If A Claim Will Not Be Settled By the NHBRC, There Are Ways of Settling The Matter

Posted On Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:13 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
Rate this item
(0 votes)

There are sometimes cases where a new home is built, things go wrong with the structure and on trying to get the NHBRC to compensate for the damage or repair, the owners think that there is no recourse if the NHBRC refuses to pay, said Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter. 

 However, in a recent court case mentioned in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyess update, Stergianos v National Home Builder Registration Council, where the plaintiff turned to the NHBRC for compensation for cracks that appeared in the floor slab of his home after having no success in getting the repairs or cost of the repair from the original builder, it was shown that there are ways of resolving the matter.

Initially, the NHBRC refused the owner's request and argued that it was not structural but shoddy workmanship, even though an independent civil engineer called in to determine the cause of the cracks had said that they were structural.

The Housing Consumers Protection Measure Act 95 of 1998 (HCPMA), which is intended to protect the owners from poor workmanship if the builder is registered with the NHBRC, was called into effect. The provisions of this Act include a warranty against certain types of defects in new homes.

This home was built in 2005 and the cracks appeared after just one year, which falls within the stipulated warranty period mentioned in the Act.

Section 17(1) of the Act stipulates that the Council must make a payout to rectify any "major structural defect‟ manifested within five years of the date of occupation, if:

• it resulted from non-compliance with the NHBRC Technical Requirements and the home builder has been notified accordingly within that period;
• the home builder is in breach of the home builder's obligations to rectify the defect;
• the home was constructed by a registered home builder and the home was enrolled with the NHBRC; and
• the home builder no longer exists or is unable to meet his or her obligations.

The term "major structural defect‟ is defined in section 1 of the Act as "a defect which gives rise or which is likely to give rise to damage of such severity that it affects or is likely to affect the structural integrity of a home and which requires complete or partial rebuilding of the home or extensive repair work to it, subject to the limitations, qualifications or exclusions that may be prescribed by the Minister".

In this particular case, the engineer established that the cracks were caused by shrinkage of the slab, due to the builder failing to place expansion joints in it.

"The courts found in favour of Stergianos and even though the NHRBC has had negative press, it is important to know that the courts will give the home owner protection if things go wrong. This case shows that the courts will often seek the best result," said Steward.

Like all insurance, it might be expensive at the time of building to be covered by the NHBRC but it might be a lot cheaper later, as many things can go wrong in the space of five years of building a home, and it's best to be covered in these instances, she said.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:06

Most Popular

Investec Property Fund launches first REIT sustainability-linked ESG bond in Africa

Apr 22, 2021
Darryl_Mayers_CEO
Investec Property Fund (‘IPF’ or ‘the Fund’) today became the first South African real…

Rethinking office space in post pandemic SA

Apr 20, 2021
90_Rivonia_results
Since the beginning of the pandemic, one of the biggest questions in real estate has been…

4 simple rules to getting a good credit score

Apr 21, 2021
Carl_Coetzee_BetterBond_CEO
Make buying your dream home an informed purchase by knowing your credit score.

EPP’s new app takes tenant relations to the next level

Apr 22, 2021
Tomasz_Trzósło
Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed EPP, Poland’s biggest retail landlord, continues to…

Western Cape ripe with affordable housing potential

Apr 20, 2021
Tuhf_Hi_res24
The TUHF Western Cape regional team believes that even though COVID has had an impact on…

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.