Concrete Offers Myriad Advantages

Concrete Offers Myriad Advantages

Due to its durability, versatility, aesthetic appeal, cost-effectiveness and availability, concrete is changing the face of South Africa’s landscape with cutting-edge architects and engineers increasingly making concrete their material of choice.

Concrete is the most economical choice for engineered structures, says TCI MD Bryan Perrie

Here, Bryan Perrie, MD of The Concrete Institute, (TCI) deals with the benefits of the world’s oldest and most popular building material:

Economic benefits:

Due to its longevity and ease of construction, concrete is often the most economical choice for engineered structures. Load-bearing concrete exterior precast or tilt-up walls serve not only to enclose the buildings, but to carry roof and wind loads – eliminating the need to erect separate cladding and structural systems.

Lower energy costs:

The energy efficiency of a structure is a major consideration in the life cycle cost analysis. Concrete construction can minimise the overall building height to shorten vertical runs of mechanical and electrical systems and reduce the exterior surface area to be enclosed and insulated.

Insulated concrete buildings with a medium to high level of thermal mass are characterised by their inherent ability to store thermal energy, and then release it several hours later when needed.

Faster turnaround:

Once the design has been selected, there is generally pressure to get a project started. More and more organisations are making speed a priority, particularly high technology companies and rapidly growing firms. When such businesses decide to construct a new facility, they are often overburdened and already behind schedule. With concrete designs, there is no delay in getting started as concrete is readily available from many locations across South Africa. A concrete structure can be well underway using in-situ concrete before final plans are complete. Precast/prestressed concrete can also help reduce construction time and on-site labour costs by taking advantage of pre-fabrication of standard and custom structure segments.

From multi-billion rand massive dams to simple low-cost housing schemes, concrete is the logical choice

Advanced construction techniques such as ‘flying formwork systems’, increase the speed of floor construction. As a concrete frame progresses upward, workers on the completed floors below can proceed with interior partitions, exterior finishing, electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.

Generating revenue faster:

Faster construction means reduced carrying costs and faster revenue generation. This facilitates more timely pay back of financing charges and faster revenue generation for the developer/owner.


The design flexibility of concrete allows the contractor to accommodate design changes after the process has begun.

Design and colours:

Limited only by a designer’s imagination, the breadth of designs, colours and textured finishes available in concrete today is unrivalled. Mixing and matching colours and textures provides a spectrum of design possibilities.


Concrete textures can resemble smooth, high-polished granite or gutsy, exposed aggregates with a rugged feel. Other possibilities include tumbled cobblestone, brick, cultured limestone, slate, flagstone or river rock.

Stamping and scoring:

As natural stone becomes inaccessible or the costs rise prohibitively, concrete is a natural alternative for recreating traditional finishes in a cost-effective way. Besides being widely available and less expensive than quarried stone, cement-based cultured stone is easier to match and install. This makes it popular even in places where quantities of quarried stone are available.

Reduced sound transmission:

Containing sound within the walls of a structure is critical in today’s highly competitive environment. Should the tenant requirements include sound transmission control, the natural mass of concrete floor and wall systems provides both acoustical resistance and vibration control.

Creative wiring options:

Thin concrete floor structures facilitate the use of raised floor systems used where the wiring is run in the space below.

More floors per structure:

Shallower floor systems are an important structural advantage of concrete. On average, the construction of concrete buildings will allow one additional floor to be created for each 10 storeys of traditional building height, resulting in more rentable space for buildings of similar size. When faced with height restrictions, concrete construction is a key consideration and could represent initial construction cost savings and additional income generation. Longer spans:

Post-tensioning reinforced concrete beams and slabs allow for longer floor spans with fewer columns to plan around. This offers flexibility in architectural layout and even more usable space. Increasingly, concrete is setting the standard for space planning and utility infrastructure.

Fire resistance:

The range of designs, colours and textured finishes available in concrete is limited only by a designer’s imagination

Concrete is often left exposed on interior walls due to its aesthetic appeal, durability and inherent fire-resistance.

Ideal for strict specifications:

A major advantage of concrete construction for engineered structures is the material’s properties of density and mass. Lateral stiffness, or resistance to horizontal movement, make concrete the product of choice when constructing tall buildings where high winds or seismic conditions are considerations. This lateral stiffness also means that occupants of concrete towers are less able to perceive building motion.

Energy efficiency:

Most concrete is produced locally, minimising fuel requirements for handling and transportation. Once in place, concrete offers significant energy savings over the lifetime of the structure. The mass of a concrete structure makes it a significant thermal reservoir with the ability to store large amounts of energy. In hot months, concrete walls and floors absorb the interior heat during the day, then radiate warmth back into the space at night. The same principle holds true for cooling. This thermal inertia allows concrete to help maintain a relatively steady interior temperature.


Concrete is an inert material that is easily recyclable. Old concrete that has reached the end of its service life can be reused as aggregate for new concrete mixtures. The addition of industrial by-products such as fly ash, silica fume and blast furnace slag make concrete less permeable while incorporating materials that would otherwise be deposited in landfill sites.

Leroy Merlin Opens Second Store In South Africa

Leroy Merlin Opens Second Store In South Africa

Global French home improvement retailer, LEROY MERLIN, today officially opened a new store in Little Falls, Roodeport in Johannesburg in August. This is the brand’s second store in an active pipeline that will materialize into four stores in South Africa by 2020. The total investment is projected to be R1 billion, with further nationwide expansion on the cards, beyond 2020.

The store is on a 45 000 m2 campus, nestled within easy reach of neighborhoods and businesses in the Roodeport area. The sales floor is 9 000 m2 and offers the widest selection of construction, hardware, tools, kitchen, bathroom, home décor and garden products. With more than 35 000 references and ample stock availability, customers will be spoiled for choice. 30% of the store’s entire range is sourced from the LEROY MERLIN supply chain in France. 70% of stock is locally sourced: 30% from international brands that have South African operations and 40% produced and manufactured locally.

“South Africans love their homes and are constantly doing improvements, from facelift renovations to complete structural changes. We uncovered the extent to which that passion influences their hardware purchase behaviour before setting up our first store in Greenstone in 2017. Ordinary South Africans welcomed us into their homes and through over 600 home visits countrywide, we learnt people’s needs and the existing gap in hardware retail. It was the most insightful research; we listened as people talked us through their aspirations for their homes and their hardware retail experiences,” said Cedric Sennepin, CEO of LEROY MERLIN South Africa. 

“Opening this second store in Little Falls is testament that we are indeed meeting the needs of the South African homeowner and that is the core of the hardware retail business. It is also proof of our commitment to the South African economy, and that we see great opportunities to expand and grow the LEROY MERLIN business here. We have two more stores in our pipeline, and we project that by 2020, we will have a total of four stores whose investment amounts to R1 billion,” concluded Sennepin.


The Little Falls store employs 210 people: 160 direct employees and 50 indirectly employed through partnerships such as Mugg and Bean and facilities management service providers such as security and cleaning companies.

Speaking on one of the elements that makes LEROY MERLIN stand out from its competition, Guillaume Beaubreuil, General Manager at LEROY MERLIN Little Falls said, “Employees of LEROY MERLIN form the heart of our culture. The team on the floor and behind the scenes drive a culture centred on service. They all know the various ranges in store and can make informed recommendations. The team, for instance, can do price checks and are empowered to adjust the selling prices of certain products to beat any other price in the market, on the spot.”

LM offers easy-return policy, lay-by, click & collect, delivery, cutting & edging, key-cutting, repair centre, tool rental and installation services. Further, customers can get the LEROY MERLIN Home Card with offers of 30-day promotional price guarantees, 6-month returns, faster access to services and workshop preferences.

The store features a Drive-Thru Building Yard for customers who are looking for a quick in-and-out experience when purchasing construction material. This section spans 4 700 m2 and from it, customers can pull up with their vehicles, select and load products they need, and pay up at the counter as they exit. This saves time without compromising on service levels.

The brand’s unique offering in service strikes the same chord of excellence in physical in-store experience, the digital experience and in-between: the ‘phygital.’ LEROY MERLIN Little Falls has large showrooms that will inspire people in their quests to turn their homes into delightful spaces they can enjoy with their loved ones. Instructional illustrations throughout the store help people better understand what products to choose and how to install them. The digital experience is centered on making customers’ lives easier. The online store reflects all the products in the store – as shelves are stocked, the online store is updated with quantities. When buying online, customers can opt for click-and-collect within two hours or express delivery to any part of the country. This gives people outside of Johannesburg access to a great range of products at the cheapest prices in hardware retail.

LEROY MERLIN in South Africa has formed great partnerships: with a digital platform that recommends qualified contractors known as KANDUA; with Coastal Hire for tool hiring requirements; with JTSI for key-cutting service; with Xpress Repairs for tool fixing; and with Mugg and Bean for light snacks and refreshments in-store while customers shop.

Building a community around stores is a part of LEROY MERLIN’s DNA, and the Little Falls store will be no exception. Communities of DIYers meet for DIY Workshops at the store where they create and share their passion with one another. These workshops have already been so successful in South Africa that the community has organically mobilised at the LEROY MERLIN Greenstone to ensure that there are workshops every day. The Little Falls workshop area is 125 m2 and is on the shop floor, close to the entrance.

Positive Momentum In Global Construction Sector Gives Glimmer Of Hope To SA Construction

Positive Momentum In Global Construction Sector Gives Glimmer Of Hope To SA Construction

Despite the headwinds facing the world economy, the global construction sector entered 2019 with significant momentum, having seen growth of five percent in 2018. And, according to the latest annual International Construction Market Survey (ICMS) by independent professional services company, Turner & Townsend, prospects throughout 2019 are expected to remain buoyant.

This latest overview of the construction market across six cities in Africa, including Johannesburg in South Africa, and another 58 cities around the world, reveals that 28 percent of markets are hot or overheating while a further 36 percent continue to warm up. Only eight percent are cooling, indicating widespread and continued growth in workload throughout the year.

“Our survey indicates there is considerable momentum in the global construction sector, helping to mitigate the effects of weaker, late cycle economic growth,” says Wendy Cerutti, Associate Director Cost Management and South Africa ICMS specialist for Turner & Townsend. “With construction projects generally spanning multiple years, once started, they are likely to keep going. There are also many instances where large projects, such as the natural resources sector, transcend economic cycles, often continuing during a downturn and delivering into a recovering market.

“By 2020 there could be 24 markets described as hot or overheating compared with 18 today. This is based on the high number of locations where the survey indicates the market is getting warmer.

“Increasing activity and demand, in an already hot market, presents both opportunities and challenges for the construction industry and its customers. On one hand, strong growth in construction will help support economic growth, reducing the potential of a major downturn. This could cushion some of the negative impacts on the sector and help maintain favourable conditions for business in many markets.

“The challenge is, as hotter markets become more overstretched, escalating construction costs and tighter labour markets will increasingly frustrate attempts to deliver projects to desired standards, cost and time frames.”

Cerutti says this will also put pressure on the price gap between markets, which have also widened. In 2018, the cost of constructing one building in the 10 most expensive markets was equivalent to delivering four buildings within the bottom 10 markets – and in 2019 that cost gap has grown to five.

In the ICMS report, in terms of construction costs, to identify the most expensive market to build, the average build cost in USD of six different types of construction was assessed: apartment high-rise, office block prestige, large warehouse distribution centre, general hospital, primary and secondary school, and shopping centre including mall.

This year San Francisco at USD4 482.70 ousted New York (USD3 958.30) from the top spot, having increased by five percent in the last year. Singapore has average construction costs of USD2 100.10, closest to the average cost of Perth at USD2 165.80, while the closest to the median cost of USD 2 272 is Auckland at USD2 272.20. The five highest cost cities remain San Francisco, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong.

Johannesburg’s average construction costs

In Africa, Johannesburg’s average construction costs are USD952.20, while average costs in other African cities are Dar es Salaam USD922.30; Harare USD1 683.30; Kampala USD967.30; Kigali USD1 085.40 and Nairobi USD738.40.

Adds Cerutti: “This year we have prepared a weighted average construction cost inflation, weighting each country by its GDP, which removes the impact of very high inflation in smaller countries or regions skewing the overall average excessively.

“On this basis, using this improved method, average global construction cost inflation was 4.9 percent in 2017, easing in 2018 to 4.2 percent. Using the same weighted average technique, we now expect cost escalation in 2019 to nudge down to 4.1 percent in 2019.

“Despite global construction growing by 5.0 percent during 2018, construction costs increased at a slower rate than in 2017. The principal reason for this comes from China and the USA, both of which experienced slower construction cost increases.

“Nevertheless, there are 20 markets where construction costs are increasing and are likely to be higher in 2019. In most cases the difference is quite minor. A matter of an additional 0.5 percent or 1.0 percent. In some cases, however, construction costs look set to jump a little more.”

The survey also highlights the huge disparity between labour costs worldwide, with China, India and Africa having the lowest costs, while North America has the highest, with Australasia a little behind. The highest labour costs recorded were in Zurich, where even a general labourer could cost as much as USD99 per hour and a skilled electrician might cost USD118 per hour. This is compared with Africa average costs of USD6 per hour in Dar es Salaam; USD4 per hour in Harare; USD2 per hour in both Johannesburg and Kampala; USD5 per hour in Kigali and USD7.20 per hour in Nairobi.

Practical benefits of the report

With their speciality lying in quantity surveying, cost management and project management, Turner & Townsend are well placed to reveal the patterns and trends in construction expenditure. The ICMS report is considered a tool to help property developers and architects to drive more informed decisions upfront about the viability of certain construction projects in specific cities.

Explains Keith Skinner, Head of Cost Management at Turner & Townsend and deputy vice president of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors: “We want to make a difference by helping property developers and professional teams take a more commercial approach to conceptualising projects, and with the information in the ICMS they can do that, knowing that we can provide numbers that property developers and their professional teams can trust.”

The data set is critical for the accurate calculation of construction and development cost of different building types, in varying locations. Skinner says” “If your data set is small because you’ve only done a few projects of a specific type then it is difficult to trust your numbers. Aside from the data shared in the report, we have done hundreds of projects of all project types and across 34 African countries.

“The additional benefit, however, is that given the way we manage big data we are able to very quickly check the viability of a project at the very early ideas stage with the developer and architect. This way time isn’t wasted conceptualising a development that won’t work financially.

“It is a real team effort to move from an idea to a design, and make it feasible. The team wants to get a feel for these costs as early on as possible so they don’t have to keep going back to the drawing board with alternative designs. Redrawing designs reduces the profitability of the architect’s services and for the developer time is of the essence when they are looking to commercialise their property.

“Most publications only offer detailed construction cost data for a select few building types and few offer inputs and trade costs. Our survey provides cost data for 27 different building types, 19 construction trades, five construction labour categories and 11 materials in 64 markets.

“The survey also provides three comparison methods, enabling our clients to compare projects on a regional or global level: comparison using USD, purchasing power parity (PPP) and location factors. All the data published is sourced internally, based on real projects and the experiences of our construction professionals.”

The ICMS report is available for download from the Turner & Townsend website

94 High-Quality, Diverse And Innovative Entries For SAISC 2019 Steel Awards

94 High-Quality, Diverse And Innovative Entries For SAISC 2019 Steel Awards

Since it was first celebrated 38 years ago, the SAISC Steel Awards has grown to become the steel construction industry’s premier event. Succeeding years have seen this event growing to this year’s record entry of 94 entries.

In the lead up to the awards, which take place on October 10th, nine Steel Awards judges have been hard at work travelling the country assessing the various entries. Feedback from the judges is that they were gratified to see not only the record number of entries but also the diversity of building types which have been entered this year. The entries range from schools, bridges, corporate head offices, a flight simulator building, minerals processing plants, a colliery processing plant, a nitro phosphate plant, warehouses, shopping centres and a hotel, among the many other entries.

“What impressed me was the range of building types which was much broader than last year,” says SAISC Technical Director Amanuel Gebremeskel.

“For example, we have a building entered this year where the client is the Department of Health. In my experience of the Steel Awards, I do not ever recall having a government building as an entry,” he explains. He comments that the broader range of entries also not only pertains to building type, but also to size, ownership and construction / property value – which ranges from cost-effective to high-end.

There was also a much evidence of innovation this year in the use of steel in architectural applications. Gebremeskel also notes the number of steel screens in the various entries. Apart from their functionality, these screens have also been used to improve the aesthetics of the overall structures.

“For example, we received an entry which is a boutique hotel in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. What is truly novel about the building is its use of exterior steel screening, which provides both shade and improved construction sustainability. He explained that the outer screens surrounding the building had been used to support various types of creepers and vegetation, which render the building far less intrusive in its setting. “The use of steel has very cleverly been used to alter the perception of passers-by of the size of the hotel,” he adds, pointing out that it is most encouraging this year that more innovation is apparent in the use of steel, both structurally and architecturally.

What is also noticeable is the growing use of light steel frame building (LSFB) technique among this year’s crop of entries.

“For example, the government building entered is a multi-story office block, which has been constructed from light steel frame (LSF) components,” he remarks.

“In these constrained economic times – particularly for the steel industry and construction sector, which have been under enormous pressure – the number, diversity, innovation and quality of the entries for the 2019 Steel Awards is a hugely promising indication that the ‘doom and gloom’ is set to give way to a brighter and more prosperous future,” he concludes.

Turner Appointed As SARMA’s New Manager

SARMA Appoints New Manager

Hanlie Turner

Hanlie Turner has been appointed Manager at the Southern Africa Readymix Association (SARMA).

Following the departure of Johan van Wyk who was the face of SARMA for many years, Turner has taken over the reins at the SARMA office.

She brings years of experience in the cement and concrete industry, including a two-year term as President of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa.

Construction industry urged to recommit to Code of Good Practice to solve current challenges

Construction industry urged to recommit to Code of Good Practice to solve current challenges

A group of construction industry stakeholders has urged the industry to return to basics in order to overcome its current challenges successfully. The call was made at a stakeholder meeting initiated by Master Builders Association North, as mandated by a recent sub-contractors’ committee meeting.


The stakeholder meeting consisted of Master Builders South Africa, represented by Mr Roy Mnisi, MBA North, represented by Mr Mohau Mphomela, the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), represented by Mr Neil Gopal, and the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS), represented by Mr Yunus Bayat.

“It’s no secret that the construction industry is in crisis, with several of the leading companies either liquidated or in business rescue – clearly there is a need for a period of self-examination,” says Mohau Mphomela, MBA North Executive Director. “It’s essential we overcome our challenges not only for our own sakes, but also for the sake of the country: construction remains one of the biggest potential creators of jobs. According to Statistics SA’s recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the sector still accounted for 24 000 jobs and contributed to the modest growth in the number of employed people.”

One of the key issues identified at the meeting is the established practice of making unauthorised amendments to Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) and Master Builders South Africa contract documents. These standard documents are designed to simplify the administration of construction contracts, implement best practices and industry standards, and spread risk equitably across the construction value chain. They represent the consensus view of all industry stakeholders, and build on the accumulated experience and wisdom of these bodies, which are co-signatories of the contracts.

Mr Mphomela says that the practice of amending JBCC and other Built environment contracts to, for example, insert conditions such as “pay-when-paid” puts all players in the value chain at risk. Such practices contribute greatly to the industry’s malaise.

“JBCC and Master Builders contracts are designed to create a fair and standardised business environment, and to ensure that all parties are protected. Amending them is not only bad business practice in the long run, it is illegal,” he notes. “We are seeing the results around us. Unauthorised amendments to these documents, especially payment clauses, should be immediately flagged and reported to the Master Builder Regional Associations, ASAQS and SAPOA.”

Adopting the “pay-when-paid” principle often means, for example, that smaller contractors get paid late or not at all. Most cannot deal with unpredictable cash flows and are forced to shed staff or even go out of business.

Tender procedures were also identified as cause for concern. Although public tenders are by law required to be transparent, this is not enforced. The meeting called for all public tenders to be open to ensure transparency. Conversely, there is no regulation regarding the transparency of private tenders, and therefore no requirement for reporting on why contracts are awarded to particular contractors. In an open market system, contractors are advised to be careful of entering into contracts that expose their companies to low or no margins.

“The various professional and industry organisations all have codes of good practice that spell out the standards expected of their members. If the industry recommits to following these codes and acting ethically, many of these challenges will be reduced,” Mr Mphomela concludes.

Women in construction: More progress needed 

Women in construction: More progress needed

Female entrepreneurs are go-getters, they don’t wait for things to happen – Omega Mashaba

By: Boitumelo Thipe, Marketing and Business Development Manager, Master Builders Association North

Entrepreneurial women are making their mark in construction, but more needs to be done. Doing so will have benefits. 

Construction remains a male-dominated industry but there are signs that women are starting to become better represented in this sector – to its great potential benefit. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the work itself, women are primarily making their mark in managerial and administrative roles, and a growing number of smaller construction companies are headed by women.

Figures from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) show that 48% of the country’s construction enterprises are owned by women. However, the vast majority of these are very small companies – 95% fall within grades 1-3 (able to handle low-value contracts only), while there are only eight woman-owned enterprises at grade 8 (the highest value contracts).

What these figures say to me is that while women are entering the industry in greater numbers, they are finding it hard to scale their businesses. Ahead of Women’s Month this year, I spoke to two of these standard-bearers for women in construction to find out what drives them.

Bana Afrika established her business, Ampersands Investments, in 2014, having studied construction at tertiary level. She found being an employee intensely frustrating, and realised that opening her own company was the only option. She took the franchise route, buying a roofing and waterproofing franchise. “We understood that, as a start-up, it would take too long to create processes and to build a reputation,” she points out. “Through the franchise, we were able to build good relationships with corporate clients and it opened up big opportunities for us.”

Omega Mashaba founded her company, Mash n Go Renovations a year later. For her, a key impetus was to create employment by helping previously disadvantaged individuals acquire experience and skills. “We believe in equal opportunities, so we give opportunities to both men and women,” she says. “By sharing skills and expertise, we don’t just help them, we also grow the business itself.”

Both Afrika and Mashaba testify to the power of networks. Afrika says that building a network is critical because people do business with people they know. In Mashaba’s opinion, while the old boy’s network is still very much in place in corporate boardrooms, the growing numbers of women entering the industry with the skills and ambition to be good employers is changing the status quo.

One of the damaging stereotypes about women in business is that they compete with each other. Afrika says that women have to become “stepladders”, helping other women to make their own ascents.

Mashaba pays tribute to the power of ambitious women. “Female entrepreneurs are go-getters, they don’t wait for things to happen – they make them happen,” she enthuses. “One thing the media could do is promote stories about successful women, and provide information about how female entrepreneurs can access capital.”

Afrika adds: “We need to unteach the notion that employment is the only answer. We need to teach innovation and creativity so that the unemployed see their situation as an opportunity. Instead of just creating employees we should also create entrepreneurs.”

Despite its current challenges, a healthy construction industry is essential for an economically successful country. Women can make a huge contribution especially in the administrative, managerial and leadership areas – and successful women tend to invest in their families, creating a multiplier effect that benefits society as a whole.

What can we do to help? The Master Builders Association North is partnering with one of its members, JDP Roof Cover, to create a training academy to train women and youth – we are actively looking for other partners in the industry to pursue similar initiatives. Maximising the value that women, and especially female entrepreneurs, can bring to the industry is in all our interests.

“Workshop: Understanding Roof Inspections” – In Cape Town And Johannesburg In October

Workshop: Understanding Roof Inspections” – In Cape Town And Johannesburg In October

The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA)has informed SA Builder that, in an effort to boost skills development in South Africa’s roofing industry, the ITC will be hosting CPD-accredited workshops on Understanding Roof Inspections in both Johannesburg and Cape Town from 22 to 24 October 2019.

Those interested in expanding their knowledge and expertise in timber roof structures will greatly benefit from this informative workshop, which covers a comprehensive technical overview of prefabricated timber roof structures and the inspection thereof. The workshop aims to enable the individual to execute and apply their knowledge and skill in the interest of public safety, and to execute their work in accordance with general norms and regulations.

Workshop agenda

Day 1:




Basic roof terminology, including:

  • Rafters, tie-beams, webs

  • Gables, hips

  • Truncated hips, true span

  • Overhangs, cantilevers

  • Prefabricated/bolted methods




Basics of timber design, including loading and information on relevant codes. Permissible stress and limit state loading explained. Tributary loading.


Finger lunch


Bracing in roofs in general: Difference in lightly versus heavily loaded roofs. (Experience from the field through slides and pictures.)


Who is the ITC-SA? Role players and their different responsibilities in the timber structures roofing industry.


End of Day 1

Day 2:


Rafter bracing: Why different systems of bracing are necessary, study standard bracing details.




Tie-beam and web bracing: Standard bracing details. (Case studies of failures with pictures.)




Handling, transportation and storage of timber structures.


Discussion of paperwork required. Discuss who is responsible for paperwork.


Site visit to a timber roof under construction. (On-site guidance and discussion.)


End of Day 2


Day 3:


Second site visit (to a different site) to see a timber roof in distress and the effects of ineffective bracing.




Discussion of site observations.


Discussion of ethics regarding roof inspection.


Q&A session


Finger lunch


Slide show of non-compliant roofs and the consequences.




End of Day 3

The workshop has been CPD accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) for 3 points. ECSA Validation No.: ITCSA-INS0817. All candidates will receive the ITC-SA manuals for roof inspections.

Taaibos Lodge, Welgevonden. Photo: John Thome

Note: On completion of the workshop, candidates will receive a certificate of attendance.

Cost: R5 800 excl. VAT
Date: 22-24 October 2019
Time: 8am – 4pm daily
Venues: Cape Town: 32 Stepping Stone Street, Eversdal
Johannesburg: SAFCA Building, 6 Hulley Road, Isando
Limited to: 10 candidates per workshop

NB: Please note that course attendees are required to wear safety shoes for the site visits and that own transport is arranged for each day as well as to sites.


  • ITC-SA Bracing Manuals Volume 1

  • ITC-SA Bracing Manual Volume 2

  • Note Pad & Pen

  • Hard Hat & Reflector Vest

Visit to access the “Workshop: Understanding Roof Inspections” registration form. Please email the completed form along with proof of payment to For more information, call +27 (0)11 974 1061, email or visit


As a professional body, the ITC-SA’s vision is to create and maintain the highest standards in the engineered timber construction industry by monitoring its membership, continuously improving standards, promoting and marketing engineered timber structures, and overseeing the training and development of its members.

RFP For Woodstock/Salt River Inclusionary Housing Project Cancelled

RFP For Woodstock/Salt River Inclusionary Housing Project Cancelled

South African Builder has confirmed that the City of Cape Town has unilaterally cancelled the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the highly anticipated Woodstock/Salt River inclusionary housing project.

In a discussion with Deon van Zyl, chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) it was revealed that the WCPDF learnt of the cancellation via one of its members who had received the cancellation letter from the City, dated 2 August 2019 – more than two years after the call for proposals closed in February 2017.

Deon van Zyl, Chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum

The cancellation letter refers to a Bid Adjudication Committee meeting decision of 29 July 2019 in which the City decided to cancel the project,” said Van Zyl. “The letter, issued in the name of the Director: Supply Chain Management, provides no reasons at all for the City’s decision.”

The cancellation comes just two weeks after the WCPDF released the results of a survey which it conducted with built environment professionals, highlighting how delays and cancellations around procurement and tendering at the City were further crippling an already failing industry and resulting in thousands of job losses.

In addition, the cancellation also comes just two weeks after activist groups Reclaim the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi hosted an event on 18 July to mark the “Second anniversary of empty promises”, noting in a Facebook invite that: “It had been two years since the City promised to develop these parcels of land in Woodstock and Salt River.”

At the time of City issuing the RFP call, the WCPDF encouraged its members to actively participate in the process and to assist in generating creative thinking on the need for the provision of inclusionary housing,” says Van Zyl. “Several developers and consultant teams worked tirelessly to come up with innovative solutions. All of this work appears, once again, to have fallen on deaf ears with the cancellation of yet another innovation project.

It appears that the City expects the private sector to step up to the plate every time it issues a call for proposals or tenders, only for the City to fall foul of its own procurement processes, its obsessive audit culture and internal political camp-fighting.”

This latest cancellation follows on the cancellation of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct project, the heated debates around Maiden’s Cove, the development rights impasse on the Site B tender on the Foreshore and previous legal battles with consultants relating to the Athlone Power Station site on project participation.

Notes Van Zyl: “The private sector has now once again wasted millions in lost intellectual capital and time on the Woodstock Salt River RFP process, raising the question whether the City of Cape Town should be taken seriously in future when similar calls for proposals are made. Does it really have any commitment to growing the economy of Cape Town and to facilitate investment that will lead to the jobs that are so desperately needed?

What now appears to be a war against innovation, investment and change comes at a time when the construction industry is already in crisis mode. A number of significant players have already closed their doors and numerous built environment consultancies are retrenching staff daily, and yet the City of Cape Town continues to underspend year-on-year on capital budget specifically earmarked for desperately needed bulk infrastructure that could assist the development needed to lift the economy.”

For over two years, on behalf of its industry members in the property development and construction sector, the WCPDF has been highlighting the slow pace of obtaining statutory process approvals from the City of Cape Town. In December last year, it called on the Western Cape Premier Elect in December 2018 to institute an Economic War Room, a point publicly reiterated during the WCPDF annual conference held in May this year.

Although Premier Winde announced the formation of this War Room in his State of the Province address, and specifically signalled out the important roles of the property and construction industry will have in it, we are still awaiting the establishment of this critically needed intervention. It is sincerely hoped that City’s procurement process will also come under close scrutiny in the processed War Room,” continued Van Zyl.

The WCPDF further notes that it is not only the construction and built environment industries that are suffering under the City’s current lack of decision making, citing the ongoing debacle around the MyCiTi N2 contract negotiations impacting desperate commuters who are now spending large amounts of un-budgeted money and time to travel to areas of opportunity.

The irony,” notes Van Zyl “is that some of these citizens could perhaps, in time, have found accommodation in the now-cancelled Woodstock Salt River Project.

Are the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town open for business or are they only paying lip service to growth and essential social and economic integration of its communities? The development and consulting industries are holding a collective breath in anticipation for an answer to this question. Meanwhile, businesses are closing and members of the labour force, already among the poorest in Cape Town, have no food to put on the table.

To this end, notes Van Zyl, the WCPDF is calling on the Mayor of Cape Town to investigate this failed RFP process and undertake a detail investigation of the City’s procurement processes.

Government have a social responsibility see these projects through. We further invite and indeed challenge the Mayor to involve our industry in this investigation and not to hive the matter off to its usual legal and audit advisory firms and consultants, as has become the City’s normal response,” concludes Van Zyl.

WearCheck Announces Acquisition Of Reliability Testing Company AFS

WearCheck Announces Acquisition Of Reliability Testing Company AFS

A view of one of WearCheck’s 16 laboratories. Many companies in the construction industry invest long-term in WearCheck’s condition monitoring programme, citing the many benefits of predictive maintenance through scientific oil analysis – such as completing jobs without delays caused by component failure, and finishing projects within budget by avoiding unplanned maintenance costs.

WearCheck’s new NDT capability further enhances its offering to the construction sector.

Durban-based condition monitoring specialists, WearCheck, has acquired Anglo Field Services (AFS), which adds three new established divisions to the company’s comprehensive reliability solutions portfolio, including non-destructive testing (NDT), technical compliance (TC) and rope condition assessment (RCA).

The fourth AFS division – asset maintenance management (AMM) – has been absorbed into WearCheck’s existing Reliability Solutions team, boosting the company’s man-power in this section as well as adding technical expertise and additional instrumentation.

Branching into Non-destructive Testing means that WearCheck now conducts a range of analysis techniques through which the properties and condition of a component or system are evaluated without causing any damage to it.

WearCheck MD Neil Robinson is positive that the addition of new testing techniques to the company’s reliability solutions services portfolio – including non-destructive testing, technical compliance and rope testing – will help customers reduce maintenance costs and enhance convenience

NDT methods are gaining popularity because they do not permanently alter the item undergoing inspection, making NDT a valuable tool that can save both money and time in condition monitoring and inspections – an approach which dovetails perfectly with WearCheck’s ethos.

WearCheck’s new NDT division offers a range of techniques, including eddy-current-, magnetic-particle-, liquid penetrant-, radiographic-, ultrasonic-, and visual testing.

The new rope testing division provides specialist cable strength assessment and is manned by seven of only 12 people in South Africa who are qualified to conduct these tests.

The technical compliance division provides expert guidance to assist companies to comply with regulatory requirements, and how to rectify violations or problems highlighted during audits.

Prior to merging with WearCheck, AFS operated as part of Anglo’s Technical Division under the Anglo Research section, where they provided specialist NDT and materials consultancy services to Anglo Group companies and other clients on a global basis.

WearCheck is now positioned to offer customers access to an augmented portfolio of reliability solutions in a comprehensive one-stop-shop, leading to cost savings and boosted convenience for customers.

WearCheck MD Neil Robinson believes that the addition of new services enhances the availability of assets operated by WearCheck customers by expanding the choice of condition monitoring options.

For example,” says Robinson, “the development and implementation of NDT procedures will have a profound impact on keeping operational maintenance costs down for our customers, especially in the construction sector.

The incorporation of AFS into WearCheck has been a seamless process so far, mainly because the two companies operate with a parallel devotion to data integrity and a shared dedication to customer service excellence,” said Robinson.

WearCheck conducts scientific analysis of used oil from construction vehicles and other equipment used in the building industry. The data is used to predict when / if a component needs remedial maintenance, thus avoiding on-the-job machine failure. Here, Des Rodel of WearCheck Cape Town prepares to process used oil samples.

All 30 AFS staff members have been absorbed into WearCheck’s staff complement, adding their invaluable expertise and knowledge to the WearCheck team.

From our side, WearCheck extends a heartfelt welcome to all current AFS customers, and we look forward to bringing new field services clients on board as well as giving our existing clients the benefit of our increased reliability optimisation service offering.”

Some of WearCheck’s customers in the construction sector include:

Stefanutti Stocks



Diesel Power

Sandton Plant Hire


Seneca Civils


WK Construction

Sandvik Mining & Construction

Aveng Group


Fraser Alexander Construction


Coolants, fuels and oils used in industrial equipment are tested and analysed by condition monitoring specialists, WearCheck, in order to implement planned maintenance of components. Doing this helps avoid unscheduled machine failure, which can have a severely negative influence on production and on the bottom line. Here, senior lab technician Trevor Pillay conducts coolant testing at WearCheck’s Pinetown laboratory.

All these customers generally use the standard automotive oil testing kit, and WearCheck also tests coolants and fuels for some of them.

Also of importance to the construction sector is WearCheck’s Plant Asset Optimisation, where condition monitoring forms the basis of a well-established Condition Base Maintenance program, forming an integral part of plant asset optimisation. This not only increases profit, but plant availability too, by reducing unplanned downtime and catastrophic failure of rotating components on plant assets. It is therefore highly beneficial to know the health and the condition of both machine and plant, through effective measuring and monitoring. The condition monitoring team consists of experienced and well-trained personnel, trained in the various technologies and with the ability to perform special investigation on machines,

plant equipment and their structures using specialised techniques such as Operational Deflection Shape (ODS), transient analysis and resonances tests.

Founded 40 years ago, WearCheck is a leading condition monitoring specialist on the African continent, processing in excess of 600 000 samples per annum. The company has evolved into a one-stop-shop for a vast range of reliability solutions services across a number of industries, including the construction sector.

WearCheck is a proud member of the prestigious International WearCheck Group (IWG), an association of independent laboratories around the globe, dedicated to oil and wear particle analysis. WearCheck’s relationship with the IWG allows for the ongoing exchange of advanced technical information, and the ability to offer a worldwide service.