What the Frack!

What the Frack?


The topic of fracking seems to be coming up more and more these days and sure, I can hold my weight in a 3 minute conversation about it, but in no way have I ever been left feeling 100% confident I know exactly what the frack everyone is on about!  So I went on an information quest and this is what I came up with.


Let’s start with the basics like the definition:




noun: fracking

  1. the process of injecting liquid (usually water mixed with sand and chemicals) at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

Just by definition it sounds invasive, but I knew I was going to have to be objective during this quest in order to find out all the facts and make an informative decision as to whether I’m “for” or “against”.

So let’s break this down, as the definition implies, fracking is the extraction of natural gases or oil by fracturing the layers of shale by means of hydraulics. 2.4 to 7.8 million gallons of water is added to +- 40,000 gallons of chemicals and used during this process, to put that in perspective for you the gallon/litre conversion is 1 Gallon to 3.78541 litres!

The list of chemicals used is longer than my arm but here are a few, Hydrochloric Acid, Ethylene Glycol, Triethanolamine Zirconate, Methanol, Lauryl Sulfate, uranium, lead, mercury and the list goes on, and honestly they all sound a little frightening but mainly because I have no idea what many of them are or what they do, so I will hold any judgement for now due to ignorance.

To continue, once all the fracking has taken place there are geologic formation pressures that force up the “fracking water”, this is then meant to be stored and treated…. never to contaminate.

This is where my investigation got a little shady, and my impartial views began to diminish.

Site after site I stumbled onto terms such as:

“Fracturing fluid migration into drinking water aquifers”

“Waste water transportation accidents”

“Possible environmental impacts include ground water contamination, methane greenhouse gas fugitive emissions, waste water handling, and even potential earthquakes”

Not to mention these fun fracking facts:

  • There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
  • The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain etc.
  • Methane concentrations are 17 times higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.
  • Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.
  • Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid


Explain to me why again is South Africa considering this?!!

Let’s bring South Africa in to this equation, where are we on the fracking global debate? It will seem we are firmly in the exploration phase of fracking as reported on the 2014-03-23 on the News 24 website, the headlines read “Govt gives go-ahead for Karoo fracking” It states that this is going to be an “economic game changer” and I couldn’t agree more, I love job creation just as much as the next person but does the “economic Game Change” outweigh the impact to our environment? Well to be fair, we were not given a vote and neither were the residents of the Karoo.

So all we can all do now is wait and see what the results of the exploration fracking will bring and hope that our government is responsible enough to do what is right for our Beautiful Country and the people who live in it ….


And that is the conclusion of my quest, but don’t take my word for it, go do some investigation yourself, I personally may have got stuck on the negatives of Fracking, so bring us back some positives and we can thrash those out in another blog installment entitled “Why the Frack not!”


Until then 😉











About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

T is for Tender

"T" is for Tender


There is much excitement when a Project Status moves into Tender Stage. This means the project is going out to tender – tender for construction! Whoop whoop! Things are happening, construction is going to commence shortly. If, however, the Project goes out to tender for the professionals the Project Status will remain in Procedural stage as this is a tender for professional services to conduct feasibility studies, EIA studies etc.

But, back to the tender for construction. This could be an invited tender and this is limited to preferred contractors only who are invited by the developer to tender on the contract. These tenders are very hard to obtain information about as they are, well, invited. “Invited” also translates as code for “big secret, don’t tell anybody anything!”

Open/public Tenders are published in newspapers and the media and these are open to general contractors who may only be limited by their CIDB grading. With publishing of the Tender notices comes site inspection dates (which are generally compulsory) and site attendance registers. The Tender closing date is perhaps the second most important date after the site attendance date. The Tender notices (DTA) that are listed on the Projects include a hyperlink which links the Project and Tender. Once the Tender has closed and the bids are in, bidders lists are then requested and if successfully obtained, the bidders list is attached to the DTA and the Project as a document.

On average, it takes about 3 – 4 months for Tenders to be awarded, (but it can take longer. Much longer in Africa). Once 3 months have passed, it is time to follow up on the Tenders and see if any awards have been made and this is when the fun begins.

It involves phoning the contact(s) listed on the Tender, usually in the Procurement Department and hoping they are willing to release details of the awarded company. When phoning African countries, this could involve many calls and being transferred to several different people and then finally being told…. “No, you cannot have the award details”. So, I wait (after all, “good things come to those who wait”) and try again in another couple of weeks or months depending on the forcefulness of the ‘No’. Sometimes, I get lucky and if the Project is big enough to warrant media attention, and an article appears in a local newspaper giving details of the awarded company I am able to update the award details on our database.  Alternatively, more phone calls and emails, until eventually (sometimes only once construction has commenced) a kind person will relent and give me the award information. Other times, sadly I am not so lucky……

But I digress …… back to getting the award information….

When obtaining the award information, it is important to get the spelling of the awarded company’s name correct, usually using the NATO phonetic spelling which is: Alpha for A, Bravo for B, C for Charlie etc. However, it appears that not everyone is able to recall this list when it comes to spelling and in Africa there appears to be many variations to this list, including the use of animal names – and I have had some more unusual phonetic names, including “J” …. for Giraffe and “A” for ….Umbrella!! Really!?!

T is for Tenacious, E is for Excellent, N is for Never giving up, D is for Diligent, E is for Enduring and R is for Relentless: T E N D E R




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.

Understanding the Tender Life Process

It's better to be at the bottom of the higher class; than the top of the lower class


In the 9th Grade, I got to choose which science class I would be assigned to. My marks had landed me right in the middle of the class breakdown, so my teacher gave me a choice. I could go to the “lower” class or the “higher” class, the following year. The implication being that the “higher” class would be harder.


There are few instances where being slap bang in the middle are beneficial. Bidder’s Lists are one of them. There is nothing more perplexing than looking at the prices submitted on a tender and there is one extremely high tender price and one ridiculously low tender price. You can almost imagine the tender prices in the middle huddling together trying not to make metaphorical eye contact with either end of the Bidder’s List, in a bid not to be “tainted”. You do not want to stand out on a Bidder’s List. This is not the time to be an individual. Because if you are that incredibly low price; people will assume that you’re under cutting your prices. And if you’re that really high tender price; they assume you don’t know what you’re doing and trying to win the “tender lotto”.


Granted, tenders aren’t awarded by price alone. But price still speaks volumes.


Tendering is not a passive endeavour. It isn’t something that just “happens”. It has to be enforced and monitored at every stage. Tenders are about being competitive and cost effective; while promoting equality, transparency and fairness (I can practically see you rolling your eyes). Yes, I know you are more likely to see the words “corruption” and “price fixing” when reading any headline concerning tenders. And I can’t argue with that. Those in Supply Chain Management Units need to be trained in the correct and legal way of handling tenders, and those in the building and construction industry need to know just as much. The right hand keeps the left hand honest, as it were. In case, no one’s told you; you are allowed to object. If you see any dodgy dealings, call them on it. Maybe you’ve become too jaded; and gone to the private sector (no one can blame you). Maybe you’re too new and naïve; and not sure of the procedures (go learn them). Hell, maybe you’ve joined them.


If you don’t like what your industry has become, change it. If the client isn’t paying you; cancel the contract. If your contractor isn’t doing the job correctly; kick them to the half-finished kerb. In a legal and professional manner, of course. It happens all the time; so why can’t it happen every time? Yes, this is overly simplified. I realise, on the ground, it is far more complicated and messy and nuanced than an outsider like me; could possibly understand. Hard choices abound.


I can only offer this piece of advice my dad gave me “It’s better to be at the bottom of the higher class; than the top of the lower class”. At least you’ve got somewhere to go.






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.

Mining in Africa – why we ‘dig’ it!

posted in: General 3

Mining in Africa



Africa is a mineral-rich continent with untapped value to be unlocked. Mining and metals remains one of the best performing sectors despite economic uncertainty – it is one of the industries that continues to attract investment and drive economic growth in most Africa countries – Wickus Botha, Mining & Metals leader


The African Continent is richly endowed with mineral reserves and ranks first or second in quantity of world reserves of bauxite, cobalt industrial diamond phosphate rock, vermiculite and zirconium. Gold mining is Africa’s main mining resource.


According to Wikipedia : “As of 2005”, strategic minerals and key producers on the African continent were:

Diamonds : 46% of the world, divided as Botswana 35%; Congo (Kinshasa) 34%; South Africa 17%; Angola, 8%.
Gold : 21% of the world, divided as South Africa 56%; Ghana, 13%; Tanzania, 10%; and Mali, 8%.
Uranium : 16% of the world, divided as Namibia 46%; Niger 44%; South Africa less than 10%.
Bauxite : (used for aluminium): 9% of the world, divided as Guinea 95%; Ghana 5%.
Steel : 2% of the world, divided as South Africa 54%; Egypt 32%; Libya 7%; Algeria 6%.
Aluminium : 5% of the world, divided as South Africa 48%; Mozambique 32%; Egypt 14%.
Copper (mine/refined) : 5% of the world, divided as Zambia 65%/77%; South Africa 15%/19%; Congo (Kinshasa) 13%/0%; Egypt 0%/3%.
Platinum/Palladium : 62% of the world, divided as South Africa 97%/96%.


Mining projects are actually very interesting – so much more than just “a hole in the ground”. Yes, there are the open-pit mines and the underground mines, obviously depending on what mineral/precious metal they are trying to extract. These new mines are often located in very remote places which means there is no infrastructure and this very often has to be constructed by the Mining Companies themselves in order to gain access to the mine. New roads are needed, railway lines need to be upgraded and in some cases new lines need to be built in order to transport the product to the nearest port for distribution to overseas markets for further fabrication. Port facilities also need to be upgraded, expanded and improved to allow for the storage of the product, prior to shipping.


So, as a result of new mines being built, infrastructure in the various countries is upgraded and improved. In addition to transport, adequate water and a regular electricity supply is needed to run the mines and more often than not, new electricity lines, power stations and substations are constructed to power the mine. Pipelines to carry water to the mine and new tailings dams to store water are also constructed. Mines that are located in remote locations far from towns and cities, also provide accommodation for their workers and families. Mining companies spend a lot of money on upliftment projects for the surrounding communities in the form of schools, clinics etc.


In Private Projects I research and follow Greenfield and Brownfield mining projects throughout Africa, including SADC and South Africa and there are currently 345 active mining projects on our database ………………… Just sayin’!






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.

Creative ways to get your Bill of Quantities

posted in: General, How To 2

Creative Ways to Obtain a Bill of Quantity

Bills of quantities are prepared by Quantity Surveyors we all know that thanks to the previous blog post “What is a Bill of Quantities (BoQ)?”

So how does one obtain a Bill of Quantities? Let me count the legal ways…

1. Request the BoQ from the Quantity Surveyor
2. Purchase the Tender Document which contains the BoQ
3. Download off a website if it is available
4. Request the BoQ from the Client directly
5. Request the BoQ from the Architect
6. Request the BoQ from the PA of the Quantity Surveyor
7. Contact Leads 2 Business

All of these methods lead back to the Quantity Surveyor. Surely we could obtain a Bill of Quantities in a more creative way? Maybe the answer would be to become a Quantity Surveyor and draw up your own BoQ. Sounds easy right? Not so quick.
Firstly we need to understand the role a Quantity Surveyor plays in the Construction Industry.

When asked what a Quantity Surveyor does many people will say “Erm. They survey quantities”. That’s what I would have said before working at Leads 2 Business.

From the inception of the project the QS will estimate costs throughout the process based on industry knowledge, substantiating their results with previous projects in order to make estimates on how much the project will cost. A QS performs various roles including managing the costs of a project, calculating quantities (how many bricks a house will need), advice on tendering procedures and contractual arrangements to name a few. Explains why you need to study at least 4 years to obtain a degree.
Becoming a Quantity surveyor may assist you to obtain a BoQ creatively but perhaps not the most efficient way to do so and I doubt anyone would go to such lengths especially when you take into consideration that you may not be appointed on the project you might be interested in pursuing. So what is the alternative?

You could go with some of the conventional methods I listed. If however you are looking for a creative 21st Century approach to obtaining a BoQ that is legal and efficient, Leads 2 Business may be a perfect fit for you.



About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

How growth in Africa filters into Projects?

posted in: General 0

How growth in Africa filters into Projects?




“In 2011 over 15 African countries registered growth rates exceeding 5% despite the world economic recession” (Ernst & Young)

“More than 800 infrastructure projects have been identified in Africa in 2012” – (Ernst & Young)

According to this information, these are exciting times for new developments/construction opportunities in Africa.

“New US$32 investment for Nairobi’s Garden City Development” (African Business Review)

Headlines like this are exactly what I am looking for – possible new project leads for our subscribers. The search is on to turn these headlines into project leads that our subscribers can benefit from.
Where do I start, do I consult my crystal ball – I wish! No, it’s called research and it generally starts with the newspaper or article headline and from there my first stop is Google. If the world is your oyster, then Google is the pearl! It is possible to source anything, you just have to know where and how to look.

I start researching the project – where in Africa it is (Country, City, GPS co-ordinates), who is the private developer or client, have any professionals like architect, quantity surveyor and engineers been appointed, have all approvals such as town planning and environmental authorisation, been received (although some projects in Africa have been known to get Environmental Authorisation after the project is completed!), will the proposed project be going out to invited tender or open tender? These are some of the questions that I need answers to, to enable me to publish the project on our website.

The most important, and perhaps the most difficult, is sourcing the correct contact details for the people working on the project. Sourcing contact information in Africa presents all sorts of challenges, telephonic communication, can be very difficult, there are some countries, cities and even people in Africa who do not speak English as a first, second or even a language at all and sign language is not an option! Telephones in some government departments ring unanswered during working hours for what seems like days on end. Websites of African companies are generally not as up-to-date as the rest of the world and telephone numbers listed sometimes date back to early 2000 and generally no longer work. Emailing is generally the preferred and most reliable method of communication.

Back to Google, I wade through websites, peruse periodicals, industry-related magazines, company presentations, local newspapers, town planning notices, EIA notices, Government Gazettes, tender notices, reports, make phone calls, send emails, whatever it takes to source the information needed. Finally, once I have all the information required, the project is ready to be published. But it doesn’t end there, once published, the projects are followed and updated through the various stages, procedural right through to completion, but that’s another blog, for another time …… watch this space!

There are currently 691 projects in Africa – projects including dams (Metolong dam, Lesotho), roads (Trans-Sahara Highway Project), railways, (Trans-Kalahari railway), mega-cities like Tatu City in Kenya and Eko Atlantic in Nigeria, hotels (Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ethiopia), office blocks (Pinnacle Projects ,New Office Block, Kenya) and even mining projects (Simandou iron-ore project, Guinea) to name but a few, listed on our database and this list grows daily as more new projects get added.


So, If you are looking to expand your business into Africa, or you are looking for project leads in Africa and you are Not subscribed to Leads 2 Business – you have to ask yourself – Why?

Marlaine Andersen – Dedicated and Tireless Researcher

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.

The Benefits of being on a good Directory

posted in: General 1

A Great Construction Directory

Believe it or not Directories fascinate me!

This interest began years ago as a kid when I use to spend my time reading our “national telephone Directory”, so imagine my delight when I found myself working for Leads 2 Business, a Company who has the Biggest Construction Directory in the Country….. and then still be asked to run this department for them.

Now, there are a fair amount of directories out there, and I’m sure you have found yourself on one or more of these in the past, Did you find what you were looking for? Was it user friendly? When searching “Brick suppliers” did you end up on a bridal page rendering “No results”?

What I have found is very few of the directories are as specialised in construction as Leads 2 Business, we focus on Professionals, Contractors and Sub-contractors, with a vast array of trades, industries and regions to choose from.

The use of the common directory has moved away from simply trying to find a telephone number for your local plumber, to rather establishing business relations with key people in your industry.

Being able to look up a company and immediately having their information, not only contact information, but what that company has been working on, such as Tenders and private Projects, both past and current…. this is priceless!

This is only one side of the coin though, being on our Directory doesn’t cost you anything, however the traffic our site experiences daily ensures that if your entry on our Directory is accurate you WILL at some point be viewed, whether it’s through a direct Company search, a trade search, Contact search or even if your Company has been linked to our database through a Project or Tender….. you are going to be viewed! That’s free advertising!

So next time you get a call from a Directory…. think before you insist on being removed because you “don’t want to be harassed”,surely no one goes into business to not be seen and contacted . So snap up the opportunity to be viewed and advertised for free!

Take a few minutes and update your details and reap the benefit of being on a specialised Construction Directory like our own 🙂


If you would like to find out if you are on our Directory is your information accurate? Or if you would like to be added please feel free to contact me on Directory@L2B.co.za

I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

Shifting construction landscape requires flexibility

posted in: General 0

Shifting construction landscape requires flexibility

Africa’s construction industry is experiencing a significant upswing. The project and tender services of Leads 2 Business help business owners position their companies to maximise the opportunities presented by the infrastructure development boom across Africa.

The construction landscape in Africa has shifted dramatically in the last 10 years, staying ahead requires your business to be flexible and open to challenges.
In South Africa there has been an upswing in the construction industry outlook with the FNB/BER building confidence index breaking through the key 50 point mark for the first time since 2007 Q4, the slower growth in residential building is being offset by sustained growth in non-residential building work. An increase in architect and quantity surveyor activity suggests that the recovery in the building sector has not lost momentum.

Presently, the market is favouring the world’s second largest continent with at least 223 billion dollars’ worth of mega projects already underway in Africa.
Standard Chartered Bank is forecasting that Africa will grow by 7% pa over the next 20 years and the International Monetary Fund projects that between 2011 and 2015, seven of the ten fastest growing countries globally will be African.

In Ethiopia the concrete skyline of Addis Ababa is dotted with cranes and scaffolding, sandy tracks are being dug up to be replaced by paved roads, the construction boom, funded by both public and private sectors is being driven by the country’s rapid economic growth. Reuters reports that Africa’s middle classes are growing, providing the backbone of an economic revolution that is attracting billions of dollars of foreign capital and changing the face of the poorest continent.
Further afield, Tanzania and Burundi have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint construction of a 195km railway line worth TSh 1 Trillion (over 1 billion Rand), whilst Kenya plans on borrowing $2 billion to refinance an existing loan of $600 million to fund the construction of infrastructure projects.


Positioned for Opportunities

“This is all positive and upbeat news, indeed” states Victor Terblanche, CEO and founder of project and tender research company, Leads 2 Business  “to benefit, you need to position your business, be prepared and know when to act by staying abreast of industry changes and by knowing what’s in the pipeline.  With careful planning, your business will be positioned to grasp the opportunities presented by the infrastructure development boom across Africa.”

Leads 2 business researches project and tender information and is strategically aware of the significant fluctuations within the industry.  Construction developments in Africa make up a substantial percentage of the project and tender notifications we publish and in the last few years we have seen a steady increase in the subscription to our Africa project and tender services. We actively research in 25 out of the 57 countries in Africa and remain flexible,  so as and when the need is present and significant, we add new regions. Last year we published over 53 000 tenders from Africa specifically related to construction.”


“Obviously one needs to do one’s research and be mindful, business models and methods differ vastly from country to country and you don’t want to be caught on the back foot of your decision, but in saying that I do not believe we can afford to pass up opportunities because of scepticism of the African market.   There are opportunities out there, you just need to be informed and in a position to take them” concludes Terblanche, “and this is where a niche construction industry resource such as Leads 2 Business plays a pivotal role.”

For more information on Leads 2 Business, please visit www.L2B.co.za

About Lee Finch

I started my journey at Leads 2 Business in 2004 as an account executive. In 2006 I moved over to MAPRO (Marketing, Advertising and PRO), and in 2012 I became a Director. It’s exceptionally rewarding being a part of the Leads 2 Business team. I’m incredibly proud of the achievements and business ethos and I’ve always firmly believed we offer a valuable service, fine-tuned to our subscriber needs. I am a Mom of two beautiful children, a lover of human interaction, laughter and light, sprinkled with a generous dose of fun.

What is a Bill of Quantities (BoQ) & a Bill Extract?

posted in: General 0

Bill of Quantities (BoQ): According to www.ask.com, “A Bill of quantities is a list of numbered items, each of which describes the work to be done in a civil engineering or a building contract. Each item shows the capacity of work involved. The bill is issued to tenderers, who return it with a price opposing each item.”

Bill Extract: The portion/s of a BoQ which relates to the supplier/vendor/sub-contractors’ trades, i.e. the specific trade/s that a supplier/vendor/sub-contractor does.


View this Diagram as a PDF

For more information on Leads 2 Business, please visit www.L2B.co.za

About Cecile Van Deventer

I joined the L2Q Team in 2006, as a L2Q Support Assistant and have been the HOD since 2010. I supervise L2Q Bills, Daily Tender Bills, Control Lists and Directory.

What is a Tender?

posted in: General 4

What is a Tender?

When I started at Leads 2 Business, it was called Daily Tenders. I didn’t even know what a tender was, until I did some research before my interview. That was 2005. Every day since, has been tender notices, in one form or another. Government tenders, Invited Tenders, Quotations, Bids, Request for Proposals, Expressions of Interest, Pre-qualifications; not to mention Requests for Information and Supplier Database Application notices. Show me a contract number, and I can probably guess which Municipality put it out. Not a trick that goes down well at parties, I admit; but  oh so impress in the office. So what’s the difference in the those I mentioned above? Let me tell you…


Government Tenders – Government money, government timing and no one answering the phone at 15:00 on a Friday afternoon.


Invited Tenders – Not publicly known, but invariably someone hears about it from their cousin’s wife’s nephew who heard about it in a bar somewhere. All hush hush. But not hush hush enough, if we get to hear of it. And we hear a lot.


Quotations – Smaller values, shorter tendering periods; and impressive in the sheer quantities that the Municipalities pump out at any given time.


Request for Proposals – “How do we do this?”


Expressions of Interest – “Who would be willing to do this?”


Prequalifications – “Prove you can do this”.


Request for Information – “Tell us why we need this thing, how to use it and for how much”


And let us not forget the various incarnations of the Tender Award – “You’re kidding, right?”. “Call back in two weeks”. “It’s already completed” and everyone’s favourite “Who are you? And why do you want this information?”


(Disclaimer: Definitions are humorous interpretations, and are not to be taken seriously. Unless you have had anything to do with tenders. Ever. And then you get 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.

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