http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.14Change: -0.15
R/$ = 12.05Change: -0.20
Au 1200.03 $/ozChange: -6.12
Pt 1139.50 $/ozChange: -16.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 27, 2012

Getting it off my chest

Back
Gold|Contractor|Screens|Contracting|Energy|Energy Return|Mandela|Phillip Pare|Prince
Gold|Contractor|Screens|Contracting|Energy||
gold|contractor|screens|contracting|energy|energy-return|mandela|phillip-pare|prince
© Reuse this



Before I begin, let me record my thanks to Phillip Pare, who suggested the topic of energy return on investment, or EROI, which I used in a recent column.

Now this week’s column. There comes a time when I write a column that is guaranteed to upset everybody. This is one such column. I am sorry but it is time that I got a few things off my chest. So, firstly, to my dear hardworking staff. I love you all; you are all honest and brave and punctual, but . . . Despite what others think, the use of the words ‘is’ and ‘are’ can be generally understood if one understands that, in any sentence, there must be subject-verb agreement. Thus, ‘This is the specification’ is correct since there is one specification, and ‘These are the specifications’ is correct since there are many specifications.

Some clever yodel may tell you that this is not correct by citing these examples: ‘Here is a pen and a book’ and ‘Here are a pen and a book’, but this is not wrong. The first sentence implies that the items are separate (that is, ‘here is a pen and here is a book’), whereas, in the latter, the implication is that they one unit (that is, ‘over here are a pen and a book, together’).

Further, the use of an apostrophe. ‘The big kids’ pool’ is a pool for big kids. ‘The big kid’s pool’ is the pool owned by the big kid. Otherwise, an apostrophe indicates omission of a letter, as in ‘don’t’ (do not). Hey, I am not asking much. I mean, you can pretty much forget that plural nouns ending in ‘s’ take only an apostrophe after the ‘s’ when the possessive is formed– for example, two computers’ screens. And you need not know how to use a three-dot spaced ellipsis, or even if an ellipsis needs regular watering.

A final word: A person’s name is the most prized sound in the world to that person. Thus, when addressing letters, do check the correctness of the name. It is true that some people are called Prince No 1 and Annabill and mistakes can be made. But do not assume. For example, I do not think there is a Nielsen Mandela.

Secondly, to my dear fellow profes- sionals. I love you all; you are all honest and brave, but . . . If I say that something is to be installed or supplied in a certain way, then I mean it. I have no shares in a contracting business and, thus, I do not specify stuff to make money, cover my tracks, make the client unhappy – I specify it because it is needed. Thus, when you phone me at 18:00 and say you have found a cheaper alternative to what we would have specified, you probably have it half right – it is cheaper but not an alternative. I, on the other hand, have no budget for proving this to the client. So do not ask me to investigate a whole lot of stuff which I know will not work.

Further, if the client decides to do without something, that is a decision made. At the contract end, do not expect me to give a whole lot of time and energy to something the client has now found is needed.

Thirdly, to the quantity surveyors I work with. I love you all; you are all honest and brave, but . . . If I wish, I could easily never exceed my budget. I just make sure it is sky high and gold plated, to begin with, and then work towards it. I can fudge the contract to make sure that my favourite contractor gets the contract and make sure that there is so much in it that there will be no variation orders. But this is not professional. So, when I come asking for more money, it means that the rough estimate I gave ten months ago, which the quantity surveyor quickly carved in stone, was wrong. In the ball park, but wrong. I’m sorry. But that is how it is. Give me the money. So, to all of you, if it applies, read and remember. If you are offended, well, I am really sorry.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Terry Mackenzie-Hoy News
A lawyer and I were on site the other day. He had asked me to send a technician to do some noise measurements over the weekend. So I arrived and said hello and I set up the instruments and then did the calibration and we sat around, talking. And he said how long had...
Actually, not all people in this great nation of ours are stupid or, perhaps, even slightly stupid but in one area they seem to be (from my arrogant viewpoint), and that area is knowledge of electricity. But let me not moan or groan about this – rather, let me assist...
I hate banks. Well, not all banks – just all the banks I deal with, with the sole exception of Absa. The very first thing I hate about them is that, even in this article, I cannot name those I hate. I cannot write that my experience with bank XXX has been totally...
More
 
 
Latest News
Two influential US senators, central to the so-called ‘chicken war’, have announced their intention to pursue amendments to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to secure greater access for US poultry into the SA market. “We believe passionately in Agoa’s...
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Friday published the findings of a discussion document on South Africa’s television and radio local content environment. Icasa last year requested industry input as it reviewed and revamped...
Buying the catering unit of cash-strapped state airline South African Airways (SAA) could work for Bidvest Group, its chief executive said on Friday. SAA is considering selling some of its units including its inflight and airport lounge catering business, Air Chefs,...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
SMART DISTRIBUTION Providing funds to introduce smart grid technologies in the absence of a clearly defined strategy will not result in the desired outcome
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96