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Building a container home? You're welcome to, but follow due process says NHBRC

7 December 2019 4:50 PM
As the National Home Builders Registration Council clarifies red tape queries, there's a flood of complaints about its high fees.

Using shipping containers to create homes, is a growing trend in South Africa.

Not only is this alternative building method quicker and cheaper than conventional bricks and mortar, repurposing is also good for the environment.

But how much red tape is involved? Weekend Breakfast host Africa Melane follows up after a Riebeek West resident recounted his struggles to obtain council permission, not to mention financing, to build a two-storey five-container home.

RELATED: Green Property: Why container homes may be the way forward

Explaining what permission must be obtained is Thihangwi Mudau, manager of the Centre for Research and Innovation at the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

Mudau says the council's mandate is to regulate the home building industry, which means compliance with the standards of either the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) or Agrément South Africa.

Containers are either deemed to satisfy, meaning they have been used before and SABS has standards on them, but if these containers are not part of the SABS stable, then the Agrément SA comes on board.

Thihangwi Mudau, Manager of Centre for Research and Innovation - NHBRC

Mudau says there are containers that have indeed been coded or in other words, are deemed to meet these standards, but many home builders are not complying.

Lately the home-building market is being flooded by containers that are not part of the SABS and/or Agrément SA.

Thihangwi Mudau, Manager of Centre for Research and Innovation - NHBRC

People bringing containers into the country must check that they meet the requirements he emphasizes.

We need to make sure that every single home built in South Africa protects the inhabitants. Anything can happen, from a safety point of view in particular and/or health.

Thihangwi Mudau, Manager of Centre for Research and Innovation - NHBRC

Mudau maintains that the NHBRC actively promotes the use of innovative building technology in its daily interaction with the two bodies overseeing standards.

He does acknowledge however, that more can be done.

I must also say that in the process of this awareness campaign not only to the public but to the financial houses - the banks in particular - they're aware, but you can never say it's done and it's enough.

Thihangwi Mudau, Manager of Centre for Research and Innovation - NHBRC

He says they welcome the introduction of technologies from abroad but members of the public "importing" new ideas must follow due process.

They are welcome to visit us at the NHBRC and we will guide them accordingly.

Thihangwi Mudau, Manager of Centre for Research and Innovation - NHBRC

A listener calling in and a number of whatsapp messages raised concerns about allegedly exorbitant fees charged by the NHBRC.

Mudau invited Africa to forward these messages to the council, pledging that "each and every one" would be answered.

Take a listen:


7 December 2019 4:50 PM

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