How Does Local Government In SA Stack Up To Global Rivals?

The recent Auditor General of South Africa’s (AGSA) report on the performance of local government has revealed that municipalities are in need of strong governance and better reporting, with only 7,3% of municipalities achieving a clean audit. The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has recently published a national equivalent of the international standard ISO 18091: Quality management systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001 and believes that the implementation can assist to improve the performance of local government in delivering high quality public products and services underpinned by effective governance, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

“Globally local governments face challenging issues regarding delivery of quality products and services to local communities. In tandem with this they must ensure full compliance with the various laws and regulations when conducting their business. Developed in consultation with national standards bodies from various countries, the ISO 18091 standard sets out the globally recognised principles of quality management in local government. The adoption of ISO 18091 as SANS/ISO 18091 provides the opportunity for South African local authorities to embed quality management into their service delivery efforts thus giving local citizens and ratepayers confidence in their management and planning processes. We believe that it is imperative that local government become familiar with the standard to ensure that their performance and service delivery execution is aligned to international best practice,” says Dr Sadhvir Bissoon, Standards Executive at the SABS.

The SANS/ISO 18091 is the first standard that is directed at the public sector and provides detailed annexures to provide checklists and processes that aids the implementation. The national standard, which contains elements of ISO 9001: quality management systems, is suitable for all local authorities and helps them to evaluate and diagnose their operating models, processes and delivery of services.

“The SABS understands that the maturity of local municipalities, in terms of systems and processes, may not be at the required level and SANS/ISO 18091 is an indispensable stepping stone to becoming more effective. We are also aware that the 91-page document, which contains a wealth of technical information, needs to be workshopped amongst management and the SABS will be offering a series of workshops, training and advisory services that will be directed at this level of government. We also believe that the adoption of the standard will help strengthen many of the regulations that National Treasury has put in place for entities governed by the PFMA and the MMFA,” explains Bissoon.

Details of upcoming engagements will be posted on the SABS website and all enquiries can be sent to info@sabs.co.za

 

Realising the Potential of Cape York

Previously owned by the Bank of Mozambique and abandoned, Cape York had been hijacked and fraudulently sold, with several “owners” allowing it to become severely overcrowded and collecting rent illegally. It was infamous as a hub for drug trafficking and prostitution, lacked running water, power and sanitation and had seen two fires that claimed lives.

Hijacked buildings like this have become all too common in South Africa’s inner cities. These high-rises have not only become dangerous to live in but pose a threat to neighbouring buildings, impacting social safety as a whole.

Cape York, situated in Doornfontein on the corner of Nugget and Rahima Moosa Street, epitomised the negative impact of hijacked buildings on neighbourhoods and society. Originally a 10-storey office building with retail shops on the ground floor, employees who worked in the building started living there in 1997. As the building became more neglected, more people moved in, leading to severe overcrowding.

To compound this issue, the building was fraudulently sold to a group of investors – a discovery the appointed attorneys made during the transfer process. Once this was legally rectified, Samuel Beyin saw potential in the embattled building and bought out the shareholding of the Cape York owned entity.

Despite calls to simply demolish the then-derelict building after a second fire claimed seven lives in 2017, Beyin was determined to realise the building’s potential and transform it into a viable and safe rental property. He renamed the building Focus 1 and invested his own capital before approaching TUHF for a loan. The total cost of the project including refurbishment was R100 million.

The project presented many design, technical and construction challenges. But Beyin and TUHF focused on the opportunities to collaborate and resolve these creatively. The expected completion date was March 2020 but – because the finished building would provide student accommodation for up to 538 young people – Samuel and his team pushed through over the festive season to achieve practical completion on 28 January, well ahead of programme and in time for the new year.

The refurbished building consists of spacious two-bed and four-bed unit apartments as student accommodation offering, and communal study and social areas on the fifth floor. Each apartment is leased fully furnished, incorporating beds, cupboards and clever additional storage solutions under the beds that may be used to store textbooks and other study paraphernalia, as well as private bathrooms with a toilet and shower, a small kitchenette with a sink and eating area.

The building has full communal kitchens, with microwaves and stoves where students can prepare meals, as well as social areas to allow tenants a safe and comfortable space to interact and relax. Wifi, laundry facilities, an in-house gym, a library, football and basketball fields, state-of-the art biometric access to ensure safety and transport to and from campus complete the list of amenities that make Focus 1 such a sought-after home for students.

The surrounding universities were then invited to view the building in January 2020 and at the time, they immediately started referring students to take up tenancy. While tenanting the building was temporarily affected by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown and physical distancing measures to support containing the spread of the virus, tenancy is expected to pick up once on-site classes and attendance at the surrounding universities is allowed to resume – and toward the 2021 academic year.

In addition, the innovative building design is future proofed and constructed in such a way that it allows for fluent conversion. Should the market change, Focus 1 can easily be converted to normal apartments for rental stock should the owner decide.

 

The Perfect Tool For Crane Planning

Whether planning a new factory, plant or warehousing extensions, drawing up architectural plans or designs that accurately reflect crane space requirements will save time, eliminate cost wastage whilst enhancing productivity and safety.

Architects, industrial designers and metal building manufacturers can now access vast amounts of crane-related data and the Konecranes electronic crane catalogue by using their Crane Planner tool. The embedded and simple online search tool offers a quick source of referencing for correct crane selection, crane space requirements, wheel loads, 3D models and 2D drawings.

“Our simple crane planning tool, Crane Planner, enables designers, particularly architects and metal building manufacturers, to quickly specify their crane requirements, view and compare designs via access to over 1000 pre-design cranes with 2D and 3D drawings,” said Emil Berning, Managing Director.

“We believe the Crane Planner tool offered by Konecranes also functions as an educational tool, in terms of how to minimise total costs and add value through correct crane selection, installation and improved crane handling procedures – all factors that impact positively upon safety, a non-negotiable element of crane usage,” said Berning.

What Crane Planner offers

Konecranes’ Crane Planner tool has been specifically designed for architectural use, making design, comparison and final blueprints for crane requirements quicker, more thoroughly researched and more cost-effective.

It offers:

  • 2D and 3D drawings with wheel loads and build-in dimensions
  • Online access to over 1000 pre-design cranes
  • Creates unique value by providing technical consultation
  • Eliminates down time for building designers
  • Creates tighter cooperation between builders and consultants
  • Offers a hub with brochures and cross references from similar cases
  • Optimises the crane and building process at the same time, making it a win-win for all parties

Berning said: “The application of the crane and associated lifting systems is an element that should receive more focus in the very early stages of the design of suggested building plans. Incorrect space allocation and confined and non-practical operational placement places operators in a possibly unsafe workspace which could have major health and safety consequences. Likewise, the choice of the wrong crane type and associated components has an immediate impact on a company’s return on investment and performance levels. Both of these elements have a direct impact of cost-efficiencies at site.”

“Our Crane Planner is a key tool to ensure that crane planning is accurately researched, giving architects access to all critical information and best in design that is needed to ensure that the resulting crane installation is functional, correctly installed, gives optimised performance and is 100% safety compliant. Metal building manufacturers who need the crane data as a base of the dimensioning of the building will find Crane Planner of particular benefit.

“This online tool is another element of Konecranes’ ongoing investment into technology that enables us to offer high-performance, practical and safe lifting solutions to our customers. It enables us to strengthen our customer relationships through an improved awareness of our services and products and to build upon our reputation as the preferred crane supplier,” concluded Berning.

Crane Planner demonstration video: https://youtu.be/LUwU0F_wpQM

 

 

MBA North and PRAWA partner to bring standards to the roofing industry

The Master Builders Association (MBA) North and the Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA) have agreed to collaborate in order to accelerate the drive to introduce standards for the roofing and waterproofing industry.

“The start of the rainy season on the highveld is a good time to drive home the message that it does not pay to take short cuts when it comes to roofing and waterproofing. During tough economic times like the present, people can be tempted to go with the cheapest option, and then later find that sub-standard materials were used and there is no accountability,” says JJ Conradie, Executive Chair at PRAWA. “PRAWA was founded with the aim of helping the industry improve its skills and to provide a way to hold contractors accountable for the standard of the work they deliver to clients.”

“The MBA, and MBA North in particular, is doing a great job in helping the broader construction industry to upskill and to adhere to a proper professional code, so this alliance makes perfect sense.”

Conradie says thousands of people are active in the industry – participants range from handymen right up to industrial and commercial applicators dealing with sophisticated applications in the industrial, commercial and domestic sectors. While some contractors specialise in this area, others offer a range of construction services of which waterproofing and roof repair are just two.

Boitumelo Thipe, Marketing and Business Development Manager at MBA North says that the alliance with PRAWA is welcome because it brings an important sector within the construction industry into the fold. “Setting professional standards and providing training opportunities are essential ingredients of creating a professional industry that is able to gain the trust of the public, and can provide sustainable jobs,” she says. “Working with MBA North, PRAWA can play a massive role in improving the industry’s skills and thus opening up new opportunities, which is something our country desperately needs. Just as MBA-accredited builders are preferred by clients, in due course we will start to see PRAWA-accredited roof repairers and waterproofers identified as suppliers of choice.”

Conradie says that upskilling is an important foundation for creating a credible profession. To that end, PRAWA has teamed up with Roofing Academy, which offers CETA accredited training for waterproofing up to NQF Level 2, thus providing an excellent starting point in the journey to upskill the industry. Experienced roofers will also be able to gain certification through recognition of prior learning.

Skilled, accredited staff are more motivated and take more of a pride in their work – a great bonus for both their employers and clients, he points out. They are also better positioned to build careers rather than simply do jobs.

PRAWA has arranged a sub-committee that will work towards setting up a minimum standard for the industry. This sub-committee is made up of current industry role players, including:

  • Browns Proofing
  • Blakmar
  • African Rope Access
  • Peche Roofing
  • WNS Waterproofing
  • JBC Roof Cover
  • Dusty Moon Construction

“By setting standards we will help to make the industry more accountable, more professional and ultimately more profitable,” Conradie concludes. “The final piece of the puzzle is to provide an interface between contractors and their clients. PRAWA offers clients the option of getting completed work inspected by a PRAWA-affiliated inspector, and inspectors can assist in resolving disputes.”

Construction students build careers despite COVID-19

According to the International Monetary Fund, the construction sector was one of the industries that was most affected by COVID-19. However, this hasn’t deterred a group of local Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) students who completed their learnerships in the face of adversity and have only been more inspired to grow their careers, become independent and start their own businesses.

This is according to Letitia van Rensburg, Training Officer at Master Builders’ Association for the Western Cape (MBAWC), who explained that the company’s most recent OHS Learnership Programme started in March 2019 with 9 out of 11 students graduating in September 2020.

“The purpose of this programme was to take an individual with a passion for OHS from a low knowledge base up to the required level in order to become a professional in a period of 18-24 months,” she said.

To take part in this programme, the entry-level requirement was for a learner to have a Grade 12 certificate, be medically fit to work on a site and to reside in the Cape Town area and surrounds, van Rensburg added.  “The programme also gave the learners the ability to earn and learn, while gaining valuable experience in the profession and working towards a qualification.”

However, this year was an anomaly due to COVID-19, which most of the learners tackled head-on with positivity, optimism, and the resolve to complete the course and grow their careers.

One of the students, Cleopatra Mnqanqeni said, “Not only was I afforded time in the hard lockdown to work on my portfolio and logbook, but I was also able to reflect on how the items fit together.  Post lockdown put us in a position where we had to assist Grinaker-LTA with new COVID-19 regulations.  We had to work as a team on new implementation guidelines of unfamiliar content.  We were also forced to use electronic platforms such as Zoom which was a good learning curve.”

Deen Lewis agreed, pointing out that he had to put in a lot more hard work and effort while things were rough during the hard lockdown.  “I refused to give up, because if I made it this far – I could make the programme and get through his period.”

“I found that I was able to push my own boundaries and that dedication, commitment and hard work pays off in the end,” said Engelina Gama. “I am now inspired to move from a Candidate Construction Health and Safety Officer (CHO) to a full safety management role as a professional OHS Manager. I would also like to mentor new people coming into this role.”

Jadon Davids wants to become an OHS management expert and even be able to consult around the world. “On-site the COVID-19 regulations made a new level of compliance a reality.  We had to implement and manage new rules, and still practice all the other safety aspects on a site. Working in construction, I had already seen a need for safety, but this took it to a new level and was a great opportunity for me to learn and further my career.”

“The lockdown made it easier to just focus on the work that needed to be done which made it easier to focus on the learning and not worry about much else,” said Khanyisiwe Futshane. “This was a small blessing in a way and now that I have completed the course, I can see the path for my future.”

  “I simply decided that the programme was worth every sacrifice and dedicated my time to ensure that I achieve the desired outcome,” added Mischa Arendse. “I have now set myself up for the future, will make better earnings, have more training opportunities and be able to further my professional development.

Celine van Wyk said that meeting different people from various communities was a highlight for her. “The fact that I was exposed to a new world of diversity and learning was really pushing me to grow. I was very shy when I joined the programme and I am now able to express myself in my own voice. I want to remain in the Construction Industry as an OHS practitioner for the foreseeable future.”

This programme was a passion point for Rael Jacobs who said: “The opportunity aligned with a strong social need to eliminate risk and hazards in our environments. Construction OHS fits my passions. I am looking forward to registering with the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professionals as an OHS practitioner, with the goal of gaining working experience in other regions of the world too.”

Tjeka Training Matters was a training partner for the programme and really solidified the importance of mentorship, said Letitia van Rensburg.  “The training company took a strong lead in having an appointed mentor for the student to refer to in their portfolio work, as well as during their time on-site.”

“However, you cannot yield success in a process like this without the learner’s own ability to be dedicated to the learning process.  It is not always an easy path being a working person and learning, but these learners showed initiative and passion to get to CHO status,” she concluded.

Construction industry seeks solutions to ‘disruptive’ local business forums

Business forums – groupings representing local communities who disrupt building sites – are here to stay and the construction sector needs to find ways to include them in construction projects. This was the outcome of a panel discussion comprising contractors, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and a body representing business forums held recently at MDA Attorneys’ annual Collective Wisdom event in Johannesburg.

“It is unfair to characterise emerging contractors and business forums as hooligans and thugs. They are legitimate business people who want to participate in the projects in their areas,” said Robert Ndlela, secretary-general of the Federation for Radical Transformation (FFRET) adding that the organisation was formed to deal with site disruptions as well as to ensure that members are actively involved in projects in their areas. He conceded that there are factions which exploit the situation to drive their own agenda, but emphasized the importance of open dialogue between contractors and business forums.

SANRAL’s head of transformation, Ismael Essa, said that his organisation has invested heavily in creating a 14-point plan in its projects which includes pre-tender training for emerging contractors and identifying local resources in the design phase. “SANRAL’s investment in training emerging local contractors equates to about 5% of contract value, but the contract risk sits squarely with contractors, who must bear and deal with civil unrest risk,” said Essa.

Ayanda Notshweleka, MD of construction contractor Masakhane PM, disagreed. “It is incorrect that contractors should be at the coal-face with business forums. It is the employer, the designer of the work, who should have a clear understanding of the dynamics. Talking to local participants should be taking place at design phase, not once the contractor is already on site,” he said.

Derek Goodwin, contracts director at Stefanutti Stocks, noted that there are several grey areas open to interpretation which should be clarified, such as the definition of what constitutes local labour and skills development requirements.  “Meaningful skills transfer and transformation are important issues, so we should assign importance to them in our contracts. All parties should be involved – the contractor also has to meet the imperative of a low price for the works, while making allowances for skills transfer.”

“Most contractors have shed jobs and there is little incentive to invest in skills training,” says Ian Massey, director at MDA Consulting. “A due diligence should be undertaken to identify the availability of required skills within designated groups in the area. We need a structured plan to ensure all workers complete projects with enhanced skills.”

According to Notshweleka, three simple steps are required: structure documents to align with legislation, be clear on what is to be delivered and engage meaningfully with the community to which the project is being delivered.

Essa called for flexibility, citing a clash of legislation between BEE rules and local involvement. “FFRET members cannot expand their enterprises if they are confined to a single geographical area. It doesn’t make sense to have an emerging contractor with experience who cannot contribute to broader economic growth and transformation in a different region,” he said.

MDA Collective Wisdom is held annually to promote the future of the South African construction industry through constructive dialogue. Says Massey, “This issue is emotive and complex, but we believe it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that people have the opportunity to participate in the economy and construction and that all players can go about their business unhindered.”

SACPCMP Examinations to Commence in October 2020

The South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) confirms that its registration examinations will resume as of 20 October 2020. The examination process was put on hold due to a combination of Covid-19 related event restrictions under the National Lockdown period, as well as the upgrade of the Council’s registration system. However, with the move to Lockdown Level 1, the Council will resume with examinations as of this month.

“The Council commenced with its interview processes last month, observing all the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols,” said SACPCMP Registrar, Mr. Butcher Matutle. “We are now very pleased to announce that examinations will resume on 20 October in Gauteng.”

Matutle said the first examination groups to be presented in Gauteng would assist in addressing the examinations backlog that developed over the past few months. The Council would also, during the next three weeks, look to arrange additional examination sittings in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

Falling Prey to Fake News

The Registrar however cautioned Registered Persons and examination applicants to be wary of fake news and incorrect reports regarding the examinations. “A considerable amount of fake news has made its way to social media and communication platforms over the past weeks. Certain sites and fake announcements have noted inaccurate reports. One of these being that examinations will not take place this year – I must state that this is untrue, and stakeholders should not fall prey to inaccurate or fake announcements,” he said.

Matutle confirmed that the Council was aware of the names of those who had been involved in communicating fake news and an investigation into this was underway. “Industry professionals have a duty to ensure that the information they dispense is accurate and their actions align to the Code of Conduct agreed upon via the registration process. As a Council, we are working very hard to improve our services and systems amidst trying circumstances, and we appeal to Construction Professionals to support these efforts by ensuring that their interactions with each other are based on truthful, reliable information.”

Examination Booking Details
The SACPCMP’s examination booking system will open from Saturday, 10 October 2020. This can be accessed via the examination applicants’ personal registration profile page. However, not ALL applicants need to book (see below).

The October SACPCMP examination batch will be divided into two groups:
Group 1
The first group will cater to a pre-selected group of confirmed examination applicants that have already paid for their examination fees. These people will be:
– Contacted directly regarding their examination details and
– Need NOT book via the Council’s examination booking system.
Group 2
The second examination batch will cater to examination applicants that have not yet paid their examination fees but have been invited to sit for the examination. These applicants:
– MUST utilise the Council’s examination booking system to select their examination dates and book their examination slots.

Online Examinations Coming Soon
“In addition to presenting ‘manual’ examinations, we will also launch online examinations via our upgraded registration system in the next few weeks. This will provide access to applicants who face travel or time restraints and offer a more convenient examination solution to our registration applicants going forward,” said Matutle.
Any questions regarding the SACPCMP examination bookings can be sent to the Council’s Customer Relationship Management team via one of the following email addresses:
crmadmin2@sacpcmp.org.za
JnrCrm1@sacpcmp.org.za
crmadmin3@sacpcmp.org.za
JnrCrm2@sacpcmp.org.za

Covid-19: Construction Sectoral Guidelines published

by Kate Collier, a Partner & Shane Johnson, Professional Support Lawyer at Webber Wentzel

At various stages during the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, various studies were released on the negative impact that Covid-19 will have on the construction sector. Some studies predicted that the sector could experience a total of 140,000 job losses. With alert level 1 now in effect,​the construction sector can breathe a sigh of relief with prospects for increased activity.

All players within the construction sector will need to ensure compliance with the Construction Sectoral Guidelines (Guidelines) that were recently published by the Chief Inspector of the Department of Employment & Labour (DEL). Although the Guidelines have not been published in the government gazette, the Guidelines have been published on the DEL website as a final version. We anticipate that the Guidelines will be published in the Government Gazette shortly.

The Guidelines aim to assist the construction sector in applying the Covid-19 Direction on Health & Safety in the Workplace. Clients, designers and principal contractors have specific roles to play in applying the Guidelines.

It is important for employers to note that the Construction Regulations 2014 (CR) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (OHSA) remain applicable and must be complied with by employers.

The Guidelines provide that the client’s team and principal contractor should work together to identify ways in which Covid-19 risks can be mitigated. The HIRA [under CR 5(1)(a)] needs to be updated for the project at a high level to identify levels of risk that would expose employees and other project staff to Covid-19. The aspects of the HIRA need to incorporate the risk categories as identified by the Hazardous Biological Agent Regulations 2001.

We highlight the key provisions of the Guidelines below.

Workplace risk assessment

Employers must conduct a workplace risk assessment and identify –

  • High risk exposure work processes which should be divided into four risk exposure categories –
Very high exposure risk

Example: Healthcare workers at the site of the project

  High exposure risk

Example: Employees stationed at entry points to the workplace

  Medium exposure risk

Example: Workers who may have frequent contact with workers who may return from other provinces

  Low exposure risk

Example: Remote workers or office workers

  • ​High risk work practices which include labour intensive activities, confined working spaces, toolbox talks and workshops.

Site access points

Contractors must ensure that they follow strict protocols at site access points including –

  • maintaining strict visitor access control;
  • requiring all individuals on site to wash their hands on site and thereafter apply hand sanitiser before entering the site; and
  • enforcing staggered start and end times.

Engineering controls and administrative controls

The contractor must ensure that the certain engineering controls are in place –

  • proper ventilation: workplaces must be well ventilated by natural or mechanical means;
  • physical barriers: if workstations cannot be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart, physical barriers should be placed between workers; and
  • adaptation of workstations to increase social distancing.

The contractor must also ensure that certain administrative controls are in place –

  • screening, reporting of symptoms and implementing sick leave;
  • minimising contact;
  • rotation and shift work;
  • work from home strategies;
  • communication and information strategies;
  • role of health and safety committees and representatives;
  • education and training;
  • reporting of incidents, contact tracing, screening, testing and surveillance;
  • management of Covid-19 positive employees and workplace contacts; and
  • management of vulnerable employees and special measures for their protection.

Healthy and safe work practices

Employers must ensure that they make use of disinfectants and sanitisers and encourage personal hygiene in the workplace and on site. This includes the obligation to ensure that –

  • workers are required to wash their hands and sanitise their hands regularly while at work;
  • there are adequate rubbish bins with lids for disposal of paper towels;
  • workers sign  tools in and out and disinfect tools; and
  • workers to be provided with necessary tools and equipment to prevent sharing of tools and equipment insofar as reasonable and practical.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The type of PPE required will vary according to the work activity and medical risk factors. The principle contractor must ensure that workers who work in close contact with one another wear the appropriate PPE and workers must be trained on how to wear, remove and dispose of PPE. The principle contractor should also provide designated bins for the disposal of PPE.

The main types of PPE that should be considered are –

  • masks and respirators;
  • gloves; and
  • face shields.

Safe transport for employees

The contractor should train workers who rely on public transport or who use employer-provided transport on the relevant safety protocols that they should follow. This includes information on social distancing and wearing of masks.

Contractors should, as far as possible, ensure that safe transport arrangements are made which includes –

  • sanitisers for work;
  • masks and respirators for taxi drivers; and
  • social distancing and capacity arrangements.

Signs of Confidence In The Local Construction Sector

UK-owned RMD Kwikform South Africa is now a fully South African owned company, following a recently concluded management buyout. It will in future operate as KiT. 

RMD Kwikform South Africa (RMD) was a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading formwork and scaffolding suppliers. This buyout could be viewed as affirmation of enduring opportunity in the construction sector, regardless of an ongoing weak trading environment. Having separated from the UK-based Interserve Group, RMD experienced an uptick in earnings over the last quarter while it is about to rebrand its business units across South Africa.

This recent acquisition has dropped the emphasis once again on the underlying value and opportunity still present in the local construction sector, despite a threatening pandemic.

“Once the due diligence report became available, our expectations were confirmed. A strong balance sheet, coupled with a comforting pipeline of secured work and even payment guarantees were particularly satisfying,” a spokesperson for one of the investment corporations, Dirk Streicher, commented during an interview with the new shareholders.  “It was the quality of the executive team and their experience of the local market that really sold us the deal,” he added.  “We were particularly impressed by the early responsiveness of the team on the deteriorating trading conditions early in the cycle, long before Covid-19 arrived on our doorsteps.”

Dirk Streicher, a Civil Engineer by profession, added that the science, creative challenges and complexities of temporary works design had always fascinated him since the early days of his career.  “Over the years I continued to wonder why there were always only a few national players in the market. This acquisition allowed us to expand our investment portfolio into this highly specialised, oligopolistic environment with its high barriers to entry. The fact that we are now proudly South African is the cherry on the cake!” Streicher told the media during a briefing at his home.

Asked what the outlook is for the next year and beyond, Sales Director, Rossouw Fourie, stressed that the new owners maintain a realistic outlook while low levels of construction activity are expected to continue deep into 2022 before a slow recovery could be on the horizon.

The context is further explained by Managing Director, Johan Smit, who emphasises that the prospects for any business operating in the current climate should not be to wait for an economy to recover, but rather to learn to “dance in the rain,” referring to the ability of a company to be profitable despite weak trading conditions. “It is cardinal to rethink and redefine the differentiating factors between essential and non-essential spend,” Smit added. “It is in this regard that the national lockdown has certainly given us all a crash course in what is really essential. As a result, we have created opportunity for ourselves to tender at extreme low rates and still be able to remain profitable while offering added value at low cost to our customers.”

“The current price elasticity of supply in the formwork and scaffolding sector has reached unprecedented levels of sensitivity. Building contractors simply need the best technical solution with a quality product and exceptional service at the lowest available price. We believe that we are now in an ideal position to meet this expectation from customers,” Fourie told the media during an online briefing.

In response to the further question of what lies ahead for the South African business, Director responsible for operations in the Western Cape, Gerhardt Nieuwoudt, elaborated on the next steps: “We will soon start rolling out a whole new corporate identity. It’s a brand that embodies the aspiration that we have as an organisation. It’s about a new culture. It’s about being brave. It’s about being passionate. It’s also about scalability and being ready to serve our customers in a new uncontested way. And yes, we are excited about being “Proudly South African.”

“I think its emotional for all of us as it is ultimately about our people,” Director in charge of KwaZulu Natal, Alwyn van der Watt, added. “Although RMD will be put in a new jacket, it is the same product range and international engineering ingenuity that will be offered. We have therefore recently signed a long-term distribution agreement with RMD Kwikform International, ensuring we can offer the same products and services the South African market will expect from the RMD Kwikform brand.”

“RMD Kwikform is one of the top five suppliers of formwork worldwide and will continue to offer its products and engineering services exclusively through the Distribution Agreement with the new Shareholders.” Divisional Director, David Adams, said in a recent statement from its headquarters situated in the West Midlands of England.

Smit, who brokered the transaction over a period of almost a year, said the time was right for change. “It is a beginning of a new phase for RMD.” He elaborated on the visionary leadership among his colleagues who spent long hours with him, which later became months, around the negotiation table.  He referred to a former South African president who once said: “We have come a long way and now stand at the top of the hill. One can sit and admire the view, but a man of destiny knows that beyond this hill lies another and another – the journey is never complete as he contemplates the next hill.”   (1)

“It is a privilege but at the same time a tremendous responsibility to lead this wonderful team of inspired people through this phase of transition,” Smit commented. “We are now embarking on the next chapter of our journey. While our people have recently witnessed significant changes, we have developed a robustness which created a shield, safeguarding us against the current unfavourable trading environment. What we have in RMD are amazing people with a collective ambition to build a great South African enterprise.

“We are deeply committed to the potential hidden on our continent and, more particularly, in our country,” Smit concluded.

  1. [Statement by FW de Klerk on the Death of Nelson Mandela]

 

Lighting For Residential And Commercial Use

The kind of lighting utilised in domestic, commercial and industrial settings impacts on occupant well-being, efficiency, utilitarianism and aesthetics. Lighting influences human circadian rhythms, emotions, productivity and fitness. Comprehending the different effects the types of lighting have is to key to choosing right type. Worth remembering is the activity to be performed in the room and the lighting best suited for that.

Glare is a factor in natural and artificial light, heightened when high-gloss material is used in construction, and is a consideration with vision-impaired inhabitants of buildings. By using low-gloss finishes, this effect is lessened.

The following gives an indication of the different types of lighting.

Recessed

Soft, recessed lighting is the light source of choice in domestic and commercial buildings. The advantages include minimal space requirements, a clean, modern look, the ability to be narrow or focused, diffuse or bright as well as being light in weight, so installation of studs, anywhere, is not an issue.

Track

Track lighting is widely used as it offers several benefits, including supplying direct light which marks it as suitable for accenting portion of rooms or features, the ability to swivel to change light direction, and is cheap.

Task

This lighting is key in offices, labs and kitchens where users are required to perform nuanced, complicated jobs which require high illumination. Key here is location, in order to supply the focused light onto surfaces and counters.

Natural

Natural lighting is economical and aesthetically pleasing. It is a solid option for use in any room or office depending on the time of day, and gives the appearance of enlarging tiny spaces. Natural lighting improves psychological health. However, not all architectural choices provide for or optimise natural lighting, and it can lead to glares and shadows in interiors. This is mitigated by even distribution of lighting, or window glass, outside awnings and see-through wall panels, as well as tints, films and glazing.

Natural lighting is often used in combination with artificial lighting controls which turn off fixtures when there is sufficient natural light, preventing glare and saving energy.

Ambient

The most used and preferred kind of lighting which provides general illumination without eye-watering glare, and is used for day to day functions. Also known as mood lighting.

Accent

Accent lighting provides a focal point for concentration of the eye, reducing focus on other areas. Used for highlighting furniture, artwork, displays and wall washing. Utilised outside and outdoors to highlight architectural features or as a crime deterrent.

Chandelier

Suitable for high ceilings, these add an element of sophistication to foyers, bathrooms, and waiting and pause areas.

Pedant 

Suitable hanging directly over work stations, and can be used for ambient, task and accent lighting.

Swing arm lamps

Utilised on desks, tables, mounted for extra lighting, and highly adjustable. Also lightweight and portable.

Under cabinet

Suitable for domestic kitchens and as a form of recessed lighting.

Vanity

Standard issue in bathrooms and dressing rooms, used for modifying personal appearance.

Landscape

Used for exhibiting the outside of homes to best advantage, as well as to light up garden features, and illuminative safety.

Incandescent

An alternative to natural light, with a similar colour spectrum, it is made by light bulbs that emit light and heat, but is not green and is substituted with LEDs, HIDs and fluorescent light.

Fluorescent

Energy-efficient, long-lasting and gives off less heat than incandescence, these tubes or bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps) are ubiquitous in in buildings as they are without glare and tubes produce a line of light. Flicker does occur, prevented with lenses, covers, shades, panels and shields, or by using two tubes in opposing phases. Tube phosphor emits a warm tone, and dimmable fixtures lessen flicker and energy use.

Tungsten-halogen

Produced by a bulb’s filament surrounded by an inert gas and some halogen, halogen lighting is suitable for task lighting as it produces a bright white light, as well as heat, so safety must be considered when used by the vision-impaired as heat injuries can occur.

Light-emitting diode (LED)

Energy-efficient and producing light akin to daylight, often used as a directional light to highlight a fixture or sign, as well as in bulb arrays to produce multi-directional illumination. LED bulbs give off no UV radiation and heat, and are used for signage, street lighting and architectural lighting, as well as for task lighting. Other benefits include easy dimmability, silent operation, and low energy consumption.

High-intensity discharge (HID)

A type of arc lamp which lasts longer and has more light per watt than all other lighting. These come in high low-pressure sodium, metal halide and mercury vapour variations. Producing a yellow light which makes objects monochromatic, low-pressure sodium vapour uses minimal energy.

Neutral white light is produced by metal halide lamps, used for its natural colour appearance illumination. High-pressure sodium produces high-intensity white light with an orange tinge.

HID is usually utilised in sizable areas which need large sources of overhead light and for green, sustainable energy reasons, eg gyms, warehouses, stadiums, large outdoor areas, pathways and parking lots, as well as in retail and residential settings, where indoor gardens have plants that need intense levels of natural sunlight.