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CIR 14/20 | COVID-19 Pandemic: Lifting of restrictions // Update 7

By means of Legal Notice 232 of 2020, Government repealed a number of Legal Notices published during the pandemic, including the Protection of Vulnerable Persons Order, 2019.

In view of this, Directive 11/20 regarding Vulnerable Individuals & Site Inspections is hereby repealed.

Although certain restrictions have been released, it is noted that the pandemic has not yet been declared to be over, and therefore certain measures should still be implemented, particularly those relating to social distancing. Reference is here made to Circular 13/20, which presents various recommendations that may be followed as applicable.

Meanwhile, kindly note that the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) has issued a document entitled ‘COVID-19 and your Workplace: FAQs’, which brings together the most frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and workplaces.

 

Yours sincerely,

Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

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PR 08/20 | A Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework

Verżjoni bil-Malti

In May 2019, the Kamra tal-Periti had published its draft proposals for A Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework. These were presented to all industry stakeholders, including the Chamber of Engineers, the Chamber of Commerce, the Building Industry Consultative Council, the Building Regulation Board, the Building Regulation Office, the Building and Construction Agency, the Planning Authority, the Malta Developers Association, and the Malta Insurers Association. All these entities and organisations endorsed the Kamra’s proposals and there is therefore industry-wide consensus that such proposals are both necessary and desirable.

The proposals were also presented to the European Commission and the Opposition, as well as to Government which, through a Letter of Commitment issued in August 2019, finally recognised the need for a comprehensive reform of the building and construction industry, and committed itself to implement the Kamra’s proposals.

After having taken on board all the feedback received over the past 12 months, the Kamra tal-Periti has now published the final version of its proposals. These are focused around ten main principles, namely:

  1. The separation of planning permit and building permit processes;
  2. Clear well-organised regulatory processes designed to promote public safety and quality, in the interest of the consumer, rather than being focused on ascribing blame post-accident;
  3. Clear distinction between the regulations governing building (the permanent works) and those governing construction processes and temporary works;
  4. The proposed Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is to take on the consolidated role of the assessment of buildings, building authorisations, enforcement, and monitoring of the construction processes, with the 22 public entities hitherto entrusted with the different areas of interest, becoming key stakeholders in the drafting of regulations and guidance documents;
  5. Major projects and public buildings to be subjected to an independent review, particularly in terms of structural design and fire engineering through the introduction of a new professional figure (Engineering Auditor);
  6. Contractors are to have the specific skills required, and to be classified and licensed according to such skills – they will be solely responsible for the process of construction, including temporary works, and would therefore have full possession of construction sites for the duration of the works;
  7. The enforcement of construction regulations to be delegated to private service providers – referred to as Building and Construction Inspectors (BCIs) – licensed by the BCA;
  8. Contractors to be required to certify that the executed works comply with the design instructions, and with the requirements of the Construction Products Directive;
  9. The construction phase will be concluded by the issuance by the BCA of a Compliance Certificate, which, inter alia, authorises that the building can be brought into use; and
  10. Post-occupancy checks and audits to be undertaken as predetermined by the BCA to ensure the continued compliance of the structure with building regulations.

The launch of these proposals is not the end of a process. It is the beginning of a new era in the building and construction industry. COVID-19 has highlighted the lack of sustainability of our previous ways – now is the perfect opportunity to look to the future with a new vision … a vision that is more sustainable, that still focuses on economic progress but that places more emphasis on safety and quality.

 

The Kamra tal-Periti is fully committed to ensure that these proposals are implemented and assures Government of its full cooperation in achieving this leap forward, bringing the industry firmly and squarely into the 21st century.

 

Scroll through gallery

 

 

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CIR 13/20 | COVID-19 Pandemic: Site inspections and site operating procedures // Update 6

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, periti were among one of the first groups of economic operators to adapt their working practices in so far as their offices are concerned. In a survey carried out by the Kamra tal-Periti in the beginning of March, periti reported to have already implemented various social distancing measures, including the cancellation of non-essential meetings and subsequently the introduction of video conferencing, sanitisation of their office environment, and in 56% of cases the introduction of remote working.

While periti have a significant amount of control over their office environment, the same cannot be said for construction sites, and in situations where periti are required to inspect occupied properties for varied reasons.

The following are some practical guidelines to be followed in order to minimise the risks of contraction of  COVID-19. These have been approved by the Health Authorities.

 

Inspections of occupied residential properties

It is recommended that prior to inspecting an occupied residential property, the owner / client / tenant is requested to:

  • Declare that none of the occupants of the property returned from overseas during the 20 days prior to the date of inspection;
  • Declare that none of the occupants of the property have contracted the COVID-19 virus and are under mandatory quarantine as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declare that none of the occupants of the property are under mandatory quarantine for any other reason as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declare that none of the occupants of the property are aware of having been in contact with a person who has contracted the COVID-19 virus during the 20 days preceeding the date of inspection; and
  • Declare that none of the occupants of the property fall under any of the categories of vulnerable persons as detailed in Legal Notice 111 of 2020 – if the latter is not the case, the procedures set out in Circular 11/20 are to be followed.

 

It is also recommended that periti request that, on the date of inspection, the owner / client / tenant ensures that:

  • There is not more than one person present in the property;
  • All doors and windows are opened prior to the inspection to allow full access to the property without needing to touch any surfaces;
  • A distance of 2m is maintained at all times.

 

Inspections of occupied commercial properties

The measures to be applied will depend on the nature of the property in question, its size, density of occupation and also on the purpose of the perit’s inspection. In general, however, it is recommended that prior to inspection the owner / client / tenant is requested to:

  • Declare that none of the regular occupants of the property have returned from overseas during the 20 days prior to the date of inspection;
  • Declare that none of the regular occupants of the property have contracted the COVID-19 virus and are under mandatory quarantine as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declare that none of the regular occupants of the property are under mandatory quarantine for any other reason as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declare that none of the regular occupants of the property are aware of having been in contact with a person who has contracted the COVID-19 virus during the 20 days preceeding the date of inspection; and
  • Declare that none of the regular occupants of the property fall under any of the categories of vulnerable persons as detailed in Legal Notice 111 of 2020 – in such case the inspection should not be carried out unless the presence of the person concerned is absolutely essential, and then only after having followed the procedures outlined in Circular 11/20.

 

For the purposes of the above, a “regular occupant” is considered to be an owner or employee or consultant or client or service provider or any other person who regularly accesses the property, and who has visited the property during the 15 days prior to the date of inspection.

 

It is also recommended that periti request that, on the date of inspection, the owner / client / tenant ensures that:

  • The number of people present in the property is kept to the bare minimum essential for the inspection to be carried out;
  • All doors and windows are opened prior to the inspection to allow full access to the property without needing to touch any surfaces;
  • A distance of 2m is maintained at all times.

 

Construction site inspections and meetings

In the case of construction sites, it is recommended that declarations similar to the ones outlined above are obtained from the contractor/s with regard to their workforce. These may include:

  • Declaration that none of the personnel present on site have returned from overseas during the 20 days prior to the date of inspection;
  • Declaration that none of the personnel present on site have contracted the COVID-19 virus and are meant to be under mandatory quarantine as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declaration that none of the personnel present on site are meant to be under mandatory quarantine for any reason as imposed by the relevant Authorities;
  • Declaration that none of the personnel are aware of having been in contact with a person who has contracted the COVID-19 virus during the 20 days preceeding the date of inspection; and
  • Declaration that none of the personnel fall under any of the categories of vulnerable persons as detailed in Legal Notice 111 of 2020 – in such case the inspection should not be carried out unless the presence of the person concerned is absolutely essential, and then only after having followed the procedures outlined in Circular 11/20.

In the case of sites where regular inspections are carried out, it may not be feasible to require these declarations prior to each and every inspection. It is recommended that the declaration is requested initially, and that the contractor/s is/are requested to inform the perit, the owner and the Project Supervisor immediately upon registering any change to the declarations. Periti may request a declaration at regular intervals, for example once a month.

In addition, it is recommended that:

  • Only personnel who are absolutely necessary for the site inspection to be carried out are present on site at the time of inspection
  • Attendees should maintain a distance of 2m from each other
  • Rooms should be well ventilated and windows opened to allow fresh air circulation
  • Wherever possible, meetings should be held outdoors

 

Construction site operating procedures

It is also important that the welfare of all personnel on sites is catered for at all times. This may be easier to achieve on larger sites, where contractors may be better equipped to provide certain facilities. Nevertheless it is recommended that all contractors are encouraged to implement as many measures as possible on their sites in order to minimise as much as possible the risks of exposure.

The Kamra tal-Periti has prepared a guidance note – Site Operating Procedures | Guidelines for construction sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is based on various recommendations by international organisations, and has also been presented to the local Health Authorities.

It is recommended that periti forward this document to their clients, and to the contractor/s and Project Supervisors appointed on the site which fall under their responsibility, and that these are encouraged to implement these measures for the safety of all.

 

 

General measures

In addition to the above, the following guidance documents issued by the local Health Authorities are being referred for your perusal:

 

Furthermore, it is recommended that periti wear community masks while carrying out their duties as outlined above, in addition to the standard PPE, and that they use sanitiser whenever necessary.

 

Yours sincerely,

Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

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CIR 12/20 | Transposition of EU Directive 2018/844

Two new Legal Notices have been recently published to transpose Directive (EU) 2018/844 on the energy performance of  buildings and on energy efficiency.

 

LN133 of 2020_Energy Efficiency and Cogeneration (Amendment) Regulations, 2020

This Legal Notice obliges the Building Regulation Board to issue a long-term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of buildings, and to update such strategy every three years.

 

LN134 of 2020_Energy Performance of Buildings (Amendment) Regulations, 2020

This Legal Notice amends the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations to bring them in line with Directive (EU) 2018/844. There are a number of changes that relate mainly to building engineering services, and it is recommended that you advise your clients and their consulting services engineers of the contents of these new regulations in so far as they are applicable to your projects.

It also obliges the Building Regulation Board to “establish a long-term renovation strategy to support the renovation of the national stock of residential and non-residential buildings, both public and private, into a highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050, facilitating the cost-effective transformation of existing buildings into nearly zero-energy buildings.” Furthermore it obliges the Building Regulation Office to undertake various provisions for financial assistance to improve energy performance of buildings and to establish regular inspections of heating and air-conditioning systems.

 

 

Two new Regulations of particular relevance to periti are Regulation 5(5) and Regulation 5(10) which stipulate that:

 

5(5) “New non-residential buildings and non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation, with more than ten parking spaces, shall be installed with at least one recharging point within the meaning of Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and ducting infrastructure, namely conduits for electric cables, for at least one in every five parking spaces to enable the installation at a later stage of recharging points for electric vehicles where:

(a) the car park is located inside the building, and, for major renovations, renovation measures include the car park or the electrical infrastructure of the building; or

(b) the car park is physically adjacent to the building, and, for major renovations, renovation measures include the car park or the electrical infrastructure of the car park.”

 

5(10) “New residential buildings and residential buildings undergoing major renovation, with more than ten parking spaces, shall be installed with ducting infrastructure, namely conduits for electric  cables, for every parking space to enable the installation, at a later stage, of recharging points for electric vehicles, where:

(a) the car park is located inside the building, and, for major renovations, renovation measures include the car park or the electric infrastructure of the building; or

(b) the car park is physically adjacent to the building, and, for major renovations, renovation measures include the car park or the electrical infrastructure of the car park.”

 

Although the Legal Notice gives power to the Minister to exempt certain types of buildings, no such exemptions have as yet been issued, and therefore these Regulations are considered applicable to all situations as outlined above. One of the situations contemplated in the Regulations where the Minister may issue exemptions concerns those building where the relevant applications have been submitted prior to 10 March 2021. The Kamra will be corresponding with the Minister to apply such exemption in order to allow the market to adjust accordingly, however until then the provisions of the regulations must be implemented.

 

Regulation 9 includes an obligation on EPC assessors to “provide information to the owners or tenants of buildings on energy performance certificates, including their purpose and objectives, on cost-effective measures and, where appropriate, financial instruments, to improve the energy performance of the building, and on replacing fossil fuel boilers with more sustainable alternatives.

While trusting that you will peruse the new regulations, please do not hesitate to contact the Kamra tal-Periti through email on buildingregs@kamratalperiti.org should you have any queries.

 

Yours sincerely,

Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

COVID-19 Impact on Periti // Bulletin 03

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PR 07/20 | Earth Day is every day, and anywhere you are

Verżjoni bil-Malti

Today, the entire planet is marking Earth Day 2020, which this year is focussed on climate action.

Climate change is currently the biggest challenge being faced by humanity, as it also struggles with the severe impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Any challenge, however, is also an opportunity for positive change in ensuring a more sustainable future.

At the end of 2020, Malta, along with all other signatory nations, is expected to increase its national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Just two days ago, Minister Aaron Farrugia announced that Malta had joined 16 other EU countries in backing a call to put the “European Green Deal” at the heart of a post-coronavirus recovery. The respective ministers are urging Europe to remember the challenges of climate change when putting forward long-term strategies for a resilient recovery from the current crisis, and stated that while all efforts should be focussed on fighting the pandemic, we must “begin to prepare ourselves to rebuild our economy and to introduce the necessary recovery plans to bring renewed, sustainable progress and prosperity back to Europe and its citizens. While doing so, we must not lose sight of the persisting climate and ecological crisis. Building momentum to fight this battle has to stay high on the political agenda.

This is indeed a very welcome step. Malta has, for many years, failed to meet its obligations on various matters ranging from waste management to emissions, and from over extraction of resources to uncontrolled energy use. We simply cannot afford to carry on with our past attitude to these matters – the Kamra tal-Periti therefore fully backs Malta’s renewed commitment to ensure that things will change, and remains hopeful that this is not just an exercise in paying lip service to these ideals.

On its part, the Kamra tal-Periti is committed to collaborate with Government in achieving these goals. For many years it has been lobbying for significant changes in the building and construction industry, which is known to be one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In May 2019, it published a comprehensive proposal for an overhaul of the building and construction regulation framework, which proposal has the support of all the main players in the industry, and which is aimed at ensuring that our building stock is more safe and efficient, and that it is focussed on quality rather than on quantity. These proposals were recently presented to the Committee established by Prime Minister Robert Abela, and the Kamra looks forward to the outcome of the consultation process being undertaken by said Committee.

Last October, the Kamra tal-Periti took the important step of signing up to the Davos Declaration titled “Towards a high-quality Baukultur for Europe”, and to date remains the only Maltese organisation to have done so. The Declaration, which was endorsed by the European Ministers for Culture in January 2018, calls for quality, joint responsibility and cultural sustainability to be at the core of our policies relating to the built environment, and stated that “We urgently need a new, adaptive approach to shaping our built environment; one that is rooted in culture, actively builds social cohesion, ensures environmental sustainability, and contributes to the health and well-being of all.” They also acknowledged the importance of adding “economic value by creating higher-quality and more durable assets and favourable conditions for economic prosperity within society (by using) resourced sustainably, thus ensuring that future generations will also be able to benefit from positive social and economic development.

The Kamra tal-Periti will continue to strive to ensure that its members place sustainability at the core of their practices and professional responsibilities, to promote and improve standards with the aim of ensuring better quality buildings and open spaces, and to acknowledge the important role that we play in ensuring a better quality of life for our citizens. However we cannot do this alone. Government must become the champion for a better built environment, not only by investing in good design but also by being acutely aware of the consequences of its policy making and decision-taking in all fields.

The challenges faced by our built environment will not be easy to overcome but they can be with concerted action, shared responsibility and commitment to the development of a vision which catalyses all stakeholders to work for better quality places that bring dignity, pride and real delight to their users. Earth Day 2020 can be an important moment for our citizens to rise up, with millions of people around the world, to demand the “creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.

 

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PR 06/20 | Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The 18th April marks the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The theme chosen for this year’s celebration is “Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility”, recognising that heritage – whether places, landscapes, practices, or collections – are frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities. This year, as the world goes through the current crisis caused by COVID-19, we are called to celebrate and think about the relationships between cultures or cultural groups and their collective responsibility for the care and safeguarding of the significant attributes, meanings, and values of heritage.

It was, in fact, exactly two years ago that 22 organisations active in the field of cultural heritiage came together to express their shared concern for the manner in which the indiscriminate demolition of our built and other cultural assets was resulting in a general impoverishment of our urban areas.

These entities jointly signed a Declaration titled “Our Legacy – Wirtna”, which had one fundamental message: that the way we treat our heritage is the legacy we leave for future generations.

Two years ago we reminded Government of the Declaration of Principles of the Constitution of Malta which stipulates that “the State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the Nation”, and put forward 11 demands for Government to implement. To date, none of these demands have been met.

Last September, hundreds of people crowded the streets of Valletta chanting “Enough is Enough!” Enough to planning policies that do not respect citizens. Enough to authorities that do not plan properly and do not respect the environment. Enough to large-scale construction projects, road construction works and lack of transportation planning. Enough to low air quality and lack of preservation of biodiversity. Enough to a construction industry which is allowed to operate in an unregulated manner.

These calls were not dissimilar to those made by the 22 organisations two years ago. The concern is, in fact, a shared concern – that our culture and our heritage are being disregarded, and that economic interests are far too often given the upper hand.

We have a shared responsibility to safeguard our culture and our heritage. The Kamra tal-Periti and its fellow signatories of “Our Legacy – Wirtna” are fully committed to make sure this happens. Is Government equally committed?

Declaration

Read the Declaration signed by 22 organisations

 

 

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PR 05/20 | Arraignments indicative of confused and overlapping responsibilities

Verżjoni bil-Malti

Last month’s incident, which claimed the life of Miriam Pace, was a stark reminder that the crisis faced by the building industry is far from over, and has not been resolved through the hastily drafted regulations that were brought into force in July 2019. While commending the swift manner in which the authorities have proceeded in this case, the Kamra tal-Periti cannot but reiterate its position, which has consistently remained strongly opposed to the afore-mentioned regulations because they do not guarantee public safety, as clearly evidenced by the Hamrun tragedy. All these regulations were designed to do is apportion blame after an accident takes place, while concurrently shifting it away from developers and contractors, who remain unregulated to this day. Instead they should have been focused on preventing such accidents from happening in the first place.

Yesterday’s arraignments are a clear demonstration of how increasingly complicated and confused the lines of responsibility have become with the coming into force of the new regulations. Indeed, the Court will now have to establish the responsibilities of four different roles, including the STO role which did not exist before. Inevitably, defence lawyers will thrive in this weak regulatory framework.

The Kamra tal-Periti is perplexed by the statement issued yesterday by the Malta Developers’ Association that the new regulations introduced last summer provided “clear parameters to determine who was responsible for such incidents”. It appears that this was the primary focus of the MDA, rather than ensuring public safety, which has always been the paramount concern of the Kamra.

Indeed, the Kamra fully agrees with the statement which Marthese Portelli, now director-general of MDA, had made at the time the regulations were published, wherein she characterised them as “rushed decision-making [which] has set nobody’s mind at ease”.

The Kamra looks forward to the implementation of its building and construction regulation framework which Government had committed to start implementing as from October 2019. This framework was meanwhile endorsed by all the relevant stakeholders and presented to the Committee of Experts appointed recently by the Prime Minister. Its implementation will ensure that the construction industry will finally modernise itself and be brought in line with practices adopted in developed countries.

The Kamra tal-Periti is fully committed to make sure this happens without further delay. Delays in introducing the appropriate legislation will only prolong the public’s exposure to health and safety risks.

 

 

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CIR 10/20 | COVID-19 – We are not Immune // Update 5

This Circular is being issued to update you on a number of actions taken by the Kamra tal-Periti in the past couple of weeks, namely:

 

  1. Survey of the profession
  2. Submission of proposals for a National Strategy for economic measures
  3. Economic measures currently applicable for periti
  4. Safety on construction sites in view of COVID-19

 

Further details on each of these points are outlined below.

 

1. Survey of the profession

 

The outcome of the first two surveys of the profession carried out last month were instrumental in our discussions with Government on the difficulties being experience by periti, as further outlined below. The results of those surveys have been published in our COVID-19 Impact on Periti Bulletin 01 and Bulletin 02.

 

The third round of the survey is now open until Friday 10th April 2020 at noon. Before commencing the survey you will need to have the following information at hand:

  • Number of staff you employ, split by provenance (Maltese, EU, and non-EU) and gender
  • Number of open sites under your direction split by predominant activity (demolition and site clearance, excavation, construction and finishes/services, and the number of those which pose risks of danger and/or damage to third parties if the works are stopped suddenly in the eventuality of a lockdown.
  • Average monthly turnover for 2019, and turnover for January, February and March to date (questions in this section request details in % terms but you will need the raw data to work these out)

Your response is highly important, even if you have already participated in previous rounds, since it will enable us to report trends in the profession to Government. I urge you to dedicate some time to this exercise to ensure that our data will be as representative of the profession as possible.

 

 

 

2. Submission of proposals for a National Strategy for economic measures

 

Over the past three weeks, the Kamra tal-Periti met with four other professional bodies, practically on a daily basis, to discuss how the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their professional activities and those of the significant number of persons working within those professional practices.

 

The Kamra tal-Periti, the Chamber of Advocates, the Dental Association of Malta, the Kunsill Notarili ta’ Malta and the Malta Institute of Accountants share the firm belief that our professions form an integral part of the community we live and practice in, and that we have a duty to contribute our experience and expertise towards a balanced solution to the economic issues being faced by the country as a whole.

 

On Wednesday 1st April 2020, representatives of each of the professional bodies met with Minister Silvio Schembri and presented our proposals for:

  • a National Strategy for economic measures to be considered by Government in addressing the severe economic and social difficulties that have been brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak; and
  • a set of measures aimed at assisting our professions within the context of the national strategy proposed.

 

 

It is evident from the surveys carried out by the professional bodies among their members that, whilst the full extent of the impact going forward is as yet unknown, the immediate impact has been severe and the outlook bleak. If this situation were to be prolonged, it will place self-employed professionals under significant pressure to meet their payment obligations and will place firms under severe pressure with under-utilised human resources to meet their significant salary bills.

In our proposals to Government, we acknowledged that there are economic sectors in the country that can be considered as “higher impact” and that any economic measures of state intervention are to prioritise those sectors; indeed we concurred with the strategy of Government to do so, however cautioned that the professions are not immune to this environment.

 

The six measures proposed to Government specifically for the professions can be found in this presentation.

 

Minister Schembri was receptive to the proposals and indeed he expressed agreement in principle with the submissions made. The issue of debate is really how and when would be the right time to implement them, given that Government had to prioritise other sectors with urgency since the difficulties in those were more pronounced. The Minister also stated that in any event these measures cannot be adopted across the board within professions, and that even within the same profession one would have to make the case that assistance was necessary.

Any scheme that will be in place would need to have sufficient flexibility to enable it to be applied on a case by case basis, taking into account, within each profession, who required the assistance most. Not all periti are in the same boat, and some would require assistance more than others, or indeed before others. In this context he reiterated his agreement in principle with the proposals and directed the professions to make further representations with the Ministers responsible for their respective professions.

In fact, we have written to the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, under whose remit the profession falls, requesting a meeting wherein we shall be stressing the importance of the introduction of these measures to give assurance to our profession that assistance will be available at the right time and in the right measure.

 

 

3. Economic measures currently applicable for periti

 

On Monday 6th April 2020, Minister Schembri confirmed that, as a first step, Government will be extending the possibility of postponement of taxes to those professionals who can genuinely show that they are in difficulty of paying such dues. This was the first of the six proposals submitted by the professional bodies. Further details on this scheme can be accessed below.

The impacts on the construction industry are evident, and a slowdown is clearly taking place. Loss of revenue, and a reduction in new projects coming on line are already being reported, and the situation is expected to decline further in the coming weeks. In other cases, periti who fall within the vulnerable groups as defined by Legal Notice 111 of 2020 will also experience a decline in revenue, and consequently difficulty with paying their employees and expenses.

Accordingly, those periti who have suffered a significant drop in revenue, and who are unable to meet the salary costs of their office, have an arguable case to make, even now, without having to wait for any particular scheme or measure to be announced, to qualify for certain assistance packages that have already been announced. This was made clear during the meeting with Minister Schembri, and any periti in such situations should therefore make their case to Malta Enterprise and apply for support.

We understand that where a reasonable case can be made, Malta Enterprise will give such cases due consideration.  Evidently, each case will be evaluated on its own merits and the relief granted will be a function of proportionality to the difficulties faced by the professional concerned. Various measures may be considered, including reduced working hours, however these would need to be assessed on a case by case basis with Malta Enterprise.

 

Those who apply for relief and assistance are urged to inform the Kamra tal-Periti that they have done so, in order that such cases may be followed up from our end.

 

Meanwhile, kindly note that we shall be communicating with you shortly regarding a Q&A session being planned to address any queries you may have on the above.

 

 

4. Safety on construction sites in view of COVID-19

 

Another major concern at this time is the safety of workers and professionals on construction sites in terms of potential exposure to the virus, as well as the safety of third parties. The recent increase in case numbers is surely not to be ignored. We are scheduled to meet the Authorities later this week, and will inform you accordingly on any measures to be implemented in this respect.

 

 

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for you to keep in touch with us via email on info@kamratalperiti.org, the Periti Discussion Group on Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, and to participate in the regular surveys being carried out.

 

Meanwhile, we will continue focussing all of our attention on ensuring that we pull through the current crisis together.

 

Yours sincerely,

Simone Vella Lenicker
President