Pothole Master: A single machine solution for pothole repair

JCB’s 3CX ‘Pothole Master’, designed to effect long-term pothole repair quickly and efficiently

In a move that appears tailor-made for South Africa, Kemach JCB is distributing a special edition of the world-renowned 3CX backhoe loader, designed as a single-machine solution for urban road maintenance.

The JCB 3CX has for many years been the most versatile machine on site and backhoe loaders remain popular with many local authorities and road repair contractors.

The front end of the Kemach JCB 3CX Pothole Master sports a 2.3 m wide hydraulic sweeper collector shovel with enclosed brush. One or two passes of the planed area is enough to provide a clean work area that is ready for repair and relaying of asphalt

The front end of the Kemach JCB 3CX Pothole Master sports a 2.3 m wide hydraulic sweeper collector shovel with enclosed brush. One or two passes of the planed area is enough to provide a clean work area that is ready for repair and relaying of asphalt

Now JCB has combined the powerful, high specification 3CX with a dipper-mounted patch planer and a sweeper shovel located on the front loader arms, to create the 3CX ‘Pothole Master’, designed to effect long-term pothole repair. This single machine offers local municipalities and road contractors a rapid, mobile solution to meet their permanent road maintenance equipment needs.

The Pothole Master is powered by JCB’s highly efficient Dieselmax engine, which is available to meet Tier 2 and Tier 3 emissions standards. The engine delivers 92hp (68kW) with the option of a 100hp (74.5kW) version if preferred. Both engines drive through a proven JCB Powershift transmission to rapidly move the machine between sites, without the need for additional transport, increasing utilisation and ensuring maximum productivity throughout the day.

The 3CX Pothole Master is equipped with a 400 mm wide patch planer from JCB Attachments, that has been engineered to work efficiently with the machine’s high output auxiliary hydraulic service. Advanced Easy Control variflow hydraulics, with servo control levers are available, ensuring an ergonomically superior driving environment and provide the power to deliver total control over all functions of the backhoe when planing. Pressure compensated variable flow hydraulics ensure maximum power delivery to the planer attachment, while maintaining complete control of all boom and dipper functions during operation.

The patch planer is suitable for a wide range of applications, from single pass small pothole repairs, to complete highway sections. JCB’s powered side-shift capability ensures that the operator can plane the full width of the machine, without having to relocate the backhoe loader, which is essential when working in a single coned-off carriageway. The planer provides a clean and well prepared working area, ensuring a long-term pothole repair, rather than a temporary solution to the problem.

At the front end of the machine the 3CX is equipped with a 2.3 m wide hydraulic sweeper collector shovel. The overall width, including the hydraulic motor, is within the width of the machine, making it easy for the operator to travel safely on the road. The sweeper shovel’s enclosed brush, which uses an integrated mix of plastic and wire brushes for maximum durability, provides clean pick-up of road planings with minimal dust and no risk of material being thrown away from the machine. One or two passes of the planed area is enough to provide a clean work area that is ready for repair and relaying of asphalt. The brush enclosure also greatly reduces any dust as the shovel is tipped into road tippers, for removal from site.

JCB has incorporated a hydraulic lift feature that moves the brush canopy away from the bucket. This allows the operator to use the bucket to collect planings from larger areas and to let operatives manually load the bucket in tighter spaces. Being able to lift the brush canopy away from the shovel, in combination with the machine’s standard long loader arms, makes it easier for the operator to load over the back of a tipper truck, again essential when working within a single carriageway width.

JCB’s innovative hand-held power tool hydraulic circuit, mounted on the side of the 3CX Pothole Master, allows operatives to use a wide range of hand-held breakers and saws, to cut around ironwork in the road and to provide a clean end to the patch area. This also allows the road repair crew to access difficult areas that cannot be reached by the patch planer.

Traditionally, urban and rural authorities as well as contractors have had to use a wide array of cutting, breaking and planning machinery, with separate road sweepers and rollers to carry out even the smallest of pothole repairs. The single backhoe loader-based solution greatly reduces the number of machines required to carry out this type of work, reducing cost and increasing utilisation for the local authority.

Smaller tools and machines have to be carried to site on additional tipper trucks and delivery vehicles, while the JCB Pothole Master can carry out road repair preparation and then rapidly move independently to the next site.

A further benefit of the Pothole Master, is that when not being used for road repair duties, it is possible to remove the attachments and operate the 3CX as a versatile backhoe loader. This ensures that the customer can achieve maximum utilisation, without having to have additional machines that are only used on a seasonal basis.

NMMU releases report on Prevention of the Collapse of Reinforced Concrete (RC) Structures

Preventing the collapse of reinforced concrete (RC) structures, support work and formwork during construction

John Smallwood, Professor of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

John Smallwood, Professor of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

A summary of a detailed report on an exploratory study by John Smallwood, Professor of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).


The report is dedicated to the improvement of Health and Safety (H&S) performance in South African construction, and more specifically, preventing the collapse of reinforced concrete (RC) structures, support work and formwork.

The study was prompted by the continuing occurrence of “collapses” of such structures. The resultant report underscores the need for a proactive approach to addressing these phenomena.


A number of construction companies participated in the research. Data produced revealed that 42 / 55 (76.4%) factors are of near major to major / major importance in terms of preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction. A further 12 / 55 (21.8%) factors are between important to more than important / more than important, and only one is between less than important to important / important.

A further 30 factors are of near major to major / major importance in terms of realising optimum support work and formwork, and the integrity of structures under construction.

Factor analysis identified six groups of factors relative to “the importance of preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction;” and five groups of factors relative to “the importance of optimum support work and formwork and the integrity of structures under construction.”

The Tongaat mall collapse, November 2013, in which two people died and 29 were injured

The Tongaat mall collapse, November 2013, in which two people died and 29 were injured


The traditional three project parameters, namely quality, cost, and time are perceived by respondent organisations to be more important than H&S, thus, it can be concluded that the industry collectively is perpetuating the paradigm to the detriment of H&S.

Competencies, design, registration of built environment professionals, Hairs, supervision, quality management, H&S management, risk management, planning and H&S planning in various forms, integration of design and construction, and the construction work permit, are all important as clusters, or are individually relative to preventing the collapse of RC structures during construction. Similarly, given the importance of factors relative to optimum support work and formwork and the integrity of structures under construction, and more importantly the identification of five “groups” of factors, it can be concluded that the requisite “cocktail” of factors must be in place and to an optimum extent.

Quality management, competencies, supervision, a range of support work aspects, inspections, circumspect loading, H&S management, planning and H&S planning in various forms, and conformance to requirements, are also all important as clusters or are individually relative to optimum support work and formwork and the integrity of structures under construction.


Ultimately, conformance to requirements is the key, which includes, among other, municipal approval of building plans, and the construction work permit. However, a pre-requisite for conformance is that many of the requirements should be scientifically evolved and communicated.

In parallel, the required competencies must exist for the aforementioned to be achieved. Competencies in turn can only be assured through a formal registration process such as that required by the six South African built environment councils. Registration of contractors should interrogate H&S, quality, and risk management systems and practices. Clearly, contractors should also be also be pre-qualified in terms of H&S, quality, and risk management systems and practices. Ideally, multi-stakeholder project H&S, quality, and risk plans should be evolved. Design and construction must be integrated and the “grey areas” relative to achieving same must be addressed.

General construction management and H&S planning must be a hallmark of all projects. Management and supervision are critical, as both planning and execution are important.

Go here for the full report:

Draft Feedback Report Preventing the Collapse of RC Framed Structures & Support Work

Steel sector meltdown continues

The South African steel industry closes ranks to consolidate and develop innovative solutions as the steel crisis deepens

At a special workshop for its members held in Johannesburg in January, the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) outlined its consolidated approach and progress in dealing with the steel crisis. Working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in recent months, the SAISC together with the DTI and other government and industry bodies, including SARS’ Customs and Excise division, aims to arrest the rampant deterioration of the crisis in the steel sector caused primarily by so-called dumping of cheap steel imports from China on the South African market – which has resulted in plummeting prices, dwindling demand, closure of some steel mills and widespread retrenchments.

In 2015 the crisis evolved into a full on meltdown as steel mills were forced to close and steel and metal companies began retrenching workers. Some steel fabricators are now in their third round of retrenchments.

In August 2015, ENCA.com reported that Scaw Metals Group chairman Ufikile Khumalo referred to the crisis as “unprecedented.” “The industry is seeing a crisis, I have never seen such a tough period in my history in the industry…media is talking about a job bloodbath, we are talking about a company bloodbath, especially in smaller companies. These companies are highly indebted and are battling to survive.”

In September 2015 ArcelorMittal SA announced the temporary closure of two of its steel mills, and is reviewing the future of its largest steel mill.

January 2016
Addressing some 150 SAISC members from around the country, Paolo Trinchero, CEO of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC), advised that significant progress had been made through ongoing discussions with the DTI to alleviate the crisis. “Working closely with the DTI, SAISC is taking a holistic approach on tariffs – which is a complex task indeed requiring a fine balance. And beware as Chinese exporters continue to market heavily,” warned Trinchero.
An important part of its collaboration with the DTI, SAISC is playing a key role in enforcement by training Customs officials to seek out and recognise inferior steel product imports which are subject to revised tariffs.

A statement released by the DTI in February reads:
“Government is working closely with all the stakeholders in the steel sector to secure agreement on a comprehensive package of measures to support South Africa’s primary steel production capabilities.

Following due process involving the International Trade Administration Council (ITAC), the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has assented to tariff increases for three steel products. Investigations into another eight product lines have been finalised and await government approval.

It is of course extremely important that tariff protection measures for primary steel producers do not result in higher steel prices being ‘passed on’ to downstream, steel intensive manufacturing sectors. These sectors are labour intensive and any measures, which might erode the competitiveness of secondary steel intensive manufacturers, must be avoided. It is for this reason that government is very carefully weighing up the basket of measures under consideration and is consulting widely with all stakeholders, the downstream users included.

The Ministers of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel and senior officials of both departments, have held extensive talks both with executives of ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) as well as with senior executives of the company at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.

In addition to a meeting held in October 2015 with all primary steel producers, downstream manufacturers, industry associations and labour, a further meeting will be convened by government in the near future to finalise the package of measures proposed by government. These measures are designed to secure the primary steel producers, safeguard downstream users and protect employment across the entire steel value chain.

Government is confident that agreement will be reached in this regard.

Once final agreement is reached an announcement setting out the package of measures to be adopted, in addition to those already implemented, will be made.”

Certainty in construction, mining and energy is essential
“Although there is too much supply and too little demand, there is still much that we can do in parallel with Government’s interventions,” continued Trinchero. “Stimulation of the local market is key.”

Referring to the National Development Programme (NDP), Trinchero emphasised that certainty in the construction, mining and energy sectors is absolutely essential. “Release smaller bites of the NDP,” he implored Government, “and localise supply. The entire supply chain from design, to manufacturing, supply and installation must be localised to support and stimulate not only our ailing steel industry, but the South African economy as a whole.”
Most importantly, Trinchero pointed out, is that municipalities in particular are now buying locally.

“Exports too are critical, and exchange rates are favourable,” he said, noting that some 200 000 tons of steel product was exported in 2014, and a somewhat lower yet still very significant figure in 2015. “As an industry we need to focus on accelerating our export drive with a view to doubling this figure!”

SAISC has also established “Team SA,” partnering with financial institutions to market South Africa heavily throughout Africa.

“A number of large steel heavy construction projects are in the offing for 2016,” said Trinchero in closing. “Both here at home as well as in the SADC, the DRC and Ethiopia. Innovation is the answer: as an industry we need to sharpen pencils, work smart, work hard, and be competitive”


Let’s get over it.

Let’s focus on the job at hand.


Last month I spoke about the rough ride our industry might expect during 2016. And that has certainly started off with a bang.

But in these troubled times it pays to step back, keep one’s head down and focus on the work at hand, regardless of the turmoil around us. We are all too well aware of the many factors affecting our economy and industry, and the world at large. Yet we must, and will, survive no matter what.

So let’s get on with it.

I find it ironic that it was Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher who said “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Meaning: Be different. Take the chance to stand apart from the deluge of insipid marketing messages and capture the consumer’s attention and loyalty.1

Now, in this issue of SA Builder, we see exactly that, as our besieged steel industry closes ranks to deal with the glut of substandard steel products being dumped on our shores – by the Chinese. In so doing, the South African Institute of Steel in Construction (SAISC) is finding innovative ways of consolidating the myriad aspects of the steel sector, creating new local opportunities, and actually planning to grow its export markets.

In the roll-out of our National Infrastructure Development plan (NDP), we see how Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), see ways to create opportunity in the challenges of getting projects released and underway through public-private partnerships (PPPs) and closer working relationships with Municipalities, who are steadily releasing a small but significant stream of infrastructure projects.

On Construction Health and Safety, industry doyens such as Professor John Smallwood and his team at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) continue to pave the way for us through their innovative research, building the “best practice safety platform” from which we as an industry can operate.

And, most importantly, through the guidance of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), we are advised in its latest instalment of the Construction Industry Indicators (CIIs) Report of the growing levels of client dissatisfaction with the performance of contractors. This is in itself an exciting pointer as to how to improve contractor performance.

So colleagues and friends, enjoy the read and let’s get to it. With the depth and spread of the pool of professional bodies in our industries, we have everything at our fingertips to draw on the information to hand, and sail steadfastly forward.

Just focus on the job at hand.

‘Til next month.

Roy Mnisi


1 Ten Teachings to Inspire Triumphant Marketing
from Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War

MBA Greater Boland celebrates its 70th anniversary

MBSA President, Neil Cloete (right), presents an engraved plaque on behalf of MBSA, to the President of MBA Greater Boland, Dougie Phillips

MBSA President, Neil Cloete (right), presents an engraved plaque on behalf of MBSA, to the President of MBA Greater Boland, Dougie Phillips

Ursula Pekeur, Secretary of MBA Greater Boland reports

In November 2015 the Master Builders Association – Greater Boland held a gala evening to celebrate its 70th birthday at the Protea Cumberland Hotel in Worcester.

In attendance at this auspicious occasion were members, Office Bearers and staff of MBA Boland, those involved with the Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), the Building Industry Bargaining Council (BIBC), as well as Board Members and the President of Master Builders South Africa (MBSA).Continue reading

From the desk of the MBSA Executive Director

Roy Mnisi Executive Director, Master Builders South Africa

Roy Mnisi
Executive Director, Master Builders South Africa


Our industry must brace itself for yet another rough ride in 2016

2015 has been a very challenging year for many sectors of our economy. Despite the slow economic growth, the building and construction sector continued to play its role in supporting our economic development. Like in any other sector, some construction companies did very well while others struggled.

I think we all understand that even in countries where economic growth meets expectations, it remains critical for construction companies to look at new ways of doing things and remaining in business.

It is also very important for these companies to carefully consider how they are going to deal with some unusual challenges that may adversely affects their business performance and growth. I am not talking about the simple risk management processes, but rather a careful consideration of transversal challenges that affect all businesses. I would like to share with Master Builders a few challenges that they will need to contend with in 2016:

A weak economy and high costs

As we have seen during 2015 and more especially towards the end of the year when the rand reached its record low of R16 to the USD, the costs of projects are definitely going to increase thereby decreasing the appetite for construction projects. The market’s loss of confidence in our economy is likely to continue in 2016 and this may continue to be a challenge to the construction and building industry. As South Africa is so very close to junk status rating, it is important for our industry to brace itself for yet another rough ride in 2016 should the country fail to avoid slipping down to junk status. Economists predict interest rate increase by the Reserve Bank as early as in January 2016 as well as during the year and that will definitely see a slow rate of construction work mainly in the residential housing sector.

Uncertain political atmosphere

You may wonder how this is relevant to the construction and building industry… Yes it is in many ways. Government infrastructure development projects play a huge role in the development and sustainment of the building and construction sector. With the recently seen movements of Ministers in serious government portfolios, we may see more reshuffling of political leadership in some Departments which are critical to our construction sector. This challenge may seem a bit far fetched for a large well established construction company, but it’s an immediate reality for many SMMEs that largely survive on government work.

Labour unrest

As we have seen in recent years, labour disputes are declared annually in both the public and private sectors. The construction and building industry has not been badly affected recently but that stability is not permanent. During strikes, project completion dates are delayed and become more costly, properties are vandalized, investors take their money elsewhere and the industry suffers.

Construction health and safety

In 2015, we have seen many incidents that have unfortunately resulted in loss of life. More than ever, construction health and safety has become one of the most important considerations for anyone in the building and construction industry. The industry itself has to increase and maintain effective systems for management of construction health and safety beyond what Government and regulators prescribe. Industry expectations are definitely going to be high in 2016 as one injury does not only affect the employer but the industry as a whole.