ACHASM CONTRIBUTION TO ‘COVID-19’ ‘CONSTRUCTION RETURN TO WORK’ DOCUMENTATION

The Association of Construction Health and Safety Management (ACHASM) is proud to have been part of the Construction Rapid Response Task Team (CRRTT) to assist in getting the construction sector back to work. As our President, Cyril Ramaphosa has implied, we need to remain vigilant and ensure we follow the rules to limit the spread of COVID-19. Adequate health and safety that complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations will provide much of the needed actions to stem the spread of the virus. ACHASM and its members will continue to be part of the team and remain dedicated to the continued health and safety of every industry participant, especially workers.

We would like to thank the following Candidate and Professional Health and Safety Agents for their participation and support in preparing the documentation with our Executive Director, Dr Claire Deacon, submitted to the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, and the Department of Employment and Labour: • Michelle Barnard • Jay Bhana • Alfred Cakata • Louis Coetzee • Johan Dempers • David Dolan • Neil Enslin • Vaatjie Heyneke • Tumi Moagi • William Pierce-Jones • Sandile Seme • Liza White

We trust that the industry will continue to work with us to engender healthy and safe working practices that benefit all industry stakeholders – clients, construction project managers, designers, quantity surveyors, contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, and plant and equipment providers.

MBA North calls for all industry stakeholders to reach force majeure consensus

As the construction industry gears up to return to work when the lockdown moves to Level 3 on 1 June, industry stakeholders need to come together to reach a consensus on a number of contentious issues, says Wayne Albertyn, Director of Gothic Construction and President of MBA North.

“A key issue we need to resolve is how to handle the disruption caused by the government-mandated lockdown, plus the costs associated with complying with the regulations promulgated under Level 3,”

Albertyn says. “There’s a lot of talk about the lockdown being classified as force majeure, but this does not solve all the issues and risks, disadvantaging contractors quite significantly.”

Albertyn explains that those contracting using a Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) form of contract will be able to request an adjustment of the date for practical completion, but this adjustment will be without adjustment to the contract value. This adjustment adequately mitigates against late completion risk for contractors but does not resolve the question of expense and potential loss which will be suffered in preparing for and executing contracts under severely altered operating conditions.

“The industry needs to consider seeking middle ground between the parties, with the view to balance the risks fairly,” he believes.

In his view, it would be reasonable to allow contractors to substantiate adjustments to the contract value for expenses and potential losses incurred to complete projects, taking into account the realities of current circumstances and more demanding operating conditions, flowing from regulatory changes.

In addition to the abovementioned considerations, cash-flow management remains a major concern for both contractors and employers. As far as contractors are concerned, it will be necessary to mitigate the impact of inconsistent interpretation of payment provisions (Payment of Preliminaries) on contractors – or payments withheld without cause. Contractors are particularly vulnerable in this regard following a decade of negative margin growth and a depressed construction economy.

Derek Wheals, CEO at Tri-Star Construction says that the current situation is unprecedented, and few (if any) contracts will provide clear guidance as to how to deal with the losses and expenses the contracting parties will incur. “Both the contractor and client seem to be likely to lose. Developers will lose income and interest as a result of the delay caused by the lockdown, but they could benefit from interest holidays offered by the banks and could pass on costs to tenants in some instances.

Contractors’ costs are probably substantially larger and ongoing.

Wheals says, “Since the answers are not to be found in the contract it seems as though we will have to try negotiate our way to an amicable solution.”

There is also potentially the chance that some clients might choose to terminate contracts as a result of the pandemic, and the financial impact on contractors needs to be considered.

Albertyn says, “We are hearing a lot about the ‘new normal’ that we should shape in the aftermath of COVID-19, and MBA North believes that the industry should seize this opportunity to come together to agree on a solution that is fair to all parties.”

“For too long, the industry has been weakened by an adversarial relationship between contractors on the one side and clients and their professional teams on the other. As an industry, we went into the crisis in a very weakened state, and we must do everything we can to ensure we give ourselves – all of us – the best chance of returning to growth.”

MBA North will be hosting a webinar for contractors to discuss the issues relating to a possible use of force majeure and other issues on 3 June. All contractors are urged to attend by registering at www.mbanorth.co.za.

COVID-19 Lockdown Level 3 Regulations

As per the announcement of President Ramaphosa on Sunday 24 May 2020, the whole country will move from Level 4 to Level 3 of the lockdown as from Monday 1 June 2020.
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has released Regulations in respect of the Determinations of Alert Levels and Hotspots as well as regulations for Alert Level 3 in terms of the Disaster Manager Act.
We remain here to assist members as best we can to comply with the regulations and ensure a safe and responsible return to work.

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal: Reactivation of the Construction Sector

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the announcement by the Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country will be moving to Level 3 on 1 June 2020. Most importantly, the reactivation of the construction sector in its entirety under Level 3 will bring much-needed relief to the industry.

Since the announcement of lockdown in March 2020, the Association has been at the forefront of introducing practical interventions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Construction sector.

The Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team was established with key industry role-players to collectively plan the recovery of the sector post lockdown and to unblock relief measures to ensure its sustainability. The Task Team is convened by Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal and comprises of some 33 organisations in the construction industry. The Task Team made several proposals and submissions to Government Ministers and relevant authorities on the reactivation of the construction sector as well as the recovery of the industry post lockdown.

Maintaining healthy and safe working conditions for all employees is enshrined in the Association’s Constitution. A key priority is to prepare members for the implementation of all necessary health and safety protocols to enable them to return to work swiftly. The Association hosted online member forum meetings, circulated regular ebulletins and created a database of information on its web portal. Members were provided with a COVID-19 Risk Plan guideline and supporting documentation to apply to their respective sites and will also have access to a safety induction video on COVID -19 measures.

For easy access to Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal members, download the Master Builders KZN app available on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

 

MBA North gears up to help construction get back to work

Start preparing now for lifting of restrictions, says industry body

The Master Builders Association North (MBA North) has launched comprehensive COVID-19 health and safety consulting and training services to help the region’s construction sector to prepare for a return to work as quickly as possible after restrictions are lifted.

Reopening construction sites after the lockdown is set to be a challenging process, says Gerhard Roets, Construction Health and Safety Manager at MBA North. “Over and above your COVID-19 Workplace Readiness Plan, the Construction Industry will be required to update their current Health and Safety files and re-induct employees on site. Preparing to return to work in a safe and compliant manner could take some time, therefore any company hoping to resume work next month should be preparing to do so now,” he says.

The challenge of compliance with the new COVID-19 directive is exacerbated by ‘information overload’ and confusion about which projects may resume when. Roets says, “Many members are asking how they should prepare. All construction may resume in Level 3 – this includes both commercial and residential construction. But before resuming work, they must prepare a Workplace Readiness Plan and apply for a certificate or permit with the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).”

The workplace readiness plan should include:

* Thorough risk assessments and site-specific protocols in place

* Detailed plans for the phased-in return of workers to the workplace, and staff rotational arrangements

* Health protocols to protect employees from COVID-19, including screening and testing facilities and systems

* The appointment of a compliance officer to oversee implementation of the plan

* Policies on site visitors

* Reporting and escalation measures

Compliance with COVID-19 Health and Safety directives are expected to prove costly for the sector, and will likely slow down work, says Roets. “There are many different areas of work involved, in many cases people need to be working side by side, which complicates compliance with physical distancing guidelines. Preparing the Workplace readiness plan may take some time before they are able to begin physical work, and daily screening and health and safety checks will add hours to each working day.”

The Association says compliance may be particularly difficult for SMMEs. Having generated no revenue in the past two months, they will now have to fund additional COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and incur other expenses.

However, the cost of non-compliance could be devastating. A single worker infected with COVID-19 may spread the virus resulting in site closure; and infractions could result in penalties and fines.

To help the sector prepare to reopen sites safely and in line with new regulations and guidelines, the MBA North now offers consulting and training priced within reach of even SMMEs. The Association can assist both members and non-members in preparing a COVID-19 Health and Safety plan, conduct risk assessments, and can even send its mobile training unit (ToM) to sites to raise workers’ awareness of the new safety protocols in place, which is offered in five languages.

The Association has tailored its offering to help all contractors to get back to work safely as soon as restrictions are lifted.

For further information, please contact Construction Health & Safety Administrator Ashleigh Feeny at ashleigh@mbanorth.co.za.

Order your Health & Safety File Today and prepare your workplace for Level 3 Lockdown

The Health & Safety team have developed a Must – Have -COVID-19 compliant Health & Safety File to prepare you to get back to work while adhering to the Department of Employment & Labour’s requirements:

 

These requirements are a mandatory Workplace Readiness Plan to:

  • ensure you are protecting your workforce and minimising the risk of spreading the infection.
  • Maintain a safe and healthy working environment for employees and members of the public,
  • assess the workplace risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and give due consideration to the response measures.

Cost: R2 000 ex VAT for members

R3 000 ex VAT for non-members

Contact: ashleigh@mbanorth.co.za today for your order

 

CONSTRUCTION SECTOR WELCOMES EASING OF LOCKDOWN UNDER LEVEL 3

The construction industry welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the country moving to Level 3 as from 01 June 2020. The sector has been calling for an immediate re-activation of live construction sites that were at various stages of completion when the lockdown came into effect on the 27th of March 2020.

Chairperson of the Construction Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Team, Mr John Matthews acknowledged that the easing of lockdown meant that a lot of construction companies on the verge of collapse could be saved. ‘We are optimistic that allowing the construction sector to resume full operations will salvage what is left of the sector. We are pleased that the government gave consideration to the concerns we raised and agreed to a full re-activation of the sector under Level 3. Continued restraints on construction activity was leading us towards a situation where there was little hope of a recovery for a lot of companies in the industry’ said Matthews.

On measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease on construction sites, he added that there was a need for companies to adhere to the strict health and safety protocols that were already in place, for protection of employees. He highlighted the need for self-regulation by all employers in the industry, emphasizing the call by President Ramaphosa that combating the spread of the disease was in the hands of everyone.

‘It is not up to the government to try and monitor every office and construction site, but each and every employer has a responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of employees is guaranteed. The industry has health and safety protocols already in place and any employer in the sector who needs assistance should contact their Association for guidance and support’ said Matthews.

He also added that the Task Team would pursue efforts for the creation of a Construction Relief Fund, to assist the sector with additional PPE requirements. He confirmed that the Team activities would continue beyond the resumption of construction activity, as it was crucial to provide on-going support to employers in the industry and continued engagement with the government in pursuit of long-term sector recovery.

The construction industry was already under siege prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent nation-wide lockdown. However, it has been touted as one of the sectors that the government should prioritise to increase work opportunities and revive the South African economy due to it being one of the major economic contributors and because of the labour-intensive nature of construction activities.

The Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team (“CC19RRTT”) is an industry grouping that was convened to charter a recovery plan for the construction sector. It incorporates the entire construction value chain covering suppliers, manufacturers, property developers, built environment professionals and contractors (main contractors and subcontractors).

Participating organisations include:

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA), The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS), Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF), South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE), Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), Association of Construction Project Managers (ACPM), The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation (SABTACO), South African Women in Construction and Built Environment (SAWIC & BE), The Concrete Institute of South Africa (TCI), Cox Yeats Attorneys, South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) , National Construction Incubator (NCI), Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa  (ILASA), Construction Management Foundation (CMF), Association of Construction Health and Safety Management (ACHASM), Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa (AAAMSA), The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) , ASPASA, Clay Brick Association of South Africa, South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), Council for the Built Environment (CBE) , National Spa & Pool Institute of Southern Africa (NSPI), South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), South African Affordable Residential Developers Association, (SAARDA), South African Association of Consulting Professional Planners (SAACPP), Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), South African Green Industry Council (SAGIC) , South African Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA), Builders Warehouse (Suppliers and Manufacturing), and Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal (MBA KZN) as the Convener.

COVID-19 Lockdown Level 3

In his address to the Nation last night, President Ramaphosa announced some of the details surrounding the country’s move to Level 3 on 1 June 2020 and the good news is that the entire Construction Industry will be allowed to resume operations as at 1 June 2020 under Level 3.
We are certain that the combined efforts of the many business submissions made to Government, as well as the many hours of consultations, positively influenced the decision announced by the President last night.
We must extend the combined thanks of our membership to all the organisations and groupings who joined forces to ensure that our voices were heard. We especially thank our fellow MBA’s and Affiliates of Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) and the Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team (CC19RRTT) for a well coordinated effort.
We would also like to thank the many members who have communicated their thanks and appreciation to the staff of the MBA. It has not been easy for our staff working from home but they have risen to the challenge and I join you in thanking them for their efforts as well. As your Association, the MBA has been working to a detailed “return-to-work” plan for the past 3 weeks. The plan has resulted in a few staff returning to the office but with the balance still working remotely from home or on a mobile basis. Our offices are therefore still closed to members and the public for now but you are welcome to contact us on any of the numbers below.
As mentioned yesterday, it’s vital that we all comply with the strictest Health & Safety Guidelines and ensure that we keep our sites safe and open. In order to do this we need to be especially diligent in our planning and preparation for 1 June.
As mentioned before, we will be re-issuing the relevant government directives and guidelines as well as the necessary pro-forma documents to assist members with their planning. We will also be available to assist directly where required.
We must all be under no false illusions that this is now business as usual. Hot spots will occur in Cities, Towns and on building sites. COVID-19 infections will rise and more people are going to become infected. The difference is that it’s now in your hands and up to you as the employer to resort to all possible measures to protect your employees (and yourselves) to ensure that you remain open for business.
The MBA team is here to assist members wherever possible in order to properly plan a safe and responsible return to work.
In closing I attach a copy of the President’s speech for your reference.
Kind regards,
Greg Steele, Executive Director, East Cape Master Builders Association

COVID-19 Level 3… at last

Construction is back to work from 1 June and its a major relief to our industry. But it’s vital that we all comply with strictest Health & Safety Guidelines and as President Ramaphosa said, and in the words of Madiba, “it’s in your hands!”.
It is now in fact in our hands as employers to protect our workers (and ourselves), The MBA team is here to assist its members in every way and will be supplying the necessary pro-forma plans and advice to assist members to properly plan a safe and responsible the return to work.

Turftech’s Multi-Purpose Rhino-Turf Pitch Transforms Hermanus Primary School

Pre-Covid-19, the staff and pupils at Hermanus Primary School in the Western Cape enjoyed the installation of the Turftech multi-purpose Rhino-Turf sports pitch, drastically improving the school’s sporting potential.

“It has always been a dream of the school to have its own synthetic turf facility on the school grounds,” explained Niel Botha, the school’s Head of Senior Hockey. “Our hockey and netball performance have really developed over the years and the installation of a superior synthetic pitch was desperately needed.”

For this particular installation, Hermanus Primary School decided to partner with Turftech, the leader in natural and synthetic turf technology. During a four-month project period, Turftech specialists constructed a 3 818m² multi-purpose pitch for netball, hockey, using the UK designed Rhino-Turf MT15 with a shockpad and fencing system. This advanced synthetic turf product replaced the school’s existing three tar netball courts, providing a much more aesthetically-superior, user-friendly playing surface.

“The reaction from parents, pupils and staff has been overwhelming,” continued Botha. “The school is now home to a world-class sports’ facility that will effectively allow us to develop our children’s skills in a variety of new ways.”

Botha said the multi-purpose pitch also allows the school to facilitate more sporting events on-site, such as the recent hockey camp which welcomed a South African hockey player and top Boland coaches. The school has already lined up a netball and hockey clinics for skills’ development, with many more sporting events in the pipeline: “This is so fantastic for the school, and – as the head of senior hockey – I would really like to thank everyone involved in this project.”

In addition to the superior playing surface and enhanced aesthetics associated with Turftech’s products, schools benefit from long-term cost-savings as well. Unlike traditional hard courts, the Turftech multi-sports’ facility does not have to be resurfaced every two to three years, with the new synthetic surface only needing upgrading every eight to 10 years. It also allows schools to accommodate multiple sporting codes while saving on space.

In addition to costs saved on maintenance, the pitch requires no water which, with the increased water scarcity experienced countrywide, is a welcome reality for many schools. Turftech facilities thereby drastically increase property value while making the school more competitive.

“Modern school sports are incredibly competitive in nature and this is beginning at primary school level,” explained Phillip Prinsloo, Sales Manager for Turftech. “For schools to be the best they have to offer their pupils the best and this is why so many schools are opting for Turftech’s artificial sports surfaces designed by our partners Rhino-Turf. Pupils are now able to practice for much longer hours and – for hockey specifically – there is more consistent ball roll and play, speeding up the game.”

For more information about Turftech’s superior natural and synthetic turf technology, visit www.turftech.co.za

ABOUT TURFTECH

Turftech (Pty) Limited offers a turnkey solution and are specialists in the design, construction, development and maintenance of sport facilities including both natural and synthetic fields for soccer, rugby and hockey fields as well as for cricket and synthetic running tracks. Turftech also build’s traditional hard courts or synthetic turf courts to accommodate tennis, hockey, basketball and netball on same court.

Turftech together with their turf partners, Rhino-Turf, have brought the latest technology of turf products to the sporting market in South Africa and have successfully installed many artificial sport pitches throughout SA, now having the most FIH certified fields in the country with 6 x FIH National (sand dressed) certified fields and another 2 x FIH Global (water based) certified fields.