGHTS on the Pinnicle point Road
    The plot I bought was recommended to me but there are just no drains in this retirement Village and all the water lands up on the north side of my house it has no other escape but to seep through to the South side of my house.
    My garden that has cost a lot is just dieing and I get promised that drains are going to be put in but that just does
    not happen.
    There is a sliding door from my garage into my living area and the wind howls through my garage door because it faces the prevailing wind, They have said months ago they would put rubber around but it does not happen.
    My house was for occupation in November of 2015 I am still waiting for my kitchen cupboards to be finished

  3. Hello, i am in the process of building a house, what deposit is legally required to pay the builder

  4. my nursery schools roof caved in last year with all the rain. I then had to redo the roof ( including new strong beams ) The problem is it is still leaking in a lot and the roofing company ( Glamerous roofing ) will not come back and fix their work. Was I not supposed to have received a certificate or guarantee that this will not happen. The reason the first roof caved in was because we bought it and the workmanship was shoddy . then I had to pay a further R 130 000,00 for a new roof and if I don’t do something now this roof wont last . There are kids in these classes all the time but Glamerous Roofing have until now brought me this new quotation they are talking about to finally fix this leaking roof. what can I do about these guys ?

    • It depends on the contract you had with the builders! You could contact the NHBRC and see if they are registered with them. I imagine they should be if they are building roofs. If they are you can report them. However, be aware that the NHBRC doesn’t have any jurisdiction over repair work, or extensions and additions.

  5. Hi

    I purchased a new property (new development) still in progress from last year August 2015. The developer (builder) is new and its his first project. He use to be a Project Manager and owns a paving company. According to the contract and the finishes, some of it, he has changed on his own with out our knowledge and always given us some excuse, we were given certain options of having a gas stove and to be credited a certain amount which he also mentioned a few times. As it got to the stage of crediting us, he changed the amount and made lower etc. Our shower in the ensuite is not even std size, a normal person cannot even have a proper shower, there is basically no place to turn in it. When the owners brought it to his attention, he said he could fit in it but thats not true. He later on advised he will make it alittle bigger. We did see on site that he plastered it and was going to amend but a month later when we went back to our assumed date of moving in, we saw it moved back to its original size. We were advised by one of the workers that it was going to cost alot so the developer did not amend it even thought he advised me he was going to. He did not even advise me of this. He changed the property colour of the cluster from one advised to his own choice which none of the owners like and brought it to his attention because we were advised in February that he was going to bring a paint technician with three colours for us to choose. He told us that he was advised by the Architect to have that colour. On further investigation we found out that the architect had no dealings in this as he only signed for them to draw the plans. The owners were first told the property would be ready in December 2015. Due to the builder becoming ill, there was a delay/ Then we were advised by latest, March 2016, nothing happened, moved to April 2016. We were even given that date on an email as we placed noticed on our place we currently renting. He waiting for the last week to tell us the property not ready with electricity and water. The date was then moved to June and now end of July. He is currently delaying in paying the City Council and prejudicing all owners. Some of the stuff on the actual property is not up to standard for some of the owners eg tiling crooked, plastering, walls not straight and when advised of same he told the owners to pay the costs as it is going to cost extra though its his workers bad workmanship. He is busy threatening owners of their banks to pay the retention amount due to him before we can move. He is definitely running short of funds as most of workers , sub contractors are not paid and the owners cannot see major differences in their property after he gets paid from the bank, instead he is probably busy investing it in his property which is unfortunately also on the same land. Please advise what can we do, is there an inspector that can assist with the way forward as all owners have invested so much money already and we not even living on the property.

    • Have you checked whether the builder is registered with the NHBRC. Either way, report him to the NHBRC. If he is registered then they can intervene. If he isn’t they can charge him with fraud and you can sue for costs.

  6. NHBRC versus Danuel Property CC.  Registration Number 11383.  This is a part heard matter which commenced on the 7th December 2015.
    I gave up my typing job for Kudzai Masikati Fatokun whatever…only not to be paid for 2 weeks March typing!!! Was evicted short rent! Single Mom! It’s only R1400! I have proof of all recordings and typing done and proof of promised payment!

  7. good morning

    I just need to find out I have registered a new company and when I send my representative to write the excam we were told that he need the new manual R3200.00 after they told us that the old manuals will be sufficient we have the manual 1 and two dated 1999 needless to say he failed the excam after answered the questions correctly only to be told that he did not have the new book and did not answer the question in the correct way what do I do and where do I get this new manual

  8. Hi
    I have had a new house built in Hermanus – Sandbaai which was completed and occupied by Tenants last year July. I wrote to the NHBRC last week listing out all my issues with the Builder / Developer on poor workmanship and handing over of certificates of completion with warrantees. I got some certificates on Tuesday of this week after requesting them for a year from the builder. I have concerns of poor external plaster work that is powdery to the touch and external damp on my walls behind a bathroom. I have asked the builder on numerous occasions to sort it out, but to no avail and saying that its all okay. I do reside in the UK and have an Estate Agent looking after the house.
    Please advise who from the NHBRC can respond to my email which I have sent.
    Kind Regards

    • Unfortunately we have no affiliation with the NHBRC and they have a rotten reputation! However I have telephoned them on occasion and found various people who have been able to help with queries. So perhaps a phone call rather than email will work.

  9. Hi, i have bought a sectional title off plan but instead of a sliding door in the lounge it was replaced with a swing door. This was not communicated to the buyers and after speaking to the developer and not getting an explanation I get the feeling they did it to save money.
    Is there anything I should do as i have not taken occupation yet?

  10. Need some advice please. We hired a contractor almost 4 months ago to convert our garage into a flatlet. We regularly paid deposits as requested but the entire experience has been a nightmare. there have been errors made at every step. the contractor did not supervise his staff and we constantly had to call him to point out faults and beg him to fix them. progress was also very slow. he would actually tell us that he is pulling people from our job to complete other jobs. we have waited for our turn to get his full resources but this has not happened. Currently he is not replying our messages after sending him many begging him to come and finish the job. We still do not have water in the flat and one window is gaping and there is a big hole in one wall that needs plastering. i am afraid he is never going to come and finish up. what can we do?

    • Presumably you have a contract with the contractor. This should have specified payments to be made in line with work completed. It sounds though as if you have already paid too much.
      1. If this person is building homes (i.e. not just doing renovations and conversions) check whether he is registered with the NHBRC. If he isn’t he is building illegally and you can notify the NHBRC Fraud Line.
      2. You probably need to get a lawyer to help with the rest.

  11. Please contact me.

    Who warranties the perimeter walls ? i hear not the NHBRC. So i have a house build , which includes foundation , walls and a roof. it also includes perimeter walls , some of which join the house structure. i now have cracks in the perimeter walls , many actually , some so bad you can see daylight through them… but NHBRC say not their problem… sure it is their problem ??? thats like Audi or BMW saying that the factory installed tow bar or parking detection thats faulty is not their problem. Surely it is ??? or surely it is covered somewhere ? i cant see how this is now my problem to rectify when the issues started as early as 4-6 months after build , and are worse now , like a year later.

    • The NHBRC warranty only cover structural defects in the house. If the perimeter walls have been badly built, you need to take action against the builder.

  12. Good day
    I bought a plot and plan through a developer and took occupation in December 2014. After a year I noticed that the grouting of some of the floor tiles was crumbling. After a year and about 3 months later I reported it to the building company and they have informed me that it is no longer covered by any of the guarantees and I would have to fix it myself at my cost. At the time only a few tiles were affected but now it is throughout the house. The tiles are all becoming loose and the grouting just crumbles. Any advice on what to do would be appreciated. When one buys a brand new house one certainly doesn’t expect to have to redo all the tiling in the house. This is bad workmanship and bad supervision.

    • Check your contract. Unfortunately the NHBRC warranty only covers major defects and not just bad workmanship, even though the law was put into place to try and stop shoddy building.

  13. Hi there.

    We bought our house just over 12 months ago from a developer who is registered with the NHBRC. We have a leaking pipe inside one of the walls of our house. Who is liable for the cost of fixing the leak.

    Thank you

  14. I hired someone to build a wall around my house while I was gone for 3weeks. he promised to get it done in 2weeks. I paid him a deposit upfront, another when he finished the foundation as well as more money to buy bricks. When I got back home I found out he was never there and hadn’t started with anything. I tried call him several times and sent him emails and his never around when I go to his job. what can I do?

  15. Hi, our builder has refused to continue building until we make another payment. In our last meeting with him both parties agreed that all outstanding work ALREADY paid for must first be completed.

    He has failed to do this and removed all his worked from the project.

    He has now consulted his legal representative requesting us for payment.

    I don’t want to incur unnecessary cost on us but what are our right?

    • Your rights will depend on the contract you have with the builder. But if he has got a lawyer involved, you need to get a lawyer too!

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