Youth receive building inspector training at Coega

BY SUPPLIED - MAY 22, 2015

Unemployed young people are being trained to become building inspectors by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).

The Building Inspector Training Programme (BITP) was launched in April this year with the aim of developing a solid and formidable pool of building inspectors who will create the desired outcomes on top structured buildings with the aim of improving their quality.

“It’s been well documented that the housing quality in South Africa has found itself in an undesirable state. This has affected projects such as RDP houses, road infrastructure etc.,” said Prof Siyabonga Simayi, CDC Programme Director.

The BITP programme consists of 12 trainees and follows a two-pronged approach designed to take the form of apprenticeship training, incorporating practical training in all key facets of the built environment and onsite mentorship under seasoned building inspectors.

The BITP programme is set to run for a period of 18 months with up to eight months of practical training and the balance for mentorship. The programme is aimed at developing unemployed young people with prerequisite building environment theory into full-fledged building inspectors. The envisaged outcome is a solid and formidable pool of building inspectors premised on maintaining quality provision of construction services within the built industry. 

"In initiating this programme CDC was not oblivious to the traditional process of the built environment, which normally entails organic development into the role by virtue of skills and knowledge gathered over years through industry experience,” said Mzoxolo Dube, CDC Head of Technical Skills Development Centre.

The organisation has undertaken research to learn from practices in other countries that apply both parallel approaches, organic development - evolving into the role without following training programmes -   and focused training- directed to the subject matter and envisaged outcomes.

“CDC believes that rigorously trained and mentored individuals can be developed into building inspectors of high quality," added Dube.

The role of building inspectors is essential in ensuring quality of provision and subsequently longevity of infrastructure. Key to this is building to specifications and adherence to regulations during the building process.

To this effect, the following skills are critical to the programme:

  • Compliance to legal requirements, including building regulations, health and safety standards, and regular and frequent inspection of building works on site in reference to drawings or specifications.
  • Measuring and sampling building materials to check quality, identify defects and provide guidance with regard to corrective measures.

To ensure that participants garner the expected skills from the programme, ongoing rigorous assessments will be conducted throughout the institution training period and will take the form of both Training Performance Criteria (TPC) and Production Performance Criteria (PPC).

During institutional training different subject matter experts (training facilitators) will be largely responsible for training provision including assessments. Upon successful completion of this leg of training, expected to take a minimum of eight months, participants will be placed on various construction sites under qualified and experienced building inspectors for the mentorship aspect of the programme.  Onsite log books will also be updated to document exposure to pertinent tasks.

"Being part of this programme has given me hope and the opportunity to do what I love. I am truly looking forward to gaining onsite exposure and perfecting my site inspection skills," said Lihle Maqokolo, participant of the programme.
       
Programme participants who successfully complete the entire course will be awarded institutional certificates in line with Skills Development Centre (SDC) accreditation. Further, successful participants will be placed by the CDC on suitable projects as junior building inspectors while they are still under the guidance of experienced building inspectors.

"Our priority has always been aimed at creating an environment for sustainable growth. It’s always CDC's endeavour to grow in leaps and bounds whilst contributing to the growth of young people, particularly from previously disadvantaged segments of society.

“Sustainable socio-economic growth should be driven by members of society if socio-economic transformation is to be felt across the board. That is why at CDC, we continue to equip those who take part in our programmes with the skills they require to take up the baton," said Dube.