Be vigilant when choosing home builders, urges council

2014-08-19 18:13

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) is trying to establish the reason for the building collapse that killed nine people in Alberton, east of Johannesburg.

“The NHBRC has sent a structural engineer and an inspector to the site of the collapsed house in Meyersdal today to properly investigate the project,” said the building regulator today.

Although the cause of yesterday’s collapse is yet to be confirmed, the NHBRC is pleading with South Africans to be vigilant when embarking on home improvement projects.

The regulator says the public should “verify the credentials of builders (developers and subcontractors) before commencing with any construction.”

By law all home builders should be registered with the NHRBC. Verification of builders’ registration details can be found on the regulator’s website.

Pierre Fourie, operations director at Master Building Association, says it is very important to ensure that a builder is registered.

“If they are not registered, then it could be a safety risk.”

Apart from registration, Fourie says before hiring someone, do a background check. “Find out the reputation of the builder. Get a few references of work.”

He also emphasises the importance of having a contract with your builder – this will outline terms and conditions.

“A contract is very important because it also details liability should things go wrong,” he says.

NHBRC also adds: “Make sure that you have read it [the contract] and understand it, and that the description of the work to be done and specifications of materials, finishes and fittings to be provided are in accordance with your requirements.”

But before you start any construction work, consult your local municipality.

“All home improvement, whether you are just pulling down a wall, need to be approved by the municipality,” says Fourie.

Once the building plan has been inspected and approved by the municipality, then construction can begin.

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