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How to register as a contractor in South Africa

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A construction company wishing to work in South Africa must first register with Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). To register as a contractor in South Africa is  easier nowadays with the roll out of CIDB online application.

Construction Industry Development Board (cidb) is a Schedule 3a public entity established to lead construction industry stakeholders in construction development. It is established in terms of the CIDB Act 38, of 2000.

The Register of Contractors(RoC) categorizes and grades contractors according to financial and works capability to carry out construction projects. Grades range from 1 to 9.

It might be difficult to work  as a contractor in South Africa without being registered because Construction Industry Development (CID) Regulations of 2004, as amended, bind public sector clients to only award construction contracts to cidb registered contractors.

Who must register with CIDB?

  • Any contractor can register on the cidb RoC.
  • Subcontractors do not yet need to register.
  • Joint ventures (JV) do not need to register. All partners to a JV must however, be individually registered in their own right. Their combined grading may be determined using the cidb  Joint Venture Calculator
  • Home builders are regulated by the National Home Building Council (NHBRC). They are therefore exempted from the Register of Contractors.
  • Labour only contractors are exempted from registration with the cidb.

CIDB registration process

To register as a contractor in South Africa you must select and complete either the Grade 1 or Grade 2 to 9 application form as applicable. The contractor may only carry out work in the class of works they are registered in, and up to the maximum value of work permissible in their registered grading level. Each class of works must therefore be individually and separately applied for.

GB General Building
CE Civil Engineering
EB Electrical Engineering Works – Building
EP Electrical Engineering Works – Infrastructure
ME Mechanical Engineering
SB Asphalt works (supply and lay)
SC Building excavations, shaft sinking, lateral earth support
SD Corrosion protection (cathodic, anodic, and electrolytic)
SE Demolition and blasting
SF Fire prevention and protection systems
SG Glazing, curtain walls and shop fronts
SH Landscaping, irrigation and horticulture works
SI Lifts, escalators and travellators (installation, commissioning and maintenance)
SJ Piling and specialised foundations for buildings and structures
SK Road markings and signage
SL Structural steelwork fabrication and erection
SM Timber buildings and structures
SN Waterproofing of basements, roofs and walls using specialist systems
SO Water supply and drainage for buildings (wet services, plumbing)
SQ Steel security fencing or precast concrete


A contractor may be awarded work one level above the registered grading on condition that their registration classifies them as Potentially Emerging (PE), and that the client meets regulatory requirements to make a PE based appointment.

Please note that there are different requirements for track record and financial capability at different grades and classes of works. These requirements are listed in detail in the application form and contractors must study them carefully. An application must meet both the requirements for completeness as well as for compliance to satisfy the grading assessment criteria.

All the nine cidb Provincial Offices offer free help desk support to contractors. Contractors may also contact the cidb Call Centre during working hours from 08h00 to 16h30 Monday to Friday. Please note that the Call Centre is closed after hours, on weekends and during holidays.

How do I know which grade(s) to apply for?

Contractors may enlist the help of the cidb Grading Calculator to estimate more realistically which grading they may potentially qualify for. The cidb will however assess and determine a grade based on the strength of the application as well as the supporting documentation submitted.

A grade denotes maximum value of a contract the contractor is deemed capable of performing within a particular class of works. When applying for registration the contractor must indicate not only the grading level applied for, but also the class (or classes) of works they wish to register for.


Maximum value of contracts in the different grades:

GRADE Tender value range (less than or equal to)
2 R1 000 000
3 R3 000 000
4 R6 000 000
5 R10 000 000
6 R20 000 000
7 R60 000 000
8 R200 000 000
9 No limit


How long does it take to get registered as a contractor in South Africa?

By law the cidb must take no more than 21 working days to process a registration application for Grades 2 to 9. This period only applies to applications that are complete and comply with all the registration requirements for the grade being applied for.  ‘Complete’ means that the contractor has furnished the cidb with all documents required to process an application, as well as proof that the applicable fees have been paid. An application is compliant when it meets all the documentary requirements to qualify for assessment in the grade that the contractor is applying for.

Where an application is non-compliant the law allows the cidb to give the contractor a maximum of 60 days to furnish the outstanding documentation. If the contractor fails to supply the required information within the 60 day grace period the cidb will proceed to assess the application and assign a grade on the basis of the information at its disposal.

The 21 working days are calculated from the date on which the cidb received the outstanding documentation, not the date on which the application was originally received.

The above application time frames apply also to renewal of registration and upgrades. It is therefore important to keep these turnaround periods in mind when applying for renewal and upgrades.

Grade 1 applications take 48 hours to process and for registration to reflect on the cidb website.

 Avoid delays when renewing your application:

The right time to renew your application is always three to four months before expiry. It is never advisable to apply for renewal at the last minute.

The validity period for registration is three years from the date of registration. The cidb will always send a renewal reminder to the contractor by post and via e.mail three months before the expiry date. Always advise the cidb of any changes to your contact details to ensure that communication reaches you safely and timeously.

 How do I track the status of my application?

Click here to track your application status.

Please note that the cidb no longer issues printed certificates of registration. Verification of registration is on-line and clients and the public must refer to the list of registered contractors on this website.

 Who do I contact if I have a query regarding my application?

In case of a query, complaint or a compliment send us an e.mail to cidb@cidb.org.za. You can also give us a call on 086 100 2432.

Fraud is a reality:

Don’t fall foul of corruption. cidb employees are employed to provide a registration process that is smooth, efficient and timely. Do not attempt to bribe staff for any service or favour. Remember  integrity in life and in business goes a long way!

It is not illegal to use a third party to assist you to register as a contractor in South Africa. Beware of unscrupulous agents with promises that are too good to be true. Falsifying information to manipulate grading is illegal. As the applicant the contractor, not the agent, is accountable and liable for any misrepresentation to the cidb.

Benefits of registration:

The Register of Contractors helps policy makers to objectively assess the extent of empowerment and transformation in the industry. This includes transformation of ownership of companies, access to work opportunities by the emerging sector, as well as growth and sustainability of companies owned by historically disadvantaged groups. This information facilitates informed policy decisions. It also directs focus to appropriate development interventions

Grading helps contractors to benchmark themselves against peers. Individual contractors are also better able to market their capabilities and to position themselves appropriately in the market.

Ultimately registration helps the country and the industry to appreciate the capacity and capability available to deliver infrastructure in order to meet SA’s social and economic goals. The Register of Contractors reflects the nature, size and geographic distribution of contractors. There you have it. That is how you can register as a contractor in South Africa.

Application forms can be found below:

Application Form: Grade 1

Application Form: Grade 2 – 9

Also Read

Top 7 construction associations in Kenya

How to register with Association of South African Quantity Surveyors

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