The first inaugural meeting of master builders in Port Elizabeth was held on 8 January 1898 at 08:00 on a Saturday evening. The meeting was called by Mr Jass Williams by circular and advertisement to master builders and contractors "for the purpose of discussing the advisability of establishing a Master Builders' and Contractors' Association in this town" (Port Elizabeth). That first meeting was attended by some sixteen contractors and Mr L Mackay was unanimously elected to the chair. Mr Williams became the Association's first secretary. A number of meetings were held in that year which laid the foundations of the Association.
During 1982 the Association amalgamated with the Master Builders' Associations of East London, Southern Cape, Queenstown, King William's Town and Grahamstown to form the Master Builders' and Allied Trades Association, East Cape. The Association continued to operate under this name until May 1987 when, whilst maintaining its registration as the MBA, it began operating as the Building Industries Association, East Cape (BIA). On the eve of its Centenary and with the advent of the new Labour Relations Act the Association resolved to revert back to its former name with one slight variation namely, the East Cape Master Builders' and Allied Industries Association (East Cape MBA).