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.


ErnestRoper
Durban Regional Manager

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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"

www.treasurethekaroo.blogspot.com

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


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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: www.darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager

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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.

Name_________________

Signed________________

Date_________________

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, maganlalm@durban.gov.za.

DOWNLOAD PDF

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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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

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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

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Protect Against Spam



I recently uploaded an article to masterbuilders.co.za 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)masterbuilders.co.za 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

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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
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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

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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

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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:

http://www.masterbuilders.co.za/2011_awards.htm

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

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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


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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 masterbuilders.co.za, hot off the press as they say.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager

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