10 June 2024

EB Construction has built its reputation on its attention to detail and on the lasting quality of its workmanship.

Despite the recent decade being among the most challenging periods for South Africa’s construction sector, there are some contractors who have thrived. Ben Wagner explains how he has built EB Construction steadily over the years, and how critical it has been to have AfriSam as a quality cement and concrete partner.

Taking an unconventional route into the construction sector, EB Construction’s Ben Wagner has built a solid contracting business that serves residential, commercial and industrial clients. Partnering with responsive and trustworthy firms like construction materials specialist AfriSam has been one of his secrets of success.

Wagner studied mechanical engineering and started his career in the motor trade. However, his work took the direction of building planning and management, and he soon developed a strong interest and skill set in construction. With his entrepreneurial flair, it wasn’t long before he decided to go his own way, and started out in what he describes as handyman work.

“When my wife and I started a family, I didn’t want to be boxed into a job that demanded long days that would not allow me to be part of my children’s growing up,” he explains. “I needed to be more in control of my time and destiny, and I started EB Construction to give me that.”

The jobs started off small, he says, but soon grew to include substantial home renovations and new builds. Much of the early insurance-related work dealt with fire-damaged homes, which usually involved extensive demolition and reconstruction. He also operated a plumbing team that would deal with issues like burst geysers and the resultant damage.

“Within about three years, I was able to move out of insurance work and take on my own residential, commercial and industrial projects,” he said. A meeting with AfriSam Sales Manager Adele Wentzel opened up an important supply link for cement and concrete. He acknowledges that any business in construction is highly sensitive to the cost of its inputs, but explains that this cost cannot be reduced to the simple price of products.

“As EB Construction moved into larger residential, commercial and civils projects, we went beyond purchasing AfriSam’s bagged cement and into procuring readymix and other construction materials,” says Wagner. “Our projects became more complex, and this meant stricter timeframes and an even closer focus on quality – to mitigate project risk.”

He notes that his company had built its reputation on its attention to detail and on the lasting quality of its workmanship. From its base in Johannesburg, its footprint of projects grew quickly to include working on buildings and infrastructure in quite remote areas of the country.

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