Your plans have been drawn up, and your finances are in place. There’s just one more hurdle before you can start your new building project: finding yourself a contractor.

What should you know about the company or person you’re considering for the job?

“Your choice of contractors will probably make the difference between a successful project and a nightmare,” said Nick Brits, a principle at Gauteng’s Evolve Architects (www.evolvearch.co.za).

To begin, he said, you’ll need to know whether the contractor is registered with the National Home Builder’s Registration Council – the NHBRC – especially if you’re financing the project through a bank (it’s one of their requirements).

“The NHBRC is a statutory body set up under the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act that’s charged with protecting the interests of consumers,” said Nick. “Anyone who sets up a business as a home builder has to register with the Council, and any new home has to be ‘enrolled’ with it at least 15 days prior to the start of construction.

“But while enrolling a new home does provide you with some peace of mind – because the law makes provision for limited warranties that cover things like roof leaks and even major structural defects – in practical terms, you’re least likely to have to call on the Council if you’ve got the right contractor on your team.”

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