As in any industry, whether it is construction, education or logistics, governing bodies are established to regulate laws concerning the specific industry and to act as protection for the consumer. One such governing body in the Construction Industry is the NHBRC – National Home Builders Registration Council.
With the establishment of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 (Act no.95 of 1998), the NHBRC was founded.
The Act states that the following is expected of the NHBRC:
- To represent the interests of housing consumers by providing warranty protection against defects in new homes
- To regulate the home building industry
- To provide protection to housing consumers in respect of the failure of home builders to comply with their obligations in terms of this act.
- To establish and promote ethical and technical standards in the home building industry.
- To improve structural quality in the interests of housing consumers and the home building industry.
- To promote housing consumer rights and to provide housing consumer information.
- To communicate with and to assist home builders to register in terms of this Act.
- To assist home builders, through training and inspection, to achieve and to maintain satisfactory technical standards of home building.
- To regulate insurers contemplated in Section 23(9)(a)
- In particular to achieve the stated objects of this section in the subsidy housing sector.
In short, the NHBRC has been established with the end consumer in mind. It is to help protect the home owner from the following
- Unethical Contractors
- Bad Quality Materials
- Poor Workmanship
In accordance with the law, it is required that all building contractors be registered with the NHBRC. Failure to register with the NHBRC is a criminal offence, and is punishable by law. Unfortunately, not all contractors comply with this law. It is thus advisable to ensure that your contractor is registered and certified by the NHBRC. This is to protect yourself as well as your project.
Another requirement by the Act is that the new home construction be registered with the NHBRC a minimum of at least 15 days prior to construction commencing. The NHBRC sends out their inspectors to routinely inspect houses during construction, to ensure that there are no faults or structural failures that can be a danger at a later stage.
Other benefits of the NHBRC are that they offer:
- Major structural warranty cover on the property for up to five years from occupation date. This means that the NHBRC will have the builder attend to the following: Minor defects identified by the consumer within the first 3 months from occupation, roof leaks identified within the first year of date of occupation and any major structural defects identified within 5 years of occupation.
- Mediation between a consumer and builder, should any disputes arise.
- Recourse through Complaints, Arbitration and Remedial processes.