Can we beat the water crisis?

By: Vollie Brink

The impending water crisis poses a serious threat to our future and needs to be addressed urgently. We discuss the implications of this looming disaster and the need to find solutions

Dear Mr Plumber

Sometimes you watch a film and the hero sneaks away to escape the villains, but he is actually heading towards another villain who is waiting for him. He is unknowingly heading directly for trouble. You try to warn the hero but he cannot hear you as he is in the film and you are watching, but you can see that it is all heading for disaster and you can do nothing.

Read more: Can we beat the water crisis?

The NBR, the plumber and the engineer (Part 2)

By: Vollie Brink

We continue looking at the PIRB, rational design, the National Building Regulations (NBR) and the effects these things have on the relationship between the engineer and the plumber

Read more: The NBR, the plumber and the engineer (Part 2)

The National Building Regulations, the plumber and the engineer

By: Vollie Brink

We take a look at South Africa’s National Building Regulations, the plumber and the engineer in perspective

Dear Mr Plumber,

Somewhere, somehow some people have misunderstood the relationship between the National Building Regulations (NBR) and the role players. And, it seems to be because of personal interests rather than in the interest of the community, who we call users.

Read more: The National Building Regulations, the plumber and the engineer

Quality above all else

By: Vollie Brink

We live in a world of fast food, fast cars, fast lifestyles and fast track projects, but with less quality

Dear Mr Plumber,

We live in a world where old things get new names and in many cases also new meanings.

I read in a paper that one official proposed that the Auditor must not use the word “Irregular expenditure” or “Unapproved expenditure” in his annual report, because it sounds too much like fraud. The frightening thing about this unapproved expenditure is that it is not millions of rands, but billions, and it seems, in most cases, it was money squandered.

I have learned that if I write out a cheque without having money in the bank, then it is fraud and I can be arrested and will end up in jail.

Read more: Quality above all else

Your questions answered

By:  Vollie Brink

For this edition I have decided to do a questions and answers format with an educational and refresher purpose.

Below ground:
Q. What is a drain? (which part of a drainage system is called a drain?)
A. A drain is the underground piping connecting the building with the municipal sewer.


Q. What is the minimum fall or gradient of a drain in terms of SANS 10400-p?
A. I in 60.

Read more: Your questions answered

Satisfaction of teaching

By: Vollie Brink

When I was young my boss would ask me “why are you not working?”, And now I am asked “why are you still working?”

I never gave anybody an answer as to why I am still working and today I thought about it and what I should answer. I don’t want to be pretentious and also not to act ‘holier than thou’, but my short answer is that every time I get it right to solve a problem (engineering problem) it gives me a ‘great kick’, an adrenaline rush, and satisfaction.

Read more: Satisfaction of teaching

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