Building?: MBA warns public and business of fly-by-night contractors
Many areas in the Eastern and South Eastern Cape are suffering as a result of the recent economic downturn. Building work is less plentiful and in these circumstances the building industry often becomes a target for those wanting to make a “quick buck”.
Unqualified and inexperienced contractors, as well as new entrants who enter the industry as a result of retrenchments elsewhere, may promise the earth but often fail dismally when it comes to delivery, leaving the consumer with the problem of unfinished or unsatisfactory work.
It is important to ensure that contractors employed are “registered”, legitimate and have the necessary skill, experience and qualified staff to undertake the work in order to ensure a high standard of workmanship.
Registered Building Contractors also have an obligation to comply with a myriad of legislation and regulations. The Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S Act), Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases(COID Act), Housing Consumer Protection Measures Act, Basic Conditions of Employment (BCEA) and Labour Relations (LRA) are but a few of the laws that affect employers in the Building Industry.
This is a severe warning from the Master Builders Association (MBA). The Association is committed to upholding its Code of Ethics which aims to promote Skill, Integrity and Responsibility between its members’ and clients. Besides a responsibility to train and skill workers, members are also required to show effective business organisation and administration.
The MBA recommends the use of a formal building contract when entering into an agreement with a contractor. Other recommendations when dealing with a contractor include:
- Provide tenderers with a detailed specification – employ a professional to assist if necessary
- Draw up a safety specification for the contractor to comply with
- Obtain quotations from two or three reputable contractors
- Do not necessarily accept the lowest tender – compare all aspects of the tender before making a decision.
- Always check the references of the contractor before awarding the tender
- Always sign a contract
- Read the contract before you sign it
- Set out the method and timing of progress payments
- Agree in advance how disputes will be handled
- Insist on a health & safety plan from the contractor
- Avoid paying deposits
- Keep careful records of all payments
- Ensure that all variations are in writing and agree the cost before proceeding
- Deal with poor workmanship and non-performance in terms of the contract
Call the MBA 0860 622 622 or visit www.ecmba.org.za for advice before tackling your next building project.
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