Wednesday, December 14, 2011

South Coast Yearend Function

Members of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal South Coast region each year get together for a yearend function to celebrate the season with fellow colleagues in the Industry. It is a fantastic tradition that builds camaraderie by allowing members to network among each other in a festive and relaxed environment.

This year it was held at the Margate Hotel where as is customary, the floating trophy for South Coast Member of the Year was awarded. With support of the Association the main criteria, the award is given to the member deemed to have been most active in the region throughout the year. The winner is determined by South Coast Regional Manager Hans Stols and Chairmen Thys Blom and in 2011, it went to Mike Bekker of MCB construction.

In the past we have uploaded images from meetings and events as web album slide shows embedded directly into the blog post. This week we launched our facebook page and as will be the way going forward, the images are available for viewing in our facebook photographs menu.

Subscribe to our facebook page.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Thoughts on PAIA

For those who perhaps still aren’t aware, Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 (PAIA) requires that all businesses submit a manual to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) by 31 December 2011, in both electronic and hard copy format. They are essentially seeking affirmation on the part of business, as to how their records can be accessed.

There are number of people offering their services looking to make a quick buck out of this, it seems the going rate for outsourcing is R1000. My wife owns a small business and the task has been delegated, I promised her I would work on it and send it off while on leave from the 16th.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely tempted to pay the 1K and get somebody else to do it, however after having done a bit research, I really believe this is something I can do myself so why waste the money.

If you haven’t yet made the effort and also intend doing it yourself, may prove a handy guideline, there is also plenty of useful information on

Interestingly, there may yet be another deadline extension. reports that the Commission has been advised that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is considering it. Private bodies are requested to monitor the website of the South African Human Rights Commission which will carry a notice on the status of the exemption once they have received it.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tender Notices Online

Had a very interesting conversation today with one of our regional managers who informed me of how much it costs to subscribe to a certain tender notification service. It turns out it isn’t cheap.

The Association appreciates how important it is for those operating within the Construction Industry to source and submit tenders. As a service to our members we do extensive research across the province, and upload tender notices on a daily bases pertaining to Civil, Electrical and Construction. The information is accessed in a password protected section of our website and only members are given passwords.

Information is obtained from the Natal Mercury, The Tribune, The Natal Witness, The Zululand Observer and The South Coast Herald, as well as the Government Gazette. The data is carefully compiled and placed in an easily accessible and easy to read Format.

In addition to this service, there is a whole host of other services we also provide to our members. I do find it fascinating that our annual membership fee is considerably less, than it costs to subscribe to an online tender notification service, our members get so much more for their money though.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, December 5, 2011 Update

Uploading of member pages is an ongoing process and I have just completed a batch for Zululand based members. For those who aren’t familiar with our ‘Find a Builder’ module, click here for more information.

You will notice from pages listed below (if you follow their Link) that many of them don’t have images displayed. The reason is that the member either didn’t provide us with images or they were of a poor quality and therefore weren’t used.

A picture paints a thousand words and I would have say from a visual perspective, Phezulu Projects is one of my favourites. Members who don’t have images displayed are welcome to forward some through to me, and I will happily add them in.

Pages recently uploaded:

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Light Bulb Side of Green Building

"Humour is a serious thing. I like to think of it as one of our greatest natural resources, which must be preserved at all cost." —James Thurber

With Cop 17 not going to well and lack of political will evident, there is perhaps reason for doom and gloom. With environmental matters topping our list of concerns, if we are to follow Thurber's lead, we of course naturally progress to green building light bulb jokes..... Naturally!

Before we proceed, a bit of background information may prove necessary. LEED is the acronym for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’. It is essentially a rating systems developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.


How many daylighting consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
None—the sun will be back up in exactly 10 hours.

How many LEED Accredited Professionals does it take to change a light bulb?
Four—one to tell you how to earn LEED points by changing it, one to change it, one to document the change, and one to deliver the check to the U.S. Green Building Council for certifying the change.

How many product manufacturers does it take to change a light bulb?
10,001. Ten thousand to resist the change for as long as possible, and then the same 10,000 to tell you how many LEED points you can earn from making the change with their product. Oh, and one to change it.

How many occupants does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They'd rather curse the broken light bulb, the electrician, the landlord, and the architect.

How much actual energy performance data does it take to change a light bulb?
Don't know—we're still waiting for information from the engineer, who's waiting for information from the utility, who won't provide information until a submeter is installed, and the owner decided not to pay for it.

How many salvage contractors does it take to change a light bulb?
Two—one to change it, and one to sell the broken light bulb as aggregate for landscaping around the new light bulb.

How many code officials does it take to change a light bulb?
CHANGE?! I think not.

How many life-cycle assessment experts does it take to change a light bulb?
Two—one to change it, and one to change it back again after more data has come in.

How many LEED credits does it take to change a light bulb?
One—but you need a writer, 18 committee members representing manufacturers, government, the environmental community, the social justice community, and the health and safety community, three draft versions, two public comment periods, one life-cycle analysis, one pilot period with 100 pilot light bulbs, one member ballot, and one competing system with completely different standards.

How many State of California regulations does it take to change a light bulb?
Three—one to require that you change the light bulb, one to warn you that changing it could cause cancer, and one to ban disposal of the old light bulb.

How many inventors of new lighting technology does it take to change a light bulb?
It just looks like it's broken—the color temperature on these is in the Celsius scale.

How many Forest Stewardship Council-certified light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?
None—the indigenous light bulb population won't allow it. And that new light bulb isn't certified for chain-of-custody, is it?

How much greenwashing does it take to change a light bulb?
Don't change at all. Just fund an "independent" organization, use it to write a "sustainability" standard, and put this cool planet logo on the same old light bulb.

How many advocates for market transformation does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one to write a green light bulb standard, changing the light bulb market forever. Oh, and one to specify a light bulb certified under that standard; one to start a foundation to subsidize purchases of the certified light bulbs; one to search the ends of the Earth for the actual product; one to buy it, and one to change it.

How many William McDonoughs does it take to change a light bulb?
The real question is, how do we love all the light bulbs of all species for all time? Let's eliminate the concept of the broken light bulb.

How many commissioning agents does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to note the problems with the light bulb, the design of the lighting controls, the lightshelves, and the shading system, and one to change the light bulb.

How many owner's representatives does it take to change a light bulb?
Sorry, that item has been value-engineered out!

How many U.S. Green Building Council Cascadia Chapter members does it take to change a light bulb?
You can change the light bulb, but only if there was already a light bulb in that socket before, if you use a light bulb with no PVC, formaldehyde, or halogenated flame retardants, and if the new light bulb is beautiful and inspiring.

How many natural builders does it take to change a light bulb?
Two—one to change it, and one to sculpt a decorative mud-and-straw wall around the old light bulb.

How many lighting designers does it take to change a light bulb?
Uh... "light bulb"? That's a lamp, what you are calling a "socket" is a luminaire, and I think you'd get better efficacy if you changed the ballast instead.

How many Environmental Building News editors does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to change it, and one to write, "One billion light bulbs will be changed in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Energy statistics. It's critically important that we use energy-efficiency light bulbs to replace the broken ones, but unfortunately, many light bulbs don't meet our GreenSpec standards, and changing light bulbs entails numerous health and environmental risks that you have never heard of before. In this article, we will examine the history of the light bulb, from its origins with tungsten filament..."

How many LEED AP exam takers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Let's see... EA Credit 1, EA Credit 5, MR Credit 2 if you recycle it, and maybe SS Credit 8, depending on the location. Sorry... what was the question?

Green building humour courtesy of Tristan Roberts and

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PAIA Deadline - 31 December 2011

Yesterday afternoon we uploaded an article to our website relating to PAIA. PAIA is the acronym for Promotion of Access to Information Act.

In terms of the Act, all businesses must compile and submit their PAIA manuals to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) by 31 December 2011, in both electronic and hard copy forms.

The due date is fast approaching!

There are quite a few pertinent points that you need to be aware of, for example the manual has to be made available at the company offices and on company websites. It also has to be updated with material changes on a regular basis.

Durban Regional Manager


Monday, November 28, 2011

Treasure The Karoo Action Group

Whilst promoting our new Eco-Eye product at the Green Expo in Cape Town last week, “Treasure The Karoo Action Group”, was among the many interesting fellow exhibitors we got to meet. As part of their awareness campaign and also to raise funds, they sell t-shirts which very cleverly depicts their stance.

The t-shirt front displays Zapiro’s excellent cartoon relating to fracking and on the back there is a short paragraph that very succinctly sums up the potential danger of it.

"Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) V.: Method used to release methane gas from shale rock deep underground. Each frack involves injecting millions of litres of water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals at high pressure, with over a thousand large trucks to assist. Several oil and gas companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, have applied to frack over two hundred thousand square kilometres of ecologically fragile, water scarce Karoo. This will ultimately result in thousands of gas rigs pumping billions of litres of toxic water into our farmlands, which can poison underground aquifers and boreholes polluting our environment with devastating long term effects.

We will be affected! Water is life.

It is up to stop this from becoming a reality, GET INVOLVED!

Treasure The Karoo Action Group"

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager



Friday, November 25, 2011

The Big Hydrogen Beer Bang

Evidently, hydrogen beer is big in Japan and in 1999, it was at the centre of a three-way lawsuit between former stockbroker Toshira Otoma, the Tike-Take karaoke bar, and the Asaka Beer Corporation.

In the manufacturing process of "Suiso" beer, carbon dioxide is replaced with environmentally friendly hydrogen gas, and is extremely popular at Japanese karaoke sing-along bars and discotheques.

For those participating in karaoke, hydrogen molecules are lighter than air and therefore sound waves are transmitted more rapidly with the nontoxic gas resulting in uncharacteristically high voices. Exploiting this quirk of physics, soprano parts are easily and regularly performed after consuming a big gulp of Suiso beer.

The flammable nature of hydrogen has apparently also become a big selling point, though it should be noted that Asaka has not acknowledged that this was a deliberate marketing ploy on their part. Blowing flames from one's mouth using a cigarette as an ignition source became a popular activity, as did entering flame throwing competitions in pubs.

"Mr. Otoma has no one to blame but himself. If he had not become drunk and disorderly, none of this would have happened. Our security guards undergo the most careful screening and training before they are allowed to deal with customers," said Mr. Takashi Nomura, Manager of the Tike-Take bar.

"Mr. Otoma drank fifteen bottles of hydrogen beer in order to maximize the size of the flames he could belch during the contest. He catapulted balls of fire across the room that Godzilla would be proud of, but this was not enough to win him first prize since the judgment is made on the quality of the flames and the singing, and after fifteen bottles of lager he was badly out of tune."

"He took exception to the result and hurled blue fireballs at the judge, singeing the front of a female judge's hair and entirely removing her eyebrows and lashes, and ruining the clothes of two nearby customers. None of these people have returned to my bar. When our security staff approached Mr. Otoma, he turned his attentions to them, making it almost impossible to approach him. Our head bouncer had no choice but to hurl himself at Mr. Otoma's knees, knocking his legs from under him."

"The laws of physics are not to be disobeyed, and the force that propelled Mr. Otoma's legs backwards also pivoted around his centre of gravity and moved his upper body forward with equal velocity. It was his own fault that he had his mouth open for the next belch, his own fault that he held a lighted cigarette in front of it, and his own fault that he swallowed that cigarette."

"The Tike-Take bar takes no responsibility for the subsequent internal combustion, rupture of his stomach lining, nor the third degree burns to his esophagus, larynx and sinuses as the exploding gases forced their way out of his body. Mr. Otoma's consequential muteness and loss of employment are his own fault."

At the time, in spite of the best efforts by the media, Mr. Otoma was not available for comment.

Point of reference:

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Responsible Visitor Charter

The following information was forwarded to us via email as a PDF attachment, it’s called 'Responsible Visitor Charter':

Durban is working towards becoming a green event hosting destination: committed to continual improvement in hosting major events in a sustainable manner that protects and enhances the natural, social, and economic environment. But we need your help.

As a visitor to our City you can help to reduce the impact of tourism on our local environment by making responsible choices. Here are some ideas on how you can help Durban to become a more environmentally responsible destination, which conserves and protects its natural assets, and minimises its impacts on global climate change:
  1. I understand that the majority of South Africa’s energy is generated from coal, a non-renewable resource, and that I must conserve energy where possible. I therefore commit to switching off all lights when I am not in the room, minimising the use of air conditioning, and turning off / unplugging appliances instead of putting them on standby.
  2. I understand that Durban is situated in a water scarce region, and that I must use water wisely. I therefore commit to not leaving the tap running while brushing my teeth, taking shorter showers, adhering to the towel reuse policies in accommodation establishments, and supporting any other water saving initiatives.
  3. I understand that the majority of Durban’s solid waste goes to landfill sites, and that I must reduce, reuse, and recycle. I therefore commit to avoiding overly packaged goods, drinking Durban’s tap water, which is safe to drink, instead of bottled water, reusing shopping bags, and separating my waste into the appropriate recycling bins, where they are provided.
  4. I understand that vehicles emit carbon dioxide (CO2) which contributes to global climate change, and that I should give the car a rest. I therefore commit to walking, riding a bike, or using public transport whenever possible.
  5. I understand that organic and locally produced food, drink, and arts and crafts, generally have a smaller carbon and ecological footprint than imported products. I therefore commit to making responsible choices about the products I use, and in doing so, also supporting local businesses and community development projects.
  6. I understand that Durban is situated in an area rich in biodiversity, and offers tourists a wide range of outdoor attractions and experiences. I therefore commit to supporting the conservation of these natural areas by participating in outdoor experiences such as visiting a local nature reserve.




And finally, if you feel there is anything else we could be doing to make Durban a more sustainable destination, please submit your suggestions to the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality, Manisha Maganlal,


Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Unique Test For Eco-Eye

My colleague Tanya and I met an interesting fellow by the name of Sven at the Green Expo in Cape Town over the weekend. Sven kitted out in bright yellow cycling attire and head gear that resembles a multicoloured Mohawk, set off for Durban on a bicycle to raise awareness of how our food and lifestyle choices are affecting global warming.

His bike has a battery unit which is charged using electricity in much the same way cell phone batteries are. The unit in turn drives a little motor attached to the front wheel limiting the amount of peddling Sven will have to do. He is aiming to arrive in Durban in time for Cop 17, we wish him the best of luck and hope that he makes it.

What is of particular interest to us, is that he is travelling with one of our Eco-eye Smart units which he intends to use to measure energy usage relating to his journey. He will activate the Eco-eye when charging the battery to measure kilowatts and cost, it also calculates CO2 emissions so we look forward to seeing what there is to learn from his data.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager



Friday, November 18, 2011

The New Eco-Eye Smart

Those who are familiar with our retail outlet at 40 Essex Terrace Westville, will perhaps also be familiar with our Eco-Eye product, an energy usage monitor manufactured in Britain for which we have the exclusive South African rights.

Eco-Eye is a wireless system that provides real time information on the amount of electricity you are using in terms of kilowatts, cost and your carbon footprint. This means you can instantly see the benefits of turning off electrical devices. Switch off the lights and unplug appliances and Eco-Eye will show you the immediate CASH SAVING impact of changing your electricity usage behaviour.

We are pleased to announce that the next generation Eco-Eye, Eco-Eye Smart, is now available and offers some impressive new features.

Smart allows you to set your own daily usage target – your attention is immediately grabbed by the on-board instantaneous traffic light load indicator which alerts you to excessive usage and the Daily Usage Target Graph which makes it easy to see if you are under or over your target. You can up your energy watching game to an even more advanced level by connecting to a computer with the optional Memory Card and USB cable or you can buy a complete Smart PC kit.

For more information visit us at 40 Essex Terrace or go to our Online Shop, where you are able to purchase it, without leaving home.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Protect Against Spam

I recently uploaded an article to for our training manager Victor Smith in which he requested that interested parties contact him via email. We gave his email address as victors(at) and shortly thereafter had somebody inform us that the email address we had provided was incorrect.

With regard to the ‘(at)’, it has become the accepted norm when placing an email address on the internet to replace the ‘@’ with the word ‘at’ in brackets. The reason is to prevent spam.

There are malicious web programs commonly known as internet spiders that search the web scanning for email addresses and when they find them, they automatically send out unsolicited data. Users are generally aware that when mailing, the ‘(at’) has to be replaced with ‘@’, however if one has to be realistic about it, there are probably masses of people who have never come across this before, hence the need for this post.

Something else to keep in mind ....

Unless you have a need for cheap Viagra and really don’t mind hearing about it ten times a day, it is unwise to place an email address in its proper format online. If you absolutely have to, replacing the ‘@’ with an (at) is a far safer way of going about it.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager



Monday, November 14, 2011

Proposed Development Charge, Important Public Meeting - Today

Proposed Development Charge on New Developments

The eThekwini Municipality is convening a meeting of interested and affected parties to a public meeting to discuss the introduction of a Development Charge which will be applied to all residential, commercial and industrial developments in the City and anticipated to come into effect from 1 July 2012.

The proposed Development Charge is a fee associated with the development process and is levied for the provision of the Municipal infrastructure required to provide essential services to a development. The service can either be provided by the utilization of surplus capacity in the existing Municipal infrastructure or by the use of new infrastructure provided by the City.

It is proposed that the Development Charges will be applied to all developments for which the approval of the City is required in any law, by-law, or scheme. These relate to land use applications for township development, subdivision applications, change in zoning and change of the use of an existing building.

It is claimed that the Development Charge will be levied in accordance with a City Council approved Policy and a By-law which is in the process of being finalised which requires the input of stakeholders.

The format of the meeting will comprise of a presentation by the city treasurer followed by questions and discussions. The meeting is to take place at 16:00 on MONDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2011

Venue: Luthuli Hall, City Hall, Dr Pixley KaSeme Street, Durban

Please note that they did request interested parties to RSVP by 9 November 2011 to Nicosha Haripersad, on telephone number 031 311 1135. Albeit that the RSVP date has come and gone, if you wish to attend, give her call perhaps they can still accommodate you.

Pieter Ruatenbach

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our New Private Project Module

Something new that we’ve been working on that I’m extremely excited about is our Private Project Module. It’s an application on our website that enables the general public to submit scope of construction work in order to allow members of the Association to view and to quote on it.

In a Nutshell:
  • The person submitting the project would have to follow four easy steps:
  • Register as a user
  • Click on Login to submit a tender
  • Complete the contact form and include a brief description of the project in the field provided.
  • Upon completion, to click on the submit button.
The web pages on which Private Project information is displayed, are password protected and only members of the Association have access to it. A list of open projects will also be emailed to our members on a regular basis to ensure that they are kept up to date with the most recent submissions.

While we have already gone live with this module, there are one or two cosmetic changes that are still to come, mainly to make it as user friendly as possible.

Click Here to View

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CETA Project Proposals - Update

In a recent article penned by my colleague and Association training manager Victor Smith, it was made known that CETA has an obligation to fund projects aimed at achieving the goals of South Africa’s third National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS 3) and its own objectives, as captured in its Strategic Plan.

The article also tells us that to this end; CETA has published a request for Project Proposals and that we encourage all our members and qualifying entities, to complete the Project Proposal Form.

Please Note:

For those who are interested in submitting proposals and may have seen this article in its original form, the date for submission has since changed. CETA has given a 14 day extension, the deadline has therefore moved from 14 November to 28 November 2011.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 Excellence in Construction Awards - Pages Up

As promised, the web pages relating to the 2011 Excellence in Construction Awards were uploaded first thing on Saturday morning and can be viewed on the following link:

Congratulations all winners who will no doubt enjoy the media exposure that always follows this prestigious event.

I would however like to make special mention of two award winners who do not yet feature on our Website. Both were non-entrant recipients and had we contacted them for photographs or data, it would have given the game away. With the construction winners, entrants had to submit a project overview along with images of their respective entries, making our target for Saturday somewhat more achievable.

The 2011 Award of Merit went to Graham Carver from Stefanutti Stocks and a special 110 year member award, went to Federated Timbers t/a Builders Trade Depot who have been members of the Association since 1901.

You will get to read more about these and other winners, in the days to come.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager



Friday, November 4, 2011

Marketing Opportunity for Members and Suppliers

Association's Westville Premises - 1985

For those who perhaps did not read about it in the most recent edition of our e-newsletter ‘Construction Industry News and Views’, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal will be publishing a special 8 page feature in the Mercury on Wednesday 16 November.

The pull out section will incorporate a congratulatory feature for the Associations 110 year Anniversary and we would like to invite you to participate. We will soon be sending out more information and will also be contacting you telephonically.

This is an ideal opportunity to align your company with the Master Builders brand.

We look forward to your participation.

Don’t Miss Out !!!!

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Excellence in Construction Awards 2011

2010 Winner "Pearls of Umhlanga – The Dawn"

The Association’s premier annual gala event ‘The Excellence in Construction Awards’ will take place on Friday at the Sibaya conference venue north of Durban. Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal is again hosting more than 350 guests that include Association members, industry stakeholders, government representatives and members of both the regional and national press.

A lot of work goes into the preparations for such an occasion and with regard to my own personal field of expertise, I’m currently working on preparing the web pages. We have a section on our website dedicated to Excellence in Construction and each year we update it to feature the latest recipients.

It is our goal and objective to go live with the 2011 sections as early as Saturday morning, so if you aren’t going to be at the event and you are interested in knowing who the winners are, you will find it on, hot off the press as they say.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, October 31, 2011

Monitors to be appointed for Housing Projects

A little news snippet I picked up on (via Eye Witness News on twitter) is that Western Cape Human Settlements Department have indicated that they are to recruit more staff to monitor construction progress. This relating to all their housing projects, some of the recruits are to include project monitors.

Department spokesperson Bruce Oom said that they are looking at so called PHP initiatives.

The idea is based on the need to speed up housing delivery in the province, the current backlog is sitting on half a million, the bulk of it in the Cape Town area.

“The department is hiring new staff in the PHP department. The new staff will be involved in project management, quality control and working with community groups to make sure houses are delivered to people who need them most,” Oom said.

Ernest Roper
Regional General Manager



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fishing Competition - Slideshow

Please note that these web albums are best viewed using Firefox Browser. If you don’t have it, Click Here.

The embedded slideshow is of images taken during the Association’s annual fishing competition which took place over the weekend of the 15th and 16th of October 2011. Read All About It !!!!

For endorsing this particular event, we wish thank the following organisations.

Tile Africa
Kentucky Fried Chicken
MCB Construction
Anthony & Basson
NPC Concrete
Builders Express (South Coast Mall)
Builders Trade Depot
Southern Steel
Mica (Shelly Beach Mall)
SA Breweries
Prodec Paints
Barry Krause

While events such as these do represent a unique opportunity for industry suppliers to gain exposure to our members, industry role players as well as the general public, it is the generous support of sponsors that make them a resounding success.

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager


Monday, October 24, 2011

Marketing with Master Builders

2011 still holds one more exciting marketing opportunity for businesses in and around KwaZulu-Natal as well as for those companies looking to expand their range into the KZN market.

The Excellence in Construction Awards evening is a grand platform for you to align your company with Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Showcase your brand to over 350 key stakeholders in the building and construction industry.
  • Identify with construction excellence and innovation in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Align your product/service with the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal brand
  • Network with your clients and colleagues.
If you are interested in taking part in this prestigious event you can contact me on 031 266 7070, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tanya Leeuw


Friday, October 21, 2011

Make the Most of Your Membership

When somebody uses the term ‘don’t call us we will call you’, unless you really are the bluntest tool in the shed (or a multilevel marketer), you realise that they simply aren’t interested and that the more direct approach would have been to tell you to go fly a kite.

Now imagine an organisation that operates along the lines of ‘Do call us, make an appointment, we will come to you and we won’t charge you for our time’.
In essence that is how Association operates, as a paid up member if you have any matters you would like to discuss or concerns you may have, let us know and your regional manager will happily come and see you.

Our annual membership fee sits at R2400 which is absolutely nominal when one considers the value our members get for it. We calculate that the services members are entitled to, if they were to take advantage of all of them, is valued at around R30 000 per year. It’s fair to say that to a large extent, we do subsidise our members.

If you aren’t getting this sort of value for your membership, you should be. Phone me now and ask me how! (Damn those multilevel marketers)

Everybody who I’ve been through our member benefit matrix with has been blown away by what’s available to them at no additional cost. I recommend that you phone your regional manager and tell them you would like to see them to discuss the benefits available to you, you won’t be sorry.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manger


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Extension of Comment Period - National Health Insurance Green Paper

The Minister of Health caused somewhat of a stir with the Green Paper on the proposed National Health Insurance published for public comment on 12 August 2011. This was done in terms of Government Notice 657 of 12 August 2011, GG.No 34523.

It was indicated in that Notice that comment must be submitted within a period of two months from the date of publication of the Notice (12 October 2011).

Since the publication of the Notice, requests were made to have the comment period extended. The Minister of Health has accordingly decided to have the comment period extended to 30 December 2011.

Comment can be forwarded to or fax no. 0866330082 or at the following addresses:

The Director, General Health
Private Bag X828
Pretoria 0001

or .......

Reception Desk (Ground Floor)
Civitas Building
Cnr. Andries and Struben Streets

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, October 17, 2011

Discuss | Contribute | Learn

A reminder to readers that Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal has a well established online forum intended for open exchange of Industry relevant information, as well as to encourage healthy debate.

While on we only publish original industry related articles written by subject matter specialists, the bulk of what we upload to our forum is sourced from other publications, and as a matter of course, we always credit the author as well as the publication in which it first appeared.

Our forum stats tell us that this strategy is working as a lot of people are now reading these articles. I do however feel it’s important to clarify that whereas original content on our website is a non negotiable, with regard to the forum we take a different tack. As long the as information is industry pertinent, we are happy to collate a host of relevant articles penned by outside sources, into one convenient place for you to access it.

That being said, the purpose of a forum is to create a community wherein people who share a common interest are able to engage with one another. So while it does please me to no end that you the reader are finding the information useful, it would be wonderful to hear your comments and to have you contribute.

Our forum motto is ‘Discuss | Contribute | Learn

To join our community, either click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Foul Smelling Smoker

Once again, we look no further than ‘Darwin Awards’ to source intel for our biweekly post relating to bizarre industry mishaps. This time it involves a smoker, his boss, a plumbing supply store, a blocked loo and a septic holding tank.

Keeping in mind that the articles featured on are reportedly true, this particular incident occurred in 2000, and didn’t end too well for our two protagonists.

A fellow named Mike who worked for a plumbing supply store, brought to the attention of his boss that the toilets on the premises were blocked up. His boss knowing a thing or two about plumbing, in order to rectify the problem lifted the lid off the holding tank outside and poured a bottle of enzymes in, this to break up the solid wastes.

Mike who had been looking on, took the opportunity to light up a smoke and while chatting to his boss, disposed of the butt by flicking it into the open tank.

The moment the smouldering butt landed in the septic tank, the gases inside ignited and blew the vent pipe 30 feet up. The tank exploded skyward, covering the two men from head to toe with its somewhat foul content.

If that’s not bad enough. ....

The toilets on the inside also exploded with excrement spewing liquid, shattering them in the process.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The History of Census in South Africa

The first census in any part of South Africa was held in 1796 during the first British occupation of the Cape. It was named the Cape Colony Census and the thrust of it was mainly focused on the master-slave relationships which were prevalent at the time. The Census Act of 1914 was one of the earliest statutes of the former Union of South Africa established in 1910.

By 2014 the population statistical process in South Africa will pass the century mark. During the racially segregated years, the thrust of the various census processes were mainly aimed at the white, coloured and South African Indian population groups resulting in low levels of data recorded in respect of the African population. This was further complicated by the existence of the former Bantustans and self-governing structures created in terms of the separate development policies.

With the census of 1985 and again in 1989, the move towards having a census every five years gained momentum. The 1996 census was the first to be conducted after the democratic elections of 1994 on the basis of a full head count. The second full head count took place during 2001 but it was subsequently evident that a 14.1% undercount occurred mainly in the traditional areas with the Eastern Cape comprising 29.7% , Limpopo 25%, Kwa Zulu 23% and the Northern Cape 1% of this figure.

Given the population densities in some of those areas, the undercount meant that as many as one in five persons in South Africa were not counted. The 2006 Census improved on the 17% undercount experienced during the 2001 Census. The aim of Census 2011 is to further minimise the undercount and to be within the 5% international threshold for undercount in a population census.

Pieter Rautenbach

Monday, October 10, 2011

Census 2011 is upon us !!!

"Every Person Must Be Counted" -- Says Minister Trevor Manual

Speaking in the National Assembly the Minister in the Presidency tasked with the National Planning Commission indicated it is in the interest of all South Africans to be counted in Census 2011. He said the greatest risk was people who did not want to be enumerated. Previous undercounts were caused by enumerators not gaining access to all gated communities, informal settlements and remote rural areas.

He reminded members of the National Assembly that in terms of Section 16 of the 1999 Statistics Act when it comes to a census, “every person .... must to the best of his or her ... knowledge and belief, and subject to the right to dignity and privacy, answer, when required all questions put orally or in writing... "

Anyone refusing to answer a question, or who knowingly provides a false answer, could, if convicted, be liable to a fine of up to R10 000 or six months imprisonment or both.

How Long Will It Take To Complete The Questionnaire?

Trial tests conducted indicated that an individual answering all the questions in a household representing ten people will need about 45 minutes to complete the questionnaire

Pieter Rautenbach


Friday, October 7, 2011

"Today we are saying, enough is enough, no more deaths"

Never a dull moment working for the Association, as our colleague in Zululand Paula Leah, recently discovered. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) embarked upon a march in protest of deaths and injuries occurring in the workplace which culminated in them handing over a letter to the Association demanding action.

I highly recommend that every industry stakeholder read this memorandum, and takes cognisance of the message communicated.

The grievance is addressed to the Mining Houses, Department of Mineral Resources, Department of Labour as well as the Construction Industry, they also make it clear that they expect a response within seven days. The strap line reads "Today we are saying, enough is enough, no more deaths".

When we first announced our mandatory safety compliance check as a prerequisite to acquiring full membership status, it was met with resistance from certain quarters. Two years after making the announcement, there are still those who feel we are overstepping our bounds.

Rather than to tick a political box, our motivation for being strong on Occupational Health and safety has always been to ensure the wellbeing of everybody operating within the industry, nonetheless, it does inadvertently serve such an end. In circumstances such as these, when the question are asked it is vitally important not to be found wanting.

To view our response to NUM, click here.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reasons To Be Positive

With newspapers constantly blurting out exceedingly discouraging headlines relating to corruption, crime and unsavoury politics, my friend and colleague Pieter Rautenbach penned an article for, which left me feeling somewhat optimistic about the future our country.

One glance at the front page of any Sunday newspaper is usually enough to make me think that as a nation we are self-destructive, and that by our own doing, we are becoming less and less appealing to the international community. It turns out, this isn’t the case.

Since 1994 South Africa has been included in numerous surveys covering a range of subjects. In many instances the high levels of crime and escalating corruption has as one would expect, negatively effected the outcomes of such analysis. Pieter informs us that a recent survey conducted by the Reputation Institute among G8 countries show a steady year-on-year improvement with regard to reputation of the country. While we didn’t quite shoot the lights out, we were placed 33rd; we scored a lot higher than many would have anticipated. To put it into perspective, the USA came in at 22nd.

For reasons already touched upon, it’s easy to become negative; however the manner in which the survey was weighted, we scored high in areas we tend to take for granted. Natural beauty of our country, friendliness of people, and economic stability throughout the recession.

Pieter’s article makes for very interesting reading. CLICK HERE

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, October 3, 2011

Practical Ways of Saving Water

There are a number of products on the market that will certainly aid you in your drive to save water; many of them, such as water saving showerheads, are sold at the Association. Inspired by my colleague Greg Beykirch’s excellent article “Water Calculator and the Marginal Cost of Water” we share some of the more practical, water saving tips with you.
  1. Don’t wash dishes under a running tap. Rather fill a second basin and rinse off in there. If you only have the one, afterward empty and refill with fresh water to rinse with.
  2. Water your garden at night and try and save it for days that aren’t windy, this limits evaporation.
  3. Try to position sprinklers strategically to avoid watering your neighbor’s property, the side of your house, the dog box and the street out front.
  4. When not in use, make sure your pool has a cover on it, also to prevent evaporation.
  5. Don’t allow for leaky pipes, be it your pool pump, garden hose, sprinkler system etc.
  6. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean outside areas such as patios and driveways
  7. When rinsing things like vegetables, place a container underneath to capture water and then use it to hydrate plants.
  8. Fix rickety toilets that continually run, or replace with water efficient models.
  9. Water in fish tanks become nutrient-rich, use in your plants or garden when cleaning the tank.
  10. Drink more beer and less water. (This one’s not for real, just thought it would bring a smile to your face:)
Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, September 30, 2011

Somebody Didn’t Get The Memo

Earlier in the year WUSA -TV, broadcasting from the Washington area in the States, reported that employees in the General Services Administration (GSA) regional office, were sent a memo warning them to not use the restrooms.

"DO NOT flush toilets or use any domestic water," WUSA quoted the memo as saying.

"Due to a mechanical failure, there is high air pressure in the domestic water system that resulted in damage to toilets. The engineering staff is working to correct the issue.”

Needless to say ....

A woman was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries after a loo she had occupied exploded. Bearing in mind that this incident did occur in a federal government building, no doubt, somebody wound up deep in the you know what!

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Green Property Commands More Green

Earlier in the day, I uploaded an article to our forum titled ‘Going green benefits property prices’ in which Century City in Cape Town, is named as a case of Point.

“Century City multi-purpose lifestyle and green complex in Cape Town is charging R1.2 million to R1.4 million for a two bedroom apartment - above average house prices.”

Century City, next to the N1 highway alongside Ysterplaat Air force Base, borders on several low end suburbs with an Industrial area to its back, the land there is also flat and is positioned right in the wind zone, in essence, it wasn’t built in the most desirable location the mother city has to offer.

With respect to residential property, it seems as though they have created an oasis in a neighbourhood that historically would not have been considered a sound investment.

When I contemplate everything I personally do not like about the area, and consider that people are willing to pay a premium to live there, I have to commend whoever the developers were, for their tremendous vision and foresight.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, September 26, 2011

Wired To The Web

I have for a while seriously been contemplating getting myself a Galaxy Tab. For once I am glad I procrastinated as the deals the various networks are offering have got so much better as they compete for their share of this fast growing market.

There are a number of reasons why I would like to get one:
The list goes on...

While I will definitely make use of most of its functionality, the big draw for me is the Kindle application. I like reading and I particularly like the idea of being able to get what I’m looking for on demand at substantially less than bookstore prices, supposing my bookstore actually stocks it.

A Paradox

After doing some homework, for various reasons I would prefer to go with MTN. Nonetheless, I did enquire about SKYPE usage and was told that there is a clause relating to it in the contract, essentially they don’t approve of it on this particular device.

It seems that the logic is that they would rather you be using your cell and in doings so, will be billed by them for the call. Where the Logic falls flat though, is when your devices are across more than one network. The question I asked the sales lady was would they rather me be using their MTN bandwidth, or my Vodacom phone? She smiled and shrugged.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Friday, September 23, 2011

Weather Forecasting Has Improved Greatly

Most weather forecasting models currently in use have resolutions ensuring accuracy to within 100 km which is a great improvement on the accuracy levels of approximately 300 km which were in use 15 years ago. Climate forecasts are based on computer models developed by using physics and advanced calculations and equations aimed at forecasting climate and weather patterns. Presently there is a great deal of international co-operation to co-ordinate weather forecasting globally at any given time by means of advanced computer models.

Dr Alan Thorpe, Director- General of the European Centre for Medium Weather Forecasting, recently indicated that with the development of these models it is possible to prepare more accurate weather forecasts. He said that it was anticipated that within a matter of years the levels of accuracy will be down to a few kilometres. This will be of great benefit to economic sectors such as agriculture, leisure and construction and it will also be a useful aid to those responsible for disaster management in times of floods and storms caused by extreme weather conditions as result of the increasing incidence of climate change.

Pieter Rautenbach


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Income tax: Furnishing returns for the 2011 year of assessment.

In terms of South African Revenue Service (SARS) Notice No 531 published on 1 July 2011, persons who received income in accordance with the thresholds stated in paragraph 2 of the notice are required to furnish returns for the 2011 year of assessment within the periods indicated in paragraph 4 of said notice.

Persons referred to (which include natural persons, trusts and other juristic persons, such as institutions, boards or bodies) are required to furnish returns on or before 30 September 2011 if the return is submitted manually, and on or before 25 November 2011 if the return is submitted in an electronic format, as stipulated in the regulations issued in terms of the Income Tax Act.

In the case of persons “2011 year of assessment” means the period ending 28 February 2011.

Pieter Rautenbach