Construction Industry Unites To form a National Umbrella Body

By Construction Alliance South Africa

South Africa’s construction industry has now united to form an umbrella body, the Construction Alliance South Africa (CASA) that is made up of 29 of the sectors’ professional, contractor, supplier and other bodies. The alliance was officially launched on 21 January 2021.

Industry stalwart, John Matthews who is the chairperson of CASA explained that the alliance was an important step towards uniting the voice of the industry and in facilitating smooth dialogue with government. “The need for unity in the sector cannot be over-emphasized, and because we all have the shared vision of an innovative, competitive and transformed industry, the formation of CASA is a historic and welcome achievement. It is also important as it comes at a crucial time when the industry is in engagements with the Presidency on the rollout of Strategic Integrated Infrastructure Projects to revive the economy” said Matthews.

Emphasizing the need for a united industry voice in confronting the industry’s challenges, Gregory Mofokeng of the Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) who is the Deputy Chairperson of CASA, said it was important for the industry to forge a united front to demonstrate a serious commitment to collectively respond to industry issues.

CASA is made up of different industry bodies from across the sector with the broad objective of having joint representation in engagements on matters of mutual concern. It is expected that the alliance will not only lead a post-COVID recovery of the industry, but also tackle other long-standing industry issues that include accelerated transformation of the sector, protection of the industry from subsidised foreign competition as well as dealing with corruption and unethical business practices.

The construction industry successfully formed a COVID-19 response team at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020. The Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team (CC19RRTT) was key in developing a well-co-ordinated industry response to the coronavirus pandemic including the safe re-activation of construction sites as lockdown restrictions were eased. The Task Team was also instrumental in co-ordinating and presenting the industry’s thinking on the national economic recovery plan. Following these recorded successes of the joint effort, the industry was in agreement on the need to form an alliance built on the shared goal of re-building the sector.

According to the Alliance’s MOU seen by SA Builder, Membership of CASA is for organisations whose members are engaged in the construction industry, through the provisioning of either goods, construction services or professional built environment services. These are classified in 2 broad categories consisting of Members and Associate Members.

Members are organisations operating in the construction industry responsible for the planning, design, construction, manufacture and/or supply of materials in the process of land development including the delivery of new buildings, public open space and services infrastructure, as well as the maintenance or rehabilitation thereof. Associate Members are organisations representing manufacturers, suppliers, professionals, and other organisations which provide supporting services and/or goods to the construction industry. This includes expert organisations, statutory bodies and special interest groups providing services linked to the construction industry.

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

 

 

 

Asbestos

Pandemics manifest in various ways, impacting all of us and leaving behind pain, suffering and disbelief. Not only is the coronavirus on the rampage, but Britain has in the past year experienced more than 2 000 asbestos-related deaths especially in construction related industries.

For many years, asbestos was used in almost every public and commercial building constructed before the 1980s across all continents. As a fireproofing material, it was applied on steel beams and columns during the construction of multi-storey buildings. Due to its strength, asbestos was added to concrete, asphalt, vinyl materials, roof shingles, pipes, siding, wall board, floor tiles, joint compounds and adhesives. Its heat-resistant qualities made asbestos the perfect thermal insulation material. The material was also used in acoustical plaster and as a component of a mixture sprayed on ceilings and walls. In short, it was the miracle material of the building industry.

Asbestos only becomes a hazard when it is not kept in a well-maintained state and exposed to weather conditions, or mistakenly damaged by renovators, installers, electricians, plumbers, etc. This poses a health risk to building occupants, employees, and maintenance workers due to the fine invisible fibres released into the air. If inhaled, it can penetrate into the deep gas exchange areas of the lungs. As a result of its characteristic properties, these almost chemically inert, aerodynamic and lightweight fibres cannot be removed from the lungs resulting in chronic illness and adverse, irreversible health effects. The risk is even greater, if the building is demolished, renovated, remodelled without adequate control measures in place. Repeated exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases with a cumulative effect.

In the Republic of South Africa, the Zondo Commission have recently untangled the corruption surrounding Asbestos in the Free State Province where a useful Asbestos Management tool was used to swindle millions out of taxpayers’ pockets. The occupants are still no closer to being rid of the silent killer in their houses.

Master Builders Association North (MBA North) facilitated various discussions and workshops with regards to the impact of the Asbestos Abatement Regulation in the construction Industry. The new Asbestos Abatement Regulation has finally been signed in Parliament and is underway to the Government printers. These regulations give guidance to all employers on the safe work management of asbestos, asbestos-containing materials and the recommended steps which need to be taken by the asbestos owner or persons employing individuals to work on asbestos.

For the first time, the Abatement Regulation calls for the owner of a building to have a document declaring that the building is free of asbestos. If asbestos is identified in the building, an Asbestos Management Plan and a Phase-out Plan for any asbestos on site is required. Banking and insurance industry are more knowledgeable on financing buildings containing asbestos owing to containing poorly maintained buildings which may be damaged extensively during heavy storms which may require repairs and pay-outs.

Before the commencement of maintenance, refurbishment, demolition of pre-existing structures or excavations where asbestos pipes / materials are found underground, the risk of potential exposure should be known and included in the management and or project plan. All hazardous chemical substances identified on the site should be removed before the dismantling and or demolition of structures is started. This asbestos work should be performed by a registered asbestos contractor and all waste which potentially contain asbestos, must be disposed of on a high hazardous (HH) waste facility.  The originator of such waste must retain a safe disposal certificate as proof thereof.

The Asbestos Abatement Regulation now also bans the use of high-pressure water jetting to clean asbestos containing materials as this may contribute to the release of debris which can lead to airborne asbestos fibres.

With the introduction of a new Regulation, the Chief Inspector of the Department of Employment and Labour pledged that the 500 newly appointed inspectors will be more proactive in enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its Regulations which includes the Asbestos Abatement Regulation.

 

 

 

MBA North announces winners of 2020 safety competition

On 18th September 2020, the Master Builders Association North (MBA North) announced the winners in its prestigious annual safety competition, which recognises best practice in construction site safety. Awards were given in nine categories. The formal Safety Competition Awards Ceremony did not take place this year in order to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

“Despite the fact that this year’s Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) National Safety Competition was cancelled, our members asked us to go ahead with the regional safety audits. This year, health and safety (H&S) is obviously very much top of mind for everyone,” says Gerhard Roets, Health & Safety Manager- MBA North. “However, in the end, the turmoil caused by COVID-19 resulted in only 26 entries being submitted; a 61% drop compared to last year despite the fact that entry was complimentary to MBA North and Federated Employers’ Mutual Assurance members.”

The key criterion used in judging entries was the company’s commitment and investment in H& S rather than project size. Entries were submitted from several major players in the industry, all of which have confidence in MBA North to assess their H&S compliance. Entries were also received from smaller companies (including home builders) for project values of less than R15 million.

The auditors used the MBSA Occupational Health & Safety Audit System during the judging, and added questions to the audit system to monitor and evaluate the companies’ compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

“Because it attracts entrants from across the construction industry, the competition is playing a vital role in building a safety culture that benefits everybody involved,” says Roets. “We look forward to a bigger field of entries next year, and to the continuation of the MBSA National Safety Competition. MBA North congratulates the winners for their consistent commitment to Health and Safety.”

Category A—Plant and Storage Yards

First: Tiber Construction (Village Deep Plant Yard)

Second: Gothic Construction (Plant Yard)

Category B—Allied trades

First: Form-Scaff (Polokwane Yard)

Second: Form-Scaff (Nelspruit Yard)

Third: Viva Formwork & Scaffolding (Nooitedacht Yard)

Category C—Less R15m

First: Giuricich Bros Construction (Distell Wadeville Amarula Cellar)

Category DR15m to R40m

First: Belo & Kies Construction (Houghton Estate)

Second: G.D. Irons Construction (Mandela Presidential Centre)

Category E R40m to R100m

First: WBHO Construction (93 Grayston Square)

Second: Tri-Star Construction (Riverside View RDP)

Third: Tri-Star Construction (Kempton Park Square Phase 2)

Category FR100m to R250m

First: WBHO Construction (SAB Mariachi)

Second: WBHO Construction (Irene Link Building)

Third: WBHO Construction (CocaCola Beverages Warehouse Extension)

Category GR250m to R450m           

First: Tiber / ISF Joint Venture (100 Grayston Drive – Investec Refurb)

Second: WBHO Construction (Woodland Altron)

Third: WBHO Construction (Castle Gate)

Category IR750m PLUS       

First: Tiber Construction (ACSA Western Precinct)

Second: G.D. IRONS construction (Steyn City Centre 1 – Phase 3)

Sub-contractor (without site establishment)   

First: Viva Formwork & Scaffolding (DSV Warehouse)

Second: Presto Electrical (Steyn City Centre 1-Phase 3)

 

Master Builders Free State

Master Builders and Allied Trades Association (Free State), known as MBA FS, was founded in 1952 and has been an institution for 68 year now. MBA Free State is affiliated with MBSA, which is an organisation which speaks on behalf of its members and specialised affiliate members. MBA Free State is part of a federation of registered employers’ organisations which represent contractors and employers operating in the building industry, and is regulated in terms of Section 107 of the Labour Relations Act, Act 66 of 1995.

MBSA and the MBAs promote a positive OHS (occupational health and safety) culture, which contributes to the reduction and elimination of occupational injury, disease, loss, and the prevention of damage to the environment. Compliance with the law and the well-being of both employer and employee is the foremost concern of MBSA.

Master Builders Free State Executive Committee 2020/2021

We have decided that with the pandemic, we will extend our Executive Committee to serve another year. They are as follows:

Arno van Zyl – President

Arno is the Marketing Manager at 3 Bricks; they are currently the biggest paving suppliers in Welkom and have done many projects with our members in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.

Martin Westraad – Vice President

Martin is the Branch Manager at Formscaff Bloemfontein. Formscaff services include hire and sale of scaffolding, falsework, and associated services.

Ian Harris – Executive Committee

Ian is the Managing Director at Amokoro Training Welkom. They are a training provider and specialise in health, safety and environmental training nationwide.

Steven Nkgadima – Executive Committee

Steven is the Chief Operating Officer at Sompena Welkom. Currently they do logistics and civil construction.

Johan Naude – Executive Committee

Johan is the Director at Naude Construction Welkom. They specialise in plumbing, civils and construction.

Raymond Seboko – Executive Committee

Raymond is the Director of Mofomo Construction Welkom. The company specialises in building and civil contracting.

Stefan Roos – Executive Committee

Stefan is the Sales Manager of FS, NC, NW and WC AfriSam, which provides quality construction materials and technical solutions. This includes cement, aggregate and readymix concrete construction material.

Shabeer Moosa – Executive Committee

Shabeer holds the position of CEO of Namcon Construction. The company is a Level 1 B-BBEE compliant construction company, which has developed a core focus in building, civil and water reticulation works. It has also been listed on the vendor contractor database for Santam insurance in the Free State Province.

Paul van Heerden – Executive Committee

Paul is the Director of Kandula Construction. The company’s services include building, foundations, roofing, tiles, plumbing, painting, boilermaking, ceilings and more.

Master Builders Association Free State Staff

Francois du Plessis – Executive Director

Francois has been on the Executive Committee, was elected as the Vice President and then become the President before he was offered the role as Executive Director of MBA FS. Francois is stationed in Bloemfontein where he is busy promoting the MBA FS services among the construction companies in Bloemfontein.

Stephan Claassen – Regional Health and Safety Advisor

Stephan has been working for MBA FS for five years, where he started as a Junior Health and Safety Advisor and worked to the top to become the Regional Health and Safety Advisor. Stephan oversees two Health and Safety Advisors who are working under his supervision. He is stationed in Welkom, but travels frequently between Bloemfontein, Northern Cape and North West to assist our members with their health and safety needs.

Werner van Zyl – Junior Health and Safety Advisor

Werner has been working for a year now at MBA FS, and was first appointed as a Health and Safety Advisor Trainee, and was then offered the Junior Health and Safety Advisor position. He is currently stationed in Welkom and serves all our Northern Free State members.

Monique Trollip – Health and Safety Administrator

Monique is stationed in Bloemfontein where she handles all the health and safety admin work for the Health and Safety Team.

Rehaba Lekhoto – MBA FS Receptionist

Rehaba is one of theoldest staff members at MBA FS and has been working here for 17 years. She started as the cleaning / tea lady, and eventually was offered the job as the receptionist at MBA FS. Rehaba helps our members with their provident fund claims, and handles all the queries for the Welkom office.

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal held its 119th Annual General meeting on 30 June 2020 via the Microsoft Teams platform, which saw Bhekisisa Samson Ngcongo of Dambuza Community Development Trust elected to a second term as President of the Association. In his address, he stated that the Association would vigorously pursue the relevant strategies to build a sustainable and conducive business environment and was resolute in its efforts to effect a positive change.

Congratulations to the Executive Council for the next term of office:

  • Bhekisisa Samson Ngcongo, Dambuza Community Development Trust
  • Joyce Dolly Tembe, Sakhisizwe Development Training
  • Vic Naidoo, 2C Projects CC (Pty) Limited
  • Patricia Moodley, Globacon (Pty) Limited
  • Lance Ridl, Ridl Construction
  • Marcus Gonzalves, FS Gonzalves Construction
  • Moegamat Behardien, MET Developments
  • Thys Blom, Plankonsult
  • John Dorning, Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN
  • Craig Gainsford, GVK-Siya Zama Building Contractors (Pty) Limited
  • Francois Louw, MET Builders
  • Thobekile Ndlovu, Thobethulani Trading CC
  • Ash Sewraj, Deck, Steel and Concrete CC
  • Nelson Rodrigues, Grinaker-LTA

The KwaZulu-Natal based Association presents itself as a one-stop business hub and offers a comprehensive membership service which includes occupational health and safety, building and contractual advice, labour relations and training and skills development.

This is complemented by a wide range of commercial offerings such as Occupational Health and Safety Consulting, Training Academy, Print Studio, Occupational Health Clinics, Conference facilities, Café Indaba and Recruitment Agency – which are designed to assist members with their business operations at preferential rates.

Notwithstanding a severely constrained economy, the Association closed the last financial year with 757 members on its membership roll and once again obtained an unqualified audit.

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote our members, the Association embarked on an exciting member promotion campaign, which included advertising segments on East Coast Radio and the launch of the Master Builders KZN App. The App connects members of the Association to the world of work and complements the Association’s online Find-a-Builder and Find-a-Supplier directories. These initiatives enable clients and the public to easily access their members. The App is available from the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

The Association prioritises transformation in the construction industry and continued to run their special projects – the Vuka Makhi programme, Bursary Fund and Emerging Contractor programme. It has been five years since the inception of the Vuka Makhi Programme, which is designed to groom identified learners from school to employment. Tuition is offered to grade 11 and 12 learners in several subjects with about 120 learners enrolled to date. Their 2019 matriculants achieved a 100% pass rate in the 2019 matric examination, with 40 distinctions between them.

To date, the Bursary Fund has supported 121 construction industry aspirants. In 2020, 15 bursaries have been approved comprising qualifications in Construction Management, Quantity Surveying and Supervision of Construction Processes.

The Emerging Contractor Programme has, over the past seven years, contributed to the business and construction management skills of 202 small businesses. The Programme consists of training, mentorship and the Adopt-a-Company phase.

The Association is also the registered Administrator of the KwaZulu-Natal Provident Fund, KwaZulu-Natal Retirement Fund and Midlands Building industry Retirement Fund and also administers the Holiday Pay Stamp Scheme. The Funds recently launched its official website www.kznretirementfunding.co.za

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal recognised that rising material costs, onerous clauses in contracts, site interruptions, reduced contract periods, increased competition, shrinking profit margins, the impact of load shedding, low investor confidence, ratings downgrades, business closures, high rates of unemployment and the slow pace of structural reforms were among the many challenges that members were faced with. In order to mitigate these challenges, the Association engaged with several key industry stakeholders.

This was further exacerbated by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. The world, South Africa and the construction industry would bear the brunt of the looming lockdowns and restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the virus. This set the tone for the coming months and it definitely would not be business as usual.

The Association remains steadfast in its commitment to driving and influencing a positive and sustainable future for the construction industry.

Following the emergence of COVID-19 in South Africa and the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement lockdown from 27 March 2020, the Covid-19 Construction Rapid Response Task Team was established with participation from key industry bodies to tackle the recovery of the industry post the lockdown. The Task Team, which seeks participation and expertise of all stakeholders in the industry, played a pivotal role in making key submissions towards the full reactivation of the sector under Alert Level 3.

Upon full reactivation of the sector, to assist members and the industry as a whole to maintain the necessary Occupational Health and safety protocols during the Covid-19 era, Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal launched their COVID-19 site induction video, which can be downloaded from www.masterbuilders.co.za.

 

MBA North welcomes government’s infrastructure strategy but says implementation is critical

The Master Builders Association (MBA) North has broadly welcomed President Ramaphosa’s vision of massive infrastructure spending as the “flywheel” of South Africa’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Speaking at the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium, President Ramaphosa said that 88 investment-ready projects had already been identified by the Presidency’s infrastructure and investment head Dr Kgosientsho Ramakgopa and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

However, says MBA North President, Mohau Mphomela, the industry has heard similar rhetoric for the past several years.

“We are in agreement with Minister De Lille that this cannot be another talking shop – it’s all about implementation, implementation, implementation,” he notes. “It’s noteworthy that the President has identified the key role that the private sector has to play in making this project work, but it remains to be seen whether he can deliver on the clear policies and institutional frameworks that will be needed to unlock corporate treasure chests.

“If the state insists on playing a central role, we could see this initiative failing to meet its targets. Everything thus hinges on the ability of the Presidency’s infrastructure commission to convince investors that they are up to the task. Given the state’s poor track record when it comes to managing large projects – Medupi and Kusile come to mind – it is of the utmost importance that they can demonstrate both commitment and capability to investors.”

President Ramaphosa has previously indicated that he wants to attract R1.5 trillion over the next 10 years for the infrastructure development programme.

Mphomela notes that the construction industry has been under severe strain for several years now, with several of its leading players either having gone out of business or in business rescue. The COVID-19 lockdowns have further intensified the industry’s vulnerability. The same scenario is playing out in the cement, engineering and steel industries locally.

“We have lost a lot of muscle, and what was once a world-class construction sector is now a shadow of its former self,” he says. “More delays will further reduce our internal capability to deliver on these ambitious projects, and thus hamstring efforts to rebuild a more inclusive economy.

“The Master Builders Association North stands ready to work with government to turn these plans into reality, but time is running out,” he concludes.

Health & Safety Risks To Consider During Lockdown Level 3, By Gerhard Roets, Construction Health & Safety Manager, MBA North

Hierarchy of Controls

  • Elimination: Physically remove the hazard
  • Substitution: Replace the hazard
  • Engineering Controls: Isolate people from the hazard
  • Administrative Controls: Change the way people work
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Protect the worker with PPE

HAZARD: Transport to work

RISK

Company transport: Lack of social distancing, transport with ill people, unsanitary vehicle and poor ventilation in vehicles.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

The transportation of workers by public transport with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements should be followed.

  • Where practical, contractors will make use of transport where the safe distance of 1,5m can be maintained
  • Employees must be transported in well-ventilated vehicles where possible
  • All vehicles must be sanitised prior to use
  • All employees entering the vehicle must be wearing cloth face masks

HAZARD: Covid-19 non-awareness

RISK

General non-awareness of the virus can lead to the spreading of the virus.

IMPACT

Fatality

CONTROL

  • Covid-19 information, education and communication
  • Posters with information on notice boards, changing facilities and meeting areas
  • Hand-outs provided on topics
  • Toolbox talks on topics
  • Training (internal and external); online

HAZARD: Reporting of duty: Access control

RISK

Biometric system can potentially result in the transmission of the virus.

IMPACT

Business risk / Fatality

CONTROL

  • Stop all non-essential visitors
  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times.
  • All persons entering the site will be wearing a face mask
  • Monitor site access points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring
  • Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact, eg fingerprint scanners or biometric system.

HAZARD: Possible infected person at work

RISK

An infected person in the workplace can potentially spread the virus.

IMPACT

Business risk / Fatality

CONTROL

  • Designated manager or OMP (Occupational Medical Practitioner) to be informed should an infection be suspected
  • Person to be provided with a mask if not already wearing one
  • Person to be removed to quarantine area while awaiting transport
  • Person to be transported to a testing or treatment facility
  • Use of masks and gloves when consulting with the potentially infected person
  • The quarantine area to be sanitised after the person was removed using the correct PPE

HAZARD: General hygiene in the workplace

RISK

People are within 1,5m from each other in the workplace.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • Social distancing policy implemented that no person should be closer than 1,5m from each other
  • No bodily contact whatsoever allowed in the company
  • Employees should limit the use of co-worker’s tools and equipment.
  • Non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out.
  • Work requiring skin to skin contact should not be carried out

HAZARD: Site meetings and toolbox talks

RISK

Failing to comply with the social distancing policy.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • Social distancing policy implemented that no persons should be closer than 1,5m from each other
  • No bodily contact whatsoever allowed in the company
  • Supervisor or manager leading meeting to ensure compliance
  • Site meeting protocols

HAZARD: Changing facilities and showers

RISK

Contaminated objects and surfaces can transmit the virus.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • Introduce staggered start and finish times in order to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities throughout the day and at the end of each day
  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on site if possible
  • Based on the size of each facility, determine how many people can use it at any one time to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins in these areas with regular removal and disposal

HAZARD: Canteens and eating arrangements

RISK

Contaminated objects and surfaces can transmit the virus.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • The workforce should also be required to stay on-site once they have entered it and not use local shops
  • Dedicated eating areas should be identified on site to reduce food waste and contamination
  • Break times should be staggered in order to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitiser should be available at the entrance of any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area.
  • The workforce should be asked to bring pre-prepared meals and refillable drinking bottles from home

HAZARD: Tool storage areas

RISK

Infected tools and equipment.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • A sufficient stock of hand sanitiser, soap and paper towels must be kept and made available in the storage area
  • Storeman to maintain a 1,5 m distance from all staff collecting tools; a Perspex panel can be installed to reduce contact
  • The store man must sanitise his hands after each “transaction”
  • A sanitising station must be at the entrance to the store, employees collecting tools and goods must sanitise prior to entry
  • All commonly used tools must be sanitised on being returned to the store

HAZARD: Machine and vehicle keys

RISK

Contaminated machine or vehicle keys that are handed over between employees can result in the transmission of the virus.

IMPACT

Business risk / fatality

CONTROL

  • Seventy percent alcohol base sanitiser are available during the issuing and receiving of machine and vehicle keys
  • Drivers should remain in their vehicles if the load will allow it and must wash or clean their hands before unloading goods and materials
  • Continuous sanitising of hands
  • Equipment to be sanitised during refuelling
  • All machines have sanitiser in the cabs to sanitise on an ongoing process

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Reflection

So it was back to work for most of our Industry from 1 June 2020, but as you are no doubt aware, the MBA has been anything but idle during lockdown. Apart from our usual weekly MBA Bulletins and articles, we have sent out over 40 Covid-19 specific emails which have also been communicated to members and the industry via our website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As mentioned in many of these communications, the MBA was able to positively influence the content and timing of the moves to Level 4 and Level 3 of the lockdown through its participation in the Covid-19 Rapid Responses Task Team (CC19RRTT), a “vehicle” formed by Master Builders South Africa to collectively interact directly with Government and related bodies on Covid-19 issues. We acknowledge and thank Master Builders South Africa, as well as Master Builders KZN, for the key roles they have played in facilitating this process thus far.

We have also been in communication with our Provincial Governments, as well as around a dozen local municipalities in our region in order promote Master Builders and to influence and assist decisions at a grassroots level. We were thus pleased to have our whole industry move to Level 3 from 1 June 2020 which we are sure occurred as a direct result of the unrelenting and sustained communication and submissions to Government by MBA representative from across the country via the task team.

Our MBA staff remain fully operational according to our own Covid-19 Return to Work Plan. Whilst most of our staff have been working from home, some have already been operating from our PE Office for a few weeks now and the balance will be returning to the office when allowed and in line with Covid-19 Alert Levels over the coming weeks.

Our offices are still closed to the public, except for meetings by appointment; however, we continue to serve our members and keep them up to date on developments. As also mentioned by the President, it is 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 before and as we return to work.

What do I need to do?

With all active sites having started up again just a few weeks ago, we continue to provide the best support and assistance to our members as work resumes. To this end we have made numerous documents available on our MBA Website to assist and advise members on what is required to ensure the safety of their employees.

We have fully recognised the extreme hardship being faced by many of our members who have been unable to operate at all during this extended lockdown. As a non-profit organisation, we have also taken a bit of a beating as we are also highly dependent on cashflow and have not been able to provide manty of our services during lockdown.

There has been such a focus on Covid-19 of late and for good reason, but we must now urgently get back to some of the more pressing issues facing our industry, including things like:

 

  • Non-payment (especially subcontractors)
  • Onerous contract conditions
  • Waiver of Lien requests
  • Payment guarantees
  • Skills development
  • Promoting MBA members to clients

We would like to thank all members who have already been able to promptly settle their annual MBA membership subscriptions but also recognise that this may not be possible for all members. We have therefor made provision for a number of possible relief options to assist members who find themselves in difficulty and cannot pay their subscriptions. We encourage member companies to contact the association and we will gladly assist you as best we can.

Greg Steele

Executive Director

Master Builders, East Cape

 

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.