Mastering South African Building Inspection.
Online Course

Course Outline

Mastering South African Building Inspection course consists of practical hands-on learning designed to equip the student to successfully function as a Building Inspector in South Africa.

Study material: All study material is supplied to the student both as on-line modules and tests and also as an e-book.

Length of course: Students can work at their own pace, dependent on their other time commitments. Students have a maximum of one year from the date of enrollment to complete the course. Students should attempt to complete at least one module per week. More than one module and online test can be completed within any one week – thereby shortening the total time the student needs to complete this course.

Online tests: On the completion of each module the student will be required to complete an open-book multiple-choice test online within a specified time limit. The pass percentage for each of these tests is 80 per cent. Tests can be taken as often as necessary until the student demonstrates competence by obtaining the minimum pass mark of 80 per cent.

Practical test: On the completion of all of the modules, the student is required to submit to CPD Africa by email or fax two practical tests:

  • Submission of a building inspection business plan.
  • A full inspection report on a house, including a garden to which the student has access. This report, together with photographs, must be submitted as a comprehensive and detailed inspection report using MS Word or Open Office software.

Getting Started: Once payment has been received the student will be supplied with Log-in information consisting of a user name and password and can then start the course.

Module 1:  Building inspection basics

  • The attributes of a good building inspector – honesty, integrity and passion.
  • The importance of technical knowledge, experience and the powers of observation
  • Why language and computer skills are essential
  • How to compile a good inspection report

Module 2:  Property inspection role players

  • The roles of the various people who have different responsibilities with regard to property inspections in South Africa
  • Why the service of the professional building inspector is essential for home buyers

Module 3:  The legal framework

  • Deeds Office and title deeds.
  • Surveyor General.
  • National Building Regulations.
  • Local authorities (municipalities)
  • National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC)
  • Consumer Protection Act.

Module 4:  Role of the NHBRC

  • The NHBRC manuals
  • The NHBRC warranties
  • The NHBRC classification of “cracks”

Module 5:  Plans, dimensions and 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

  • Problem soils.
  • NHBRC site classification.

Module 7: The Foundations (sub-structure)

  • Important terms
  • Excavating foundations
  • Compaction of fill
  • Under-floor membranes
  • Types of foundations
  • Foundation problems

Module 8: Building with concrete

  • What is concrete?
  • Building with concrete.
  • Common defects found in concrete.
  • Typical problems which the building inspector may encounter with concrete work.

Module 9: Inspecting the grounds

  • Ground water management.
  • Grading the plot.
  • Inspection issues in the garden.
  • Paving
  • Retaining walls and drainage

Module 10: Masonry walls

  • Masonry walls.
  • Different types of walls
  • Building in windows, doors and roof anchors
  • Water penetration and exterior walls – making these walls watertight.
  • Common defects which the inspector may find when inspecting masonry wall structures
  • .

Module 11: Plastered walls

  • Plaster sand.
  • Plaster additives.
  • Lathing.
  • Keying the surface.
  • Applying plaster
  • Common defects in plaster work.

Module 12: Paintwork

  • Understanding the basics of good painting practice.
  • How to diagnose the likely cause of paintwork problems.

Module 13: Inspecting the foundations & walls

  • How to inspect the foundations and walls for settlement and other movement cracks.
  • Inspecting for damp damage and diagnosing causes.
  • Inspecting painted walls and drawing conclusions

Module 14: The roof structure (Part 1) – Roof shapes, pitch & anchoring

  • The minimum requirements for a roof as prescribed by the NBR.
  • Different pitched roof shapes and structures
  • The importance and relevance of roof pitch
  • Roof anchoring basics

Module 15: Roof structure (Part 2) – Roof timbers & fixing

  • Factory built trusses and carpenter built roof structures
  • Rules for grading and treating of roof timbers
  • Bracing of roof trusses
  • Fixing of roof timbers

Module 16: Pitched roof coverings

  • The many different kinds of roof coverings used to clad roofs in South Africa
  • Basic rules and guidelines for roof sheeting.
  • Basic rules and guidelines for tiles, slates and shingles
  • Basic rules and guidelines for thatch roofs

Module 17: Flashing & capping roofs

  • Various types of flashing
  • Various kinds of capping used along the ridges and verges (barges)
  • Fascias and beam infill

Module 18: “Flat” and slab roofs & balconies

  • The structure and issues relating to concrete slab roofs
  • The structure and issues relating to timber board roofs
  • The structure of semi-flat sheeted roofs
  • Waterproofing of semi-flat roofs and balconies

Module 19: Roof drainage

  • The types of gutters and down pipes available
  • Problems associated with gutterless roofs
  • Problems associated with box gutters
  • Capacity of gutters and down pipes

Module 20: Inspecting the roof

  • Ladder and roof safety guidelines
  • What to inspect on a roof
  • What to inspect inside a roof cavity

Module 21: Frame Construction & Decks

  • The basics of frame construction for houses
  • The advantages of framed board houses
  • Factors relating to designing and building a deck

Module 22: Ceilings & floors

  • The different types of ceiling which a South African building inspector may encounter.
  • Common problems with ceilings.
  • The different types of floors which a South African building inspector may encounter.
  • Common problems with floors

Module 23: Windows, doors, glazing & gates

  • Window and door terminology and what to look out for when inspecting windows and doors.
  • Glazing (glass) regulations and safety issues relating to buildings.
  • The importance of a fire door where a garage is joined to a dwelling unit.
  • Garage doors – how to inspect these and safety issues
  • Driveway gates – how to inspect these and safety issues.

Module 24: The electrical installation

  • The building inspector’s limited but important role in checking electrical installations
  • The basics of electrical installations
  • What the building inspector should look out for in the different areas of the house and garden

Module 25: Plumbing: Pipes & drains

  • How clean water is supplied to a house and how waste water is removed.
  • Water supply pipes – features and problems
  • The mechanics of a drain – air pressure, water seals and gradient.
  • Inspection guidelines for plumbing and drains

Module 26: Sanitary ware & plumbing fittings

  • How toilets work and the different types of toilet
  • Different types of other sanitary ware – such as bidets, basins, baths, and showers.
  • About taps and mixers

Module 27: Hot water heaters

  • How electric hot water geysers work and should be installed
  • How heat pumps work and should be installed
  • How solar powered geysers work and should be installed

Module 28: Fireplaces, gas, under-floor heating, & air conditioning & heat pumps

  • The inspection requirements of fireplaces.
  • Rules regarding gas installations
  • How under-floor heating works.
  • Air conditioners and heat pumps for cooling and heating houses.

Module 29: Building insulation

  • The new regulations regarding energy saving for South African houses
  • The three different types of heat transfer which occur in houses
  • Insulating ceilings and roofs
  • Insulating walls
  • Insulating floors

Module 30: Wood destroying insects & organisms

  • The damage which can be caused to the wood in a structure by wood destroying organisms and insects.
  • The need for a clearance certificate certifying that there are no active pests before the South African banks will grant a loan on a property being sold.
  • The causes of wood rot.
  • Termites and borer beetles
  • Soil poisoning

Module 31: Inspecting the house interior

  • The importance of a systematic approach when inspecting the interior of a house.
  • What to look out for when inspecting the various components of the interior of a house.

Module 32: Swimming pools, spas, lapas & braais

  • Regulations regarding enclosing pools for safety reasons
  • How to inspect the various components of a swimming pool
  • How to inspect a spa bath
  • How to inspect lapas and braais

Module 33: Assignment – The building inspection business

  • The advantages and disadvantages of starting your own building inspection business, compared with joining an established business.
  • The factors which should be considered when starting a business.
  • Factors to consider when setting up a fee structure for inspections
  • .
  • The advantages and disadvantages of staying small or planning to grow into a big business.

Module 34: Assignment – The inspection report

  • The nature of a good building inspection report
  • Guidelines for writing building inspection reports
  • The tension which exists between informing the client and protecting the inspector
On the successful completion of the tests for all of the modules and the submission of a satisfactory building inspection report, the student will receive their Certificate of Competence stating that the student has successfully completed the online course.

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