All you need to do in Cape Town is turn up for your first appointment on time, and you will already be 90 percent assured of getting the contract. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Although there’s another week of the builders’ shut-down left, there is plenty to sort out, especially if you want to get ahead of the pack.

As I have said for years, all you need to do in Cape Town is turn up for your first appointment on time, and you will already be 90 percent assured of getting the contract.

It’ll be interesting to see whether our service levels improve this year, but I fear, unfortunately, that Cape Town will continue to meander along at its own slow and laid-back pace, with many already starting to plan for the Easter long weekend .

I started off last year by launching a campaign against unregistered builders, and although I believe we made a little progress, it’s going to be more of the same this year. I have already received three moans and groans about our unregistered friends stealing business, and hopefully the powers that be will realise that they need to act, hard and fast. If we lose control of part of the industry, other areas like health and safety, and proper building standards, will start to slide.


Start the year the way you mean to go on, whether you be a client, contractor or a simple DIY-er. Accept nothing but the best, but be fair and honest in all your dealings.


Right on cue, the questions have started to flood in.


I have attached several photos here to try to outline my concerns about putting up a hook and “eye” for an internal security door. I want to attach the hook to the same wall where the steel security door is hinged, which is easy enough. My concern is about the eye for the hook, in terms of my attaching this to the steel door cross bar. I want to know whether drilling into this door will weaken the steel and damage the door, and whether I can even drill into this steel? I have a set of bits meant for drilling into steel and got nowhere when I practised on an alternative steel locking bracket.


Drilling small holes should not weaken the metal; it would really need lots of holes close to each other. You should be able to drill into the steel. A carbide or titanium tipped bit should do the job, and your drill (1 000 Watts) appears adequate. Remember, the smaller the hole the faster the speed you should use. Conversely, large hole, slow speed.

Use a high quality self-tapping screw for fixing into steel.

You could also consider a metal to metal glue, which might suffice. But the easiest alternative would be to buy a different type of catch which required fixing from only one side, in your case, the wall.


I have attached a photo of my rain water channel around the chimney of my asbestos roof that was built in 1976. All that was okay until I had the roof power-washed and painted at the beginning of 2012. Everything looked fine until the rains came, when it leaked, but only during a heavy downpour. The roof cleaning company says it’s a design problem. I say something was removed by the team.


I need to do some homework on this one when I get back to town, and would appreciate a few more photos, if possible, because it appears there are no side flashings, counter flashings or back apron flashings. I have published the question now as this is the time of year when many people consider having their roofs cleaned and painted. My opinion is, however, that if it isn’t leaking – especially if it’s an old roof – don’t touch it. But if you’re determined to have it done, check the terms and conditions of the contractor’s quote, especially in respect of leaks that may occur. Get everything in writing. - Cape Argus


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