Building Inspections and The NHBRC: Who Takes Responsibility

Unfortunate events started the 2018 year off in Johannesburg with various houses collapsing in Cosmo City, Protea Glen and Soweto.  This raised questions about the compliance with building standards, as well as quality control by contractors, with the Executive City Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba stating clearly that the culprits will be brought to book.

We have therefore taken the opportunity to comment on the recourse that is available to the public, as well as the guarantees that are available through the NHBRC for home owners.

The NHBRC was created by the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act in 1998, with the purpose of protection of the interests of persons occupying buildings, as well as the regulation of the home building industry.  The act requires that all home building projects must be enrolled with the NHBRC, together with the payment of a premium.  This premium is required to cover any structural defects (including foundations, walls, roof and drainage systems) that may occur within five years from completion.

The NHBRC bears the responsibility to inspect all enrolled homes at critical stages of construction.  The purpose is to protect housing consumers against poor workmanship during construction.  Should a deviation be identified during construction, a non-compliance notice is issued to the home builder, who then has reasonable time frames to rectify non-compliance.  Should the builder be unable or unwilling to rectify, the NHBRC will stop construction and institute disciplinary procedures against the contractor.

Should a building defect become apparent after the construction of the building, the owners must approach the builder to fix it first.  If the builder’s efforts do not satisfy the owner, then he should report this to the NHBRC.  The council will investigate the problem with reference to the Standards and Guidelines.  Should the builder be found guilty of not complying with acceptable practice and have failed to rectify the problem, then he can be struck from the registered builders of the NHBRC.

If the problem arose despite compliance with the Standards and Guidelines, then the underwriters of the NHBRC will fund the repair.

As a builder, you should ensure that you comply with the requirements as set out in the NHBRC Manual.  The key areas include:

  1. Ensure that the building is enrolled with the NHBRC
  2. Ensure that the building methods and standards comply with the necessary requirements
  3. Ensure that the NHBRC is informed of the progress of the construction process, for the necessary inspection to take place.

Author: Enwee Human

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