Mar 052013
 

The NHBRC – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

A row of suburban houses

 

The NHBRC has a page with a number of questions that we also get on this website. The most common questions and answers we have listed here below with thanks to the NHBRC.  We must point out to all home owners and potential home owners, as well as all contractors and home builders, that the new home being built must, by law, be registered with the NHBRC. The builder or contractor also has to be registered with the NHBRC. The NHBRC will not consider a claim or complaint if this is not done. If the house or contractor has not been registered then they have broken the law and might be liable to a fine. There are links to the NHBRC site at the end of the Q&A’s where you will find more answers.

 

Q – How Does One Know Whether A Builder Is Registered With The NHBRC?

A – The NHBRC has established customer centers in all provinces. To find out if a builder is registered with the NHBRC you can contact your nearest customer center, search online or by calling the toll free number 0800200824.

 

Q – Does The NHBRC Conduct Inspections?

A – 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.

 

Q – What Does The NHBRC Inspect?

A – The following inspections are carried out:

Foundations
Roof height
Practical completion
Stormwater
Carpentry
Plumbing
Electrical
And waterproofing

 

Q – How Many Inspections Are Carried Out By The NHBRC In The Building Process Up To Completion Of A House?

A – A minimum of four inspections are carried out to ensure that the house is of good quality and that it will be fit for habitation. Housing consumers and home builders are encouraged to demand an inspection from the NHBRC during construction.

 

Q – How Does The NHBRC Handle Complaints?

A – The NHBRC has established complaint handling mechanisms, which have assisted many housing consumers. Each complaint is professionally and speedily processed on behalf of the housing consumer. According to our 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.

 

Q – What Should a Home Owner Do When There Is a Problem with a Builder’s Work?

A – The housing consumer (home owner) should contact the home builder within three to seven days. The housing consumer can approach the NHBRC if the home builder fails to attend to the problem.

 

Q – Under What Circumstances Will The NHBRC Do Remedial Work To My House?

A – 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 assist the housing consumer by undertaking remedial work.

 

Q – What Happens If Major Structural Defects Arise Within The First Five Years Of Occupation?

A – The NHBRC’s fund for rectification 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.

 

There are more Answers on the NHBRC site.

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  259 Responses to “NHBRC – Q&A’s”

Comments (259)
  1. Hi,

    I current have a flatlet in the yard of my plot. The flat has a concrete roof and i would essentailly either like to deck it out such that I get an awesome view or alternatively go up a level and have a patio on the top level to access the view.

    Is there resitictions prohibiting me from doing this? i.e. do i need permission, if so will this permission be required for the deck option as well?

    please advise,

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,
      It is difficult to make a judgement call on this as I am not sure how strong or stable the “concrete roof” is. I suggest you find out from the people who constructed the roof if it is strong enough to take the weight of people using it as a deck. To answer your question, no there should not be any restrictions you using the roof as a deck. Only that for safety council will want you to put up a railing around the area done to NBR specs. If you want to go all out and have another floor with a covered patio then you will have to get plans done and submitted.

  2. Hello, I´m a still a student (architecture) and I´m doing a design for a game lodge.

    I live in Germany, just like the owner of the area were the game lodge should be build. They own an area about 30 miles northern Port Elisabeth, so they have already a home there for more than 10 years now. The first (pre-)Design for the gamelodge is already finish. I´m also a mason with graduation, so they want me to do the work as a project manager. A lot of work should be done by people without an employment.
    I´m able to manage the foundation and the construction of walls and roof. So I need engineers who do
    inspections for my planing (exact calculations) and also for the building process. If I understood right, it is necessary to do this, so the inspectors give green light and the work can go on. Anyway, if law or not, I have to be sure about my planing calculations so far, so I need someone who is able to help me developing my design, especially in questions of detailing.
    Further the owner and me are in Germany right now, so I have to do the most important step in planing
    almost in the end-phase of the planing process: research about the ground-situation (if necessary on my own with ground-probing) and the grounding with terrain-sections. I guess I will need some kind of an approval before any work can start.
    How I said in the beginning, I´m still a student, so I guess I have no legitimation at all to manage any building processes.

    My question: Will the NHBRC help me? Do they offer services witch make a workflow able between the owner, the building contractor and me? Do you have any tips for me?

    • So what I want to find out is, if the NHBRC offers an outline builing application and how far they do this, if they do. And i would like to know if this is a general free service or not, or when is a project so complex to the NHBRC that an outline building application cannot be required easily and for free.

      Sorry for the lot of text and questions, these things are new to me and I have to find in. Of course I try to get answers for my questions directly from the NHBRC. Anyway, if you can help me a little bit would mean much help to me. Thank you.

      • Tobi your question doesn’t make sense. I have no idea what you are aiming to do. Build? Apply for membership to the NHBRC? Write a project! Building applications go to the local authority – with plans for approval. There is all the information you need in the section on the NHBRC on this site PLUS on their site. I suggest you start by reading this.

    • Tobi you are not qualified or registered with the necessary organizations in South Africa so you are absolutely NOT “able to manage the foundation and the construction of walls and roof”. It would be totally illegal for you to do this unless there is a superior person in charge of the project – a competent person – i.e. an architect or an engineer who IS registered. They would then ultimately be responsible for the foundations etc.
      And a short answer to your question regarding the NHBRC is NO! If the owner is planning to owner build, he/she needs an exemption from the NHBRC – and then will need to follow the regular process as described above and elsewhere on this web site. If he/she is employing a building contractor (you do mention a contractor) that person/company needs to be registered with the NHBRC and the house needs to be enrolled. The NHBRC will then do its regular inspections. They do not offer services as such.

  3. Hi
    I am trying to find somewhere where I can find reputable builders, there are so many con artists out there, is there a link or a site that anybody knows or a builder in the JHB north area that can assist.

    • Hi Anne,
      This is a major problem in SA, trying to find an honest reliable builder from all the chancers does not seem to be easy. The best place to start is with the NHBRC database. Even though the NHBRC are only concerned with brand new houses their database of builders does give a status for the builders. They are either registered, expired, suspended, de-registered or on hold. You can search by province as well. It does not give contact details but if you do a search for the name I am sure you can find them fairly easily. If they are too big a construction company to handle your job then ask them if they can recommend one. There is also the Master Builders Association, they have offices in all provinces that you can contact on their website here: mbsa.org.za Or you can call the head office here: 011 205 9000

  4. Hi NHBRC

    I have a NHBRC registered builder whom has not completed the additions and alterations to my home. Additionally the workmanship with certain finishes, according to me was not of an acceptable standard. After confronting him with this, he now demands payment for stuff that was never contracted for before he completes the project? I am not in a position nor prepared to pay him. What is my recourse?

  5. Hi

    How do I know that a builder is not going to run away with the deposit made into his account for purchasing materials and how do I arrange for these NHBRC inspections and at whose costs.

    regards
    Tom

    • Thomas if your builder is registered with the NHBRC – which he must be by law – he will enroll your house with the NHBRC and they must then do the inspections at their cost. Contact them directly to check at which stages they will be doing the inspections and then make sure they do them.
      If your builder is running a reputable business, he isn’t going to run away with your deposit. If he does – contact the NHBRC and the police! … and Carte Blanche

  6. Good day,

    I do small repairs for home owners and currently I have a home owner that want me to install a handrail at some steps to the entrance of the house. The owner does not want it according to building regulations, I would like to know who would be held responsable if someone gets hurt at the steps, the owner or the installer. Can I request the owner to sign a document stating that he had been quoted according to building regulations but insisted that the job must be done to his design, would this make him the responsable person?

    • Hans that is exactly what you should do. It may even pay you to get an attorney to draw up the letter. You need to state in the document that you will use quality materials and accepted methods, but that you cannot be held responsible for any aspect once the job has been handed over. You should also get him to put his request in writing. Good luck.

  7. Hi NHRBC,

    You noted that the NHRBC does not do site inspections but why does one of the answers to a question above note that you inspect the following:

    Foundations
    Roof Height
    Practical completion
    Etc…

    Also, I have a problem with the following builder
    Granville Du Plesiss
    Gap Housing is the name I think he is trading as.

    My dwelling is currently at “roof height” and there is many defects with the garage brickwork,
    eg:
    cracked bricks
    top section where the support beams are fixed large sections (3 rows of bricks) of the brickwork is breaking off.

    Also, when the living room was tiled you can clearly see that the outside wall is out with 30mm front to back. Door leading from the garage to the living room has a gap that lead from 5mm to 15mm so it looks like the floor was not “screeted” level.

    How many days does he get to resolve the issue and how do I get the NHRBC to inspect the dwelling “roof height” to see if it falls under specifications.

    Please, I need help with the above mentioned issues asap.

    Kind Regards,
    Bobby Bassett

    • Hi Bobby,
      I think that you have the wrong end of the stick here. WE ARE NOT THE NHBRC! If you read the info on this site correctly then you will see that we are private citizens just like you. We do though have many years experience and try to help and advise people like you.
      The first thing you need to establish is whether your builder is registered with the NHBRC. I have looked on their site and see that there are 4 “Gap” builders listed: 2 registered, 1 expired and 1 suspended. Note that builders are not permitted – by law – to offer construction services unless they are registered. So if the builder is not registered – and your house is not enrolled with them – then he has broken the law! You can check all these details on the NHBRC website here: nhbrc.org – or phone them.
      If the builder is registered, the NHBRC should have been doing site inspections – see this link to their website – and scroll to 8. Does The NHBRC Conduct Inspections? & 9. What Does The NHBRC Really Inspect?. Your house will also be covered by their warranty scheme.
      If you builder is not registered, and the house is not enrolled, then you can throw him off the site and claim damages. But you will need to consult with an attorney and go through the legal process to get your money back. Presumably you have a contract with the builder. You need to check this as well. Just remember that if he is not registered with the NHBRC he is breaking the law – so I doubt that you would be bound to honour your part of the contract. Again, an attorney will be able to advise.

  8. Good day,
    I am not happy with some of the workmanship done by Full Circle who
    are the builders of my new house situated at 35 Mussel Ave, St Francis
    Bay. I would like an inspection done to discuss/clarify my concerns
    and outstanding work and “snaglist”

    Can someone please urgently phone me to arrange this.

    Thanks,
    Irma Smit

    • Hi Irma,
      We do not do site inspections.
      I have done a search for “Full Circle” on the NHBRC website and the only company that shows up is – 9345 Mpumalanga Full Circle Projects Twenty Two CC 2004/03/27 – and they are suspended.
      From what I can see on the stfrancisbay.co.za website Full Circle is a merger of two former companies and they may be registered under one or both of those names.
      All building companies must, by law be registered with the NHBRC. Phone Full Circle and check with them.
      When you have the registered company name you can check the links I have given you below for more info.
      The NHBRC links are at the bottom of this page: buildingregulations.co.za/national-home-builders-registration-council/ 
      There is a link to the database as well where you can check if the builder is registered. And all their contact details are there as well.
      Ask them about inspections.
      What you can also do is get an independent inspector in to give you a report as this will also help.

  9. what are the certificates given by building inspector when a house is completed I believe they are three just don’t know what are they

    • There are quite a lot of certificates that may be issued.
      I think there is a proof of site classification certificate which is issued prior to building
      There’s a certificate for the appointment of a competent person
      Where additional competent persons are appointed as part of the build, they have to supply certain certificates.
      Certificate of electrical compliance – from the qualified and registered electrician
      Certificate of occupancy
      Certificate of completion
      Agrément certification for all houses that are constructed using non-standard or unconventional methods of construction
      The NHBRC also issues completion certificates.
      Probably others too.

  10. My neighbour is busy building a wall for a double story house on the boundary line. This is protruding a few centimetres onto my driveway leaving me with not enough space to park and open my car to get off.Is he allowed to do this?Who can I contact in Durban for advise.

    • Barry absolutely not! And if they are building on the boundary they probably need neighbour’s permission – i.e. written permission from you. Encroachment is not permitted unless you have given written permission. So anything that encroaches (protrudes) onto your land must be removed. You need to contact the City of Durban / eThekwini Municipality. I have given you the link to their website. As far as I know Cape Town is the only municipality that allows building up to a boundary without neighbour’s consent. I suggest you go to the municipal offices and ask to see someone of authority in the town planning department – or a senior building inspector.

      • Thanks for your reply Penny. I have contacted the labour inspector. He says that summons have been issued. That doesnt help us as my neighbour still carries on. What will happen to the building,will it have to be dropped down? What is the most logical step for us to follow now?

        • Barry there is not a lot that you can do other than let the law run its course. I would keep a diary of events – write up as accurately as possible what has happened to date – e.g. when you first approached your neighbour, when you spoke to the building inspector etc – on which date (as accurately as possible). As things happen from now on also keep a record. And I would also take photographs of the work ongoing – at least on a daily basis. If it comes to a court case, you will be able to prove to the court that your neighbour simply ignored all warnings.
          The only other thing you could do is to get a lawyer to apply for an urgent interdict to stop your neighbour from building. I don’t know what it would cost, but it might be worth considering. You would have to prove that the building is adversely affecting you in various ways… which probably wouldn’t be difficult. You could ask an attorney for a quotation.
          At the end of the day, if your neighbour has blatantly broken the law (which seems clear) – and you refuse to give consent for him to retain what he has built, it’s very likely he will have to demolish.
          Let us know what happens. And good luck.

  11. Need to know any disadvantages of using stucco as a floor interior as appose to normal tiles or wood.

    • All products have their own special advantages and disadvantages. Stucco floors generally look smooth and luxurious and have a mottled look. They do need to be properly laid and maintained. A brilliant brand that has similar products is Cemcrete. I have provided a link so you can check out their products.

  12. What does the following paragraph specifically mean? Nobody can tell me. “The council requests a bank financial on the selling price of the unit shall be guarantee in terms of Regulation Gazette No. 6680 section 14(7). Such financial guarantee will be kept for a period of 5 years until the warranty expires.

    • Hi Willem,
      We are not the NHCRC. I am guessing that you are talking about the National Home Builders Registration Council and not your local council. I suggest you contact them directly on their toll-free number 0800 200 824. The wording of that clause seems to be missing a few words and does not make any sense to me either. Do not sign anything until they sort this out. Tell them to check the wording of their contracts before they send them to clients!

  13. I am currently do additions to our house (in which we live). I am not
    employing a contractor. I am doing the work myself, mostly on
    weekends, together with casual labourers (bricklayer and manual
    labour). How do I apply for exemption from registration – i.e. as an
    “owner builder”? I have tried to contact the Durban office several
    times but the phone just rings.

    • Hi Rowen,
      There is the exemption form that you can download from the Owner Building Site >Click Here< . There are all the national contact numbers on this page as well >Click Here< , if there is a problem getting through on any number then phone their national number 0800 200 824

  14. want to know whats wrong with my room,my floor is always wet,even the walls they
    shows white as if the walls absorb water.

    • Hi Seed,
      This sounds to me from the information you have supplied that there was no damp-proof course (plastic underlay) put under your foundation. There might not be any under your walls either. You can read here the basics of how a slab should be cast ownerbuilding.co.za/concrete-slab. The white that you see on the walls is called efflorescence and is the result of dissolved salts from the cement, concrete and mortar leeching out. You do not say who the owner is or who the builder was, but you should contact them and point this out.

  15. Can i make any alterations to increase my kitchen side since it is 1.3 to my neighbors wall and since the seware and water pipes are running on the kitchen side.? Can i build a double garage any side from any point in my yard. My number 07xxxxxxx

    • Hi Petunia,
      Have a look under the Building Extensions Menu there is a link called Boundary Walls & Fences or go to this link – Boundary Walls & Fences. That page will give you some guidelines as to what is allowed. Because all sites are different the best thing to do is to contact your local Building Inspector and he will know the restrictions for your property.

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