My sales team and I had the pleasure of assisting the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) for a day at their stand at this year’s lnterbuild Africa expo, which took place from the 17th to the 20th of August.
Interbuild Africa has gained a reputation as the leading industry event for the building services, building materials and construction sector and, having been in existence for more than 46 years, it is recognized as the leading, longest-standing and largest trade event of its kind on the African continent.
We had the privilege of dealing with people from all sectors, from consumers to site supervisors to CEOs and Managing Directors. It was enlightening to speak to people who deal with our industry on various levels on a daily basis and the most surprising finding for us was that the public actually knows very little about the rules and regulations that govern the timber construction industry.
More so, many consumers seem unaware of the many pitfalls that come with seeking out a professional tradesman, many of whom are completely unqualified for the job, but highly motivated to do it anyway. The same can be said when it comes to timber roof trusses, and the consequences of hiring an unqualified tradesperson in this case – and many others – can be dire, if not fatal.
While there seems to be a very high demand for skilled and competent timber contractors in South Africa, the unfortunate challenge we are facing is an economic climate in which pricing is a prominent factor in all business and consumer decisions. The shortage of skilled professionals exacerbates the situation in which a client, who may not necessarily be au fait with construction best practice, also tries to get the best value for money instead of sourcing a properly qualified contractor.
It is for these reasons – and more – that bodies like the ITC-SA and other industry bodies exist; to uphold and improve the standards and quality of workmanship in our industry. I encourage both consumers and the trade to empower themselves through researching and understanding the rules of engagement and best practice in the relevant industry before taking on a project.
By Freddy Robertson, LCP Roofing Sales Manager