Master Builders forms a construction professions board

Employers formed a construction professions board, initiated by Master Builders North, to develop and grade construction workers and companies in 2016.

Associations representing 41 industries in the built environment, have united to establish a single employer confederation, to be known as the Professional Board for the Master Built Environment (PBMBE).

The body said it would take responsibility across the 41 professions and crafts, for professional designations of people who work in the sector, and for grading of companies in terms of five aspects, each compliant with BBBEE requirements.

CEO of the PBMBE, Dr Ivor Blumenthal, told that employers want to “take back responsibility for the recognition of professional excellence, in a voluntary, rather than statutory framework, to better regulate, govern and represent the construction sector.

“Employers own the master built sector, and fund its various initiatives, and pay the skills levy which is supposed to support industry.

“Employers are left with the result of current skilling and training initiatives from funded learnerships.”

Blumenthal said a strong build environment sector could “self-govern, to the same level as other more established and independent sectors, recognised by the state, but free of government interference, and in concert with meaningful and constructive social partners, such as organised labour.”

The General Contracting Chamber, initiated by Master Builders North, is one of the ten chapters serving the 41 professions. The other Master Builders regions were invited to become involved.

The PBMBE would ensure training, to avoid retraining, and ensure Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of every worker in construction.

Dr Ivor Blumenthal.
Dr Ivor Blumenthal.

Companies will be graded by the board

Companies operating in the sector will be “accountable to the PBMBE, and through it, to each industry-specific employer association, for the competency of people employed, and for moral and ethical behaviour of staff and the company.”

The board would also accredit relevant training providers.

There is general criticism of some aspects of the statutory boards, such as the CBE, and statutory skills authorities, such as the SETAs, SDL, NQF, NLRD, QCTO, and AQPs.

The new board would source appropriate and trained employee, and develop skills plans individuals, via the capacity of the existing associations.

Questioned about the statutory structures, Blumenthal told; “There are many externally imposed statutory bodies, enforced on the master built sector, with a great deal of overlap, and uncertainty in mandate and objectives.

“Employer associations do not have a meaningful or significant seat on any of these statutory bodies.”

Employers do not want to bypass statutory bodies, but “create a framework for collective self governance, to make more sense of the patchwork of externally imposed bodies, to extract as much contribution from their various mandates, to benefit employers.”

Blumenthal’s vision is a better skills policy framework, and to attract state funding from the statutory bodies. State skills funds “have not been managed successfully to the benefit of the industries and employers.”

The PBMBE intends to self-govern without external interference. “Once established, we would have a better opportunity to engage with other social partners.”

State skills landscape in disarray

The statutory construction umbrella body, The Council for the Built Environment (CBE), was already earmarked for closure some time ago (see an earlier report on

The Construction SETA is marred in controversy and accusations of fraud and forensic audits revealing huge corruption and PFMA discrepancies.

State professionalisation of Project Managers had resulted in 300 designated people. The majority remain unregistered and unregulated.

Construction Health and Safety registration via the SACPCMP has also been problematic, despite the backing of the Master Builders associations and employers.

The new voluntary construction professions board would establish a series of professional designations across the construction sector, via the existing associations.

For example, in the Plumbing Chamber, IOPSA would lead skills functions such as moderation and accreditation of training providers; learning programmes, and summative assessments of Plumbers for professional registration.

Jointly the PBMBE and IOPSA would grade plumbing companies. The same would apply in the other professions and trades. Work experience would be recognised by RPL.

Employers would provide practical training sites. The management of the trainees would be done by the PBMBE in association with the relevant employer body, and the training provider.

“What we want from employers, is workplace supervision, and logbooks of experience,” explained Blumenthal.

Master Builders North is launching the new construction professions board in in 2016. Other MBAs are expected to join the initiative soon.
Master Builders North is launching the new construction professions board in in 2016. Other MBAs were invited to join the initiative.

Workers would carry grading tickets

The PBMBE would advise the public to only do business with Professionally Designated individuals, and graded companies, whose credentials are reflected in a Skills Passport carried by a Designated Person, verifiable on the PBMBE website. Graded companies would be verifiable by the public online.

The new board would investigate complaints against construction service providers, as many other industrial federations do.

  • Source; Master Builders North. Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association (Pasma).
  • Dr Ivor Blumenthal is a consultant, and owner of Ark Consult, retained by Master Builders North. He is the former CEO of the Services Seta; a former law registrar; industrial psychologist intern; and national Human Resources manager. He lectured at Wits Technikon and at Greenwich University in London. Ivor was an Executive Director of Estudios Universitarios de Marbella, where he set up a Business School; CEO of the Furniture Industry Training Board; CEO of the Association of Personnel Service Organisations; and a city councillor. He is completing a Phd in Labour Relations.
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17 thoughts on “Master Builders forms a construction professions board

  1. Interesting…very interesting…it seems that all those voting for the Queen of Slabs, Ms Rakalote, is now joining the Jack of Spades?
    Well I guess if you don’t stand for something, you might as well fall for anything. Self-regulation of a profession is a worldwide principle, but self regulating of so many (41) professions and semi-professions and trades and and and, has nothing to do with changing the educational landscape of the industry. I am yet to see a solution to the skills shortage when it comes to H&S in Construction. How Pumba is going to achieve this remains unclear in the citation above. Once again I see tickets being issued for being a “not competent enough” Samaritan. “Take two CPD’s and come see me in two weeks if the pain persists”. Thanks Doc!

  2. Here is a quote from a post of 20 March 2015. “NIOCCSA responded to the initial comments; “We may approach the DOL with an alternative proposal, perhaps a general exemption for all industries, and to let Master Builders SA and civil engineering body SAFCEC deal with the rest. They created it, they must live with it.”

    I guess they listened after all. Ironically, those people who criticized NIOCCSA are now the same people forming this new board? Shows you! There are visionary people who saw this coming a few years ago, and then there are followers of visionary people.

  3. The regulating of the safety profession is really at an all time low! Where will it all end, that’s the question? If you look at the registration for AIA for Asbestos, they do their course and register with the DOL for R150 and Bob’s your uncle! I think that it’s similar with Electricians.
    Why all this unnecessary confusion in safety registration… and what of the the costs?? What will the Master Builders Registration fees be?? Did I miss that?? Perhaps it will be less expensive than SACPCMP??

    1. You can register at a British institution, IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management), for about R2000. They evaluate your qualifications and grade you accordingly. It takes about three weeks, DONE!! The membership it is accepted world wide!!

  4. Yes Colin, there are more effective bodies in this world. SA is still trying to reinvent the wheel. I wonder what the three musketeers, Mark, Craig Parker and Koos Duvenhage will say about this one, seeing that they had much to say a few years ago, when there was opposition to the SACPCMP.

    1. Ag, no comment. What are the point? Wif the “gangsters” holding the industry to ransom in KZN, the MBA look a bit toothless anyway. You can sommer call it “hijacking the construction industry”.

      Nee man, I does think this is all just talking in circles. Good luck to all. One day the gravy train will run out of gravy, meat, potatoes and other vegetables and then we can all just sit in a circle and pointing the finger of blame at each other.

  5. Yes Ivor this seems to be the solution as there is limited commitment to quality as an outcome towards sustainability in the long run. But will your effort be successful, useful?
    With all the corruption at the Seta’s ? Service delivery ?
    But your plan seems to be worth it to give it a go, I agree employers must take it in their own hands and ensure quality services is delivered. What is the criteria to register as a provider, be part of ongoing effort with this initiative?

  6. Lets smother the almost already dead construction industry with another organization and then another and another body.

  7. I think we have too much shenanigans, another one will be added to the already overloaded dead construction industry. May be I sound pessimistic, but the reality is we need to make what we already have to work effectively and efficiently instead of adding another professional board. You guys are confusing us.


  8. Everyday I thank someone that I try to make most of my income outside South Africa. The number of organisations, bodies, certificates, memberships etc is financially prohibiting in RSA. Outside RSA my single membership with IOSH UK as a Chartered Member allows me to work internationally, and is equal to the CSP in the United States.
    All I get asked in ALL industries, is my experience, and my Chartership number, that the employer can phone IOSH and get confirmation of my qualifications and experience etc, which is on their server.
    If they want a Registered Consultant they call the OHSCR of which I am registered in a few fields, and ‘Bob’s my uncle’, very, very easy.
    This was my vision for RSA when I was a founder member of Saiosh. With all the other organisations /statutory bodies /institutions etc being formed, I feel that this will never happen.
    So, I will work as much as possible internationally. I tried working in RSA for a while, but all the regulations, BBBEE, etc was not conducive to business.

    In short, if you have the skills and qualifications, I recommend you find work elsewhere. RSA is driving HSE practitioners to work elsewhere.
    Regards from Liberia

    1. Howzit Shane – long time. Sounds like you gave SA another shot. Hope all is well in Liberia.

  9. There are many international bodies recognised all over the world. IIRSM, ASSE, PECB IOSH, RICS etc etc etc.But no! SA feels the wheel is not perfect. They have to reinvent it. Make it square so it does not roll back on downhills. Everybody (body) has a solution. Yet no one seems to know how to address the problem. I, Danny, will not, never, ever ,ever, bow down and submit myself to any form of regulation until such time as the “qualification” to regulate me has been determined. But when it comes to H&S in South Africa, it is like selling spares. There is a box for every size of bolt and nut. And there is a body that sorts out which nut belongs in which box. ROSPRof does not fit on a FIAT, but a COFFPROF does. If you drive a Ford, a 13 works well if you do not have a 1/5 inch. And if you want to work in a zoo, you have to join PUMBA. You get to pick which monkey you will be.
    Welcome to Blumfontein! The capitol of the Pay State!

  10. Howzit Koos. Yip, I had tried SA again, but it was too painful.
    Hopefully next year in the UK again, and I will look u up. Cheers

  11. Ai Koos, there you do exactly what the SA Body of Bodies are doing. EurOSHT is Technician level. You assumed I do not qualify for SHM level? And if you search Enshhpo’s database you will find Danny there.

    Your selection restrictions:
    Country: South Africa
    City: No search restriction.
    Register number: No search restriction.
    Name: No search restriction.
    Gender: No search restriction.
    Field of expertise: No search restriction.
    Type of employer: No search restriction.
    Type of title: No search restriction.
    Register search result:

    Click on the register number to see register details.
    Country Name Register number Type
    There are no professionals matching your search criteria, please try again (leaving more fields undone).

  12. ENSHPO is the body of professional bodies in Europe, the Ray of all Blydoms.
    Do you really suggest SA forms the Holistic National Association of National Associations of National Competent SHE Officers? And we can call them SHANANANAH?
    LOL, I can almost see the next R5000 job offer; ‘Shanannanah membership required, not negotiable.’

    I will be Danny, and Koos could be Bowser?
    We can mos even have a national anfem; To do dou do dou dou to dou Kosie soek ‘n leplek in Afrikaaaah.

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