Mar 052013

The NHBRC – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Houses 510 NHBRC   Q&As


The NHBRC has a page with a number of questions that we also get on this website. The most common questions and answers we have listed here below with thanks to the NHBRC.  We must point out to all home owners and potential home owners, as well as all contractors and home builders, that the new home being built must, by law, be registered with the NHBRC. The builder or contractor also has to be registered with the NHBRC. The NHBRC will not consider a claim or complaint if this is not done. If the house or contractor has not been registered then they have broken the law and might be liable to a fine. There are links to the NHBRC site at the end of the Q&A’s where you will find more answers.


Q – How Does One Know Whether A Builder Is Registered With The NHBRC?

A – The NHBRC has established customer centers in all provinces. To find out if a builder is registered with the NHBRC you can contact your nearest customer center, search online or by calling the toll free number 0800200824.


Q – Does The NHBRC Conduct Inspections?

A – Every new house constructed must be inspected. If the house is enrolled prior to construction, the NHBRC is afforded the opportunity to carry out all necessary inspections. The number of inspections conducted per house is a function of the size and the complexity of the design of the house.


Q – What Does The NHBRC Inspect?

A – The following inspections are carried out:

Roof height
Practical completion
And waterproofing


Q – How Many Inspections Are Carried Out By The NHBRC In The Building Process Up To Completion Of A House?

A – A minimum of four inspections are carried out to ensure that the house is of good quality and that it will be fit for habitation. Housing consumers and home builders are encouraged to demand an inspection from the NHBRC during construction.


Q – How Does The NHBRC Handle Complaints?

A – The NHBRC has established complaint handling mechanisms, which have assisted many housing consumers. Each complaint is professionally and speedily processed on behalf of the housing consumer. According to our records the NHBRC has not failed any housing consumer who had a genuine structural defect. All home owners, public and private institutions and media houses are advised to send all the complaints received by it to the NHBRC for evaluation.


Q – What Should a Home Owner Do When There Is a Problem with a Builder’s Work?

A – The housing consumer (home owner) should contact the home builder within three to seven days. The housing consumer can approach the NHBRC if the home builder fails to attend to the problem.


Q – Under What Circumstances Will The NHBRC Do Remedial Work To My House?

A – The NHBRC is responsible for repair of major structural defects which occur to an enrolled home.  The process is initiated once it is established that the home builder is either liquidated, unwilling or is unable to undertake remedial works. When the homebuilder disputes the findings and recommendations in the conciliation report or the recommendation of a competent person (Engineer), the NHBRC will assist the housing consumer by undertaking remedial work.


Q – What Happens If Major Structural Defects Arise Within The First Five Years Of Occupation?

A – The NHBRC’s fund for rectification covers a home which includes:

Private drainage system from the structure up to the municipal connection or the cesspit connection
Any garage or storeroom
Any permanent outbuilding designed for residential purposes
Any retaining wall
In the case of sectional title unit, it includes the common property in terms of the sectional Titles Act.


There are more Answers on the NHBRC site.



  151 Responses to “NHBRC – Q&A’s”

Comments (151)
  1. Whendoesthecertificatebecomevalidandwhendoesitend
    if you started building in April 2009 and occupancy certificate issued November 2009 when is the NHRBC certificate valid until is it to April 2014 or November 2014

  2. Hi Penny,

    My neighbour has built an addition onto his house, this has been built on top of our shared boundary wall, my question, is this legal and what recourse can I take.


    • That sounds a bit dicey David. First of all he needs plans because it is doubtful that the wall foundations will be adequate to take the weight of an addition. Secondly, you need to establish who owns the wall. If it is a common wall (i.e. not owned by either one of you) he cannot do anything to the wall without your consent. If it is your wall then he is going to have to demolish whatever he has built unless you give him permissions AND the council approves plans. Contact the planning department of your local authority/council and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate.

  3. I am part building as I do not have the money to finish building the whole house. I am building in stages, using casual labour. I do not intend to sell the house at all, but will live in it for many years. The added cost of the Nhbrc registration too much for me. H
    Do I need to register? Am I able and How do I apply for an exemption?

  4. How to make concrete bricks & blocks

    • Hi Mpho, Please go to our other site Owner Building and go to the “Document Downloads“page and scroll to this item “How To Make Concrete Bricks and Blocks” I’m sure this is what you are looking for.

  5. hi
    i want to renew my nhbrc so i want some questions which are asked in the test

  6. Hi Penny,

    I am building a new home myself with the assistance of subcontracts and a project manager.

    Do I need to register the home with the NHBRC and do I need to register myself ?

    If I need to register myself how do I do so without references ?

  7. Hi Penny

    Is there a calculation on a JBCC contract to work out what daily penalties would be where the home builder fails to deliver within agreed date?


  8. I have a property of 1980 m square. How many square m can be built on the property

    • Len it depends where the property is an what the zoning regulations state. I suggest you contact your local authority for this information.

  9. i moved into my house in Decemeber 2010, there has always been dampness on one wall,recently there is water seeping through the walls…its a double storey house so the plumbing pipes are in the walls and concrete. The builder is not assisting, what’s the next step.

    • If the house was new in 2010 and it was built legally (i.e. by an NHBRC registered builder) and this turns out to be a major structural issue, then you will still be covered by the NHBRC’s 5-year warranty. So try the NHBRC first if this is the case. Otherwise you will probably have to get someone to open the wall to find out what is causing the problem. If it is a burst pipe (which from your description seems likely), you will need to employ a qualified, registered plumber to rectify the problem.

  10. Hi penny,

    I am renovating a home involving new foundation work, which will be executed by a registered nhbrc builder. Should I not require a bond for the extension or wish to make use of the protection afforded to me as a consumer, is it possible for me to get an exemption from registering the new home in order to save on the enrollment fee.


  11. Hi Penny,
    I have just extended my house and the builder is NHBRC registered. The house was enrolled. because the roofing is changing, do I need the new certificate for the house/roof. I have no intention of selling the house. Please advise.

    • Linda you probably won’t need anything more from the NHBRC – unless it affects the warranty – but to change the roof you will need to amend your plans with the local authority.

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