Over the past four years a number of companies have lost tens of thousands of Rands due to alleged fraudulent request for quotations (RFQS) and orders, supposedly from government departments.
The fraudsters would send a fictitious RFQ from what would seem to be a governmental email address, use a fake RFQ form with a logo and contact details of the contact person. These requests are usually urgent and the whole process is concluded within a short period of time. During the process the “SCM officials” will be in contact with the unsuspecting service provider until the goods are delivered either outside the building or at an agreed address.
How does it work?
Fraudsters make use of department letterheads to send out fake tenders to businesses. They then request these businesses to supply them with equipment and goods. Sometimes, business owners are even asked to pay a deposit to secure their tender. At first glance, everything looks above board. But upon closer inspection, you soon realise that all isn’t as it seems.
The department and Cart Blanche have provided guidelines on how to spot a fake tender:
§ While it’s difficult to determine whether the letter from the department is indeed authentic, there are other smaller details that could help you avoid a very costly mistake.
§ Compare the names and contact numbers as shown on the letter to that published on the relevant Department’s website. If they’re not the same, be careful. If they are the same give them a call to ensure they represent who they say they do.
§ Do a simple online search of the company name as shown on the letter. If there is a website, look up the address and call the company to confirm they do exist.
§ The banking details provided with the tender document belong to a private individual and are not in the company name.
§ Remember that Government will never ask you to pay any money to secure a tender.
§ Check the email address of the sender. If the address contains a .org it is not from the government. Look out forimpersonation addresses like the ones below:
§ Check the contact number provided on the tender letter. Government warns that although the numbers look valid, they are often not even connected to any property. Give the number a call to check.
§ Look for the purchase or order number. “Government will never send an email asking you to supply equipment and goods without a purchase or order number,” Government warns.
While Government is working closely with authorities to thwart these fraudsters, it still remains the responsibility of the business owner to ensure the tender is legal. Should you fall victim to a tender scam, you cannot hold the relevant Department liable for your losses.
If you do receive a tender request, and you are still unsure about its legitimacy, it’s always wise to give the mentioned Department a call (use the contact number as listed on the Department’s website) to verify.
If you know of any fraudulent tender activities please be report to the Tender Fraud hotline 0800 701 701. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
He has filled many high profile roles within his career from Divisional director of Primeserve Training to CEO of Chamdor Group and MD for TJEKA Training to name a few.
Nick started his career with IOPSA in 2013 where he was appointed as the National Training Advisor for IOPSA, a position which he still fills to this day. In 2014 IOPSA appointed Nick as an assessment quality manager (AQP within QCTO Framework) where he has been involved in many projects such as Skills for Green Jobs.
In Nick’s spare time, he enjoys time with his family and playing with his grandchildren.
IOPSA runs a wide range of CPD activities on a monthly basis for PIRB registered plumbers to earn their points.
See below calendar for June 2017
Download the calendar here
Certified Quality Plumbing Products
Plumbers understand that plumbing is the conveyance of water, which means the supply of clean water and removal of dirty water and sewerage. Quality plumbing products suitable for the building environment form part of industry’s responsibility to ensure public health and safety when working with water - a critical resource.
It is imperative that there is a guideline as to what constitutes a good quality product suitable for use in a building. This not only governs the industry, but also creates an equitable environment for all manufacturers and suppliers to compete.
Standards such as the National Building Regulations (NBR) and Water Services Regulations (WSR) are not only a guideline but a regulation; which makes them mandatory. In the current environment, they have little positive contribution to managing the building environment as a result of ineffective enforcement.
An imbalance is created when one of these areas are lacking or absent, such as the certification of products, further impacted by poor policing when products are installed. The consequences, for example, of such challenges are the manufacturing or supplying of poor quality products not fit for the South African plumbing environment.
This problem has a knock-on effect and may only become apparent sometime later, which makes the problem even more difficult to correct, especially when poor quality products have already been sold into an industry.
Ultimately compliant manufactures and suppliers are forced to compete with poor quality products still carrying a huge cost of certifying their products. Cost sensitivity is a key factor in a competitive environment, however not at the expense or risk of the public or sustainability of an industry.
The reality is, non-compliant products become more cost effective and inviting to the public. This also is perceived to be a competitive advantage to installers who benefit, short term, by gaining work; they do however lose clients in the long term due to product failure.
It is therefore extremely important that the entire industry takes responsibility. The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has been working closely with their manufacturing members through the manufacturers forum to facilitate solutions to overcome the imbalance that has been created due to lack of enforcement of products, as well as poor or non-existent product testing and certification.
Traditionally, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has provided an extensive array of testing and certification. Once the product met the SABS testing and certification requirements, it could carry the SABS mark for a 3-year period. The misconception in the industry is that the SABS mark of approval is mandatory. However, the requirement of the National Building Regulations (NBR) is simply that products should comply with SANS standards unless the SABS mark is specifically required by local bylaws.
This means that manufacturers or suppliers of products do not have to carry the SABS mark, but should prove that their products meet the minimum performance requirements of the relevant SANS standards by means of product certification.
The solutions offered for testing and certification are unable to support market demand for testing and certification, so industry has naturally begun the process of finding alternative solutions to measure their product performance, to remain competitive and meet the requirements of regulations.
IOPSA is therefore facilitating through industry, the development of quality testing laboratories and certification bodies. This creates opportunity for interested competitive market forces without excluding any existing testing or certification solutions.
IOPSA Manufacturer members have voluntarily tabled their requirements to potential testing houses and certification providers who test against the South African National Standards (SANS) document. Manufacturers will engage individually with the testing houses, with IOPSA purely facilitating these conversations.
The risks of an open competitive quality support environment is the possibility of misinterpretation of requirements, standards and management. The government body that currently measures and certifies testing and certification entities is South African National Accreditation System (SANAS)
It is critical that industry and public are assured of quality products across the plumbing supply chain. This can be achieved by a plumbing industry oversight body, creating an industry guideline within the existing framework and enforcement mechanism ensuring minimum product performance standards are kept.
The health and safety of a person should not be equated to cost. In other words, one cannot state that Health and Safety requirements cannot be met due to expense. The plumbing industry, for example, cannot place a person at risk such as not installing an electrical geyser safety valve which may cause a hot water cylinder to explode causing harm, damage or even death.
As plumbing is a relatively technical subject, one cannot expect a consumer to understand the risks when making a choice unless they are highlighted. This may not seem important or too much of a risk. So, let’s highlight the reality that if you knowingly sell or install a product that may harm a person now or in the future, it is highly irresponsible and according to the Consumer Protection Act, Building Services Act, Water services Act, Occupational Health & Safety Act illegal and may lead to prosecution.
Let industry take ownership of their future and an equitable environment for all.
For more information, please visit the IOPSA website at www.iopsa.org. Or contact 08610 PLUMBER
A ventilating pipe or two-way vent valve shall be so installed that its open end is…
1. Not less than 2.5m above finished ground level
2. Not less than 100mm above the closest part of the roof covering of the building through which it passes.
3. Not less than 2m above the head of any window or door
4. Not less than 2.5m above the surface level or any roof slab, where the slab may at any time be occupied by people.
Steve Brown is already very well known within the plumbing industry due to his vast experience and travels.
Steve is currently the National Operations manager for IOPSA as well as a director of the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB).
Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the IOPSA team and with his guidance, assistance, determination and diligence he has played a vital part in what IOPSA is today.
He started out within the industry in 1981 as a qualified plumber. He has owned his own plumbing businesses, worked as a training lecturer for Watersmith Training Centre for heat pump and solar training modules. Steve also sits on a multitude or boards as a committee member such as the World Plumbing Council Executive Board.
In his spare time, Steve enjoys surfing some waves and spending time with his family.
IOPSA, Plumblink Benoni, Plumblink Benrose (Gauteng) and Grohe Dawn Watertech joined together for Interesting Plumbers Morning(s). Business owners and staff joined for borewors rolls and got chance to speak with respective representatives.
IOPSA are driving awareness in terms of Compliance, our online Job portal, Webinars to earn CPD points as well as providing support to current members.
Look out for a Merchant Activation near YOU and stand a chance to win a Plumblink Hamper every month worth R500!
Jacky Gewe (Grohe Dawn Watertech) and Kaela Bell (IOPSA National) ready for action.
A wealth of Information at the ready.
Sello Mokawane (IOPSA Gauteng) engaging with one of the many visitors.
Below we explain why an installation is non complaint and how to correct the mistake.
T&P Safety valve overflow pipe has been piped with the correct copper tubing but the incorrect bend has been used.
As per SANS 10254 the overflow pipe needs to be piped using 45 degree bends only.
See extract from SANS 10254 along with the now compliant installation.
5.2 Discharge from valves
The discharge pipes from expansion control and safety valves shall
a) be of a size not less than the size of the connection to which they are fitted with due
consideration to the fact that in runs exceeding 4 m, the size shall be increased;
b) have three or fewer bends, shall not exceed 9 m in length for each additional bend, and
the maximum drain pipe length shall be reduced by 600 mm; all bends shall be a maximum of 45° or
formed with a centre-line radius at least five times the diameter of the drain pipe;
c) be so installed that
1) they incline downwards continuously to their outlet,
2) drainage of both valve and piping is ensured,
3) blockage due to freezing or foreign objects is prevented,
4) when flow occurs from them, the flow can be readily observed with the minimum risk of injury
or damage due to steam or hot water,
5) they are never joined together,
6) each is led to a discharge point which is visible outside the building and in a position where
the discharge from the pipe will not cause a nuisance and also cannot become blocked,
7) water traps which could prevent the free return of air into the system do not develop,
d) in the case of safety valves, always be of metal and be inclined downwards away from the valve;
e) be used for conveyance of water resulting from the normal expansion of heated water and shall
discharge to the atmosphere in a position where the discharge is readily discernible but shall not
inconvenience the building's occupants or cause damage to the building.
IOPSA provides an industry forum for plumbers, suppliers, manufacturers, professional specifiers and building & draining authorities. The Institute provides a platform to advise on the practice and principles of the plumbing industry. The Institute regularly consults and liaises with the plumbing industry, governmental and regulatory bodies for the discussion of matters affecting the plumbing industry.
The PIRB proactively promotes quality workmanship by means of issuing a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance (CoC). This CoC may be issued by a Licenced Plumber – that is – a qualified plumber registered with the PIRB.
- National Regulator
- Senior Building control (officer)
- Insurance (representative)
- Department of Water Affairs
- Plumbing contractors
- Training providers
Over the past few months IOPSA have had to deal with complaints from across the country in terms of plumbing water reticulation systems that do not function correctly.
In most cases these issues are only noticed once occupation has been achieved and the problems in terms of flow rate are then brought to the fore.
In many cases rectification of the system is costly and as experienced in one such complaint legal action was taken.
In many instances the design of the water reticulation system is left with the plumber who is not competent to design.
SANS 10252-1 has very clear detail in terms of sizing of water reticulation systems which cover.
Static and residual pressures.
Calculating water demand
Pipe sizing in terms of flow rates required for each terminal fitting.
Ensure that you take these details into account when next you price a project or for that matter be up to speed In terms of being able to question drawings supplied to you.
If you are unsure then seek guidance rather than assuming what is right is right and then finding yourself in a legal battle.
The standards are there to assist us and if we follow and abide by them the system will function correctly.
There are webinars available to assist with basic pipe design and these will add a great amount of value to you and your business.
Cover the bases and yourself follow the rules.
We are currently dealing with a few design complaints that may cost the contractor a great deal of money and in one case where the fire reticulation system failed due to incorrect pipe sizing and placed the complex and residents at risk.
Reducing pipe sizes will reduce cost but ,will certainly increase your risk.
With local authorities reducing pressures through their bulk mains due to the drought, even more reason to ensure that the system is designed correctly taking these reductions into account.
By Steve Brown
IOPSA Operations Manager
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Phone: 08610 Plumber(7586237) | +27 11 454 0025