Thursday, September 16, 2021

Building Botswana Conference in the offing

The Building Botswana Conference and Exposition, which is aimed at easing the participation of small and medium contractors in government projects, is set to kick-start this week from September 15-17 in Gaborone.

Themed ‘Building Botswana’, the Conference is designed to provide building contractors, engineers, architects, and related support services with information that they can use in the advancement of their businesses, said Nic Van Rensburg, the executive director of ABCON.

The event will be two-fold: an expo at which suppliers will be able to exhibit their equipment, with the inclusion of international suppliers, and a conference designed to provide contractors with information relevant to their industry.

The conference and expo is brought about by the Association of Botswana Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (ABCON), the oldest contractors association and Tshipidi Badiri Builders Association (TBBA), the association of citizen contractors.

Van Rensburg said the conference will focus on “using standardisation to improve profitability in contracts, materials and handovers” as well as how contractors can benefit from government’s moves to smaller contracts. This year’s expo and conference comes four years after the last ABCON conference due to financial constraints, Van Rensburg said.

He said the construction industry is faced with a number of challenges that include the shift by government from investing into new projects to the maintenance of old buildings.

“During the conference, we expect the government to explain to us its policy shift for the benefit of the construction industry,” he said.

In addition, he said they expect the department of labour and home affairs to explain why they are not renewing the work permits for foreigners in the construction industry.

“There are many foreigners at all levels of skills; Botswana is not yet self sufficient such that we can say we don’t want the skill from foreigners,” he said.

The Building Botswana event will also be the announcement venue for PPC Botswana’s second annual Botswana’s No.1 Builder competition. This year’s competition will be run in two categories, the civil and construction segment and the smaller building construction segment.

Van Rensburg appealed to Government to invest in the construction industry to allow them to export their expertise to the outside world.

He said as the only exposition and conference by and for the building industry, they expect that the programme will attract many local and international building, design, engineering and related service providers.

“This is expected to provide a unique opportunity for suppliers of building materials and services to network and display their products to a highly targeted audience,” he said.

The event is expected to give platform for the announcement of major initiatives by government to support building contractors and improve delivery.

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