Posts

,

PR 03/21 | KTP welcomes the passing of the Periti Act and BCA Act by Parliament

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The Kamra tal-Periti is deeply satisfied that after an interminable struggle lasting fourteen years and spanning five administrations, the law regulating the profession of periti has been unanimously approved in Parliament yesterday evening.

The new Periti Act will allow for a long-overdue modernisation of the profession and the strengthening of the Kamra’s role in regulating the profession.

One of the main the changes the new Act will bring about is the introduction of Certificates to Practise issued annually by the Kamra to warrant holders providing services to the public and therefore carrying liability for their services. The issuance of Certificates to Practise will be conditional to warrant holders possessing professional indemnity insurance or another form of adequate protective cover and minimum continuous professional development training. The possessors of the Certificate to Practise, whether in the private or public sector, will also be issued with an official professional stamp as a mark of recognition for their clients, and public and private institutions receiving official documentation from periti. This reform will serve to raise the bar and professionalism of warrant holders to the benefit of the wider public and the profession itself.

Another key change is the introduction of two lists within the warrant of Periti – the Perit Arkitett and Periti Inġiniera Ċivili. Apart from addressing infringement procedures opened by the European Commission against Malta about the previous Periti Act, this innovation creates a distinction between the professional qualification routes for architects and civil engineers and marks the beginning of a transition from generalists to specialists in various fields of practice. This distinction is expected to greatly benefit the quality of our built environment and the quality of construction.

Of great importance to the Kamra, of course, is the consolidation of the Kamra’s role as the regulator and sole representative body of periti in Malta. It also introduces the Periti Professional Conduct Board, a new body to which professional conduct cases can be delegated by the Council of the Kamra to improve its efficiency and guarantee a speedier due process for all parties concerned.

This Act was passed during the Kamra’s centenary year. It was indeed just over a hundred years ago, as the country was exiting another pandemic, that the Kamra was set up following a spate of building collapses. The Kamra has evolved over the past one hundred years but remains a widely trusted and respected institution that not only looks after the interests of the profession but also seeks to protect the common good in all its efforts.

With the passing of this Act, the Kamra is now in a position to gradually begin rolling out long-overdue reforms within the profession that depended on the new Periti Act. These reforms will bring the profession firmly into the 21st Century. It will also help begin to address the serious problems within the construction industry and our built environment.

 

The Kamra tal-Periti also strongly welcomes the concurrent passing of the Building and Construction Authority Act. While the Periti Act and the Kamra tal-Periti will serve to underpin the reform of the building and construction industry, this new authority will serve as its foundation.

Most of the concerns raised by the Kamra in recent weeks about the Bill have been addressed in Parliament through amendments brought forward by Government and Opposition.

There is still a significant amount of work to be done to align Malta’s building and construction industry with that of our European partners. However, the Kamra remains resolved to support Government in the drafting of regulations and their implementation to ensure that the public’s health and safety and quality of life are not only protected but enhanced.

 

,

PR 02/21 | Kamra tal-Periti and Vivendo Group Establish Collaboration Alliance

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The Kamra tal-Periti is delighted to announce the signing of a Partnership Agreement with Vivendo Group.

The signing of this agreement forms part of a new strategic direction embarked upon by the Kamra to increase value to its members in the Architectural Profession. The Kamra is teaming up with a selected number of leading partners in the building and construction industry with a view to provide value and resources such that the Kamra may play a more effective role with its members and interested stakeholders.

This collaboration between Vivendo and Kamra tal-Periti is a consolidation of the last few years of strong commitment between the two parties. In this respect, the Vivendo brand will sit side by side with that of the Kamra in each initiative tackled jointly. By providing invaluable resources that are channelled towards the improvement of the built environment in Malta, Vivendo is placing itself at the forefront of supporting the Kamra. By working with Malta’s architects, Vivendo creates spaces that look great and feel great focusing primarily on the furnishing and finishing of office spaces, hotels and gyms.

Vivendo will benefit from direct exposure with the community of Periti operating in Malta.  Similarly, the Kamra and Vivendo will co-organise two specialised training sessions per year for Periti and their staff on innovative trends, products, and materials.

To this end, as part of this agreement, Kamra members will have exclusive access to training and educational webinars, in collaboration with Vivendo’s key partners, including Vitra, Technogym, Rockfon and Frezza, who are at the forefront of international design trends and solutions in the building and interior design industry.

Speaking at the signing on behalf of Vivendo, Christine Gingell, B2B Development Manager said that the Group is a firm believer in close relations and communications with the architecture profession and this agreement addressed this philosophy.  “We look forward to working closely with the Kamra tal-Periti and we are confident that the exposure will result in mutual benefits for the company as well as for the Periti. The architects’ community has always been at the core of our business. With the support of our key brand partners, we will continue to support the architects and the industry with sustainable solutions in executing their design concepts”.

KTP President, Andre Pizzuto commented that the Kamra was delighted to form this new alliance with Vivendo.  “We are confident that this agreement paves the way for a new approach at the Kamra by which we are able to team up with market players which share our ethos and vision for higher standards and professionalism in the local Construction Industry and in the process enhancing quality of life for the Maltese people both through a finer built environment for Malta.

,

Press Conference about the BCA Act

,

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.

 

,

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.

 

,

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

 

,

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

 

,

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

 

 

,

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