Workers’ Compensation Simplified

Workers’ Compensation Simplified

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Worker’s compensation, or what is commonly referred to as COIDA cover, is a compulsory assurance that is taken out, by a company, to cover their employees in the unlikely event that they are injured or contract an illness while performing their daily work duties.

What is covered by this insurance?

Worker’s compensation cover is prescribed by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130, /1993 (COIDA). Accidents that arise out of and during employment resulting in personal injury or illness; occupational diseases contracted in the workplace; and fatalities because of an accident that happens on duty are typically covered by this assurance.

Where can I get this assurance from?

As an employer within the construction sector, you can get cover through the Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (RF) (PTY) LTD. FEM is only one of two private companies, licensed by the Department of Labour, to provide COIDA cover outside of the Compensation Fund, and we are the only company that provides cover for the construction sector.

Who is FEM?

FEM was established as a mutual insurer in 1936, to provide more affordable assurance for the construction industry, after new legislation forced all industrial employers to insure their workers against accident or injury. The introduction of the Workers’ Compensation Act of 1941 saw FEM being granted a license to continue to transact workers‘ compensation insurance for the construction industry. FEM operates in line with COIDA.

Why should I join FEM?

We are specialists in providing COIDA cover to the construction sector with a track-record of more than 80 years. We reward good health and safety practices through merit rebates. A merit rebate is an incentive paid back to the policyholder for a good safety track record. Policyholders with a claims experience of 10% or less, of their total annual premium can get up to 50% of their premium paid back to them, subject to certain terms and conditions. We also issue Letters of Good Standing.

How does FEM use technology?

We provide easy access to online Assessments. We have embraced technology which allows you to complete your documentation online, which will speed up the Return of Earnings process.

How are premiums calculated?

Premiums are based on the total amount of wages you pay per annum. Depending on the nature of your business, a predetermined percentage, as set by the Compensation Commissioner, is applied to your annual wages which will determine your premium due. On payment of your premium, you will receive a ‘Letter of Good Standing’ which will allow you access to construction sites to perform your work.

Letters are valid up to 15 months.

Subject to terms & conditions.

Where do my employees go for treatment?

FEM works closely with an array of service providers including a vast network of private hospitals to ensure your employee receives the best possible medical care for any injury. The cover provided not only includes the immediate treatment of an injury but also includes the transport to and from hospitals as well as follow up treatment and ongoing care to ensure the employee is fit and ready to resume their duties.

Who does the administration of claims?

Personalised claims services by our team of specialised administrators ensure that the administration burden is taken off your shoulders. We are the experts in our field and will guide you through the claims procedure leaving you the time to fulfil your core functions.

What is FEM’s Corporate Social Responsibility?

As a company we are committed to making a positive contribution to South Africa. We have a structured CSI program that covers areas such as housing, health and social services and education. In addition to our CSI program, in 2016 FEM committed R750 million to set up the FEM Education Foundation to contribute towards education and leadership development. We have to date partnered with the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation and the Columba Leadership Trust, providing much-needed funding towards education and developing leadership skills amongst young South Africans.

For more info email

Africa’s Most Influential Women, Continental Winner – Vikashnee HarbhajanAfrica’s Most Influential Women, Continental Winner – Vikashnee Harbhajan

Africa’s Most Influential Women, Continental Winner – Vikashnee Harbhajan


Vikashnee Harbhajan, Executive Director of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, winner of the highly prestigious Continental Award in the Agencies and Regulatory Authorities sector – 2017.

In August 2017, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, Executive Director, Vikashnee Harbhajan received recognition at the CEO Global South SADC gala awards for Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government. Ms. Harbhajan bagged the Country Award for South Africa as well as the SADC South Region Award in the Agencies and Regulatory Authorities Sector, qualifying as a finalist for the Africa Continental Award.

As a sequel to this accolade, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal has advised that Ms. Harbhajan has been announced as the Winner of the highly prestigious Continental Award in the Agencies and Regulatory Authorities sector.

The mission of the Awards is to identify and recognise Africa’s most influential male and female leaders and just under 4 000 nominations across the various sectors were received from across the continent for the 2017 awards.

The awards are the leading African recognition programme honouring excellence in the private and public sector. The judging panel comprises leading figures from the business and public sector that have excelled in their own right and understand the demands made upon contemporary leaders. Covering 23 economic sectors, the awards have for the past sixteen years independently recognised those leaders who are at the pinnacle of their industry.

Annelize Wepener, Chief Executive, of CEO Global stated the following: “Nominees undergo a rigorous multi-tiered judging process”. “Quality assurance is provided by independent auditors throughout the judging and the highest possible standard is maintained. Those individuals whom have been recognised as winners in their field can be assured that they have truly excelled.”

According to Wepener, the programme dispels the notion that Africa has a paucity of innovative and progressive leadership talent. “There are tremendously inspirational stories at the core of each winner’s professional and personal life story. I am really very privileged to interact with these individuals. They deserve the admiration and respect they are afforded, particularly Lifetime Achievers who have often been absolute pioneers in their field.”

Continental winners will also be afforded the opportunity to join the “Network of Influence”, which will give them access to developmental tools and serves as a platform to bring together small and medium enterprises with corporates and the public sector.

South African Builder congratulates Ms. Harbhajan on her exemplary leadership.

Construction Sector Codes Finally Gazetted

Construction Sector Codes Finally Gazetted

Compliments of the New Season to all our members and readers. We trust you all had a safe and restful Festive Season; and that you are ready with renewed vigour and energy to deal with the head winds that we foresee will still be with us for the foreseeable future in line with the ‘new normal’ VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world we are now living in as alluded to in my President’s Comment in the December 2017 edition of SA Builder.

Bafikile Bonke Simelane, President, Master Builders South Africa

Notwithstanding the above, it is with great relief and excitement that we welcome the gazetting of the Construction Sector Charter by the Minister of Trade and Industry. Our Sector Charter was gazetted on 01 December 2017. We at Master Builders South Africa, as a strong supportive partner of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSSC), truly believe that this heralds a new era for transformation and empowerment.

We urge all our members as well as all other interested and affected parties to familiarise themselves with the new Codes which are very different from the preceding Generic Codes in many ways – with specific reference to the treatment of Exempt Micro enterprises (EMEs), Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs), Black-Owned and Black-Woman Owned businesses, amongst other salient features, including elements of Skills Development and Management Control.

It is also very important to note the interpretation and definition of Empowering Supplier with specific reference to full and complete compliance with the prevailing provisions of the Employment Equity Act including accurate and timeous submission to the Department of Labour, before the end this month, of Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) and Annual Training Reports (ATR’s) by designated Employers. Non-compliance with Empowering Supplier provisions will have disastrous consequences for your BBBEE.

We are also encouraged to read that Business Confidence in South Africa was up slightly in November 2017, reflecting an anticipation of more conducive economic conditions according to a report by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI). The report states that South African businesses have taken heart from the fact that the country still had an investment grade sovereign credit rating from Moody’s, despite falling into “junk” status with its peers S&P Global and Fitch.

According to Stats SA, South Africa’s economy grew more than expected in the third quarter as the agricultural sector continued to recover from a severe drought while mining and finance also improved, lifting hopes the country may avoid further credit downgrades. Whereas the Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) still trended below the neutral level of 50 for the sixth consecutive month during November, it has consistently shown improvement for four successive months from August to November.

Whilst “one swallow does not make a summer,” it is nevertheless a source of encouragement and optimism for the metals and engineering sector since the index, which is a lead indicator, provides insight into the views and sentiments of producers and relevant stakeholders in the manufacturing sector. This is a key component of the construction economy value-chain especially against the background of Quarter 3 job losses of around 145 000 by the construction sector as reported by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

Tough trading conditions exacerbated by macro-economic conditions, sluggish growth, lack of continuity of work, margin pressure continue to cause the sector and our members much distress despite some of the good news referred to above. It is impossible to see how further job losses are going to be avoided.

We therefore look forward once again to next month’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) by the State President and subsequent Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance for a package of specific and targeted measures designed to kick-start and stimulate the economy to stave off the risk of further ratings downgrades; and build confidence in the resilience of our economy to attract Foreign Direct Investment through infrastructure investment amongst other considerations despite other fiscal constraints brought about by below-target revenue collections by SARS.

Bafikile Bonke Simelane

President, Master Builders South Africa

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Vuka Makhi learners reap matric success

Vuka Makhi star achiever, Bonakele Mkhize

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Vuka Makhi learners reap matric success

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal is proud to announce a 100% pass rate for learners in the Vuka Makhi Programme who completed the National Senior Certificate Examination in 2017.

As part of this flagship programme which takes learners from education to employment, learners from Umbumbulu and Hammarsdale have travelled to the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal offices in Westville every Saturday for lessons in English, Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Orientation and Computers during their grade 11 and 12 years.

It is pleasing to note that 34 distinctions were achieved by the Vuka Makhi learners who completed their examinations. 89% of these learners qualified with a National Senior Certificate with Admission to Bachelor’s Degree.

Congratulations to Bonakele Mkhize of Sikhethuxolo High School in Hammersdale who was the star achiever with six distinctions. Learners are currently finalising their registration at various institutions of Higher Learning in KwaZulu-Natal.

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal congratulates all its matriculants on their achievement and wishes them well for the future.

Corobrik continues to lead the way in sustainable practices

Corobrik’s robotics allow for flexibility in production, lowering the demand on the energy grid during peak hours

Corobrik continues to lead the way in sustainable practices

While sustainability is becoming commonplace in the construction industry, it has always formed an important component of Corobrik’s business – from the environmentally high-performing clay bricks to every aspect of its business operations.

“Sustainability doesn’t just make sense from a business perspective, it is the social and environmental responsibility of every organisation to incorporate this as part of the company ethos, and this is something Corobrik has never taken lightly,” explained Daniele Torricelli, Director of Engineering at Corobrik. “From the creation of our bricks to the actual nature of the brick itself, sustainability is key. There has been significant investment made in reducing our carbon footprint and Corobrik will continue to adapt as newer technology becomes available.”

The past decade has seen Corobrik investing heavily in more sustainable equipment including advanced extrusion technology at its Phesantekraal factory. The technology reduces energy consumption while also increasing the brick’s fundamental integrity as a weather proof and structural building material, further benefiting the consumer.

Robotics make a significant contribution to reduction of Corobrik’s carbon footprint

New robotics introduced at Corobrik’s Rietvlei and Lawley factories also served to reduce energy consumption on a number of fronts. The robotics allow for flexibility in production, lowering the demand on the energy grid during peak hours. Further to this, the consistent gaps in the setting pattern achieved by the robotics results in easy access of heat during the drying and firing processes, optimising the amount of energy needed for brick production.

Corobrik’s conversion from a coal fired, to a natural gas fired kiln, at its Lawley Factory has resulted in reduced emissions, earning its Lawley factory carbon credits for the effort. As it stands, eight of Corobrik’s factories have attained ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems.

Committed to sustainability, Corobrik complies fully with the National Environment Management Act of 2014 (NEMA) and all quarries are concurrently rehabilitated in accordance with the individual Mine and Works Programme submitted as part of the application for a Mining Right. Further to this, each Corobrik quarry has its own independently accessed Environmental Impact Access or Environmental Management Plan. These are reviewed by the Department of Mineral Resources at various intervals, as amendments must be made regularly to comply with any changes to the law.

In addition to the stringent sustainability practices adopted by Corobrik, the products also rate highly with respect to their energy efficiency. The thermal property of thermal mass in clay face bricks is widely acknowledged for moderating indoor temperatures, off-setting the need for artificial heating and cooling which results in lower energy use. Human health also benefits because the inert qualities of fired clay means no dangerous levels of volatile organic compounds. The ability of fired clay to absorb and release humidity also results in the optimum humidity level for healthy living.

Torricelli said sustainable practices and innovations are improving on a daily basis: “Corobrik keeps abreast of all industry advancements and every effort will always be made to ensure our practices meet international sustainability-standards. This means a better product for our consumers and an improved global environment.”




Fast building but slow payment becoming the norm in SA warns JBCC

Fast building but slow payment becoming the norm in SA warns JBCC



Unreasonable demands for fast-track construction – coupled with unreasonable delays in payment – are two of the major challenges facing the South African building industry at the moment, says Uwe Putlitz, CEO of the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC).
Putlitz went on to say the building industry has drastically changed from a craft-oriented builder whose staff carried out the bulk of the work to one where more work is done by specialist subcontractors often using sophisticated manufacturing and installation techniques – generally completing work faster than only 50 years ago.

“This need for speed and utilisation of outside resources pose new challenges for the building contractor. Training and retaining qualified staff is not easy in an uncertain economy where retrenchments at the end of a project are common as there is not a steady work-flow – largely due to political uncertainty, both locally and internationally.

“Without timeous payment contractors are not going to retain the services of qualified subcontractors for future contracts. Yet prompt payment in the industry remains problematic as many owners/employers simply do not pay on time, and do not honour regular payment commitments in full by the due date. This causes a ripple effect where subcontractors and suppliers are not paid leading to insolvency and unemployment. The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) is seeking to manage this problem by introducing best practice guidelines to eliminate ‘pay when paid’ practices in the industry but proper implementation could still take a long time.”

Putlitz says JBCC agreements embody such payment-commitment criteria already. “But agreements can be changed and stipulated payment dates simply be ‘unilaterally’ removed at the negotiation stage. Faced with the prospect of late payment, or no work at all, the other party – usually the subcontractor – will reluctantly have to accept the amendments or simply lose his or her appointment. That’s hardly the definition of a unilateral agreement, but it’s often the case.

“So, sad to say, it is indeed the specialist subcontractor who often struggles to find a regular flow of work … and then to get paid in full, and on time. And yet the building industry continues to ignore the important role of subcontractors and they are treated shabbily. The skill of subcontractors is essential for the industry to perform satisfactorily. Subcontractors deserve to be treated as an integral member of the construction team. It is time that starts to happen,” Putlitz adds.

JBCC is a non-profit company representing building owners and developers, professional consultants, and general and specialist contractors who all provide input for the compilation of JBCC agreements (building contracts) that portray the consensus view of the committee’s members.

Amended Construction Sector Code Gazetted

Amended Construction Sector Code Gazetted

The Minister of Trade and Industry issued Notice 931 of 2017 on the Amended Construction Sector Code (ACSC) in terms of section 9(1) of the Broad-Based Black Economic

Empowerment Act, determining that these Codes came into effect on 01 December 2017.
What you need to know:
1. The ACSC does not introduce any substantial changes from the version that was published for public comment in October 2016.
2. There is NO TRANSITIONAL PERIOD provided for in the ACSC and will therefore be applicable immediately.
3. Changes in measurement, verification and monitoring principles have been introduced: –
a) Verification Reports
b) Equity Equivalent Programmes (EEPs) & Local Content
c) Scope of Application
d) Verification & Affidavits of Certain Categories of Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs)
e) Effective Date and Transitional Arrangements

4. Consequent to the errors experienced in the contents of the PP & ESD scorecard, the CSCC and the DTI will, within a few weeks after the gazette, issue a clarification note to clarify and guide the verification and measurement of the weighting points and score in the Preferential Procurement elements as this is not reflected on the face of the B-BBEE certificate, but only on the scorecard in the entire element.

Source: SAFCEC

FNB/BER Building Confidence Index lowest since 2012

FNB/BER Building Confidence Index lowest since 2012

The FNB/BER Building Confidence Index fell to 31 in 4Q2017, from 35 in 3Q2017. This marks the lowest confidence since 3Q2012.

At the current level, the index indicates that the majority (nearly 70 per cent) of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions.

The confidence of main contractors slipped to 34 in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q2017), from 44 in 3Q2017. However, according to John Loos, Property economist at FNB, “sentiment between residential and non-residential main contractors continues to be starkly different. In fact, this contrast was even more pronounced this quarter”.

John Loos: property economist FNB

While confidence of residential main contractors declined to 43 in 4Q2017, that of non-residential main contractors fell to 11. Moreover, building activity for non-residential contractors deteriorated, while that of residential contractors improved somewhat. “High vacancy rates across a range of non-residential sub-sectors as well as weak underlying economic activity seem to be taking a major toll on the non-residential building sector. In contrast, residential contractors saw activity growth edge higher, close to its long-term average,“ Loos added.

After rising by 29 index points in 3Q2017, the confidence of building material manufacturers fell 21 points to 16 in 4Q2017. “A decline in domestic sales and sales orders growth weighed on confidence in the quarter, whereas from an export perspective the sector fared reasonably well. This reinforces the idea that the domestic building sector remains under pressure,” commented Loos.

Confidence of architects and quantity surveyors fell to 25 and 38 index points respectively, thereby also weighing on overall sentiment in the building sector. In the case of architects, this marks the lowest confidence since 1Q2012.

Underlying activity remained poor during the quarter prompting the lower confidence. “Last quarter, the survey results showed a sharp decline in activity at the start of the building pipeline. This continued into the fourth quarter and bodes ill for the outlook for the building sector, especially the already underperforming non-residential market,” said Loos.
In contrast, building sub-contractor business confidence gained 10 points to register an index level of 47. The improved sentiment is largely due to increased work among non-residential sub-contractors. According to Loos “Much of the work is likely coming from additions and alterations rather than work related to new buildings”.

Hardware retailer confidence also rose in the quarter to 28 index points, from 18 previously. However, despite the increase in the index, the majority of respondents are still dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions.

In conclusion: A further weakening in building activity in the non-residential sector, along with a slowdown in activity at the start of the building pipeline weighed on confidence during the quarter. In contrast, residential contractor building activity seems to have returned to “normal” following the fall in activity reported in 3Q2017. On balance, however, growth in the sector likely slowed further in 4Q2017. Regarding the outlook, Loos stated that “The subdued prospects for the non-residential market cloud the outlook for the overall building sector. Even if we have some sort of recovery in the general economy, it will take some time before it is reflected in new non-residential building activity simply because the existing oversupply first needs to be absorbed”.

Clay brick graces world’s fourth Radisson RED

Corobrik’s face brick, contributed to the 5  Star Green Star rating awarded to the Radisson RED hotel in Cape Town

Clay brick graces world’s fourth Radisson RED

The world’s fourth Radisson RED hotel is a vibrant addition to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with construction of the seven-storey building including one of Corobrik’s popular face brick range. The use of natural materials, such as Corobrik’s clay product, contributed towards the 5  Star Green Star rating awarded to the Radisson RED hotel building (Silo 6) – the first ever Green Star Custom Hotel rating for ‘new build’.

“The incorporation of Corobrik’s face brick into this artistically-designed hotel façade proves the incredible diversity of the product,” said Christie van Niekerk, Corobrik Manager for the Western Cape. “From schools and medical centres situated in rural settings to upmarket residential developments and hotels in prominent tourist sites such as this, face brick has proven its worth consistently. We are really honoured that Corobrik’s range forms part of this magnificent structure.”

The world’s fourth Radisson RED hotel is a vibrant addition to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront

The Radisson RED is the first hotel, countrywide, to receive an outstanding 5 Star Green Star Custom Hotel design rating for a new build, setting the benchmark for other hotel design and construction projects. Taking into consideration the use of natural building materials and energy-efficient design in its ratings, the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) evaluates nine impact categories before issuing a certification. These include management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land-use and ecology, emissions and innovation. The rating system recognises green buildings, such as Radisson RED, and encourages the property industry to adopt sustainable development practices.

Manfred Braune, executive director: Certifications at the GBCSA, said that this is an exciting moment for green building in South Africa, signalling the move of green buildings into the hospitality sector. “This is not just about doing the right thing, although that is, of course, vital in the face of our local and global environmental challenges. It also makes good business sense to build green and, going forward, we look forward to further green transformation in the hospitality sector in South Africa. Hotels such as Hotel Verde and DoubleTree have achieved Green Star ratings for their existing operations, and now the Radisson RED is the first hotel to receive a Green Star rating for its design and construction – hospitality is definitely going green.”

The 252-room hotel is located in the recently completed Silo district – a modern, semi-industrial space on the V&A Waterfront set to become Cape Town’s newest art, culture and design district. The hotel consists of four event rooms, a ground-floor double volume restaurant, and a rooftop swimming pool and bar overlooking the stunning waterfront with views of the iconic Table Mountain. The playfully artful interior includes a combination of face bricks creating a rich façade, all of which corresponds with the newly-opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa within the grain silo building, adjacent to the hotel.

Completed in September 2017 after 18 months of construction, the Radisson RED hotel was built using around 160 000 Corobrik De Hoop Red Smooth Blended face bricks for the exterior

Completed in September 2017 after 18 months of construction, the Radisson RED hotel was built using around 160 000 Corobrik De Hoop Red Smooth Blended face bricks for the exterior. Selected for its extreme durability, heat resistance and sound insulation properties, the clay brick is ideally suited to the harsh micro-climate and harbour conditions experienced on the V&A Waterfront.

Architectural firms, DesignSpaceAfrica and Peerutin Architects, opted for ‘second grade’ De Hoop bricks because of the imperfections that would achieve the weathered look they desired. This particular Corobrik product is zoned for use in these unique circumstances with this project requiring second grade bricks with clean lines. Because of the hotel’s location within the Silo district, architects wanted to create a robust building with industrial character suited to its surrounds while providing a unique aesthetic presence which has an impact.

“The industrial character we wanted was achieved by the irregular brick coursing as opposed to the typical, clean face brick coursing,” explained Luyanda Mpahlwa lead architect on the project and director of DesignSpaceAfrica. “The imperfections of this brick were ideal for this, and mortar was laid flush with the brick to create a more coherent but textured façade finish. The industrially-produced, dark-stained and sleek aluminium window pop-outs provide an interesting contrast to the light grey-coloured random face brick coursing. This contrast makes the façade unique, with the pop-outs also provide sun shading during the peak hours of hot sun early morning and midday.”

However, the architects wanted a more toned-down hue than the red of the De Hoop so they selected Keim, an external wall finish that allowed them their colour of choice with the silver wash. Keim is a naturally-based organic and durable paint application which can be applied with a render and weather-protective layer to improve the quality of the mortar to the same standard as the face brick, all while preventing moisture penetration. The final effect is subtle light grey finish with a silver, metallic wash which gives the façade a special shimmer when sunlight plays on it.

Andrew McLachlan, Senior Vice-President, Business Development, Africa & Indian Ocean for The Rezidor Hotel Group said the design, incorporating Corobrik’s De Hoop Smooth Blended face bricks is both inspiring and functional.

“This is a really stunning hotel which is thanks to the efforts of all involved, and we look forward to offering our guests a new type of experience in a hotel which embraces freedom, flexibility and fun,” said McLachlan.

A tribute to Niek Zwart

Niek Zwart

A tribute to Niek Zwart

Master Builders South Africa and South African Builder pay tribute to Niek Zwart, Master Builders’ General Secretary from 1989 to 1999, then known as BIFSA, who passed away at the age of 81 in Graaff-Reinet on 29 October 2017.

Niek devoted some 31 years to the building industry in South Africa, having worked at BIFSA as the Assistant Secretary and as Registrar of the South African Institute of Building from 1969 to 1974, and as the Secretary and later as Deputy Director of the Master Builders Association (Witwatersrand and Transvaal South) from 1978 to 1999. He also, after his retirement from BIFSA in 1999, served as a consultant at the Gauteng Master Builders Association’s Education and Training department, until 2003.

Niek will be remembered for his life-long energetic and friendly disposition. Niek was a tremendous asset to the organisation and the building industry.