Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bloukrans Bridge An Engineering Feat

Those of you who have an adventurous streak, would probably first associate the Bloukrans River Bridge as the home to the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, before considering the incredible engineering feats that went into building it.

Situated on the N2 highway east of Plettenberg Bay in the beautiful Tsitsikamma region, it is the world’s largest single span concrete arch, the highest and largest bridge in Africa and the third highest bridge in the world.

Built by a consortium of Murray & Roberts and Concor for the NTC, it was completed in 1984 and stands at height of 216m above the Bloukrans River. Its central span is 272m and the bridge is 451m in length. While traffic passes overhead, bungee jumping takes place from the arch below the road deck. recently ran a feature on outgoing Murray & Roberts CEO Brian Bruce who as a young man of 29, was in charge of its construction.

CLICK HERE to read Brian Bruce article.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, June 27, 2011

Durban Chamber - Water to New Developments

Just over a week ago, we received the following invite from the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


The Municipality has announced a moratorium the implications of which are that there will be no provision of water to any new developments.

The reason for this is the risk faced by the municipality of an inadequate supply to meet future needs. Important infrastructure projects promised by national government have not been delivered.
Mr Neil McLeod, the Head of Water Services in the city will engage with members on this subject at a meeting specially convened for this purpose."

It goes without saying that the Association did attend, and I would like to take the opportunity thank the Durban Chamber and Neil McLeod for a very informative meeting. For a summary of what was discussed and what the outcomes were, visit

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban



Friday, June 24, 2011

Made in China

Yes, it's an entire 13-story building in China, lying on the ground

How it happened?

An underground garage was being dug on the south side of the building, to a depth of 4.6 meters (15 ft). The excavated dirt was being piled up on the north side of the building, to a height of 10 meters (32 ft).

They dug right up to the base of the building. Then the rains came. The building experienced uneven lateral pressure from north to south. This resulted in a lateral pressure of 3,000 tonnes, which was greater than what the un-reinforced pilings could tolerate. Thus, the building toppled completely over in a southerly direction.

If the surrounding buildings were closer together, it would have resulted in a domino effect. Notice from the slideshow images that there's NO rebar in the pilings. Just some wire mesh. They built 13 stories on grade, with no basement, and tied it all down to hollow pilings with no rebar.

Made by a national industry that make children’s toys and perhaps makes your next car.

Now that is a true snafu, and China manufactures nearly EVERYTHING we buy and use today.

(Source: Forwarded to the Association by email)

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

South Coast Community Project 2011

Image: South Coast Community Project 2010

At our AGM held on 12 May 2011 at the Port Shepstone Country Club our past Chairman, Ray Basson, informed Members that the Lorain School in extension 3 in Margate would be our 2011 Community Project. This Project as said would have been undertaken in five or more phases depending on the sponsors and donations, but also was subject to a few very important matters to be concluded by the Municipality namely:
  • To donate the land
  • To rezone the land for a school
  • To register the property into a Trust.
With prominent key figures in the Municipality, who were part of the above negotiations, losing their positions in the Municipal Council after the last elections, this caused the Project to be delayed considerably. The committee reconsidered the Community Project for 2011 and decided to put the above Project on hold until all the above objectives had been realized.

The committee subsequently decided to take on Rehoboth Children’s Village to build a Store Room/Food Distribution Building desperately needed in the Village to distribute food between the houses. Negotiations with the management of the Village have been concluded and we are awaiting the building plans from the architects.

A breakfast meeting will be convened shortly with all members to discuss the details and the implementation time frames of the Project.

Hans Stols
South coast Regional Manager


Monday, June 20, 2011

Advertising on

If you would like to leverage your company brand, or would like to promote a new or existing product/service, an advertorial is an option to consider.

View some previously published advertorials, see links:

Longspan Gutters 30 Year Anniversary
Klindex Super Concrete Floor Systems
Project Management Training from SQDC
Prime Development Opportunity on Offer in Hillcrest

You would need to provide us with the following:
  • Advertorial Copy - up to 1000 words
  • Company Logo
  • Up to 3 Pictures of the Company and Product/Service (if applicable)
To get the best results from the advertorial, the focus of the copy should largely be on the benefit of the product and service to interested parties.

An advertorial feeds through our news feeds to various sections of the site, including the Home page (List of the last 6 articles/advertorials) and the News and Information page. This information is indexed by Google and remains on our site indefinitely.

For more information visit the advertising pages on

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, June 17, 2011

Pieter's Antique Tool Collection

The following article, featuring our very own Pieter Rautenbach, appeared in the South Coast Sun under the headline “Antique Tool Collection to Go on Show”

"An exhibit at the ‘Share & Show’ promotion at Seadoone Mall that will attract the older generation and especially craftsmen and builders is Pieter Rautenbach’s collection of wood hand tools.

Pieter has been collecting tools for more than 20 years and his collection is spectacular.

“If I had to value it, I would say it is worth R20,000-plus,” he said. “It’s very hard to judge. Before you could pay R10 for a plane, now it can cost R100.”

Pieter has been a Toti resident for 33 years and was an executive director at Master Builders before retiring. He has amassed his collection through countless visits to second-hand and pawn shops, garage sales and car boot sales. “They say you can judge a craftsman by the quality of his tools.

I have always had an appreciation for good tools. Tools are universal you can go anywhere in the world and trade them. They are almost a commodity.”

Pieter will take a selection of the more interesting ones in his collection, including a clamp he is hoping some knowledgeable visitor to the promotion can identify. Along with the tools, he will display catalogues and books on identifying tools for visitors to browse through.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity to see a part of craftsman history.

The ‘Share & Show’ promotion takes place at Seadoone Mall on Saturday, June 25. Interested collectors can contact Debbie on 031-903-2681 or 084-630-4088."

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dumisani Up Close

Dumisani Makhatini, one the Associations longest serving staff Members, began working for Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal in 1987 and serves on Jannie Matthee’s building maintenance team.

Ever willing to assist, the above candid camera snapshot of him, was taken by a security camera while he was in the process of readjusting it for us. It’s three out of three, we have a perfectly positioned camera, we know it works, and we also have classic a pic of Dumisani in action.

Dumisani is a family man, lives close to Inanda, and never hesitates to put his hand up.

We take this opportunity to express our appreciation for all the effort that he puts in.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, June 13, 2011

Cement and Concrete Institute - Training Courses

The Cement And Concrete Institute (C&CI), provides training to the construction industry on all matters relating to concrete, their mission statement is as follows:

"The C&CI, a marketing organisation, will grow the market for concrete by providing Information, Technical, Education, Research and Regulatory services to potential and existing users, decision makers and influencers within the built environment in southern Africa".

Training scheduled for Durban throughout the year include the following modules:
  • Introduction to Concrete
  • Concrete Technology
  • Concrete Technology for Site Staff
  • Mortars, Plasters, Screeds and Masonry
  • Making Concrete Bricks and Blocks
  • Concrete for RMC Truck Drivers
  • Concrete Practice
  • Practical Concrete Surface Beds
  • Concrete for the Construction Supervisor
  • Concrete for Laboratory Testers
  • Concrete Technology
  • Properties of Concrete for the Structural Designer & Constructor
  • Durability of Concrete
For more information, download C&CI training program. (PDF)

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Benefit Cheats - Excuses When Caught

Image: Courtesy of BBC

In the UK, those who receive state unemployment benefits are commonly referred to as "being on the dole". While today’s post could be mistaken as lines delivered by legendary dole cheats Rodney and Del in Only Fools and Horses, they are in fact real excuses used by real benefit cheats, when caught in the act.
  • We don't live together he just comes each morning to fill up his flask.
  • I wasn't using the ladders to clean windows, I carried them for therapy for my bad back.
  • I had no idea my wife was working! I never noticed her leaving the house twice a day in a fluorescent jacket and a Stop Children sign.
  • My wallet was stolen so someone must have been using my identity, I haven't been working.
  • I didn't know I was still on benefit.
  • I didn't declare my savings because I didn't save them, they were given to me.
  • He lives in a caravan in the drive, we're not together.
  • He does come here every night and leave in the morning and although he has no other address I don't regard him as living here.
  • It wasn't me working, it was my identical twin.
  • I wasn't aware my wife was working because her hours of work coincided with the times I spent in the garden shed.
UK Ministers say it is not a laughing matter, pointing out fraudulent benefit claims cost taxpayers £1.6bn a year.

"Benefit fraud is no joke, and yet our investigators are routinely dealing with bare-faced cheek and ridiculous excuses for stealing money from the taxpayer," said welfare reform minister David Freud.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Debit Order Conundrum

We, the Association, find ourselves in a somewhat peculiar situation in which we are being questioned by members, for abiding by a law, which was recently implemented to protect those who are posing the questions; it’s a conundrum, allow me to explain:

Not so long ago, we took the decision to allow members the option of paying for their annual subscription monthly on a Debit Order rather than upfront. This was very well received and many took us up on this offer which proved effective for all concerned.

One of the major reasons why both the Association and the members took a liking to it is that it meant we never had to chase them, it just happened seamlessly.

Now, with the advent of the Consumer Protection Act, by law, Debit Orders have to be submitted annually. They have made special allowances for certain circumstances such as Cellular operators with 24 month contracts, these are, however, exceptions, not the rule.

With 2011 subs due, what this means is we are now running around trying to get members to fill out a second Debit Order form, and this is where we are being questioned. It’s not always easy pinning down contractors and many are reluctant to make time for something they feel isn’t, or shouldn’t be necessary.

Something we have heard on more than one occasion is “No other company I have Debit Orders with have asked me to do this”. The truth is sooner or later they are going to. We have looked at this thoroughly and it’s what the Act stipulates, it is the law, there is no getting away from it.

Keep in mind it is there to protect you, and should be viewed as positive; we ask that members please work with us on this.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional General Manager


Monday, June 6, 2011

Royal Show - A Resounding Success

With the 2011 Royal Agricultural Show drawing to its close yesterday, as a first time exhibitor looking back, we would have to say it was a resounding success.

The thinking behind hosting a Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal stand was to allow for a platform from which to communicate to the public, what the Association is about. Essentially it was a branding exercise.

As part of the initiative we made items from our Westville premises retail outlet available, which sold exceedingly well. These included the Safe-Build DVD, geyser blankets, Eco-Eyes, eco-chargers and low pressure shower heads. If you missed the show, all these items can be purchased from the Association, call us on 031 266 7070 for more information.

Endeavours of this nature generally come about as a result of somebody championing it; in our case it was Midlands Regional Manager Gareth Roberts who drove it from inception. Congratulations to Gareth and his team for putting on an excellent display.

A competition we really didn’t know existed and therefore had no expectation of winning anything, was to do with best stand. Seeing above is Gareth holding his certificate and medal.

To all involved, Well Done!!!

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, June 3, 2011

3rd Annual South Coast Golf Day

The third annual South Coast Golf day was played on the 27th May 2011 at the Port Shepstone Country Club. The name of the game was FUN, and everybody had a great time. The watering holes made for some very entertaining surprises particularly at hole number 3, where players were lured by the beautiful Las Vegas girls to gamble their fate on the Rolette wheel. As they say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Sparing no expense, sponsors also did a fantastic job of setting up the other watering holes which contributed towards a great spirit and atmosphere. On the 5th green, a hole in one was scored by Murray Ross meaning that he and his team from Kulucrete had to procure a round of drinks. Congratulations to Murray.

Mike Bekker our new Vice Chairman filled in for Chairman Thys Blom who was away at the time. Mike emphasized that the success of the day would not have been possible, were it not for the support of our sponsors whom we wish to thank and acknowledge.

Anthony & Basson; Blue Gold; Builders Trade Depot Margate; Festina Lente Eiendome; Formscaff; Kulucrete; MCB Construction; Mica Shelly Beach; Nuform; NPC Cement Division; NPC Concrete Margate; Peacon Conconstruction; Port Shepstone Precast; Port Shepstone Quarries; Trellidor; AB Coward Liquor Consultants; Auto Safe; Hawk Security; Illovo Sugar Port Shepstone; Rengold; Cinder City Shell Hole; Uvex (Protecting People)

Following a day of torrential downpours the golfing gods provided us with a great day and competition, as always, was fierce.

Top 3 teams:

1.NPC Team no. 1
2.MBA team no.1
3.Festina Lente Eiendome

At the end of the day we celebrated with a dinner served by Sally Heaver. Thank you to everybody for contributing and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

RICA - Deadline Looming

Way back in 2009 my colleague Gary Amstutz penned an article titled “What is Rica?” which was published as a news article on The article provided a detailed overview of what RICA (Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act) is about, and what’s required of you in terms of this legislation.

As is often the case when government requires the cooperation of the public, the deadline was generously extended to 1 July 2011. That being said, D-day is almost upon us, you now have only one month left to make sure that you are compliant, or run the risk of losing your cellular connection. To find out more, read Gary’s Article.

My personal opinion...

When anything is imposed upon me that can be construed as an invasion of my right to privacy I’m generally among the first to cry foul, I do however in this case make an exception. I’m of the belief that cellular calls being traceable to whoever registered the sim, will be of great assistance in the fight against crime. I’m all for it.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban