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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Life & Times of Louis & Amber - Advertisement


Recently we received the several advertisements in the mail. This one caught my eye. Every time a team comes to help with a construction project, someone invariably asks "Do we need to pull a permit" or "Does that follow building codes" or something along those lines. And Brian invariably laughs at them. Most people from the upper Midwest are shocked to learn that plumbing pipes and water pipes are just run on the outside wall of the building. They find it difficult to understand that there is no law that states how closely studs must be placed. It takes awhile to adjust to the fact that the difference in weather so affects building methods. This advertisement is a great illustration of the differences one would encounter between the US and South Africa.

You will see it is an advertisement for a roof repair kit. If you have difficulty seeing the details, simply click on the picture and it should bring up a larger version. Let me describe. The kit consists of 3 meters x 5 meters of heavy duty black plastic. Included free in the kit are 2 rolls of waterproofing tape, a carrying case, and a sticker. Whoo Hoo.

In this second picture you see step-by-step instructions to repair the leak. Now for those of you not technically competent this may be hard to understand. The first step is to slap a piece of tape over any crack allowing the weather to find its way into your home. Step 2 is to throw said 3m x 5m piece of plastic over your roof, thereby preventing leakage. The third, and possibly most important step is to secure the plastic to the roof, as you would not want it to blow away in a heavy wind. Please note, while most of us would think to secure the plastic with nails, glue of some sort, screws, rivets, Velcro, or some other such device, the photo shows the most effective method of securing plastic to roof. That of course, is the common, garden variety rock or medium sized stone. Judging from what we've seen in the area, old tires also work quite well.

So, for those of you considering a trip to South Africa to help with construction projects, consider yourself warned. Building codes in South Africa are not the same as one would encounter in the US. And should you be the one brave enough to ask about aforementioned codes, we will all share a hearty laugh at your expense.

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