MBA North outlines opportunities for building contractors in Mpumalanga

MBA North outlines opportunities for building contractors in Mpumalanga

In the face of tough economic conditions, the Master Builders’ Association (MBA) North, NHBRC and CETA are helping contractors in Mpumalanga make the most of available opportunities.

MBA North, the construction sector industry association for Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, partnered with the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to present a workshop session aimed at helping Mpumalanga building contractors to find and optimise opportunities in the region.

2019 is proving to be yet another challenging year for the industry, with even large contractors battling with cash flow, shrinking margins and labour issues. For smaller contractors, securing sub-contracting engagements and accurately costing jobs in an increasingly competitive market, are also challenges. To help contractors, the annual Mpumalanga Contractor Opportunities Breakfast is held to help contractors overcome current challenges in the market, and successfully seize opportunities that exist,” says MBA North Marketing & Business Development Manager, Boitumelo Thipe.

The event outlined industry trends, what key contractor opportunities currently exist in the region, and give advice on finding work, best practice in applying for tenders and how to price bill of quantities.

A major trend developing in the construction sector is the emergence of scores of informal and SMME construction companies across the country, says Robert Semenya, CEO at CETA. “While we have been very active in terms of skills development across the construction sector, we have concluded that we have focused primarily on technical skills in the past, and one area we need to focus more on is enterprise development,” he says. “At our recent CETA SMME Summit, we announced plans to focus more on supporting SMME development through practical business skills development to take the informal sector beyond ‘hand to mouth’ operations.”

With around 1.4 million people in formal employment in the construction sector, Semenya estimates that there could be hundreds of thousands working informally in the sector. CETA is currently conducting research into the scale and needs of these informal construction companies, and is set to launch a new SMME strategy around June this year. CETA plans to offer business training tailored to their unique circumstances, helping them to grow into more formal, sustainable companies that in turn become employers. At the Mpumalanga Contractor Opportunities Breakfast, he outlined CETA’s plans and highlighted opportunities on offer via CETA.

Effective and accurate pricing is a significant challenge facing many smaller construction firms – particularly at a time when margins are tight, says Kabelo Sentsomedi, Senior Technical Consultant at Construction Computer Software (CCS). “While emerging contractors may be very skilled at the technical aspects of the work, they often lack the experience to price quotes competitively and accurately,” he says. In a constrained market, some contractors will quote at break-even point, just to stay in business and with low or no margins at play, pricing too low or overlooking allowables could be disastrous.

At the Mpumalanga Contractor Opportunities Breakfast, Sentsomedi outlined best practice in project pricing and management and demonstrated CCS’s Candy estimating, planning and project control, which enables contractors to accurately estimate and cost projects, from quantity take-off, first estimate right through to final account.

Knowing where to find opportunities and how to get the work – with a reasonable margin – are key to survival in these tough times,” says Thipe. “MBA North and partners therefore present an ongoing series of breakfast workshops for contractors, to help them stay in business and hopefully even thrive, despite the challenging market.”

Hastings Moeng, Marketing Officer at NHBRC Mpumalanga, says: “The NHBRC is a regulatory body of the Department of Human Settlements mandated to protect the interests of the housing consumer whilst regulating the home building industry. In light of this, we were delighted about this opportunity and platform to engage both emerging and established builders. We unpacked the mandate of the NHBRC comprehensively whilst offering more information on our processes. Our goal is to continue to assist and protect housing consumers by educating and empowering the home builders with the correct information and practical solutions, thus minimising any prevalence of contractors who deliver housing units of substandard design, workmanship and poor quality materials.”

For further information, contact MBA North on 011 805 6611 or mail

AEG Power Tools launches in SA

AEG Power Tools launches in SA

A high-quality, simple-to-use, and cost-effective power-tool brand has been added to the Upat stable in the form of AEG Power Tools. While not new to the South African market, Upat’s distributorship is expected to increase the brand’s footprint significantly.

Corded power tools will be introduced initially, to be followed by tools using advanced cordless technology in accordance with market requirements, Upat Retail Sales Manager Jaco Jansen explains. The AEG Power Tools range that will be introduced to the South African market includes grinders, drills (masonry and steel), planers, saws, sanders and some accessories.

This is the first time that Upat has a dedicated power tool brand for the retail and reseller markets. “We identified a gap in the market for a high-quality, simple-to-use, and cost-effective power-tool brand,” Jansen comments.

Aftermarket service and training will be a major focus to ensure customers receive the highest level of support. “Our sales staff have received in-depth training from AEG Power Tools in order to be able to provide customers with market-leading support throughout the lifespan of the tools.”

Upat has established a dedicated AEG Power Tools service centre, in addition to a comprehensive spares’ holding to ensure rapid and efficient servicing. AEG Power Tools come standard with a one-year warranty, which can be extended by an additional year free-of-charge if registered on within 30 days from the date of purchase.

Jansen reveals that Upat will also be sourcing reliable independent distributors and retailers with a proven track record to ensure the AEG Power Tools brand has sufficient traction in the local market. “We are confident that skilled service providers and professional DIY users will both see the value of standardising on the AEG Power Tools range.”

Established over 35 years ago, Upat is well-known for introducing world renowned brands into the local market. “The addition of AEG Power Tools to our stable complements our existing brands and allows us now to offer complete solutions for the professional users,” Jansen concludes

Upat SA (Pty) Ltd. is a 100% South African owned business that began trading in 1983. From the outset, Upat has been committed to the building industry, supplying not only a range of anchor bolts, but also rotary hammer drilling machines, tungsten-tipped masonry drill bits, powder actuated tools, and other allied building and construction products. Upat’s ability to supply a range of top-quality products at market-related prices has resulted in it becoming a market leader in Southern Africa. Upat is proudly the sole Southern African distributor of the Fischer range of construction fasteners, the Milwaukee power-tool brand, the AEG power-tool brand and the Stabila range of measuring tools.

Beware the impact of insurance risk during water restrictions

Beware the impact of insurance risk during water restrictions

Master Builders Association Western Cape advises its members of the following important information relative to insurance risk whilst water restrictions are in place:

As you are aware, the City of Cape Town declared water restrictions in January 2016 which have led to institutions, residents, farmers and businesses all being adversely impacted.

To make matters worse, water resources have been put under tremendous strain due to the holiday season.

What Impact may this have on your insurance policy?

As the drought conditions continue to deteriorate, the shortage of water could materially affect the function or effectiveness of water-dependent fire-fighting equipment and sprinkler-systems. The water crisis therefore requires additional precautions to be taken by yourselves to minimise the risk of loss or damage to property – a general policy condition in most insurance contracts. During these prevailing conditions, failure to take reasonable measures to safeguard property and lives could prejudice you in recovering from a loss event and may also be in contravention of the regulations on safety in the workplace.

Precautions taken should always be in line with the principles of water conservation outlined by the City of Cape Town.

With respect to sprinkler-protected property, the following conditions apply:

Fire cover will respond during a period of intentional water cut-off, reduced water pressure or any form of water rationing by the Authorities (other than suspension of the water supply due to, for example, non-payment of accounts, etc.) as a result of the prevailing drought conditions, that directly gives rise to sprinkler systems not performing their function or being ineffective during an event.

You are still responsible for the maintenance of the building’s sprinkler-system and for ensuring that the system is in good working order. Should the system be defective, at the time of the loss, your claim may be rejected.

You must keep records and proof of the last service and/or test of the system (on premises and elsewhere). In this regard, we encourage the closed-circuit test which does not require more or additional public water supply than already in the system.

Should at the time of loss, the last date of service or the last test be out of cycle or out-dated, your claim may be rejected.

Loss of Income due to the business being interrupted

Unfortunately, insurance policies do not respond to losses resulting from damage directly or indirectly caused by drought or shortage of water.

Theewaterskloof Dam, Cape Town

The above-mentioned is intended as a guide only to assist your thinking and decision making. Please contact your broker if you have any further queries.

BEPEC launches extended membership platform

BEPEC-logo-AR_Cover_03BEPEC launches extended membership platform

Master Builders South Africa welcomes the initiative by the Built Environment Professions Export Council (BEPEC) to extend its membership platform to take in the construction services sector. This is with the aim to establish a united South Africa Inc to lead expansion into the rest of Africa.

The council’s widened base opens all the BEPEC export promotions and export-enhancing offerings of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Trade Investment Africa to companies working in the construction services sector and will allow the utilisation of numerous opportunities outside South Africa’s borders.

This recently expanded export council will be taking the joint approach to aid the industry access a continent with a $93-billion infrastructure market.

“It is essential to build up and raise our businesses so they are not barred from the long-standing development of Africa moving forward,” said BEPEC chairperson Kribbs Moodley at the launch of the new council in Pretoria.

With aspirations of capturing 1% of overall universal exports by value by 2030, it is increasingly vital for South Africa to organize joint trade and execute those what is embedded in South Africa’s economic strategy.

In line with this, it made “complete sense” to have the extended membership base, said BEPEC CEO Con Korsten, pointing out that it made for more effective securing and execution of projects as SA Inc and smoothed the way to the formation of consortia of joint disciplines for such projects.

The newly refurbished council, which will be re-branded and renamed, will now take in associations such as Master Builders South Africa, the Black Business Council in the Built Environment and the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, for which three new board positions will be formed within BEPEC.

The BEPEC move unlocked numerous benefits for the construction services sector, such as network opportunities, facilitating effortless access to trading and project opportunities, support while contracting in a foreign nation, a voice in government for the private sector and opportunities to take part in the numerous DTI missions to Africa.

Source: Construction Review Online