Being registered with accredited associations, such as the Master Builders Association (MBA) or the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) of South Africa, does not guarantee that the builder will have the relevant qualifications, be honest, or reputable, or ensure a high standard of work. It’s like someone being a member at a gym, they pay the fees every month but does that qualify them as a gym instructor?

This being said I am posting this as an example for home owners to see that not everyone writing an article is qualified, or even knows everything about the building sector. Such “experts” on the subject can do a lot of damage to reputable builders and their businesses. To remedy the situation we will be posting tips on what to look for if you suspect a “Bakkie Builder” or a “Fly by Night” who could turn your dream home into a disaster…  Frederik J. Knepscheld


Read the article from Property24 on 11 February 2010 below

Proper research is ‘key’ when it comes to building property in SA.

So says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that one should “make building a ‘bearable’ experience by choosing a reputable builder who can provide you with valid references and contact details”.

He says consumers should avoid builders who aren’t registered with accredited associations such as the Master Builders Association (MBA) or the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) of South Africa “as builders who are registered with these associations can be held liable for their work to a certain extent”.

According to the MBA consumers should invite at least two building contractors to quote on the work they want done so that prices can be compared to see if it is market-related. That said, it is important to note that contractors need to allow for more or less the same provisional quantities and products to enable consumers to successfully evaluate their quotes.

Goslett advises consumers to visit two or three building projects that the builder has worked on before to see the quality of work and to find out from the people how the builder treated them. “This needs to be done before you sign any form of contract,” notes Goslett.

He adds that consumers should ensure that a contract is fully understood and that it protects both parties before they sign it. “The MBA can assist with legal terms that don’t make sense. Standard building contracts that address the needs of builders and consumers alike can also be bought from them,” he says.

“Be wary of builders who require a large deposit upfront,” warns Goslett.

Although small contractors may require a deposit for building material, the MBA advises consumers to ask contractors to provide security against absconding with their money. Payments should furthermore be scheduled in the contract while a record of all payments made should be kept at all times. “Ask your builder for a receipt each time a payment is made and try to stick to the payment schedule stipulated in the contract,” adds Goslett.

“Furthermore, it is important to know that any changes to original specifications should be separately quoted for and recorded and accepted in writing before the contractor carries them out. Consumers should also insist that any work they’re unhappy with is rectified before the contractor leaves the building site in order to protect them from poor workmanship,” Goslett concludes.


Response from readers on the article

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) of South Africa should not even feature in your article, I’ve had 6 properties developed by different developers, all 6 developers were registered with nhbrc and all produced rubbish work. The nhbrc is absolutely useless. So please leave them out of the equation when giving advice, as this gives people wanting to build the wrong guidance. – Anonymous

 Membership of the NHBRC is NO qualification for anything. It’s statutory money sucking government-backed employer. MBA. Yes, maybe. In general the advice in the presentation is good.

However: good service cheap won’t be fast. Good service fast won’t be cheap. Fast service cheap won’t be good. And other permutations of the above.

Remember SABS specifications and the building specifications are minimum specs. Anything less than that will probably be illegal.

These specifications also apply to ‘Hop’-housing etc. If you’re going on price only, then good luck to you.

Look for a contractor that known his job and stick with him. You probably won’t like everything that he wants to spend money on, but then you cannot expect him to guarantee the end product on your likings and preferences only.

If, on the other hand, you believe you can do better, then rather do the job yourself. – RE Brink


I am a builder, registered with the NHBRC. I have built several homes for clients who are very happy with the process and quality of the finished product. So far on all the projects the NHBRChave yet to visit any of the building sites to do inspections, nor have I had any correspondence regarding the projects other than when they insist on their exorbitant fees for the building process. As a previous reader commented, they are of absolute zero value to any homeowner. Unfortunately the banks encourage their extortion by insisting on a NHBRC certificate before any building loan is validated. – Johnny Geel


I read articles in various home magazines about the poor building workmanship allegedly produced by so many builders.

I read about “builders absconding with clients’ money”, “builders leaving the site with work incomplete”, etc. And, I’m sure that most of these stories could be true. However, I would like to put another spin onto all these articles.

I have loads of stories about the rudeness and total aggressiveness of clients as well as how often they just renege on any contract you may have OR they just decide they are not “happy” with the work (although they haven’t said anything during the project) and won’t pay the final amount outstanding.

I think it is time for the renovators, builders and various contractors to stand together and talk about how pathetic some of the clients are. I have been sworn at, told to do work that wasn’t in the original scope of work, not paid for extra work that was requested, not paid a final payment – and cannot get hold of the client, asked to “fix” work where it was actually damaged by the client themselves. It is an absolute disgrace that nothing has been said about the clients that we have to deal with.

They insist on staying in the house whilst the renovation is going on, make the builders spend valuable hours moving furniture outside and covering it and then move it all back inside again – and then complain about how slow the project is going, leave things lying around and claim that the items have been damaged or stolen and insist on reparation before they will pay you a cent. I could go on and on and on. I actually quite honestly understand how builders just give up and flee the site, because it starts to cost money that they have not been paid for nor quoted. My one client, who was going overseas, said to me that “if the work is not complete by the time I get back, I will f___k you up!”. Just like that. A nice lady!

Where is the recourse for builders against these people? Because it just costs too much money to try and get ones money back – and in the meantime, these charming clients badmouth you all over town so that you cannot get any work. It’s just pathetic! Well, that’s my side of the story. – ANONYMOUS

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