Did you Know #DYK: The Role of the EIA Consultant

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Did you Know #DYK: The Role of the EIA Consultant

The Role of the EIA Consultant

Most large construction projects, require an EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment Study to be undertaken before the project can go-ahead. This study is carried out by EIA consultant/s.

What is an EIA and why does it need to be done?

 

Diagram explaining the EIA process:

The Role of the EIA Consultant

 

An EIA is a process that is carried out to determine the impact the proposed development will have on the environment before any construction commences.

Environmental Approval (Record of Decision) from the relevant Authorities is required before the project can proceed and construction can commence.

 

The EIA process consists of various studies that are undertaken on the piece of land that the development is going to take place on. These developments can include, construction of a dam, a new underground or open pit mine, a power station, shopping mall, office block, residential complex, new warehouse or industrial plant, even the construction of a new road or highway, pipeline and railway line, all require an EIA.

 

In addition to the EIA, various specialist studies can be undertaken. The aim of the specialist study phase is to provide information on the positive and negative impacts associated with the project alternatives.

These specialist studies can consist of:

  • Traffic Impact study, which would be undertaken to determine how the additional traffic to the proposed development (like a shopping mall) would impact the area, if additional roads would be needed to handle the traffic volume,
  • Heritage Impact Assessment, this is done if there are graves on the land that may need to be moved, etc.

Depending on what sort of development is taking place (shopping mall, power plant, underground mine) and its location will determine what sort of EIA process is undertaken. Some EIA can take a few months and some can end up taking a few years. Part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process, includes a Public Participation Process and this process involves meeting with the public, keeping them informed of the proposed development, what exactly is going to happen, how they will be affected (sometimes people have to be relocated to make room for the development, like a dam). This public participation process also enables the public and affected parties to air their grievances about the proposed development.

 

Sometimes a project will receive an Environmental Authorisation, but an Environmental Activist Group might appeal the decision – for example, construction of a coal-fired power station, that they feel is harmful to the environment and should not be allowed to be constructed. There is an appeal period once the EIA is granted and members of the public or activists who are against the construction, can appeal and sometimes additional studies are then requested to ensure that the project can be constructed safely without causing irreparable damage to the environment.

 

Some projects, due to their sensitive nature, are not granted Environmental Authorisation as it is felt that the damage caused by the project at the proposed location is harmful to the environment, for example, construction of a mine in a wildlife area. If Environmental Authorisation is not granted, and the Developer appeals the decision, provides additional information, proving the project is viable and will not harm the environment, it may still not be granted and then the project cannot go ahead and will have to be scrapped.

 

Once Environmental Authorisation is granted, a letter granting the authorisation is issued by the relevant department, the project can then proceed and construction can commence.

Once Environmental Authorisation has been received, the EIA consultant’s work on the project is Done. Finished. The Client and/or Private Developer will move ahead with the project by appointing the various professionals like Engineers, Architects, Quantity Surveyors etc to start preparing bills of quantities and moving ahead to the actual construction of the project.

The EIA consultant is NOT involved with the preparation of the tender documents, drawing up bills of quantities, the tender process or anything to do with the actual construction of the project.

 

Basically, the long-term aim of EIA is to promote sustainable development by ensuring that development proposals do not undermine critical resource and ecological functions or the well being, lifestyle and livelihood of the communities and peoples who depend on them.

 

Sources : (Diagram)
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/practice-environmental-impact-assessment-eia-faisal-soomro-gradiosh-/

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About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

Did you Know #DYK: CPD Points and how it works

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CPD Points and how it works

In order to understand what CPD is and what CPD is meant to achieve, we should ask ourselves the important question: “when does day to day learning and development for qualified professionals come to an end?”

CPD stands for Continuous Professional Development and as the name implies, it means that a professional’s development and learning is continuous (never-ending). The modern-day view holds that CPD is of such fundamental value to our society that it has now been embedded into law.

The law states that each registered professional, in each profession, invest part of their time every year towards developing themselves as professionals – failure to earn the required amount of CPD points per an annum, and the professional may stand to lose their license to practice! The strict adherence to CPD that the law requires is designed to ensure that all industry professionals remain on the cutting edge of the latest technological developments, information and trends, and take their development and learning very seriously.

Consider this – Would you feel comfortable to pay for a consultation with a medical doctor who has not invested in their own professional development and is not abreast of the latest information, new medications or treatments within the medical industry?

This same example cuts across all professions. It is just as important for all professionals to provide their clients with the best professional services and advice as it is for the medical doctor to provide you with the best healthcare advice.

Clients, using professionals in all spheres of commerce should feel safe in the knowledge that professional service providers such as doctors, lawyers, quantity surveyors, etc are continuously learning and evolving in lockstep with their profession.

In order to ensure that all professionals comply with the mandatory CPD regulations, the Act provides for the establishment of a Professional Council overseeing each profession. Part of the Councils duties involves performing a regulatory role that ensures that each practising professional submits evidence of their CPD. All professional Councils are empowered to police their own profession and ensure compliance with (all aspects of) the Act – this obviously includes compliance with the CPD obligations that each professional is required to achieve on an annual basis.

 

Mr. Larry Feinberg

For more information on ASAQS please visit:
Website: http://www.asaqs.co.za/
Facebook: The Association of South African Quantity Surveyors

 

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.

To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.

To view more articles, please visit our blog.

About

Larry Feinberg’s strong executive and project management experience and track record in successfully managing large and complex professional member-based organisations led him to become the Executive Directors of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors in 2011. He is currently responsible for the development and tactical implementation of the ASAQS board strategy and policies, as well as being ultimately accountable for the oversight and smooth operational management of the entire organisation. Larry’s experience includes collaborating with local government, interfacing with industry stakeholders, providing educational opportunities, and developing professional industry specification documentation and products aimed at delivering value for ASAQS members.

Did you Know #DYK: What is an API?

What is an API

What is an API?

What exactly is an API? You make mention of this at a dinner party and you are likely to hear a pin drop! This is strongly contrasted in tech circles and management meetings where APIs are valuable and possess a positive impact for businesses. So, what is the real definition of an API?

An API stands for Application Programming Interface.

An API is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Think of the API as a messenger that delivers your request to the provider that you’re requesting it from. Then it delivers the reply back to you. What is important about this process is that the API defines functionalities that are independent of their respective implementations. This allows those implementations and definitions to vary without compromising each other.

Wow, technical overload! So for those of us who are computer scientists or programmers, what on earth does that mouthful mean?

Here is an API Illustration most of us can relate to:

API Call Back from RequestConsider your mobile phone, each of us have the ability to make a phone call request irrespective of the kind of phone we own. When we make a call request we get a response from our service provider that connects us to our friend. Your phone model doesn’t really matter. The phone we use is related to what we need the device to do in correlation to our tasks.

In our example, the phone we use has the screen layouts we prefer based on our business needs. On a website this means we can change the “look” or how the numbers display on our phones. However, we are accessing the same information or performing the same task – making a call.  All without affecting how another persons phone works.

It does present an interesting business choice, do you buy an existing phone model off of the shelf? Or design your own because of a unique business need such as integration with a company CRM or Sales database?

API Big Value for Business

An API presents long term benefits for companies. Specifically those who need to track end to end processes under one software solution.

At Leads 2 Business we offer an API service. Allowing your business to design their own interface to access our Project and Tender information. Get your tech team to contact us and we can connect you. We also offer our off the shelf service. It has our interface that we have designed as part of our normal subscription.


API Information dressed for your business.

To illustrate the concept of an API a little further we would like you to meet Data-Bob. He represents the data that we as a company provide to your organisation through our API. Your development team then designs the interface so that it fits with your corporate requirements.

What is an API?

API can be customised to your business

API Off the shelf Alternative


If you are still feeling lost as to the practical implementation of an API? Here’s real world example:

API Air line

The next time you book a flight you will have “front row seats” to interacting with an API! Whether you search from the airlines website or an online travel service that collates the information from multiple airlines, you will need access the airline’s database to see if there are any seats available, what the subsequent cost might be based on the date, flight time and popularity of your destination.

To obtain the information you need to book your flight, the application has to interact with the airline’s API. Then in turn takes the airline’s response to your request and delivers right back to the travel application you’re using. Through each step, it is aided by the interaction between the application and the airline’s API. Enabling you to perform everything from seat selection, to payment and booking.


How is API information delivered?

When you connect to our API, you will need a username and password. The data is delivered in an XML format. XML is a marked up version of plain text that is easy to access by computers. A comparison can be drawn between information that is obtained in comma separated value or .csv files. When you open the file it appears as a long string of values, however when you import it into excel, the values neatly populate columns and rows depending on the comma sequencing. A similar function occurs when an XML file is pulled. The mark up tags in the file allow your development team to populate the various rows or columns of information within your CRM package, creating a seamlessly integrated solution for your company. It’s an exciting approach and it offers streamlined processes and optimal efficiency for companies.

 

Where to from here?

I hope that this has assisted your understanding of what an API is, as well as how it can work for your business.
If you require any further information, please feel most welcome to contact us on 033-3431130 or email our IT team on Support@L2B.co.za

 

 

About Taryn Duckham

I am a lover of marketing, customer centricity and the art of influence. Being able to effect this through analysis, content and front end design is part of my work, my great love of creatively solving problems that reach across as many parts of Leads 2 Business as I can.

Did you Know #DYK: Who would benefit from which Project Stages?

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If the Construction Industry is your bread and butter it is imperative to know where you fit into the Project Lifecycle and at what stage you would get involved. Before we can see who fits in where we need to understand each stage correctly by looking at the Project Synopsis.

 

Conceptual – These are the very early stages where the Project is still only an idea or concept.

Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• What are we building?
• What studies need to be done such as Feasibility?
• Is funding secured?

Environmental Consultants, Town Planners & Geotechnical Consultants would benefit most from this early stage.

 

 

 

Procedural – This stage is where the securing of various applications occurs. The developer will also start looking at appointing his Professional team.
Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• How far is the EIA?
• What is the address of the new Development?
• Does the new development require rezoning?
• Are there any appeals?

Market researchers, Town planners, Property Developers and Quantity Surveyors would benefit most from this stage.

 

Design – This is once an Architect and/or Quantity Surveyor has been appointed. The full design team will now start drawing up the plans as well as the Bill of Quantities for the new development.
Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• What Professionals still need to be appointed?
• How many levels will the development have?
• What the value of the entire project?
• When will this be going out on Tender?
• What type of Tender will it be?
• How many Tenders are needed?

Individuals that offer Professional Services that would benefit most at the design stage of a Project. This includes Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Engineers, Interior Designers, Landscape Designers & Project Managers.

 

Tender – The Tender stage of a Project is different to a notification to Tender. The Tender stage of a Project refers to the Main Civil and/or Building Tender that will need to be finalized before construction can go ahead. There are different Types of Tenders which will need to be established, namely, Open Tender, Invited Tender & negotiated Tender.
Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• What type of Tender is it?
• Will the civil tender and building tender be separate?
• Ensure all approvals have been received?
• When will the site inspection be?
• When is the award anticipated?
• The anticipated date construction will need to commence?

Main civil and building contractors will benefit most from this stage as they will want to be awarded the development by the company in charge. Vendors, Subcontractors & suppliers will also benefit from this stage as they will have the opportunity to price to the Contractors tendering in hope of being used once the Award has been made for the development.

 

Awarded – The main contractor has now been appointed and needs to finalise all the subcontractors and suppliers before construction can commence.
Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• When is completion due?
• Have all the terms & conditions have been met?
• Are guarantees and surety in place?
• When can we start on site?

Subcontractors and suppliers will benefit most from the Awarded stage of a Project. They will now have a company they can negotiate with for business to supply or subcontract through.

 

Underway – The contractor is on site and construction has commenced.
Key factors to consider at this stage are:
• Are we on schedule?
• Ensure timing is correct?
• Is there a change in scope of works?

Since construction has commenced all the relevant subcontractors will be involved at this stage. Companies such as furniture manufactures, facilities management, IT / Telecom companies, security & cleaning would benefit once the building is almost complete as this is the time when these smaller necessities fall into place. Certain subcontractors would also only fit in during this late stage as they will assist with the personalization of the building before the keys are handed over.

 

 

 

Sources:

Idea icon

Underway Construction

About Candice Erasmus

I have been working at Leads 2 Business for almost 7 years of which 5 have been as the sales manager. I enjoy every aspect of my job and strive to hold the L2B flag high in all I do.

Did you Know #DYK: Why should I subscribe to Leads 2 Business (L2B)?

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Why should I subscribe to Leads 2 Business (L2B)?

Why should I subscribe to Leads 2 Business (L2B)?

Introduction

Leads 2 Business, which was established in 1999, is a web-based construction information company that publishes project and tender leads. We have 19 years experience in supplying you with reliable, current and viable leads. #experiencedoescount

 

Reasons to subscribe to L2B:

 

1. Saving your Time and Money:

At a touch of a button you will have access to Leads, opportunities and valuable information within the building and construction Industry, to possibly improve and expand your business.

L2B will help you to manage your time efficiently and save you money, as you will not have to try find and purchase various newspapers and search websites with tender notices. We will do all that for you (trust us, we know, it is a mission). We do this by sending you a ‘Daily Advisory,’ which is an e-mail you receive on a daily basis, with all your Leads, specific to what is of interest to you, neatly listed in specific categories, where you will click on the lead of interest and will take you through to the full lead on our website.

 

The advisory includes:

Projects https://www.l2b.co.za/Projects/Private-Construction-Jobs and

https://www.l2b.co.za/Projects/Project-Development-Phases

Tenders https://www.l2b.co.za/Tenders/Tenders-In-South-Africa and

https://www.l2b.co.za/Tenders/Tender-Africa

Awards https://www.l2b.co.za/Tenders/Tender-Awards

Any updates on Projects and Tenders you are monitoring –  Monitoring a tender or projects means that you will receive any updates on this lead, eg. if the closing date has been changed, cancelled or any other change that has been made. The monitored item will be easy to find as all your monitored items will be filed together.

 

2. Fear of Missing out (FOMO):

This advisory ensures ease of mind, as we don’t want you to miss out on any leads.  If you are going away on business, and will be out the office, you will still receive your advisory and have access to the system, with your username and password. You can also view previous dated advisories, and search the system. You can view the L2B system by using your laptop, tablet or mobile phone as our system is compatible with these devices.

 

You can set reminders for site meetings and closing dates, either to be received via e-mail or sms. You can make your own personal notes on each lead and monitor leads of interest, which can be viewed altogether, and if there any updates on these leads you will receive this in your advisory.  You can also create individual monitors to monitor various leads.

 

3. Be in the Know

L2B will assist you to be in “the Know” by supplying you with the 4 W’s:

Who is building,

Who is doing the actual work on the Project?

Who is in the professional team, e.g.: Architects, QS, Contractors.

Who do I contact with questions about the Tender/Project? 

 

What,

What are they constructing? A hotel? Office? Roads? Schools?

 

Where

Where is the project happening?

 

When

When is the site inspection date, closing date, award date and commencement date?

 

Therefore giving you the opportunity to offer your prices, at the right time, and possibly winning a contract.

 

 

4. It’s all about you (No Contract)

If you wish to cancel your subscription, all you have to is give 14 days written notice, as we know that times can get tight and you can always resubscribe. And we can even possibly offer you a cheaper package.

 

 

5. Extra Mile

Staff at L2B will go the extra mile for you, as we want you to be the best you can be. If you succeed, we succeed.

 

 

 

We want 2018 to be your best year yet , so in order expand your business, subscribe to us and let us go the extra mile for you.

 

 

 

Please click here for further information on what Leads 2 Business has to offer.

 

Sources for images:

Question Mark

Animation pressing button

Fear of missing out Animation

Animation holding W

It’s all about you

2018 image

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.

To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.

To view more articles, please visit our blog.

About Pauline Rainbird

I have been working at L2B since March 2011 and my current position is Deputy Head of Department - Africa. When I am not working I am either riding my bicycle or spending time with my dogs.

L2B Blog: What are Projects all about?

What are Projects all about?

The question I get asked the most being a Projects researcher is… ‘What are Projects all about?‘.

It is early days in 2018 and my understanding levels are still rebooting after the holidays. I thought I would try and provide an explanation that may be a little tongue in cheek and also help people remember easily what Projects are all about. So, in my analogy, I decided to do a comparison between Projects and Fishing (in my head this means only fly fishing, but you can use most fishing for this analogy).

 

Projects vs Fishing

What happens in a Project? Well, we follow the full life cycle of the Project (think of it like your life, from birth until your eventual end). Now a Project can be broken into a few defining stages, which is how we put our information into groups to make it easier to follow, understand and find your best area of benefit from a business perspective. So without further adieu, here are the various stages broken down for your ease of reference.

 

 

Projects Planning
 

Conceptual

Projects

This consists of the appointing of the Client or Developer, Feasibility study, acquiring of funding and Request for Proposals (RFP).

Fishing

Your mind starts hatching a plan for getting away and going fishing. You are looking at your bank balance and wondering if this is a feasible decision.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Procedural

Projects

Here the basic design is conceived along with the geotechnical study, EIA process, Town Planning and appointment of Professionals who will carry out these and other duties.

Fishing

You begin to look at the calendar and note when the public holidays are, what the weather is expected to be at the time (we all know how that effects fishing), the distance needed to travel and the people that will be involved in this trip.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Design

Projects

The detailed design is completed and the Bill of Quantities prepared.

Fishing

You search fishing forums and websites, as well as Trip Advisor, Lodges and Google reviews for the best places to visit that, will supply your (fly) fishing needs.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Projects Construction Design

Tender

Projects

The Project is sent to an Invited list of Bidders to Tender or goes out to Open Tender and once the Bids are received, negotiations with Contractors proceed.

Fishing

You make a decision on where you are going to fish and stay; book and pay. You alight in your chariot with all the correct tackle and head to your destination.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Awarded

Projects

The Main Contractor is Awarded and applies for permits to begin on site.

Fishing

The weather is perfect, the fishing permit is in hand and as your line sinks into the watery depths, you feel a definite tug as you hook what feels like a bus of a fish.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Projects Awarded

Underway

Projects

The process goes ahead with Site Handover, Site Establishment and the commencement of the actual construction work.

Fishing

Your experience and skills come into play in fighting your fish, cleverly steering it away from weeds and avoiding logs and rocks.

(Click here for examples of this Project stage)

 

Complete/Cancelled/Postponed

Projects

The project is either classified as Complete, Cancelled or is Postponed.

Fishing

You successfully land the fish, or you lose the fish. The line wraps around either a tree, gets stuck in the weed or the hook breaks and the fish lives to fight another day.

(Examples can be found on the following links: Complete, Cancelled, Postponed Project stages)

 

Projects vs Fly fishing

 

 

And there you have it! Projects explained in a fresh and easy way. Parcels of information that help your business get a foot in the door at the right time. If you want to find out which stages are the best for what you do, take a look at ‘At which point in the Project Life Cycle can your Business find Value‘.

If you want to take a look at the other services we provide, you can take a look at ‘Snoop our Services‘.

How many fish are you planning to catch this year? Which of those fish will keep your Business in the black? Maybe taking a look at our Project service will help your Business and get you out fishing more often. If you are interested, pop me a comment on the Blog with your mail address or mail me at CarmenB@L2B.co.za and I will be sure to be in contact with you.

 

Until then, have a fantastic day.

 

Picture sources

1 https://pixabay.com/get/eb3cb20c28f5053ed95c4518b7494090eb70e4d704b0144093f0c97ba1ebb4_960.jpg

2 https://pixabay.com/get/eb33b90d2ef0003ed95c4518b7494090eb70e4d704b0144093f0c97ba0e5b7_960.jpg

3 https://pixabay.com/get/ea35b2082ff3093ed95c4518b7494090eb70e4d704b0144093f0c97bafe9b6_960.jpg

4 https://pixabay.com/get/e834b5062df4033ed95c4518b7494090eb70e4d704b0144093f0c97bafe5b3_960.jpg

 

 

About Carmen Barends

Social Media adventurer exploring new frontiers and learning how to survive. Tongue in cheek and mischief are the order of any good day topped with a sprinkling of laughter.

Did You Know #DYK – Painless ways to save more money

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Painless ways to save more money

First of all, I don’t think there any painless ways to save money. It is far easier and more fun to spend money. Saving money leans to the more boring and responsible decision making aspects of our lives, and sometimes you just don’t want to be any more responsible than you already are. Even if it’s better for you. In the long run. But you’re not dealing with the “long run” now, are you? Plus “saving more money” implies that you are saving money currently, and have extra money to stash away. Everyone’s financial situation is different. Some are more fraught than others. Maybe you only have to support yourself, and you can be a little bit more reckless since your decisions and choices only affect yourself. Perhaps you have people that are dependent on you, so your decisions have to take others into account as well. There’s only so many that can fit into a fridge box under a bridge (worst case scenario). I do have people dependent on me. So I approach my money from a variety of angles. Do I have all the answers? Hardly, she chuckles while not making eye contact with the credit card bill. Do all the little tricks work all the time? Nope. You see there’s this thing called “life” and it tends to happen at the worst possible time. But if you don’t have a plan or an approach, then there’s no getting anywhere.

 

Monthly Bills:

Write everything down – Whether you have a little budget you fill in each month or whatever, keep track. Not saying something because “you forgot” or “you didn’t get a bill” (our Municipalities are not the most reliable), is the easiest way to get behind. Writing everything down also allows you to compare month to month, and address any weirdly high bills, and follow up when you haven’t received a bill/ statement.

Annual Bills – Make note of your Annual bills as well. Know when your licences need to be renewed (e.g. TV, car and drivers’) and any other once a year expense (e.g. annual vaccines for the pets). You’ll be able to plan for these expenses and won’t be caught short and avoid any additional costs involved for being late (i.e. fines)

Annual Instalment Increases – Know when your instalments go up. Medical aid, Retirement Annuities, Insurances, Membership fees etc will all have an annual increase of some sort. Make note of when they go up and make note of what the new fees are. Can you ask for a discount or negotiate a different rate? If you aren’t paying attention, you will never know.

Save – Treat your monthly savings as an expense. I don’t care how much you put away each month, put something away. And make sure you can’t touch it easily. A 32-day call account is a good option for this.

 

Debt:

Are you serious about getting out of or reducing your debt? And I’m not talking about talking about it. Like everything in life, seeing is believing and doing is the hard part. Wishing it away doesn’t work. If you are not serious, then it’s not going to happen. Worrying about money is corrosive. And debt is a hole we dig for ourselves while lamenting and weeping about how deep the hole is we’re currently standing in and still digging. Everyone has debt in some form or another. I was completely debt free for all of a couple of seconds awhile back. Lovely feeling. Short-lived. Working to get back there. If you are not willing to make the hard decisions (read: not fun decisions) then shut up about your debt. And here’s another kick in the guts; it’s your fault you are in debt. (Shock! Horror!) No one else’s fault, but your own. (Disclaimer: In the case of identity theft, it’s not your fault. Bad luck. I hope it works out) So where do you start:

DO NOT make more debt – Simple. Straightforward. Draw a line in the sand, and do not cross it. Debts breed debt. So stop making more. Suffer but do not make any more debt.

Write EVERYTHING down – Do not be conservative or selective. Don’t write down only the big stuff. Write down who you owe, how much you owe and how much you pay them each month. Be ruthless. You can’t begin to start clearing it all if you don’t know the numbers. It can be daunting but suck it up. Make that list, and keep track every month. You want to be able to know at any given point how much you owe who and how much longer it’ll take to pay them off. Plus this will also allow you to see the horror that is “interest”.

Snowball payments – Once you’ve paid off one creditor, add that instalment to the next creditor on the list. You won’t miss the money, as you haven’t had it up to this point to put it to work. This allows you to speed up your repayments. Keep doing this until everything is paid and you are free and clear. Once you’ve paid off accounts, especially clothing accounts, close them. If you got into trouble with them in the first place, then they’re not working for you. Cut up the cards.

Bonus’ and unexpected windfalls – Depending on the sum, depends on what you do with it. If you are drowning in debt, any unexpected windfall triggers the “spend till we drop” knee-jerk reaction. I, however, hate being asked what I did with a large sum of money and not being able to actually pinpoint where it went. It’s different if you can say “Oh it went to the last holiday” or “the house or car”. Having to answer “I don’t know” is quite disheartening, especially if the money could’ve helped you in quite an impressive way and if you’ve just spent 10 minutes bemoaning your own financial status. If your huge wad of cash isn’t big enough to completely wipe out a particular pile of debt, stick it away into a savings account until it is big enough. If it is big enough, pay off the debt. Kill it, kill it dead. This is the boring and responsible decision making part of your life. This is where you choose to be serious or not. Urgh….so not fun.

Know it takes time – Be patient. Persevere. It might seem never-ending, but it will end and you will have reached your goal. And you might get to brag that you are “DEBT FREE”. Not many get to do that.

 

Saving

Everyone should be saving each month. It doesn’t matter how much you start with, as long as you start. Saving tends to be goal orientated. You’re saving towards something. They say that you need to have an Emergency Fund (3 to 6 months of living expenses), Short Term Goal (annual expenses) Mid-term Goal (holidays etc) and Long-Term Goal (Retirement). To say that this is overwhelming is an understatement.

Emergency Fund is basically in case of retrenchment. Should you get retrenched, you still have bills to pay and you should be able to live off this Fund until you get back on your feet. If you already have retrenchment cover in place; then you’re pretty much covered here. And good for you but a little extra can’t hurt.

Short Term Goal can be a fund for your annual expenses. You know how much your annual expenses will come to, so you save up to cover these. No scratching around for money to renew your Drivers License, as you’ve already saved towards it.

Mid-Term Goal is usually the fun ones. You plan on going on holiday or buying a new car or house. It’s not hard to be motivated to save towards these kinds of goals as they add to life’s little joys and they are something to look forward to.

Long-Term Goal is your plan and saving towards retirement. Unfortunately, you have to think about retirement and plan now. You can either have a Provident Fund, Retirement Fund, Retirement Annuities or a combination as well as a good old-fashioned savings account with awesome interest that you don’t touch for 30 to 40 years. The Grant for Older Persons (previously known as the Old Age Pension) is R1500.00 a month. Can you live on R1500.00 a month now? No? Then you won’t be able to do it when you’re retired either. If you already have a plan in place, then pay attention to it. Know how much it’ll be worth when you retire.

 

To Start Saving:

Have a Plan – Know how much you need to save each month and how long you need to save to reach your end goal. Do the maths.

Cut back on Expenses – Go through your monthly expenses with a fine tooth comb and see where you can cut back. Do you buy lunch each day, when you can bring lunch to work? Are there cheaper more cost effective options for your monthly shopping? Check your banking fees and cell phone account. Question everything. Are you paying towards a monthly Gym membership but have never gone? Cancel it. Go through your cupboards and use up what you already have so you don’t have to buy more. You will have to sacrifice. Whether you’re saving for an overseas trip or saving to pay off your debt faster; you will have to go without. Accept it now.

Create a No Spend Tracker – If you are serious about cutting down on your daily spending, then keep track. It’s generally the small daily amounts that fly under the radar that add up, so make yourself accountable. How long can you go without spending anything? See example here

Loyalty Rewards – Once these accumulate, these can be quite helpful. Know what loyalty points you earn where, and if you aren’t earning them; sign up.

Join a Savings Club – A Savings Club takes commitment. If you are not serious about paying in each month, then don’t even think about it. These only work when everyone who participates is on the same page and has respect for the process. If you are serious, a Savings Club can be your annual nest egg to be used wisely.

Sales and Specials – Slightly counterproductive in advocating saving of money but taking advantage of specials and sales can be extremely helpful. Stock up on 3 for 2 specials for toiletries and non-perishable items and bulk buy. If you have a nice stockpile built up, who knows how long you can go without having to spend anything again. Obviously, within reason. You’re not a doomsday prepper preparing for the apocalypse. Buy birthday and Christmas presents throughout the year. December and January are traditionally quite lean months for myself, so if I have all my Christmas presents bought before December; this helps a great deal

Add extra to monthly bills – By the end of the year, you would’ve built up a nice credit and can actually skip those bills over either December or January. The extra cash can either carry you through these lean times, help prevent more debtor can go into your savings.

Money matters are something that we have to learn from experience. So set yourself a goal and make smart choices. It won’t be easy or quick, but it will be worth it.

About Claire Donaldson

I started working at Leads 2 Business in February 2005, and have served as Head of Department of Daily Tenders from 2007 until the present. I oversee both the Daily Tenders South Africa and Africa Departments.

Did You Know #DYK: Market Intelligence

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Using Intelligence in your business approach.

 

Businesses often make the mistake of surveying their marketing landscape and assuming what works now will work in 5 years’ time. Economic fluctuations continuously occur and these will affect spending. An economic downturn means fewer opportunities with the same number of competitors.

 

Gaining competitive advantage means having clear objectives:

Streamline your approach; know your industry, know your competitors, have solid knowledge of your company’s strengths and points of differentiation.

Be flexible; regularly assess industry movements, use available information and align your strategies to fit current trends.

Plan ahead; determine which areas to focus on and ensure you are prepared to respond to the inevitable challenges.

 

Tracking trends and fluctuations give you a steady overview of your corporate landscape, utilise the data to allocate necessary time and resources to the areas that will grow your business.

 

Using our construction leads platform, we’ve given a breakdown of tenders for each of South Africa’s provinces, including the most populated tender types:

 

Construction Intelligence
Top Tender Industries – Leads 2 Business

 

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.

To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.

To view more articles, please visit our blog.

Did you Know #DYK: How much time is needed when pricing?

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Pricing Online

All’s well that ends well. While I believe this to be true, I also believe there is another equally important truth – all’s well that begins well. Especially so in the Construction Industry.

An Industry that commands the unforeseen be seen today.

An industry where the smallest miscalculation will lead to errors of massive proportions.

An industry whose success depends as much on the right planning as on the right execution.

Leads 2 Business understands how crucial accurate, timeous pricing is, and believe that ‘nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity’

 

Request for Quotes

Submitting accurate pricing is critical in any type of construction business.

Estimate too high and you win fewer jobs; too low and your profits disappear.

So, it’s important to get it right every time!

How do you submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) as accurately and as timeous as possible?

 

Let’s explore two possible scenarios:

 

Scenario 1

On receiving a Request for Quote (RFQ) you attempt to print it out, but….. there’s no paper in the printer, mumbling to yourself you open a new ream of paper, slam it into the printer tray and attempt to print again.

You got this, just breathe.

Okay, it’s printing!

Now that you have your freshly printed RFQ on your desk you start typing away on your calculator: add the three, carry the one divide by four, or was it add the one carry the four and divide by three???

This is getting stressful….

A few checks on Google along with a splash of Tip-ex here and there and BOOM you finally have yourself a complete handwritten RFQ! Not bad for a couple of hours work!!

After double checking all is correct (fingers crossed), and feeling rather satisfied with yourself, you bundle the lot up and caress it down the throat of the office fax machine, only to find out that the fax jammed, your document is in tatters and you are seeing red.

Following a few choice words with the poor new IT guy, you calmly place your head in your hands and walk back to your desk to start the tedious process again….

Estimating by hand is time-consuming, frustrating and is detrimental to the well being of the poor new IT guy.

 

Online pricing beats faxing

It’s time to bin the fax machine

 

Scenario 2

You respond by pricing online using the Leads 2 Business website.

Online? Tell me how!

By registering to the Open Quotes service offered by Leads 2 Business you can price online, edit your Profile settings which include your Trades and Serviceable Regions and send your prices to Buyers without waiting for them to ask you for a price first.

Pricing online will not only ensure you rank higher than your competitors it will also:

Save You Time with easy options to download, decline and archive RFQ’s, as well as the ability to send your prices to multiple buyers at once.

Centralised Storage & No More Paper means you can now have a detailed record of all RFQ’s received, priced, declined and archived, kept safely online.

Drawings are easily accessible and available to download.

 

Open Quotes provides you with the ability to:

• Pro-actively respond to RFQ’s using Bill Extracts
• View and price other jobs that match your company trade
• Forward your pricing requests to your company
• Stay current with recent Award notifications

You will be notified when a contract has been awarded, giving you the edge over your competitors.

You will be provided with the following information:
• Awarded Contractor
• Contact information
• Contract Value
• Site occupation

As a new Open Quotes subscriber, you will have a premier listing of the New Vendors showcase for a 30 day period, allowing Buyers to view your business offerings.

You will be able to see which Buyers prefer you and interact directly with them regarding your service and product offerings.

So how much time is needed to price? When using Open Quotes from Leads 2 Business, not much time at all!

But don’t take my word for it Click Here and find out for yourself.

 

Sources:

Kicking

Printer on Fire

 

About Mark Meyer

I joined Leads 2 Business in February 2009 and serve as IT Director.

Did you Know #DYK: EIA Processes Explained

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Ultimately when I was chosen for this topic, my first thought when hearing “Environmental Impact Assessments” (EIA’s) was little butterflies, tree huggers and strange frogs of which there are only 2 left. But there most certainly is a lot more to it!

 

First things first… what exactly is an EIA? Very simple really, thanks to my bestie, Google: “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.”

EIA Process
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Source

 

Still not sure? Let’s get to it then!

 

EIA in South Africa all started back in the ’70’s. It started out voluntarily until 1997 when the government passed EIA regulations under the old Environmental Conservation Act (Act 73 of 1989). Activities, such as projects, policies, programmes and plans, which have a significant effect on the environment must be investigated and assessed, to bring any valuable concerns to light. This does not, however, mean that the project won’t move forward, the EIA test is to gain clarity so that developers/clients are made aware of any impacts the project will have on the environment or culture upon completion.

 

There are two levels of assessment, namely: a Basic Assessment process and a full EIA. The full EIA process entails the following steps:

1. Screening
2. Scoping
3. Assessment study
4. Review
5. Decision-making
6. Follow-up

 

The length of the EIA will depend on the project under review. The process usually lasts between 6 and 18 months, approximately the same length as the feasibility study. Now, let’s have a look at each step individually and what each step of the process entails.

 

Screening:

This process is completed by the relevant authority at national, provincial or local level. As previously mentioned, there are two levels of assessment. Basic assessments are done to streamline the EIA so that smaller projects/activities (ie. road widening, construction of dams below 5m in height etc) are not subjected to a full EIA. These assessments, therefore, do not include a scoping phase. An Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) is required to determine whether a basic assessment or full EIA is required. The EAP will consult with the public, designated competent authority and relevant stakeholders. The input by the stakeholders is required before submitting the screening report for screening decisions by the DEA. A full EIA is needed for projects that will have an effect on a national protected area. In these instances, the Minister is designated as the competent authority. The estimated time frame for the screening process is 30 days.

 

Scoping:

Scoping is the process of identifying the key environmental issues and is the most important step within an EIA report. Scoping is important for two reasons: a.) so problems can be pinpointed early allowing mitigating design changes to be made and b.) to ensure that detailed prediction work is only carried out for important issues. Scoping is only required for projects that undergo a full EIA. An approved EAP may be appointed at this stage. After the application is submitted, the proponent must:

  1. Conduct the public participation process;
  2. Give notice in writing of proposed application to any state agency with jurisdiction over the proposed activity;
  3. Open and maintain a register for public participation;
  4. Consider all objections and representations received from interested and affected parties;
  5. Identify relevant issues, potential environmental impacts, alternatives of the project activity;
  6. Prepare a scoping report which must be reviewed and commented on by all concerned parties;
  7. Give interested and affected parties an opportunity to comment on the scoping report;
  8. Submit the scoping report to the competent authority for review and decision-making.

Once all documents are submitted, the competent authority makes the decision on whether the report has been approved, rejected, or if amendments should be made. Scoping is done to identify key interest groups, both government and non-governmental. Individuals who are affected by the project need to hear about it as soon as possible. The estimated time frame for the scoping process is 30 days.

 

Assessment and reporting:

Once the scoping report has been accepted, the EAP will begin with the approved plan of study for the EIA. The applicant or EAP may appoint an expert to carry out a special study or a specialised process. The contents of an EIA report include the details of the appointed EAP, the description and location of the project, a description of the environment that may be affected, details of the public participation process, description of the needs of the project, description of the potential alternatives to the project and their analysis along with the indication of the adopted methodology, a summary of the findings and recommendations of any specialist report, all environmental issues identified with significant impacts, assumptions, uncertainties and gaps in knowledge. Reasoning as to whether the project should or should not be authorised, a draft EMP and copies of any specialist reports and any specific information that may be required by the competent authority. For projects that require a Basic Assessment, a Basic Assessment Report (BAR) is required.

 

Review:

The competent authority and other relevant authorities are responsible for the review, they can either accept the EIA report or refer it for specialised review by a team for their comments, this is usually the case where technical knowledge or a high level of objectivity is required. The time frame for the reviewing report is 60 days. For a Basic Assessment Report, the competent authority has 30 days to accept, reject, suggest alternatives, or to subject the report to a full EIA.

Decision-making:

After the EIA report is approved, a decision is taken on whether an environmental authorisation is granted for the activity. This is required before any activities can begin by the developer. The granting of an environmental authorization does not necessarily lead to project approval. Other licences separate from the one issued by DEA have to be received from other relevant authorities before proposed project activities can commence. The competent authority taking the decision on whether the environmental authorisation is granted or not can be the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Members of the Executive Council (MEC), the Minister of Mineral Resources for mining related activities, the provincial, or local environmental authorities with delegated powers. All decisions need to be made public. The competent authority must grant or refuse the environmental authorisation within 45 days. For Basic Assessments, the decision will be taken within 30 days from the approval of the BAR.

 

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement:

 

Compliance monitoring

Compliance monitoring

Monitoring is a mandatory requirement. The applicant is required to submit an Environmental Management Plan as part of the EIA study report. This should include the requirements for the management, monitoring and reporting of the impacts of the project on the environment throughout the life cycle of the project.

 

 

 

Non-compliance penalties

Non-compliance penalties

The competent authority may suspend an Environmental Authorisation for several reasons, i.e. if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the contravention or non-compliance with a condition of the authorisation causes harm to the environment, or if it is necessary to prevent such harm. Furthermore, a person is guilty of an offence if that person provides misleading or incorrect information, fails to disclose information to the competent authority, fails to comply with a request to submit an environmental audit report, fails to comply with any conditions granted in an authorised exemption and continues with a project for which an Environmental Authorisation was suspended. The punishment for the offence could be imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to a fine prescribed not exceeding R1 million, or (and this is the scary part) to both a fine AND imprisonment.

 

 

Public participation:

Public participation is required for projects that require only a basic assessment and projects that require a full EIA. However, there are no provisions for public participation during the decision phase and during monitoring of EIA activities. The public is given an opportunity to comment on reports and statements. The public is also informed about decisions and their reasoning.

 

Legal recourse:

A person who wishes to appeal against a decision must submit a notice of intention with the Minister in charge of the environment, the MEC or a delegated organ of state to the appeal authority. An appeal panel can be appointed to support the processing of the appeal. Recommendations are submitted to the competent authority in writing. The relevant authorities can then make a decision to the appeal.

In conclusion, Environmental Impact Assessments cannot give a precise picture of the future, much like we as South Africans don’t have an exact idea of where these “interesting” changes will take us. Environmental Impact Assessments enable uncertainty to be managed and to assist in correct decision making within the project process. A useful management general truth is to preserve flexibility in the face of uncertainty.

 

Sources: http://www.fao.org/docrep/V8350E/v8350e06.htm

http://www.eia.nl/en/countries/af/south+africa/eia

https://www.soas.ac.uk/cedep-demos/000_P507_EA_K3736-Demo/unit1/page_14.htm

 

If you are interested in becoming one of our subscribers, please visit our website.

To view notes with screenshots on how to use our website, please visit our Wiki site.

To view more articles, please visit our blog.

About Elaine Cockcroft

I started working at Leads 2 Business in January 2016 and form part of the sales team as Account Executive based in Gauteng.

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