Monday, May 31, 2010

Most Important Safety Tool: The Brain


For those who may not know about the Darwin Awards, it is an online chronicle of enterprising demises. While most of their articles centre on death via supreme stupidity, in some cases the not too bright protagonist amazingly survives. It’s also worth noting that they go to some lengths to verify the validity of each submission, so yes, what you are about to read, is indeed a true account.

In today’s post we refer to a Darwin Award Recipient in the category of construction safety who had the honor bestowed upon him, by doing something exceedingly silly while working on scaffolding.

"(26 January 2001, Florida) A 24-year-old construction worker tied himself to a piece of scaffolding for safety purposes while working on the 4th floor of the county jail annex. Forgetting he was attached to the metal, he tossed it to the ground and was carried along for the ride. He landed on the scaffolding, which pierced both legs and was treated for his injuries at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Hopefully he was also counseled on the use of his most important safety tool: His Brain."

Ernest Roper
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Friday, May 28, 2010

How Green Is Our Government ? (Part 2)


The last time we made mention of governments proposed vehicle emissions tax, (to come into effect on September 1) we touched on two aspects that warranted criticism.

Two further areas of concern is the impact it will have on the already beleaguered motor industry, and the fact that our fuel is of such a poor quality that low running CO2 vehicles are unable to run on it. In essence, purchasers of new vehicles are to be penalised for the fact that our petrol (as we like to call it), isn't up to global standard.

I recently read an excellent Peta Lee article (Now on our Forum) suggesting that if it is simply indicative of governments relentless commitment to limiting greenhouse gas emissions, we can all look forward to having to make way for blue flashing tinted windowed black Ford Fiestas, racing up and down our highways.

Let’s not forget ……

A government contract was awarded to Hitachi Power for development of the coal fired Medupi Power Station in Limpopo Province. The ANC's investment arm Chancellor House has a 25% shareholding in Hitachi Africa and allegedly stand to gain R1billion from the deal. It would be exceedingly reassuring if monies gained were used to offset carbon omissions, however for those who live in real world, that’ll be the day they all drive Ford Fiestas.

Ernest Roper
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comrades Marathon Road Closures


Hello Comrades!

If you live in the Durban or Pietermaritzburg areas and intend using your car on Sunday, please be aware of the following road closures (info taken from the East Coast Radio Website). Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal wishes all entrants an excellent 2010 Comrades Marathon, enjoy :)

The road closure (30 May 2010) are as follows:

2010 Down Run, Pietermaritzburg to Durban
  • Pietermaritzburg City Central 04h30 – 07h00
  • CB Downes, Washington, Oribi, Jesmond Road 04h30 – 07h00
  • Polly Shortts 05h00 – 07h30
  • Ashburton 05h15 – 08h00
  • Lion Park 05h30 – 08h35
  • Umlaas Road 05h45 – 09h10
  • Camperdown 06h00 – 09h45
  • Cato Ridge 06h15 – 10h40
  • Drummond 07h00 – 12h30
  • Bothas Hill 07h35 – 13h30
  • Hillcrest 07h45 – 13h45
  • Winston Park 07h55 – 14h15
  • Kloof 08h15 – 14h40
  • Top Fields Hill 08h20 – 14h50
  • Pinetown 08h35 – 14h50
  • Cowies Hill 08h50 – 15h45
  • Westville 09h00 – 16h00
  • 45th Cutting 09h20 – 17h30
  • All Durban Central Streets between Monty Naicker Road
  • (formerly Pine Street) and Anton Lembede Street (formerly Smith Street)
From N3 09h30 – 18h30
  • Samora Machel Street (formerly Aliwal Street) between Monty Naicker
  • Road (formerly Pine Street) & Anton Lembede Street
  • (formerly Smith Street) 09h30 – 18h30
  • Dr Pixley Kaseme Street (formerly West Street) between Dorothy Nyembe Street
  • (formerly Gardiner Street) & Samora Machel Street
  • (formerly Aliwal Street) 09h30 – 18h30

Ernest Roper
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Bitten By an Internet Spider


Last week many of our members received SMS notification of a Find-a-Builder enquiry which rather than the business lead they anticipated or perhaps hoped for, the findabuilder.co.za generated e-mail contained unfathomable gibberish.

We were victims of a spam attack, allow me to explain……

There are web based programmes designed with malicious intent to screen the internet looking for the likes of on-line enquiry forms. They deliberately populate fields with gobbledygook and send them off, such programmes are commonly referred to as internet spiders.

Several precautions can be taken to prevent this; a common one is when you are asked to key in a sequence of letters or numbers that in most cases, are skewed to the point that they are difficult to read. Upon entering them correctly, your mail then goes off ensuring that the source of the entry is indeed human.

We initially took the decision not to implement this system in order to keep the enquiry process as user friendly as possible. We were however under no illusion that the time would come when we would have to consider some form of protection against it.

What we have come up with is a reasonable compromise; although it is an extra step in the process, it is quick and painless. Those completing enquiry forms will now have to enter the answer to a simple sum; this should keep those pesky spiders at bay.

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Friday, May 21, 2010

How Green Is Our Government ?


Regarding the carbon dioxide (CO2) vehicle emissions tax that comes into effect on September 1, various media reports indicate that the implementation system government have proposed, is fundamentally flawed.

As Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, not too many people would object to highly to a green tax for the express purpose of offsetting vehicle generated carbon omissions. There are two aspects to the proposed system that has resulted in severe criticism.

Firstly, it will only affect those purchasing new vehicles. New passenger vehicles are to be taxed based on their certified CO2 emissions. The proposed rate is R75 per g/km for each g/km above 120 g/km which according to tax advisory firm Deloitte, could add between R5 000 and R10 000 to the cost of the average new passenger vehicle.

In other words, those who are driving smoke belching gas guzzling carbon omitting jalopies are in fact incentivised not to, upgrade to something more efficient.

Secondly, it was recently announced that the levy is to be implemented as a specific tax, not as an ad valorem tax. The revenue gained can now go straight into state coffers without any assurances that it will be ploughed back into the environment, making it just another form of taxation, for us working class schmos to contend with.

Ernest Roper
Webmaster
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Master Builders South Coast Golf Day



On Friday 14 May in absolutely fantastic weather, a most enjoyable golf day got off to a Vuvusela start. 29 - 4 ball teams took to a course where most of the holes were manned by sponsors waiting to distract them with an array of shooters, cold beverages and snacks. Some even had a fishing ponds where golfers had to fish for a penalty toll in order to pass that particular stage.

Most favoured on the day was definitely hole number two where the exceedingly beautiful Safety girls, drew attention away from golf. At next year’s South Coast Golf Day we plan to introduce prizes for the most creatively presented holes.

WELL DONE to everybody who took part.

As always the Association’s South Coast marketing partners contributed largely to the success of the event by supporting the day with tremendous enthusiasm. We wish to thank the following organisations:

Gold Sponsors:
  • Blue Gold
  • NPC
  • Tata
Bronze Sponsors:
  • Alfa
  • Illovo – Most golf
  • Auto Safe – 2nd prize
  • Ascot Paving (also sponsored nearest to the pin)
  • Bendigo Electrical
  • Build It (Port Shepstone)
  • Builders trade depot (Marburg and Manaba)
  • Tile Africa (also sponsored nearest the hole on 11 value R2000.00)
  • Trellidor
  • Form Scaff
  • Borwa
  • Kulucrete
  • W A Waterproofing (also sponsored nearest the pin on 8 value R500.00)
  • Nu Form
  • Double Vision
  • Port Shepstone Precast (Best dressed lady safety girls)
Our winners of the day, unlike the rest of us, find the game easy and do not have to contend with those pesky trees that jump out in the way. :)

Well done to our winners

1st Marula Holiday Resorts
2nd W A Waterproofing
3rd Third was a team from Margate

We look forward to having everybody back next year.

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Decline in Cement Demand


Last week Wednesday, Business Day ran an article penned by Thabang Mokopanele titled “Infrastructure Slowdown Worries PPC”. For those who may not be aware PPC stands for Pretoria Portland Cement and they are South Africa’s biggest cement manufacturer.

The gist of it is, they are somewhat unhappy at the slow pace of implementation of government's multibillion- Rand infrastructure spend which they say is contributing to the decline in cement demand.

The infrastructure spend they are referring to has got nothing to do with airports and soccer stadiums. Government supposedly plan to spend R846bn on projects such as roads, water works, building of schools and clinics in rural areas, over the next three years.

PPC CEO Paul Stuiver told Business Day that he wondered whether the money would be spent in three years as planned.

"We are obviously very happy about the planned projects, but the general comment is that the willingness and intent is there but the speed is not there. One has to start questioning whether this will be done in three years," he reportedly said.

Read Business Day Article

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Ettienne Walters: Voidcon Decking Systems


Ettienne Walters of Borwa Development, recently expanded his operation. In addition to being owner operator of his own construction business, he is also the Sole Agent for Voidcon Decking Systems on KwaZulu-Natal’s lower South Coast.

Ettienne informs us that Voidcon is a composite suspended slab system, suitable for industrial, commercial and residential buildings. It is a process whereby galvanized steel profiles are placed into position before having concrete poured into it. The concrete provides strength, while the steel ensures stability.

“Our system uses considerably less concrete than conventional methods of decking and is a far more cost effective”

“I bought into the system because I really believe in it; it enables us to provide a quality product at a more affordable price that is quicker to install, and a lot friendlier to the environment.”

To find out what it is that makes the Voidcon system environmentally friendly view their Video Clip (with sound), and for further information contact Ettienne whose details can be found on his findabuilder.co.za web page.

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

JBCC Seminars Durban


The JBCC will be presenting seminars in Durban covering the JBCC Minor Works Agreement as well as the JBCC Principal Building Agreement. Interested parties are encouraged to book.

The JBCC Minor Works Agreement
Date: 31st August 2010
Time: 13.00 – 17.00
Venue: Sica’s Guest House Westridge Durban
Contact Details: Allison (011) 646 0174 / info@jbcc.co.za

The JBCC Principal Building Agreement
Date: 1st September 2010
Time: 8.00 – 16.00
Venue: Sica’s Guest House Westridge Durban
Contact Details: Allison (011) 646 0174 / info@jbcc.co.za

Presenter: Peter Bold - CEO of the JBCC.

Visit www.jbcc.co.za for seminar dates, venues and registration forms or contact the JBCC on the numbers provided.

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Find-a-Builder Update


Since having last provided a Find-a-builder update, I have covered a fair amount of mileage and have uploaded several new pages to the module.

For those who may not know, findbuilder.co.za is a Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal online directory listing names and contact details of Master Builders approved contractors.

We are promoting findabuilder.co.za extensively and some may have already seen it advertised on the front cover of the 2010 Midlands, Zululand and South Coast Yellow Pages as well as on motor vehicles.

Pages recently uploaded include:

Sun Paving
F Verbaan Builders
Leicester Floors
Alley's Industrial Services
DEJ Construction
PSG Shopfitters
Protruss & Timber
Rig-Tech
Spanafrica Steel Structures
Sonny Buchaya Contractors CC

As always, if you wish to jump the queue, you are welcome to contact me on 083 704 0441.

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Zululand Golf Day Pics



The above web album contains images from our Zululand Golf Day which took place last week Friday, at the Richards Bay Country Club.

The Association hosts 4 golf days per annum, one in each of our 4 operational regions with the next one scheduled for next week Friday (14 May 2010), to take place at the Margate Country Club.

The Association arranges many formal and informal meetings, events and functions throughout the year. The purpose is to allow for occasion where members are able to network amongst themselves as well as with Industry Stakeholders.

To keep abreast of upcoming meetings and events, visit our networking page on masterbuilders.co.za

Ernest Roper
Webmaster
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Poor are Getting Poorer


In the news today, somewhere between the mysterious death of a strip club owner and the ongoing corruption trial of our former top cop, you will find some alarming stats pertaining to the unemployment rate.

Despite all indication that the economy is recovering, the unemployment rate climbed from 24,3% to 25,2%, this according to Statistics SA. In the first quarter 171 000 jobs were shed, predominantly in economy's main sectors, construction, finance, trade and manufacturing.

While 171 000 is a staggering figure, this was always to be expected, particularly in the construction sector at time when massive project’s such as Stadium development and airport upgrades, were scheduled for completion.

The economic recovery is a clear indication that people are spending again. It is a period of the year when many middle income earners will have recently received a pay increase, and one senses that for them there is renewed sense of job security.

Sadly what these figures tell us, is that the poor are getting poorer.

Ernest Roper
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Major Breakthrough Clean Energy


Great News for consumers, environmentalists and beer drinkers alike, a team at the University of Ohio has found a way of using a waste resource our country produces in abundance, to generate electricity.

Urea, one of the chief components of urine, contains four hydrogen molecules bonded to two nitrogen molecules. It is reported that they have found an efficient method of separating the hydrogen using an electrode made of nickel.

Hydrogen can then be used to generate exceedingly clean electrical power; its only combustion product is water, and its byproduct nitrogen, also has its uses.

The effect that this will possibly have on sustainable building design is that instead of disposable systems, it could encourage the inclusion of waste collection tanks. Roof gardens could become roof beer gardens (with high railings) and by simply participating in festivities, we will all be doing our bit for the environment. :)

Ernest Roper
Webmaster

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