Certified Home Inspectors in South Africa

In 2021 this is the status of certification for Building Inspectors and Home Inspectors in South Africa.

Certified Home Inspectors in South Africa” - here’s what you need to know

 Building and Home Inspector training and accreditation in South Africa is currently confusing.  (2021)

For the reasons explained below, there is currently no official South African building, or home inspector, qualification available.  

It is important,  for both prospective home inspectors and home inspection clients, to understand that the US-based InterNACHI “certification”, which is advertised by some South African home inspectors, actually bears little relevance to inspecting existing buildings, or new building work, in the light of South African building regulations, law and building practices.  South African building codes and practices are very different to those pertaining in the USA.

SAHITA  is the first training academy to align its course content with the approved curriculum for the new South African National Building Inspector Qualification (Classes I and II).  The new national Building Inspector qualification,  which was approved by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in 2019, was developed by a task team of experts from SAHITA, LGSETA, NABISA, NHBRC, NRCS and the Bank Association of SA.  

This new Building Inspector qualification will regulate building and home inspection services in South Africa. The qualification has been submitted by the QCTO to the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) for accreditation.  

The QCTO curriculum was submitted to SAQA  by QCTO in 2019 as a standalone qualification Classes I, II and III (NQF 5-7) .  SAQA then requested that the qualification be repackaged as two standalone qualifications (Class I – NQF 5) and a combination of Classes II and III ( NQF 7).  This repackaging was completed by the QCTO task team, of which SAHITA was a part.  However, thereafter the accreditation process between QCTO and SAQA appears to have stalled for reasons which appear to involve positioning of both SACAP and SACPCMP – regarding the custodianship of the qualification.   Both SACAP and SACPCMP are statutory building industry councils,  

The curriculum for Building Inspector Class I (covered by the SAHITA course) provides a coverage of all aspects of the South African built environment.  Class II (also covered by the SAHITA course) covers mainly plans scrutiny by local government building inspectors; Class III (not yet covered by SAHITA)  covers all aspects of law enforcement by municipal building control officers.

SAHITA course content

  • MODULE 1 – BUILDING INSPECTOR BASICS:  The scope of the new national Building Inspector qualification; The attributes of a good building inspector –  integrity and a passion for knowledge; The importance of technical knowledge; The importance of inspection systems; How to compile a good inspection report
  • MODULE 2 – GOVERNMENT-FUNDED HOUSING: What the Constitution says about housing; The role of the Department of Human Settlements; The role of the local authority; The role of the NHBRC; The role of the private sector; The Expanded Public Works Programme
  • MODULE 3 – LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR BUILDING INSPECTION: The regulatory environment for home ownership in South Africa; The principles behind the National Building Regulations; The role of the National Home Builders Registration Council; The role of the professional home inspector.
  • MODULE 4 – UNDERSTANDING SANS 10400-PART A:  Understanding the National Building Regulations; The scope of SANS 10400; Role of the local authority; Category 1 buildings; Prescriptive regulations Parts A1 to A25;  Demolition regulations E1 to E4; Refuse disposal regulations U1 to U4
  • MODULE 5 – PLANS, DIMENSIONS & TOLERANCES: Why building plans are necessary and what plans consist of; How to read a plan; The concept of “minimum dimensions” for South African houses; Why “tolerances” are allowed in the construction process
  • MODULE 6 – PROBLEM SOILS – GEOTECHNICAL: The concepts of site topography, hydrogeology and geotechnical soil analysis; Why some soils are termed “problem soils”;The impact of ground movement on structures; The requirements for site classification; Why a geotechnical investigation is critical for appropriate design of foundations
  • MODULE 7 – ESTABLISHMENT & MANAGEMENT OF A CONSTRUCTION SITE:  The role of the land surveyor – SANS 10400-A: Pointing out of beacons and contours; Setting out the structure for levels, squareness and plumbness; Planning and managing the building site; Safety on the building site – Construction Regulations 2014
  • MODULE 8 – EXCAVATIONS, FILL, FOUNDATIONS & SLABS:  Rules for excavating foundations; Compaction of fill; Types of foundations; Placing of steelwork –  as per engineer’s design; Damp proofing of concrete slabs
  • MODULE 9 – STRUCTURAL DESIGN & BUILDING WITH CONCRETE: What concrete is and how concrete behaves; Concrete reinforcement; Concrete terminology; Structural concrete (SANS 2001-CC1:2012); Concrete minor works (SANS 2001-CC2:2007); 
  • Screeds and topping
  • MODULE 10 – MASONRY WALLS & PLASTERING: Building with bricks and blocks; Wall openings – doors, windows and lintels; Plastering walls; Movement joints for walls
  • MODULE 11 – TIMBER ROOF STRUCTURES:  The National Building Regulations regarding roofs and SANS 10400-L; The elements of timber roof structures; The importance of bracing roof trusses; Geyser support structures in and on the roof; Ceiling assembly
  • MODULE 12 – ROOF WATERPROOFING AND COVERINGS:  The National Building Regulations and SANS 10400-L  regarding roof coverings; The relationship between roof pitch and roof coverings; Type of roof coverings; Roof waterproofing; Roof drainage; 
  • MODULE 13 – FLAT CONCRETE ROOFS & BALCONIES: The National Building Regulations and SANS 10400-L regarding drainage of flat roofs; Expansion joints in concrete roofs (decks; Drainage issues on concrete roofs; Roof waterproofing; Waterproofing balconies and parapet walls; Board and sheeted “flat”  roofs
  • MODULE 14 – THATCHED ROOFS: The National Standards for thatched roofs – SANS 10407; Glossary of thatching terms; Elements of a thatched roof; Fire and lightning; protection for thatched roofs; Thatched roof maintenance and inspection
  • MODULE 15 – INSPECTING THE ROOF:  Ladder and roof safety guidelines; What to inspect on a roof; What to inspect inside a roof cavity
  • MODULE 16 – INSPECTING THE GROUNDS:  The importance of stormwater management and how to inspect this aspect; The importance of proper grading of the plot; What the inspector should watch out for with flower beds, planters and trees; ; Fences, walls and retaining walls – including electrified fencing; Paving and driveways; Swimming pools, spas, ponds and water features; Lapas and braais
  • MODULE 17 – STAIRWAYS, BALUSTRADES AND RAMPS:  Safety requirements for changes in floor levels in a building; Requirements for staircases; Requirements for balustrades and handrails; Requirements for ramps and driveways; Inspecting stairways and ramps
  • MODULE 18 – OPENINGS IN BUILDINGS:  Window and door terminology and how to inspect windows and doors; Glazing (glass) regulations and safety issues relating to homes;
  • Inspection guidelines for windows, doors and glazing; Ventilation and lighting of building interiors – regulations and standards; The importance of a fire door where a garage is joined to a dwelling unit; Garage doors and driveway gates – how to inspect these and safety issues
  • MODULE 19 – FLOORS AND CEILINGS:  The different types of ceiling which a South African home inspector may encounter.; Common problems with ceilings; The different types of floors which a South African home inspector may encounter; Common problems with floors
  • MODULE 20 – ENERGY USAGE IN BUILDINGS:  The regulations regarding energy usage for South African buildings – SANS 10400-XA; The role of the local authority in ensuring compliance; Climatic zones and measuring energy usage; Impact of building design and orientation on energy usage; Thermal insulation for floors, walls, fenestration and roofs; 
  • Hot water heating and energy usage.
  • MODULE 21 – WATER SUPPLY & SANITARY WARE:  Building regulations concerning water supply and water drainage systems;  How clean water is supplied to a building; Water supply pipes and fittings – what the building inspector needs to know and check for; Inspection guidelines for water supply systems; Inspection guidelines for sanitaryware
  • MODULE 22 – DRAINAGE SYSTEMS:  South African building regulations concerning wastewater drainage systems; Drain pipes and fittings – what the building inspector needs to know and check for; How wastewater is removed from a building; The mechanics of a drain – air pressure, water seals and gradient; On-site waste systems – conservancy tanks, septic tanks and soakaways; Drainage pipes and fittings – what the building inspector should check for; Inspection guidelines for plumbing and drains.
  • MODULE 23 – ELECTRICAL INSTALLATIONS:  The home inspector’s limited but important role in checking electrical installations in existing buildings; The basics of electrical installations; What the inspector should look out for in the different areas of the house and garden
  • MODULE 24 – HOT WATER HEATERS:  Understanding laws and national standards governing hot water heater installations; How electric hot water geysers work and should be installed; How solar powered geysers work and should be installed; How heat pumps work and should be installed
  • MODULE 25 – SURVEY OF THE NATIONAL BUILDING REGULATIONS AND SANS 10400: Sections of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act which are important to building inspectors: Parts A to XA of the National Building Regulations and, where applicable, the corresponding section of SANS 10400; 
  • Other relevant national standards as they apply to each part of the NBR and SANS 10400
  • MODULE 26 – GUIDELINES FOR INSPECTING EXISTING BUILDINGS:  Building inspectors vs home inspectors – the differences; Specialists and generalists; Guidelines for inspecting the interior of a building; Snag inspections
  • MODULE 27 – MAINTENANCE INSPECTIONS:  Principles of maintenance; Sectional Title Schemes Management Act; Guidelines for maintenance inspections
  • MODULE 28 – BUILDING PROGRESS INSPECTIONS:  Milestones for building progress inspections;  Guidelines for inspecting new building work
  • MODULE 29 – COLLECTING & MANAGING BUILDING INSPECTION DATA:  Collecting data for decision making; Design the system with the desired result in mind; Fundamentals of good inspection software; Storage and retrieval of data
  • MODULE 30 – BUILDING INSPECTION AS A BUSINESS OR CAREER:  Opportunities and challenges in building a building or home inspection business; How to plan for a successful inspection business; Qualifications and mobility

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