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Small Contractors Association of South Africa

Reg. No.: 2013/046246/08

THE REALITY

 

12 MAY 2010 - NHBRC to crack down on unregistered home builders


The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) warned industry on Wednesday that it has been "given teeth" by South Africa's Department of Human Settlements to shut down unregistered home builders.

This comes after Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale announced in his department's 2010 budget speech that South Africa will have to fork out R1,3-billion, or 10% of the department's budget, to rectify badly built reconstruction and development programme houses.

Newly appointed NHBRC CEO Sipho Mashinini told Engineering News Online at a media breakfast in Johannesburg that the council was already reviewing about 40 projects in KwaZulu-Natal and planned to shut down builders as early as next week. "We will also be moving into the Eastern Cape by June 3, and are currently looking at projects in Gauteng," he added.

On concerns raised around possible lead times for nonregistered builders to comply, Mashinini said that there was "no room to break the law". He said that the council was in the business of ensuring that homebuilders consistently delivered sustainable quality houses. The council pointed out that registration was not only applicable to developers and home builders, but also to contractors and subcontractors.

The NHBRC said that an inspection company would be set up in South Africa's nine provinces by May 28, to ensure that quality houses were delivered. Mashinini noted that the council was also considering the possibility of setting up its own inspection company.

The NHBRC would also be working with the Engineering Council of South Africa to deregister irresponsible engineers that do not oversee their projects.
Meanwhile, the council said that, as in accordance with government requirements, the council would still be providing home builders with access to free training to improve skills such as construction management, project management, bricklaying, painting, plastering and roofing. Mashinini said that the NHBRC would even go as far as providing on-site training to companies experiencing constant nondelivery of quality products and planned to intervene even if not requested.

Further, Mashinini said that the council planned to increase the effectiveness of its customer- care business. "Previously, we have given a lot of emphasis to the regulatory framework and being the friend of home builders, however, the council will be looking to become the homeowners' and housing consumers' friend going into the future," he said.

Certain challenges in this division included: long turnover times for customer complaints, complaints being dealt with in a reactionary way instead of proactively, and under capacity.

Customers had traditionally been serviced through nine provincial customer care offices found in the main cities in each province. However, the NHBRC had identified the need to increase its physical distribution channel and has opened additional satellite offices and mobile offices to ensure better customer services. In addition to the nine provincial offices, eleven satellite offices had also been set up and Mashinini said that more would be opened as demand increased.

Focus would also be given to educating customers around the NHBRC policies and its warranty scheme. Further, Mashinini said that the NHBRC was talking to government about a possible legislative review to include certain changes and amendments to the Housing Consumers Protection Enforcement Act.

The review aimed to ensure: the effective protection of housing consumers, adequate and equitable warranty cover, effective processing of complaints, maximum compliance by home builders, effective enforcement of the Act, promotion of administrative action and the effective compliance by banks.

IN 2012 - MORE THAN R400MILLION SPENT FIXING RDP SHODDY RDP HOUSES

Minister of Human Settlement Tokyo Sexwale revealed that his department had spent R400 million to rectify shoddily built houses between 2002 to present. Significantly, over R400 million of the budget was spent on rectification of shoddy houses, which could otherwise have been used to construct over 7,000 housing units. About 200 contractors in South Africa have since been blacklisted for shoddy workmanship, non-delivery and incompetence.