Repairing badly constructed houses costs South Africans millions of rands annually. This is according to National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) spokesperson Tshepo Nkosi. Speaking at the launch of the housing regulator’s countrywide consumer education campaign, Nkosi added that despite a house being the most significant purchase that the average consumer will ever make, many South Africans continued to spend large amounts of money, and even their life’s savings, with unaccredited builders.

“Over the years the NHBRC has received numerous complaints from victims of shoddy workmanship,” he said. “Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help these consumers unless the contractors they use are registered with the council.”

Nkosi explained that the NHBRC consumer education campaign hoped to reach out to communities who are not aware of the dangers of using unregistered contractors.

“Using a registered contractor, on the other hand, offers protection from poor construction as well as compensation should any structural defects become apparent within the first five years of occupation,” he added.

The campaign kicks off with roadshows in Gauteng, followed by KZN, North West, Eastern Cape, Free State, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

Here are some tips that consumers should take into consideration before hiring a contractor:

• Ask to see the home builder’s current registration certificate
• Contact the NHBRC on 0800 200 824 or (email address) to confirm whether the builder is still registered
• Take time to inspect some of the homes built and completed by the builder
• Talk to consumers who have made use of the home builder’s services
• Make sure the builder provides you with a contract for the building of your new home
• Carefully inspect the terms and conditions of the contract
• Keep a copy of the written and signed contract
• Keep a record and proof of all payments made to the home builder
• Be aware of the enrolment fee applicable
• Never pay a builder in advance of work being done – only authorize payment once work has been completed to your satisfaction
• Draw a list of all problems and/ or defects (snag list) when moving into the new home. The snag list should be handed over to the builder within 90 days of occupation

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Molebogeng Taunyane on 011 317 0070 or email molebot@nhbrc.org.za

NHBRC is an agency of the Department of Human Settlements
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