Warranties and Defects

1.2 WARRANTY COVER PROVIDED BY THE NHBRC

The NHBRC’s Warranty Scheme provides warranty cover on all new mortgageable housing units, built / facilitated by a registered NHBRC Home Builder and enrolled with the NHBRC.

This Home Building Manual is for structures, which comprise four storeys or less (inclusive of basements). Structures of greater than four storeys shall be submitted to the Technical Department of the NHBRC for consideration prior to enrolment. 

i)Construction Phase

The Home Builder will be required to provide the purchaser with a contract stating that the Home Builder will rectify, at his own expense, all latent as well as patent defects manifesting during the construction phase of the housing unit, timeously upon identification. 

The construction phase is deemed to be from the date that the contract is effective until the occupation date. 

ii)First three months following occupation

The Home Builder will also be required to contract to rectify, at his own expense, any deficiency related to workmanship and materials during a 90 day period as from the occupation date. 

iii)First twelve months following occupation

The Home Builder will be required to contract that for the first twelve months following occupation he will undertake, at his own expense, to repair any roof leaks that occur. 

iv)Warranty Period

The Home Builder and consumer will be required, by the NHBRC, to conclude the Standard Home Builders Warranty, which obliges the Home Builder to rectify any defect of a patent or latent nature, in respect of the substructure, the superstructure and the roof structure for a period of five years following occupation. 

At any stage during the five year period the NHBRC, at its sole discretion and in accordance with the rules laid down by the NHBRC, may rectify defects in instances where a registered Home Builder is unwilling or is unable to rectify a valid defect provided, however, that such instance is not within the first three months following occupation. 

EXCLUSIONS FROM THE WARRANTY

The following are items, which are specifically excluded from the Standard Home Builders Warranty:

•Willful acts or omissions of the consumer or any persons residing in the housing units; 

•Fire, explosion, lightning or damage caused  by a third party;

•Storm, flood, frost or earthquake or any other convulsion nature;

•Structural alterations, repairs, modifications or alterations to the housing unit as originally constructed and which affected the original structure;

•Condensation, inadequate maintenance or abnormal use of the housing unit or the imposition of any load greater than that for which the housing unit was designed or the use of the housing unit for any purpose other than that for which it was designed;

•Subsidence or landslip from any cause not related to a defect in the foundations;

•Any change in colour, texture, opacity or staining or other ageing process;

•Pressure waves caused by aircraft or other aerial devices travelling at sonic or supersonic speeds or the impact of aircraft or other aerial devices or articles dropped or falling there from;

•Loss of/or damage to any finishes unless they have to be repaired or replaced due to a structural defect in the residential structure;

•Wear and tear, deterioration caused by neglect or damage occasioned by the failure of the consumer timeously to notify the Home Builder of any defect;

•Anything which is of a petty nature and which any reasonable consumer could be expected to rectify him or herself;

•The electrical and plumbing systems; or

•Misuse or abnormal use of the private drainage system.

1.3 DEFECTS

The cause of a defect in housing units (excluding misuse and abuse by the consumer) which affect strength, stability, durability and serviceability, will generally fall into one of the following generic categories: 

•Undue ground movement, which may be the result of an avoidable situation, such as standing water and including heave, subsidence, settlement and slip. 

•Inadequate structural strength, not occasioned by an abnormal event, which may be attributable to under-design/inadequate specification, poor construction, overloading and indirectly applied loads resulting from the deflection, deformation or shortening of interconnected structural elements.

•Normal structural movement, which has not been adequately catered for, including shrinkage and creep of materials such as concrete, thermal movements, movement due to moisture changes, deflection of structural components and moisture expansion of burnt clay masonry units.

•The use of materials which are unsuitable as they are not in accordance with the Home Building Manual and/or specifications; inappropriate in the circumstances in which they are used and/or incompatible with other materials being used.

•The effects of chemical agents which when carried in the atmosphere, or water, or being in the presence of moisture, may result in the rusting and corrosion of steel and other metals or the deterioration and disintegration of non-metallic materials such as concrete, masonry units, mortar, timber etc.

•The effects of vegetation whether direct or indirect.

•Abnormal events, which cannot be foreseen, including meteorological events such as high winds, floods, snow, hail and lightning, seismic events, fire and explosions. 

•Failure to undertake necessary maintenance and repairs timeously, resulting in a defect which could have been prevented.

In some instances more than one cause may be responsible for the defect.  Defects in housing can be minimized, if not eliminated, by ensuring that the Home Builder responsible for the design and construction of housing units:

1.Meets the requirements of the National Building Regulations.

2.Adopts design practices and specifications; which ensure satisfactory performance.

3.Uses materials, products and building systems, which are suitable for their intended purpose.

4.Carries out all work in a proper and workmanlike manner. 

Observance of 1 to 4 above will ensure that defects not occasioned by abnormal events which cannot be foreseen, (failure to effect timeous maintenance and repairs, the effects of vegetation or the permitting of surface water to stand), will be minimized, if not eliminated. Failure to observe 1 to 4 above may result in defects, which implicate the Home Builder. On the other hand, defects occurring in housing units where all the above mentioned requirements have been complied with may be regarded as being unavoidable by the NHBRC. In such circumstances the Home Builder will not be held directly responsible for the defects and such remedial work will be undertaken by the NHBRC.

The above mentioned requirements are of a “performance oriented” nature and require “deemed-to-satisfy” rules to enable valid defects to be interpreted on a non-compliancy basis i.e. design and construction guidelines and minimum standards are required to enable the validity of a defect and hence warranty cover, to be established.

Minimum standards and guidelines are also required to balance repair costs against prevention costs and to weigh up the affordability of housing units. For example, where housing is located on problem soil horizons it is often more economical to repair cracks in masonry in accordance with the expected limits rather than to adopt total preventative measures. Accordingly, rules are required to define practices which restrict defects and/or damage to within acceptable limits and in so doing provide affordable standards. 

The NHBRC will not be held responsible for defects occasioned by abnormal events which cannot be foreseen; failure to effect timeous maintenance and repairs; the effects of vegetation or the permitting of surface water to pond in the vicinity of the foundations of housing units.