The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) accredited Professional Body safeguarding the local timber construction industry for over 45 years, has taken several exceptional steps in supporting not only its membership, but the timber construction industry at large, as the country transitions to Level 3 of lockdown.
Having seen its first confirmed case on 5 March 2020, South Africa swiftly entered its first lockdown period at midnight on 26 March 2020. While critical to limiting the spread of the virus, these measures have severely impacted an already-embattled construction industry with little margin for any further setbacks.
In a bid to support not only its membership, but the wider industry as well, the ITC-SA has taken several additional steps to promote the timber construction sector. These include: offering its online learning courses at specially discounted rates; backing the status change of private residential building from Level 2 to Level 4 and; as part of the United Timber Industry’s Emergency Housing Group, drafting a proposal to both the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and Government on the critical role that timber frame building can play in the delivery of emergency housing during COVID-19 and beyond.
Online learning with the ITC-SA
In a bid to support roofing professionals during the lockdown period, the ITC-SA is offering its online self-study courses at reduced rates until the end of June 2020. Available courses:
• Roof Specialist Level 1 Online Assessment
• Level 1 Estimator/Designer Course (6 ECSA CPD points)
• Level 2 Estimator/Designer Course (6 ECSA CPD points)
To view or sign up for these courses, visit www.itc-sa.org/training-courses/
Upgrading private residential construction to Level 4
The ITC-SA was invited to comment on proposed amendments to the clauses and categorizations of the industries permitted to function under the various lockdown levels. The Institute strongly backed the call for the resumption of private residential building work under Level 4 of the lockdown.
Recent communication from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) suggests that they have recognised the limitations placed upon several industries as represented by the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), which offers a measure of hope that construction may be allowed to operate soon.
Update: In line with the President’s address on 24 May 2020, the construction sector will reopen as of 1 June 2020. The ITC-SA extends its special thanks to Michael Peter, Executive Director of Forestry South Africa, for his hard work and dedication in collaborating with Government on behalf of all timber-related industries.
United Timber Industry: Emergency Housing Group
A key stakeholder in South Africa’s built environment, the ITC-SA has rallied the minds of key players in this industry to bring solutions to South Africa’s intensified housing and infrastructure emergency. In the light of the extraordinary situation brought on by the spread of COVID-19, the united timber construction and processing industry has come together to offer its combined substantial resources, skills, and experience to the ECSA and Government as a contribution to the alleviation of hardship for the most vulnerable in society.
The submitted proposal outlined how locally grown, processed, and assembled timber and timber frame building can be quickly and intelligently deployed in the design, manufacture, and provision of emergency structures for temporary or permanent housing, clinics, isolation units, and much more.
The presentation highlighted in no uncertain terms that timber is in a unique position to respond swiftly to the COVID-19 crisis with quality emergency structures that offer not only safety and security, but that go a long way to restore dignity as well. This is an opportunity to do so with a value chain that is 100% proudly South African, grown from our own soil, and manufactured and distributed by our own people.
To date, there has been no response to this proposal.
Under the exceptional circumstances posed by the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa, the ITC-SA continues to make every effort to support the timber construction industry. From lending a helping hand to the individual member under lockdown, to bidding on a national scale on behalf of the industry for a dignified future built with timber, 45 years on, the ITC-SA continues to make a difference.
For more information, visit www.itc-sa.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.