InterNACHI Director Kenton Shepard in Africa developing inspection industry there.

Go Kenton!

InterNACHI… around the world and in your neighborhood.

The weather’s been fine… 75-80 deg. everyday until yesterday. The humidity’s not noticeable. Yesterday morning it was about 65 and so foggy that visibility was about 50 yards until mid-late morning. It was drizzly all day. Today, I don’t know. It’s still dark out. I go to bed early, 7PM - 9PM, and get up early, 1AM - 3AM, and start working. It’s just after 5AM now. I can hear either frogs or crickets and a woodpecker.

I’m in Hillcrest, about 20 km N of Durban, about 20 km inland and about halfway up the east coast of South Africa. 20 Elangeni Rd., Hillcrest, Kwazulu-Natal, SA if you want to Google Earth me.
Ibises, Cuckoos, Weaverbirds, Doves, Egyptian Geese and Harriers (hawks)in the trees around me, and you can hear them, too! I’m in a smallish 3 BR row home with a small, lush back yard, in a gated community. Something whacks my bedroom window about 20 times a day (and night). During the day I think it’s birds. At night I suspect vampires.
I’ve just finally gotten settled in and 10% of my time is gone already.

Hillcrest is new. 10 years ago it was a village, now it’s got modern shopping malls, grocery stores comparable to Safeway, and I drink water out of the tap. Shops and grocery are within walking distance, but you have to remember when you step off the curb to cross the street, look first to the right, not the left. Australia was good training. I haven’t had to jump out of the way yet, here.

Most people here are black. Lots of Senagalese, Congolese, Zulus, Hlubis, other tribes, Indians, a few British and some white south Africans, but I haven’t met any other Americans since I got off the plane in Johannesburg a week ago. Everyone speaks English, but the non-whites have a heavy accent and they talk (and yell) among themselves in one of 15 official languages of South Africa. Most everyone’s pleasant and polite.

It’s been difficult to get good internet, but now I have a pay-as-you-go dongle (like a flashdrive) that provides me with wireless internet and I put more time on as I use it up. My Mac’s got a fan on the way out and sounds like a sewing machine. The nearest mac repair is 50 km away. It’s a drive on a motor scooter through fast moving traffic learning to drive on the left.

I’m working with Eric, who owns the largest home inspection company in South Africa, an extremely successful, knowledgeable guy. Eric drives a Porsche SUV, and up until recently he raced Porsches, and he drives on the streets like he’s racing, so you’re constantly slipping through traffic at high speed missing other cars by inches. It’s fascinating.

He and I spent about 5 hours discussing problems with South African building practices on Monday, and I spent most of yesterday and the early morning hours of today reading the first of two manuals that outline best building practices for South Africa. Produced by the National Home Builder’s Registration Council (NHBRC), they’re like a nationally-adopted code, and they’re really excellent, very understandable, very comprehensive and detailed. They’ll serve as a good guide in writing the courses. I should be able to start writing tomorrow.

The main problem here is lack of good inspection during the building process, and most contractors will cut all sorts of corners to save money.

Roofs in SA have no rigid sheathing and most are tile, and both of these are the same in Australia, so it’s common building practice. With no sheathing, when you cut a 2x4 hip rafter a foot too short and install it anyway… there’s nothing but the battens to hold it up. Walking roofs can get interesting, and they do walk them here.

Almost all residential is brick double-wythe (they call double-leaf), with some CMU. Roof framing is wood trusses and metal framing, with some wood framing, which they call “timber” framing with both roof and wall. Very few wood frame walls.

Building is very similar to that in the states, but the terms are often different. A leach field is a “soak away system”. Building codes and practices are sophisticated and similar to ours

There’s a fledgling inspection industry here, we have about 30 members, but no trade association with education, so that’s why I’m here. Now, new inspectors get 1-5 days training after they buy a franchise.

Time for a little breakfast (sausages, potatoes, pineapple and mango, tea) and then back to work. I really miss having a coffee maker.

Oh, and InterNACHI Australia’s formal launch comes this next Monday. That only took a year and a half!

What about the women there?

The men don’t seem that different, or maybe I just don’t notice, but the black women here range from tall and extremely beautiful, with perfect skin, teeth, and carriage, generously endowed, dressed in expensive western clothes. Every color they wear seems to contrast strikingly with the color of their skin, it’s hard not to stare. They speak so clearly with this exotic accent, radiating this aura of elegance… and I may not come back…
to short and chubby, wearing long loose skirts and blouses, and walking down the street balancing big loads on their heads. For the most part they’re very cheerful.

WEll don’t get to gauking and walk off a roof if ya need me as a spotter I am available;-)

very nice

That stems for quite an excellent education Kenton.
Sure sounds like you are enjoying it.

Bring us some more pictures, women included of course. All part of the heritage and customs. :mrgreen:;):slight_smile:

That is absolutely amazing. You are the golden standard for home inspectors Kenton

Thats awsome Kenton. Enjoy all they have to offer! Well, you may want to be careful if some of the local women offer you anything.

Very cool, Kenton. Keep up the good work.

Nice stuff, keep us posted if our MB warrants more of your pre paid internet. I certainly appreciate it.

Hey Kenton,
Did you get any of that jungle bootie yet? Nick says you haven’t gotten laid in years!!

Kenton, where was my invite to join you in my home country.
Don’t forget to sample the local sausage “boerewors” (don’t buy it from the supermarket but rather from the local butcher) and if you like jerky get yourself some “biltong”
When it comes to meat South Africa has the best lamb you will ever eat.
Enjoy yourself.

Awesome job Kenton. Keep up the great work!

Something whacks my bedroom window about 20 times a day (and night).

Well, I’m glad it’s not gunfire!

I was thrilled when Nick sent me as NACHI’s ambassador to Puerto Rico a few years back; looks like you’re enjoying your trip, also!

Immerse yourself in local culture and foods; there’s no substitute . . . enjoy, Kent!

Russell got to go to the sunny beaches of Puerto Rico and Kenton is in the humid jungles of South Africa. Sounds like Russell got the better deal!

I do not know if you heard yet, but after you are done there, Nick wants to send you to help out the new inspectors in the Antarctic.:stuck_out_tongue:

Hey Kenton,
You had plenty of birds in Australia,remember all the galahs.


John T

Actually, he said I haven’t gotten PAID in years. :mrgreen:

When you’re a builder you don’t want your guys spending too much time in the bathroom, so in a sub-tropical environment, you build them out of steel and paint them black!

Here’s… deepest darkest Africa. When I was traveling as a kid, you had to watch what you ate, never drink the water, and expect to get sick anyway. Here, I drink water right out of the tap. Woolworths in the photo is like a mini whole foods. The supermarkets here are like Safeway. Everybody speaks English. Africa has become modern.

Did my first inspection on Friday. Started writing the first course on Thursday. Just about finished the Soils section.

Check out the thatched roofs I posted in the roof forum.

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I stayed with John and Liz in Adelaide last Feb.
I found a parrot (Musk Lorikeet, below) with a broken wing in his front yard and picked it up. It was like trying to hold on to a really pi$$ed off pair of needle-nose pliers!