Friday, September 28, 2012

Construction Industry Career Day


Following the tragic death of 10 pupils in a road accident some two or three weeks ago, KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Senzo Mchunu’s announced the abandonment of all school trips for the rest of the year.

With high school learners having had to be bussed in, the MEC's stance has adversely affected the Association’s plan to host a Construction Industry Career Day. Not to be deterred, many of the Schools that were going to attend have welcomed the option of us going to them. The positive outcome is that we will be able to reach more pupils, the downside is, we had some really exciting activities planned which will have to be shelved, as the transporting of heavy equipment just isn’t practical.

Nonetheless, the enthusiasm the schools are showing for it is most welcoming and albeit that there had to be a change of tack, we are looking forward it and believe it will be just as much of a success.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Need A Builder or Supplier?


Our members do seem appreciative of the fact that a lot of time and effort has gone into getting masterbuilders.co.za to the point where we are able to effectively use it to channel business in their general direction.

With this in mind over the last three years we developed three web modules:

Find a Builder Module
Find a Supplier Module (for Associate members)
Private Projects Module

The challenge for the prospective client when using findabuilder.co.za, is that it often isn’t easy finding the right builder for the right job. Our Private Projects module takes the hassle out of it as contractors who are interested in performing the work; make contact with the client directly, not the other way around. 

If you are an organisation or member of the Public and have construction work that needs to be carried out, an easy way to find the right builder belonging to the Association is through Private Projects, TRY IT ! 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, September 21, 2012

A Bridge Too Short


Having possibly encountered idiots of a similar type yourselves, those of you who operate within the Civils industry will probably identify with this news snippet from New Mexico, relating to an incident that took place in July 2000.

“Two young men driving a dark-blue two-door vehicle removed a barricade festooned with numerous warning signs indicating bridge closure, drove past several heavy construction vehicles, and launched themselves off the end of a demolished bridge in Albuquerque on Saturday. The car careened across a roadbed of unpaved I-beams before plunging 30 feet and burying its front end in a dirt embankment at the junction of I-25 and I-40.

The young men, who had been wearing seatbelts, were taken into police custody unharmed. A spokesman for the state Highway and Transportation Department issued a public plea for common sense. "Don't go through those barricades. Find another route. It's the only safe thing to do." The seat belt law is strictly enforced in New Mexico, but unfortunately there is no law against stupidity.”

Source: www.darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
Regional Managers Durban

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Excellence in Construction Awards – Sponsorship Opportunities


The Excellence in Construction Awards ceremony is the premier event on the Association's calendar. It celebrates excellence in construction and culminates in a gala function attended by +- 400 people made up of entrants, members and Industry Stakeholders.  If you want to align your brand with that of the Master Builders Association, this is a great opportunity to do so.

For this event there are three types of sponsorship categories:
  • Platinum
  • Silver
  • Gold
The cost varies depending on which package you go for and the reason for having three packages, is to accommodate a range of budgetary requirements.

For more information contact Tanya Leeuw on 031 266 7070
Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Update Your Details


Members are reminded to please update their details with us in the event that they do change. I had somebody contact me the other day requesting a list of contractors who operate in a specific area along with contact numbers. I used the opportunity to encourage the person to make use of findabuilder.co.za to which I got the reply that she had already tried, only to find that many of the numbers she attempted to dial, were no longer in existence.

From my own experience, I haven’t had too many problems trying to get hold of people we have on our database, so perhaps she just happened to pick the wrong one or two. In saying that, somebody may well have missed out on a great opportunity to do some good business, simply because they hadn’t forwarded us their new telephone number.

Members are advised to let us know of such changes. You can’t win if you don’t have a ticket, it’s that simple.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban 

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Upcoming Training



Those of you who don’t receive our newsletter, will probably not be aware that we have a whole bunch of training courses coming up that perhaps you may be interested in.  They include the following:

  • Supervise Health & Safety on a Construction Project
  • Monitoring and Controlling Costs and Production
  • First Aid Level 1
  • Apply Health and Safety to a Work Area

To find out which courses are available, visit the training page on masterbuilders.co.za.    

If you wish to receive our newsletter, you can subscribe at masterbuilders.co.za using the subscribe tab, down the left hand column.  

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Greg’s Famous Utility Calculator


Sometime ago our Financial Director Greg Beykirch put together a utility calculator using an Excel Spreadsheet. The purpose of it is to allow people to be able to calculate whether or not their municipality bill is accurate.  We uploaded it to masterbuilders.co.za as we thought it was something our members and readers would have a need for.

Recently Greg was contacted by eThekwini Municipality who requested permission to upload it to their website.

As always Greg was more than accommodating and in fact tweaked it to make it more user friendly, before sending it on.

If you are interested in acquiring Greg’s utility calculator, it can be downloaded from http://www.durban.gov.za/City_Services/treasury/Revenue_Services/Pages/default.aspx

Nice one Greg!

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Ernest

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Circumstances Under Which You Cannot Claim UIF


In a previous post we mentioned that www.labour.gov.za informs us that if one quits their job, they are prohibited from claiming UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund).  The following is taken directly from the UIF page on the Department of Labour’s website; I do find it interesting that in this particular context, rather than resigning you are better off getting fired.

You cannot claim if you get –
  • benefits from the Compensation Fund;
  • benefits from an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act;
  • or if they –
  • are suspended from claiming because of fraud;
  • quit their job;
  • do not report at set dates and times; or
  • refuse training and advice.
Workers can claim if their –
  • employers are bankrupt;
  • contracts are ended; or if they
  • are fired.
Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Friday, September 7, 2012

A Silly Man With a Gas Can


I came across a great story of a man whose destiny it seems was to self destruct and if he wasn’t to succeed first time round, he wasn’t the type to give up easily. A gentleman named Jimmy Jams just happened to be in the right place to witness just how dangerous a gas can can be, in the hands of an ignoramus.  This is his personal account:

"A few years ago, I worked in a small engine repair shop in my hometown in the heart of Appalachia, where intelligent people are outnumbered by the dangerously ignorant. One of these simpletons brought his rusty lawnmower in to be repaired.

He was a suspicious person who, despite his incredible stupidity, believed that he was smarter than everyone else. He also believed that we were out to rip him off, and wanted to start up his lawnmower in our parking lot to make sure that the job had been done correctly.

I watched from the safety of the garage, thirty feet away, as he pulled out a gas can from the bed of his pickup and attempted to refill the gas tank. It was bad enough that he had a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth as he fumbled with the gas, but things rapidly went from bad to worse.

Since he didn't have a funnel or a spout, and the gas tank's opening was very small, he decided it was time to improvise. He took a Styrofoam cup from his truck and filled it with gas. I can only assume he thought it would be easier to fill the tank with this smaller container. But if you have ever seen gasoline and Styrofoam combine, you know that this wasn't a good plan of action. The cup quickly disintegrated and emptied its contents on the man's pant legs.

He jumped back, obviously not anticipating the melting of the cup, and when he jumped, he dropped the gas can, which landed on its side and began to gurgle out even more gasoline which was rolling down the gentle slope of the parking lot. The cigarette fell from his mouth, almost in slow motion, and a rush of adrenaline shot through me as I watched the gasoline ignite in a loud "poof."

The fire climbed the man's legs and covered the parking lot and lawn mower. The flames raced towards the gas can and engulfed it. Luckily my boss had been watching as well, and he was out the door with a fire extinguisher and dousing the flames on the can lickety-split. I grabbed an extinguisher and headed for the man and the mower.

The paramedics arrived and took the idiot to the hospital where he was treated for second degree burns to his legs and hands.

Before I moved away, years later, I'd see the man about town and just have to laugh. I later learned that he was killed working on the transmission of his truck while it was parked on a steep incline. The cinder blocks he was using to stop the wheels gave way, and the truck rolled over the top of him."

Source: darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

You can’t claim UIF if you quit!


I was at our South Coast Office the other day when a gentleman came in with an enquiry. He looked to be in his late forties and wanted to know how to access funds he had paid into the Association’s Employee Benefit Scheme. He explained to us that he resigned from his job after 27 years of service and was now in need of whatever monies were available to him.

According to him, he had spent the greater part of his life working for a particular company and when it was sold, the new owners went out of their way to make his life as difficult as possible. It got the point where he felt that his only option was to resign and given that he believes it happened under duress, he is pursuing CCMA recourse.

He mentioned that he was told that if one resigns from their job, they can’t claim from the state Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and proceeded to ask whether this was true or not.  My first thought was that if this gentleman had been paying into it for an extended period of time, surely he should have access to it? I went online and visited www.labour.gov.za  and was somewhat surprised to discover that if you do quit your job, you are indeed prohibited from claiming.  It hardly seems fair when one considers the likes of this case, where he probably paid into the fund for 27 odd years.

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Tips for Renewal of Drivers License


I had this sudden realisation over the weekend that while I had blinked, 5 years had flown by and my driver’s license was about to expire, it was in fact due to expire on Wednesday. With this in mind I made sure I was at the Department of Motor Vehicles bright and early this morning and I have say, the experience was surprisingly painless.

Based on how it went at the Pinetown branch, here are some handy tips for renewing your drivers’ license:

Get there early, I got there at around 7h30am. There was a queue at the entrance, however when the doors opened at 7h45, it moved quickly and once in, it was apparent that most of those who were queuing were there for reasons other than license renewal.  

At Pinetown, the licence renewal section is upstairs, at the entrance at the top of the stairs, you need to collect a DL1 green form, once you have it, fill in sections A, B and D. Taking a pen with you will make life easier.

You have to then queue to have your eye test done, you can complete the DL1 green form while waiting in that line.

You need to have your green ID book and your existing driver’s license with you. You DO NOT need to take photographs, it is all digitised and a photo is taken upon completion of the eye test.

Once concluded, all that is left is to go to the cashier and pay. The price in KwaZulu-Natal is R250.00, I believe it varies from Province to Province.

The cashier will give you a notice to say that you have successfully renewed your licence. When this form is presented with your old drivers licence, the old license is still valid for 3 months. They make it known that your new one will take around 6 weeks.

If you renew after your license has expired, you have to get a temporary license which costs extra.

The entire process took about half an hour, I was done by 8h15 and the people at Pinetown on the day were friendly, efficient and helpful. It really wasn't the mission I thought it was going to be.

Ernest Roper | Durban Regional Manager

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