Newly build homes


The recently implemented Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act gives strong powers to the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). It was established, in general terms, to protect owners of newly-built houses against the malpractice's and shoddy workmanship of offending builders.


Builders are obliged (since 1 Dec 1999) to enroll all new houses under the NHBRC’s Defects Warranty Scheme and build houses to the standards and guidelines laid down in the NHBRC’s Home Builders Manual. Random inspections are carried out during building operations to ensure that these standards are maintained.


The new homeowner is protected, after taking occupation of his new home, through the provisions of the act, which enforce the contractor’s obligations to rectify the following:
• Any defects related to plans, specifications, workmanship and materials notified in the first 90 days.
• Any leaking roof notified in the first 12 months.
• Any structural defects, i.e. walls, foundations and roofs notified in the first 5 years.
Further protection is afforded in that mortgage lenders offering finance on any house must ensure that the builder is registered with the NHBRC and that the house is enrolled under the Defects Warranty Scheme. A Warranty Fund has been established and will be used to fund the repair of structural defects where registered home builders fail to honour their obligations under the Standard Home Builders Warranty or NHBRC rules.

Free Service

One of the main functions of the NHBRC is to provide a no-cost recourse to those consumers who are experiencing difficulties with regard to their new homes. The NHBRC is currently receiving in excess of 500 calls a month, a significant number of which are related to bad building practices. A complaint may lead to an investigation of the problem which could include an on-site conciliation service in order to obtain the home builder’s co-operation. A mediation service is provided to consumers and registered home builders where
major structural defects are discovered after completion of the enrolled home. The Cost Builders are obliged to pay an enrollment fee of 1.3% of the value of the house up to R500 000, then reducing on a sliding scale up to
houses over R 5m. Most will pass this cost onto the new homeowner, but this is a small premium to pay for the peace of mind that the home has been well-built and that should there be major problems in the future, there is free recourse to a statutory solution.

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