Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beach Plumbing Gets it Right

The following reference for Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal South Coast based member ‘Beach Plumbing’ found its way to my desktop. This is an excellent testimonial and well done to them for subscribing to a standard worthy of the title Master Builder.

"I found the knowledge of Beach Plumbing, their expertise and support along with their unusually high level of care and attention to detail extremely helpful during and after the building of my house.

From the outset they provided a comprehensive clear quotation for the work they were to undertake. When any variations, additions or unforeseen works arose we were able to discuss them amicably and agree on the cost implications.

The skill and care of their workman ensured there was never a problem even when installing very expensive, high quality fittings and sanitary ware.

They are a quality company of repute and I have no problem recommending them.

J. Cook"

….. Very nice indeed, well done!

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, February 27, 2012

Membership Directory and Consumer Guide

Many of you by now would have seen the booklet we published called the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Membership Directory and Consumer Guide. It is in essence a listing of our member base along with contact details and type of work they do so whatever your building requirement, you are likely to find a contractor in there who is perfect for the job.

If you don’t have a copy, you can pick one up at the Association or you could visit our online directory

But why use a Member?

“While employing the services of a member of Master Builders does not guarantee that your project will go off without a hitch, it does give you recourse in the event that there is a dispute. From the outset, it allows for peace of mind as the Association does have a member criterion and there are checks and balances in place to ensure it. The act of joining the Association is a declaration of integrity and if a member is found to have given a false declaration, the consequences are severe. To find out which Master Builders Association covers your area or for further information, contact Master Builders South Africa (MBSA).” (Read Article)

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, February 24, 2012

Insurance Claim Gaffs

It’s never nice being involved in any sort of incident which requires you to have to contact your insurer and then having to fill out those horrible claim forms, doesn’t help ease the pain. Your description on the incident report is imperative as the last thing you need is to come across as being negligent.

Listed below are some true life examples of claim form declarations that raised some suspicion:

"I was driving along the motorway when the police pulled me over onto the hard shoulder. Unfortunately I was in the middle lane and there was another car in the way.."

"Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.."

"The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind."

"I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought."

Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident? A: Travelled by bus?

The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were - Q: What warning was given by you? A: Horn. Q: What warning was given by the other party? A: Moo.

"On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke."

"I was going at about 70 or 80 mph when my girlfriend on the pillion reached over and grabbed my testicles so I lost control."

"Windscreen broken. Cause unknown. Probably Voodoo."

"I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment."

"The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention."

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way"

"In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."

"I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car."

"I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident."

"Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."

"I thought my window was down, but I found it was up when I put my head through it."

"The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

"As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.

"I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him."

"The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him."

"I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car."

"The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth."

"The telephone pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of the way when I struck the front end."

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Managers


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

UIF Benefits Online

Let’s face it; as much as we all hate paying tax we love e-filing as it's fairly straight forward and makes our lives easier. I suppose it’s much like online banking, while nobody likes paying bills, it would be a lot more painful if we were constantly queuing to do so.

Something I’m sure will make many in business happy, is that one can now apply for UIF Benefits online. UIF Virtual Office Ambassador Elize Laubscher informs us that the new U-filing functionality helps to:-
  • Save costs,
  • Reduce complexity,
  • Increase transparency and promptness of service,
  • Improve efficiency of staff,
  • Maintain and track all records,
  • Offers a highly secure solution, inaccessible by unauthorized users.
For employees to benefit from this, the fund requires that the employer is accredited. To apply for accreditation, a form needs to be completed.

Find Out More

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, February 20, 2012

Adhere To The Rules

Umhlanga Rocks Bridge - As per Google Maps

Staying with the theme of taking accountability for one’s own actions, some years ago I sadly witnessed a pedestrian say goodbye to this life, following an act of sheer idiocy on his part.

I was driving along the M4 heading towards Umdloti when I noticed the car in front of me go veering off the road. It took me a second to process that a pedestrian had been hit, resulting in the offending vehicle ending up on the embankment below the Umhlanga Rocks Bridge.

The only way the victim could have got there, was by walking down from above. Why on earth he attempted to cross the busy road beneath when he could have used the bridge above, will always plague me.

Roads, not unlike construction sites are inherently dangerous and therefore require a strict set of rules to keep users safe. While both are strictly monitored, those doing the policing can’t be expected to be everywhere all the time. The only way to ensure one's safety is to take accountability for it and the best way to do that, is by adhering to the rules.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, February 17, 2012

Where The Problem Lies

A gentleman, who is the SHEQ manager for one of the top construction companies in country, was kind enough to email us some feedback with regard to a recent blog post titled ‘Think Before Doing’. He raises some strong viewpoints and I will be contacting him throughout the week, to request permission to publish his opinions as an article.

In the meantime, I don’t think he would object to me sharing some key points from it:

“Your title 'Think Before Doing' explains exactly where the problem lies. They don’t think because they don’t need to – the responsibility is on the employer.”

“We are all guilty in the sense that we are taking the responsibility away from the employee to think for him/herself. The lawmakers enforce this on us. Only one small section in the Act places emphasis on the employee (Sect 14).”

Food for thought ......

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It’s Not Just About Granny Flats

I spend a lot of time trying to encourage members to get onboard with and often deal with contractors who are less than enthusiastic about it. There is a perception among some that those who use the Find a Builder service are likely to be after a garage or granny flat and they simply don’t want to be bothered with those sorts of inquiries.

Via the backend of the website, I am able to see all inquiries that come through and I can tell you with absolute certainty, that some very big projects have been posted. This is a short snippet from one that was submitted today.

“Good day, we are planning a new Factory Facility with about 3600m2 factory space and 1170m2 office space (two stories)”

My point being, it’s not just about granny flats.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Contractual & Legal FAQ's

In a previous post titled ‘Planning a New Home’, we provided a checklist to first time home builders and advised that ticking all the boxes, was the best way to ensure that their project ran smoothly. That being said, getting your head around the legal terminology can also be somewhat daunting.

These are some of the contractual and legal related questions staff at the Association are frequently asked:
  1. What are the essentials of a contract?
  2. What is the effect of a letter of intent?
  3. What is the parole evidence rule?
  4. What are the rules for the interpretation of contracts?
  5. When can implied terms be read into a contract?
  6. What are the remedies for breach of contract?
  7. Where a specification calls for material from a named supplier “or other approved”, can the principal agent or architect refuse to approve an alternative supplier proposed by the contractor?
  8. When a contractor requests a payment guarantee from the employer, what amount should it be for?
The answers to these and other contractual and legal frequently asked questions, along with information pertaining to a host of industry related matters, can all be found on

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Friday, February 10, 2012

Think Before Doing

Sometime ago I was on a site belonging to one of the bigger contractors who have over the years entered and won, many Occupational Health and Safety competitions. The organisation I refer to has an excellent safety record and is extremely proactive, when it comes to safety training.

On the day that I was there, they had brought in an outside safety specialist to lecture staff on height safety and gathered around a number of labourers to listen and learn from him. The training took place on the roof of the five storey structure and it has to be said that the lecturer was extremely enthusiastic, as well as energetic.

With the aid of a harness line hooked up to a crane above, he described in great detail using both English and Zulu, how a harness should be fitted and attached. He explained with immense gusto how if you got it wrong, you could fall, swing, bang your head and go home in a pine box.

The trainer was exceptionally good and did a superb job of holding audience attention and if I were to rate him, I would have given him ten out ten.

About fifteen minutes after he had left; I was standing on the top level talking to the company safety officer when we heard a banging sound, coming from below the edge. When we looked over the side, there was a gentleman, several floors above ground, banging together scaffolding without wearing any safety gear at all, other than his hardhat.

Needless to say, the safety officer stripped his you know what and the man at fault was immediately instructed to disembark. It then also became evident that he was among those who had just attended training. What this incident made me realise is that even with all the safety induction in the world, there will always be people around who just don’t think before doing.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Heinous Crime of Weather Forecasting

Albeit that I would personally vote against it, I do to some extent understand why the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs wants to prohibit the issuing (or publication) of warnings of severe weather without written permission from the South African Weather Service (SAWS). See Article

Weather most certainly affects human behaviour and the last thing we need are people preparing for hurricane conditions on the say so of some Derek Van Dam wannabe, whose data is determined by the windsock hanging from his balcony. By the same token, if Bob the Builder chooses to believe Windsock Derek who has, via his twitter feed, predicted mild weather and a heat wave occurs, people on Bob’s building site could die from heat exhaustion, so the consequences could prove severe.

The legislation should in essence serve to prevent people acting on amateur information, which I suspect is the thinking behind it. Personally, if some clued-up young propeller head firmly believes catastrophic conditions are heading my way, I would want him to be able to shout it from the roof tops without fear of consequence.

What makes it absolutely absurd, is that the proposed penalty for this heinous offence, is a maximum fine of R10million or 30 years in prison. So yes, illegal broadcasting of severe weather conditions may end up carrying a far greater sentence than fraud, robbery and murder.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, February 6, 2012

More news from Longspan Gutters

Gus Behn

The Longspan Gutters Group has converted all its companies to Proprietary Limited Companies, and has accordingly appointed Mr Gus Behn as Director and Chief Executive Officer of the following companies within the Longspan Gutters Group of Companies:
  1. Longspan Gutters (Pty) Ltd
  2. Longspan Gutters SA (Pty) Ltd
  3. Longspan Gutters Gauteng (Pty) Ltd
  4. Longspan Properties (Pty) Ltd
Read about the appointment of Mr Paul Marais, a new Director within the Longspan stable.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Friday, February 3, 2012

Longspan Gutters Appoints New Director

This morning we received a communication from Association Member Longspan Gutters informing us that they have appointed a new Director, within the Longspan Gutters Group of Companies:

“We’re elated to announce and congratulate that Mr Paul Marais has been promoted and appointed a Director of the following companies within the Longspan Gutters Group of Companies:
  • Longspan Gutters (Pty) Ltd
  • Longspan Gutters SA (Pty) Ltd
  • Longspan Gutters Gauteng (Pty) Ltd”
Congratulations to Paul and we wish him everything of the best.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aligning Your Brand With Ours

2012 holds many exciting marketing opportunities for businesses in and around KwaZulu-Natal, as well as those companies who are looking to expand their range into the KZN market from other Provinces.

We have a wide range of advertising options, online and offline.

If you haven’t gone to our online forums as yet, make an effort to go onto them ( and/or ) you might just find the answers you were looking for, either as a discussion, or as a banner advert.

The Master Builders e-newsletter has become a huge success with over 3500 subscribers. Your paid advertorial will be seen on the home page of our website and in the e-newsletter and an advert with a link back to your website is sure to get some hits. For the more creative advertisers, come and visit the Westville office where you can see our 3 visual exhibition screens and have a chat with Jhan who will assist you with the graphic element required.

More about offline advertising to follow in the next couple of weeks, however should you want to know more about any of the advertising opportunities now, then please contact me on 031 266 7070.

Tanya Leeuw
Advertising Co-ordinator