Tag Archives: Construction

World Bank: African economy growing

Africa’s overall economy is without a doubt on the right track and may even come up with a quicker financial recovery from the recession when compared to the US. This is based on the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report for 2011.

The report, released in mid-January, forecasted that sub-Saharan Africa would most likely improve its gross domestic product (GDP) from 4.7% in 2010 to 5.3% for this year. That number might possibly be bumped upwards to 5.5% in 2012.

The report in particular mentioned that price levels in metals, minerals and oil, along with more significant investment in manufacturing and telecommunications companies, have definitely contributed towards the growth.


As indicated by Phumelele Mbiyo, Standard Bank’s Senior Africa Strategist for Global Market Research, the numbers suggest that economic activity, particularly in relation to mining and construction, is without a doubt growing in the region.

“The reason behind this type of increase is simply because prices for commodities are fairly high and they have enticed investment, in particular from emerging markets such as China,” he said.

Mbiyo is convinced an average person would most likely reap the benefits of these types of optimistic forecasts, as companies have the desire to seek the services of locals.


“There has already been increased employment of locals within the mining and construction industries. There is certainly destined to be a considerable amount of employment in future, primarily by European and American based companies who have invested heavily in mining in Africa.”

High continental growth

Having said that, the report pointed out the fact that the best growth rates were not necessarily to emerge from South Africa, the region’s traditional economic hub. Rather, the greatest figures originated from countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania.

South Africa has been projected at 3.5% for 2011 in contrast to other countries from the other countries in the region were believed to grow at an average of 6.4% for the same year.


Mbiyo outlined that this is simply not for the reason that South Africa’s growth is slowing down, but instead for the reason that other countries are beginning completely new industries now not to mention coming from a low base whereas South Africa had already established exactly the same industrial sectors years ago.

“Angola is set to grow by 7% on average whereas Ghana will average 13% over the following two years. Simply because the latter is beginning to supply oil,” said Mbiyo.

He added that Africa should really at this time concentrate on sustaining growth mainly because the continent continue to lags behind other major developing and developed economies.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com,

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Carpentry and Joinery

Significant Points

* About 32 percent of all carpenters are self-employed.
* Job opportunities should be best for those with the most training and skills.
* Carpenters can learn their craft through on-the-job training, vocational schools or technical colleges, or formal apprenticeship programs, which often takes 3 to 4 years.

Nature of the Work

Carpenters construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction, from the building of highways and bridges to the installation of kitchen cabinets.

Each carpentry task is somewhat different, but most involve the same basic steps. Working from blueprints or instructions from supervisors, carpenters first do the layout—measuring, marking, and arranging materials—in accordance with local building codes. They cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall using hand and power tools, such as chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders. They then join the materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives. In the last step, carpenters do a final check of the accuracy of their work with levels, rules, plumb bobs, framing squares, and surveying equipment, and make any necessary adjustments. Some materials come prefabricated, allowing for easier and faster installation.

Carpenters may do many different carpentry tasks, or they may specialize in one or two. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures, for example, need a broad range of carpentry skills. As part of a single job, they might frame walls and partitions, put in doors and windows, build stairs, install cabinets and molding, and complete many other tasks. Well-trained carpenters are able to switch from residential building to commercial construction or remodeling work, depending on which offers the best work opportunities.

Carpenters who work for large construction contractors or specialty contractors may perform only a few regular tasks, such as constructing wooden forms for pouring concrete, or erecting scaffolding. Some carpenters build tunnel bracing, or brattices, in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air through the passageways and to worksites. Others build concrete forms for tunnel, bridge, or sewer construction projects.

Carpenters employed outside the construction industry perform a variety of installation and maintenance work. They may replace panes of glass, ceiling tiles, and doors, as well as repair desks, cabinets, and other furniture. Depending on the employer, carpenters install partitions, doors, and windows; change locks; and repair broken furniture. In manufacturing firms, carpenters may assist in moving or installing machinery.

Work environment.

As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling often are necessary. Carpenters risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and working in situations where they might slip or fall. Consequently, workers in this occupation experience a very high incidence of nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Additionally, carpenters who work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions.

Many carpenters work a standard 40 hour week; however, some work more. About 7 percent worked part time.


Source: bls.gov, edwinnelsonsmedevelopment.com, carpentry-plus.com, crookedshack.com, drcarpenters.com, blass.com.au, passatella.org

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Construction Sector

Significant Points

* Job opportunities are expected to be good, especially for skilled and experienced construction trades workers.
* Workers have relatively high hourly earnings.
* About 68 percent of establishments employ fewer than 5 people.
* Construction includes a very large number of self-employed workers.

Nature of the Industry
Goods and services.

Houses, apartments, factories, offices, schools, roads, and bridges are only some of the products of the construction industry. This industry’s activities include the building of new structures, including site preparation, as well as additions and modifications to existing ones. The industry also includes maintenance, repair, and improvements on these structures.

Industry organization.

The construction industry is divided into three major segments. The construction of buildings segment includes contractors, usually called general contractors, who build residential, industrial, commercial, and other buildings. Heavy and civil engineering construction contractors build sewers, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, and other projects related to our Nation’s infrastructure. Specialty trade contractors perform specialized activities related to all types of construction such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, and electrical work.

Construction usually is done or coordinated by general contractors, who specialize in one type of construction such as residential or commercial building. They take full responsibility for the complete job, except for specified portions of the work that may be omitted from the general contract. Although general contractors may do a portion of the work with their own crews, they often subcontract most of the work to heavy construction or specialty trade contractors.

Recent developments.

The construction industry has been strongly affected by the credit crisis and recession that began in December 2007. Housing prices fell and foreclosures of homes rose sharply, particularly in overbuilt areas of the country. New housing construction, while still ongoing, dropped significantly. The recession is expected to impact other types of construction as well. Retailers are refraining from building new stores and State and local governments are reducing spending. However, as energy costs have risen, some companies are finding it necessary to build or renovate buildings that are not energy efficient. “Green construction” is an area that is increasingly popular and involves making buildings as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible by using more recyclable and earth-friendly products.

Source: bls.gov, mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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Construction Managers

Significant Points

* About 61 percent of construction managers are self-employed.
* Jobseekers who combine construction work experience with a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field should enjoy the best prospects.
* Certification, although not required, is increasingly important for construction managers.

Nature of the Work

Construction managers plan, direct, coordinate, and budget a wide variety of construction projects, including the building of all types of residential, commercial, and industrial structures, roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants, and schools and hospitals. Construction managers may supervise an entire project or just part of one. They schedule and coordinate all design and construction processes, including the selection, hiring, and oversight of specialty trade contractors, such as carpentry, plumbing, or electrical, but they usually do not do any actual construction of the structure.

Construction managers are salaried or self-employed managers who oversee construction supervisors and personnel. They are often called project managers, constructors, construction superintendents, project engineers, construction supervisors, or general contractors. Construction managers may be owners or salaried employees of a construction management or contracting firm, or they may work under contract or as a salaried employee of the property owner, developer, or contracting firm managing the construction project.

These managers coordinate and supervise the construction process from the conceptual development stage through final construction, making sure that the project gets completed on time and within budget. They often work with owners, engineers, architects, and others who are involved in the process. Given the designs for buildings, roads, bridges, or other projects, construction managers supervise the planning, scheduling, and implementation of those designs.

Large construction projects, such as an office building or an industrial complex, are often too complicated for one person to manage. Accordingly, these projects are divided into various segments: site preparation, including clearing and excavation of the land, installing sewage systems, and landscaping and road construction; building construction, including laying foundations and erecting the structural framework, floors, walls, and roofs; and building systems, including protecting against fire and installing electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, and heating systems. Construction managers may be in charge of one or several of these activities.

Construction managers determine the best way to get materials to the building site and the most cost-effective plan and schedule for completing the project. They divide all required construction site activities into logical steps, estimating and budgeting the time required to meet established deadlines. Doing this may require sophisticated scheduling and cost-estimating techniques using computers with specialized software.

Construction managers also manage the selection of general contractors and trade contractors to complete specific phases of the project—which could include everything from structural metalworking and plumbing, to painting, to installing electricity and carpeting. Construction managers determine the labor requirements of the project and, in some cases, supervise or monitor the hiring and dismissal of workers. They oversee the performance of all trade contractors and are responsible for ensuring that all work is completed on schedule.

Construction managers direct and monitor the progress of construction activities, occasionally through construction supervisors or other construction managers. They are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and licenses and, depending upon the contractual arrangements, for directing or monitoring compliance with building and safety codes, other regulations, and requirements set by the project’s insurers. They also oversee the delivery and use of materials, tools, and equipment; worker safety and productivity; and the quality of the construction.

Work Environment

Working out of a main office or out of a field office at the construction site, construction managers monitor the overall construction project. Decisions regarding daily construction activities generally are made at the jobsite. Managers might travel considerably when the construction site is not close to their main office or when they are responsible for activities at two or more sites. Management of overseas construction projects usually entails temporary residence in the country in which the project is being carried out.

Often on call 24 hours a day, construction managers deal with delays, such as the effects of bad weather, or emergencies at the jobsite. More than one-third worked a standard 40-hour week in 2008, and some construction projects continue around the clock. Construction managers may need to work this type of schedule for days or weeks to meet special project deadlines, especially if there are delays.

Although the work usually is not inherently dangerous, injuries can occur and construction managers must be careful while performing onsite services.

Source: bls.gov, rbacc.co.uk, cparchitects.com, nhdemolition.com

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