In terms of owner builders and the NHBRC, genuine owner builders are not obliged to register with the NHBRC, nor do their homes need to be enrolled with the NHBRC.
The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) was established in terms of the Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act, 1998 (Act No. 95 of 1998) (the Act). The Council is mainly established to protect the interest of housing consumers, and to regulate the home building industry.
In terms of Owner Builders and the NHBRC, genuine owner builders are not obliged to register with the NHBRC, nor do their homes need to be enrolled with the NHBRC. They do, however, have to apply to the NHBRC for exemption from enrolment.
In terms of the Act an owner builder is defined as:
- not in the business of home building (“in the business” means if a person is building more than one house a year (or every few years), then he or she is "in the business of home building" and needs to register and enrol the houses);
- building a home for his own occupation and not using an NHBRC registered home builder to assist him in the building of that home. (If an owner-builder uses an NHBRC registered home builder as a contractor to help him or her to build a home, that registered home builder must enrol the home.)
Financial institutions, under the Act, are only allowed to lend money to consumers where they are satisfied that the home builder is registered in terms of the Act and that the home will be registered with the NHBRC and the prescribed fees are paid.
In order to qualify as an owner builder and receive a Letter of Exemption from the NHBRC you should visit the NHBRC website where you will find the criteria to be met for owner builders and a questionnaire that you can download to start the application process.
Once you have completed the questionnaire and attached the relevant documentation this has to be submitted to the Provincial Manager who will then conduct an interview with the applicant.
It is important to note that:
Where construction is in respect of more than one residential unit (multiple units), the applicant cannot qualify as an owner builder.
An owner builder applicant may only occupy one unit (home).
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The owner builder should note that the house will not have any protection under the Warranty Cover of the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).
In terms of the Act, only natural persons can occupy a home, therefore a CC or (PTY) Ltd are not classified as natural persons and cannot apply for exemption.