Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three Core Services Your Association Provides

There are a number of services that the Association provides to its members, most of which are free of charge. Among them are the following three core services:

Occupational Health and Safety –
Health and Safety is an important factor in doing business in today’s environment as we look to save lives and as clients become aware of their duties according to legislation. Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal has some of the leading experts in Construction Health and Safety ready to assist a contractor in being compliant or going even further to helping a contractor achieve a star grading.

Training –
Training is an ever important tool in keeping your business on the cutting edge within an advancing technological age. With legislation changing and goalposts often being moved it is important to ensure that your organisation is up to date on all these. The Association offers a wide range of training course that covers all aspects of a construction industry business. From Safety, First Aid, Foreman, Labour Relations, Scaffolding inspector and erector continuing through various aspects of management training. 

Contractual and Legal advice -
Construction Contracts are seldom ever simple and the importance of ensuring that your interests are protected is critical. Then the added complication of various parties involved in a contract and the reality of sub-contractors like yourself often being on the losing end it is a major benefit to have the expertise and experience of the Association in these situations at your back guiding and advising you in making the right decisions.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, May 28, 2012

Private Projects &

Earlier in the day I did a presentation to a small group of members on and our recently introduced Private Projects module. is the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal on-line membership directory, listing full members of Association. 

Find out more.....

Our Private Projects module enables the public to submit details of private construction projects to the Association for dissemination to members. Once the upload process has been completed, the information gets forwarded to members who qualify for it, by having passed our safety check. Contractors that receive the information and who are interested in quoting on the work, can then make contact with the prospective client.

Find out more.....

I have say; these are two topics I enjoy presenting on for the simple reason that they are both free of charge and were designed to channel business in the direction of members.

It’s nice being the one dishing out good news.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, May 25, 2012

Thoughts on Scaffolding Safety

In a recent article penned by my friend and colleague Gareth Roberts, he drew attention to a safety aspect to scaffolding I had never considered.

Gareth pointed out that when working with tools and power tools on a stable platform, you are less likely to be distracted by thoughts of falling. On poorly erected scaffolding, your concentration instinctively shifts away from the tools you are working with because maintaining your balance is given first priority.

Since you are no longer 100% focused on what’s happening with your hands, the risk of a mishap involving the tools increases significantly. 

It is evident that in addition to fall protection, there are a number of other facets to scaffold safety that has to be taken into consideration.

For more information on scaffold safety, I recommend you read the following two articles published on 

Logic of Safe Scaffolding

Scaffolding Safety

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Proposed 2014 School Calendar

The Minister of Basic Education recently published the proposed 2014 School Calendar inviting written comment. Copies of this notice was placed in the printed media  as well as the Government Gazette in the form of a schedule indicating the public holidays, numbers of school days and weeks for both the inland and coastal provinces.

I have a degree of difficulty interpreting this schedule but it is my general impression that if the proposal goes ahead there may be a greater harmonisation in the school terms of the coastal and inland provinces. The problem area may be around April 2014. There is a general election due in 2014 and the announcement about the election date/s remains the prerogative of the President of the RSA.

Interested parties have a month to comment on the proposal.

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, May 21, 2012

Superb JBCC Workshop

I recently uploaded a post relating to a JBCC training workshop I attended in Pietermaritzburg. You may recall I spoke highly of the course and recommended that you don’t miss out, when the Durban leg comes around. That same workshop is now scheduled to take place at our Westville conference centre, (Essex Terrace) on 29 May 2012. The quality of the training is first-rate and for those of you who didn’t read my review, this is a snippet from it:  

“The Lecturer was Steve du Toit of SDT Consulting and I have to say, it was anything but boring. Steve is a highly respected attorney in the industry and has done work for some of the biggest construction groups in the country as well as for some smaller contractors. Having served as representation in some highly publicised disputes, one quietly gets the impression that Steve has seen his share of action.

It consisted mainly of him going through key clauses in the JBCC agreements each time painting a clear picture by using actual examples where the clauses were applicable. The relaxed manner in which he communicated these examples made it easy to understand and made for exceedingly interesting listening.”

Book Now to avoid disappointment, the course is also open to non members. 

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager


Friday, May 18, 2012

Having a Blast & Raising the Roof

It has been proven over and over again that heat and gas in close proximity of an idiot, is a recipe for disaster.   

The incident I’m about relay, took place in Macquarie New South Wales where metal roofs are purportedly common. When repairs to these roofs are needed, the easiest way to get the job done is by use of oxyacetylene welding, as opposed to the less volatile and safer methods, afforded by electric-arc welding. 

Pure acetylene is explosive at a mere 15 pounds of pressure per square inch, and can also explode when exposed to air.

As the story goes, our intrepid property owner was a do-it yourself type and with oxyacetylene tanks in tow, he managed to climb up onto his roof.  The roof was apparently somewhat steep and he encountered problems with the tanks slipping and sliding. In order to secure them, he took the extremely unwise decision to tack weld them to the roofing iron. Needless to say, it was the last thing he ever did.

A neighbour who had witnessed the incident commented “there wasn't much left of the roof on that side of the house”. I’m gathering there wasn’t much left of our protagonist either.


Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We Are Here To Help !

I was in Zululand the other day where I took part in a process I derived great pleasure from.

We have our module and hence encourage full members of the Association to submit their company profile for us to upload. The company profile it seems is somewhat of an obstacle for many of our Zulu speaking contractors who albeit that they do speak varying degrees of English, they understandably find the writing of it extremely challenging.

We had a meeting with a Zulu speaking contractor at our Empangeni office earlier in the week who was wanting to get his page up and required some assistance. The way we went about it worked exceedingly well and we therefore would like extend the invitation to others who may be in need of the same service.

Brenda of our Zululand office is fluent in both English and Zulu and was more than happy to do some translating for us. I did the writing while interviewing the member and where it proved necessary, Brenda cleared up the misinterpretations. The end product was a company profile in English, which everybody was happy with.  

The message to our Zulu speaking contractors is that if you have a need to follow the same process, the invitation is there, contact me and we will schedule an appointment.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Monday, May 14, 2012

CCMA User Forum Meeting Invite

 The following was forwarded to the Association:

The CCMA KwaZulu-Natal hereby invites all Users and Stakeholders to a User Forum meeting for the CCMA Durban Office as follows:

Date :
31 May 2012 
Venue: CCMA OFFICES, Embassy Building, Cnr Anton Lembede (Smith) & Aliwal Streets,  Durban, 6th Floor – Room Number 54 & 55
Time : 09H30 – 11H30

1. Welcome and Introduction
2. Introduction to CCMA management Team
3. The CCMA Vision, Mission & Goals for 2012/2013 year
4. Operations: Focus areas

4.1 Immediate scheduling of hearing dates whilst parties at the CCMA.
  • 4.2 Awards.
  • 4.3 Reworks.
  • 4.4 Reinstatement as a primary remedy for dispute resolution
  • 4.5 Non compliance with awards and settlement agreement.
5. What do CCMA Users want us to focus on in the  current  year plan: 2012/13
6. CCMA’s holistic approach to Job Savings
7. Front Desk:
  • 7.1 Duplication of referrals
  • 7.2 Jurisdiction: CCMA v DOL matters
  • 7.3 Incorrect nature of dispute
  • 7.4 Incomplete condonation applications
  • 7.5 Irrelevant summary of disputes
8. CCMA DM Department Services – CCMA New Arbitration Guidelines workshops.
9. CCMA Mediation & Collective Bargaining
10. Closure

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


Friday, May 11, 2012

Important Dates

Today’s blog post is directed at members of our Association as well as to those who intend signing up over the next couple of weeks. It is essentially a reminder of some important dates and we ask that you please diarise them.

Reminder of AGM

Our Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place on 12 June 2012.

Excellence Awards Closing Date?

5 June 2012

Excellence Awards function

19 Oct 2012 at Sibaya

Upcoming Training

  • JBCC Course 22 May
  • Time Management (1/2 day) 23 May
  • Presentation Skills (1/2 day) 24 May
If you have any questions or queries relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Feel Free to Provide us with Feedback

Feedback from members of our Association as well as from members of the public is always greatly appreciated as it goes a long way towards helping us gauge whether or not we are delivering on our mandate.  We have had some very encouraging testimonials coming through relating to various departments and services the Association provides.  The following example relates to our Safe-Build DVD product.

"I had purchased 2 copies of the Safe-Build DVD’s at NOSHCON. I was sceptical at first as having being involved in SHE for the past 23 years I am very well aware of all the substandard safety products out there. Firstly the price was very low for the 20 topic DVD set which added to my scepticism. However, after watching the DVDs I was pleasantly surprised. All topics are covered comprehensively. The essential safety messages are clearly and succulently provided. The real value for my organization in these DVD’s is the language change options. To date I have not seen a safety communication product of such high quality that is so reasonably priced.  In my professional opinion the DVD’s are of an excellent standard and would be an investment for any Company that is serious about safety and values it’s greatest assets i.e. its people.  Dr Shaun Ramroop"

While it’s always great to receive compliments, it is extremely important that we hear the bad news as well. The only way to really improve service levels is to determine what members/clients are unhappy with and to then be proactive in making whatever changes are necessary.

Please feel free to provide us with feedback, good or bad, we need to hear it.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager


Monday, May 7, 2012

Minister of Correctional Services to Visit

Those of you who follow industry news on may recall we published a press release from Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) in which they expressed their concern regarding the manner in which the cancellation of the government’s Public Private Sector Partnerships (PPPs) for the design, construction and management of four proposed new prisons at the Paarl, East London, Nigel and Klerksdorp correctional facilities was handled.

At the time they stated that the bidding process had cost the industry vast sums of money and resources in the preparation of bids in response to government’s call for participation in the PPPS. They also called for some insight into government’s decision.  

Through interaction between Master Builders South Africa and the Department of Correctional Services, we have been requested to invite our members and industry stakeholders to a roadshow (8 May 2012) with the Minister of Correctional Services, the honourable Ms N. N. Mapisa-Nqakula.



Friday, May 4, 2012

The Pub That Went Bang

The incident I am about relay occurred in Australia in 2000 and is yet another incredible tale of how somebody operating within our industry, blasted himself to infamy.

A fireman who worked for the Canberra Fire Brigade recalls that one of the more interesting cases he was involved in concerned an explosion that took place at 1:30AM in the morning. At the scene of the blast they found an abandoned pub that had as a result been reduced to a pile of wreckage.

After three days of removing debris, the remains of a local plumber was finally found and from there they were able to piece together what had happened.

It seems that the licensed plumber in an effort to save money on supplies had been inside the old pub cutting sections of copper piping. He inadvertently sliced through the gas main and sparked a huge explosion sending glass, roof tiles and other debris, hurtling to distances as far away as 500 meters. There was some speculation that he may have been smoking at the time.

Perhaps the old cliché “the cheapest method isn’t always the best” is particularly applicable here. It’s usually followed by the other famous cliché “it will cost you more in the long run” and in the case of our intrepid plumber, it most certainly did.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

News from the CIDB

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) is a Schedule 3A public entity with its Head Quarters in Pretoria. Its statutory mandate is to guide construction sector development in South Africa for sustainable growth, reform and improvement aimed at ensuring its enhancement in the economy.

Ms Ursula Ntsubane was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the CIDB. She has held several leadership roles in construction, including the Ekurhuleni Municipality where she headed the economic development department and the Johannesburg Development Agency where she oversaw the implementation of infrastructure projects.

The CIDB is also inviting applications for a number of Project Managers (Contractor Development and Procurement Support) at its Construction Contact Centres (CCCs) in the Western Cape (ref no PMWC), Eastern Cape (ref no PMEC), KwaZulu-Natal (ref no PMKZN), and Gauteng (ref no PMGP).

The incubents will report to the respective provincial manager and the remuneration packages offered are in the order of R400 000 (Total Employment Costs per annum).

The closing date for applications is Monday, 7 May 2012. Persons interested in applying for these positions should contact for the details regarding the requirements.

Pieter Rautenbach