National Home Builders Registration Council – NHBRC

The NHBRC gives protection

against shoddy workmanship

The 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 connect to their website:

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




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  1. We sold a property that was build in 2005,In 2009 this property was renovated In 2016 proper house plans with the alterations done to it was approved by the local council , A occupation certificate was also issued by the council after building Inspector inspected it ,A electrical COC was also issued as well as a COC for GAS by registerd contractors
    The property was sold cash and the buyer was happy with sale,a offer to purchase was signed with no conditions, Since the the registration took place the Buyer applied for a additional loan to do further building on to the property ,The bank valuator could not find value in the ammount applied for and insisted on a NHBRC certificate.As my knowledge serves me is that the house was older than 5 years and did not apply for renovations this was mentioned to them, However he does not want to continue with sale as he believes we conned him into buying without a NHBRC certificate
    Could you please give us advise on this matter

    • Since 1999 all homes have had to be built by an NHBRC-registered builder. The only exception is where owner-builders get an exemption from the NHBRC. This has nothing to do with plans, occupation certificates, and the various CoCs which are also legaly required. This means that you should have received an NHBRC certificate – and so the bank has every right to demand one. Renovations are not covered by the NHBRC – and the five-year time period relates to the length of time a exempted owner-builder has to live in the house before he/she can sell it. Part of the NHBRC warraties are also five years I think – but this isn’t relevant.

  2. Good day

    Where I can complain I bought a house Last year, I told builder that kitchen door was not right because his workers damage the door while they were installing it, and he come and see he putted something on the area I was complaining about and now it comes out and when I tell him about he says he cant fix it, I can email photos to show even door that was fitted was not correct size

  3. I have put in an offer on a property aftwr which I found out it is not NHBRC registered. What are my risks.

    Thanks Val

    • Val, the NHBRC warranty on new houses only lasts for 5 years, if the house is older then this does not apply. If it is under 5 and not registered then they are selling an illegal structure and your offer should be null and void. If they did not register with the NHBRC the I would step away.

  4. Thapelo Lenyora

    Hello, I would like to find out if there is a regulation in place regarding a price for labour that a contractor can charge for a building project in terms of percentage of the contract if the building project costs R1 million, can he charge more than R500 000? or is there a percentage put in place as a maximum?

  5. Goodday,
    Who can I contact to complain about work that was not completed

    • Hi Cristina, It depends on what was being built. If it was a new house the the NHBRC needs to be notified and they must attend to the not completed work. If you just had a renovation/addition/alteration done then you can try a lawyer but I don’t hold out much hope for you if it was a casual/bakkie builder. If it was a registered company then you might get somewhere. If they are registered with the MBA (Master Builders Association) you can contact them:

  6. Good day

    Where can I find NHBRC Register documents for a home owner to build?

    Kind regards

  7. I have lodged a complaint at an NHRC office and after nearly 9 months of no reply and submitting my complaint twice. I got any email from nhbrc saying that they closing the case as there is no structural defect in the property. My argument is that I have had the structure tested and also the built house deviates from house plan submitted to the local municipality. How can NHBRC just close the case from the builders response. Aren’t they there to protect the consumer and they did not send anyone to come check the house for the irregularities I was claiming.

    • Yes they are there to protect consumers. It sounds very dodgy. I would spend a few hundred rand and get a lawyer to write a letter demanding that they do a full investigation. You should also be covered by the Consumer Protection Act which falls under the Department of Trade and Industry.

  8. Good day
    I would like to enquirer where i can find a data base for contract builders contacts in western cape as i am a owner of a development and seek quotation

  9. I bought a site in Bethal Mpumalanga and I want to start building a new house for myself. I don’t want to enroll my house with NHBRC is there any law that forces me to buy a warranty that I don’t need?

    • If you take the time to read what we have written about the NHBRC you will see that all home builders are forced by law to register with the NHBRC. They cannot build homes if they are not registered. In addition to this, all houses they build must be enrolled with the NHBRC. Owner builders may apply for an exemption from enrolment. This involves a multiple-choice test – no cost that I am aware of.

  10. Hi, does the home builder receive any monies back paid in regards of the guarantee after the five year period

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