Friday, January 29, 2010

The Origins Of Murphy’s Law

Arthur Bloch in his book “Murphy’s Law and other reasons why things go wrong” claimed that Captain Ed Murphy, a Development Engineer, who was involved with United States Air Force Project MX 981, at the Edwards Air Force Base in California originated Murphy’s Law!

The project carried out during 1949 involved experimental crash testing research. Part of the project was delayed by the malfunctioning of equipment due to an error in the wiring circuits by a Technician causing Murphy to remark – “If there is a way to do it wrong, he will”. Murphy’s Law was created and all its associated variations were alive and well.

According to the Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary Murphy’s Law establishes the principle that whatever can possibly go wrong will!

Pieter Rautenbach
Projects Facilitator

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who's New on Find-a-builder

The Find-a-builder process is well underway and we do now have some samples to share with you. Pages that are somewhat incomplete, is as a result of members who upon my visit, did not have all their data readily available. They have however promised to e-mail what’s outstanding so those pages will hopefully be concluded soon.

Pages thus far uploaded include:

Ingelosi Construction
Bhekaphambili Geo-Contractors CC
Ben Booysen Pty Ltd
SCG Construction CC
Shospec (Pty) Ltd
Zululand Refrigeration (Pty) Ltd
Ali Fab
A.G. Hall CC
Future Rustic Construction (Pty) Ltd
Forbes Construction
Leocon CC
FS Gonzalves Construction

As part of the development process we are working on a facility to allow a further 3 images down the right hand column. This in fact should be ready as soon as this afternoon. :)

Ernest Roper


Monday, January 25, 2010

Easy To Implement Go Green Tips

Courtesy of, our dear colleague Tanya Leeuw receives a daily mail containing an easy to implement Go Green Tip. The following is a compilation of some that have come through.

Go green gradually

Yes the planet is in peril, but you will serve it better by going green gradually and increasingly successfully, rather than by sprinting off and getting exhausted on the first lap.

Take baby steps - easy to do things. Turn them into everyday habits and add new ones regularly.

For example, turn off you car engine if you are going to have to wait for somebody for more than a minute or so. Don't rev your engine. Accelerate and slow down slowly. Pretend you have a rotten egg under your accelerator! Check your tyre pressures regularly.

Green packaging

Buy goods, and from shops, that use the least packaging. In other words avoid over-packaging and shop by packaging as well as by price and quality.

If you currently separate your rubbish you will know how big the packaging pile is. If you don't (separate rubbish) try this experiment for a week: put all discarded packaging (including packets, milk cartons, can etc) in one bag and the rest of your rubbish in another bag. You will be amazed at how much packaging you are buying each week!

Quick tip: milk sachets produce a fraction of the plastic waste that plastic milk cartons do.

Save water

South Africa is steadily running out of fresh water, as are many other countries.

You can save water by showering instead of bathing, by NOT leaving the tap running when you clean your teeth, wash your hands, or wash dishes.

You can also save water in the garden in several ways - plant indigenous flowers, shrubs and trees - they need less water. Or install a rainwater storage tank that collects and stores water from your roof. Or use 'grey water' (for example water in which you have rinsed the dishes) to water your pot plants, veggie or flower garden.

Wash your clothes with a Biowashball

Almost all washing powders and softeners have an overall polluting effect by putting phosphates into our groundwater and rivers.

Why not try a Biowashball? Just pop one into your washing machine to completely replace your detergents and softeners. It is composed uniquely of natural ceramics contained in a plastic non-toxic sphere and is 100% recyclable after the three year use period.

The Biowashball™ has no side effects and eliminates germs. It saves electricity and water and eliminates washing powder and softener packaging. It consists of a green, non toxic sphere which is filled with 8 different kinds of little ceramic balls that break down the hydrogen molecules of water.

Bottled water

Bottled water uses 2000 times more energy to produce than tap water. Where possible, and safe, drink tap water. Bottled water generally comes in plastic bottles (not biodegradable) and has been transported some distance (CO2 emissions)- in some instances ridiculous distances from countries such as France and Italy. If you decide to use a water filter be aware that harmful bacteria breed rapidly in de-chlorinated water at room temperature - especially during hot weather. Use freshly filtered water, or recently filtered water that was immediately refrigerated.

Ernest Roper

Friday, January 22, 2010

Karoo Economic Logic

In a recent edition of the ‘Upper Coast Fever’ its columnist Wouter Willemse relates to a tale told to him by ‘Oom Pottie’ at the local. The story concerns the ideal formula to ensure financial peace of mind.

Somewhere in the Great Karoo is a ‘dorpie’. It was mid-summer and the sun was beating down. The streets were deserted, times were tough, everybody was in debt and lived on credit.

A wealthy Tourist decided to break his journey and stay the night at the local Hotel which was getting frayed at the edges. After entering and placing a R200 note on the reception desk, he announced that he wanted to inspect all the bedrooms to see whether there was one suitable for him to spend the night in.

While the Tourist was busy with his inspection, the Hotel owner grabbed the R200 and settled his debt with the Butcher next door to the Hotel who had supplied him with meat. The Butcher promptly settled his debt with the Farmer who provided him with livestock for slaughtering. The Farmer, in turn, settled his debt with the Agricultural Co-op for providing him with fodder and fuel. The Manager of the Co-op then settled his personal debt with the local goodtime girl for favours rendered. She, in turn, hastened to the Hotel and paid the R200 she owned for the use of a bedroom when providing services to her clients. The Owner of the Hotel then put the R200 back on the reception desk. By that time, the Tourist had completed his inspection and announced that he did not find a satisfactory room and after pocketing the R200 he left the town.

Nobody in the town earned or produced anything yet everybody was happy. Everybody in the town who owed money no longer had any debt and were all looking forward to the future with a great deal of optimism.

We still have to find a person who can work this out but there perhaps is a hidden message that timeous and regular payment for goods and services produces a great deal of confidence and is a cause for optimism!

Pieter Rautenbach
Projects Facilitator

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

F.S. Gonzalves: South Coast Stadium Contract

On the outskirts of the Gamalakhe township West of Port Shepstone, construction on the new Gamalakhe Stadium is well underway. While the facility will ultimately be used to service the surrounding community, its immediate purpose is to serve as a one of the FIFA 2010 world cup training venues.

Association member company F S Gonzalves is one of the contractors on site and is a proud to be among those contributing to the FIFA 2010 World Cup spectacle.

They were awarded the contract late in 2009 to construct the arena’s maintenance facility, this meant that their foremost challenge would be to meet the required deadlines, while still maintaining their usual standard of excellence.

So far all is going according to plan with required schedules well on track. We wish them the best of success.

Ernest Roper

Monday, January 18, 2010

Durban Station Ready For Fans

Building Africa Bulletin recently featured the following article titled “Station Ready for Fans at Moses Mabhida”

The R126-million Moses Mabhida station-construction project in Durban is on track for completion in March 2010.

It is part of the upgrade of the Moses Mabhida Stadium precinct in central Durban ahead of the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup. Piling, one of two new platforms and most of the new concrete structure is complete, says Steve Poorter, contracts director of Grinaker-LTA Building East.

"This is a demanding contract – not because of its scale but because of its complexity," he notes.

The contractor's scope of work covers three main elements: construction of the rail-infrastructure changes, including trackworks, overhead track electrification and signalling, construction of the two platforms and the station deck.

In addition to a very tight construction programme, challenges for Grinaker-LTA include working within an extremely busy operational rail network close to the main Durban station. Another challenge is that, located within an old river course, the site is plagued by a high water table.

Considering the uniqueness of this project and that Grinaker-LTA is a prominent member of the Association, it will in the near future be the subject of a news article /articles on ....... Look out for it.

Ernest Roper

Friday, January 15, 2010

Find a Builder Requirements

As publicized in the post preceding this, our Find-a-Builder module is all systems go and from next week onwards, I will be visiting members throughout the Province to upload information.

With over 600 members to get to, I’m under no illusion that this is going to take considerable planning, lots of travel and the bulk of 2010 to accomplish.

Just so that we are all on the same page, in order to make this work, members have to please ensure that when I arrive they have the following items available:
  • Three digital photographs
  • Company Logo (Digital jpg)
  • Three Testimonials
  • and a Company Profile (in MS Word format if possible)
If you haven’t already done so, visit the Zululand Refrigeration Page, this will give you a clear indication of what it is we are looking for.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Find a Builder 2010

Executive Director Brandon Abdinor recently communicated key objectives the Association aims to achieve in 2010, one of which is the much anticipated Find-a-Builder module.

The programming aspect is now complete an we are all systems go to hit the tar running.

A Quick Recap:

Every single one of our members, via a feed from our database, is listed on Find-a-Builder, a module that sits on the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal website. At this stage it’s only a name and telephone number found under the relevant category (e.g. Roofing). The module was however designed to accommodate a second layer of information, which is the phase we are about to embark upon.

We will now begin the immense task of visiting each and every contractor on our membership role in order to gather information needed to populate what is essentially their company profile page. As Zululand Refrigeration were used as a test case, they are the first to have gone live with it.

How it works:
  • Go to
  • Select Internal Works
  • Select Air Conditioning
  • Select Zululand (search)
  • Click on Zululand Refrigeration (To view end page CLICK HERE)
Driving Traffic:

One of several 2010 initiatives intended to drive traffic to the site is already underway. The URL features on the cover of the North Coast, South Coast and Midlands editions of the 2010 Yellow Pages, resulting in high quality exposure for what is a nominal membership fee, of just R150, 00 per month. ……if you are not a member JOIN NOW .

Ernest Roper