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PR 29/19 | Sustainable Communities – Winners of design competition announced

The winners of the first design competition organised by the Kamra tal-Periti were announced on Monday 7th October 2019. The competition was organised as part of the policy “Sustainable Communities: Housing for Tomorrow”, spearheaded by the Housing Authority and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Social Accommodation.

Following a call for applications, two NGOs were selected by the Specialised Housing Board to take forward their proposals. Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl proposed a project which focuses on the provision of supportive housing and therapeutic services to prisoners and their families, with an aim to create a homely domestic and child-friendly environment which supports integration and which emulates real life scenarios. The Richmond Foundation’s project aims to offer support to homeless mothers with mental health problems and their children, through an integrative approach towards housing and service provision which will enable them to achieve independent living.

The NGOs were then allocated a dilapidated property each, one in Birgu and one in Bormla, and the Kamra tal-Periti launched the design competition, inviting professionals to put forward their proposals for the rehabilitation of these two buildings in line with the briefs of the two NGOs. Seven proposals were submitted for consideration by the jury, which was composed of Dr Rachael Marie Scicluna representing the Specialised Housing Programme Board, Ms Mariella Mendez Cutajar representing the Specialised Housing Programme Board, Perit Jacques Borg Barthet and Perit Edward Said representing the Kamra tal-Periti, Prof Alex Torpiano representing the Faculty for the Built Environment, Dr Andrea Dibben representing the Faculty for Social Wellbeing and Mr Caldon Mercieca representing Valletta Design Cluster.

The jury was very impressed with the high calibre and attention to detail that each project was given by all submissions which, in one way or another, engaged seriously with the core criteria of the competition in terms of innovation, conceptual strength and response to the brief. This made the selection process more laborious but also exciting.

The winning proposal for the Richmond Foundation project was titles “Home: An Active Threshold for Belonging” and was submitted by Local Office. The jury selected this project for the sense of home embedded in the overall design. Motherhood, daily domestic rituals, and children’s needs informed the core design. The depth of research and awareness to mental health considerations, the regard for process pre- and post-occupancy and the overall attention to social, functional and budgetary aspects were exemplary. The user-centred design was brought out through a sensitive interplay between the self and domestic daily rhythms, with architectural specificity. Overall, the design proposal demonstrated a strong social research basis, and a careful balance between the private individual spaces and those fulfilling the needs of the community was handled sensitively. The provision of sanitary facilities, the texture of materials and colour schemes within the separate apartments was also considered important, as was the emphasis on the collaborative workshop both during the design stage as well as during use.

Birgu: The Ordinary House” by openworkstudio was the winner for the project to be led by Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl. The jury selected this project in view of how it transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary through architectural innovation, contemplation and in-depth research. Structural constraints were transformed into a creative and conceptually stimulating design, which breaks away from the traditional setting of supported accommodation. The domestic dimension was carefully choreographed along lines of visibility which maximise space but also offer a sense of privacy and homeliness. Additionally, the use of participatory parity was embedded in the process of building this home, where prisoners will have the possibility to construct their own furniture – a process which in itself instils hope and aspiration to a brighter future. By keeping the retrofitting of the building to a minimum, this project was able to focus on the intimate by opening up spaces that have the potential to heal.

During the award ceremony, Perit Simone Vella Lenicker, President of the Kamra tal-Periti, stressed the importance of design competitions as a means to select projects that are to be executed through public funds, since this process ensures the best quality of design. This first competition organised by the Kamra tal-Periti was particularly important because it will ensure that two vulerable groups within society will be able to benefit from dignified, safe and qualitative accommodation in the coming years, in line with the Kamra’s mission to ensure a quality built environment for the betterment of society.

DIR 01/18 | Fees

Over the past couple of years, the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti has received an ever increasing number of complaints from members of the public regarding fees charged by periti. In most cases, the situation arises because the periti involved do not inform their clients of the fees that will be charged for the services rendered.

Although the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti does not enter into disputes relating to fees charged by periti, in view of the fact that clients have other means of redress for such issues, the Council would nevertheless like to draw your attention to Regulation 20 of Tariff K of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure, which states that:

20(a)  The foregoing provisions of this Tariff shall not prohibit a Perit and his client, from agreeing on a fee, or the basis on which the fee is to be determined which is different from that established by this Tariff, and in any case the agreed fee or basis for determining it, not being a basis prohibited by law, shall apply, subject to the provisions of the following sub-paragraphs:

          Provided that in any case, a Perit shall inform his client of the applicable fee or the basis on which the fee is to be determined before the service is provided.

20(b)  For the purposes of this paragraph, an agreement concerning fess shall be in writing.

 

It is therefore, not only in your interest, but it is also your obligation to ensure that any agreement on fees is made in writing, and that the services covered by such fee are clearly outlined.

Please be guided accordingly.

 

Alex Torpiano
President

 

DIR 01/15 | Drawings, Design Documents and Intellectual Property of a Perit

It has come to the Kamra’s attention that Periti are frequently facing demands by their Client/s to provide a copy of drawings or other design documents in digital editable format.

Drawings, illustrations and/or other design documents are the intellectual property of the Perit that prepared them and there exists no obligation to provide these to a third party save for the purposes of statutory requirements and provision of a printed copy to the Client.

Although the Clients reimburse Periti for their professional services, with respect to designs, drawings and other design-related documents created by the Periti, the Client is entitled solely to their use and acquires no other rights over them.

Although not obliged to do so, Periti may choose to provide a copy of the relevant documents to the Client in locked digital format (such as Pdf) but there exists no obligation to provide same in an editable digital format (such as dwg files) unless this is specifically established in the Agreement between the Perit and the Client, which Agreement must be in accordance with Article 20 of Tariff K.

In the event that a Perit does decide (voluntarily and without obligation) to provide a Client or any other relevant third party with copy of such documents in editable format, then he is within his rights in demanding whatever remuneration he considers appropriate, over and above any other remuneration received in respect of professional services rendered, save where this is precluded by Agreement as outlined in the previous paragraph.

In the case of surveys of existing property however, where the measurements are taken and the relevant drawings of the building or property in its existing state are prepared by the Perit, in this case alone, the Client has the right to request provision of such drawings in editable format from the Perit, given that such survey includes no additional input of creative design work or similar by the Perit and is merely a record of the existing state of affairs.

Christopher Mintoff
President

DIR 04/09 | Procedure for ‘Change of Architect’ and/or withdrawal from a commission

Following the issue of MEPA Circular 03/09 and the subsequent issue of Chamber Directive DIR 03/09 dated 7 August and 10 August respective, representatives of the Chamber of Architects & Civil Engineers have met with the MEPA Chairman to discuss a number of issues associated with cases where a Client wishes to employ a second Perit to replace the one he/she had previously engaged and in cases where a Perit wishes to withdraw from a commission whether or not the Client has engaged a replacement.

Following the discussions held, it has been decided that with immediate effect, MEPA will revert back to the system as existed prior to the issue of its Cricular 03/09, dated 7th August 2009. Furthermore, and in order to improve the system and to avoid any misunderstanding, the following proceudres are to be adopted by all Periti:

  1. Termination by the Client prior to the Issue of a Development Permit
    The responsible Perit is to immediately inform MEPA of his withdrawal from the case and the subsequent relinquishing of all associated responsibilities, by means of a registered letter, with a copy to the Client and preferably also to the Chamber.
  2. Termination by the Client after the Issue of a Development Permit
    The responsible Perit is to immediately inform MEPA of the client’s instructions given to him/her and of his/her subsequent relinquishing of responsibility for any works beyond the indicated date, by means of a registered letter, together with copies of the said letter, preferably by registered mail to the Police Authorities of the locality where the development is taking place, the Local Council of the same locality, the Contractor, if applicable, to the Client and preferably also to the Chamber.
  3. Termination by the Perit originally engaged by the Client
    The Perit is to immediately inform the Client by means of a formal Withdrawal Notice sent by registered mail, declaring his resignation from the commission and relinquishing of associated responsibilities (save for works already carried out). If a permit a permit application is involved, the Perit is also to send a copy of the Withdrawal Notice to MEPA and if the permit has already been issued, further copies of the Withdrawal Notice are to be sent preferably by registered mail to the Police Authorities of the locality where the development is taking place, the Local Council of the same locality, the Contractor, if applicable, the Client and preferably also the Chamber.
  4. Taking over from another Perit
    Regardless of whether the commission of the original Perit engaged was terminated by the Client or by the said Perit himself/herself, the Perit engaged to take over, shall immediately advise the originally engaged Perit formally and in writing of his/her being requested to take over the commission. If a MEPA permit or application is involved, the second Perit shall approach the first Perit and request his endorsement on the appropriate Change of Architect‘ form provided that it is either already endorsed by the Perit that is taking over, or the two hold a meeting and endorse the said form on the same occasion.

The Chamber of Architects and Civil Engineers is currently in consultation with MEPA in order to establish a mechanism through which MEPA, upon receiving the Notice of Withdrawal, will advise the Applicant/Client to terminate the works (if applicable) and appoint another Perit and furnish a ‘Change of Architect‘ form endorsed by both the incoming and the outgoing Perit within an established period of time in default of which the Application will be withdrawn or the Permit suspended.

Moreover, MEPA will be informing the Chamber of any instances where the Applicant/Client informs it that although he/she has requested the original Perit to sign the ‘Change of Architect‘ form the latter has refused, or is unwilling to do so and the Chamber will be referring all relevant cases for appropriate disciplinary action.

All Periti are to note that ‘Change of Architect’ forms should only be endorsed upon receipt of a formal request by another Perit and provided that either the form has been already endorsed by the Perit who is taking over or provided that a meeting is held between the two and endorsed by both on the same occasion. Moreover, all Periti are to inform their CLients of this accordingly. Periti are also to note that any pending issues between themselves and their Client, such as unpaid fees or similar, are not an admissible reason to withhold their handing over of a commission to a colleague and furnishing of the appropriate endorsed form.

Finally, the Chamber wishes to reiterate, as it has already done in previous directives, that it is a serious breach of the Code of Professional Conduct for a Perit to refuse to furnish his endorsement on a ‘Change of Architect’ form when requested to do so by a colleague who has been engaged to take over the works, provided that the said form has already been endorsed by the said colleague or that a meeting is held between the two to endorse the form on the same occasion. Moreover, it is also a serious breach of the Code of Professional Conduct for a Perit to take over a commission originally undertaken by a colleague without first informing the said colleague in a formal and appropriate fashion.

 

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