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Skills on Site

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January 2012

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COVER STORY 4 A Roof Over Your Head

tiling 23 How to Fit Wall Tiles

CONCRETE AND CEMENT 7 How to Use Readymix Concrete

windows & Doors 27 Locking Down the Small Things

PLUMBING 10 How to Rethread Galvanised Pipe

community building 29 Building Township Roads

EARTHMOVING & PLANT HIRE 13 Backhoes for Skidsteers 15 Even Better Excavators

SUCCESS STORY 31 A Sense of Pride

Electrical 17 Watch Out for These Plugs new products 19 Tough Trio 19 Steel Roofing for FreeState trucking & transport 20 Johannesburg International Motor Show

FINDING finance 34 Affordable Housing Boost legal eagle 36 Employment: Before the Wedding 37 IN TOUCH

7 Proprietor and Publisher: PROMECH PUBLISHING Tel: (011) 781-1401 Fax: (011) 781-1403 E-mail: skillsonsite@promech.co.za Website: www.promech.co.za

new pic

The “Skills On Site” team - Top: Susan Custers, publisher; Jackie Nene, subscriptions/ circulation; Raymond Campling, editor. Seated: Zinobia Docrat, production; Colleen Cleary, advertising sales; Catherine Macdiva, administration.

Printed by: CTP Printers Tel: (011) 230-7000

Acknowledgements

In order to bring you the most up-to-date information from around the globe, we make use of Internet websites that are current and provide information that is relevant to local builders. Information from the following sites has been included in this issue: WikiHow – www.wikihow. com, Stock.Xchange – www.sxc.hu

Promech Publishing has a BEE rating of 168.75%

Copyright

All rights reserved. No editorial matter published in “Skills On Site” may be reproduced in any form or language without written permission of the publishers. While every effort is made to ensure accurate reproduction, the editor, authors, publishers and their employees or agents shall not be responsible or in any way liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the publication - whether arising from negligence or otherwise or for any consequences arising therefrom. The inclusion or exclusion of any product does not mean that the publisher or editorial board advocates or rejects its use either generally or in any particular field or fields.

Skills on Site

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COVER STORY

A Roof Over Your Head

Choosing the right roofing material to finish a building is important considering the roof adds the final touches to a building and most importantly gives protection to the internal structure as well as the occupants.

S

teel roofing is without doubt the most versatile and easiest to install option available in South Africa. From plain galvanised roofing materials, to up-market pre-coloured roof sheets and even easy to install steel roof tiles, our building contractors have an easy task of choosing the right solution for any project. Most contractors like working with steel roofing because it can easily be nailed or screwed in place. It can also follow the shape of a structure and can even be put up at difficult angles, even straight up (vertical) and will still give protection from the weather. Another reason is that standard sheeting or even steel tile strips are quick to install and don't need any specialist skills to put up properly. Most importantly steel roofing is by far the most cost effective roofing material and is easy to transport and store without breakages.

Smart contractors choose it

The secret, however, is to use only quality South African made roofing materials to avoid problems. Cheap imported materials used by some roofing manufacturers can lead to problems with incorrect thicknesses or poor coatings that can lead to early rusting of the material. It is best to buy steel roofing from reputable dealers that care about customer service and have a good reputation. These dealers may not have 'fancy specials' with prices that are too good to be true, but rather

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Nov/Dec 2011

concentrate on selling quality products that will last for many decades. South Africa's best known supplier of steel to the country's roofing manufacturers, ArcelorMittal South Africa, has been producing specialist roofing materials for South African conditions since 1976 when Chromadek was launched. It has a proud tradition of quality “for South Africans by South Africans”.

Arcelor Mittal South Africa

“Nobody understands our local conditions better than we do,” says ArcelorMittal's Sinethemba Gqibitole. “We provide products that are right for the intended use.” Some examples are: • 0.3mm gauge: Informal building, sheds


COVER STORY

these are passed the material is moved to the galvanising plant where it is coated with zinc in a specialised process. This protects it from rust and ensures the sheets do not become damaged when left outdoors.

Melvin Hickers

• 0.3mm - 0.47mm: Consumer market such as owner builder projects, patio roofs, bigger Sinethemba Gqibitole tool sheds • 0.5mm and thicker: Formal building sector, newbuild housing projects, government and industrial building projects

Chromadek sheets undergo an additional coating process that provides an array of eye-catching colours that give any house or complex an up-market look. Two new coatings, recently introduced by the company, even allow insulation from the heat with 'cool touch' technology that ensures the roof stays cool even in full summer sun. When the processes are completed, both galvanised and Chromadek sheets are weatherproof and ready to be sent to roofing profilers. Here the sheet is formed according to the different designs of the individual companies and made to fit together or even lock in place as required.

• Chromadek: Precoloured sheets for an upmarket look and double protection in a corrosive coastal environment

Steel roofing facts:

Choose quality

• Is - Available in galvanised sheets, tiles and coloured sheets

Product manager, Melvin Hickers, says builders should always try to find out if the roofing supplier is making use of quality sheet like those supplied by ArcelorMittal to avoid future problems. 'When we supply material you can be sure that it is the right gauge and not thinner material being sold as something else. For example, it is common for some wholesalers to sell 0.25mm material as 0.3mm or marking thinner material as being 0.5mm. 'This can cause problems for housing contractors, as the NHBRC requires the use of 0.5mm material for housing and inspectors may fail a building if the roof does not comply with its regulations,' he says.

No problems

However, failures as a result of rusting, ripping or screw or nails pulling through can cause immediate problems and cause problems for the contractor on site. “That is why it is best to do your homework upfront and choose quality ArcelorMittal roofing materials from the very start to avoid reworks and costly work stoppages,” Melvin adds.

• Steel roofing - Can last for decades if properly maintained and cared for

• Is - Cheaper than other roofing materials • Is - Easier and cheaper to transport • Is - Lighter weight of steel sheets as opposed to concrete tiles, means lighter roof structures can be built

After sales

Most building suppliers and wholesalers will be able to verify where the sheeting they stock comes from and whether ArcelorMittal material was used. If they are not able to give information about where and how the sheeting was manufactured, contractors should be careful to properly inspect the sheets and even measure the thicknesses. “If the wholesaler is not happy to let you do this, it is perhaps a better idea to go to a wholesaler that is able to back-up the quality of their roofing materials,” Sinethemba says. “After all it is your own reputation that is at stake.” Arcelor Mittal, Sinethemba Gqibitole, Tel: (016) 889 4110, Fax: (016) 889 3487, Web: www.arcelormittal.com/southafrica

In addition to choosing the right materials, it is also important to choose the right fasteners (screws, nails, rivets) to ensure the roof it put up right, stays upright and does not rust or get damaged by the weather or other environmental factors.

Made tough

ArcelorMittal roofing is made tough. It is made locally at ArcelorMittal South Africa’s Vanderbijlpark plant and rolled to form different gauge (thickness) sheets. The material is subject to tight quality controls. If Skills on Site

Nov/Dec 2011

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LEADING INFO These statistics are provided exclusively for Skills on Site readers by Databuild, the leading provider of construction related information in South Africa. Databuild has been providing information for thirty five years and tracks projects from planning through to awarded stages. Each month Databuild will provide statistics reflecting trends in the industry. For more information about Databuild please contact us on (011) 259-4500 or visit us at www.databuild.co.za

Value of awarded projects by province in R millions Nov 2011 Province

Value Rm

Eastern Cape

4396

Free State

134

Gauteng

1266

Kwazulu Natal

1010

Limpopo

256

Mpumalanga

639

North West Province

68

Northern Cape

467

Western Cape

17147

Grand Total

25382 Grade 2

Va l u e Rm

Grade 3

Va l u e Rm

Grade 4

Value Rm

Grade Va l u e Grade 5 Rm 6

Value Rm

Grade Not Applicable

Value Rm

CIDB Grade 1-9 Total Count

CIDB Grade 1 -9 Total Value Rm

Eastern Cape

2

0.9

11

18.8

12

35.1

8

59.8

8

62.4

6

3423.3

61

4395.5

Free State

1

0.5

1

1.4

3

16.4

1

6.8

3

30.7

12

134.1

Gauteng

1

1.0

4

6.7

1

3.5

7

55.3

9

91.1

16

999.2

44

1265.7

Kwazulu Natal

4

1.7

34

51.2

25

70.1

27

127.2

20

184.6

6

76.7

139

1009.7

4

4.8

2

6.8

6

39.7

7

59.2

21

256.0

Mpumalanga

1

1.1

2

2.1

7

22.4

1

4.4

3

318.2

21

639.2

North West Province

2

20.7

4

13.6

3

10.2

2

7.2

Northern Cape

1

0.3

6

9.8

1

8.0

Western Cape

22

11.9

20

27.5

8

20.7

3

Grand Total

34

37.2

86.0

135.9

62

193.2

55

Limpopo

1

11.1

1

5

13

67.9

1

13.0

3

11.9

13

467.0

13.1

3

12.1

6

16558.5

72

17146.8

313.5

52

464.2

41

21392.8

396

25381.9

*Not applicable refers to private project and projects where the CIDB grading had not been disclosed at the time of going to print

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CONCRETE AND CEMENT

How to Use Readymix Concrete

T

his ensures you buy quality concrete that is ready to use for foundations, roads, paths or whatever you are responsible for building. Readymix concrete ordered from a Sarma member can be used directly with no further preparation needed.

and can be used to level the surface and compact concrete. • You should allow yourself time to do the job properly rather than rush laying concrete. • However, you must go straight to work when the concrete arrives.

Here’s how:

• First you need formwork, this holds wet concrete

• You should plan to use ready mixed concrete within two hours; otherwise, if it dries too quickly it may cause cracks over time. You should dispose of any material left after 2 hours. • To permit slow drying you need to lay polythene sheeting over your concrete. Full drying and hardening can take between four to ten days, depending on weather conditions. • Concrete may deteriorate in thinner sections. For long term sustainability it is advisable to increase the area in need of repair so that a thicker layer of concrete can be laid.

Calculating volume of ready mixed concrete

As a guide, multiply length x width x depth of the space you need to fill. This will calculate a cubic size, or volume, of concrete required. Note: you may also need to consider additional features of the job eg. slope, drainage, accessibility etc. It may be best to talk to your Sarma member’s sales team with details on the area to be concreted for advice.

Health and safety

Suitable clothing including a good pair of gloves, long sleeves, eye protection and boots should always be worn when handling concrete. There is always a risk to manage and ensure the safety of the people Skills on Site

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CONCRETE AND CEMENT

member to allow for water to run off and drain from the surface • To get a slope, knock some of the timer planks deeper than others, use a spirit level to check this • As a guide, an area of concrete 2m wide should have a drop of 25mm to prevent standing water • If you are laying a circular concrete base, then you could use rope or a hosepipe to mark the outline of the curve you want to follow

involved, no matter the size or location of the job.

• The pegs and string will need to be closer together to maintain the curve and the timber will need to be cut to about half its depth on the side that will form the inside of the curve.

Preparing the ground or base

1 2

The preparation needed will depend on the existing surface and what the concrete will be used for.

Measure and mark out the area you need to concrete, using a string line and wooden pegs, ensuring that the corners have a 90 degree angle.

3 4

As a rule; your base must be 75mm larger than the finished slab to allow for formwork.

Clear the area of stones and plants and excavate to a minimum depth of 100mm (deeper for soft ground).

5

The ground should be levelled and well compacted using a roller or a rammer to provide a base for your concrete.

Assembling formwork

The formwork is made up of timber planks 25mm thick that go around the edge of the area you want to concrete. This will support the concrete as it hardens and also is used to form a level for the concrete. Here’s how: • When building your formwork it is important to re-

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Pouring the concrete

• Spread the concrete between the forms 10 – 15mm higher than the finished surface and compact it down using a tamping beam. • Choose a piece of wood with a good straight edge ensuring it’s longer than your form.


CONCRETE AND CEMENT

• With one person at each end, raise it above the form and bring it down. • Ideally this process should be repeated twice.

2

To achieve a smooth surface suitable for house floors, ponds, etc., you can use a float which is a flat piece of wood or metal that you can draw across the surface of the concrete.

• In order to level the concrete use a sawing motion with the tamping bar across the surface of the concrete whilst moving forward.

3

• Ensure that the concrete gets into the corners of your forms and that there are no low spots.

4

• If there are then fill these in and repeat the tamping process.

Large areas

If you are laying a large area of concrete, more than 4m wide or long then it is wise to lay it in sections to prevent it from cracking during expansion and contraction. To do this, divide the formwork into bays with control joints between the sections of concrete. After each section has been laid, you can remove the supports and lay the next section.

Internal floors

Line the base and sides of the area with heavy plastic sheeting to ensure that it stays dry. If you want to concrete a large area please contact your local authority first to establish if you need planning permission.

A float or a shovel can be used to create fish scale effects by using circular movements across the surface of the concrete. Using a broom head you can create a brushed effect which indents the surface without pulling it apart.

Let the concrete set

Cover the concrete with polythene sheeting weighted down at the edges to prevent it from drying out too quickly and leave for ideally seven days in summer and ten in winter to allow it to cure before removing the covering. Allow an additional day before removing the formwork to ensure that it is set.

Weather

Concrete should not be laid in very cold weather or in rainy conditions. If it rains before the concrete is hard enough to cover directly with a sheet, build a frame to support the sheet to prevent it from touching the surface and causing damage. Sarma, Nico Pienaar, Tel: (011) 791 3327, office@sarma.co.za, www. sarma.co.za

Concreting a path

Mark out your area as previously described and dig out the path to a depth of approximately 175mm taking care to set your formwork so that it marks the boundary and restricts the concrete. Then pour and tamper as described above.

Finishing the surface

Depending on the use there are a number of options for finishing the surface of the concrete. Here’s some options:

1

Leaving it as a tamped surface will provide a lowslip surface suitable for drives and paths. Skills on Site

Nov/Dec 2011

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PLUMBING

How to Rethread Galvanised Pipe A good jointing compound can ensure that pipe threading of galvanised pipes is done successfully and accurately by plumbers working on commercial or house building environments.

RIDGID rethreading kit from Dowson and Dobson Industrial

Dowson and Dobson Sales Manager, Johan Janse van Rensburg

T

o show us how its done, Johan Janse van Rensburg of Dowson and Dobson Industrial, a major supplier of industrial products and after sales service solutions, shares some tips on how to quickly and effectively rethread a pipe, using the company’s selection of Stag jointing compounds.

Application of STAG to pipe thread

About Stag compound

The stag jointing compound may be used with BSPT, BSW, NPT and Acme threads. What’s more, the Stag brand is recognised as a solution for quick and efficient sealing of threaded water pipe connections, in addition to steam, LPG and oil pipeline connections. Stag jointing compound comes in paste form and can be easily applied by brush, and easily removed when joints have to be remade. It has high electrical insulation properties, in addition to being tolerant to high pressures and temperatures. It is also non-poisonous, anti-corrosive, and resistant to oil, petrol, benzene, water and steam. Dowson and Dobson, Terry O’Kelly, Tel: (011) 392 2367, Fax: (011) 392 3573, Email: terry.okelly@dowson.co.za

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Rethreading of a pipe with RIDGID


PLUMBING

Johan’s top tips: 1.

When threading the pipe, it is vitally important to use the correct cutting oil to prevent the threads from breaking or cracking.

2.

When threading is complete use methylated spirits to remove any excess oil.

3.

After removing the excess oil, the next step in the process is to stir the Stag compound thoroughly, before using a brush to apply it evenly onto the thread.

4.

The compound should be left to cure according to the size of the pipe, which usually takes between two to three minutes.

STAG jointing compund being applied to pipe thread

5.

Once the Stag compound is set, the user simply has to take the socket or elbow and tighten it to the thread, and the joint is done

6.

With rusted or sand-filled underground pipes the threads can be cleaned with a wire brush, before being inspected for any signs of damage.

7.

In the event of any damage, the broken part of the pipe should be cut off, and the pipe rethreaded.

8.

If the old thread can still be used, the user should take a hacksaw blade and clean the excess sand and rust, before using a new joint, if possible.

9.

For underground pipes, it is also advisable to apply the Stag compound slightly thicker, as it forms an elastic bond with the thread on the inside of the pipe, thereby, providing increased strength.

Rethreading a Pipe with RIDGID and STAG

10. The thread cut into the pipe must always

be between 15 and 20 mm, due to the fact that long threads make a pipe significantly weaker.

11. When dealing with potable water applications, the user must bear in mind that if they are going apply the compound on the inside of the joint, they must expect a strong smell of chemicals for the first couple of days

12. If there are any jobs where you get stuck

call Dowson and Dobson directly and the technical experts will be able to give advice.

Skills on Site

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EARTHWORKS AND PLANT HIRE

Backhoes for Skidsteers The addition of a backhoe attachment for Cat skidsteers means that owners of these versatile machines can add another job for the machines to do on the construction site – digging.

S

kidsteers are compact in design but big on performance. They are generally used as loaders on construction sites, but thanks to a full and growing range of work tools are able to do much more around the construction site. The Cat work tools transform skid steers into true multi-purpose machines that can work in tight spaces where bigger machines can’t go. The sideshift backhoe attachment is attached by a mechanical quick coupler system. It means it can be attached to a skid steer or multiterrain loaders (tracked version of skidsteer) within minutes to make the machine a robust excavation tool. It features the same excavator-style boom and stick configuration for which Cat backhoe loaders are renowned.

What’s available?

There are three BH (backhoe) attachment models available. These comprise the BH27, BH30 and the BH30W (Wide), the latter designed for use on larger skid steer loaders such as the 246C. All BH units have 210 degree bucket rotation capability, just like the normal backhoe loader machines found on most construction sites. “Equipped with the BH30, for example, the Cat skid steer offers all the benefits of a Cat 303.5D CR mini excavator, but with the advantage of unmatched maneuverability,” explains Desigen Naicker, a product application specialist at Barloworld Equipment.

• A ditch cleaning bucket is available from 800 to 1200mm • Loading heights extend from 2077 mm to 2158 mm • Reach is from 3648mm to 3741mm • An optional H55D S pin-on hammer turns the skid steer into a rock breaking and demolition machine as well. Desigen adds: “Cat work tools are all about flexibility, enabling owners to get the best value from their machines. It’s about enabling customers to grow their businesses in new directions.” The BH attachment series is compatible with all Cat skid steers and multi-terrain models sold within the southern African market, from the Cat 216B3 up to the Cat 272C. Barloworld Equipment, Alastair Currie, Tel: (011) 929 0000, Email: acurrie@barloworldequipment.com

“This feature enables flexible positioning when preparing cables and water pipe trenches, building raft foundations or during ditch clearing or site cleanup. Plus the overall breakout force of 39kN is higher than on the Cat 303.5D.”

Vital statistics:

• Can be used for trenching up to a depth of 2 935mm • The BH30 comes with various excavating bucket widths ranging from 260mm to 600mm Skills on Site

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Nov/Dec 2011


EARTHWORKS AND PLANT HIRE

Even Better Excavators

One of South Africa’s tried and tested ranges of excavators, the Hyundai -7 Series is being replaced by an entirely new range with features that will make even the biggest fans of the old range sit up and take notice.

T

he new-and-improved range of Hyundai excavators is available from HPE Africa, the sole distributor of Hyundai earthmoving equipment in Southern Africa. It is ideallysuited to industries such as construction, plant hire and demolition, says HPE Africa marketing manager Kirsty Denholm.

• joystick controls, • new control panel with on-board monitoring system • a built-in rear-view camera

Easy maintenance

“The -9 Series contains advanced features, including: • improved fuel efficiency

Kirsty Delholm

• extended service warranties. Everything is based on making the job of the operator better from the new cab: • to the reduced noise levels • air-conditioning

“As a result of using the highest quality, finetuned components, service intervals have been extended to filter changes at 1 000 hours and hydraulic oil changes at 5 000 hours.”

She highlights the fact that optimum use of the available power is the core feature of the new -9 Series. “The smart hydraulic systems feature new, tough, variable volume high-pressure pumps coupled with an advanced control valve system.”

Remote management

Hyundai has also announced the availability of its advanced GPS-based remote management system called ‘Hi-Mate’, which allows owners and operators to know the exact location of the machine at any time, and to retrieve operational and diagnostic data. “The live, factory-fitted monitoring system will give added security and peace-of-mind, as well as ensuring that machines are properly maintained and that operating costs are controlled.” Looking to the future, Kirsty believes that Hyundai will set a high standard in modern excavator technology in Africa with the introductionof the -9 Series.

Hyndai’s R220 LC- 9S

HPE Africa, Kirsty Denholm, Tel: (011) 397 4670, Fax: (011) 397 4683, Email: kirsty@ hpeafrica.co.za, Web: www.hpeafrica.co.za

Skills Skills on on SiteSite Nov/Dec Nov/Dec 2011 2011

1515


Taking you to new heights Toyota Forklift is the global market leader in materials handling equipment with a reputation for safety & efficiency, innovative research & development and quality products‌ AND helping you reach new heights

TEL : +27 (0) 11 395 0600

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Skills on Site

EMAIL : toyota@eiegroup.co.za

Nov/Dec 2011

WEB : www.eiegroup.co.za


ELECTRICAL

Watch Out for These Plugs Recently two big chain store groups recalled multi-plug extensions cords because they did not meet the required local and international standards. This means the products have not been properly tested and their safety has not been proven.

T

his is an example of how untested electrical products are entering the local market and putting users lives at risk. It has prompted local and international cable manufacturer, Aberdare Cables

and electrical accessory manufacturer, Crabtree Electrical Accessories (both members of the Altron Group), to repeat recent warnings that electricians and contractors buy electrical products that clearly show compliance with the South African National Standard (SANS). Buying a product bearing the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) mark, gives users the additional peace of mind. “The SABS mark assures contractors that they are buying safe products that meet IEC international standards,” says Aberdare Cables marketing, sales and distribution executive director, Keith Edmond.

Using cheap untested electrical cables can cost you, your workers or customers their lives.

Skills on Site

“There can be no questions about quality assurance with electrical products whether they are for consumer, commercial or industrial applications. That’s why the Aberdare range complies with SANS Nov/Dec 2011

17


ELECTRICAL

specification requirements and most products carry the SABS mark as part of our manufacturing quality assurance guarantee.” Keith says that inferior, lowspecification electrical wiring and accessories that do not meet SABS standards are imported into South Africa in increasing quantities and that there is a real danger in the fact that contractors may not be aware that the products they are purchasing do not meet the minimum South African safety standards. “We have taken precautions to ensure that our locally manufactured wiring and cabling products carry the SABS mark of approval and that they are clearly differentiated from low-specification imports and can be easily identified by retailers, wholesalers and consumers,” says Keith. Aberdare Cables, Annelene Sivalingum, Tel: (011) 396 8000, Email: asivalingum@aberdare.co.za

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Aberdare supports the SABS and the NRCS, and serves on various committees which set the standards for the specifications for cabling and wiring accessories within the electro technical field in South Africa. Aberdare has received a fully integrated ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 accreditation for compliance to quality, environmental and safety standards from BASEC (British Approval Service for Cables). In addition, Aberdare holds ISO 9001:2000 certification from the SABS.


NEW PRODUCTS

Tough Trio

B

osch is dividing its entire range of professional power tools with 14.4 and 18 volt lithiumion battery into three tool classes with different advantages: “robustseries”, “dynamicseries” and “lightseries”.

Steel roofing for FreeState

S

teel roof trusses have emerged as a key solution to Government’s challenge to the construction industry to come up with a more cost-effective approach to building low-cost housing, without cutting corners on quality. This is underlined by the fact that Vela Steel Building Systems has been commissioned to supply several thousand steel-trussed roofs for RDP-type housing projects that the -Free State Government is rolling out in different parts of the province.

Virtually indestructible: “robustseries” The 14.4/18 volt cordless tools in the “robustseries” are virtually indestructible, and are designed for particularly tough construction site conditions. They impress with their extreme robustness and high performance capability. This series of cordless tools comprises drill/drivers, combis, multi-drivers, impact wrenches, rotary hammers, angle grinders, hand-held circular saws, saber saws and construction site radios. Unbeatable battery runtime: “dynamicseries” The drill/drivers, combis, jigsaws and the “Worklight GLI VariLED Professional in the dynamicseries” stand for unbeatable battery runtime. Unique endurance in combination with high performance capability and a compact design make them the universal solution for all professional users in the interior fitting trade, and for carpenters, joiners or roofers. Lightest cordless tools in their class: “lightseries” The Bosch “lightseries” comprises cordless drill/drivers and cordless combis. They are the lightest cordless tools in their class, and are especially impressive in applications which are preferably done using a lightweight, universal tool. The ideal application ranges are finishing and installation work with small to medium drilling and screw diameters. Robert Bosch, Craig Berridge, Tel: (011) 651 9860

The company is already one of the largest suppliers of steel roof trusses to RDP home builders in Gauteng. “Vela’s lightweight steel “UTRUSS” roof trusses have been specified for use on various housing project sites in the Free State, to which we are currently delivering as the walls reach roof height,” says Brent Harris, managing director of Vela Building Systems. Apart from the direct cost saving at the point of purchase, Vela UTRUSSes are also more cost-efficient than competing products, such as timber, because they • are easily flat-packed on delivery vehicles and can, therefore, be transported in greater quantity, and delivered more speedily • weigh less – which makes for easier handling • have a simple bolted connection system that allows for quicker construction • are quicker to erect because fewer trusses are required to support roofs, compared with other materials. Although they are specifically tailored for economic and affordable housing, Vela steel roof trusses are also being increasingly applied in the construction of schools, crèches, clinics and healthcare centres in local communities. Vela Steel Building Systems, Brent Harris, Tel: (011) 397 8742, Fax: (011) 397 8879, Email: info@velasbs.co.za

Skills on Site

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TRUCKING AND TRANSPORT

Johannesburg International Motor Show Contractors and their transport managers were left smiling broadly after the recent Johannesburg International Motor Show (Jims) which showed that the local market has lots of choices when it comes to commercial vehicles.

A

t the moment it seems there is a lot of pushing among the top selling commercial brands looking to get new customers on board with Scania, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, MAN and Isuzu putting on dazzling shows with plenty of interesting vehicle options supported by food and entertainment fitting of Kings and Queens. Equally interesting was the return of old favourites DAF and International who will be giving the market plenty to think about with new management bringing in solid new models and shiny propositions for local buyers.

The new Hino 300 makes it debut at Jims

Hot and spicy

Adding spice to the show was impressive offerings from China and India who evidently are being taken more seriously by their European, American and Japanese rivals of late. Most are of the opinion that quality of the Chinese vehicles is on the up and that it won’t be too long before these vehicles catch up with the rest of the market. But, commercial vehicles are not sold on quality alone, but rely equally on service and after sales service. For the time being this is one area where new-comers cannot even begin to compete. More established Chinese brand FAW along with the now familiar Pow-

MAN no-frills tipper

erStar brands that have longer histories in the country are putting more effort into dealer networks. New-comers such as Foton, Dongfeng and several others are clearly prepared to throw down the gauntlet and tackle the established players with innovative schemes designed to appease quality and service concerns. These include swop-out schemes that promise to keep the wheels on the road if breakdowns occur, as well as lengthy warranties and maintenance plans.

Trust issues

Indian contenders included the evergreen Mahindra brand with its light and medium commercial offerings. These vehicles have built a good reputation for no-frills tough vehicles that are rugged and reliable enough for Indian and African requirements. Foton's new heavies stole the show

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This year the biggest stand of all belonged to Tata who


TRUCKING AND TRANSPORT

ling the massive truck to 100km/h in 5 seconds and onward to a top speed of over 200km/h. The vehicle had been specially shipped to South Africa for the show.

Good show

All-in-all visitors were thrilled with the exhibits and the fact that the manufacturers did not skimp on stands nor on the model line-ups as has been the case in the past.

rented two thirds of hall nine and filled it with a mix of passenger and commercial vehicles. Whether the fanfare is a true commitment to the local market or a means of appeasing a market that has become wary of the brand, mainly due to serious reliability and parts availability issues, remains to be seen. Just outside the Tata hall stood the remedy for tired and weary visitors who may have thought that trucks and vans and bakkies are boring. Scania’s R999 drag/race/custom truck awaited them and brags a souped-up Scania V8 engine capable of propel-

Top Trailers innovative floor shifting side-tipper was one of many innovations the company showed at Jims 2011

Like its passenger counterparts, Hyundai commercial is starting to flex its muscles in South Africa, says Wade Griffin, commercial director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa

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Eish!

Acknowledgement to: www.chilloutpoint.com

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TILING

How to Fit Wall Tiles Different contracts call for different finishes and if you are working on a development that calls for tiled walls here are some tips that can make the work easier. Whatever the shape or size of the wall, the technique is basically the same.

Steps 1. Prepare the walls. To prepare the walls, repair

any large holes with plaster filler and brush on a coat of plaster stabilising solution if the surface is powdery.

2. Estimate the number of tiles. To work out

where to place your tiles, make a tiling gauge from a piece of straight wooden batten. Use this to estimate how many tiles you’ll need – starting at the top of the skirting board, move the batten up the wall one tile width at a time.

Things you’ll need • spirit level • tape measure • felt pen • tile saw • water-proof adhesive/grout • sponge • squeegee (grout spreader); • tile cutting jig • timber battens (50x25mm approximately) • masonry nails • hammer • plumb line • tile spacers • dry cloth Skills on Site

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TILING

dry completely before the occupant of the building showers or baths.

Tips • If you find a problem with the wall you intend to tile after removing existing tiles, such as mould, cracks, etc, it is important to attend to these before tiling or you’ll only be covering up a serious problem. In this case, preparing the wall is important. • Plan the position of the tiles so that the tops of the last row of tiles under any window will be exactly in line with the ledge. You may find you will have to cut the bottom row of tiles. • If a narrow strip is left at the top, move the bottom row up by half a tile width to give an even finish.

• Old tiles can be tiled over – just arrange the new joint lines so they don’t line up with the old tiles.

• Mark out the horizontal rows with pencil. Remember to use a spirit level to ensure they’re horizontal. • Tack the batten along the first pencil line so that the tiles can be positioned against it. • Do the same to identify where to place the vertical lines – start at a corner and use a plumb line to fix the position accurately.

3.

Spread the adhesive. Spread the grout over about half a square metre of the wall, starting in the corner made by the two battens. Use the notched side of the spreader to form even ribbons of grout.

4.

Start to tile pressing the tiles gently onto the wall until you see grout squeeze out around the sides.

5.

Ensure that the tiles are level. Press spacers into each corner and hold a spirit level across the tiles to see if they form a flat surface. Continue to tile, working on about a square metre at a time until you have fixed all the wall tiles.

6.

Neaten up. Leave to dry fully before removing the timber battens. Cut the tiles to fit into any gaps. For hard ceramic tiles, the glazed surface must be scored and the tile broken along this line. Tile cutting jigs are not expensive and are much easier to use than freehand tile cutters. Use a saw tile to cut a tile to fit around an awkward shape such as a pipe or architrave.

7.

Add grout to the tiles. Check that all the spacers are removed and wipe off all tile adhesive from the tiles before starting the grout work. Select a grout colour that matches the tiles (it can be a slightly different colour) and mix as instructed by the manufacturer. Smooth the grout into all the gaps around the tiles. Wipe off excess using a damp cloth. Leave to

• When taking off thin strips from the edge of a tile, score the ‘waste’ surface and use pincers or tile nibblers to trim. Always wear safety glasses or goggles. • To stop a drill bit slipping, stick some masking tape over the area to be drilled. • If you need to cut a curve make a card model the same size as the tile. Make cuts at around 10mm spacing along the curve edge and press the template into position. • Trim the 10mm strips to fit exactly around the curve and transfer this shape to the tile. Remember to leave at least 2mm for grouting.

!

Warnings • Floor tiles can be used on walls but wall tiles should never be used on floors. Skills on Site

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WINDOWS & DOORS

Locking Down the Small Things Many people think that contractors know everything. It can help your business to do the small things well, because the client will remember this.

the door to the centre of the doorknob/deadbolt. Most are either 6cm or 6.5cm.

C

hanging a lock that has been damaged in the construction phase before the new owner takes occupation is a fairly simple task to do and it only takes a few minutes. This article shows you how to change keyed doorknobs and deadbolts.

Steps

1.

Check what brand the lock is. This is usually printed on the latch. Replacing the lock with another of the same brand and basic style will help make sure that no changes have to be made to the door.

2.

Check the backset of the doorknob and/or deadbolt. This is measured from the latch edge of Skills on Site

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WINDOWS & DOORS

3.

Remove the old doorknob or deadbolt by unscrewing the screws that secure it to the other half. These are found on the inside half of the knob. Once both screws are removed, pull each half of the knob straight away from the door. Don't let the door close.

4.

Remove the latch (doorknob) or deadbolt. This is done by removing the two screws in the edge of the door that secure it. If the new lock is the same brand as the old one you may be able to skip this step. Just hold the new one up to the old and see if they are the same. It is better to not change them, if possible, because removing and replacing the screws can weaken their hold in the door. If you can't get the new screws to bite, you may have to put a small splinter of wood into the screw hole and snap them off flush with the edge of the door (toothpicks work well for this). Otherwise buy longer screws but make sure that the screw heads are the same as the ones

provided by the manufacturer or they may not seat properly and cause problems.

5.

Installation is the reverse of removal. If you forget something there should be diagram instructions in the packet or box.

Tips • You can switch the deadbolt from having a thumb latch inside to having keyed latches on both sides. Although the thumb latch may seem more convenient, double keys may be preferable if there is a large window on the door. • You can also switch between a passage lock (no locking function at all), a privacy lock (a push button lock that only works from the inside and unlocks itself when the inside knob is turned), and a keyed entry knob.

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COMMUNITY BUILDING

Building Township Roads Building contractors involved in uplifting communities and those who work with municipalities and local authorities will be able to share the secrets of building uplifting roads with their customers thanks to a new and updated brochure from the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA).

T

he CMA has updated its ‘Township Roads’ paving brochure. Aimed at non-technical decision makers in national and local government, the brochure promotes the use of concrete block paving (CBP) for township roads.

CMA director, Hamish Laing, says that although CBP has been used extensively for township roads, the potential for its further use is immense. “CBP has several advantages over asphalt (tar), offering both practical and important socio-economic benefits.

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COMMUNITY BUILDING

Besides durability and low-maintenance properties, CBP is good looking and is made from 100% South African materials.�

Look at these advantage:

1.

The easy maintenance aspect was brought to light recently when Lucain Paulik, Royal Bafokeng Administration project manager, said that in Northwest Province, where 300km have been paved with the CBP, some R13 million was being saved on maintenance annually.

2.

CBP is also labour-intensive. This means that wherever it is used it creates employment and skills the unskilled. People with no formal skills can be and are trained by CETA-accredited trainers to lay CBP and over the years thousands of people have benefited from road-paving initiatives.

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3.

The skills gained on these projects are marketable and can be used for start-up businesses.

4.

Most of the revenue earned from paving projects is spent in the townships where the projects are situated. This stimulates the growth of small enterprises and substantially improves the quality of life for those residents.

5.

CBP township projects act as a trigger for the improvement of the properties next to the roads. It is not uncommon for yards to be tidied, trees planted and houses painted once newly-paved roads are completed. The brochures are available at no charge. __________________________________________________

Concrete Manufacturers Association, Hamish Laing, Tel: (011) 805 6742, Email: main.cma@gmail.com, Web: www.cma.org.za


SUCCESS STORY

A Sense of Pride Twenty years after starting a career with cement giant PPC Njombo Lekula can look back on his achievements so far with a sense of pride.

my field. By always jumping in and doing the job asked of me without question I laid the foundation for my career with many important successes along the way. “I believe that everybody with a similar desire to work hard and build a good career should be given an opportunity to do so and if my efforts to break barriers assists then it is worth my while,” Njombo adds. It is clear that this big man has an equally big heart. He continuously makes time to help people in their everyday life and in the workplace making it his mission to assist them to be the best they can be.

Investing in people

“Working with people has become my passion, because I have realised that it is the people within an organisation that makes it great. By empowering a team and working towards shared goals we all achieve more,” Njombo says. He remembers a time in the early nineties when one of the company’s plants was being upgraded to fully computerised systems from a completely manual operation. At the time it was believed that current operators within the plant would have to be retrenched or redeployed because none had senior high school qualifications and weren’t computer literate.

Njombo (right) and his team at Hercules Plant

I

n a relatively short space of time Njombo has broken many barriers becoming the first black production manager within the company and a short while later the first black person to run a cement plant in South Africa along the way. Apart from his ambition to succeed he has another motivator that is equally strong and that is to lead the way for other people from disadvantaged backgrounds to also succeed in the cement business. From the very beginning Njombo has felt a sense of responsibility to lead the way in this industry and to open doors for future generations to take up senior positions within business.

Hard work pays

“I have never felt a sense of entitlement and have worked hard every step of the way to be the best in

“I asked for a chance to work with these people and “bring them up to speed” with the new systems in order to preserve their jobs. To date it still ranks as one of my major achievements because I helped them and developed them to a point where they could use computerised systems and not one of them was retrenched or redeployed as a result,” Njombo adds.

Mover and shaker

Having spent more than 20 years at PPC he has gained vast experience in all disciplines of production, management, operations and optimisation of plants. His career started out as a process engineering technician working at plants across the country to optimise processes and make the plants run more efficiently. This position entailed a lot of travelling and he spent almost every second week away from home. As a young graduate meeting new people, at new sites, on an ongoing basis it became very important to him to prove himself as a professional. “As a young black Skills on Site

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SUCCESS STORY Obtaining skills

First among his goals is to develop his career to be more active in strategic management of the business. He has recently completed a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) to help him achieve his next goal of holding down a position as a director within the company. “I look back at what I have achieved and am proud of that. Thus far I have been successful and want to continue to be in future. My Dad’s ambition was for me to achieve greater things than he was able to in his lifetime and thanks to his assistance and my hard work I have achieved that. “I have bigger plans in future both in business and my family life. In future I plan to nurture and develop my children and give them all the tools they need to be successful and happy. Likewise, in business I want to strategically manage operations and develop teams of people to achieve success. In that way we all win,” he concludes. PPC Cement, Nomzamo Khanyile, Tel: (011) 386 9000, Fax: (011) 386 9001, nomzamo.khanyile@ppc.co.za, Web: www.ppc.co.za.

On site at Hercules

man in the apartheid era I also needed to prove that I was equally competent as my white colleagues and so earn the respect of everyone on site.” Njombo’s likeable personality, as well as his hard working nature, quickly helped him gain the respect of colleagues and management alike. As a result he was moved to management positions in different roles around the country and this led to him gaining invaluable all-round experience.

Settling down

“Anyone that thinks I have served twenty years in the same position is sadly mistaken. I have held roles in process engineering, plant optimisation, production and operations management in many different plants around the country,” Njombo adds. In his current position as general manager of the Hercules plant in Pretoria he has settled into a role that requires less travelling and more time to nurture his plant and its people to meet targets and production goals. With 350 people under his management in two production facilities (Hercules and Jupiter) and a mine (Beestekraal), he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders every day. But, with his skills and experience it is all in a day’s work and at the end of each day he enjoys spending time with his family, wife Noxolo, daughter Gabriella (14) and son Ntsako. Although his life is more settled and a lot more comfortable than in those early days he still has many goals that he wants to achieve.

Njombo with wife Noxolo, Gabriella and Ntsako

Early days • Njombo was born and grew up in Daveyton on the East Rand • He completed his Matric year at boarding school in Mpumalanga • He studied Chemical Engineering at Technikon Northern Transvaal • He was offered a scholarship to complete his studies by PPC • Graduated as part of the first integrated class at Vaal Triangle Technikon in 1989 • Finished practical year at PPC in 1990 and was subsequently employed by the company Skills on Site

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FINDING FINANCE

Affordable Housing Boost First National Bank (FNB) recently announced that it has exceeded its target of R9-billion in the affordable housing market by providing new homes to more than 86 000 middle class families.

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FINDING FINANCE

M

arius Marais, CEO of FNB Housing Finance says the R9 billion loaned since the bank formed its affordable housing division 10 years ago is “a big contribution in providing decent and affordable housing for first-time homeowners, who form the backbone of the future housing market.” “We are deeply committed to stimulating this under developed sector, which caters specifically for those who earn too much to get a government housing subsidy but struggle to qualify for a conventional home loan. Playing a role in housing people in this income bracket is important to us and this achievement shows that we are making great progress.”

Under supply of houses

Marius says the under supply of homes in the R180 000 to R500 0000 range had forced the bank to focus on the development of new housing projects for the middle class as well as in the creation of special financial solutions to meet the market’s needs. “Our goal is to provide end user finance to over 100 000 housing units and house more families by 2012,” he says. In addressing the housing backlog and housing first-

time homeowners, FNB is working with various partners to develop quality alternative building technologies which amongst others could assist in bringing down prices and increase energy efficiencies. “Even though a all-round approach is needed to address the backlog, we believe that good alternative building systems will enable consistent production of quality products – at a faster pace,” he adds.

100% bonds

FNB was the only bank that continued to give 100% bonds in the affordable housing market space during the financial down turn and it continues to do so. “Developing tailor-made housing solutions for our customers has enabled us to retain our ‘no deposit’ policy for qualifying customers, as a deposit can be a major stumbling block for most people wanting to buy a first time house. “We have learnt many lessons in the first 10 years and I have no doubt that we will continue to do so. Our learning has not only ensured that we continue to grow our affordable housing book, but also ensures we are well-positioned to continue to play a leading role in this sector going forward,” concludes Marius. First National Bank, Busi Mngomezulu, Tel: (011) 371-9124, Email: bmngomezulu@fnb.co.za

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LEGAL EAGLE

Employment: Before the Wedding In the interest of keeping our readers up-to-date and informed of the latest employment law related issues, Nico Pienaar, director for Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) and Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma), will write a short monthly column for “Skills On Site” that will deal with practical issues at the workplace. Nico’s has a Master’s Degree in Labour Law and Industrial Relations in which he specialised. He has worked as a trade unionist for four years and has been Nico Pienaar involved in various positions dealing with human relations, training, industrial relations and strategic issues. In the past he undertook many court cases in the old Labour Court and thereafter in the CCMA and at Bargaining Councils. Nico has been in his current role for 12 years.

The honeymoon

This month we look at the beginning of the relationship before any contracts are signed. An employment relationship starts at a point and ends just like a marriage. But, when things go wrong, then the whole situation can become messy. Individuals and companies often don’t understand when and how the employment relationship starts or ends and how to handle this. But, experience shows that when a dispute between parties begins, it is often only at this point that it becomes clear what the problem is. There are lots of ways that people get into the relationship of being an “employee” but, for now we will concentrate on the time before the employment actually begins. There are many ways of reaching out to new employees. Advertisements are often placed by companies.

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Employment agencies are often used to handle the CV in (we will also discuss the CV in future). Head hunting is done where a company knows about somebody and tries to get such a person to join their company. And yes, there are many other ways of making contact. CV’s are submitted and in some cases security checks, qualifications checks and references are carried out way before a person even gets near to the employer.

A lot of effort

The question is often asked why do employers go through all of this effort before finalising the offer and the final agreement. Well this is simple, employers are scared that should they employ the wrong person, there is no cancelling of the contract and walking away without serious consequences, which often results in disputes and costly settlements. The best advice at this point is that it is very important when applying for a position with a company to also do some homework on the company. If you as the individual are in a position already and you resign and start with a new employer and something does go wrong at the new employer, and then say retrenchments take place, you as the “new” person will be seen as last in and first to go. This terminology in Industrial Relations is better known as LIFO (Last in, First Out). So be sure to make solid decisions. Until now we have not even started work with a new employer. Let’s see next month what happens. ASPASA, Tel: 011 791 3327, Email: office@aspasa.co.za, www.aspasa.co.za, SARMA, Tel: (011) 791-3327, www.sarma.co.za


In Touch F

ouse

ngth CMA H

Superior stre

ree architect

plans

The Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) is offering architectdesigned plans for a 40m² subsidy house at no charge to anyone wishing to use them. Known as the CMA House, if it is adopted by the construction industry to improve the quality and building productivity of subsidised housing dramatically. The project was officially launched by CMA director, Hamish Laing, at the South African Housing Foundation Conference recently. He says modular masonry using concrete blocks forms the backbone of The CMA House. “The major difference between modular and non-modular masonry lies in the detail, espe-

cially in the plans and schedules. Besides the walls, doors and other dimensions, the plans detail each and every block used. This reduces the need for odd-sized units and the associated wastage of time and materials so common in non-modular masonry.” The CMA House or, more accurately, two houses, were designed by an architect using two different masonry units, one used largely inland and the other in coastal regions. The inland set is based on the 290 x 140 x 90mm solid block. The coastal set is based on the 390 x 140 x 190mm hollow block. The 140mm width of both units provides enough structural integrity based on the SANS 10400-K standard and is more economical than the 230mm width of a standard wall. Each CMA-house plan includes: a full set of drawings; a normal raft foundation or an alternative Agrément-approved precast concrete hollowcore option; modular masonry; and concrete rooftiles. The plans also include: schedules for blockcutting and for matching door and window frames to masonry units; recommendations on waterproofing external wall surfaces; and some energy-efficiency options. Concrete Manufacturers Association, Hamish Laing, Tel: (011) 805 6742, Email: main.cma@gmail.com, Web: www.cma.org.za

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In Touch T

raining apprentices Murray & Roberts Plant is successfully running its apprenticeship programme to uplift its staff and at the

“The programme is competence-based and consists of a theoretical component that is completed at an accredited college and a practical section which learners undertake at a workshop in-house and/or on site. It is a four year programme and to date, all the learners from our first enrolment have qualified for successive phases of the apprenticeship,” says Shannyn Karshagen, human resource manager at Murray & Roberts Plant. On completion of the programme, learners will undergo pre-trade test preparation and then sit for the competency trade test. “If they fail to pass first time around, learners have a second opportunity to take the exam,” Barney Salsone, plant manager and programme champion, says. Applications are carefully reviewed and selected learners interviewed with the most promising sent for technical assessments to evaluate their potential to succeed in their chosen programme. Learners must complete every section of the programme, receiving a sign-off from the college on competence and skills theory and from the workshop on the practical tasks.

same time improve service delivery to the company. This is the main reason why Murray & Roberts Plant introduced apprenticeship programmes about two years ago with ten students as part of its first intake.

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“The feedback to date has been most satisfying,” Barney says. “Most learners appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills and become empowered. The company benefits from improved skills levels and an increase in the numbers of people trained for its own operations. We also notice an improvement in the work output of learners and the contribution they make in the workshop.” Murray and Roberts Construction, Sue Upton, Tel: (011) 495 2222


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