Renico Construction – the epitome of a Master Builder

Renico Construction – the epitome of a Master Builder

The Renico Construction Bergbron team: Francois Louw, Poalo Caldas – Project Manager, Giel Pieterse, Johnny Jacobs and Louw Pretorius

In Bergbron, to the west of Johannesburg and just off Gordon Road, Renico Construction currently has a number of upmarket residential developments in progress, along with a commercial project in Randpark Ridge.

Driven by Nico Louw’s enthusiasm, these projects are moving swiftly and efficiently. Coupled to the benefit of the Renico-owned support companies of Renico Plant Hire, Renico Earthworks and Civils and Jahno Bricks is their system of detailed pre-planning, site preparation, civils and road making capabilities, in-house procurement and of course construction expertise second-to-none.


Renico’s sprawling Bergbron precinct of no fewer than than six new residential developments

Renico has been active in the Bergbron area for a number of years. Having completed the Forest Gate residential complex some eight years ago, the company then acquired the remaining Portion 57 of the farm Waterval 211 in 2015.

This paved the way for the development of six additional residential complexes, all adjacent to one another, and as with all our more recent residential developments all will have energy saving features, pre-paid metres, be wired for fibre and fitted for access to TV” explained Poalo Caldas, Project Manager for all six Bergbron developments, three of which are currently under construction or have been recently completed.

Construction work falls under members of Renico’s dedicated team of Site-Managers with the civils services and road works being managed by Francois Louw from Renico Earthworks and Civils.


Comprising 47 townhouses, all with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and pet friendly gardens and 12 apartments, Camden, managed by Site Manager Louw Pretorius, was completed and handed over on 26 April 2018.


The recently completed Bexley residential estate in Bergbron, managed by Site Manager Giel Pieterse is currently undergoing final snag checking. Built as an investment property, it will be ready for occupation by tenants from 1 June 2018. All 68 apartment styled homes offer 2 spacious bedrooms with 2 bathrooms, an open plan kitchen and tiled lounge area and either a covered patio or balcony.


This development, comprising 160 units in two- and threestorey configuration is being constructed under the watchful eye of Site Manager Johnny Jacobs.

Started on 1 November 2017 and due for completion in July 2018, the project encountered the unexpected challenge of underlying rock on the site. This required blasting in order for construction to continue and resulted in a delay of some four weeks. Strategic positioning of the buildings was also necessary due to Rand Water pipelines running below ground.

Future Bergbron Developments:

Three more Bergbron developments are ready on the drawing boards for construction to begin imminently. These are Sheffield, Kenton and Hampton.


Eagle Canyon Office Park

Renico commenced work on the Eagle Canyon Office Park, early in 2018. With a floor area of 6 478 m2, of which 62% has already been sold, management of its construction is in the capable hands of Site Manager Johannes Muller and it is due for completion at the end 2018. Designed by Krige Angerson Professional Architects, the office block is aesthetically pleasing and allows for the maximum amount of natural light to reach the interior. The circulation of fresh air is also promoted to reduce the amount of air-conditioning required. The basement will provide parking for 183 cars with access to the ground, 1st and 2nd floor via three lifts.

Johannes Muller, Site Foreman, Eagle Canyon Office Park

Two challenges have had to be addressed during development so far. Initially piling was planned for a depth of 4 m, but ultimately a depth of 12 m was required due to ground conditions. “With 201 piles required, this work was undertaken by Mega Pile who provided excellent service and quality throughout,” explained Muller. Further to this, 237 columns were constructed around which the actual building is being constructed. Instant Readymix supplied the concrete for these along with that for the retaining walls and slabs, specified at 30 mpa, while all other concrete work for the building is specified at 25 mpa.

Then in April over 100 mm of continuous rain caused severe flooding of the basement works and it required two days to pump the area dry – not too serious a challenge but a small setback nonetheless on a tight schedule.

Renico Earthworks & Civils completed the initial site preparation and platform work for the building, and are currently working on the required intersection upgrade adjacent to the building on the corner of Christiaan de Wet Road and Dolfyn Street.

Master Builders South Africa – Congress 2018 – PE 9-11 September

Master Builders South Africa – Congress 2018 – PE 9-11 September

The Master Builders Annual Congress is a major highlight on the construction industry calendar that is aimed at addressing immediate issues and opportunities within the South African building and construction industry. It is an inclusive event, covering contributions from government, building industry leaders and all relevant stakeholders.

Attendance is by leaders and owners of established and emerging businesses in the industry, senior government officials from sector departments, representatives from local government, financial institutions, suppliers in the construction industry and many more. Approximately 350 delegates are expected to attend this year’s event.

Congress 2018 takes place at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth from 9 to 11 September 2018.

Click here to see the programme and to register

Telephone: +27 11 205 9000


Sink or swim – it’s your call

Sink or swim – it’s your call

Well, the headlines haven’t really changed – not enough to make us feel that the economic tide has actually turned. Donald Trump sent a ripple through global markets with a hell-bent withdrawal of his country from the multilateral nuclear non-proliferation accord with Iran, sending the rand, for one, into another, predictable, tailspin and his international allies into tooth-grinding frustration. And here at home a day after our new President held his second Q&A in Parliament, the biggest news for a country, hungry for plans to revive the economy, was his spat with the opposition chief whip, whom he told to shut up. And then had to retract what was deemed an ‘unparliamentary’ remark.

John Matthews, President – Master Builders South Africa

Not helpful, when BusinessReport, on May 9 said “South African business confidence has declined to levels last seen when Jacob Zuma was still the president.” They backed this up with news that the BCI had dropped to 96 in April from 97.6 the previous month, according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. That’s the lowest since November last year. Five of the 13 sub-indexes that make up the gauge declined from a month earlier, said BusinessReport.

For the building and construction industry, this uncertainty and downright pessimism means that there’s a continued hiatus in in the supply of contracts for large-scale projects, which extend beyond private or government big-scale building, to the largely State-driven hard infrastructural and essential requirements such as roads and bridges. This is notwithstanding a mooted R940 billion in government funding for big ticket items that remain as yet, to be fed into the industry.

Long periods of low energy in any industry are discouraging and in the building and construction industry, there are many highly-skilled operators with their lines in the same dwindling pond of opportunities. It’s a testing time for everyone and those with the longest experience and unwavering tenacity are the survivors.

But it must remain top of mind that the building and construction industry has proved itself to be relentlessly cyclical, over many fallow and boom seasons. Mostly one can ascribe conditions to influences from the overall economy, both domestic and foreign. And there is no doubt that currently we are under enormous pressure from almost every quarter.

However, the situation is never completely out of our hands and playing it smart can mean the difference between sinking or swimming. The same cycles that affect the entire industry also influence the sectors within it.

While the market for major retail and industrial projects flattens, opportunities can arise in the various niches of the residential market and commercial and industrial SME accommodation. The secret is in remaining flexible and capable across a wide spectrum of construction needs. Right now, analysts are recommending affordable housing as a focus that is offering the best ROI. Even if you don’t agree, be open to new opportunities to exploit your skills and those of your workforce.

It’s all about survival.


Construction expo a resounding success

Construction expo a resounding success

Roy Mnisi and Mohau Mphomela – Executive Directors of Master Builders South Africa and of Master Builders Association North respectively, represented the building and construction sector in a panel discussion on infrastructure

The African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo 2018 staged at Gallagher Estate in Midrand in May was a resounding success.

The quality of exhibits and level of expertise on each was of the highest standard, as was the calibre of visitor attending the expo and its many workshops and panel discussions.

Geoffrey Green, Marketing Manager of Mapei told South African Builder that: “The number of strong and positive enquiries we’ve received on the first morning alone have far exceed that of the entire 2017 expo.”

Another well known product supplier to the constructions sector, A Shak, told us that increasing their floor space at this year’s Expo was more than justified by the level of enquiries received.

Roy Mnisi and Mohau Mphomela – Executive Directors of Master Builders South Africa and of Master Builders Association North respectively, represented the building and construction sector in a panel discussion on infrastructure, during which they pledged to engage closely with the NHBRC and the Gauteng MEC on Infrastructure to provide support and direction in the provision of qualified contractors from its membership base.

A detailed report on the Expo will be published in the June issue of South African Builder.

Seminar seeks to slash the number of accidents on Western Cape building sites – Cape Town 20 June

Seminar seeks to slash the number of accidents on Western Cape building sites

Photo Bongani Mbatha -African News Agency (ANA)

Only a quarter of the way through 2018 and already there have been 412 accidents on Western Cape construction sites, with six fatalities and 58 people left permanently disabled. This is according to figures from the Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), which provides workmen’s’ compensation insurance to employers in the construction industry.

Deon Bester, Occupational Health and Safety Manager at the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape

Deon Bester, Occupational Health and Safety Manager at the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC), says: “These figures are unacceptably high. We should be striving for zero fatalities and zero harm. Based on my experience, education can go a long way towards eliminating accidents and achieving this target.”

To this end, the MBAWC will be hosting a seminar on 20th June 2018 for mid-level management from Western Cape construction companies, where industry experts will deliver talks on a variety of health and safety related topics such as:

  • COIDA (Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act): The facts;

  • Ethics in health and safety;

  • Scaffolding: What you thought you knew but don’t;

  • Occupational Risk Exposure Profiles: Why they need to be done properly;

  • The science of human behaviour in respect to health and safety; and

  • Unpacking Section 37 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

I encourage all those who are committed to curbing accidents on site to attend so that they can stay abreast of what is going on in the industry, learning from thought leaders and networking with others,” concludes Bester.

The seminar will take place at Belmont Square Cape Town on 20 June and is open to both MBAWC members as well as non-members. Guests will be required to pay an attendance fee, with discounts available to members and FEM policy holders.

Construction Regulations: Driven Machinery and Pressure Equipment

Construction Regulations: Driven Machinery and Pressure Equipment

Master Builders Association North recently hosted a seminar on the Guidance Notes to the Construction Regulations, Driven Machinery Regulations and Pressure Equipment Regulations at the Bytes Conference Centre in Midrand. The workshop was well attended by over 100 delegates.

Keynote speaker Adv. Hendrik Terblanche, Managing Director of Legricon Legal Risk and Compliance Consultants

The keynote speaker was Adv. Hendrik Terblanche, Managing Director of Legricon Legal Risk and Compliance Consultants, with supplementary presentations delivered by Mr Phumi Maphaha: Director Construction, Explosives and MHI – Department of Labour’s, and Mr Jacob Malatse: Director Electrical and Mechanical.

The workshop was well attended by over 100 delegates

Terblanche explained the difficulty with applying generic legislation to specific circumstances by quoting a 1907 court case where Chief Justice Innes said: “No matter how carefully words are chosen, there is a difficulty in selecting language which while on the face of it expressing generally the idea of the framer of the measure, will not, when applied under certain circumstances, go beyond it, and, when applied under other circumstances, fall short of it.” This is an apt description of applying the definition of construction work in the Construction Regulations to various activities, which literally would fall within the definition of construction work, but probably was not the intention of the legislature to regulate with the Construction Regulations.

Sometimes a statutory requirement need to be applied to a situation not mentioned in the legislation, and sometimes it needs to be excluded for a situation that clearly falls within the wording of the provision. In another case it was stated that “The intention of the legislature can alone be gathered from what it has actually said, and not from what it may have intended to say, but has not said.” If a too literal interpretation could lead to absurd results, it should not be followed.

Painting is a typical example of an activity that is unclear as to whether the Construction Regulations apply to it or not. According to the definition, if painting is renovation, it should be considered as construction work, but if paining is maintenance, it would not be regarded as construction work. Terblanche mentioned a few other examples that are not clear, while the Guidance Notes do not give any further clarity in this regard.

Phumi Maphaha: Director Construction, Explosives and MHI – Department of Labour

Maphaha later confirmed that the purpose of the Guidance Notes was to explain the application of the Regulations in a little more detail, but the legal implications as stipulated by the State Law Advisors to the Department of Labour limited the content that they could include in the Guidance Notes.

Terblanche dealt with the Guidance Notes, but added additional information and concerns he often observes on how employers implement and comply with the Construction Regulations. Grey areas regarding the requirements for applying for a construction work permit were also highlighted, including the simple question as to whether the “contract value” above which it is a requirement to obtain a permit should be VAT inclusive or not. A delegate pointed out that the amounts for permit requirements are linked with the CIDB grading levels, but the current exemption from the Department of Labour is R40 million or CIDB grading level 7, while the CIDB grading level 6 is R40 million, and grading level 7 is R13 million. Terblanche argued that the CIDB levels are probably not the correct criteria to apply, as the CIDB grades contractors and not contracts. A contractor registered in grade 6 for example may therefore tender for a portion up to a value of R13 million of a larger contract, the total value of which could for example be R50 million.

Terblanche further pointed out that there are legal responsibility, and therefore liability, differences between the wording of the Regulations and the Guidance Notes, regarding the competency of client-nominated contractors that the principal contractor must appoint. Principal contractors should be cautious to just rely on the Guidance Notes in such instances.

Uncertainties in the regulations regarding legal appointments were also discussed, and elicited quite a few questions and comments from the floor. Terblanche welcomed the Guidance Notes explanations of the different role-players in respect of temporary works, namely the designer, inspector and approver. Compliance risks regarding scaffolding were also discussed.

In his presentation, Maphaha urged industry role-players, namely employers in the construction industry, to get more involved in the development of legislation to avoid some of the concerns highlighted by Terblanche. He further argued that the principle of reasonably practicable as contained in the Occupational Health and Safety Act should always be kept in mind when interpreting and applying the Construction Regulations. He also hinted at some further construction permit exemptions and additional information on the Regulations that the Department may issue in the near future.

Gerhard Roets – MBA North Construction Health & Safety Manager pictured with Adv. Hendrik Terblanche

The Guidance Notes to the Driven Machinery Regulations and Pressure Equipment Regulations were then discussed, but Terblanche indicated that there were not any contentious issues in them. Time was spent discussing the legal requirements relating to lifting machinery and using cages to lift persons. Malatse, from the Department of Labour then expanded on the discussion and shared some of his insights into these regulations and its compliance challenges.

Mr. Mohau Mphomela, Executive Director – MBA North, closed the proceedings by thanking the participants, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors, which included SAIOSH, FEM, BCIMA, NIOH and E&R Signs.

Efficient stormwater drainage solutions

Efficient stormwater drainage solutions

The Beany Block

Ineffective drainage causes a multitude of issues when areas such as roadways, parking lots, walkways and areas around buildings become swamped with large volumes of non-dispersing water. The Beany Block from Technicrete – a member of the ISG Group- is an efficient and practical solution for effective drainage due to its large flow capacity/unit weight ratio, making it a more cost-effective solution than conventional kerbing and drainage offerings.

The Beany Block system comprises a series of base blocks of standard channel section and Top Blocks of inverted channel section with an opening in one side face. When laid end to end they form a combined kerb and surface water drainage unit that is strong enough to withstand normal traffic loading.

Each standard top and base block is 500 mm in length and weighs approximately 85 kg.They have also been designed to withstand accidental 80KN axle loading. The top block oval openings provide for greater inlet capacities compared to conventional kerb inlets. Standard blocks can be used for curve radii of 30 mm or more. ‘Splay’ blocks are available to meet specific requirements with a radius of between 6 m and 30 m.


When the Beany Block system is utilised no long drainage sections are required to be specified in contractual documents. The system can be substituted for kerbs, stormwater pipework, kerb inlets and parts of footways. Damaged services are less likely to occur when installing the Beany Block due to its simple and practical design and installation.

Some of the traditional problems experienced with conventional drainage that the Beany Block system eliminates include: insufficient fall; conflicting levels of service mains and cables; ponding adjacent to low points; traffic safety and control on existing freeways.

Additional cost savings can be achieved on projects that have wide freeways and footways; freeways that have ‘flat’ longitudinal falls; rock in sub-grade; shallow outfall and existing services or foul drainage at conflicting levels.


The Beany Block has been designed for use in conjunction with SABS Fig. 3 and Fig.4 Barrier Kerbs. The Beany produces 400 mm length of inlet opening for every 1 m of kerb. The system can be used in any application where high inlet capacity is required; wide freeways; parking areas; taxi ranks and bus depots; wash bays and vehicle service areas; median islands; industrial areas; drainage around buildings and walkways and toll plazas.

Rocla’s Stormwater pipes

Effective stormwater management can prevent pollution, flooding, erosion and damage to the environment and infrastructure. Therefore, it makes financial sense for local municipalities to invest in products and technologies to ensure that the quality of infrastructure, be it stability and sustainability of both the built and natural environments is not compromised.

Within its range of products, Rocla – also a member of the ISG Group, manufactures stormwater pipes with both interlocking and spigot and socket joints in a range of strength ratings. The spigot and socket joints utilise the rolling rubber ring principal where no installation lubricant is required. All pipes conform to the SANS 677 standard.

After consultations with Rocla’s technical team, interlocking joint pipes were selected for installation at the Great North Plaza in Limpopo, whilst the Borwa project in Westonaria selected Rocla spigot and socket joint storm water pipes. Technical support from Rocla ensures that correct product and technology is selected with consideration for the financial constraints of each project.

Technicrete is part of the IS Group of companies which includes Ocon Brick and Rocla.