Dear Reader

The strength of any good structure depends on the foundation thereof. The foundation of a business consist of the employees, core values and supportive management structures to achieve visions and realize dreams. In actual construction the strength of the building relies on the basis on which it was founded on. Equally important will be a good supportive structure for a strong, protecting roof.

No matter what you engage in at this stage of your life, foundation is important (a legal one too).

Our core values and fundamentals are our most important assets. Through that, we hope to do the same for your business, your family, your interest or your future.

Enjoy our May newsletter!

The JJR Inc. Team

Is the legislation over your head or under your control?

– Alicea van der Ryst

A house without a roof is like a forest without trees, the known attributes or functions of the one only becomes complete with the presence of the other.

A roof is arguably one of the most important parts of any home construction as it protects the home’s contents, finishes and most important of all the residents residing therein from the elements. The roof is further one of the largest, heaviest and most costly structures in any home design. Due to the makeup and importance of the roof the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) offers insight into legislation governing this aspect of a building as well as guidelines for a correctly built, sound timber roof structure.

Important legislation:

Roof truss designs are assessed in accordance with Part L of the National Building Regulations (SANS 10400) and a national standard that is applied by all local authorities when assessing a building plan application. The legal mandate for the National Building Regulations is the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (Act 103 of 1977) (NBR).

In line with the Construction Regulation 2014, Government Gazette No 37305, dated 7 February 2014, an owner of a structure must ensure that:

1. Inspections of the structure are carried out periodically by competent persons in order to render the structure safe for continued use;

2. The inspections contemplated in paragraph (a) are carried out at least once every six months for the first two years and thereafter yearly;

3. The structure is maintained in such a manner that it remains safe for continued use;

4. The records of inspections and maintenance are kept and made available on request to an inspector.

Essential elements:

These four elements are vital in roof truss construction to ensure a sound end result:

1. The timber used must be structural timber and comply with the design intent (SATAS or SABS marked):

Structural timber needs to be marked with red ink on the face of the timber at 1m intervals. Beware of unmarked timber as this is not structurally graded timber.

2. The designer must create an accurate cutting bill:

The cutting bill will dictate the exact lengths and angles at which the timber must be cut for proper assembly.

3. ITC-SA accredited System Suppliers must be used:

The metal connector plates used must be supplied by the specific engineering system that is being used. In addition, these plates must be the correct size, and positioned in the right locations as per the standard methods and tolerances.

4. All connections and bracing details must be in accordance with the design intent:

Everything that holds the structure together such as the number of nails, bolts, washers, brackets and cleats must be in accordance with the engineering design. All necessary bracing accessories must be stipulated on the design plans.

Clearly the old saying reigns true that you get what you pay for. Rather side step a possible disaster in your home by ensuring that the engineer pocketing your money has a reputable background and that the structure of your roof complies with the relevant legislation.

Should you require any help in ensuring that your building plans are NRB approved contact our offices and we will be glad to assist.

Could you have a case for Constructive Dismissal?

– Melcom William Oosthuizen

For most part, all individuals are familiar with employment relationships, either as an employee or an employer. Often these relationships become soured for various reasons creating a hostile work environment.

Without delving into the great murky depths of dismissal on both a procedurally and substantively fair manner, employers are afforded the option to dismiss an employee, after following the correct procedure, should substantive grounds exist for same. However, what options are available to an employee who finds the work environment intolerable and further are these employees able to receive compensation from an employer?

We are all aware of an employee’s right to resign and thereafter their responsibility to serve their notice period. What many employees forget is that a resignation would result in the inability to claim UIF. So should your resignation be the consequence of a new job, this article is not for you.

The Labour Relations Act (“LRA”)1 introduces a special form of dismissal known as “constructive dismissal” and defines this type of dismissal as: “an employee terminated a contract of employment with or without notice because the employer made continued employment intolerable for the employee”.2

What? How? Now that I have your attention, it is important to remember that the courts and bargaining forums have made various rulings, often contradictory to one another, regarding constructive dismissals. Certain rules or guidelines have been developed and unlike most cases of dismissal where the employer bears the onus of proving that the dismissal was both procedurally and substantively fair, in cases of constructive dismissal the employee bears the onus.

The following needs to be proved in order for an employee to be successful:

1. The employment circumstances were so intolerable that the employee could truly not continue to stay on.

2. The unbearable circumstances were the cause of the resignation of the employee.

3. There was no reasonable alternative at the time but for the employee to resign to escape the circumstances.

4. The unbearable situation must have been caused by the employer.

5. The employer must have been in control of the unbearable circumstances.

Each of the above steps have their own comprehensive and non-exhaustive requirements, so unfortunately that moody boss that enjoys shouting at you, in itself, does not constitute a claim for constructive dismissal.

It is therefore imperative that an employee seeks professional legal advice before handing in that letter of resignation or simply not returning to work. Employers, we can assist you too, should an employee refer a matter to the Labour Court or CCMA for constructive dismissal.

Kindly contact our offices now for your consultation.

1 Act 66 of 1995 as amended

2 Section 186(1)(e) of the LRA


This newsletter is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.