Why use a Registered Contractor?
What is the difference between a builder from outside your local hardware vs a Professional Registered Contractor?
In South Africa we have the SANS10400 building standards. This document is a couple thousand pages thick, and needs to be studied by the main contractor in order to become NHBRC registered. The building standards direct the builder on the various standards.
Who are the NHBRC?
The National Home Builder’s Registration Council (NHBRC) is a regulatory body of the home building industry in South Africa. Their mandate is to protect the interest of the homeowners, and to ensure that builders comply with the prescribed building industry standards as contained in the Home Builder Manual. The Home Builder Manual refers to a very specific type of home, with very specific characteristics. The moment the architect steps out of these specifications, then the specifications need to be referred to the project engineer. 95% of residential houses today are built outside of the basic NHBRC Home Builder Manual guidelines.
Strict Building Guidelines
Both the Home Builder Manual, as well as any specification as issued by the project engineer need to however comply to the SANS Building Code. For example, the construction of a brick wall has a very specific method of construction set out in the SANS code; however; the specifications of this wall will be issued by the regulating authority. (NHBRC or engineer). At what frequency is brick-force used in the wall? How thick is the wall? What strength brick are we using?
The guy on the side of the street is more than likely building to a design code that he was taught and has used for years. While that might be alright in some instances; is that a risk you are willing to take when investing so much into your building project?
The NHBRC and Your Project
This is why the NHBRC was created. In order to become registered with the NHBRC, the home builder needs to write, and pass an exam that is related to both the NHBRC Home Builder Manual, as well as the SANS10400 code.
The NHBRC registered builder is the only person who will be able to register a new home build with the NHBRC council. During this registration, it is determined if the plans conform to the NHBRC Home Builder Manual. If the plans do not, then an engineer’s appointment certificate is submitted with the enrolment, thus clarifying that the project will be overseen by a qualified engineer.
The NHBRC will check that all party’s legal requirements are in place, including the engineers Professional Indemnity Insurance. They will also do a site inspection, to make sure that no construction has started. Only after paying the registration fees, and receiving the enrolment certificate, may you commence with construction.
The Home Builder is also responsible to notify the NHBRC department of when they have reached certain pre-determined milestones during the build. The NHBRC engineers may then do checks on the work, and to ensure that they are happy with the specifications.
One small item to remember but definitively necessary. Find out if your builder is a registered NHBRC contractor before you start your next project.