Friday, October 31, 2008

Congratulations - Neil Enslin


Neil Enslin, the MBA's Health and Safety Adviser, has recently been assessed and declared competent by the South African Board of Registration for Occupational Hygiene, Safety and Associated Professionals (OHSAP). He is now a Registered Occupational Safety Professional (ROSProf).

OHSAP is recognized Nationally and Internationally, as the Body for the Establishment, Advancement and Maintenance of the Standards of Education, Training and Practice of Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Safety and Associated Professionals in South Africa

We are the only Association that employ ROSProfs and our Health and Safety Manager, Neels Nortje, holds the same registration.

Congratulations Neil!

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The Future

Daniel Silk, a futurist and political and economic commentator, delivered an address at the recent Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) Congress held in Port Elizabeth. This is what he said about our future:-

1. Emerging Market Century – The golden age for emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has arrived and activity in these economies has been likened to a second industrial revolution (hopefully cleaner and greener this time.)

2. Consumerism – Although this trend has been forcibly checked by the recent economic meltdown, Daniel still predicts that this is the hallmark of our economic reality going forward.

3. Connectivity – Cheap, if not free, internet connectivity allowing for a quick and widely available flow of information.

4. Ethics – Sharper and more savvy consumers forcing ethical capitalism. An increase in power of civic organisations and NGO’s protecting the rights of consumers.

5. Global Natural Resources Grab – It is predicted that wars will be fought and peace treaties signed on the basis of the need for resources. Oil is an obvious one but even water is becoming a scarce resource. Israel and Syria recently put centuries old acrimony to one side to jointly discuss water issues in that part of the world.

6. Judged By Global Rankings – Rankings and ratings agencies give the public accurate information about what is working and what is not working.

7. New Contenders For Power – New players are taking roles of power including companies, individuals, rating agencies and NGO’s. The credit crunch has resulted in the gap between rich and developing economies growing smaller. Organisations like Google and Yahoo determine what information is prioritised and also wield a lot of power.

8. Living Longer – Humans live for longer and elderly people are starting to become a major player as a group of consumers as well as voters.

9. Human Mobility – Vast groups of people move around for economic and other reasons and it is becoming increasingly difficult to control this trend.

10. Knowledge Economy – Knowledge and expertise are becoming commodities which command ever increasing asking price.

As you can see from the above, there is a lot of opportunity available for people and organisations adapting to the changing times and pitching themselves appropriately.


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Skills Crisis: Employers Take Action

Fed up with years of compromised governance, four qualified audits by the Auditor General, organisational instability and inefficiency, as well as inefficiencies relating to skills development, the majority of the employer groupings represented at CETA have suspended their participation.

This action is taken in an attempt to highlight the plight of the construction industry and persuade the Minister of Labour to place the CETA under administration. One of the employer groupings involved in the initiative is Master Builders South Africa which acts as the national umbrella bodies for eight Master Builders Associations including the KZN MBA.

It is hoped that once the CETA is place under administration, issues of governance and financial management will be sorted out to a point where the CETA can focus on the activity that it has been mandated to undertake, and that is to facilitate funding and other mechanisms for skills development in the construction industry.

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2008 Health & Safety Awards



The 45th annual Health and Safety Awards function was held at the Durban Country Club on Friday evening 24 October 2008. More than two hundred delegates attended the function and witnessed how the MBA paid tribute to its members, who excelled in the 2008 OHS competition.

The recipients were praised for their adherence to health and safety. This was made even more noteworthy, when one considers the pressures under which construction companies are currently working. Some 50 sites entered into the 2008 regional OHS competition and as there was only a small window of opportunity during which the sites could be judged (when work is usually at peak), the number of entries was extremely gratifying.

The standards were extremely high, when one takes into account the fact that the sites were scrupulously audited on more than 20 different elements. These included administrative and legal requirements, training, public safety, PPE, housekeeping, scaffolding, electrical safeguarding, plant and machinery, excavations, transport and material handling to name but a few.

Our Members came through with flying colours this year - no less than 8 entries received the presidential award for scoring more than 95% and came first in their respective categories in the National OHS competition.


2008 Regional Competition Results

Safety Person of the Year:

Grinaker LTA- Building East - Martin Deporis Joseph

Plant yard:

1. Grinaker-LTA - Plant Yard (Presidential Award) (10/4 years) (1st Nat)(Best)
2. Stefanutti Stocks KZN - Plant Yard (Presidential Award)
3. WBHO - Plant Yard

Highly Commended:
Reed Simpson Construction – Plant Yard

Contracts over R500M:

1. Group 5/WBHO/Pandev J.V. – Moses Mabhida Soccer Stadium (1st Nat)
2. Group/WBHO J.V. – King Shaka Airport

Contracts R200-R500M:

1. Grinaker-LTA Building East/Enza J.V. – Bridge City Mall (Pres) (Scaff) (KDBA) (1st Nat)
2. Grinaker-LTA Building East – Westwood Shopping Centre

Contracts R120- 200M:

1. Stefanutti Stocks – Liberty Life Offices (Presidential Award) (1st Nationals)
2. Basil Read – Abour Town
3. Giuricich Bros Construction - Oyster Box Hotel

Contracts R50-R120M:

1. Giuricich Coastal Projects – Toyota Showroom, Shelly Beach (2nd Nationals)
2. Reed Simpson Construction – Rob Roy Lifestyle Village Site
3. Stedone Mechanicos Building – St George Street Renaissance

Highly Commended:
Stefanutti Stocks – The Link

Contracts R20-R50M:

1. J.T. Ross Construction – The Glass House (3rd Nationals)
2. Stefanutti Stocks – Pang Bourne Phase II
3. Grinaker-LTA Building East - IMBONINI

Highly Commended:
Stefanutti Stocks – IL Palazzo
Grinaker Building East - Mondi
NMC – City Couriers
NMC – Laser Durban

Contracts R5-R20M:

1. Stefanutti Stocks – Gotlieb RHV (Presidential Award) (1st Nationals)

Contracts under R5M:

1. Patcon Building- Engen Refinery Site (Presidential Award) (1st Nat) (7/4 Year)

Highly Commended:
Stefanutti Stocks – Toyota Assembly Hall - Canteen

Allied Trades:

1. Formscaff - Westmead Yard 0041 (Presidential Award) (1st Nationals)

Manufacturers:

1. Steeldale Reinforcing – Westmead Factory (1st Nationals)

Civil:

1. Group 5/ WBHO J.V - Hulamin Expansion (Presidential Award)
2. Stefanutti Stocks - Khangela Bridge
3. Stefanutti Stocks – Phase V Expansion Project RBCT

Highly Commended:
WBHO – Ethekwini Water Pipe Replacement

OHS Consultant Award:

C&M Safety Consultants

Client Award:

Umgeni Water – South Coast Project

Designer Award:

BAU Architects – Arbour Crossing Value Centre

Committee Members Special Award:

Stefanutti Stocks - Siven Naidoo


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tax Law Changes 2008

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com

It is estimated that the number of new laws passed by Parliament in the last 10 years exceeds all the laws passed by all SA Parliaments since Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape. This blog post deals with only two of the many Acts of Paliament passed this year alone. The Taxation Laws Amendment Acts are the laws which confirm what the Minister of Finance said in his Budget Speech earlier in February this year.

Sometimes, however, there are minor changes between what was said and what the printed Act says, and so one must wait for the gazetting of the new law, which usually appears in the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year. The new tax laws will apply to the current tax year ending February 2009 (if the taxpayer is an individual) or to any fiscal year ending on or after 1.1.2009 (if the taxpayer is not an individual).

This blog deals with the changes to Partnerships and Pension funds; elections by beneficiaries following the death of a member; the commutation of lump sums; and the withdrawal benefit.

People who are partners in a business venture will be pleased that the current definition of “Pension Fund” is to be amended. The old definition restricted pension fund members to:

i) employees
ii) partners who were previously employees of the same firm.

Furthermore, their contributions as newly promoted partners were limited to a percentage of their salary during their last year as employees. The result was that their contributions to the firms pension fund were effectively frozen and could not keep up with inflation.

The proposed amendment will allow all new partners to join the firm’s pension fund, and to contribute up to the usual percentage of their salaries. In other words, they as well as newly promoted partners will, together with all employees
of the firm be treated equally.

Other proposed changes are, upon the death of a member of a pension fund, to remove the restrictive 6 month period within which a surviving beneficiary must elect to receive a lump sum amount (as opposed to a monthly annuity/pension). Since trustees often take longer than 6 months to locate and verify the beneficiary, this 6 month period was felt to be too short, and will now fall away.

The lump sum, which is restricted to one-third of the total value of benefits available, will still be taxed at an average rate of tax in the hands of the deceased estate, while an annuity/pension derived from the balance of two-thirds (or three-thirds if no lump sum is chosen) will be taxed in the hands of the receipient beneficiary.

Other changes are that, if a member seeks to commute the whole of a small pension at his retirement, or his beneficiaries seek to commute the whole pension at his death, the total pension/RA fund value must be taken into account when calculating whether the value of the full commutation is R75 000 or less. If it is more than this figure, the commutation will not be allowed, and only one-third may be commuted into a lump sum.

On withdrawal from a pension fund, the amount of the withdrawal benefit is to be defined as the value of a member’s share in the fund in terms of the Fund Rules. Remember, this is for withdrawal, not for retirement.

The taxation and financial planning issues surrounding saving for retirement, be that in a pension or provident fund, or a private RA Fund, are growing ever more complex, and this is why the State deemed it important to professionalise the financial advice industry and compel advisers to hold licenses and keep up to date. If your adviser holds the CFP qualification (Certified Financial Planner), then he or she can be trusted to provide sound financial planning advice.

Clive Hill
Financial Services Manager

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

South Coast Quarterly Meeting



The MBA South Coast held their last general meeting for 2008, at the Hill Billion Estate on the 23rd October, where 120 guests attended. These meetings are always well attended and informative, with growing involvement from members.

Formscaff sponsored the event by paying for the occasion. Mr Tony Gradwell the Regional Director (KZN) of Formscaff, generously extended their sponsorship, by pledging a further R5000-00 towards our Year End function. This was one of the Highlights of the evening and is very much appreciated by us.

Mr Neels Nortje our Safety Manager and Gary Amstutz, our newly appointed Commercial and Online Manager from Westville, were invited to address the meeting. They both gave a short presentation on the services currently offered to members and also gave a brief overview of a host of new services, which will shortly be available to members.

On Safety, one of the new service offerings, is a Paid Consultancy service. This will be available at R350 per hour (Excluding VAT) and members will receive a subsidized rate of R190 per Hour (Excluding Vat). We believe that this will go a long way in assisting you to ensure that your Site Safety is compliant with the Act.

Mike Vernon, the Regional Manager of FEM, also addressed the meeting. He presented statistics on the various types of injuries in the Building Industry and also provided some interesting facts on how their service differs (positively) from the service offered by the Government (Workmen’s Compensation Commission).

Jonathan Auld, from Pseudo Stone, was given the opportunity to address the meeting and to promote his product.

After the meeting, everybody was invited to enjoy Dinner and Drinks and rumour has it, that there were still a few stragglers at the Bar well after Pumpkin Hour. This social gathering is becoming one of the premier networking events on the South Coast Calendar and we anticipate that many of the Non-Members that attended, will be signing up to the MBA soon. A raffle to predict the Sharks/ Bulls score was held and was won by the Chairman Ray Basson. WELL DONE RAY!

Our Year End Function will be held at the Edwardian in Port Edward, on the 21st November 2008 at 7pm. The event is a Formal event and dress code is Jacket and Tie. Accommodation is available at discounted rates at the Hotel and Babysitters are available. To book your place, or for more information, contact Hans Stols on 082 853 9385.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

New Website - Sneak Preview

Photo Credit: www.Flickr.com

As part of our Online Strategy, The Kwazulu Natal Master Builders Association is in the process of developing a brand new Website. Following an extensive review, the following four objectives have been identified:
  1. Promote the use of Members to the Public and to other Members.
  2. Create Awareness of Products and Services offered to the Members.
  3. Establish an online Community for Members.
  4. Source of information and guidance for Members and the Public.
With the above objectives in mind, we would like the new Website to be multi-faceted; a Source of Information, a Business Tool and a Marketing Channel. Some of the features that will be included will be:
  • A 'Members Only' Online Discussion Forum - This element is being fast-tracked and we hope to have the Health & Safety Sub Forum up before the end of the year.
  • Blog - This Blog will soon be incorporated into the website and there will be links to various posts, from the site and from our Monthly Email Newsletters.
  • A Virtual Showroom - A showcase of Top Products and Services for the Building Trade
  • Comprehensive 'Find-a-Member' function, which will enable Members and the Public to search for a Member using a host of different search criteria in a user-friendly layout.
  • Brand New section on Green Building.
These are just some of the many features of our new website, which we will have live in the early part of the New Year. Look out for more information and regular updates here.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

News from the regions - Zululand

Building Activity

With 2008 entering its third quarter, Members are still very busy with larger projects, and to mention but a few in progress.
  • uThungulu District Municipality Offices – due for completion in October 2009
  • Richards Bay Golf Estate – Phase one nearing completion and phase 2, also R40 million to start soon
  • The new Standard Bank Building in Richards Bay to be completed in October 2008.
  • New Mortuary for Eshowe and New Psychiatric ward for Ngwelezane Hospital, both for completion during October 2008.
  • Hotel Richards / Bay Shore Inn with a total revamp and additions
  • Umfolozi College of Education – Empangeni and Mandeni
  • New SPAR –“ 5 Ways Mall” to start September 2008
  • “Boardwalk” Shopping centre, Extensions to and revamp of old section nearing completion
  • New “KFC” in Empangeni just completed.
Other projects to start in the very near future:
  • New 2010 Soccer Stadium in Veld en Vlei – R / Bay Latest project cost now R115.57 Million.
  • Empangeni Casino to move to new site in Richards Bay – Small Craft area. Estimated cost R 1.6 Billion.
  • Retirement Village – Richards Bay – R 24 Million.
  • Ukhulu Park Office development – Empangeni. R20 Million.
The John Ross Highway is still crawling onwards between Empangeni and Richards Bay, with bridges to cross rivers, railway lines and an extremely big flood plain. This project will continue for a few more years.

Training

Due to the extreme skills shortage in the building industry, MBA decided to assist “Bhekwell Training School” to obtain urgently needed tools, safety equipment and material required for the purpose of training learners in Brick laying, Carpentry, Roofing, Plumbing, Steel work. Reading plans, and the Setting out of a site.

The list continue and we ask all the members to assist with employment and the placing of learners during and after the training period. Come on Members, we need your help to build up and maintain a higher level of skill in the Construction Industry.

MBA - KZN Zululand Division – NEW Offices

We are very excited about moving our offices to our own New Premises within a few months.

MBA purchased the residence and surgery of Dr.Faaikie du Toit in Rex Henderson Rd. in Empangeni ( Opposite Central SPAR / next to Amble Inn Conference Centre ).

At present the plans are being prepared by Architects for the transformation and revamp of the building to accommodate our New Offices. We will also have ample office space to house Architects and Quantity Surveyors on the upper floor.

All goes as planned, we should be moving into the offices in about five months time. We can't wait !!

Manie Malan - Zululand Divisional Manager
Cell: 082 9322 131 - E-mail: mwzulman@mweb.co.za

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News from the regions - Lower South Coast

The 3rd meeting for the year was held on 21 August 2008 at the Port Shepstone Country Club and was attended by 69 people. Blue Gold, who are suppliers of ready mix cement, sponsored the venue, the catering and gifts and I would like to thank them most sincerely for this. Our quarterly meetings are always fun and informative.

Our new office at Manaba is now well established and I would like to remind members that I will be in the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. During August I visited members in Scottburgh, Kokstad and Matatiele. The demand for safety files and CD's as well as JBCC contracts continues to be strong. I always keep a stock of these in my car and am happy to deliver them to members should I be in their area.

I am pleased to announce that I successfully completed the NOSA safety course and am now available to provide safety services to members.

Our annual golf day held at Southbroom, was a great success and a special thanks to Tony of Steppe Construction and the other sponsors for the day. Tony has offered to sponsor the event again next year.

Hans Stols - LSC Divisional Manager

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News from the regions - Midlands Division

Exciting changes to the Midlands Division are happening, with our new Chairman, Mr Daniel Brookes of DTB Contracting, at the helm. I would like to welcome Tom who is our new security and general maintenance officer who is doing a great job of tidying up and securing our offices.

On the 9th Sept we held a presentation of the services your Association offers. The Association's new Financial Services Manager, Clive Hill was there to explain the new performance guarantee scheme to be offered in a few months time.

I am pleased to report that Health and Safety services continues to be a big drawing point for new membership and we always to try to “go the extra mile” to assist members with their legal compliance obligations.

Members are encouraged to contact me should they have problems of any kind, as we are always there to help.

Gareth Roberts - MBA Midlands Divisional Manager

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Occupational Health & Safety Services

Do you or your clients or colleagues require any of the following Occupational Health & Safety Services:
  • Risk Assessments
  • Health & Safety Plans
  • Health & Safety Specifications
  • Incident Investigations or Reports
  • Monthly / Ad Hoc Site Inspections and Reports
The MBA’s Occupational Health and Safety Division offers the above and more, at competitive rates. In addition, members automatically qualify for a 50% discount.

To enquire about any of the above services, or about our Site or Enterprise Specific Safety Management Programmes, contact Neels Nortje on 031 266 7070 / 082 464 6754 or neels@masterbuild.co.za

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Member Specials - Save 12% on your Cell Phone Costs


The MBA has negotiated a fantastic discount with MTN. The offer is open to all MBA members, their staff and their immediate family.

The Offer (New Subscribers):
  • FREE Caller Line Identity
  • FREE Itemised Billing
  • FREE Sim Card & Connection
  • 12% Discount off ALL of MTN's new and simplified Price Plans
  • It's as simple as 1 | 2 | 3 - Pick your Phone | Pick your Airtime | Pick your Extras
  • Applies to Voice and Data Contracts
The Offer (Existing MTN Service Provider Subscribers):
  • We can convert your existing contract so that you can immediately take advantage of the 12% discount.
  • Conversion is simple and quick
  • You keep your same Sim Card and Cell number
The Offer (Existing MTN Contract through another service provider e.g. Nashua Mobile)
  • We can convert your existing contract
  • You will have to find out what the cancellation costs will be with your existing service provider
  • Conversion takes a bit longer
  • You keep your same Cell Number, but will be given a new Sim Card.
The Process:
  • Contact Elishya on 031 277 7070 or elishya@masterbuild.co.za for more information, to convert your existing contract, or to sign up for a new contract.
  • Elishya is based in the reception area at the KZN MBA building in Westville and has been trained by MTN to offer all MTN products and services.
  • She will guide you through the process, in person or over the phone.
  • You can then elect to collect the phone from Elishya or have it delivered straight to you per courier (anywhere in KZN).

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Managing Your Business during an Economic Downturn - Part 1

General
Things are not looking rosy in the S.A. economy and a downturn can be a business manger's worst nightmare. The formula for today's success can turn into nothing less than poison in circumstances where the business environment changes.

Managers often adopt short term solutions during difficult economic times in an attempt to stave off difficulties without looking at the long term consequences. It is important to remember that economic downturns are cyclical and are inevitably followed by an upswing.

Symptoms
Businesses usually regard a stagnation or shrinkage of turnovers or operating margins over a series of quarters as a sign of a downturn. Other signs to look for are cash flow problems and spiralling costs.

Consequences
  • Cash management problems
  • Decreased profits
  • Increase in amounts owed by debtors
  • Increased debts and interest costs
  • Increased costs
  • Loss of employee morale due to layoffs
Downturns are not necessarily always bad news as changing conditions can open up opportunities for resourceful businesses to outmanoeuvre larger competitors which tend to carry on business as usual or are unable to adapt quickly. Such innovative small businesses can:
  • Gain market share by taking it away from competitors unable to adjust to shifting market conditions
  • Become a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation, better positioned to do well when the economy improves.
A common mistake is to view the downturn as a short term event leading to operational adjustments being made rather than making strategic changes. Some managers acquire a feeling of complacency during boom times and cannot see beyond the immediate operational requirements.

They should instead take time out to consider factors such as inflation and interest rates and prepare a plan to see the business through the tough times ahead.

Recommendations
  • Monitor cash flow very carefully and prepare cash-flow forecasts – try to avoid any nasty future surprises. . Negotiate with suppliers,landlords and service providers for better prices and take advantage of supplier discounts for prompt payments.
  • Talk to your creditors before any amounts become overdue for payment and ask them to extend the terms of payment. This will increase your chances of getting co-operation from credit manager.
  • Keep a careful eye on your debtors and reassess their credit worthiness. This applies to all debtors, even your old and trusted ones. If debtors ask for terms then use the opportunity to obtain security in the form of suretyships, bank letters of guarantee and mortgage bonds. By keeping close to your customers you may find new opportunities and be able to head off eager competitors.
  • Identify “nice to have” from “have to have”and get rid of unnecessary expenditure.
  • Flexibility is essential – consider broadening your business's services or product range to help to smooth out the bumps ahead.

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New Staff Members

We are happy to introduce you to five new staff members. We have included a photo, a name and a portfolio for now, but look out for future posts, where we will be running a series of comprehensive profiles on all staff members at the KZN Master Builders Association.

Michelle Govender - New Minute Taker



Hazel Stevenson - Bookkeeper


Clive Hill - Financial Services Manager


Gary Amstutz - Commercial & Online Manager


Jannie Matthee - New Facilities Manager


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Welcome to our New Members

We would like to welcome the following new members on board.

Category - Building & Construction
  • Midnight Spark Trading t/a Apex Construction
  • Festina Lente Eiendoms Ontwikkelaars cc
  • Reidcon
  • Serengeti Projects
  • Makhathini Projects cc
  • Maverick Trading 845 cc
  • Owen Peters Construction
  • Coco Haven cc t/a House Proud
Category - Aluminium Products, Doors, Windows
  • Showerlick Aluminium t/a Pro Aluminium & Glass
Category - Waterproofing
  • Mustelle Five t/a Wilcote Durban
Category - Alteration, Additions and Maintenance
  • Damal Construction
Category - Consultants, Law & Safety
  • Wieharn Formwork & Scaffolding
Category - Clay Products, Block Manufacturer
  • Newcor Trading Enterprize cc
Please support these members if you require a product or service in any one of the above categories.

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MBSA Congress - New Life Member


Business Bulletin 19 - 3rd October 2008


A special announcement was made at the recent MBSA Congress, advising of the election of Mr Andrew Stewart as a Life Member, Andrew is a Past President of both the KZN Master Builders Association as well as the then BIFSA (now MBSA). He also serves as a member of our Executive Council and as Chairperson of several building industry retirement funds in KZN.

Andrew has devoted a considerable portion of his life to the building industry, both in KwaZulu Natal and nationally. Throughout a career which commenced in 1963, Andrew has helped to positively shape the industry in which he has been so active. He has inspired colleagues and role-players alike with his passion for achieving meaningful results whilst working to the highest possible ethical standards.

As the Association, we are very proud of Andrew and congratulate him on this significant and coveted achievement.

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MBSA Congress

Business Bulletin 18 - 3rd October 2008

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) recently held its 103rd Congress in Port Elizabeth from the 21st to the 23rd September 2008. As usual there was an impressive range of speakers including the then Minister of Public Works, Ms Thoko Didiza. Other speakers included motivational speakers, political, social and economic analysts and various other experts and leaders in their field giving delegates critical insight inside a wide range of topics.

The theme of the Congress was Building South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. While some of the challenges are sobering, one is left with a sense that the building industry is excited about current events and the times ahead, along with all of the potential opportunities that arise in times of change. The air excitement was added to by the tumultuous political events that were simultaneously taking place, providing a dramatic backdrop to the Congress.

As always it is enlightening and gratifying to experience the networking among the leading role players in the building industry of South Africa and Master Builders South Africa must be thanked and commended for its efforts in ensuring a successful Congress.

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