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Skills on Site April 2010 

 Skills on Site April 2010

Contents April 2010

COVER STORY 33 win a prize

4 Celebrating Milestones
in touch
pAVING 34 Green-School Launched
7 Cleaning Paving Before Hand-over 38 Schooling Our Children
9 Paving the Way

14 Paving With Concrete Blocks

16 Perfect Doors


19 Business is Swinging
Finding finance
22 Finance for the People

23 Ceilings for Single-pitch Roofs

building suppies

25 Order Supplies in 5 Steps
26 Polycarbonate Roof Sheeting

27 Damp is Big Trouble for Builders

site clearing
29 Hiring the Right Machines for Site Clearing

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com, Stock.Xchange –

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Skills on Site April 2010 


stablished in 1892, with a factory in Pretoria,
the company supplied cement to build many
of the country’s landmarks. Through chang-
ing times and landscapes, the company
has maintained
its leadership position
within the building indus-
try and although brands
and packaging have
changed, the formula
to provide builders with
the best quality cement
for every occasion never
This year, the company
celebrates its 100th an-
niversary on the Johannes-
burg Stock Exchange (JSE).
We look back at the milestones 1908 - The
reached along the way. PPC can First Portland
truly celebrate the role it has played Cement Compa-
in building our nation. ny changes its name
to the Pretoria Portland
Loftus Versfeld stadium Cement Company Limited and
12 decades of milestones
declares its first dividend. The com-
1888 - Edouard Lippert gets permission from Paul
pany has not failed to pay a dividend since.
Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic, and the
Volksraad to set up a local cement factory on the 1910 - Eighteen years after its inception, PPC is listed
outskirts of Pretoria, which was to become PPC. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
1890 - President Paul Kruger formally opened the 1916 - PPC’s new Slurry factory in the North West
cement factory outside Pretoria named Hercules, Province produces its first cement.
which still exists today. 1921 - PPC establishes the Cape Portland Cement
1892 - The Eerste Cement Fabrieken Beperkt is regis- Company and builds a factory at De Hoek.
tered as the company to operate the factory. 1927 - PPC floats the Eastern Province Cement Com-
1902 - The Eerste Cement Fabrieken changes its name pany and builds a cement factory on the outskirts of
to The First Portland Cement Company. Port Elizabeth.

Unisa building Parliament Building Koeberg Power Station Union Buildings Van Staden’s Bridge Loftus Versfeld

 Skills on Site April 2010


1937 - PPC’s Jupiter factory in Germiston produces

its first cement.
Then and now
1946 - PPC purchases property in the Western Cape,
Conceived in 1888, during the early gold rush
which will eventually become the Riebeeck opera-
days on the Witwatersrand, the growth and
development of both PPC and the JSE were
1949 - PPC commissions its new factory in Orkney. marked by many memorable periods of cop-
1956 - PPC begins the planning and construction of ing with major internal and external influences
the Riebeeck cement factory. – including two world recessions, two World
Wars and a great deal of national political
1958 - The Slurry operation converts from the wet- turmoil leading to democracy in 1994.
process to the more efficient and cost effective dry
mix system. Today, 118 years after its inception, PPC Ce-
ment has eight manufacturing plants and
1960 - The Riebeeck cement factory at Riebeek West three milling depots in South Africa, Botswana
is commissioned. and Zimbabwe. Together, these facilities are
1977 - PPC becomes a subsidiary of the Barlow Rand capable of producing almost eight-million tons
Group. The Cape Portland Cement Co with its De of cement products a year. Related products
Hoek and Riebeeck works becomes a full subsidiary of include aggregates from the company’s
PPC and the company diversifies into the lime industry Gauteng and Botswana quarries.
with the acquisition of the Northern Lime Company, PPC Lime is southern Africa’s foremost supplier
which was started in 1907. of metallurgical-grade lime, burnt dolomite,
1984 - PPC’s new Dwaalboom cement plant is com- limestone and related products. The company’s
pleted but mothballed due to recession. Lime Acres operation in the Northern Cape is
one of the largest lime plants in the world.
1992 - PPC celebrates its centenary year with many
commemorative projects for staff and communities
throughout the country.
1996 - PPC launches SureBuild, the first branded 2006 - PPC becomes a constituent on the JSE Socially
general purpose cement on the market. Responsible Investment Index.
1998 - The mothballed Dwaalboom plant is com- 2007 - PPC is officially unbundled from Barloworld
missioned and hailed as the most technologically having become a subsidiary in 1977.
advanced cement plant in SA. The ‘Kambuku’ way 2009 - PPC establishes its Broad Based Black Economic
of life is introduced and enthusiastically embraced Empowerment transaction which directly benefits
by PPC. approximately 3,5 million people in South Africa, the
2001 - PPC acquires ownership of Unicem, Zimbabwe’s majority of whom are black.
top cement company. 2010 - PPC celebrates its 100-year listing on the
2002 - PPC’s Annual Achiever Awards function is JSE.
introduced. Pretoria Portland Cement, Paul Stuiver, Tel: (011) 386 9000
2003 - PPC is included in the FTSE/JSE
Top 40 Companies index. PPC enters
Deloitte’s ‘Best Company to Work
For’ awards for the first time and
goes on to win the manufacturing
category, as well as making it into
the top ten overall, for the next five
consecutive years.

Skills on Site April 2010 


1910 2010


Our heritage is our strength

In the last 118 years the Pretoria Portland Cement loyalty, attributes all our employees embrace as
Company has grown from strength to strength, an integral part of who we are. PPC has also
not only through our cement, aggregates and lime transformed with our country, and is proud to be
production, or all the South African landmarks rated a level 3 BBBEE contributor – a truly South
we’ve helped build from the ground up, but also African Company.
by our commitment to building the history and
It’s not every day that a company reaches
lives of our employees, our shareholders, and of
100 years listed on the Johannesburg Stock
course, all South Africans.
Exchange and for this, we would like to thank
We’ve never forgotten that it’s the people that all our stakeholders, over all these years, who
make us strong, and that’s why, in 1998 we have travelled this road with us. We ask that you
adopted the Kambuku philosophy, a Tsonga join us in celebrating this amazing feat and look
word for “Great Tusker”, meaning tenacity and forward to many more years of prosperity.

 Skills on Site April 2010


There is no such thing as maintenance-free paving. David Wertheim Aymes, CEO of the Bosun Group, says
that a well-planned cleaning and maintenance programme is the only way to ensure that the overall appear-
ance of your paving will be enhanced.

hen paving is installed while construction is soiled, scrub the area with a general purpose, pH
is still taking place around it, contractors neutral/slightly alkaline, non-abrasive cleaner, using
should use the following techniques to a hard bristled brush or broom together with some
ensure the paving looks good when elbow grease.
the handover takes place.
David provides the following tips and tricks to keep Weeds
paving in tip-top shape: “It is a common misconception that weeds grow
though the paving,” says David. “This does occur in
rare cases; however, weeds almost always grow from
seeds and bird droppings that land in the jointing
sand and are left undisturbed to germinate.” Regular
hosing and sweeping of the paved area will prevent
weeds from taking root. Alternatively, treat the pav-
ing with a general-purpose organic weed killer two
or three times a year.

General cleaning
Regular hosing and sweeping will keep your paving
looking clean. To remove general dirt and debris, you
should hose down your paving and sweep it with a
hard bristled outdoor broom regularly. If the paving

Skills on Site April 2010 


Stain removal and spot treatments what the cause, it needs to be investigated and fixed
Firstly, it is important to eliminate the source of the before replacing or re-bedding the paving units.
staining. Most stains can be removed by scrubbing David says that individual blocks of the damaged
the area with hot soapy water, but if they are par- or stained paving can easily be replaced. Jointing
ticularly stubborn stains, cleaning the area with an material in newly-laid paving may be lost from early
acid-based cleaner may be required. on because the joints have not yet become stabilised
naturally or chemically. “It is therefore important to
inspect areas of new paving regularly in their early
life and top up joints if necessary,” says David. “If the
jointing material is no longer intact, the pavers simply
need to be topped with jointing sand by brushing
or sweeping in dry jointing sand as required.”

Sealing of block paving

Any form of surface sealing used on the paving
must be applied in strict accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions; however David warns
that sealants may have an effect on the colour of
the paving. In addition, he says that its slip/skid re-
sistance may require on-going maintenance during
the life of the paving. “It is also important that the
surface of the units is dry, clean and efflorescence-
free before any sealer is applied,” he says.

However David cautions that acid-based cleaners

should only be used on the stained area and not as a
general cleaning solution. He also advises that acid-
based cleaning be undertaken by a professional.

Paving maintenance
Paving should be inspected four times a year to check
for any loose, damaged or stained paving and to
ensure that the jointing material is intact. “Should
you discover loose paving, it is important to rectify
the cause of the movement,” says David. No matter

Efflorescence is a whitish film that becomes visible
on the surface of the pavers.
“It consists mainly of insoluble calcium carbonate
(CaCO2) and should be seen as a passing nuisance,”
says David. “This white haze is a natural phenomenon
that occurs in all concrete products as it is a natural
by-product of all hardened concrete.”
While efflorescence will fade over time, it can also
be reduced and in some instances removed by using
diluted hydrochloric acid. Once again, this should
rather be undertaken by a professional.
Keeping paving well maintained through regular
cleaning and checks for problem areas will prevent
the likelihood of some sections, or even the entire
paved area, from needing to be replaced.
Bosun Bricks, Tel: 0860 267 862, Web:

 Skills on Site April 2010


Paving the Way

Whether paving a walkway or a road with concrete, making patterns or unusual shapes.
clay bricks, or blocks, a number of basic principles Order your materials. You have a lot of choices
should be kept, in order to ensure the paving stays in the pavers you use. Most are brick or con-
in place and stays looking good for many years. With crete and prices vary from supplier to supplier.
these easy-to-follow instructions, it is possible to At your local builders supply store, you can find a
manually pave roads, driveways or walkways. style that is easy to lay and that fits your budget.

You can safely calculate how many pavers you need

by simply measuring the area and adding 5 percent.
If your design has a lot of curves, buy an extra 10%
over your required amount. You should order extra
because you’ll almost certainly end up having to cut
some of the pavers to get the right fit.

ake a plan Outline the project area. Use string to outline your
A good plan is essential to a successful project. Drive stakes to hold the outline in place and
paving project. Think about where you to make clean corners.
want your path, driveway, or patio, and
then use graph paper to make a drawing of the im-
mediate area. You’ll have to play around with your
design a bit, so be sure to use a pencil and keep your
drawing neat. Your project will need to have adequate
drainage if you want it to be safe and long lasting.
You’ll also want to make sure that it slopes away from
your house and other structures. To ensure adequate
drainage, you should have a good slope.
Even simple paving projects can look good. You
can do a lot more with pavers, though, so consider

Scope your slope. To avoid water pooling on your

pavers, they should be slightly above the surface of

Skills on Site April 2010 

10 Skills on Site April 2010

the surrounding ground at all points. When planning

the slope, begin at the highest point. Tips
Drive a stake at the high point, and mark the correct If you are working in sandy soil, you may mix
height where the pavers will meet the joining structure. Portland cement into the soil as a base. Do this
Tie a string around the stake at that height. only if you’re installing a walkway or patio that
will receive only foot traffic.
Drive a stake (if there isn’t already one) at the outer
boundary of your project. This will be your lowest point.
Attach a line level to your string and then tie the loose
end of the string around the stake at the height at
which the line level tells you the entire string is level.
Now, from that line move down the stake at least 1/8
per metre (eg , if it is 8 metres from the front door to
the outer edge of the road, move down the stake 1
metre), and draw a new line. Move your string down
to this line. String cross-lines down the length of the
project to ensure you mark the correct depth across
the entire project.
Measure the depth of your excavation frequently.
Measure from the line, not from the surface of the

Clay soil can move over time and you can add
stability to your project by covering the bottom and
sides of the excavation with a weatherproof fabric
or plastic layer before you add your base.
Spray your base gravel lightly with water to
moisten it. This will make it easier to compact
Excavate the installation area. Spaces which will be
the base correctly.
exposed only to foot traffic generally need 10 – 15cm
of base material, while driveways need as much as Things you’ll need
30cm and roads still more. Figure out how deep your • Paving stones (pavers)
base will need to be (consult the manufacturer or
your building supply store). The sum of the depth of • Base material, coarse gravel, cement etc.
the base, the sand, and the pavers will be how deep • Sand
you need to excavate your project area. Be sure to
• Spirit level
excavate 30cm past the edge of the project to give
you space to install edging concrete. • String, stakes, and a level
Measure the depth of your excavation from the string • Measuring tape
you used to track your slope, not from the surface of • Graph paper and pencil
the ground. Once you’ve finished excavating, use a
• Plate compactor or tamper
plate compactor to compact the base.
• Screed boards
Lay the base. The base material is usually coarse,
crushed stone with sharp irregular edges. Add no • Masonry saw or guillotine-style stone cutter
more than 5cm at a time to the entire excavated • Eye protection
area, and then compact it with a hand compactor
(for very small projects) or a plate compactor (for
larger ones). It is important that the base be well-com-
pacted and thereafter, each layer in turn. Repeat this
process until you have a base of the correct depth.

Skills on Site April 2010 11


Now is your last chance to properly adjust the height the sand. Do not slide them along the ground or kick
of the finished project and to ensure you don’t have them into place and disturb the sand. Slide each
any dips or bumps. Slightly increase or decrease the paver straight down the edge of the adjacent paver.
thickness of the base as necessary, taking frequent Don’t worry about gaps: you generally want to leave
measurements from your strings to the base. Laying a gap between pavers. From time to time, check to
the base outside the boundaries of the project will make sure the pavers are level, and use a string to
make your project more stable. check each row for straightness.
Temporarily edge the paving with bricks or wood You might need to cut some pavers to fit the edges.
planks and secure them with spikes. Concrete the Don’t try to curve your pavers to fit the edging. In-
edges as required. Concrete or brick edges will help stead, lay all the whole pavers you can in each row
hold the shape of your project over the years. and then go back and cut pavers to the correct sizes
to fit the edge. Use a masonry saw or a guillotine-style
splitter to make good, clean cuts.
Do not step on your prepared sand. Stand on the
pavers you have already installed and work your
way out. Don’t get too close to the edge of the pav-
ers you’ve installed, or you might disturb the sand in
front of them.

Put down a layer of sand. The sand is the glue

that holds your pavers in place. Use coarse sand
and screed it smooth to a uniform depth of about
3 - 4 cm. If your project is big, lay down planks and
then pour the sand in between, screeding the sand
in small sections. Remove the planks and then fill in
the gaps with more sand.
Lay the pavers. Begin laying pavers at a 90° corner, Use a plate compactor to tamp the pavers into
preferably one that joins another structure. Work the sand. Once all the pavers are installed, run the
outwards from there, keeping your pavers in straight plate compactor over them to ensure they are snug-
lines. Lay pavers by placing them straight down in gly pressed into the sand.

12 Skills on Site April 2010


Sweep sand into the joints. Fill the joints between

pavers with coarse sand like you used earlier, or use
slightly finer sand. Pour it onto the pavers and sweep
it into the cracks until they are completely filled. This
sand “locks” the pavers in place. Make sure the sand
is dry.

Skills on Site April 2010 13


A driveway where
proper paving
technique and
attention to detail
have been used

Paving With
Concrete Blocks

Anyone with a bakkie, a set of tools and a group of failure if the paving stones are not up to standard.
enthusiastic workers can set up shop as a paving Here again, the best course is to source concrete
contractor. True. Paving is one of those jobs where block pavers (CBP) from a CMA manufacturer. An ap-
there are no qualification requirements. You simply proved contractor will do this automatically providing
pick up the trade as you go along, or so the story the customer asks him to supply the pavers.
goes. “Good workmanship using a poor quality product will
result in unhappiness further down the line, and vice

versa, poor quality workmanship with an approved
ut, it is the unfortunate customer who pays concrete paver will produce the same result. Only a
the price when things go wrong, especially combination of high quality CBPs and workmanship
further down the line when the contractor of a high standard will achieve the desired result – a
has gone bankrupt and moved into swim- surface which provides decades of maintenance-
ming pool construction. The unlucky client free use.
must then look for a competent professional to re-lay
the entire installation.
Attention to detail
“As in any professional installation, attention to detail is
Strict specifications crucial to competent paving. For instance, a problem
There is much more to paving than meets the eye which occurs with regularity, especially in domestic
and what may look acceptable or even logical is installations, is untidy edge restraints. These should be
often the opposite of good paving practice. It was kept below the paving surface so that they are not
with this in mind that the Concrete Manufacturers visible, as is so often the case.
Association (CMA) laid down strict standard speci-
fications on what a paved surface should be and “Another misplaced belief is that plastic sheeting
how it should be built. Attention to detail and proper placed under pavers will prevent weed growth. It
preparation of the substrate material are very impor- doesn’t. Seeds are blown into the spaces between
tant; so are choosing the right people and suitable blocks from the top and grow whether there is plastic
paving materials. sheeting or not.

How then do you ensure that your chosen sub-con-

tractor can deliver? The preferred route is to use a Plastic sheeting problems
CMA-approved contractor whose work is based on “Plastic sheeting also breaks the bond between the
CMA paving standards. It is also guaranteed, both bedding sand layer and the base soil. This can cause
by the contractor and the CMA. In the unlikely event what is known as creep i.e. horizontal movement of
of a problem arising, CMA-approved contractors are paving sections, especially if the installation is situated
obliged to make good at their own expense. on a slope. Sheeting can also act as a dam when it
rains, which causes saturation of the bedding sand
and ‘pumping’ of the pavers, both of which lead to
The right sub-contractor failure of the installation,” advises Laing.
CMA director, Hamish Laing, cautions further that
choosing the right sub-contractor can still result in A revised paving block standard, SANS 1058, incorporat-

14 Skills on Site April 2010


ing a new method

of strength test-
ing and a new
abrasion test for
concrete block
pavers, is close
to finalisation and
should be passed
by the South Af-
rican Bureau of
Standards (SABS)
later this year.
All the CMA’s
information on
proper paving
techniques can
be downloaded
free of charge
from the CMA’s
website, www. . Sim-
ply click on ‘pub-
lications’ and fol-
low the prompts.
Alternatively, it is An example of how not to install paving blocks. Placing plastic sheeting between the pavers and sand leads to saturation
available from the of the bedding sand and ‘pumping’ of the pavers
Concrete Manufacturers Association, Pam Zukor, Tel: (011) 805-6742, Email: CMA contractors can be found on the
CMA’s website by clicking on ‘members’ and following the prompts

Skills on Site April 2010 15


Mark the door for

Use a pencil to apply
the measurements.
Generally, allow
for a 2mm space
between the door
and the top and
sides. The bottom
of the door should
be 6-12mm up from
the floor (consider
whether the door is
going to have to go
over carpet or tiles). If
your measurements
were 1992mm high
and 768mm wide,
for example, mark
the door so that
it’s 1984mm tall
(1992mm minus 2mm
for the top and 6mm
for the bottom) and
764mm wide (768mm
minus 2mm for each

Trim the door
Saw or plane up to
the pencil marks,
then sand the edges
until they are smooth.
Keep in mind that
you’re better off trim-

ming too little rather
than too much. With
shallow wedges un-
derneath the door
and someone else

hen hanging a door, it is important
that you get it right so that the door fits
properly. Use the following steps to hang
wooden doors.

Measure the door opening

Using a tape measure, measure the height and width of
the door opening. Write the measurements down.

Purchase a door
The door should be slightly smaller than the finished
opening to allow a space for closing the door. There
is also room to buy a door that is a little bigger, as
you will be trimming it.

16 Skills on Site April 2010


Cut hinge recesses (mortises)

Use a chisel to make shallow recesses, called
mortises, in the door, within the pencil marks. Strip
away the extra wood and trim the recess until the
hinge is flush with the wood. Be careful - if you chisel
out too much, it will be very hard to fix.

Drill pilot holes

With each hinge flap in its mortise, mark the
to help you, hold it up, place the door in the frame screw positions with a pencil. Remove the
and see if it fits properly. If it doesn’t, you will need to hinges and use a drill bit that is slightly narrower
trim again until the fit is perfect. than your screws to drill pilot holes where they
are marked by the pencil. To centre the pilot
holes perfectly, use a special bit called a vix
Fitting bit, available at any hardware store or home
Determine in which direction the door will open. The
centre. When using a vix bit, drill through the
door should open in to the room and hinge place-
hinge’s screw holes with the hinge in its proper
ment should be such that the light switch is acces-
location on the door. Keep the bit perpen-
sible on the side opposite the hinges. If, as you enter
dicular to the door.
the room, the light switch is inside on the wall to your
right, then the hinges should be on the left, so that
as you push the door open to enter the room, the Screw on the hinges
switch is immediately accessible on the knob side This is best done with a drill, but can also be done
of the door. with a screwdriver if necessary.
Place the door on its side with the hinge side upwards.
Measure and mark 15cm from the top and bottom Mark the hinge positions on
of the door. This mark represents the bottom of the the frame
hinge at the bottom of the door, and the top of the Place objects such as screwdrivers
hinge at the top. or shallow wedges at the bottom of
Open a hinge and place it on the door in line with the doorway. Have somebody hold
the mark you have just made. Draw around it with a the door in the frame in exactly the
pencil. Repeat this for the other hinge. position that you want it to hang.
The hinge knuckles should be paral-
lel with the frame. Draw around the
hinges with a pencil. After carefully
putting the door aside, cut mortises
in the door frame in the same way
that you did on the door itself. Hold
the door against the frame again
to test the placement and make
sure the hinges are flush. Mark pilot
holes on the frame with a pencil and
then drill through these marks in the
same way you did for the door. Put
the screws through the pilot holes to
fasten the hinges on the frame.

Easy tips
• When using the plane, avoid
chipping off the corners of the door
by working inwards from each edge
towards the centre.
• Only put one screw in each hinge to begin with so
you can test that the door closes easily in the frame. If
you are happy, then screw in the remaining screws.
• Add a door stop if you are concerned about the
door bumping into, and marking, the wall behind it.
There are many different types of doorstops.
Information from

Skills on Site April 2010 17


These statistics are provided exclusively for Skills on Site readers by Databuild, the leading provider of construc-
tion 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

Number of projects awarded by province - March 2010

Province Total Number of Projects
Eastern Cape 47
Free State 16
Gauteng 51
KwaZulu Natal 59
Limpopo 28
Mpumalanga 37
North West 17
Northern Cape 7
Western Cape 158
Grand Total 420

CIDB GRADING CIDB Value in CIDB Value in CIDB Value in CIDB Value in CIDB Value in CIDB Value in
Grade 1 Rmillion Grade 2 Rmillion Grade 3 Rmillion Grade 4 Rmillion Grade 5 Rmillion Grade 6 Rmillion
Eastern Cape 6 2.84 8 9.6 10 26.1 6 35.1 6 38.38
Free State 1 3 2 4.5 4 20.8 4 34.3
Gauteng 10 8.98 4 7.4 8 34.3 6 42.7 2 13.1
KwaZulu Natal 1 0.25 3 2.79 7 8.25 15 42.69 1 0.8 8 70.6
Limpopo 1 3 6 7 21 5 14.7 6 42
Mpumalanga 7 6.15 10 22.59 7 18.3 5 20.8 1 11
North West 1 2.2 2 2.2 5 18.7 1 5 4 18
Northern Cape 1 0.5 2 2.3 3 17.5
Western Cape 2 0.2 24 9.38 31 31.86 17 44.73 10 50.7 6 56.4
Total value per 3 0.45 54 35.84 67 90.2 74 227.82 38 190.6 37 283.78
grading in
R millions

18 Skills on Site April 2010


You know you are successful when every

day you wake up feels like living a dream.
The house you’ve always wanted, the
car you dreamed of and a job
where you get to do
Business is
everything you ever
wanted to.

hat is how Chris Jiyane, business development
and transformation director of LTA Grinaker
Building’s life has turned out. He is living his
dream. He has achieved almost everything
that he strived for as a young man and as
his ambitions are realised he goes on to develop new
ambitions for himself, his company, builders and the
He has achieved a lot in a fairly short space of time.
His hard work, will to succeed and his determination
has taken him to the top of his career as a serving
board member of one of the country’s biggest con-
struction companies. Yet he remains humble and
holds on to the traditional values he was taught by
his parents and grandmother while growing up as a
dreamer in Soweto.

Where it all began

Chris always dreamed of a better life for his parents Chris Jiyane
and grandmother who he spent most of his formative
years with. As a domestic worker she had very little, “I would ride in the train from Soweto to Johannes-
but was a proud and honest role-model who made burg and as the houses changed from matchbox
him believe in himself and his abilities. But, what set style houses in the township to big beautiful mansions
him apart from so many others children with dreams in Johannesburg, I dreamed of one day owning a
was his ability to act on his dreams and make it hap- beautifully designed house with many rooms and
pen, if not today, someday. big lush gardens.
“The contrast between the white and black people’s
areas was so stark that as I got older my desire to
Light side of a dark moment change this led to me becoming a political activist.
Despite the seriousness of the struggle Chris stills
While at school I became part of the movement and
laughs when he remembers a youthful mistake
in 1976 my school, Morris Isaacson High School, was
that cost him 9-months in prison following the
at the forefront of the Soweto Uprising.
1976 uprising.
“As a teenaged activist I was targeted by the po-
lice and arrested. But, being young and thinking
Lucky break
Despite oppressive apartheid laws and thinking, Chris
I was clever and outsmarting the system, I gave
found immense kindness at the hands of a number
the wrong name at the time of my arrest.
of white people. They ultimately helped to shape his
“After spending many months behind bars at Fort early years and ultimately led him to understand that
and Modderbee prisons I was eventually released people, life and business are removed from politics. It
when my parents finally tracked me down. It turns also taught him to judge people by their actions and
out that when they found out I had been jailed deeds rather than by race, class or classification.
they went to bail me out, but couldn’t find me.
As a schoolboy he was singled out by an elderly white
Had I given the right name they would have been
lady that was a customer of the vegetable shop
able to set me free much sooner,” he recalls.
where he was a delivery boy. Alexandra Bungey,

Skills on Site April 2010 19


Budding career
Started with a toilet After graduating from Technikon Witwatersrand as an
Chris traces his first experience of building to the architectural technician his career blossomed with
embarrassment he felt for his grandmother when MLH Architects and many colleagues and mentors
her township house’s outhouse toilet started crack- began shaping his career. Chris prospered at the
ing up and people walking past the house could company and despite initial misgivings of some of the
see inside the toilet. die-hard white business people that a black architect
would not do as good a job, he kept his chin up and
“I could not stand for it and took the little bit of proved them wrong.
money I was earning at the greengrocer and
bought the bricks and cementto rebuild it prop- The call to build rather than just design was still strong
erly. With no experience I rebuilt it brick-for-brick though. Chris eventually took the leap (and his busi-
and done the best job I could. ness skills) and opened his own building contracting
business, CJB Builders. By then democracy had come
I am proud to say that the toilet is still standing to South Africa and after landing some big housing
today – more than thirty years after I built it.” contracts his first dream to build nice houses was soon
fulfilled. The success of the company led to bigger
things and next on his list was to work on contracts
big enough to have overhead cranes on the
site. “At the time that was to me “the real deal”,
the real thing.”
He used his success and, by now, considerable
base of industry contacts to found and establish
outhouses Rainbow Construction. As the CEO of Rainbow
enraged Chris his dream of undertaking big-scale building
projects became a reality and the norm. After
a long and successful stay at the head of the
company his last move has been his most am-
bitious yet.

New beginnings
“I was approached to take the position at
Grinaker LTA to develop new business and
further the company’s transformation and skills
development goals. The building and construc-

took a liking to him and decided to

help with his education by paying
for his school fees and buying his
school uniforms.
As a result Chris put everything into
educating himself and when he
matriculated he looked at following
his dream of building nice houses.
A chance opportunity arose when
he spotted an advert for black
high school graduates interested
in a career in architecture. He
went for the interview and along
with 11 other students was put
onto a forward thinking program
implemented by the Institute of
Architects. During his studies he
A stark contrast existed between township
was assigned to MLH Architects and suburban life
as a intern.

20 Skills on Site April 2010


Large scale construction was a dream that Chris made a reality

Proudly South African

Chris’ lifestyle has changed dramatically from those
early years and he shares his elegant house in Linden
with his wife Phondliwe and children Nelisewe (19),
months in the Fort Pr is-
Af ter spending several Siphiwe (11) and Sanelisewe (2). He is a firm believer
ris ret urned ma n years in family values and balances family life with his ac-
on in Joha nnesburg, Ch
ctor tha t convert ed the tive social lifestyle.
later as the lead-contra t
day constit utional cour
pr ison into the current- When he is not at home or working you will probably
try ’s development to a find him on the golf course playing a deadly game
– a landmark in the coun of golf with customers or business acquaintances. In
constitutional democra fact, golf is another of his great passions and he and
his wife are members of the Johanneburg Country
Club. He has played golf with the country’s top busi-
nesspeople, as well as South African golfing legend
Ernie Els.
tion industry is at the forefront of transformation and
companies like Grinaker LTA are serious about devel- “When I played with Ernie I was quite nervous and
oping the industry. was conscious of my game, I didn’t want to look like
a rank amateur. But, he is such a good guy that he
“My mission is to develop sustainable business based
made me feel at ease and I actually learned a lot
on transformational goals and the principals my
from that encounter.
grandmother instilled in me all those years ago,
namely good old-fashioned honest dealings and “Just like in business I play a good honest game of golf
hard work. and don’t believe in playing differently just because I
am playing with a customer or potential customer. If
“I love my work and I enjoy dealing with a diverse
you think you can beat me just because you hold a
range of people from different backgrounds. Building
valuable contract in your pocket think again,” laughs
is still my passion and to me the real joy of building is
Chris in conclusion.
when you return to a project after it has been com-
pleted and occupied to bask in the glory of another Grinaker-LTA, Chris Jiyane, Tel: (011) 578 6200, Fax: (011) 578
successful project undertaken. 6383, Email:

Skills on Site April 2010 21


for the
In the family of development finance
institutions, Nurcha can boast impres-
sive social and economic contributions
to poor South Africans. These achieve-
ments have been accomplished through
the use of a small and limited capital

t the beginning of the year,
Nurcha released its financial
outputs from its inception to the
end of last year. Let’s look at the
accomplishments so far:
Successfully lending hundreds of millions of
rand to emerging contractors who do not
put any of their own funds into a project,
and who provide no collateral, is Nurcha’s
unique achievement.
The contractors receive a great deal of sup-
port and back up, while keeping control of
their projects and their businesses.
Nurcha, in association with Tusk and Sebra,
manages the support to contractors ensuring
the successful completion of projects.
Nurcha offers bridging finance and a full range
of support services nationally to contractors
and developers involved in the construction
of Subsidy and Affordable Housing, Infra-
structure and Community Facilities.
In financing successful and profitable devel-
opment projects, Nurcha contributes to the
growth of the smaller, mainly black-owned
construction companies. This is empowerment
as it should be: adding value; creating jobs;
helping mainly previously disadvantaged
South Africans to reap the economic benefits
of the political transition.

22 Skills on Site April 2010


Ceilings for
In many instances, affordable houses are built with
a single-pitch roof where the walls are raised higher
on one side of the house to provide a natural pitch.
In order to provide insulation against heat and cold,
ceiling manufacturers recommend using the exposed
beams to secure the ceilings.

his saves the cost of brandering and bat-
tens for the roof and, once the skill has been
mastered, it is easy to do. Another benefit
is that a window can be added in the high
wall to allow natural sunlight in to both save
the home-owner electricity for heating and provide
Follow these instructions to get the job done right:

Using Exposed Beams

In this application, the beams perform a dual function,

that of a load-bearing
structure as well as a
decorative feature. The
Nutec ceiling boards,
plain or textured, are
fixed on top of the
beams or between

General Guidelines
For fixing on top of the
beams, the following
steps should be fol-
• The spacing of the
beams must be at
400mm centres or
600mm centres for 4mm
or 6mm Nutec ceiling
boards respectively.
• The spanning capa-
bilities of the board can
be increased by nailing
brandering on the re-
verse side of the board

Skills on Site April 2010 23


at the appropriate centres

before installation.
• The beams which are the
feature of this application
must naturally be clean and
straight, as well as properly
aligned. Twisted or warped
beams will negatively influ-
ence the final ceiling.

Installing the board
• Fix boards on top of and
parallel to the beams thus
reducing the number of
visible joints.
• For cross joints use H-
profile jointing strips cut
to size.

Adapting the roof
• Fix counter battens
on top of the ceiling
board directly above
the beams.
Take care not to damage the
ceiling board when nailing
on the battens.
• Fix waterproofing mem-
brane over counter bat-
tens, allowing it to sag
onto the ceiling board
between the counter
• Fix battens or purlins for
roofing material over wa-
terproofing membrane
through counter battens
into the rafter.
Pre-drilling of pilot holes is
recommended to reduce
the possibility of damaging
the ceiling board.
• A timber quadrant can be
Note: used to finish off the board
In cases where the roof structure edges where they join the
and roof are already in position, beams and the H-profile
it is necessary to install supporting jointing strip cut to size can
timber for the ceiling. Where the be used on cross joints.
spacing of the beams is within
the spanning capabilities of the • Where the beam spacing
ceiling board, it is only necessary exceeds 600mm, a support-
to install a strip of supporting ing grid must be installed.
brandering on both sides of the Everite, Tel: (011) 439 4400, Toll
beams to which the ceiling can free: 0861 333 835, Web: www.
be nailed.

24 Skills on Site April 2010


Order Supplies in 5 Steps

Any building contractor worth his or her salt knows that the storage and safeguarding of supplies is critical to
on-time delivery without losing money to theft or breakages.
For this reason, smart contractors order stock only when it is needed – no more and no less. Pennypinchers, a
leading building supplies and hardware retailer, has worked out five easy steps to remember when scheduling
work on site and ordering stock. Here is the list of what to buy when.
Pennypinchers, Tel: 0800 8355 87

Phases of work

• Site preparation
• Installation of water and electrical • Pre-fabricated roof trusses are fixed to
connections completed walls
• Installation of sewers and construction • Waterproofing is done strategically • Timber rafters are fitted in garage
of inspection pits using waterproof sheeting and • Battens / purlins are laid over PVC
coatings membrane
• Foundation
• Walls are built from floor to roof plate • Roof tiles or corrugated iron sheets
• Brick work for retaining walls
level are installed
• Waterproofing • Special waterproofing products are ap-
• Formwork and profiles are done
plied to roof valleys, chimney area and
• Incorporation of electrical conduits and
• Electrical conduits and water pipes are vertical wall joints
pipes for water supply
built into walls • Brandering and ceilings are installed
• Casting of ground-floor slab
• Doors and window frames are built • Fascia and barge boards are used to
into position finish off roof edges
• Electrical wires for lights are drawn
through the conduits
• Geyser pipe-work is completed

• Internal floors are screeded

• Internal walls are plastered
• Ceilings are skimmed and finished with
cornices • Boundary walls are built
• Roof insulation is laid • Exterior walls are plastered and painted
• Electrical distribution board, light • Guttering and down-pipes are installed
switches, plug points are installed and
• Exterior doors, garage doors and shutters
light fittings are fixed
are installed and carports and pergolas
• Baths, showers and toilets are built in are constructed
and plumbed
• Wood protection coatings are applied to
• Internal doors are hung and windows external wooden finishes
• Sewage and waste-water connections are
• Walls are painted or tiled as required made
• Carpets, tiles and wood laminates are • Garden taps, water tanks and irrigation
applied to floors systems are installed
• Cupboards, work surfaces and hobs and • External lights are installed
ovens are built in

Skills on Site April 2010 25


Roof Sheeting
Examples of polycarbonate roof sheeting
Polycarbonate roof sheets offer high durability, and
as “the plastic steel”, it is virtually unbreakable, and
boasts high light transmission and weather resistance.
It is ideal for greenhouse coverings and skylight appli-
cations. Professionals favour polycarbonate sheeting
for corrosion-resistant industrial structural roofing and
side cladding, while homeowners favour polycar-
bonate roof sheeting for a multitude of DIY projects.
Polycarbonate sheeting is available in a wide variety
of colours and profiles.

Typical applications of polycarbonate roof

• Industrial warehouses
• Sidelights and roof lights

• Greenhouses
• Do-it-yourself projects
• Swimming pools

Features and benefits of polycarbonate roof

• Impact resistant
• Up to 90% light transmission
• Long-term weather and UV resistant
• Wide service temperature range
• Better UV protection than sunscreens
• Resistant to a wide range of chemicals
• Lightweight
• Easy to work with and install
• Meets fire rating requirements
The Hough Group, Tel: (011) 907 1601, Fax: (016) 366 1555, Email:, Web:

26 Skills on Site April 2010


Damp is Big A s an
pr oble
know, damp ca
when building in
O ne of the pr ob
n be a big
soil with
lems that

Trouble for
a high w at er that can
co un te re d is lateral damp
is of ten en through
ed as w at er forcing its way
be de scrib ters of
lls O n Si te ” sp eaks to the mas
walls. “Ski g to find out
Flick Dampr oo fin
damp pr oo fing,
it or cure it.

how to pr event

ou can expect to find lateral damp where If there’s a problem with the vertical damp course
the vertical damp-proof course has dete- you might find cases of lateral damp
riorated, is damaged or has been omitted
• Where the ground is a lot higher than the
or incorrectly installed. Some symptoms of
damp-proof course
lateral damp are the appearance of salts
crystallizing on the walls (Efflorescence), flaking or • in showers and baths
blistering paint and cracked plaster. • in split-level constructions
• in basements
• around plastered plinths
• in flower boxes.

Some likely locations of lateral damp (fig A)

Treating lateral damp

Lateral damp is treated by “tanking” – that is, stripping
the plaster off the bricks – applying a cement sealant
to the bare bricks to prevent damp penetration and
plastering with damp-repellent cement in combina-
In this case the damp has travelled through a wall causing dam- tion with silicone injection, where necessary, to ensure
aged plaster on the interior the prevention of rising damp (Fig B).

Skills on Site April 2010 27


Other Typical Cases of Lateral Damp

Breached damp course

Plastered Plinth
The plinth brickwork is the part of the wall between
the ground and the damp-proof course. This brickwork
is usually good quality face brick. Bricks below the
damp-proof course are always wet, but this presents
no structural problem. The problem occurs if the plinth
is plastered. What happens is the moisture is trans-
mitted through the walls to the exterior. The result is
damaged and effloresced plaster.
Flick, Tel: (011) 882 8933, Fax: (011) 882 0320, Email: info@flick-

Showers and baths Stepped floor levels

28 Skills on Site April 2010


Hiring the right machines

for site clearing
faced se the following information to determine
with a site your site clearance requirements. Pieter
van Schalkwyk of Renico Plant Hire gives
that needs to be
us some guidelines to consider before
cleared, there are a num-
running out to hire equipment that may
ber of points to look out for to
not be able to do the job effectively. He adds that
ensure you get the right machines it is always better to get a professional opinion if you
for the job. are in doubt.

Grader – To clean the grass off a medium to large site

Skills on Site April 2010 29


To demolish small structures, clean small sites, and load the spoil onto trucks

To clean an undeveloped site

(no structures):
1. Work out the square metres of
the site.
2. Multiply the square metres by
0.12m to get the cubic metres
of spoil. The spoil being the
grass, shrubs and soil.
3. Determine the percentage
bulking factor. The
percentage is determined by
the condition of the site
(grass, rocks, additional
rubble on site, etc).
4. Multiply the cubic metres of
spoil with the percentage of
the bulking factor to get the
total of spoil.
5. The cubic metres of spoil is
then multiplied by the rate to
remove the rubble to get to a
The rate is determined by the
amount of spoil, type of spoil,
dumping fees, type of
machines and trucks used,
distance to the dump, etc.
6. The rate for the machines to
clean the site is added to the
end price.
Excavator – To demolish structures and to load the spoil onto trucks

30 Skills on Site April 2010


Example: 5. The cubic metres of spoil is then multiplied with

Site: 100m X 50m = 5 000m2 the rate to remove the rubble to get to a cost.
The rate is determined by the amount of spoil,
5000m2 X 0.12 = 600m3
type of spoil, dumping fees, type of machines
600m3 + 10% bulking factor = 660m3 and trucks used, distance to the dump, etc.
660m3 X R85-00 per cube = R56 100.00 6. The rate for the machines to demolish the
R56 100.00 + R5000 (machine) = R61 100.00 structure is added to the end price.

To demolish a structure: Example

1. Get the square metres of the structure. House: 40m x 40m = 1600m2
2. Multiply the square metres with 1.6 to get the 1600m2 x 1.6 = 2560m3
cubic metres. 2560m3 + 5% bulking factor = 2680m3
3. Determine the percentage-bulking factor. The 2680m3 X R120 per cube = R322 560.00
percentage is determined by the condition of
R322 560.00 + R5000 (machine)
the structure (thickness of walls, type of structure
etc.) = R327 560.00
4. Multiply the cubic metres of spoil with the Renico Plant Hire, Pieter Van Schalkwyk, Tel: (011) 794 1177, Fax:
percentage of the bulking factor to get the 086 602 4961.
total for the spoil.

Front end loader – To clean medium to large sites and to load the spoil onto trucks

Skills on Site April 2010 31

32 Skills on Site April 2010
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Skills on Site April 2010 33


Green School Launched

he David Rattray Foundation has a firm belief
In line with its commitment to building a lasting leg- in providing sustainable solutions to disad-
acy, leading infrastructure group, the Aveng Group vantaged schools by ensuring maximum
recently launched a community school project in community investment and engagement. The
Mablomong School Project uses traditional
conjunction with the David Rattray Foundation. African-inspired architecture and design in order to
capture the pride of culture and to promote com-
munity engagement, with the
intention of developing a cost
effective and proud model for
school construction. The project
provides school infrastructure
that is perfect for teaching pupils
within the confines of a traditional
farm school in the Randfontein
area on the West Rand
Education and skills levels in
Randfontein remain low, with
the most recent statistics from
the Randfontein Municipality
estimating unemployment at
around 41%, while at least 24%
of the population has not com-
pleted primary schooling.
Spirit of Ubuntu
Commenting on some of the
benefits of the project, the Aveng
Group human resources direc-
tor Juba Mashaba said, “This
project shows the true spirit of
Children play outside the newly-completed Mablomong School Ubuntu. We have witnessed a
significant level of community
involvement in this project, which
has seen an administrative block
built for the pupils, along with
a sustainable skills transfer to
the local population. The proj-
ect involved the training of 22
formerly unemployed people
in the ‘rammed earth’ build-
ing model. It also enabled 11
teachers at Mablomong School
to incorporate these methods
into their curriculum, with this
providing practical teaching to
365 learners.”
Speaking on behalf of the David
Rattray Foundation, Rob Taylor
added, “This project provides
significant community and envi-
ronmental benefits. The rammed-
earth method uses different types
of mostly locally-mined soil to
erect a building. This ensures
that the use of cement, which
Happy mothers of children who attend the school

34 Skills on Site April 2010


A special plaque was unveiled for the opening

Chris Jiyane, business development and transformation director of

Grinaker LTA was the master of ceremonies at the official opening of
the Mablomong School

involves high carbon emissions, is minimised. Given

the poverty levels in this area, this cost-effective, low-
maintenance method of building provides jobs and
SETA-accredited skills development to the most needy.
Furthermore, the design means that the buildings are The building reflects a mixture of modern and traditional techniques,
fire and pest resistant. They are also energy efficient such as the thatched ceilings
because the heat captured from
the sun during the day is radiated
back out at night as a source of
Expanding nationwide
The next step in the Mablomong
Project is to build a media centre that
will include a library and computer
centre, at the Mablomong School.
Other divisions within the Aveng
Group will also get involved in due
course. Grinaker-LTA, for instance,
will offer construction planning skills,
while E&PC will provide water saving
and waste management solutions.
The Aveng Group and the David
Rattray Foundation plan to expand
this project nationwide. Another
similar project is also on the cards
for KwaZulu-Natal.
Aveng Group, Kim Heller, Tel: 082 867 8344,
Celebratory dances were the order of the day

Skills on Site April 2010 35

36 Skills on Site April 2010
Skills on Site April 2010 37

Schooling Our Children

Concor, South Africa’s leading engineering, contract- talks, Concor began upgrading the buildings, repairing
ing and construction services group, is focussing on the roof, renovating the ablution blocks and painting
upliftment of education in two public schools which the classrooms. “One of the most pressing needs was
have long been starved of resources. The group is for an additional classroom,” continues Sue. “But we
also assisting a local university. went a step further, providing a large Portacamp
which comprises one large and two smaller rooms,

rown Mines Primary School, Langlaagte and the school was able to turn this into a library,
Technical School and the University of a staff room and a kitchen. We also constructed a
Johannesburg are the main beneficiaries storeroom and laid paving on the school grounds
of Concor’s vision, which is to uplift the and at the entrance “
quality of life among communities where Each year, Concor also sponsors the top learner in
it operates. Grade 7, securing a place at the Langlaagte Technical
“We want to grow a partnership principle when se- School for this person to continue his or her second-
lecting projects,” explains communications manager, ary education. Concor also provides fees, uniform
Sue Upton. “Building relationships with people has a and stationery. “We also get involved in the school’s
big effect on the results as we become personally celebrations,” adds Sue. “We fund the prize-giving,
involved with people and forge bonds of trust and supplying trophies, medals and certificates.”
cooperation. We encourage communication through Cooperation
formal meetings and informal encounters as well as The Langlaagte Technical School has seen the addi-
through regular phone calls.” tion of three new classrooms and the refurbishment
Providing space of three more. “We sub-divided the old mechanical
Crown Mines Primary, which dates back to 1938, is workshop to create a fully equipped computer centre
situated opposite Concor’s head office. After lengthy and two standard classrooms. One storeroom was
converted into a classroom and an old masonry
workshop into a technical drawing room. All the
classrooms were fitted with ceramic tile floors,
suspended ceilings and light fittings.
“What is particularly rewarding about our work
with these schools is the marvellous co-operation
we receive,” Sue points out. “The staff really goes
the extra mile to get the utmost out of their facili-
ties, and work with us in trying to provide the best
possible education for the children. For instance,
the principal at Langlaagte purchased a software
programme which is improving the children’s read-
ing and writing skills by leaps and bounds.”
In addition, Concor awards a bursary to the top
learner to attend the University of Johannesburg
(UJ) to read for a degree in civil engineering. “We
Learners at Crown Mines Primary School sponsor the prize-giving ceremony at Langlaagte
too. At both schools, we provide the official sta-
tionery as well as certificates.”
At UJ, Concor appropriately works with the engi-
neering faculty, funding certain activities such as
educational tours.
Each of the seven divisions within Concor also
nurtures its own specific social investment project.
“Wherever Concor is awarded a contract, the
relevant division will identify a need within the com-
munities where the work is situated and ensure that
on termination of the contract, the division leaves
a lasting legacy. This could be a classroom, a clinic
or a number of individuals with new, practical skills
they can put to use immediately.”
Concor Group, Sue Upton, Tel: (011) 495 2288.
The new Portacamp classroom setup at Crown Mines Primary

38 Skills on Site April 2010

Skills on Site April 2010 39
Bridging finance and support
for your construction project
If you are a developer or contractor who
has been awarded a tender in the
following categories:

a) Subsidy housing;
b) Infrastructure (e.g. roads,
water and
sewerage reticulation,
drainage etc);
c) Community facilities (e.g.
schools, clinics etc);
or you are involved in
d) Affordable housing,

and you need bridging finance to start

your project or you need performance
guarantees, please contact Nurcha.



Regional offices: DURBAN: 031 562 0068

JOHANNESBURG: 011 214 8700 EAST LONDON: 043 726 0615
BLOEMFONTEIN: 051 448 8120 POLOKWANE: 015 296 0370
CAPE TOWN: 021 422 3167 w w w. n u r c h a . c o . z a
CENTURION: 012 658 0176
40 Skills on Site April 2010