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CIR 06/22 | BCA guidelines for the processing of applications

Further to the BCA “Informative Session” (sic) held yesterday, the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti hereby notifies members of the profession that contrary to statements made by BCA management, the Council was never consulted about the Guidelines published and circulated on the day, even less so agreed to their contents.

Indeed, the Council disagrees with the processes contained within this new document, which it read for the first time yesterday evening, on several grounds. In particular, the Council notes the fact that the guideline further exacerbates the BCA’s misinterpretation of the provisions of S.L.623.06 (L.N. 136 of 2019, as amended).

The Council shall be elaborating further during the Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 26th May 2022 at 4pm at the Catholic Institute, Floriana.

 

Perit André Pizzuto
President

 

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CIR 03/22 | Project Risk Assessment

Further to Section 4 of Circular 01/2022 published on 21st March 2022, the Council is herewith publishing guidance on the preparation of risk assessment reports in support of waiver requests, or to be forwarded to the contractor for the preparation of method statements.

This guidance reorganises the contents of the schedules in Subsidiary Legislation 623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended) such that documentation is drawn up in full compliance with current regulations while ensuring the positions of conflict are avoided.

Once discussions on the overhaul of S.L. 623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended) are concluded and brought into force, it has been agreed with the BCA that the Kamra shall be issuing revised guidance on risk assessment which would not be strictly bound by the aforementioned schedules.

 

 

Guidance on
Project Risk Assessment

 

A comprehensive project risk assessment, drawn up by the perit responsible for the design and specification of engineering works, should include:

 

1. The identification of the risks involved, after taking account of the structural condition of the construction itself and contiguous buildings, including:

 

1.1 Description of the structure system used for floors (e.g reinforced concrete slabs, stone slabs on timber beams, concrete frame, etc).

1.2 Description of the structure system used for transmitting vertical load (e.g. masonry walls, concrete columns, foundations, etc).

1.3 Sketch plan of each contiguous building.

 

 

2. Where additional construction over an existing building or part thereof is to take place:

 

2.1Checks showing that any existing floors are capable of sustaining the additional load being imposed by the new construction these should include:

a) an estimate of existing and proposed loads in every floor, and a declaration that the structural elements of each individual floor are capable of sustaining the additional loads when checked in accordance with established codes of practice;

b) a description of any additional reinforcement work that may be necessary in each floor.

 

2.2 Checks showing that the foundations of the building are capable of sustaining any additional loads placed over the existing storeys. These should include:

 

a) an estimate of the existing and proposed loads at foundation level;

b) information about the nature of the foundations of the building, including type and dimensions, or where this is not available, a statement about the design assumptions in accordance with codes of practice;

c) information on the nature of the ground, supported by the respective ground investigation reports that shall be attached to the works specifications.

 

 

3. Where excavation is to take place:

 

3.1 A description of the loads acting on the ground within the excavation affected zone, including:

a) Clear identification of the structural system of the building, within this zone, describing how load is transmitted to the

b) An estimate of the load reaching foundation level, in kN/m or

c) Identification of the type and dimensions of foundations within this

d) An estimate of the bearing pressure at foundation level in kN/m² in the case of strip footings, pad footings and raft

 

3.2 A description of the excavation affected zone, explained schematically inclusive of a dimensioned plan that includes the following:

a) the limits of excavation;

b) the depth of each part of the excavation;

c) the affected zone of the excavation, shown shaded and dimensioned;

d) the properties and buildings belonging to third parties that fall within the affected zone of the

 

3.3 A description of the ground conditions. This should include the following:

a) identification of ground materials through the geological map of the Maltese Islands;

 

b) (i) information from any ground investigation reports that fall within the immediate surroundings, specifically within the affected zone; OR

(ii) information from other periti who have built or supervised excavation in the immediate surroundings, after having obtained the necessary consent to use this information; OR

(iii) information from a ground investigation that would need to be commissioned for the proposed project. This investigation shall be carried out from within the site that is to be excavated. In the case of excavations not exceeding 2m in depth, such information may be obtained from trial pits, whereas borehole drilling with full recovery shall be required for all other proposed excavation depths. If agreement is reached with the neighbouring third parties within the affected zone, boreholes shall be drilled, inclined, from within the site that is to be excavated, into the ground beneath the neighbouring third party properties.

 

3.4 Identification of the risks involved in carrying out the excavation, taking into account the expected strength of the ground materials, the presence or otherwise of fissures, and the loads within the affected

 

4. Additional Recommendations:

 

Moreover, the perit responsible for the design and specification of engineering works shall also include in the Project Risk Assessment requirements regarding the content of the method statement/s, including:

 

4.1 Any recommendations the perit deems necessary regarding the sequence of works to be undertaken on the basis of the risk assessment.

Provided that in the case of excavation, this should include:

a) where the excavation is to be started from;

b) any phasing required to achieve the required rock buttressing;

c) the levels that should be attained in each stage of the

d) Subject to the provisions of the Civil Code (Cap. 16.), where underpinning is to be undertaken, full details of how the underpinning works are to be executed, supported by scaled plans, sections and detailed drawings. A description of how the underpinning works are to be phased in relation to other excavation work needs to be

 

4.2 Any project-specific measures the perit deems necessary to safeguard the stability of the works being undertaken, the stability of contiguous structures or terrain as the case may be;

 

4.3 The precautions and safeguards to be adopted, including:

a) against instability of the structure;

b) for parts thereof being demolished or altered;

c) for any contiguous structures;

d) any monitoring readings that are required to be undertaken during demolition and excavation, describing where, how and what is to be measured and what results are to be tolerated prior to taking ulterior

 

Perit André Pizzuto
President

 

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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

 

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Press Conference about the BCA Act

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PR 01/21 | KTP welcomes adoption of its proposals during parliamentary speech introducing Construction Bill

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The Kamra tal-Periti recognises yesterday’s introduction in Parliament of the Bill to establish the Building and Construction Authority as the achievement of a long-awaited milestone. It commends Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius for this important step and pledges its full cooperation towards a successful implementation.

The Kamra is encouraged by the fact that the Bill was clearly influenced by its proposal document and the presentation given to the Prime Minister’s Technical Committee last March, as evidenced by the adoption, at least in principle, of several of its recommendations.

Indeed, Hon. Agius echoed in his speech almost every principle contained in the Kamra’s proposal document: A Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework for Malta. This was a highly rewarding moment for the Kamra as well as the Profession, which had endorsed the Kamra’s framework at three consecutive General Meetings.

The Kamra shall be proposing additions to the Bill to emphasise the need for separation in the Act between building regulations, which govern design standards falling within the remit of architects and engineers, and construction regulations, which govern construction safety, methodology, and processes falling under the responsibility of contractors.

This pertinent differentiation is an integral part of the ten fundamental principles set out in the Kamra’s framework document and was agreed to by Government in its Letter of Commitment of 2nd August 2019. The Kamra looks forward to collaborating with Government in the coming days in order to address this with a view to ensuring that our country can be supported with the best possible legislation in the years ahead: this in the interest of public safety.

It must be stressed, however, that the passing of this Bill represents the first of a number of milestones in the long journey the industry faces in modernising and reaching European standards.

The success of this journey will depend on the quality of the regulations and subsidiary legislation that will follow this Act. The Kamra augurs that the focus of these regulations and subsidiary legislation will be placed on accident prevention in the interest of public safety, rather than simply listing stakeholders’ responsibilities to ascribe blame in the aftermath of an incident. To this end, the Profession eagerly anticipates the introduction of competent systems based on international best practices which envisage building control processes aimed at preventing accidents by means of rigorous in-built checks-and-balances, as well as the licensing of unregulated stakeholders.

 

The ten important principles contained within A Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework for Malta:

  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 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 to 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. They would obviously need to have specific skills, and should therefore be classified and licensed according to such skills.
  7. The enforcement of construction regulations to be delegated to private service providers, licensed by the BCA, referred to as Building and Construction Inspectors (BCIs).
  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.
  10. Post-occupancy checks and audits to be undertaken as pre-determined by the BCA to ensure the continued compliance of the structure with building regulations.

 

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PR 10/20 | No time for further delay

Verżjoni bil-Malti

This morning, yet another worker lost his life on a construction site following the collapse of a wall within the site. While the details of the incident are still emerging, one thing is amply clear: the construction industry is rife with systemic and fundamental deficiencies that must be addressed without further delay.

While the Kamra tal-Periti is fully cognisant of Government’s efforts in the past months to draft legislation that will bring about the much needed changes, it is evident that the lack of focus and resources is severely hampering progress in this respect. The outcome of the recommendations by the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister have still to be made public, and despite several lengthy meetings with the various stakeholders in the industry we are still far off from seeing significant results.

This situation is no longer tenable. Further delay is not an option.

On its part, after urging successive governments to bring about significant changes to the industry since 2007, the Kamra tal-Periti had published its draft proposals for A Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework in May 2019. 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, the Kamra tal-Periti published the final version of its proposals in June, and were positively received by the industry.

The Kamra tal-Periti urges the Prime Minister and the Ministers responsible for the industry in all its aspects to fulfil Government’s commitments of last August without further delay. It is unacceptable that a country which aspires to portray itself as “the best in Europe” remains complacent to these tragedies which have become all too common. The country deserves better.

 

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CIR 15/20 | Breach of Legal Notice 136 of 2019 – Site Technical Officer fraud

It has come to the Kamra’s attention that a person who is not qualified to take on the role of Site Technical Officer has, on a number of occasions, presented himself to Permit Holders as being qualified to take on such role and subsequently signed the Site Responsibility Form, which was then unwittingly uploaded by the periti responsible for the respective projects.

After being alerted to this matter, the Bulding and Construction Agency (BCA) advised such person that this was unacceptable. Said person, however, persisted in trying to defraud the system by presenting Permit Holders with Forms apparently signed by, to our knoweldge, at least two different periti, however it later transpired that such periti had not signed such Forms, and that their signatures had been copied and used without their consent. This latter fraudulent action has been reported to the BCA for the necessary action to be taken.

Periti are reminded that:

  • Only persons who have been authorised by the BCA to provide the service of STO should be indicated on the relevant Forms – the list of registered persons is updated regularly and may be viewed here;
  • According to Legal Notice 136 of 2019, as amended, the Site Technical Officer shall be “nominated by the contractor and shall be accepted by the perit in charge of the project”, and that as part of its discussions with Government, the Kamra had only agreed to the requirement for periti to “accept” the STO as long as a list of registered persons is published and regularly maintained – refer to point 3.1.2 of the Letter of Commitment which Government presented to the Kamra in August 2019, and further elaborated in Ciircular 14/19.

 

In view of this situation, it is recommended that periti go through their active projects and ensure that the appointed STOs are in fact indicated on the STO register, and that such persons are aware of being indicated in this role. In case of any anomalies, periti are requested to immediately inform the BCA, copying the Kamra tal-Periti, for further action.

 

The Council cannot stress enough the importance of adherence to legislation, in view of the serious consequences that may arise in cases of incidents on construction sites.

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.

 

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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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PR 04/20 | Quality of life and public safety should under pin future of construction industry

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The Kamra tal-Periti met with Prime Minister Robert Abela, Minister Aaron Farrugia, Minister Ian Borg and Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius yesterday afternoon to discuss the two public safety crises that have engulfed our country: the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of adequate regulation in the construction industry, which recently led to the premature demise of Miriam Pace.

 

Construction industry crisis

On the construction industry crisis, Kamra tal-Periti President, Simone Vella Lenicker, acknowledged the role of some members of the profession. She also acknowledged the fact that Government had recognised the need for change, which it committed to implementing in the Letter of Commitment signed in August 2019. This outlined a number of reforms which the Kamra has been striving for, including:

  • The licensing and classification of contractors by the State to ensure they are qualified to shoulder their responsibilities, and give the public and consumers peace of mind;
  • The consolidation of laws and regulations whose remit is scattered in 22 different public entities;
  • The introduction of regulations covering the design of permanent works which would fall under the responsibility of periti and engineers, and the execution of temporary works which would fall under the responsibility of contractors, thereby providing simplicity and clarity of the roles within the industry;
  • The enactment of the long-overdue amendments to the Periti Act.

Vella Lenicker welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament that responsibilities on site should follow the Civil Code, which underscores the symmetric responsibilities of periti and contractors. To this end, she called on Government to revise LN 136 of 2019 to eliminate the ambiguities about site responsibilities that it brought about.

Government must also look at the issues besetting the industry in a holistic and comprehensive manner, as the Kamra tal-Periti has been calling for since 2007. Among these issues was the ill-advised obsession of the Planning Authority to insist on the indiscriminate provision of underground carparking, which is leading to the dangerous practice of excavating between party walls in narrow sites, as well as causing wider problems of waste management, traffic, air pollution and a rapid deterioration of the quality of life of Malta’s citizens.

Prime Minister Abela welcomed the Kamra’s contributions and detailed recommendations and looked forward to collaborating further with the Kamra in introducing the necessary reforms in the industry.

 

COVID-19 Pandemic

Vella Lenicker outlined the profession’s concerns about the risks to public safety should a national lockdown be announced suddenly. She explained that it is not advisable to abruptly shut down all construction sites, as some may present a greater risk to public safety if they are abandoned without the necessary precautions being put in place to ensure structural stability. She also stated that there may also be instances where properties may require urgent maintenance or repairs during the lockdown period, and provisions should be made for such situations.

It was agreed that, although there is no indication as yet from the public health authorities that a lockdown is imminent, separate discussions would be held with the relevant Ministries to prepare for such an eventuality should it arise.

 

 

 

Events

Extraordinary General Meeting 2022

The overhauling of LN 136 of 2019, the fulfilment of the Letter of Commitment signed by Government on 2nd August 2019, and the implementation of the Kamra’s A Modern Building & Construction Regulation Framework for Malta have been the Council’s top priority for almost three years.

 

The vilification and abuse of the profession over the years to accommodate speculative interests of those with little to no regard to quality and public safety, and the exploitation of the profession to prop an unregulated and grossly dysfunctional construction industry has escalated to the point where the profession needs to take decisive action to protect its future.

 

The BCA’s latest ongoing debacle in the processing of clearances under L.N. 136 of 2019 is just symptomatic of the overarching regulatory chaos and deficiencies that need to be addressed with urgency.

 

This can only be achieved through strength in unity.

 

The profession is thus called upon to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 26th May 2022 at 4pm at the Catholic Institute, Floriana.

 

During this meeting the Council will be laying out a detailed overview of all that has been going on in the past three years, together with a number of proposed specific actions for the Council and collective professional body to implement.

 

AGENDA

4.00pmRegistration
4.45pmPresident’s Address
5.30pmDiscussion and Approval of Motions

 

REGISTRATION

Please register for the EGM by filling in your details in the RSVP section on this page.

 

The registration to the event is free, however we are requesting a minimal donation of €15 to help us cover the organisational and logistical costs. Payment can be made by bank transfer or at the registration desk on the day.

 

Only paid-up members will be eligible to vote in accordance with the Kamra’s regulations. If you have not paid your membership yet, please do so as soon as possible.

 

Please bring a print-out of the ticket with you to facilitate the registration process.