Monday, July 30, 2012

Shospec on YouTube


Something I have come to realise is that many members of the Association place absolutely no value on internet marketing.

One has to move with the times and while I personally don’t believe online marketing is entirely effective on its own, it does in my opinion have to account for a considerable part of one’s marketing strategy, if one is serious about getting results.  I once heard our ex-Executive Director Brandon Abdinor while addressing a room full of contractors state “you may not be online, but your customers are”, which succinctly sums it up.

A member of the Association that seems to have found a really good balance between online and offline marketing is Shospec, operating out of Pietermaritzburg. I often see articles relating to their light steel frame building technique in trade publications and also often come across them on the internet.

I recently stumbled upon their YouTube channel and I have to say, it is impressive.  See above clip!

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Friday, July 27, 2012

You Know You're A Contractor If…

  1. Your dog rides in your van more than your wife does.
  2. You wear specific hats to tool sales, equipment auctions, customer appreciation suppers, and while on holiday.
  3. You have ever had to wash off in the backyard with a garden hose before your wife would let you in the house.
  4. You've never thrown away a 5-gallon bucket.
  5. You can remember the square footage, pounds of nails required, crew labor rates and permit delays on a house you built 10 years ago, but cannot recall your wife's birthday.
  6. You have used a velvet leaf plant as toilet paper.
  7. You have driven off the road while checking out the new housing development in your neighborhood.
  8. You have 'borrowed' gravel from the county road to fill potholes in your driveway.
  9. You have buried a dog and cried like a baby.
  10. You've used the same knife to exterminate vermin and peel apples.
Source: http://contractorcity.com

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Upcoming Training Courses


When I’m out and about meeting members of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, I’m often asked what sort of training we provide at the Association. I explain that it is essentially a mix of business skills type training along with industry related skills training, such as the recent construction foreman course we ran.

Just to give you an idea, upcoming courses over the next couple of months include:
  • Ms Outlook- Foundation Level
  • Time Management Workshop
  • Health and Safety Representative
  • Ms Word - Build up
  • Ms Excel- Build up Level
  • General Conditions of Contract (GCC)
  • Quality Management on a Construction Project
  • Setting out of a Construction Work Areas
  • Powerful Presentation Made Easy
  • Ms PowerPoint- Build up
  • Positive Assertiveness
  • Ms Outlook - Build up Level
  • Monitor and Control cost and production on a Construction Project
For more information on course content, dates and times, visit http://www.masterbuilders.co.za/member_services/industry_training/training_calendar.htm

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager 

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Monday, July 23, 2012

DEA Goes Green


Last week Thursday, ground was broken on what is to become the first government-owned green building and appropriately, it is to house the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The new Pretoria head office, was designed to meet the criteria outlined in the Climate Change policy and when completed, will prove energy and resource efficient as well as environmentally responsible.

During the construction phase, green building methodology with respect to operational practices is to be strictly applied; to ensure minimum impact on the environment. Solutions to reduce waste generated by future occupants are also to be implemented.

“When we occupy this building in two years, we will literary be walking the green talk,” said Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, at the sod turning ceremony in Arcadia.

The scheduled date for completion is June 1, 2014 and the DEA is hopeful of achieving a five-star Green Star, South Africa rating.

Ernest Roper 
Durban Regional Manager


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Friday, July 20, 2012

Electricity, an Arm and a Leg


We recently uploaded a www.engineeringnews.co.za article to our forum titled “Eskom seeks big jump in power rates”. The gist of it is that the power utility wants to increase electricity rates by 14.6% per year, over five years, and has applied to government to do so.

Around the time the announcement was made, I was driving back from Pietermaritzburg listening to the radio when a news bulletin reported the proposed hike. They broke away to a sound bite of some economist who while in an effort to explain how it would impact the consumer, tried to put a positive spin on it. Evidently he likes a challenge.

He gave the whole ‘following decades of undercapitalisation speech’ and ended off by saying that there is good news, it’s lot less than the 25% increase we have all become accustomed to.
At the time, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. If one were to use an analogy, “the last time we amputated a leg, the good news is, this time we only want an arm”.  Or is it just me?

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager   

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Busa Calls For Integrity Pacts


Something I came across in the news which I thought was quite interesting is that Business Unity South Africa (Busa), is calling for the implementation of integrity pacts, for those who are awarded government tenders. This would pertain particularly to large procurement items, in order to improve transparency and accountability, to help in the fight against corruption.

In her recent address at the National Business Initiative (NBI) function, in a bid to urge South African businesses to sign up to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which has anticorruption as one of its ten core principles, Busa president Futhi Mtoba indicated that business had already lobbied the National Treasury on the matter.

Mtoba made it known that she was excited that President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address had supported the notion of integrity pacts. What perhaps further helps the cause is that Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has also come out in support of an integrity accord being implemented.

Reference: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/

Ernest Roper 
Regional Manager Durban

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Northern Natal Roadshow Reminder


For those who would possibly be interested and may not already know about it, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal will be hosting two roadshows in Northern Natal. The idea behind it is to host an event in both Vryheid and Newcastle in order to create awareness with regard to what the Association has to offer, to contractors in that region. 

These events are scheduled to take place next week.

We will be in Vryheid on 17 July 2012 and Newcastle on the 18th and all contractors operating within those areas are welcome to attend. Association President Mr Vic Naidoo along with members of the Association's management team will be there to meet you. The starting time on both days will be 16H30 for 17H00. 

If you wish to attend please contact Sane on 031 266 7070, we look forward to seeing you.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Promulgation of Tax Administration Bill Awaited


The Tax Administration Bill had a passage through all the stages of Parliament and was signed into law by the President of the Republic of South Africa and is awaiting promulgation to be published in the Government Gazette. Taxation experts expect the Act to come into effect within four to six weeks and said that certain parts of the Act may take effect on different dates.

At the launch of the tenth anniversary of now so called "tax season" for 2012 at the beginning of July, the Minister of Finance indicated that it was important for the South African Revenue Services (SARS) to broaden its powers to collect more taxes. To achieve this objective the Tax Administration Act grants SARS powers which may have serious and significant ramification for all taxpayers. The Tax Administration Act will enable SARS wide power to search and seize relevant material without the need for a warrant issued by a Court as in the past.

Pieter Rautenbach

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Monday, July 9, 2012

What`s in a Word - Lost in Translation?


Moneyweb.co.za reported the word "qualified" as in "qualified audit" resulted in a Gauteng Municipality believing they had done something extraordinary. To mark the occasion, they ordered a batch of of T-shirts to celebrate what they considered a major achievement

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokoyane shared this anecdote with the Gauteng Provincial Legislature when delivering her political report. The municipality, who she did not name, was obviously confused as to the meaning of the word "qualified audit", because it was felt that in English "qualified" means you have passed or okayed. The true state of affairs is when any entity is audited, in this instance by the Auditor General, there is evidence of serious deviations from sound accounting principles in the entity`s financial results.

Meaning well, the unsuspecting municipality then sent Premier Mokoyana a T- shirt, to which she responded, “I can`t wear this. Not even as pyjamas!"

Pieter Rautenbach

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Our Wide Format Printing Service

Our House & Garden Show Stand

As many of you will already know, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal has a copy print retail division, on the ground floor of our building at 40 Essex Terrace. We have wide format capability and can print large sizes to vinyl. We also do customised wallpaper printing and are able to print to canvas.

In order to promote our printing services, we took a stand at this year's House and Garden Show and I have to say, plenty of interest has been shown. People seem to love the idea of customised wallpaper and enlarging family photos to huge sizes.

The stand itself is made up of twelve panels; six comprise the back wall while three on either side make up the sidewalls. Mounted to each panel is a 2.5 meter by 1 meter sample of customised wide format vinyl or wall paper print. We wanted to draw attention to our stand so we therefore went with exceedingly bold and bright images. If you are going to the show this weekend, stop by and visit us.

Other than those already mentioned there are a variety of other surfaces we are able to print to so whatever your print requirement, give Jhan a call on 031 266 7070.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager 

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Winner of Ipad Announced


Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal earlier in the year sent out a membership survey form and requested that members return it completed.  We wanted to ensure a decent response so we offered a prize of an Apple Ipad which certainly had the desired effect.  The names of those who responded went into a draw and the winner was announced at our Annual General Meeting.

The winner of the Ipad is Jess Rogers of Wilcote Franchising CC. 

Well done Jess and enjoy your prize!

On a somewhat related note, if you have ever wondered (as I have), what it is about Apple products that make people hanker after them, perhaps Dilbert has the answer, CLICK HERE to find out.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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