Building Your Dream Home

The search for the perfect builder starts, and soon you realise that the project must be managed by a professional builder and not the cheapest quote received that, very likely, will be using unskilled labour.

She says The Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act has been created to provide protection for owners building new homes against so-called fly-by-night builders. That is, builders who either build to an unacceptable quality standard, or builders who refuse to get involved in the rectification of built-in defects in the home.

Every house must therefore be enrolled with the NHBRC and the builder will then receive an enrolment certificate. The homeowner must request a copy of the enrolment certificate from the builder. It is the responsibility of the builder to enrol the new home, but you are advised to ask for a copy of the enrolment certificate.

The first recourse on default or non-compliance is that the builder must be requested, in writing, to fix these defects. But if he is not capable or able to rectify the defects, the NHBRC will use its own warranty funds for repair.

After that period, it is considered normal wear and tear that needs maintenance by the homeowner. If the contractor does not carry out such repairs, the house consumer should report the builder to the NHBRC who can take action, such as suspend his registration with the council or withdraw the registration of the builder.

– Any issues relating to the structural defects of the house (if the house has serious cracks that would affect the integrity of the house) will be fixed by the NHBRC if they occur within a period of five years. The consumer does not have to employ lawyers, architects or engineers to assist them in the event of a defined structural defect.

Williams says the homeowner should draw up a detailed list of all visible defects and ensure the builder gets a copy of this before signing off the home. Do not occupy the home before doing this.

She says it is essential for the homeowner to ensure that the appointed builder is actually registered first, and that there is a NHBRC written enrolment certificate so that you have some recourse should he not be compliant in following the building regulations and workmanship.

If you don’t check compliance, and problems arise with his workmanship or structural defects, you cannot rely on any warranty benefits from the NHBRC.

Also ask to see the builder’s registration certificate which is valid for a period of one year, she says.

Additionally, the NHBRC will publish and distribute lists of any builders who have been de-registered or suspended. These lists will give the details of the home builder, the number of homes they have built and the number of serious complaints laid against them.


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