Thursday, December 23, 2010

Association Trading Days - Festive Season

Dear members and potential visitors to Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal.

Please note that we too close for annual shutdown.

The Association closed for business today (23 December 2010) at 12h00 and will re-open again on Monday 3 January 2011.

Have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

National Credit Act

In the spirit of providing support aimed at debt counselling and prevention of over-indebtedness, we ask that you please take cognizance of the following information, first published on on 8 December 2008.

The National Credit Act came into being to stamp out reckless lending and predatory practices. Credit providers must consider not only the credit worthiness of a client but also whether they can afford to service a debt. At the time of applying for a loan, the credit provider must do an assessment to determine whether the client can repay the loan, whether the client understands and appreciates the risks, costs and obligations under the credit agreement, and whether the granting of the loan will lead to the client becoming over-indebted.

Should any of your employees / acquaintances find themselves to be over-indebted and not able to meet their debt obligations timeously, they must be encouraged to contact a NCR approved debt counsellor in order to have their debts restructured.

A list of NCR registered debt counsellors can be obtained on

Eileen Beckett


Monday, December 13, 2010

Advertising Your Company and its Products

Be very careful when advertising your company and its products.

As an example, Checkers advertised in the 12 December 2010 Sunday Tribune a TURDUCKEN which, according to them, is a 3-Bird Roast. The birds being turkey, duck and chicken hence the name.

Surely Checkers Marketing could have called it something else.

I'm certainly not going to take a chance and buy a product called TURD.... UCK.... EN.

Ensure your advertising material is properly proof read.

Greg Beykirch
Finance Manager


Friday, December 10, 2010

Arrive Alive

It seems that a lot of people especially in our industry have chosen today to go on leave. With this in mind and as we are going into the festive season we bring you the following Road Safety Tips.
  • Don’t drink and drive – Use a designated driver!
  • Do not exceed the speed Limit.
  • Remember to always wear your seat belt and to make sure that everyone in the car is wearing theirs.
  • Obey the rules of the road and make sure you carry you driver’s license with you.
  • Do not overload.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Only overtake when it is absolutely safe to do so.
  • Try to avoid distractions while driving – Be alert at all times!
For more safety tips and a wealth of information with regard to road safety in South Africa, visit

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Small Claims Court

The aim of the small claims system is to make justice accessible to those who cannot afford litigation in the ordinary civil courts. The small claims court allows you to institute minor civil claims in a speedy, affordable and simple manner without using an attorney.
  • Any natural person may institute a claim.
  • A person under 18 must be assisted by a parent, or legal guardian.
  • A claim may be instituted against anyone except the State, which includes Municipalities and Local Government.
  • An amount not exceeding R12,000 can be claimed. If your claim exceeds R12,000 in value, you can institute a claim for a lesser amount in order to pursue your case.
  • Representation by an attorney or advocate is not allowed. You may however obtain prior advice from an attorney at your own cost.
  • Legal assistants and clerks of the Small Claims Courts will assist you free of charge.
  • The contact details for the Durban Small Claims Court is:
Tel: 031 302 4111
Fax: 031 332 5006
Postal Address: Private Bag X54308, Durban, 4000
Physical Address: Corner Somtseu and Stanger Street, Durban, 4001

Eileen Beckett
Employee Benefits Dept


Monday, December 6, 2010

South Coast Year-end Function

The Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal South Coast year-end function took place on Saturday 27 November. The weather was absolutely perfect for a fun-filled day where water sports, boats and Jet Ski’s were the main attraction. There were three boats on hand with tubes and skis in tow; a jet ski was also made available.

People of all ages participated and some of the more adventurous ladies in the group who weren’t afraid of getting wet, opted for high speed rides on tubes, pulled behind speed-boats with unrelenting horsepower.

The day went by quickly and delicious lamb spit lunch prepared by Top Marx was served at 14.00. Flavours hung in the air from early in the day making everybody hungry and the saying goes “ honger maak die beste kok”.

It has become tradition at our year-end function to present a floating trophy for the most active member in the region and this year it was awarded to Thys Blom of Plankonsult, for assisting me in compiling an extensive property evaluation which aided our Executive Committee in making an informed decision on which property to purchase for our new premises.

Members who contributed included Ray Basson who organized a huge tent and erected it at the rivers edge. Thys, Ray and Sanjy were responsible for the boats and jetski that kept us all entertained, Marcus donated wine. A special “Thank You” to them without whom the day would not have been the success it was.

Lastly, thanks to all who shared this memorable day with us.

Hans Stols | South Coast Regional Manager



Friday, December 3, 2010

Durban Golf Day 2010

In 2010, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal’s annual Durban golf day was held at Cotswold Downs and took place on Tuesday 31 November. Approximately 100 players took to a course which was in superb condition, following the recent rain.

Aside from being a fun and relaxing day out of the office, events like the Master Builders Durban Golf day are intended to facilitate interaction amongst Members, Association staff and Industry stakeholders. Once again, the feedback we received was exceedingly positive.

Cotswold Downs is a challenging course and the wining team with 95 points, was Nyati Construction. They walked away with a Dewalt Power Drill each and will have the privilege of having their company name on the Master Builders Cup, which has a long line of winners going back over 75 years. NMC came in second with 92 points and Everite third with 90 points. Grant Neill of Grant Neill Construction (GNC) hit the longest drive.

We would like to thank the following Marketing Partners, who contributed to the success from the day. Our four annual golf days that take place throughout the province represent a unique and successful marketing opportunity for all our sponsors and we look forward to welcoming them back next year.
  • Stefanutti Stocks
  • Everite
  • NMC
  • Grinaker-LTA
  • F Verbaan
  • D & A Timbers
  • Alulogic
Thank you to all who participated and helped make the event a resounding success. If you would like to participate next year, or in any one of our other regional golf days, keep an eye on the events calendar on

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Green Building Celebration

The photographs on view in the embedded slide sequence seen above, were all taken at the Member Launch of our newly renovated Westville premises. On the night our greening interventions were showcased to around 300 members who enjoyed a cocktail evening that included live music.

Addressing guests, the Association’s Executive Director, Brandon Abdinor said R10.5 million was invested into “greening” and renovating the four storey building to create an environment for members as well as the public in general to make use of the construction related facilities.

Read Press Release….

Ernest Roper


Monday, November 29, 2010

Steve's Stunning Aerial Images

The array of stunning aerial photographs seen in the embedded web album above, were all taken by Steve McCurrach, owner operator of a company called Airserv.

Steve uses a top wing Rainbow Cheetah, which although classified as a microlight, is equipped with a rated aviation engine and has the avionics equivalent to that of any light aircraft.

The Cheetah’s ability to make its way to locations quickly along with slow loitering speeds and removable doors, make it ideal for aerial photography. The aircraft's low running costs enables Steve to keep his pricing competitive, hence his slogan “Affordable Aerial Photography, Environmental, Agriculture, Real Estate.”

For more information visit

Ernest Roper


Friday, November 26, 2010

More Praise For Safe-Build DVD Series

Producing the Safe-Build DVD series was a project that the Association put a lot of time, money and effort into, resulting in an end-product that we are all extremely proud of. Although we do believe we have a fantastic product, seeing how well it has been received by OHS fraternity is extremely encouraging. The following is the latest of several testimonials to have come through.

“Safe-Build DVD

I had purchased 2 copies of the above DVD’s at NOSHCON 2010. I was sceptical at first as having being involved in SHE for the past 23 years I am very well aware of all the substandard safety products out there. Firstly the price was very low for the 20 topic DVD set which added to my scepticism. However, after watching the DVDs I was pleasantly surprised. All topics are covered comprehensively. The essential safety messages are clearly and succulently provided. The real value for my organization in these DVD’s is the language change options. To date I have not seen a safety communication product of such high quality that is so reasonably priced.

In my professional opinion the DVD’s are of an excellent standard and would be an investment for any Company that is serious about safety and values it’s greatest assets i.e. its people.

Dr Shaun Ramroop
SHE Manager

Sasol Oil (Pty) Ltd”

Ernest Roper | Webmaster



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Minister's Economic Proposal Lacks Ambition

With regard to Government's proposed growth path tabled in Parliament yesterday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has suggested a cap on increases for people earning more than R20 000 a month. The message it sends out is somewhat dire and logic certainly dictates that in the long term rather than the desired effect, it will impact negatively on the economy.

A very basic example would be of an individual (perhaps middle management) who earns close to the 20k yet has ambitions of doubling that over the next three years. He has invested a lot of money in acquiring skills and is now in a position to capitalise on it. The company he works for sees his potential and have incentivised him to achieve targets, to him the goal of doubling his salary is not unrealistic.

His incentive is to grow revenue by X amount over a said period of time and as he does so, jobs will be created as more people will have to come onboard to service the growing demand.

Ambition results in more revenue, more revenue stimulates job creation.

What the Minister is proposing would remove ambition from the equation. If despite all his best efforts middle management guy is destined to remain in more or less the same income bracket, the urgency to achieve will be far less prevalent. Rather than being master of his own destiny his goal of being the master of minesweep, may well take priority.

What the Minister is essentially saying is if more people earned less, there would be more money available in the economic pool for job creation. What the Minister needs to consider is that if we start capping salaries, those entrusted to drive revenue and create those jobs, will lack the ambition to do so.

Ernest Roper | Webmaster



Monday, November 22, 2010

More About Extreme Weather Conditions

Builders, like farmers are some of the most avid weather watchers in the world. A recent article in the Association’s Newsletter dealt with the impact of global warming and the possibility that the average surface temperatures recorded across the globe for 2010 may be the highest ever recorded. The article also mentions the impact of, and measurement of, so-called "extreme” climate events in the USA measured by means of the Climate Extremes Index (CEI).

Despite dire predictions about the increase in surface temperatures during 2010, many readers will claim that during the recent winter some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in KZN occurred. This could be largely based on perceptions and there may be no scientific basis to support it. Those who follow weather forecasts will know that Sutherland in the Karoo, is well-known for the South African Large Telescope (SALT), clear starry nights, and icy winter temperatures.

Inhabitants and visitors claim that Sutherland is the coldest town in South Africa. Not so! Say the people of Molteno who also lay claim to living in the coldest town in the country. They say, it all started during the night of 26 June 1996 on the farm Buffelsfontein situated between Dordrecht and Molteno, when temperatures plummeted to minus -18.2 * Celsius.

The farm hosts an official weather station and the South African Weather Service (SAWS), who recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, confirmed this was the coldest temperature ever measured in South Africa. The good folk of Sutherland reject this and counter that Buffelsfontein is a farm, the crown of being the coldest town in South Africa still belongs to them. Sutherlanders say their coldest night was recorded on 12 July 2003, when -16*C was recorded.

A spokesperson for the SAWS said that it is quite difficult to accurately determine the coldest place and ironically neither Sutherland nor Molteno (also a Karoo town) were recorded as the coldest places in South Africa during 2010. At Warden and Fouriesburg in the Free State, the recorded temperature dropped to -8.2*C.

Readers are reminded that the Warden district borders on KZN. Is it possible that besides winning the Currie Cup during 2010, a small part of KZN became the coldest place in South Africa?

Pieter Rautenbach


Friday, November 19, 2010

South African Weather Service (SAWS) Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Image: Margate courtosy of

The first South African Meteorology Commission was established on 26 October 1860 in the former Cape Colony and its current successor SAWS is regarded as one of the oldest and leading weather services in the world. The first Commission was a modest affair with a few staff and basic instruments such as a standard barometer, a maximum and minimum thermometer and a rain water measuring gauge.

Buyelwe Sonjica, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, at a function held at Kempton Park to celebrate this important milestone, said the South African Weather Service provided a valuable service for a century and a half. As the premier provider of weather reports, warnings and information about the climate to the country’s citizens, police, defence, business, sporting codes and agriculture, it has consistently provided a quality service.

The South African Weather Service, in addition to complying with all national legislation, is governed by the South African Weather Service Act, Act no 8 of 2001. SAWS is headquartered in Pretoria and boasts 23 regional offices in the country and 3 manned weather stations on Marion- and Gough Islands and in Antarctica.

SAWS have kept abreast of the science of weather studies which technologically progressed with leaps and bounds during the last three decades. Some 30 years ago, accurate weather predictions for one day ahead were the norm. Currently, seven day weather forecasts are as reliable as three day forecasts of thirty years ago.

The Minister said SAWS provides a wide range of important services to all South Africans.

Pieter Rautenbach


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mortgage, Maties and Companies Amendment Bill

Stellenbosch University Campus

Companies Amendment Bill Approved By the Cabinet

Cabinet recently approved a bill amending the new Companies Act aimed at reducing the burden of red tape imposed on business. A Cabinet spokesperson said the bill will provide for simplified registration of companies and update the Companies Act "to be conducive in the promotion of doing business within SA". (I-Net Bridge/ Business Day)

Mortgage Advances Granted Remain Low

ABSA Home Loans announced mortgage advances granted would continue to record single-digit year-on-year growth for the rest of the year and next year, in reaction to the the South African Reserve Bank’s credit extension data. Total mortgage advances growth remained relatively low at 4.8% year-on-year up to September, unchanged from August 2010. (I-Net Bridge/ Business Day)

"Maties" Joins In the Fight against Corruption

The University of Stellenbosch, popularly also known as "Maties", is offering public officials courses in corruption ---- to assist them combating the problem, rather than stealing from the public purse. The University launched a Centre for Anti- Corruption and Education recently focusing on public sector corruption and its central objective will be to conduct research on the causes of and solutions to rising corruption which is of major concern. The Centre is to be headed by Executive Director, Prof Gavin Woods who said that for the past 15 years, the Government had introduced anti-corruption initiatives, "yet corruption had continued unabated".

Pieter Rautenbach


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Find A Builder Template Update

"Uppink Lodge", By Dicks Construction CC

Over the last couple of weeks, the same request with regard to our page template, came through from two different members. Both parties, Shospec and Dicks Construction CC, wanted their web pages updated with fairly lengthy content.

The challenge however was, that the template was initially designed to only accommodate 3000 characters and up to six images. From our side it was quite encouraging to learn that there are members who see a need for greater exposure in terms of aligning themselves with the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal brand, we therefore happily obliged.

The new template can accommodate up to twelve images, and up to 10 000 thousand characters. On our side we have also included an HTML editor which makes it much easier to include tables, and other MS Word doc type options and layouts.

For a peak at our new improved lengthier template, visit the following two web pages:

Shospec Shopfitting Specialist
Dicks Construction CC

Ernest Roper | Webmaster



Friday, November 12, 2010

Something Fishy Going On In Zululand

The Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Zululand Fishing Competition took place over the weekend of Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th of November 2010. The weather didn’t quite play its part with some preferring the sanctity of the club house over bad weather and intimidating seas.

While the competition was officially called off for the day, Saturday saw 11 of the 18 boats entered brave the weather with some laying claim to some very impressive catches and bragging rights.

Sunday saw a drastic improvement in weather with all 18 Boats taking to the water. Of the 18 crafts entered, two were from the south coast, one from Durban and one from Pietermaritzburg. In total 65 Fisherman took part on a day where ahead of nearest rival boat "Big W", first prize went to a vessel called "Not Guilty" for their 13.5kg Dorado catch.

Prizes were allocated as follows:

1st Prize
Vessel: Knot Guilty
Fisherman: W Strydom
Catch: 13.5kg Dorado

2nd Prize
Vessel: Big W
Fisherman: Jonathan Booysen
Catch: 12.4 Dorado

3rd Prize
Vessel: Beluga
Fisherman: Dale Leenstra
Catch: 9.2 Dorado

Throughout the competition a small number of Marlin fish were caught and released. Wayne Ritchie of vessel "Big W" managed to land two Marlin on the day, making him recipient of The Bull Fish Prize.

We wish to thank the following organisation for Sponsorship of the event:
  • Andrews Spar
  • ABI
  • Builder Trade Depot Richards Bay
  • Dune Electrical Services
  • Exland Panasonic
  • SAB
  • Shepstone & Wylie
  • Wilcote North Coast
  • Wyett’s Deli
  • Zululand Refrigeration
  • Well Done to all who participated.
Paula Leah | Zululand Regional Manager


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is Longevity A Time Bomb In South Africa?

Labour unrest currently experienced in France as a consequence of the French Government’s proposals to increase the statutory retirement age focuses attention to longevity. It is globally recognised that with better nutrition and health facilities people are living longer and can look forward to a considerably greater life expectancy than their parents and grandparents.

Recent authoritive research suggests that a baby born in 2010 --- given good nutrition and parental care during its formative years --- could expect reasonably to have a life expectancy of at least 100 years.

Ruwaida Kassim, CEO of the Institute of Retirement Funds, says; "We have not fully researched this in the context of SA, but clearly in terms of international practices the issue of longevity and life expectancy has become huge'.

Pieter Rautenbach



Monday, November 8, 2010

Blogging Is Effective, Ask Julius !!!

About two weeks ago a photocopy of a letter to Business Day titled “Must I sacrifice my time to write a blog for work?” found its way onto my desk and whoever put it there, did not have the courage of their convictions to hand it to me personally and enlighten me with their opinion.


As somebody who has been involved in several online projects over the last five years and having experienced the benefits of blogging first hand, I am more than willing to argue this point.

The letter is from somebody who would have us believe that they work for a fortune 25 IT company and is disgruntled because they are expected to contribute to a company Blog. Somebody named Lucy Kellaway replies by stating that social networking has become the number one way for senior management to waste time, and that until the craze dies, there is little choice but to toe the line.

What a lot of twaddle!!!!

Anyway one should never take these things too seriously, whatever you do in life you will always have your critics. What cast my mind back to it this morning believe it or not was Julius Malema and his supposed gripe with Google.

Blog / Blogger is a Google product and Google with respect to search criteria, prioritise their own products and index them exceedingly quickly. Julius is reportedly uptight because when one Googles Julius Malema, loads of information comes up that doesn’t necessarily paint him in a wonderful light. Topping the search results ahead of Wikipedia, is a blog dedicated to the escapades of Malema, a perfect example of how effective blogging can be.

A company blog that carries industry pertinent information that gets updated regularly will get indexed quickly and those who find your blog through a Google search, will soon find your company via back links to your website. It takes time, patience and consistent posting however using Google Analytics; you can measure your on-line traffic down to the very last click through. Unlike most off-line marketing endeavors, it is 100% measurable and stats do tend to silence critics.

Ernest Roper
Blogger :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Britain’s Oldest Home


Archaeological teams from the Universities of York and Manchester respectively, have uncovered the site of Britain’s oldest house , the waterside home of nomad hunters dating back about 11 000 years, which predates Stonehenge by about 6000 years and built in about 8 500BC when Britain was still connected to continental Europe.

The circular home was built next to an ancient lake at Star Carr, near Scarborough, in north-eastern England. The house was about 3.5m wide, constructed of timber posts and probably had a roof of thatch and was inhabited between 200 and 500 years. A wooden jetty-like platform found next to the lake could be the first evidence of carpentry in Europe.

Dr Chantal Conneller of Manchester University said:

"This changes our ideas of the lives of the first settlers to move back into Britain after the end of the last ice age."

"We used to think they moved around a lot and left little evidence. Now we know they built large structures and were very attached to particular places in the landscape."

Pieter Rautenbach


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salary Increase - Misused Words

Salary Increase

Collectively the 2 most misused words in the English language.

Most employees each year get an inflation adjustment and not a salary increase.

Often, it’s only a partial inflation adjustment depending on the individual’s inflation rate and the impact of taxes.

A salary increase could result from a promotion or a merit increase.

Recent public service adjustments certainly had an element of a salary increase but a large part of it was in fact an inflation adjustment.

Notwithstanding, as an employee, I always look forward to my partial inflation adjustment each year and I still call it a salary increase.

Old habits die hard. :)

Greg Beykirch



Monday, November 1, 2010

South Africa Is Water-Stressed

South Africa is a " Water-Stressed" country declares the Deputy Minister of Water Affairs.

"South Africa is a water-stressed country. We need to conserve water, because failure to do so will result in water shortages. We need to link education on water conservation with social and economic conditions. This is the only way to equip our people for the future" said Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Deputy Minister of Water Affairs at the national conference on "Water and Poverty Alleviation" held in Durban two weeks ago.

City Manager Mike Sutcliffe was quoted as saying, "the time will come when it will be worth more than gold".

Pieter Rautenbach


Friday, October 29, 2010

South Coast Tennis Day 2010

The second annual Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal South Coast Tennis Day took place at the Uvongo Tennis club on Friday the 22nd of October 2010. Twenty players took part in the event on a day where rain threatened, yet held off long enough not to interfere with play.

Although billed as a fun occasion, players not wanting to disappoint their partners brought with them their A game. Winners on the day were Grant Wood and Annemarie Wege while second place finishers were Malcolm and Marietjie Stols, Michell Burger and Neil Perry took third spot. Booby prizes were won by Bruce Lill and Rina Opperman with Bruce Lyle's name pulled in the lucky draw.

We wish to thank the Uvongo Tennis club for hosting us as well as Yvonne de Kock, who controlled the order of play.

Recently deceased former South Coast Regional Manager Ron Underwood was a long time member of the Uvongo Tennis club and hosting the event there with everybody enjoying themselves, seemed a fitting tribute to him.

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neurons And Transistors

According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, the transistor radio years back had 4 or 5 transistors in it and that was a great technological leap forward.

Now every piece of electronic equipment we use is packed with transistors.
If you take into account a laptop, a PC, a couple of cellphones, Ipod, cars etc, the average person probably has 250 billion transistors under his control.

Now compare that with only 100 billion neurons in your brain.

In my case deduct 30 billion neurons from alcohol use (or misuse) and deduct another 40 billion because I’m a lazy bastard and don’t use them. That leaves me with 30 billion neurons competing against 250 billion transistors.

I’ve decided to give up and stop thinking altogether because I cannot compete. I’m going to spend the rest of my life fishing. :)

Gregory Beykirch
Finance Manager


Monday, October 25, 2010

Award Winners Image Gallery

In our previous post we featured a slideshow containing images of guests enjoying themselves at the 2010 Excellence in Construction Awards evening. Today we feature images of the various recipients, receiving their respective plaques and trophies.

Below is a list of categories competed for in the 2010 competition. To enable you to view the projects that received recognition in various categories, I have made them clickable links, that will take you through to their respective pages on

Supreme Winner (Under R40 Million)
Supreme Winner (Over R40 Million)
Supreme Winner, Iconic
Single Residential
Special Projects
Recreational, Leisure and Hotels (Under R40m)
Industrial Buildings Under R40m
Industrial Buildings Over R40m
Health Facilities
Community Projects
Commercial Buildings Under R40m
Commercial Buildings Above R40m
Alterations & Renovations under R20 million
Alterations & Renovations over R20 million
Civil Projects Under R40m
Civil Projects Over R40m
Apartment Buildings Above R10m

Ernest Roper


Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Excellence in Construction Snippets

The above slideshow is compiled of images taken of guests at the 2010 Excellence in Construction Awards ceremony. Below are some memorable quotes from dignitaries who attended the event:

‘Ensuring the safety of everybody on site and in the yards is a passion I share with my employer Grinaker-LTA’ Raj Naidoo, Winner of the Award of Merit trophy

‘Over and above everything else, health and safety is the most important element in the construction industry and this is coming through strongly in KZN. I wish it would spread further in the building industry in general’ Thelma Pugh MD of FEM (Federated Employers Mutual)

‘The popularity of the Excellence in Construction programme is indicative of the fact that the building industry in this province views excellence as an important facet in its day to day operations’ Francois Louw, President Master Builders Association KZN

‘The standard of building that we had 60 years ago is still evident today’ Carl Mouton, Adjudicator

Ernest Roper


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Health & Safety Awards Function

The 47th annual Health and Safety Awards function was held at Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Westville premises on Friday the 1st of October 2010. It was a pleasure to have more than 200 people from the building industry, attend the first official function held at the Association, since undergoing a R10 million “greening” transformation which was completed in late September 2010.

As with previous years, sites were scrupulously audited on more than 20 different elements and standards were again extremely high. 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.

The recipients were praised for their adherence to health and safety and our members again came through with flying colours. For detailed information covering this event, visit our news feature on

Ernest Roper


Monday, October 18, 2010

Excellence in Construction 2010

Warwick Triangle Viaduct Outbound

This year’s annual Excellence in Construction awards ceremony was held on Friday 15 October 2010 at Sibaya on Durban’s north coast, near to Umdloti.

Once again this Gala event, the highlight of Association’s calendar, went off without a glitch with those unquestionably deserving of it, receiving due recognition for their outstanding 2010 projects.

2010 saw a change of venue which was decision taken after much debate and consideration. The thinking behind it was that we wanted a venue more congenial than the ICC and felt that the round, superbly decorated conference facility at Sibaya, would serve this end. Feedback thus far has been exceedingly positive with many saying that it was the best Excellence in Construction awards ceremony yet.

The various 2010 World Cup projects brought a uniqueness to proceedings that heightened the occasion, and made it extra special. In order to be the first to publish the results, early on Saturday morning we uploaded the necessary information to our dedicated Excellence in Construction menu on, view now.

Well done and congratulations to all the winners.

Ernest Roper

Friday, October 15, 2010

Accessing of Tender Information

The supply of tender information to members of the Association is a service we proudly provide. It is presented in any easy to read format accessible from the “Tender Services” page on and information is sourced from the Natal Mercury, The Daily News, Isolezwe, The Natal Witness, The Zululand Observer, The South Coast Herald as well as the Government Gazette.

Prior to the launch of the new Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal website in 2009, we used to upload the data to our blog which is essentially for public access. At the time we discovered from our Google analytic stats that the tender information blogs were among the best read.

A lot of time and effort goes into collating this info and in reality, we do it for the benefit of our members, not as a public service. enables us to host it ourselves and password protected it. If you are not a member of the Association and have a need for this offering, join now, you may be surprised at how affordable it is and how much value you get for your money.

If you are a member of the Association and are unable to access the tender information, please contact me on 031 266 7070 and I will provide you with your password info. Keep in mind that for security reasons your membership number will be requested, so please ensure before dialling, that you have it handy.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Energy Roadmap

Government on 7 October 2010 announced its long- awaited draft of the 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

It proposes a long- term energy mix with a dwindling reliance on coal and an increase reliance on strong renewable and nuclear energy components.

The recommendation forms part of a "revised balanced scenario" in the IRP that purports to represent the best trade-off between least investment costs, climate change mitigation, diversity of supply, localisation and regional development.

Statistics SA also announced that the actual estimated volume of electricity consumed during August increased by 0.7 percent compared with August last year.

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, October 11, 2010

Increase In Vacant Office Space

Vacant office space increased during the third quarter of 2010.

A total of 1,4 million m² of office space was vacant country-wide during the third quarter of 2010 according to latest office vacancy index, issued by the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA).

This had increased to a total of 1 403 763 m² from 1 263 641 m² recorded in the second quarter of 2010 which represented a vacancy factor of 9.7 percent, compared with 8.8 percent in the second quarter.

Experts are estimating that the position is likely to deteriorate further as there is still some 500 000 m² currently under construction which represents about 3 percent of all office space.

Edwin Rode, Property Valuator and Economist, said that the demand for additional office space depended on the confidence level in the recovery of the economy. This could take one or two quarters said Anton de Goede, Property Portfolio Manager of Coronation.

Pieter Rautenbach


Friday, October 8, 2010

Roger Pickles – JBCC Contracts Specialist

Roger Pickles as President of the Association

On the 27th of October 2010 the Association will be hosting a seminar presented by Roger Pickles who will address the latest edition of the JBCC Principal Building Agreement and will focus on the benefits and dangers, surrounding contractors in the management of time and money.

About Roger ……….

Roger immigrated to South Africa in 1975 to join Murray & Roberts Natal (PTY) LTD (then Roberts Construction), as a contracts manager. For the next 18 years he was involved in managing major projects in Natal and became a director of the Natal company in 1987.

In 1993 he was appointed to develop and manage the membership services arm of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal which provides support to its members in running their businesses efficiently, and offers instant advice on numerous specialist subjects.

Resigning from this position in 2007 he currently runs his own consultancy practice in the field of Construction Law and the resolution of contractual disputes.

He is a Fellow of the SA Institute of Building and a Fellow of the Association of Arbitrators and has served as Arbitrator and Mediator in many disputes arising out of building contracts and subcontracts.

On the broader industry scene he served on the executive council of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal from 1980 to 1993 and was president from 1986 to 1988. He served on MBSA’s National Executive from 1979 to 1993 and has served on MBSA’s Contractual and Legal Committee and the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) for over 20 years.

Ernest Roper



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

R200.00 Discount for Tendering Workshop

Early Bird Bookings made by Friday 15th October 2010 will receive a R200.00 discount on the delegate's rate for the highly popular "Key Principles of Tendering"- Workshop, taking place on Tuesday 26th October 2010 at the Emakhosini Hotel in Morningside, Durban.

The workshop is a must for companies who want to empower their staff to understand the different tendering processes applied by government, how tenders are issued, assessed, evaluated and awarded.

This highly interactive presentation will show delegates how to effectively complete “Responsive & Winning Bid Documents”, how to correctly price a tender and how to claim preference points. Classroom exercises will show delegates how their tenders are scored and awarded under the 90:10 and 80:20 points systems.

Delegates will come to understand how the new B-BBEE Tendering regulations will govern the evaluation and award of tenders, bearing in mind, that in future all tenders will be awarded based on Price and the BBBEE status of the bidder.

The workshop has been attended by more than 500 companies, which gained extensive knowledge on how to prepare themselves for these new regulations and at the same time improved their tendering skills. To book your seat and to receive a booking form, Click Here or visit for further details on the workshop. FREE BEE Assessments will be done for all bookings!

Ernest Roper

Monday, October 4, 2010

50% Discount On Traffic Fines

Durban motorists have been offered another amnesty period to pay their outstanding traffic fines after the Municipality’s Council approved a 50 percent discount on fines.

The Municipality is owed over R950 million in outstanding traffic fines.
The incentive will be implemented on 1 October 2010 and will run for a period of six months. The new incentive follows on the success of the 2008 phase, which yielded approximately R100m.

The effects of the tough economic climate on many people and the pending implementation of the Administration Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) were some of the considerations for this amnesty.

Deputy Head of Metro Police Titus Malaza said: "With the pending implementation of AARTO we want to clean up our database as Metro Police. This means that all people with fines issued before October 1st will get a 50% discount. And all those who will get fines after this date will get a 50% discount only if they pay within 32 days.

Otherwise they’ll be liable for the full amount. This amnesty is open to all members of the public, including taxis, buses and motorists. "Those who have many fines can stagger their payments over the six months grace period." Malaza, however warned that normal law enforcement would still continue over the amnesty period.

"We will still continue with roadblocks to check people with outstanding fines. So it’s better for motorists to pay their fines as soon as possible."

Mayor Obed Mlaba has described the amnesty as an early Christmas Present for motorists.

"This is good news for all motorists, especially the taxi industry. I often feel sorry for taxi people and commuters when our officers have to take action against drivers for outstanding traffic fines. This is an opportunity for them to clean up their records. We want to encourage members of the public to make use of this amnesty period and pay their fines."

eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit
Contact Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820



Friday, October 1, 2010

Bats In Roofs

The following information was forwarded to the Association and will no doubt be of interest to members who by working in roofs, sometimes come face to face with bats. There is right way and a wrong way of handling the situation, why not find out the right way.

The Bat Interest Group of KwaZulu-Natal is holding a one-day “Bats In Roofs” workshop at the research centre of the Durban Natural Science Museum, K.E Masinga (Old Fort) Road on Thursday 7th of October 2010 at 08h30.

The Course is aimed at all people who work on roofs and will cover myths and truths about bats, the law, poisons and wildlife, exclusions, practical identification of KZN bats, cleaning and sanitizing roofs, and using bat boxes.

The course will be invaluable for pest control operators, architects, plumbers, electricians and any member of the public who have bats in their roofs.

Cost: members of Bats KZN R150.00 per person
Non members R275.00 per person
Group bookings (more than 5 people) R200.00 per person

This includes lunch, teas, and a copy of the Bats In Roofs” Booklet.

Contact Person: Carol Allan
Tel: 031 572 3479
Booking is essential

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

South Coast Regional Workshop

On Tuesday 21 Sept 2010 we made use of our new training room for the first time by holding a Seminar for a group of members and other built environment professionals. The workshop was initiated by South Coast Regional Chairman Ray Basson of Anthony & Basson developers and the key topic on the agenda was, Rates & tariffs that the Municipalities charge.

Presentations were given by the following individuals:
  • Thys Blom from Plankonsult informed us of changes in the new town planning regulations.
  • Dave Kirby from “Hudson, Naude, Kirby Land surveyors” discussed rates & tariffs for new developments.
  • Marius Greeff from Rocksmart discussed some of the technical changes and the effect it has on property.
  • Pippy la Cock from Environment discussed changes to the environment.
Ray Basson who chaired the meeting handled questions from the floor with the workshop drawing to close at 12 o’clock at which time tea was served.

The presentations were very well received with many guests requesting that we please arrange a follow up session.

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager


Monday, September 27, 2010

Beware of Green Charlatans

Many who drive gas guzzling 4 x 4’s like to believe that they are offsetting it, by buying green friendly soap or energy saving lightbulbs. Green has become a buzz word and pairing it with any product, is likely to give it a competitive edge in the market, especially if it does compare favourably on price.

I have of late encountered several inadvertent green charlatans promoting products they believe qualify. There are a number of different elements that constitute green, and most of these products have at least one, that make its campaigners believe they are on the right track which isn’t necessarily the case.

One should always look at the bigger picture and the pros have to outweigh the cons. In theory, hosepipes made from old motor vehicle tyres may be a fantastic idea, however if manufacturing requires a melting process that spews out toxins into the atmosphere, it cannot rightfully be called a green product.

With the green revolution gaining momentum, we will no doubt see a rise in deliberate green charlatans and unscrupulous operators wanting to make a quick buck. When it comes to any green intervention, especially of an expensive nature, go with the tried and tested or at very least, do your homework properly.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tyre Price Collusion Probe

The building industry is highly reliant on vehicles of various shapes and sizes and something like tyre price collusion, impacts on the bottom line.

Four large tyre manufacturers, which between them have a large slice of the market are being investigated by the Competition Commission for alleged collusive tendering, price fixing, information exchange and market allocation.

The probe was triggered by Bridgestone, SA`s largest tyre manufacturer on 6 September when it applied to the Competition Commission for leniency in exchange for providing information and co-operating with the Commission.

The other tyre manufacturers Apollo (formally Dunlop), Goodyear and Continental, if found guilty, may pay fines up to 10% of their total turnover in fines.

With respect to the tyre manufacturers, it looks like 2010 will not be remembered as a particularly Goodyear. :)

Pieter Rautenbach

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Are These COSAS Anyway ?

Following in the wake of the public sector strike, Congress of South African Students (COSAS) have made a much publicised demand for a 25% matric mark handout. This to compensate for time lost while teachers were out toi toing.

While driving down to our South Coast office earlier in the day, I was listening to an interview on SAFM with a studio guest representing COSAS. He essentially spewed out the same rhetoric we heard all throughout last week so the dialog wasn’t particularly informative. It did however take a far more interesting turn when they opened their lines to callers, many of whom were a tad irate.

Of all the callers that got through prior to me arriving at my destination, not one person was in favour of it. A particular gentleman wanted to know “who are these COSAS anyway”, stating that they are not a democratically elected body and therefore have no legitimate claim to representing the broader public. He further stated that they have no right to lobby for policy implementation, which negatively impacts on the education of his child.

The level of enthusiasm at our Youth in Construction Day was extremely encouraging. There were plenty of young enquiring minds eager to learn with many contributing by way of intelligent observation and enquiries. Learners displayed an immense willingness to do what it takes to achieve, I don’t recall any of the 3500 attendees demanding handouts.

There is every indication that the 25% demand is being driven by students who perpetually fail and therefore sadly have nothing to lose. If Congress of South African Students wants government to take them seriously, perhaps they should rein in on unrealistic and ludicrous demands.

Ernest Roper

Friday, September 17, 2010

KZN Wins 8 Out 10

In 2010 KwaZulu-Natal again came up tops in the National Construction Industry Health and Safety Competition.

In 2008 we won 8 of the 10 categories
In 2009 we won 9 of the 10 categories
…….and in 2010
again, we won 8 of the 10 categories

This years KZN winners are:

Plant and Storage Yard: Grinaker-Lta Building East,
Allied Trades: Form Scaff Durban,
Less then 5mil: Patcon Building and Civil Engineering Contractors
5-20mil: Stefanutti Stocks,
20-50mil: Stedone Mechanicos Building,
50-120mil: Grinaker-Lta Building East,
120-200mil: Grinaker-Lta Building East,
500mil plus: Stefanutti Stocks

The average score achieved in the 2010 competition throughout the country was a staggering 90%. Well done to all who participated for achieving such high standards and also to the occupational health and safety practitioners, who continue to encourage and inspire.

Read Related News Article

Ernest Roper | Webmaster


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Safe-Build Shines at NOSHCON

From 7th to the 10th of September 2010, NOSA hosted their 49th annual occupational risk management conference and exhibition, NOSHCON 2010.

The purpose of the conference is to exhibit the lasted developments in occupational risk management trends and solutions and to allow the opportunity for industry stakeholders, to meet with experts and peers from all over the world.

The Safe-Build DVD series, a comprehensive up-to-date video training resource for the South African Construction Industry produced by Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, was particularly well received.

Health & Safety Manager Neels Nortjie' who also serves on the Minister of Labour's Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety, and his wife Gill, dutifully manned the Safe-Build stand.

Neels informs us that the exercise was a resounding success with a tremendous amount of interest shown towards the product. To add to the occasion, the prize for best display, a helicopter jaunt in the Drakensberg went to Neels and Gill for their exuberant Safe-Build stand.


Ernest Roper


Monday, September 13, 2010

Tendering Workshop to Focus on New Laws

Taranis Business Solutions is a Cape Town based training provider who often presents courses in both Durban and Pietermaritzburg, they also support the Association by regularly advertising in our monthly newsletter.

Owner operator Gerrit Davids has requested that I convey the following information pertaining to upcoming courses.

Tendering Workshop to focus on new laws.

The Workshop will share with delegates on how to submit compliant tenders, how their bids are evaluated and scored under the current legislation and how it will be done under the new BBBEE Procurement Laws. Companies have a choice of either attending the Pietermaritzburg or Durban workshops, taking place on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 September 2010, respectively.

To book contact: or visit

Ernest Roper


Friday, September 10, 2010

Why a Roof Garden ?

With regard to the greening of our Westville premises, something I haven’t really touched on yet is our roof garden situated on the ledge just above the ground floor. The ledge itself is about 4 meters wide and it runs the full length of the building.

Our green interventions incorporate the use of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels for the purpose of generating our own clean electricity, but why a roof garden, what purpose does it serve?

As a result of the incredible ability of plants and soil to shield a roof surface from absorbing heat, the cooling effect of a well thought out roof garden can considerably reduce energy consumption. For example, a cooler building is far less dependent on air conditioning and in places like sunny Durban, air-conditioning impacts heavily on electricity usage.

Plants and soil also disperse water which not only cools the surrounding air; it also makes it more comfortable to breathe.

When putting it all together, we consulted with experts to determine which plant species would contribute most to biodiversity. It is for this purpose that the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal roof garden is wholly comprised of indigenous vegetation.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Criminals Resorting To Technology

Jana Botha of the Middelburg Observer reports that a number of incidents occurred at the Ultra City near that town where valuable goods went missing from parked and locked motor vehicles without any evidence of forced entry. Victims were perplexed how valuables went missing from vehicles without windows or doorlocks broken. It was generally believed that somebody was hiding unseen besides the vehicle and lifting the door handles when the doors were locked.

Victims could not comprehend how valuables like mobile phones and cameras could vanish into thin air when there was no sign of criminal activity. Because there was no evidence of forced entry into the vehicles, insurance claims could not be entertained.

The riddle was solved by two readers of the Middelburg Observer who had read about the incidents and who had contacted the newspaper with an offer to give a demonstration of how it was done. Local inhabitants Willie Smit and Herman Pelser arranged a demonstration at the offices of the Obsever.

Smit and Pelser astounded those present at the demonstration by proving that the immobilisers of most vehicles could be neutralised 90% of the time by the use of a remote control for an electronic gate. All that had to be done was to suppress the button on the remote control to neutalise the immobiliser device of the parked vehicle. The driver and passengers of targetted vehicles frequently walk away from the vehicle without realising that the immobiliser mechanism was inoperative.

Drivers and passengers of vehicles parked at places where there are suspicious persons are lurking around are urged to always check that the doors of the vehicle are locked before leaving the vehlcle unattended.

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, September 6, 2010

The Real Victims of the Strike

While concerned parents of learners are hoping and praying that striking public servants will today accept government’s latest wage increase offer, there is growing concern that educators entrusted to ensure favourable matric results, will not be able to make up lost time and that papers may include work that was never covered in classrooms.

In early August before the strike began, I had the pleasure of attending the Youth in Construction event, which saw over 3500 school learners pass through its doors. Besides introducing them to a range of career options that perhaps they wouldn’t have considered, it also gave them exposure to organisations offering bursaries and learnerships.

I don’t recall any of the young guests inquiring about becoming a bricklayer, a wheelbarrow operator, or the gentleman who waves the flag when it’s safe to pass. Huge interest was shown in the engineering, design and architecture displays with many learners wanting to know what subjects they need to pass, in order to follow those career paths.

While teachers hold out for an extra couple of hundred Rand, I can’t help wondering if they give any consideration at all, to whom the real victims of the strike are.

Ernest Roper

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weather Station Goes Live

Today the weather in Westville is partly cloudy to mild with a likelihood of strong wind in the afternoon. I know this because I felt the stiff breeze and saw plenty of cloud when I was on the roof earlier taking photographs of our new weather station.

Having never purchased dynamite, I really wouldn’t know if it comes in small packages, I can however tell you that weather stations do. When we first discussed implementing a weather feed to our website, I somehow imagined a whole host of meteorological equipment and admittedly was surprised, when it arrived in packaging not much bigger than an A3 ream of paper.

Nonetheless, it is an amazing piece of equipment that’s proving very effective. It wasn’t too difficult to install and we now have a live weather feed from the top of our building in Westville.

The Association exists to represent the interests of members, as well as to provide them with specialist support services to assist them in the successful running of their businesses. Weather can enormously impact on project deadlines and while there are plenty of weather sites one can refer to, ours gives up to the minute information from a specific point in Westville, enabling local contractors to fathom from there.

Our newest web application can be accessed by clicking on the Weather Centre icon located on our home page or, for those who would like the direct link, Have a look and let us know what you think.

Ernest Roper

PS. For those who interested in stats and numbers, particularly big round ones, today’s blog post is our 400th. Happy Birthday Blog :)