Driving around Cape Town today one is made aware of the extensive building that is taking place where some are demolishing homes to build new units or making substantial alterations to existing homes, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA.
An owner of a property being renovated or built on, might be lulled into a false sense of security that he is covered by the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council) and that they will be afforded the necessary protection if things go wrong.
“It is essential to ensure that all the bodies with which you contract to do the job are registered,” said Steward. “For example, if you are using a property developer who subcontracts to a construction company, both of these companies have to be registered as a homebuilder in terms of the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act.”
In a recent case mentioned in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes property law update, Cool Ideas 1186 CC v Hubbard and Another, where Cool Ideas contracted Velvori Construction CC to do the work. Hubbard refused to pay Cool Ideas due to shoddy work and as the case unfolded it was found that Cool Ideas was not registered with the NHBRC at the time of building (although they later registered), but the sub-contractor, Velvori was.
In terms of the Act, both Cool Ideas and Velvori were required to be registered with the NHBRC before starting construction. Section 10 of the Act states:
“No person shall a) carry on the business of a home builder; or b) receive any consideration in terms of any agreement with a housing consumer in respect of the sale or construction of a home, unless that person is a registered home builder.”
“Often those renovating a home might be tempted to use a “bakkie builder” but it must be remembered that they are more than likely not to be registered and should anything go wrong with the construction, there is no recourse for the owner of the property. He might end up, after having spent money on the construction, paying out even more to have the work redone or repaired,” warned Steward.