Monday, December 7, 2015

15 Storeys - Just Six Days


In 2010 a remarkable feat of construction caused locals in the city of Changsha to become disorientated.

A contracting company and crew in the south-central Chinese city broke all construction timeline barriers, by completing a 15-storey hotel in just six days.

This remarkable achievement reportedly caused considerable disorientation, as locals who were away over the period returned home to a somewhat different looking neighbourhood.

The work crew erected the soundproofed, thermal-insulated structure said to be built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake with all prefabricated materials. Both off and onsite crews were used to build the different sections and arrange them on the foundation.

The floors and walls of the hotel are reportedly solid, airtight and sound proof, even though the construction materials utilized are much lighter.

The sustainable hotel already had its foundation, but by using pre-fabricated columns and modules as well as modern construction techniques, construction workers only needed 46 hours to finish the main structural components and another 90 hours for the building enclosure.

Despite the frenzied pace of construction, no workers were injured and to top it all off, thanks to the prefabricated nature of the building process, very few construction materials went to waste.

Reference: Article found on https://bizarretoday.wordpress.com

Ernest Roper
Membership Service Manager

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Blood Drive – 25 November 2015


Donating a unit of blood can save up to three lives!

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal in partnership with the South African National Blood Service (SANSB), will on the 25 November 2015 be hosting a blood drive at the Association's Durban Premises at 40 Essex Terrace Westville.

The demand for blood increases considerably over the holiday season and with December just around the corner, we call on the building Industry and members of the public to join us in contributing to this extremely important cause.

Join us between 9am and 3pm on 25 November 2015 at our Westville premises and help save lives.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, November 2, 2015

No it Wasn’t a Mirage!


Those of you who read Durban’s daily newspaper “The Mercury” are probably familiar with Graham Linscott’s column “The Idler” which not unlike this blog, likes to look at the lighter side of life, helped by readers who write in and share their humorous misadventures with him.

One fine day in October 2015, the column made reference to the familiar name of Greg Beykirch and told the tale of how oncoming traffic, caused our Financial Director to raise his eyebrow:

Wrong Way

Yesterday’s front page had horror pictures of a minibus taxi driving down the “up” carriage way on Field’s Hill in early morning rain.  How there were no accidents is a wonder. What kind of mentality prompts this?

Greg Beykirch, of Pinetown, had a similar experience in India. He was being driven from Jaipur to Delhi and it was the hottest time of the year. Suddenly there was a mirage. A 20-ton truck came trundling towards them on the wrong side of the highway, travelling in the fast lane.

But it wasn’t a mirage. His driver didn’t bat an eyelid as he respectfully moved over to allow the truck past.

Then another 20-tonner came past, travelling in the wrong direction. The driver explained that they were locals and it was too much hassle for them to cross to the correct carriageway for the direction they were travelling”.


Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Gender Equality - Since the mid 1900's


The term Gender Equality refers to a way of life that modern societies strive towards where women are treated as equals in business and people are not discriminated against because of gender. 

It’s absurd to think that less than 70 years ago the accepted norm in society was that men went out and earned a living while women were expected to stay home and be unfailingly happy doing household chores.

The following snippet doing the rounds on social media is supposedly an excerpt from a 1949 sewing manual published by sewing machine manufacturer Singer, and is perhaps indicative of how society viewed the role of women in the mid 1900’s.

“Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing.


When you sew make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress and keep a little bag of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.”


Thankfully today we live in an era where women are celebrated and one of the most anticipated awards at the Association’s annual awards event is the Women in Construction Award. Our annual awards evening is taking place on the 23 October 2015 and we are all looking forward to this prestigious occasion.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


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Monday, September 7, 2015

His Number Was Up


John Boy Hamer, 40, of Talke in Staffordshire, went around knocking on the doors of elderly people claiming they were missing tiles from their roofs. He would then offer his services as a home maintenance service provider to do the repairs, without ever doing them.

Demanding an upfront payment of £580, it was with impunity that he duped these pensioners out of their hard earned savings. Some of his victims were in their 90’s and the manner in which he was eventually arrested, is best described as poetic justice.

After his scams were reported, police had issued an arrest warrant and he was finally caught when an 85-year-old man who he had conned, saw him at the local bingo club.

The pensioner spotted him enjoying a game of bingo and alerted police.

Essentially, he targeted a neighborhood conning the elderly and then chose to play bingo at the local bingo hall, frequented by the elderly. One can only assume that he will not be featuring prominently on the DSTV crime channel show “Criminal Masterminds”. 

Mr. Hamer picked on the vulnerable and the sentence that was handed down to him, reflected the judge’s displeasure with it.

He was jailed for five years.

Reference: dailymail.co.uk

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Went Big, Went Broke


In the past few months the financial crisis in Greece dominated news headlines and with Greek banks having closed their doors and talk of their possible exit from the Eurozone, it wasn’t too surprising that the world watched in anticipation to see how it would unfold. 

While unable to meet their repayment obligations, the Greeks have over a period of years borrowed several hundred billion Euros from their European partners and prior to the most recent bailout (13 July 2015) Grexit as the media coined it, seemed a very likely possibility. 

Poor fiscal policy is repeatedly cited as the key factor that resulted in the crises and extravagant spending on the 2004 Athens Olympics, is a poignant example of the country’s reckless spending.

With an unnecessarily large number of stadia built in preparation of the games, “go big or go home” it seems was the motto of day.

Athens acquired everything from a baseball diamond to a man-made kayak course. Even table tennis, field hockey and judo had their own stadia.

Today, more than half the sites are vacant and have to be patrolled by private security guards, among them, the once lavish Tae Kwon Do and Handball Olympic stadium, now empty and secured with a padlocked fence.

Athens spent $11 billion, about double the country’s budget, on more than a dozen Olympic venues.

Many experts speculate that the excessive spending that marred this event was the first domino to fall, triggering the financial crisis that is crippling the country 11 years on.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

References: huffingtonpost.com, neatbuzz.com

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dream Home Turns Into a Nightmare


Dailymail.co.uk reported earlier in the year that Luke Mahon of Berkshire England had taken to social media to vent frustration at the builder who built his home, who it seems made a real hash of it.

Upon moving into the £580,000 property, the dream home bubble burst when an array of faults which included holes in walls, cracks in plaster as well as peeling tiles was discovered in the newly-built house.

140 Faults would eventually be catalogued including no loft insulation, poorly-fitted kitchen counter, no grass in the garden, off-centre toilet, unfinished floor, faulty bathroom mastic, peeling plaster and paintwork, cracks on toilet floor, gaps in bathroom sealant, wonky doors, Ill-fitting loos and the home itself not being energy efficient as was promised to the buyer.

In addition to advertising these faults in the window of his property as a warning to prospective buyers in the complex, Mahon took to twitter using the account @MyHouseSucks, where he has shared photographs of various sections of his home along with captions explaining what’s wrong with them.

They say a picture tells a thousand tales ......

Judging from the images that featured in the Daily Mail article, it would seem that the homeowner has every right to feel aggrieved. It’s also interesting to note that the twitter thread gained some traction and many other unhappy clients of this particular contractor, responded in support of Mahon’s cause.

Jason Bass a neighbor of Mahon's also reportedly stated: “We haven't found anyone living here who is happy. The site manager told one lady who lives on her own that they are building water-tight properties, not Rolls Royces. But we are paying Rolls Royce prices. It's disgraceful."

Reference: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Annual Association Awards


The Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal will be hosting the Annual Awards at Sibaya Kingdom and Entertainment World on Friday 23 October 2015.

Get your company brand exposure to over 350 invited guests, including industry stakeholders, awards winners, government representatives and Members of the Association at this elite function. 

Book now to secure your marketing package.

For a detailed break down of the marketing menus available please click on the link below:
Annual Awards Marketing Menu 2015 (Pdf)

Tanya Leeuw
Marketing and Membership Assistant

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Cranes of Ballet


There are some fantastic works of art around featuring construction. When one thinks of paintings or photographs of tower cranes either against a sunset backdrop or as the crowning feature of a city skyline, there can be no doubt that they do inspire creative thinking.

In 2014, Austrian developers took the idea of using tower cranes for artistic intention to whole new level by using them as live props for a performing arts project, the likes of which had never been seen before. 

Aspern Urban Lakeside Vienna is Europe’s largest construction site and at the time 42 cranes, were being used for the development of a new 590-acre suburb. At Vienna’s Kranensee event in Aspern, the cranes were used to perform a synchronised light show with the drivers of the cranes controlling their choreographed movements. 

Local residents were invited to come and view the dancing cranes throughout the day and the 30-minute light show began after sunset.  A time-lapse video of it was recorded and if you are interested in seeing exactly how it unfolded, follow this link to dailymail.co.uk and scroll down to find the video clip.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Somewhere Between Animal and Machine


Artist and architect Robert Bruno commenced work on his steel home in Lubbock Texas in 1974 and at the time of his death in 2008, it was still a work in progress. Bruno had said that he wanted the structure to be somewhere between animal and machine and wasn’t too concerned about meeting timelines. His objective it seems was to create a living space that also served as an ever evolving work of art.

Bruno himself was explicit about this and once said in a video interview that his motivation was to create something of aesthetic value and that having a house wasn’t of particular concern to him.

He approached it as though he were creating a sculpture, working on the fly and making constant modifications. The four legs and cantilevered design curtail the structures impact on nature, causing far less disruption to the earth below than a conventional structure would have.

Its estimated weight is 110 tons.

On impulse, Bruno would tear down months of work creating a process that took as many steps backward as it did forward.  After enduring decades of construction, friends and neighbours came to understand that finishing the project, was something that simply didn’t matter to him.

Photo credit: Alan Madrid

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Construction Work Permit


From 6 August 2015 a client who intends to have construction work carried out will have to apply to the Provincial Director of the Department of Labour in writing for a construction work permit. This will have to be done 30 days before that work is to be carried out. It will apply to construction work that:

Exceed 180 days;
Involve more than 1800 person days of construction work; or
The works contract is of a value equal to or exceeding thirteen million rand or Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading level 6.

For more information and for all your Construction Health and Safety needs, contact Michelle at the Association on 031 831 3220.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Mother of all Invention


The Sam Kee Building situated in West Street Vancouver was built in 1913 and only measures 1.5 meters deep, making it the shallowest commercial building in the world. What possessed somebody to commission a structure of such narrow width, tells the story of gentleman who aptly demonstrated that necessity is the mother of all invention.

Before the building was constructed, the City of Vancouver had without any compensation, expropriated most of the property belonging to Chang Toy, owner of the Sam Kee Company. Once the expropriation process had been finalised, Toy was left with only 2 meters (6.5 ft) of seemingly useless land.

Most people advised Toy that it would be impossible build retail space on it, however the determined merchant had no intention of taking it lying down.

Toy managed to hire an architect who could design a building to fit on his remaining property and once completed, the overall building consisted of two floors and a basement. To compensate for the small area, the second floor was widened with protruding bay windows and the basement was extended beneath the pavement. The first floor housed retail shops, the second was used for residential units while the basement was said to have contained public baths.

The red arrows inserted into the top left of the above image depict its entire width.

Despite its awkward size, the Sam Kee Building has successfully housed several businesses throughout its operational history and also has its place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Sports Day Round Up


Saturday 14 March 2015, saw Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal host its annual sports day at the UKZN sports arena and this year competition proved fierce.  The quality of indoor soccer and volleyball was outstanding, making it a great day out for participants and spectators alike.

The winners in the various categories were:

Indoor Soccer
SBM United

Volleyball
Isenzeko Engineering

Overall Winner
Isenzeko Engineering

The soccer player of the tournament went to Fernando from SBM United while the volleyball player of the tournament went to Sagaran Naidoo of the ASARA Group, one of the Association's Corporate Members.

The Association wishes to thank all participants. Photographs of the event are under gallery, in our d6 communication platform.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Oh-So Costly Mistake


Mark and Brenda Voss of Missouri (Midwestern United States) recently completed the construction of their luxurious beach house in a gated community in Hammock Dunes Florida only to discover one exceedingly important glitch, the land it was built on belongs to their neighbours.

The $680,000 5-bedroom residence it seems was built on the wrong property.

According to Keystone Homes which built the house, the mistake can be traced to a survey conducted in 2013 that pointed out the wrong stretch of land on which to build the Voss's home. Renters had been living in the house for months before the slip-up was noticed.

So what happens now?

At the time the story broke (October 2014) Keystone Vice President Robbie Richmond said that the company was looking for a way to negotiate a settlement. "We are 100 percent committed to finding a resolution that is fair," he said. "I have built about 600 homes in Flagler County, and this has never happened to me before. It does happen but it's rare."

The Voss’s are reported to have expressed total disbelief. "We may have moved someday but with this headache and grief, we're not so sure. The Midwest is looking pretty good right now", stated Mark Voss.

Reference: Article by Mia Fitzharris for news.yahoo.com

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Find-A-Supplier, is your page set up?


Find-A-Supplier is a  service run by the Master Builders Association and will enable you, our Associate Member, to be found on our website.

All you need to do is send your company profile, logo and photo's to tanya(at)masterbuilders.co.za to update your microsite, send it now.

All the Suppliers included in the Find-a-Supplier online directory are members of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal and this service is aimed at both the business-2-business market, as well as the business-2-consumer market.

Tanya Leeuw
Membership & Marketing Assistant

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Is your Find-A-Builder page up?


Find-A-Builder is the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal on-line directory of approved contractors. Members that have passed our mandatory safety check are entitled to a Find-A-Builder web page containing their company profile where they gain free exposure on our masterbuilders.co.za website. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Café Indaba, A great place to meet!


For those who may not be aware of it, Café Indaba is the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal in-house coffee shop.

In addition to providing catering for the Association's conference facilities, it is also open to the public. Its welcoming environment, excellent coffee and free WiFi has made it a popular networking venue for business people and residents in the area.  

Why not see for yourself !

Stop in at 40 Essex terrace Westville and enjoy a cappuccino with us.

Debbie Gowar
Conference Manager

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Building Mountains in the Sky


Image Courtesy inhabitat.com 

On a Monday morning in August 2013, officials from Beijing’s Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau gave Beijing resident Zhang  Biqing 15 days to demolish a mountainous two-story villa he had built on the roof of his 26-story building.

The word “mountainous” is used in the literal sense.

The eccentric Millionaire who made his fortune having founded a national chain of acupuncture clinics, spent six years working on his bizarre project.  Real grass trees and rocks were used to cover the entire 1000-square-meter surface to create a monstrosity of a structure which essentially resembled a tall building with a mountain plonked on it. 

In Beijing it is not uncommon to proceed with construction projects having not received official government approval, this dispute however came to a head as a result of ongoing complaints from residents who had to endure it.  It was reported that occupants who issued the complaints suffered years of harassment before the matter was finally put to rest.

Living in the 26th floor penthouse and were his upward renovation to have stood, Biqing would have afforded himself the luxury of a mountain getaway without having to suffer the rigors of a Beijing commute. According to Google Sightseeing the city is the worst in the world for traffic congestion so albeit that it was undoubtedly ill-conceived, perhaps his logic wasn’t entirely balmy. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Recruitment Agency



Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Recruitment Agency renders a recruitment service to assist members and non-members in identifying skilled and credible employees within the building sector. Services include the following:
  • Search assignments
  • Source job specific candidates
  • Database of qualified candidates
  • Job placements in the building and allied industries
  • Screening and selection of candidates
  • Collection of CV's from job seekers
  • Member discounts applicable
For more information contact Shelly Kupferman on 031 831 3227
or email her on:
recruitment@masterbuilders.co.za 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Master Builders Print Studio


The Master Builders Print Studio situated at 40 Essex Terrace Westville, offers a wide range of print and design services fashioned to suit your business requirements. We currently running a promotion on business cards where you can get 100 cards printed for just R80.00.

We also offer the following products and more:

Plan printing
Wide Format printing
Site signs
Printing of manuals
Marketing materials
Laminating
Graphic designs
Bulk printing

Members are entitled to a 10% discount on all products and services that aren't promotion.

Jhan Rankin
Retail Manager

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