Courts Registrar issues call for Periti to serve on Land Arbitration Board

The Court Services Agency notifies that it is accepted nominations for periti with at least seven years’ practice to serve on the Land Arbitration Board.

The term of office is of five years and may be renewed for further periods..

 

The Kamra tal-Periti is hereby notifying all interested members of the profession to submit their nomination through the registration form below.

Deadline for the submission of nominations is 13th April, 2022 at 5pm.

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    Courts Registrar reissues call for Periti to serve on RRB and RLCB for 2022 – 2024

    The Court Services Agency has requested the Kamra tal-Periti to reissue the call for periti interested to be added to the list of periti serving on the panel on the Rent Regulation Board (RRB) and/or that of the Rural Leases Control Board (RLB).

    Only Periti with at least seven years’ practice will be considered. The term of office is for two years, and may be renewed for further periods.

     

    Perit who had already submitted their nominations in the previous call of 25th November 2021 will be retained in the list.

     

    The Kamra tal-Periti is hereby notifying all interested members of the profession to submit their nomination through the registration form below.

    Deadline for the submission of nominations is 10th April, 2022 at 10pm.


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      CIR 01/22 | Updates regarding S.L.623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended)

      UPDATED 13/05/2022

       

       

       

       

       

      The recent changes in the processing of clearance requests filed by periti on behalf of their clients to the BCA have brought to the fore yet again the serious issues related to the Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property Regulations, S.L.623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended).

      Ever since the publication of these regulations in the Government Gazette on 25th June 2019, the Council of the Kamra has never ceased its efforts to have these regulations replaced with a sound suite of regulations that would align our industry with best-practice legislation found in the rest of Europe, in the interest of public safety and quality in the built environment.

      Our efforts may not have been visible, and we have been very often restrained in our communication about the extensive discussions happening behind the scenes. This restraint was not because we did not feel the need to keep you updated, but because successful negotiations can only happen when the parties around the table demonstrate good faith and discretion.

      Many periti have frequently reached out to the Council privately to express their frustrations or vented their disgruntlement on the Periti Discussion Group on Facebook. We have listened to every word and read every post and comment. We understand what you have been going through because all of us on Council are also in practice and go through the same things you do on a daily basis. We also share your deep concern about how the profession has been abused to make up for the grave shortcomings in the industry and its gross regulatory failures.

      These shared concerns motivate the Council to doggedly and incessantly push for regulatory reform, no matter how long it takes or how long-winded the discussions are.

       

      We are now in a position to update you on some of the progress we have made.

       

      1. PROCESSING OF CLEARANCE REQUESTS

       

      On 17th February 2022, when the Council was alerted by members of the profession that significant changes to the processing of commencement/clearance requests had been suddenly brought into force, we requested an urgent meeting with the BCA. After three meetings, lasting approximately 11 hours in total, we have reached an agreement on the new procedures that will be adopted by the BCA on clearance requests going forward.

      The new procedures are outlined in the Guidance Note issued by the BCA linked below.

       

      This guidance note reflects several positions the Kamra has been advocating for the past 32 months and 25 days, namely:

       

      1. The role of STOs as intended in the regulations, albeit questionable, is to supplement the setup of contractors. Exemption requests for the appointment of STOs should thus be made by contractors since it is their responsibility to appoint them. The perit-in-charge should have no involvement whatsoever in any such exemption requests.
      2. The provisions of the regulations do not distinguish among projects of differing scale and risk. The full application of the regulations for projects that do not result in any risk to third-parties, such as the removal of surface top-soil or floor build-ups, is excessive and disproportionate.
      3. Periti should be given the opportunity to exercise their professional judgement in assessing the site-specific risk of each project. Many of the new procedural provisions found in the BCA’s guidance note rely on the risk assessment of the perit-in-charge in determining requests for partial waivers of provisions in the regulations. However, such waiver requests should be filed by the beneficiary of such requests, namely the developer or the contractor, as applicable, and the BCA should make a determination on whether such a waiver request is accepted. Periti should not be compelled to carry liabilities for others.
      4. There should be a distinction between periti forming part of the design team, and those working in the contractor team. STOs and periti drafting method statements should form part of the latter team. This is clearly inferred in the Guidance Note.
      5. The BCA is clamping down on the indiscriminate use of regulation 26 to circumvent the regulations altogether. The BCA has presented Council representatives a number of outrageous regulation 26 requests signed by warrant holders that are grossly irresponsible and negligent, and which are bringing the profession into disrepute among BCA officials as a result. Although the BCA has never filed complaints to the Kamra about individual periti, the Council will not hesitate to open conduct cases should complaints filed by the BCA be substantiated.

       

      It is important to also underscore that the negligent behaviour of some periti resulting in insurance claim settlements, is one of the reasons why PII insurance premia continue to rise. It is the Council’s duty to the entire profession to uphold standards to ensure warrant-holders practise professionally at all times.

       

      The requests for waivers under regulation 25 as outlined in the guidance note may be filed in the form of a letter signed by the developer or contractor, as applicable, and submitted together with the risk assessment by the perit who applied for the permit, who would not carry any professional liability for the request. There are no specific forms issued by the BCA envisaged for the filing of such requests.

       

      The Kamra has always discouraged periti from using regulation 26 declarations, and has recommended to periti the use of regulation 25, instead, when appropriate. The BCA has now adopted the Kamra’s position on this matter, as evidenced throughout the guidance note.

      The potential implication of regulation 26 declarations, with no review or assessment by the BCA, is that periti signing them may be carrying third-party liability on their own. On the other hand, the fact that regulation 25 waiver requests would necessitate a determination by the BCA and would not bear the signature of the perit-in-charge would ensure that third-party liability would be apportioned in the manner that has long been established by the Civil Code.

      Nevertheless, the Kamra has consistently maintained that LN 136 of 2019 (as amended) can only work through exemptions and waivers, making it a deficient piece of legislation that was hastily drafted and must be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

       

      2. AMENDMENTS TO LN 136 OF 2019

       

      The Kamra is engaged in concurrent discussions with the BCA on overhauling the provisions of LN 136 of 2019 to make it work. As you will certainly be aware, the Council had published a redraft in April 2021 which encompassed most of the recommendations found in the Quintano Report. The redraft was circulated among periti and the media for feedback and recommendations.

      Securing amendments to LN 136 of 2019 is, of course, an interim solution until a more comprehensive suite of building and construction regulations are published and the licensing of contractors is brought into force. We understand, however, that this process is not envisaged to be completed in the short-term.

      Thus, the BCA agreed with the Kamra to undertake immediate discussions on the amendments to the legal notice necessary to address its main deficiencies and eliminate all scenarios that may result in positions of conflict forced upon members of the profession by the regulations themselves.

      The objective is to ensure that such amendments are brought into force in the short-term.

       

       

      3. DIRECTIVE ON PRACTISING ETHICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF LN 136 OF 2019

       

      As many of you will be aware, the Council organised an Extraordinary General Meeting last December to consult with members of the profession on the principles behind a Directive the Council had drafted. The draft directive’s purpose was to reinforce the separation of the design team and contractor team, and consequently the separation of roles and liabilities of periti within the two distinct teams. Such demarcation will ensure that the confusion about professional liabilities that has arisen since these regulations came into force is addressed, and will provide direction to periti on how to comply with the First Code in the Code of Professional Conduct of Periti (S.L.390.01) governing positions of conflict.

      This new Directive, whose principles were unanimously approved by the EGM, will be issued in the very near future.

       

       

      4. GUIDANCE ON RISK ASSESSMENT

       

      In previous sections of this circular, we have made mention of the requirement for periti-in-charge to draw up risk assessment reports as part of the new waiver procedures.

      The Council has prepared guidance on how periti are to undertake a Risk Assessment, extracting those elements from the schedules of LN 136 of 2019 that should be prepared by the perit-in-charge, or a perit within the design team.

      Guidance on the preparation of risk assessment can be found in CIR 03/22.

       

       

      Perit André Pizzuto
      President

       

      Kamra tal-Periti & Chamber of Engineers set up Inginiera Malta

      On the 16th of December 2021, the Chamber of Engineers (CoE) and Kamra Tal-Periti (KTP) signed an agreement to set up a Joint Committee to be known as INĠINIERA MALTA that shall represent both professional organisations on the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI). The agreement was signed by CoE President Inġ. Malcolm Zammit and KTP President Perit Andre Pizzuto, in the presence of the CoE International Affairs representative, Inġ. Michelle Cortis and the KTP’s Engineering Committee Chairperson, Perit Dr Jeanette Muñoz Abela.

      The two organisations have been in discussions to collaborate more closely for several months to ensure that Maltese civil engineers are represented at FEANI.

      CoE and KTP have now formalised this relationship through Inġiniera Malta in order to increase the international visibility and participation of Inġiniera (under Inġiniera Act, Cap.321) and Periti Inġiniera Ċivili (under Periti Act, Cap. 622). The engineering professions in Malta shall now be represented internationally through this joint committee.

       

       

      This agreement will also facilitate the process for Maltese Periti Inġiniera Ċivili applying for the prestigious Eur Ing title issued by FEANI, which helps enable recognition of engineering qualifications across Europe. The European Commission has recognised the FEANI Register and the EUR ING title as valuable tools for the recognition of national diplomas among member states.

      The FEANI scheme is an excellent example of self-regulation by a profession at European level and it provides a model for other professional groups in the technical and scientific sector, such as chemists and physicists. The FEANI register recognizes and builds upon the diversity of forms of engineering education which exist in the Community and can adapt to any changes which may be decided upon at national level. The procedures for dealing with applications for registration also provide a good respective expertise. Registration on the FEANI register indicates that, whatever the duration or content of his or her initial training, the engineer has reached a certain level of professional competence, certified by his or her peers both at national and European level. Bearing in mind that Member States are required by the case law of the Court to take post-diploma professional experience into consideration, when reaching their decision on recognition, the Commission considers that an engineer who has obtained the title of Eur ING should not normally be required to undertake an adaptation period or sit an aptitude test, as provided for in Article 4 of Directive 89/48/EEC.

      Note : The Directive 89/48/EEC has been replaced by the Directive 2005/36/EC – Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications, signed on 7 September 2005 in Strassbourg.

       

       

      How to apply for the EUR ING title

      Periti who wish to apply for the Eur Ing title must be paid-up members of the Kamra.

      Prospective applicants can choose to submit an e-application through the FEANI online portal, or a hardcopy application via email to [email protected].

       

      Courts Registrar issues call for Periti to serve on RRB and RLCB for 2022 – 2024

      The Court Services Agency notifies that the term of the current panel of periti on the Rent Regulation Board (RRB) will expire on the 29th March, 2022 and that of the Rural Leases Control Board (RLB) is going to expire on the 18th April, 2022.

      The Registrar is thus hereby issuing a call for Periti with at least seven years practice to serve on the Rent Regulation Board or the Rural Leases Control Board. The term of office is for two years, and may be renewed for further periods.

      The Kamra tal-Periti is hereby notifying all interested members of the profession to submit their nomination through the registration form below.

      Deadline for the submission of nominations was 1st December, 2021 at 5pm.


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        PR 08/21 | Periti Act to initiate modernisation of the profession

        Verżjoni bil-Malti

        On Friday, the Kamra tal-Periti, in collaboration with the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects and SACES, organised a conference entitled The Renewal Agenda: Modernisation of the Profession. The event follows the unanimous approval by Parliament, earlier this year, of the new Periti Act: a historic milestone that marks the culmination of a 14 year-long wait.

        The Council and the Ministry have now concluded the first tranche of subsidiary legislation necessary to bring several provisions of the act into force, and the transition from the old to the new Periti Act will begin in the coming weeks. This will initiate a long-awaited process of renewal of the profession, with far-reaching effects that will change the way it is structured, as well as the role of the Kamra, the way warrants are conferred, and new obligations on Periti.

         

         

        Dr Ian Borg, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, outlined the importance of the new Periti Act, which was the result of intense hard work and perseverance, and how it will facilitate the modernisation of the profession for the benefit of the public.

        “We introduced provisions that give a broader sense of legal certainty, accountability, security and transparency in the building and construction industry,” Minister Borg said.

        He also emphasised how the new Act is underpinned by the value of striving for quality. “It was time to raise the bar even higher and through the amendments made in the new Act we are promising a more qualitative profession with the highest skilled people.”

        The subsidiary legislation, which will be brought into effect in the coming weeks, will bring Malta in line with European Directives concerning the performance of the service of architects and civil engineers in Member States. One of the main benefits of this is that the local professional will become recognised on the same level as European counterparts.

        Minister Borg concluded his address by announcing that his Ministry is in advanced talks with the Kamra to allocate funds to build a new digital platform whereby new procedures that will be in place in the coming months can be carried out efficiently and securely. He also pledged his commitment to continue supporting the Kamra and the profession to improve the quality of the built environment and meet the ambitious goals that Government has set regarding the environment and climate change, in achieving which periti will play a crucial role.

         

         

        Perit Toni Bezzina, Opposition Spokesperson for Transport and Infrastructure, emphasised the bipartisan nature of the Parliamentary process leading to the approval of the new Periti Act. “We should be truly proud of the political maturity we have displayed in reaching this important milestone,” Bezzina remarked.

        Bezzina pointed at the strengthening of the role of the Kamra tal-Periti which, for the past century, has given the highest level of service to the Maltese population. Bezzina went on to state that with the increased responsibility of the Kamra tal-Periti, it can no longer function on a voluntary basis.

        “The Opposition recognises the new roles the Kamra was conferred in the law and will thus be ensuring that the Kamra has all the necessary resources to fulfil its new regulatory functions for the benefit of the profession itself, but also for the benefit of all Maltese citizens.”

         

         

        In his welcome address, KTP President Perit Andre Pizzuto stated that the need for the renewal of the profession, the construction industry and Malta’s built environment has long been the focus of the Kamra, albeit largely ignored.

        He welcomed the fact that political leaders are recognising the need to address the concerns that are adversely affecting quality of life, such as the erosion of the quality of our built environment, the loss of our cultural heritage, the need to introduce proper building and construction regulations, and the need to protect our environment.

        Pizzuto explained that renewal is a process that requires a plan with a sequence of coordinated initiatives whose overarching objective keeps in focus the betterment of the profession, the industry and our built environment.

        “The Kamra’s renewal agenda begins with the modernisation of the profession,” he remarked.

        Pizzuto stated that the Kamra too needed to modernise, not just because of the legislative changes that are being brought about, but also to reflect the values that embody the profession today, while remaining mindful of its legacy.

        To mark the beginning of the renewal process, Pizzuto unveiled the Kamra’s new brand identity.

        “The Kamra’s new identity, featuring the three pillars of sustainability, reflects the social and cultural aspirations of today, and will serve as a constant reminder for the profession of its responsibility to promote sustainable development that strikes a balance between the economic, social and environmental needs of the country by harnessing and employing its creative and technical competences,” Pizzuto concluded.

         

         

        Later in the conference, Pizzuto provided an in-depth review of the changes that will be brought into force with the first tranche of subsidiary legislation.

        Presentations on the context that gave rise to the need for the new Act were given by Perit Simone Vella Lenicker, Past President KTP, Prof Alex Torpiano, Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment, and Ms Lucienne Meilak, Director of the Policy Development and Programme Implementation Directorate at MTIP, who played a key role in the drafting and approval of the Act.

         

        Perit Dr Amber Wismayer, Vice President and Hon. Secretary, KTP, and Perit Dr Jeanette Muñoz Abela, Council Member, KTP, also gave interventions on specific innovations of the Act.

         

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        PR 07/21 | Perit Dr Jeanette Muñoz Abela elected to European Council of Civil Engineers Executive Board

        Verżjoni bil-Malti

        Perit Dr Jeanette Muñoz Abela was elected to the Executive Board of the European Council of Civil Engineers at the 73rd ECCE General Meeting held on 23rd October 2021.

        Dr Muñoz Abela serves as council member of the Kamra tal-Periti (KTP) since 2016 where she acts as its representative on the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE), Fédération Européenne d’Associations Nationales d’Ingénieurs (FEANI) and Inġiniera Malta in their General Assemblies as well as a member of the Union Internationale des Architects (UIA) Committee “International Women in Architecture”.

        She was also appointed as the Chair of the Permanent Committee on Engineering of the Kamra tal-Periti and is the national representative of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).

        Dr Muñoz Abela is also a lecturer at the University of Malta within the Faculty for the Built Environment and sits on the University Senate (2019-2021), the Faculty Board (2019 – to date) and the Doctoral Committee (2019 – to date).

        The Kamra tal-Periti warmly congratulates Dr Jeanette Muñoz Abela on her achievement.

        The Kamra tal-Periti would also like to congratulate Dipl. Ing Andreas Brandner on becoming the new president of the European Council of Civil Engineers while expressing thanks and appreciation to Ing. Aris Chatzidakis for his work during the last three years.

        The new ECCE Executive Board is composed as follows:

        Andreas Brandner President Austria
        Aris Chatzidakis Immediate Past President Greece
        Platonas Stylianou Vice President / President Elect Cyprus
        Helena Endriksone Vice President / Treasurer Latvia
        Paul Coughlan Executive Board Member U.K.
        Jeanette Muñoz Abela Executive Board Member Malta
        Olga Radulovic Executive Board Member Montenegro
        Dimitar Natchev Executive Board Member Bulgaria
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        PR 06/21 | Human decency before profit

        Verżjoni bil-Malti

        The construction industry has hit yet another low today should reports carried in the local press be confirmed regarding an as-yet unnamed contractor having unceremoniously dumped a seriously injured worker on the side of a deserted road.

        As we discuss ambitious climate change targets, low carbon strategy, and the New Bauhaus Initiative, this incident is a stark reminder that some industry operators are yet to reach basic levels of responsible behaviour grounded in humanity and compassion.

        Until contractors are required to possess a licence to operate, which among other things would ensure that they adhere to construction regulations and provide lawful employment, we will never make the quality leap we require. With a licensing regime finally in place, it would be expected that such a contractor would lose said licence and would be unable to operate again should such allegations be confirmed.

        The Kamra tal-Periti is aware that the discussion on draft regulations on the licensing of contractors are scheduled to resume at BICC shortly, after having been on hold since May 2019. The Kamra shall be insisting that the new licensing regulations include provisions sanctioning or barring any contractors who were found to be responsible for serious injury or the loss of life of their workmen or neighbours through negligence prior to their coming into force.

         

        The industry must send a strong signal to “cowboy” operators that all its main stakeholders shall adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards behaviour which is inhumane, exploitative, and negligent to its labour force.

        Courts Registrar issues new call for Experts for 2022

        The Registrar of the Courts of Justice of Malta has issued a call for Court Experts in terms of Art. 89 of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta.

        The Kamra tal-Periti is hereby notifying all interested members of the profession to submit their nomination for 2022 through the registration form below.

        Deadline for the submission of nominations is 20th September, 2021.

        Registration form

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        PR 05/21 | The revocation of warrants on criminal conviction and the role of the Kamra tal-Periti

        Verżjoni bil-Malti

        Following the reading of Magistrate Mifsud’s sentence regarding the role of Perit Roderick Camilleri and Perit Anthony Mangion in the tragic death of Miriam Pace, it is pertinent to inform the public about relevant aspects of the law and the role of the Kamra tal-Periti in this regard.

         

        Suspension or Revocation of Warrants and Memberships

        The most frequent question that the Kamra is receiving from media houses is whether the convicted periti are members of the Kamra and, if so, whether it intends suspending their membership. There are a number of points that need to be clarified for the benefit of the public on this point:

         

        1. The Kamra is not an association, a club or a union for architects and civil engineers. It is set up by Law as a regulating body of the profession and to act as an official consultant to the State on matters related to the industry.

        2. All members of the profession form part of the Kamra tal-Periti automatically, are subject to its disciplinary procedures, and are obliged to follow its directives and code of conduct.

        3. Expulsion from the Kamra would entail expulsion from the profession. Such an expulsion can only happen following the suspension or revocation of a perit’s warrant in accordance with the law. It is indeed the Council’s role to investigate any misconduct of periti and to establish adequate disciplinary measures that may be necessary to protect the public and the reputation of the profession. With the passing of the new Periti Act, the Council will also have the power, after carrying out an investigation, to delegate the conduct of the disciplinary hearings to a Periti Professional Conduct Board.

        4. Any disciplinary decision of the Council of the Kamra can be appealed before the Court of Appeal, and thus the Council acts as a quasi-judicial body. In this respect, the Council is obliged to adhere to the principles of natural justice enshrined in the Constitution. These include the right to a fair hearing. Failure to abide by these principles would invalidate any disciplinary decision of the Kamra tal-Periti on appeal.

        5. To ensure a fair hearing, the Kamra cannot pronounce itself publicly on the merits of a case until its disciplinary proceedings are finalised. If it does, it would prejudice the relative conduct proceedings.

        6. It is also pertinent to point out that a perit can lose his or her warrant in one of two ways:

        • Through a decision of the Council, and eventually of the Professional Conduct Board; or
        • Through a criminal conviction with a prison term of at least one year, even if suspended.

        In the latter case, the revocation would be automatic and would not require a specific pronouncement on this point in the judgement.

        The role of the Periti Warranting Board is to execute the Council’s or the Court’s decision, as applicable, and has no discretionary powers on these matters.

        7. One of the principles of natural justice is non bis in idem; i.e., no legal action can be instituted twice for the same cause of action. In view of this, the Council was unable to proceed with its investigation given that the specific charges were not made known to the Kamra until today.

        8. In March 2021, the Court had denied the Kamra’s request to be granted special access to the magisterial inquiry to extract any relevant information for its disciplinary investigation.

        9. The Kamra cannot take any ulterior disciplinary measures on points already decided upon by the Criminal Court, as confirmed by its legal consultants and the Office of the Attorney General.

         

         

         

        What happens next?

        The two investigations which had been hitherto suspended due to the criminal proceedings, will be reopened by the Council to determine the following points:

        1. Establish whether the prosecution or the convicted parties will file an appeal against the judgement. If so, the Council will need to await its outcome and proceed accordingly;
        2. Analyse the charges and judgement to establish whether there are any disciplinary merits not covered by the criminal case, including breach of the code of conduct, breach of a directive of the Kamra, professional misconduct or negligence, and bringing the profession into disrepute.

         

        Beyond the merits of the criminal and disciplinary proceedings, the testimony brought before the Criminal Court, particularly that of the Court-appointed experts, has exposed serious flaws within the regulation of the industry that need to be addressed in earnest and with competence. The Kamra shall also continue monitoring the criminal proceedings instituted against the contractor and the worker involved to determine whether they bring to the fore any further systemic failures within the existing chaotic regulatory framework governing the industry.

        The Kamra has been campaigning on the need for reforms for several years, and has indeed published its own detailed proposals for reform in May 2019 in line with its legal and moral obligations to advise the State on how best to safeguard the public interest.

        More recently, it launched a public consultation on its redraft of the infamous Legal Notice 136 of 2019, which was heavily criticised during the criminal proceedings, and shall shortly be publishing the final amended version having taken on board the feedback it received.