Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Serious Construction Related Accident

A man in Cape Town was crushed to death by a concrete mixer he was cleaning. A spokesman for ER24 said the machine was turned on accidentally while the person was working on it. This was the second concrete mixer fatality in Cape Town in a period of less than a month.

Five workers were critically injured when the roof they were working on collapsed at the Omnia fertilising factory at Cato Ridge last week. A spokesman for Netcare 24 said "the workers from a contracting company were fixing the asbestos roof when they fell through". The workers had fallen about five metres when found. The injured men were all admitted to the St Augustines Hospital in Durban. At the time of the incident, the cause of the collapse of the roof was unknown.

A provincial spokesman for the Department of Labour confirmed that "full occupational health and safety investigation" was launched to ascertain what had gone wrong.

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, March 28, 2011

Beware of the "Bakkie Builder"

I have spent quite a bit of time of late interacting with Association members throughout the province and a common concern that repeatedly gets raised, is the threat of the Bakkie Builder.

To clarify .....

“Bakkie Builder” has become a generic term to describe the pirates of the industry. It refers to operators who lack essential experience, capacity and business acumen, and believe that by possessing a bakkie, they have the only tool needed to compete in the market place. The menace it presents is threefold.

Danger to the client

Financial loss as a result of under quoting. Having already spent the clients deposit and installments, the builder runs into cash flow problems and cannot complete the project.

Sub-Standard Incomplete Structure

The client often sits with a half built structure of such poor quality that a reputable builder will not touch it, unless they tear it down and begin from scratch. Having used up financial resources, in many instances they can no longer fund the project.

Sub-Standard Complete Structure

The client ends up with a structure that although complete, an endless array of problems arises and often the builder is nowhere to be found.

There have been many scenarios in which the nightmare described above, have become some poor unsuspecting person’s reality.

The best advice we can give is to make sure from the outset, that your builder is reputable.

Members of the Master Builders movement subscribe to a code of conduct to which they are held accountable. In the unlikely event that issues do arise when using a member of the Association, you have recourse at your disposal.

Ernest Roper

Friday, March 25, 2011

Midlands Golf Day 2011

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Golf Day took place yesterday at its traditional venue, Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg. At tee-off time conditions were overcast and high humidity levels prompted players to ensure that they were suitably hydrated. Much to the appreciation of those who took to the course, a well stocked drinks cart was also provided, masterly driven by Michael Thomas Tiquin Schumacher.

As the day progressed, conditions cooled down nicely, making for a great day of golf.

We thank the following sponsors without whom events such as these wouldn’t be possible.
  • Holley Harveytile
  • Spanafrica cc
  • Action Asphalt
  • Garage Door Supplies
  • Shospec ( Pty ) LTD
  • Training Force
  • Erbacon
Prize winners on the day were:
  • Winners – Action Asphalt
  • 2nd – Master Builders Westville
  • 3rd – Holley Harveytile
  • 4th – Spanafrica cc
  • 5th – Garage Door Supplies
Well done to Action Asphalt and thanks to all who participated, we look forward to seeing you back next year.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

KZN HR & Training Indaba - Free Attendance

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Conference Facilities

KZN HR & Training Indaba to showcase premier service providers. (Free Attendance)

The first three editions of the Indaba featured some of South Africa’s premier HR & Training practitioners & service providers. Almost 500 delegates participated in these Indabas with both the delegates and speakers commenting on the quality of the content presented in the exhibition-area as well as in the packed auditorium.

The 4th edition, taking place on 20th April 2011 at the Master Builders Conference Centre in Durban, will without a doubt continue to deliver on its promise to showcase practical solutions for modern day HR & Training challenges in the workplace. As usual, our presenting suppliers will be given a platform to share their extensive application-knowledge and expertise with more than 150 delegates who’ll be attending free of charge.

The Indaba will also offer a diverse mix of suppliers and service providers that will build on the winning formula of previous years. Overall, delegates will be presented with quality offerings focusing on the on the latest trends and user applications for HR Management, HR Software & IT Applications, Payrolls, Personnel Management & Training, Recruitment, Labour Law Solutions, Industrial and Organisational Psychology and HIV/Aids Management, etc. Lots of training vouchers and gifts will also be won by a few lucky delegates, so book early to get in on the act. Space is still available for HR practitioners to attend free of charge and for service providers to exhibit and present their products or services at the Indaba. For further information Contact: Gerrit on 082 496 1657 / 011-615 4923 or

Thanking you:

Gerrit Davids
Taranis Empowerment Facilitation


Friday, March 18, 2011

18 May Declared a Public Holiday

It is official, 18 may 2011 declared a public holiday

With reference to earlier references made by the Association about the need for employers in the building industry to plan for the public holidays during 2011, it is confirmed that President Jacob Zuma, in accordance with the powers vested in him in terms of the Public Holidays Act, declared 18 May 2011 a public holiday to enable registered voters to participate in the local government elections on that date.

Pieter Rautenbach


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Difference Between http and https

The following article found its way into my mailbox, I’m not sure who the author is, it does however contain information you will definitely find useful:

Just in case you didn't already know................

What is the difference between http and https

Don't know how many of you are aware of this difference, but it is worth sending to those that may not.

The main difference between http:/// and https:// is it's all about keeping you secure. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.

The S (big surprise) stands for "Secure". If you visit a Website or webpage, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://.

This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular 'unsecure' language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the Website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never ever enter your credit card number in an Http website ! But, if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a Secure code that no one can eavesdrop on.

If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card Information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://.

If it doesn't, you should NEVER enter sensitive information such as a credit card number.

PASS IT ON (you may save someone a lot of grief).

Ernest Roper


Monday, March 14, 2011

Think Before You Click

In an ongoing effort to combat the rubbish emails which are sent to everyone (Spam, Phishing, Virus, Hoax etc), we have provided some pointers on how to recognise these. Please note that by simply clicking on a link within an email, you could immediately put your entire company at risk, one needs to think carefully before simply clicking.

Firstly, emails need to be noted by their sender and email address. 90% of scams come from strange people you don’t even know and what’s more, the email addresses don’t correspond to the person sending! If you get mail from an unknown source, following any instruction within the mail is extremely high risk.

Secondly, if it is a threatening email or one which tells you that you have won free stuff e.g. mailbox is full; an amount of money owed by you; Lottery winner, business proposal etc, note where it originated from. If it looks like a hoax or has links in the body of the email, delete immediately. Also, don’t allow the initial excitement of having won something to get the better of you (when in 99.999% or the time, you have not entered the competition!) If you really have won something, somebody will phone you.

Thirdly and most important, some emails appear incredibly legitimate. NEVER ever give your private details to anyone and always make sure that links within emails are legitimate. You can tell by hovering your mouse over it, after a second, it will reveal the website that it leads you to. Keep in mind it is nothing more than a link and what’s written there, is there to entice you.

Always proceed with caution.

Craig Allsopp


Friday, March 11, 2011

Green Building Stirs Up Interest

Brian Cuthbertson Party

When we took the decision to Green our Westville premises there were several good reasons for it, not least of which was setting the right example.

Buildings have a massive impact on carbon footprint and with the potentially devastating effects of climate change, a shift towards building design that minimizes negative impact on the environment is imperative to our future existence.

Over the last couple of weeks we have had several influential people request meetings for the purpose of gathering information with regard to our Green Building innovations, they include:
  • Brian Cuthbertson (Diocese of London, Head of Environmental Challenge) Party
  • Guy Caws Senior Education Officer at DSW
  • BioRegional - solutions for sustainability Party
  • Two City of Durban architects
  • RPMASA (Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa)
Knowing that people are learning from our initiative is extremely rewarding.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Art on Display at Westville Premises

You may recall in a previous post we made mention of the Julie Mayo exhibition “The Art of the Construction Site” opening at artSPACE Durban on Monday 24 January 2011.

While 24 January has come and gone, if you are interested, it’s not too late.

These works are currently on display in the conference facility breakaway area at Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, 40 Essex Terrace Westville.

If you would like to view them, feel free to stop by.

Ernest Roper


Monday, March 7, 2011

What does the CEO do to earn the big bucks?

According to Fortune magazine’s March 2011 edition, a CEO has 3 jobs
  1. The face to the outside world.
  2. Allocating capital. A company such as General Electric has $163 billion worth of capital or in South African terms close to R1200 billion. The CEO must lead the way as to where and how much to invest be it in new ventures, research and development, training and such like.
  3. Evaluating senior staff
It sounds simple to me but if the CEO gets it wrong it can be disastrous both to the organization and to the CEO.

Maybe the CEO deserves the big bucks?


Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lighter Side of Twitter

Keeping in mind that you can get all Association and building industry news and views on, today rather than touching on Industry related matters we take a somewhat humorous look at tweets and Twitter.

Those who read Wednesday’s post will recall that I strongly advocate Twitter as a means of keeping up with breaking news, I dare say that if you are following the right networks, you will be among the first to know.

The other side of it is that there are people out there who are extremely talented at being funny in fewer than 140 characters. These are some of the more light-hearted tweets I have seen come through in recent days.

Last time Holland beat SA at cricket, Van Riebeeck bowled "Harry die strandloper" over with some bling. Cheat!

Laduma Ngxokolo’s range of super cool post-circumcision knitwear – is priced at a snip

My girlfriend asked who Wynie Strydom is. I said Wynie is to rugby world what Kardashians are to acting world. No one knows why they on TV

Gaddafi is about to make a speech put aside at least 90 minutes

At Plaka with friend Lesa .. She is upset because her boyfriend is at U2, I keep humming with or without you, is that insensitive?

Rumour is Gaddafi is looking to buy Black Aces strikers; he needs people who know how to shoot into a crowd

Why isn’t Mugabe playing cricket for Zim, If there is anybody who knows how NOT to get out, its him

Vuyo_Nova tweets he is reading the Gibbs book for the 8th time. Why Vuyo Why! If you only have the one we will happily pass the hat around.

Follow me on Twitter: @ErnestRoper

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The News

After years of being an ardent reader of the Sunday Papers, about four months ago I stopped buying them and have not looked back. The reality is times have changed and newspapers as we know them have become very old school.

There are some excellent on-line publications such as, (Mail & Guardian) and for matters relating to the building industry,

Then there is Twitter:

If you have a smartphone (Blackberry, iPhone or other) by following ewnupdates (Eye Witness News) you will be amazed at how frequently the feeds come through. What you initially see are the headlines, if of interest you are able to click on the link provided and read the full article.

In the evenings when I get home, I scroll through the days tweets and choose the articles I wish to read, there were several yesterday that relate to our industry:
  • Housing should not be derailed by politics – Sexwale
  • Sexwale urges communities to support development
  • Man dies after construction site wall collapses
  • Concern over impact of labour law changes on Coloureds
The questions Begs:

Why rush out and pay for a newspaper when you can get quality news for free, at your fingertips?

Ernest Roper