Building and infrastructure projects provide a vital catalyst for positive socio-economic development, employment and skills development. IMIESA speaks to Cyril Gamede, CEO, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), about the roll-out of the CIDB’s Best Practice Project Assessment Scheme, known simply as the BUILD programme, which sets out to professionalise, grow and transform the industry.

Making sure that no one is left behind, the CIDB’s BUILD programme came into effect in April 2021 and is mandated in terms of the CIDB Act (No. 38 of 2000). Targeting public infrastructure projects valued at R60 million and above, the programme places joint responsibility for its execution on public and private sector clients and contractors.

The objective is to foster greater collaboration and commitment by pooling resources in repositioning the construction sector on a sustainable growth path.

“BUILD sets a new benchmark for practical and measurable delivery by allowing for contractors to factor in the cost of stakeholder training and development at the tender stage. For each project above a prescribed tender value, public and private sector clients are required to provide a financial contribution based on a 0.2% fee and capped at a maximum of R2 million,” says Gamede.

“We need to support the emerging sector and ensure that they have the skills to survive, which can only be achieved through targeted initiatives that have the full commitment and participation of public and private stakeholders. BUILD is a workable solution and we’re excited about the measurable outcomes,” Gamede continues.

To date, there are some 250 000 construction companies registered on the CIDB’s database across the grade 1 to 9 spectrum.

Register of Projects

The programme management control mechanism will be the CIDB’s Register of Projects online platform, which monitors all construction projects above a certain value nationally.

It is a legal requirement for all public and private sector projects above a value of R200 000 and R10 million, respectively, to be listed on this register. CIDB clients will all report their contributions to the BUILD Fund via the Register of Projects portal.

14 standards

In total, 14 best practice, or performance, standards will govern the programme’s roll-out – the first two having been gazetted by the Minister of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Patricia de Lille, in September 2020 (Government Gazette 43726). The initial two standards comprise:

The Standard for Indirect Targeting for Enterprise Development through Construction Works.

The Standard for Developing Skills through Infrastructure Contracts.

The Standard for Indirect Targeting focuses on the development of emerging contractors on public and private sector projects through subcontracting and joint ventures.

While subcontractor mentorship has been a common practice for many years, the new standard now places a formal responsibility on CIDB grades 7, 8 and 9 to implement action plans for the advancement of lower-graded construction companies. Clients are required to specify a minimum contribution of 5% of the project’s contract value in development support.

The BUILD programme also places major emphasis on developing greater professional competency via the mentorship input of experienced built environment professionals. This is a core focus of the Standard for Developing Skills, which aims to create an enabling environment in order to increase the pool of qualified young professionals.

A similar provision is made for learners from TVET colleges in terms of their experiential training.

Graduates and learners will gain invaluable insights through their exposure on professional services, design and build, or engineering and construction works contracts. To facilitate this process, clients must allocate 0.25% to 0.5% of the project’s contract value, depending on the CIDB Class of Works.

The Standard for Developing Skills establishes minimum contract skills development goals via workplace opportunities. For its beneficiaries, the expected outcomes will be either:

– a part or full occupational qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework

– a national diploma registered on the National Qualifications Framework, or

– registration in a professional category by one of the professional bodies.

For both standards, it is mandatory for public and private sector clients to stipulate the percentage targets when calling for tenders from contractors.

Roadshows and implementation dates

To date, the CIDB has completed a series of virtual capacity-building workshops to formally introduce its public sector clients to the concept, its benefits, and their responsibilities. These stakeholders encompass the DPWI and its regions, national government departments, state-owned entities, and public sector clients involved in Strategic Infrastructure Projects.

A series of similar workshops have also been completed with CIDB registered contractors in grades 7 to 9 across the country, as well as professional employer organisations, such as Master Builders South Africa, and the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors.

“The overall response has been very positive,” says Gamede. “Clients are keen to learn the requirements and how the CIDB will help them in the process.”

Implementation dates for the BUILD programme vary for different spheres of government and the private sector. Specific timeline details for national and provincial government, district and local municipalities are listed in Government Gazette 43726.

For the private sector, the implementation date for the Standard for Indirect Targeting comes into effect on or after 18 September 2021 – 12 months after the date of gazetting. The same applies for the Standard for Developing Skills.

“For now, only projects for general building and civil work will be exposed to the BUILD programme for the private sector. Other classes of work will be incorporated at a later stage,” Gamede explains.

Practice notes and guidelines

Currently, the CIDB is finalising three practice notes. The first will comprise a general overview of the BUILD programme. The second will provide guidelines for client implementation, while the third will explain the ins and outs to contractors and professional service providers.

The CIDB has also provided clear guidelines on how these standards must be incorporated into procurement documentation when public sector clients call for construction tenders.

“BUILD is a new rendition of an existing CIDB mandate to ensure that financial investment in infrastructure translates into real work opportunities for labour and enterprises, skills for a competent workforce, safer work environments, environmentally friendly structures, and a capable public sector that can drive infrastructure delivery,” says Gamede.

“Allowing for contractors to add training and development costs in the tender bid gives the construction sector an even greater incentive to work collectively with government to meet our collaborative development goals. The fact that public sector clients are also required to make their own specific training and development project contributions to the BUILD Fund makes it a two-way partnership that benefits everyone in our economy and society,” Gamede concludes.  

About the BUILD Fund

Construction projects of R60 million and above must contribute a percentage of their value to the BUILD Fund up to a maximum of R2 million. The fund will be ring-fenced and managed by the CIDB to ensure transparency, accountability and that funds are distributed strategically and equitably for social development priorities.

Beneficiaries of the BUILD programme

Emerging enterprises (grades 1 to 6): Among others, these will get opportunities for development support on projects and access to finance. The pool of skilled labour will also increase.

TVET college learners: The programme will create workplace learning and placements opportunities for learners.

Young professionals: The programme will create workplace and placement opportunities for candidates seeking professional registration.

Public sector officials responsible for procuring and delivering infrastructure through training and capacitation.

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