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  1. Minimizes the Public Body’s risk of the projects not being constructed to stated requirements, within budget and on time
  2. Provides access to project commercial expertise that Learner Contracting Companies may lack during the execution of the required 3 projects which form an integral part  of the EPWP Contractor LearnershipProgrammes
  3. Capacitate Learner Contracting Companies to successfully complete their contracts with the Public Body and to work independently and profitably
  4. Identify learners who do not satisfy the requirements of the EPWP Learnership Program and as such advice client on possible removal from the program




Construction Mentors shall provide services in a manner that satisfies the aforementioned objectives and which is consistent with the CIDB’s Code of Conduct for the parties engaged in construction procurement as follows:

  1. Develop a Learner Contracting Company’s skills in the technical, managerial, administrative, contractual and commercial areas

2.    Assist the Learner Contracting Company to identify at an early stage any potential problem areas which, if unattended to, may result in costly rectification measures or the inability to hand over the works timeously to the Public BodyEnable the Learner Contractor Company to work independently as quickly as possible and ultimately to compete for work outside of the Learnership Agreement in an open market.

  1. Enable the Learner to put in place business systems before the completion of his Learnership Agreement
  2. Mentors are also required to assist Learner Contracting Companies with:

·                 The preparation and updating of a realistic and achievable  program

·                 The setting out of the works

·                 The management, administration and deployment of workers

·                 The efficient and effective use of plant

·                 The preparation of payment certificates

·                 The handing over of the works to the employer upon completion

  1. The mentors reporting requirements

·                    The mentor is required to report to the Department of Public Works within 48 hours of becoming aware of any situation which may materially affect any of the parties to the LearnershipProgramme

·                    Submit monthly reports to the Department of Public Works and the Client for the duration of the project

·                    In the monthly report describe what weaknesses  in the Learners and  in the Contracting Company are being attended to

·                    Outline the nature of the mentorship services that have been provided for that month

·                    Identify all the problems areas in the manner in which a Learner Contracting Company is performing a project

·                    Outline progress in relation to the construction program


Brief overview of EPWP Projects currently involved with



Thembakele Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd are in a joint venture with Maragela Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd to provide mentorship services to 32 Learner Contractors responsible for projects within the Nkangala District Municipality’s area of jurisdiction. This brief overview covers mentorship activities provided over the period commencing January 2010 and ending July 2010.

Mentorship activities provided to date on the Nkangala District Municipality project include:

·                    Project pricing and negotiations of unit rates

·                    Engagement with Learner Contractors prior to project commencement

·                    Assistance provided with Company Registration and CIDB registration

·                    Assistance provided  with application processors for VAT registration, letters of Good Standing from the DOL, bank accounts and overdrafts

·                    Appointments of CLO’s , general workers and supervisors

·                    Site hand-over facilitation

·                    Payment certificate compilation

·                    Construction supervision in the form of mentoring

·                    Compilation of monthly reports

·                    Compilation, review and updating of construction programs

·                    Learner Contractors Competency Assessments

·                    Detailed progress reports and statistical information


Challenges identified on project

·                 Learner contractors management of bank accounts and expenditure monitoring

·                 Availability of Engineers or their appointed representatives on construction sites

·                 Contract documentation not available for some projects

·                 Working drawings still not obtained from engineers for some projects


Achieving the Mentorship Objectives

An assessment of performance of Learner Contractors particularly over the month of June 2010 illustrates that extensive focus is required within the following areas:



Learner contractors should demonstrate that they understand the principles of programming, observations made on site indicate that extensive improvements are required within this particular area. It’s clear that contractors are not always using construction programs as an essential tool to plan construction activities and to monitor progress on a daily basis. It is therefore recommended that the principles of construction programming be reintroduced to Learner Contractors both on construction sites and at a theoretical level.



The scheduling of tasks particularly on labour intensive construction projects are essential, proper scheduling ensures that all activities carried out by individuals are planned in accordance with required methods and that all resources are allocated and utilized efficiently, it also ensures that individuals are equipped and supported so that daily tasks become achievable. It has however become apparent that activities and tasks are not always analysed in sufficient detail and implemented in ways that enables achievements against targeted costs and production.



Proper co-ordination particularly on the water reticulation projects are not always done in accordance with acceptable norms and principles. A case in point is around the coordination of construction activities such as excavation, pipe laying, backfilling and reinstatements of paving and asphalt. Observations made during site inspections indicate that the sequencing and proper co-ordination of construction activities require significant improvement. Mentors have used such opportunities to advice Learners accordingly with the objective of achieving improvements.


Objective 1: Ensuring that projects are completed within required time frames

A blanket extension was granted to all Learner Contractors up to the 9th of July 2010, 30 of the 32 projects have achieved practical completion at the time of compilation of this report, a further 2 projects will have reached completion by 2 June 2010. It is anticipated that all projects will have been completed by 9 June 2010.Detailed construction programs are always included as annexure in monthly reports submitted to the Council’s Project Management Unit Factors identified on the project hat contributed towards projects delays include:

·                Delays in materials delivery

·                Negative cash flows resulting in the inability of Learner Contractors to pay suppliers for deliveries

·                Site conditions namely high water tables on the toilet construction projects and hard and intermediate rock on some of the water reticulation projects

·                In a limited amount of projects some technical challenges were encountered as a result of inconsistent tolerances in prefabricated products

·                Structures located within the area of construction

·                Some aspects of work were required to be redone as they had not met required specifications and quality


Mentoring Activities carried out with the objective of ensuring that Learner Contractors understand the implications of not starting and completing the project within required time frames.

Mentors assisted with the compilation of construction programs for each project. The quality of programs varied from very detailed and satisfying the requirements of a construction program to lacking essential information. Mentors assisted more intensively where it was felt that Learners had not grasped the concept. All construction programs were then captured in an MS Project format and copies thereof were printed and issued to Learners. Each learner also participated in updating and revising programs for their own projects. Updated construction programs are included in each monthly report submitted to the PMU.

Factors contributing towards delays on specific projects and identified by mentors include:

·                Late starts due to non-availability of start–up capital, learners were therefore unable establish sites, purchase materials and protective clothing

·                Site camps not identified and allocated to contractors

·                Inability to open bank accounts at the start of projects


Objective 2: Ensuring that projects are completed within budget

·                Mentoring Activities included the compilation of work break down analysis for each construction activity and the compilation of rates at the tendering stage, the compilation of cash flow projections and payment claims have also been done

·                A typical cash flow projection has also been developed and is required to be used by all Learner Contractors

·                Financial milestones achieved against each project, it also illustrates the value of claims compiled and submitted for processing


Objective 3: Ensuring that all work is carried out at required standards of quality and specifications

Mentors consistently engage with Learner Contractors on a daily basis with the objective of achieving the required standards of quality through predetermined control checks. Appointed Site Engineers play an important role in this particular area since they are required to approve work carried out by Learner Contractors. The mentoring team and the appointed Engineers therefore work very closely to ensure that non- compliant workmanship; materials and activities are identified and rectified in the shortest time frames. Mentors have recorded a number of occurrences where quality of work had been questionable.



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