National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) - Building Regulations South Africa
Nov 192011

The NHBRC gives protection

against shoddy workmanship

BuildRegsNHBRC1 s National Home Builders Registration Council   NHBRCThe NHBRC was established in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 to regulate the building industry and protect home buyers against shoddy workmanship.

Motivation at the time was largely charged by fly-by-night-builders who were conning people all over the country. There was undoubtedly a huge need to regulate the home building industry and improve building standards in this part of the construction industry.

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) – which is a Section 21, non-profit organisation – states that it has a vision to be “a world class organisation that ensures home builders deliver sustainable quality homes”. The way it set out to do this, was to establish a registration process for all home builders and contractors working in the domestic market, together with an NHBRC Defects Warranty Scheme for all new homes built by their registered members.



Registration with the NHBRC

Since December 1999, all home builders have been required, by law, to register with the NHBRC, and no financial institution is permitted to lend money against the security of a mortgage bond unless the builder is registered. As a further safeguard, conveyancers are not permitted to register bonds unless these requirements have been met.

However to register with the Council, builders must have not only the appropriate technical and construction skills, but also sufficient financial resources and management abilities to carry on a business without exposing “housing consumers” to unacceptable risks.

The NHBRC has a register of home builders who are members and they are in the process of establishing a grading system so that potential clients will get an idea of the quality of work to expect. Members will be able to use this information when they advertise their services.

In addition, the NHBRC keeps a database of any previous members who have been suspended or deregistered.

NHBRC Warranty Scheme

The primary concern of the NHBRC is “major structural defects” caused by poor workmanship. The warranty scheme was established to counter this problem, and because of it, the NHBRC is able to provide warranty protection against defects for all new homes: five years for the structure itself (foundations and walls), and a minimum of a year for roof leaks. Noncompliance and deviation from plans and specifications is also covered.

However, funding of the warranty scheme has historically been the most controversial issue relating to this organisation. Apart from the registration fees and annual levies, “enrolment” fees are charged for every building that is constructed. From the start fees were based on 1,3 percent of the price in the deed of sale or offer to purchase document, or the sum of the prices on the building contract and land sale agreement up to R500 000; thereafter a percentage scale is used.

NHBRC Manuals

One of the most valuable contributions the NHBRC has made is the publication of comprehensive home building manuals (which was a requirement of the founding Act). These are available directly from them at a very reasonable price.

Simple reference documents based on normal construction procedures and recommended practices, the manuals cover every aspect of building, including planning, design and construction. They contain numerous tables, definitions, diagrams and specifications, all of which encourage good building practice. Even though drainage installations and other belowground work is excluded from the NHBRC’s warranty scheme, relevant construction methods have been included in the manuals as a guide. Interestingly, some non-standardised construction methods not covered by the National Building Regulations are also included in the NHBRC manuals.

Comprehensive as they are, the NHBRC building manuals are not intended to replace existing building regulations and/or codes of practice determined by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act  remains in force and must be adhered to.

The NHBRC and Owner Builders

While the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act was promulgated to protect consumers, unscrupulous builders found a loophole in the Act. By claiming to be “owner builders”, they were able to get away with certain construction projects without registering with the NHBRC and paying the necessary fees.

In 2007 the Act was amended, defining an Owner Builder as”

“a) a person who builds a home for occupation by himself or herself; or

b) a person who is not a registered home builder and who assists a person contemplated in paragraph (a) in the building of his or her own home”.

The Act also introduced People’s Housing Process projects, or PHP Projects which are approved in terms of the National Housing Code: Housing Subsidy Scheme, and which are exempt from the Act if they use there own labour to build a home.

The updated legislation also gives owner builders the right to apply for exemption from being forced to register as a “home builder” if they wanted to build owner build their home.

You can read more about NHBRC >>HERE<<

You can connect to their website:

You can search their database for registered builders on their website:


  285 Responses to “National Home Builders Registration Council – NHBRC”

Comments (284) Pingbacks (1)
  1. Hi Penny
    Refer your response to Louise above.
    I do not believe that the NHBRC is concerned about sub-standard workmanship.
    Please open my complaint file reference 1-72512031 and see for yourself what I mean

  2. Hi Penny, pls assist. I would like to open a training centre more focusing on construction (bricklaying), do you have an idea how I can develop curriculum? I have done lots of work on planning but formulating a syllabus has been really daunting. Does NHBRC has some standards to comply to? Regards. Wilson.

    • Wilson have a look at the text books published for the FET college – specifically Masonry. You could also look at the curriculum set by the Department of Education and use this as a guideline.
      There is also a very useful little book that was produced by the Brick Development Association (I am not sure if they even exist any more, but the book is definitely still available) called Bricklaying is Easy. It was written by Frik Kraukamp as a set book for the then National Technical Certificate Part 5. You could use this as a set book perhaps.

  3. Hi I am having an issue with my builder, on the 11. Feb .2014 he send me an ammentment quote number11 and said final payment due : I paid the final payment Due on the 12. Febuary 2014 and still put in the heading Final payment made.
    He has now come back on the 27.02.2014 after I asked him if he has finished on site as the tilers is done, to say that he forgot to add on some stuff to the final quote.
    I am refussing to pay him the R1020, as that is not my problem. Can I bring this to the attention of the NHBRC as he has become a nightmare with all the quote changes and the project went from R 390,000 to R480,000 due to A LOT of errors on his site with the first quote, I have let him get away with enough as far as everything else and told him to just get out.
    How can I investigate his loyalty with the NHBRC as he claims he is registed.


    • Louise, this is not the kind of dispute that the NHBRC will get involved in. They are more concerned about sub-standard workmanship. They do have a database of registered builders that you can search on their web site – I have given you the link (though right now the site is down.) If you can’t find it, then phone them to check if he is registered. If he is not, then he is building fraudulently. I certainly would not pay the final “final” amount he is claiming from you.

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