Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Handy Pointers


In order to allow us to upload their information to findabuilder.co.za, when visiting members I encourage them to provide us with a company profile. To give them some additional exposure, I also try to persuade them to supply us with newsworthy articles to upload to masterbuilders.co.za.

A common response I get, particularly from the smaller contractors who don’t have much in terms of admin staff for help, is that they struggle with the writing aspect. Listed below are some handy pointers:
  • Write about what you know, keep subject matter pertinent to your area of expertise.
  • Where possible do not be repetitive. Do not to repeat yourself. Try not to say things over and over again in a different way, say things only once.
  • Write Short Paragraphs, they are easier to read and assist in keeping the reader's attention.
  • Try as best as possible to grab the reader's attention and interest with the headline and first paragraph.
  • After the first paragraph, start writing the rest of the points from most important to least. This will keep the readers interest.
  • Include Bullets and Numbers, they catch the reader's eye and encourage them to pay more attention. However, the entire article should not just be a list of bullet points or an attachment.
Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Get the Most From your Membership


In my recent run of member visits, I have been using the list below as touch points for discussion. Each item represents a free member service we provide and I am finding that many of our members aren’t aware of them, despite the fact that they have all been well communicated via our website and bi-weekly newsletter.
One that I am finding is making people sit up and listen is the Work Place Skills Plan. If you are paying a WSP levy, you are able to get a sizable portion of those monies back. We have somebody at the Association who will help with that at no cost, watch this space.

Ernest Roper
Regional General Manager

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PAIA or PAIN


Notwithstanding that it’s no laughing matter; I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when reading in the weekend paper that over a million PAIA manuals, have allegedly been dumped in order to make room in the SAHRC basement. This report was of course hot on the heels of the announcement that there would be yet another PAIA deadline extension.

My wife has a small business and I spent quite a bit of time over the December period compiling her manual in order to meet the previous compliance date of 31 December 2011. As instructed by the SAHRC website, I emailed it off to the address they had given and in return received: “The recipient's mailbox is full and can't accept messages now. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please try resending this message later, or contact the recipient directly.”

Over a period of about 3 weeks, I tried virtually on a daily bases and eventually a couple of days after the deadline, it finally went through without exchange server informing me otherwise. The reality is, they simply didn’t have the systems in place to handle late rush and I have to say, I’m not at all surprised that the deadline has now been extended to 2014.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Monday, January 23, 2012

In The News


I had an excellent meeting today with two gentlemen from Stefanutti Stocks Civils KZN who filled me in on details relating to a unique project they have been working on for the last year or so. The Association's Occupational Health and Safety Department had in fact put me in touch with them, as they had throughout the course of the project reached a unique OHS milestone, which our safety team thought newsworthy.

The reason for the meeting was essentially to gather enough information to write an article for publication on our website and in our newsletter. As it turned out, it was a thoroughly enjoyable meeting and the information that came from it is most certainly fascinating.

I have in the past invited members to inform us of their newsworthy accomplishments in order to allow us the opportunity, to promote them in this manner. Please note that the offer still stands.

I look forward to writing this particular article which will soon appear on masterbuilders.co.za. There is also a strong likelihood that it will find its way to SA Builder Magazine.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


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Friday, January 20, 2012

A Bizarre Welding Incident


We bring you yet another account of some poor sod that did something exceedingly stupid and paid the ultimate price for it. Once again it involves a do it yourself type who perhaps would still be with us, had he not done it himself. This particular genius was trying to manufacture a piece of equipment with which to clean his chimney, before it all went horribly wrong.

(13 January 2005, Croatia) 55-year-old Marko was wanting to clean his chimney, his flue however was longer than usual, too long, for a simple broom to work. He decided that if he could attach a brush to a chain and weigh it down with something, he would be able to get the job done by lowering it in, but what could he use as a weight?

After some scrounging around, he came across an object he thought would definitely do the trick. It was heavy and compact but best of all, it was made from metal so he could easily weld it to the chain. The fact that it was a hand grenade filled with explosive material was somehow overlooked.

Needless to say when the metal heated up, the grenade exploded killing Marko instantly while blasting shrapnel through the walls of his shed. While a Mercedes Benz parked outside was also badly damaged, nobody else was harmed in the incident. .... Bizarre!

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Association Safety Checks


Members are reminded that the difference between full and ordinary membership is that full members are entitled to a listing on findabuilder.co.za and are also able to make use of the Association’s branding. If you are not a full member, in order to become one a mandatory safety check has to be done on your premises or site.

The message that I want to convey is that the safety check really is an essential yet straight forward process and I have no doubt that the majority of members who haven’t yet been checked, will pass it with relative ease.

If you would like to undergo the Association’s free safety check in order to become a full member, please contact Elishya in our Occupational Health & Safety department who will happily answer any questions you may have, and will also schedule a time with you. I encourage you to get it done.

For some background information as to why it is necessary, follow link to ‘Reasoning behind Mandatory Safety Checks’.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Planning a New Home


Building a new home can be somewhat daunting as you are suddenly faced with a minefield of costly decisions that need to be signed off on. The good news is that through proper planning, knowing what you want and can afford and using the services of a reputable contractor, you are able to build successfully without a hitch.

If you are looking to build a new home, we recommend that you tick the following boxes:
  • Check the question of planning permission and the submission of plans with your Local Authority.
  • Choose a reputable building contractor, preferably a member of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal which is easily sourced on findabuilder.co.za where only members of the Association are listed.
  • Obtain written quotations and read them carefully.
  • The cheapest price isn't necessarily the best one. There could be hidden costs.
  • Don't be tempted by special cash deals to ‘save VAT'. This is illegal.
  • Beware of paying money upfront before any work is carried out.
  • Use a standard contract for substantial work. Protect yourself and your builder beforehand by making sure that the rights and obligations of both contracting parties are clear.
  • Check your insurance liabilities.
  • Avoid impulsive changes of mind and/or extra work. These may be costly.
  • "Caveat Emptor" - Buyer beware.
For a more detailed guideline, click through to ‘Getting the Most From Your Builder’, on masterbuilders.co.za.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Golf Days & Race Day


With regard to the Association’s annual golf days, rather than having two separate events for Pietermaritzburg and Durban; the decision was taken to amalgamate the two and have one competition at a venue that is well suited taking into consideration accessibility for all.

The thinking is that it will be held at Kloof Country Club on 2 March 2012. For now the date is provisional and as soon as we are able to confirm it, we will let you know.

The good news for our Midlands based members is that after missing a year, the Pietermaritzburg race day makes a welcomed return. The event will take place at Scottsville Race Course on the 18th of November and with a bit of luck, my cunning strategy of picking horses whose names appeal to me will once again payoff.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Opportunity for Free Exposure


There is a standing invitation to members of the Association to gain free exposure via our newsfeed on masterbuilders.co.za. Over the last three years we have uploaded several articles relating to member accomplishments most of which went onto feature in SA Builder magazine, as well as in other print publications.

Topics we have covered include members who are using new innovative building techniques, are involved in green building projects, low cost building methods and recipients of prestigious awards, as well as those who achieved occupational health and safety milestones. Provided below are links to some of those articles:
If your organisation does have something to offer in terms of news, please do not hesitate to contact me. The only stipulation is that the article has to on some level be newsworthy. For publishing of advertorial type dialog we do charge a fee in which case if you are interested, you may want to visit our advertising hub.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager

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