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A good time to refurbish

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Contractors are offering keenest quotes as the year starts

I cannot cope with all the questions relating to the water crisis, neither is there enough space in the column, but I am making an effort to help avoid Day Zero by replying to you all individually. 
I recommend that anyone who is not a member of the Water Shedding Western Cape Facebook page join immediately. It is full of great questions and sensible answers. I wrote an article for the page last week encouraging people of all creeds, colours and politics to work together as we face this huge  problem. Within two days it had had more than 1 300 likes. 
Meanwhile, the WWF is recommending that those with boreholes or wellpoints be allowed to share what we have with our neighbours, but the City of Cape Town seems to think the use of borehole or wellpoint water should be banned. Or do they? There seem to be confusion over every aspect of this crisis.
At the end of last year I attended the Master Builders Association’s past presidents lunch. It is always great to catch up with the doyens of our industry and hear what has been going on.
The new president, John Slingsby, said: “Working in our industry remains tough, tendering is very keen, confidence is low, and the current political crisis does not help in attracting building investment.”
If you are considering having work done, now is the time because you will not get better prices.
Slingsby said: “Another significant achievement is that we have moved into the world of social media. We are now live on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”
This gives people the chance to interact more easily with the association, and the sites post regular building tips and information.
“Our members have been plagued by water restriction complaints and Stephen Arrow has been assisting in dealing with these and other complaints.”
I’ve been involved with the association for more than 30 years, and have never seen it respond to and settle complaints as efficiently as it is doing now. Another reason to use a professional organisation for your building.
Slingsby said: “Compliance with the Building Industry Bargaining Council has been on an upward trend. As a result of this the bargaining council’s holiday fund payment has increased from R208 million to R230m.”
Check that any contractor you use is registered and compliant with thebargaining council. This ensures their employees are fairly treated and paid appropriately. For example, an artisan who worked the entire year would have had a holiday fund pay-out of about R11 000.
A friend approached me last week after her sister was ripped off by a builder for a massive chunk of money. It is a form of building with which I am not familiar, namely raising your home vertically and adding a new storey constructed of lightweight steel clad with boarding. It is something I’ve been meaning to look into as neighbours are also having it done, by the same builder, and they were also left in the lurch. My friend’s sister is about to appoint a second contractor to finish the job. I will monitor this and report back.
*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to don@macalister.co.za or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: facebook.com/thehandymac

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