If you are thinking of building a new home in South Africa, remember that the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998 imposes certain requirements to be met to ensure that the Act’s protection measures are available to you as owner. The Act ensures that a landowner has some protection against foul play and defective workmanship and provides, in the event of a dispute between a contractor and a landowner, access to mediation services.
To achieve this, the Act requires that builders (including property developers and building contractors) register with the National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) and enrol the building project. The NHBRC, amongst other things:
- represents the interests of housing consumers by providing certain warranties in respect of defects in new homes;
- regulates the home building industry;
- provides protection to housing consumers in respect of the failure of home builders to comply with their obligations in terms of this Act;
- establishes and promotes ethical and technical standards in the home building industry;
- improves structural quality in the interests of housing consumers and the home building industry; and
- assists home builders, through training and inspection, to achieve and maintain satisfactory technical standards in homebuilding.
Should a builder fail to comply with the Act or the NHBRC’s code of conduct, he runs the risk of criminal prosecution with a penalty fine of up to R25 000, and withdrawal of his NHBRC registration status.
Furthermore, according to the Court in Rabe Bouers CC v Chaya, the Court confirmed the prerequisites for the Act’s protection measures to be available, being that there must be (i) registration of the builder with the NHBRC; as well as (ii) that the home (the building project itself) must also be enrolled with the NHBRC prior to construction commencing.
In order to determine whether your property developer/ builder is registered with the NHBRC please visit nhbrc.org.za and/or call the NHBRC on 0800 200 824 or email the NHBRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact STBB for assistance.