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PR 07/19 | Kamra tal-Periti presents its vision for national building and construction regulation

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Yesterday (11th April 2019), members of the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti presented the Chamber’s vision for an overhaul of the current building regulations, which are both outdated and insufficient to ensure the highest standards of quality in the construction industry. This vision was presented to the Honourable Mr Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market, representatives of the Building Regulation Office (BRO) and the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), as well as consultants appointed by Government to oversee the establishment of a new Authority which is intended to regulate the industry.

Perit Simone Vella Lenicker, President of the Kamra tal-Periti, explained that the proposals being presented were approved by an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Chamber held last November, and confirmed the Kamra’s full availability to participate in discussions regarding the formulation of new building regulations, as well as the technical expertise of its members to ensure the highest standards within the sector.

Vice President Perit André Pizzuto gave an extensive presentation of the Kamra’s position, starting with an overview of the current situation and its limitations. He then went on to outline the Kamra’s proposals which include the consolidation of various regulators within the new Authority, the dire need for a comprehensive register of contractors, the importance of contemporary regulations which are not prescriptive but performance-based, and the promotion of a self-regulatory approach by the various professionals involved in the construction process.

The Kamra’s proposals were received positively, and discussions will continue in the coming months to ensure full synergy between the profession and the government’s advisors.

 

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PR 06/19 | Architecture is a discipline for the common good

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 “The focus will be put on architecture as a discipline that encompasses the right balance between cultural, social, economic, environmental and technical aspects for the common good”.

This quote is taken from the European Council Conclusions for the 2018-22 EU Work Plan for Culture, under the topic “High-quality architecture and built environment for everyone.” This important milestone signifies a paradigm shift within the European Union, which has recognised architecture as a discipline for the common good. This is an important recognition that can serve as the basis on which we can build our policies and work in the future.

In a statement issued on the 5th March 2019, Georg Pendl, current President of the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), stated that this “shows that the EU institutions no longer define architecture as being solely part of the construction industry. Does our profession share this limited point of view? Mostly not, bearing in mind that over 90% of architectural offices are small and medium-sized or micro enterprises. But, this does not mean that we would cease to recognise our role as a part of the service sector tightly connected to the construction industry.

The Kamra tal-Periti, which is a Member of the ACE, had actively lobbied for the recognition of the practice of architecture as one of the pillars of culture. It had, in fact, met with MEP Dr Francis Zammit Dimech, who is a Member of the European Parliament Committee for Culture and Education, and who had pushed forward the views of the Kamra and of ACE on this matter.

It is therefore with great satisfaction that the Kamra welcomes this development, and looks forward to seeing this approach being adopted locally.

PR 05/19 | New Kamra tal-Periti Council meets with Minister Ian Borg

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On the 14th March 2019, the new Council of the Kamra tal-Periti held its first meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Capital Projects Honourable Dr Ian Borg. The meeting focussed on the Council’s plans for the coming two years, which will be highlighted by the commemoration of two centenaries, namely enactment of the Architects’ Ordinance in 1919, and the subsequent establishment of the Kamra tal-Periti in 1920.

The Kamra’s President, Perit Simone Vella Lenicker, explained that the Council had identified a number of focus areas for 2019 – 2020. The most important of these concerns the legislative amendments to the Periti Act, which the Kamra has been discussing with subsequent governments for over 10 years, and which have now reached the final stages of drafting pending Parliamentary approval. The Council has also been working a proposals for a new Building Regulation Framework, which was endorsed by the profession at a General Meeting held last November, and which is now ready for formal presentation to the Ministry. There was agreement on both sides to focus on these two matters in earnest over the coming months.

In addition, the Council outlined its plans regarding the issuance of various practice guidelines for the profession specifically regarding advertising of services and compliance with GDPR, the centenary events, the impacts of Brexit on the local market and on professionals working in the UK, as well as various other projects that will be announced in the coming months.

Read more about the KTP Council

 

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PR 04/19 | Specialised Housing Programmes

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Sustainable communities

For many years, the Kamra tal-Periti has been promoting the concept that projects undertaken through public funding should be awarded on the basis of design competitions, evaluated on the basis of their contribution to the social and built environment. The adoption of such a process would go a long way towards ensuring that society is provided with the best quality projects.

It is therefore with great pleasure that the Kamra tal-Periti announces its collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Social Accommodation and the Housing Authority in the establishment of a new scheme for Specialised Housing Programmes (SHPs)

The objective of the SHPs is to identify vulnerable user groups and provide suitable accommodation which is designed around the principles of social inclusion, environmental well-being and spatial quality. In line with this ethos, the adoption of the design competition process for the procurement of the design aspect of the scheme will ensure that the highest levels of quality are achieved.

The Union of International Architects, of which the Kamra is a member, also promotes design competitions as “a quality-based and solution-oriented selection procedure for architectural services, the best way to achieve quality in the built environment. A competition provides the best solution for a concrete task, selected from among several entries by the jury. Therefore it guarantees high value and the optimal concept for the client and the users.

The scheme was initially launched last week by the Honourable Roderick Galdes, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Accommodation. Yesterday, a number of NGOs attended an information session where more details were provided about the scheme. Perit Simone Vella Lenicker, President of the Kamra tal-Periti, presented the design competition process to those present, outlining that NGOs will be able to select the property that will house their proposed project from a number of properties that will be made available by Government. Following an initial process of shortlisting, warranted periti will be able to submit design proposals for one or more of the shortlisted projects, which proposals will then be assessed by a jury composed of members appointed by the Kamra and the Board established to oversee the scheme.

The Kamra tal-Periti will shortly be issuing a call for Expressions of Interest for periti interested in participating in the process.

 

Further information:

https://housingauthority.gov.mt/en/Pages/Schemes/Specialised-Housing-Programmes.aspx

 

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PR 03/19 | Perit Vincent Cassar awarded the RIBA Presidential Medal

On the evening of the 14th February 2019, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) bestowed the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture 2019 on Sir Nicholas Grimshaw CBE, PPRA, who is well known for his modernist buildings, including Waterloo International railway station and the Eden Project in Cornwall. With a career spanning six decades, Sir Grimshaw was recognized for his “indelible contribution to contemporary architecture. His practice is recognized internationally for its finely crafted and technically pioneering approach to the design of buildings, infrastructure and civic projects”.

On the same evening, Perit Vincent Cassar, a Past President of the Kamra tal-Periti and current President of the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), was awarded the RIBA Presidential Medal in recognition of the beneficial contribution and collaboration between CAA and RIBA, and to stimulate further dialogue between the two organisations.

The Medals were bestowed as part of the “RIBA Royal Gold Medal and Fellowships Week”, held between the 12th and 14th February 2019 in London, which event attracted a number of Presidents of international, regional and local organisations.

 

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw (left) with Perit Vincent Cassar

 

RIBA Royal Gold Medal and Fellowships Week

The week started off with an International Presidents’ roundtable with the participation of 12 Presidents, including: Georg Pendl, President of the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE); Thomas Vonier, President of the International Union of Architects (UIA); Victor Leonel Miguel, President of the Africa Union of Architects; and Rita Soh, President of ARCASIA. The roundtable was chaired by Ben Derbyshire, President RIBA, and focused on the “Future of the Profession” statement which was signed by the Presidents of the five architecture institutes of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Presidents of these five institutes came together to critically examine and reassert the role and value of architects in serving clients and society and have committed to:

  1. Place the public interest and value to society at the heart of all we do – by promoting the highest ethical standards and ensuring codes of conduct are continually strengthened;
  2. Be accountable, and the Gold Standard – by protecting the public and maintaining the highest standards of architectural education;
  3. Reflect the diversity of the population in our workforce – by adopting reforms and policies that promote diversity and inclusion within business practices;
  4. Research, build and share essential knowledge – by developing and disseminating the body of knowledge embedded within the profession;
  5. Lead our profession in the fight for a more sustainable built environment – by placing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a key guiding principle in all they do.

Following an overview by the RIBA President of these five goals, the participants split into three groups to discuss three topics, namely, education, public interest and networking, the latter of which was put forward by Perit Cassar during the roundtable discussion. He also emphasised the need to act on these issues now, rather than allowing them to remain on paper. The roundtable resolved that there was the need to (i) act on sharing knowledge on policy issues, (ii) ensure more Regional collaboration, and (iii) establish a global network for sharing ideas and knowledge.

A presentation of Int FRIBA (RIBA International/Honorary Fellowships) also took place on the 12th February. The RIBA has throughout its history honoured men and women who have made a major contribution to the world of design and architecture. Any architect outside the United Kingdom who is not a UK citizen, and who has a demonstrable interest in the objectives of the RIBA and exhibits distinction and a breadth of contribution to architecture, may be elected an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The lifetime honour, conferred annually, was this year conferred on six recipients.

The RIBA also awards RIBA Honorary Fellowships, to acknowledge the contributions made by the recipients to architecture in its broadest sense, its promotion, administration and outreach, its role in building more sustainable communities, and its role in the education of future generations. This year nine recipients received the award.

RIBA Fellow Member status is awarded to inspiring RIBA members who represent the diversity, talent, and dynamism of architecture and the built environment. The attributes that lie at the heart of RIBA Fellow Membership are positive contributions to architecture, from working with poorer communities, to designing infrastructure abroad, and the desire to support, influence and affect change. Eight recipients received this annual honour this year.

As part of the celebrations of the 2019 Royal Gold Medal, the RIBA Education department hosted the RIBA President’s Medals Student Crit 2019. Since 2006, the RIBA has organised a Critique (Crit) event where the winners of the President’s Medals present their award-winning work to a panel of experts comprising the Royal Gold Medallist as a guest of honour. The intention of this annual event has been to bring together the RIBA’s oldest awards in a celebration of past, present and future architectural talent, with an expert panel using their experience and expertise to critique the award-winning work produced by the President’s Medallists.

The recipients of the RIBA President’s Medals during the Student Crit

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PR 02/19 | Affordable Housing Benefit

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The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti notes with satisfaction that one of its recommendations in its consultation reply on the Rent Reform White Paper has been introduced earlier this afternoon by Minister Edward Scicluna and Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes. The Kamra tal-Periti had published its consultation feedback on 30th November 2018, and put forward several recommendations and observations, including the conversion of rent subsidies into a housing allowance similar to the British housing benefit.

It had also recommended, however, that Government should keep in mind the risk that increasing liquidity in the rental market coupled with sustained population growth would result in further inflationary pressures. In the Kamra’s view, therefore, it is imperative that Government monitor closely the effects of this reform on the rental market on a continuous basis to be able to calibrate the balance between affordability and rent inflation.

Nevertheless, this measure alone will not address the problems of housing affordability. The Kamra tal-Periti looks forward to meeting with the Hon Roderick Galdes in the very near future to discuss in greater detail its other proposals on advancing affordability in the rental market.

 

 

KTP removes fees for graduates and students

The Kamra tal-Periti has revised its membership fees following the approval of a motion presented by the Council during last December’s AGM. The motion, which was unanimously approved, provided for the consolidation of the various graduate membership tiers, into one single graduate membership level which is free of charge for the first two years. Graduate members will be requested to pay the full membership fee from the third year onward if they still have not been conferred their warrant.

The AGM also approved an agreement reached by the Council and the Society of Architecture & Civil Engineers Students of Malta (SACES), to accept SACES members as automatic KTP student members.

The objective of the motion was that of providing greater exposure to graduates and students to the current issues and challenges faced by the profession, as well as access to resources and courses so they may be better prepared to contribute to the profession and wider society in the future. It is also envisaged that these changes will encourage young architects and civil engineers to actively participate in this professional community.

The agreement reached between KTP and SACES bodes well for the strengthening of ties between the two bodies, and widens the scope for future collaboration.

The benefits of graduate and student membership include:

 

 

How to join

Graduate members are requested to sign up on https://kamratalperiti.org/members by filling in their details. Following the necessary verifications by the Kamra to confirm that they are indeed architecture or civil engineering graduates, their membership application will be approved and they may immediately begin to enjoy the benefits of graduate membership.

Warrant holders are not eligible for graduate membership and must register for full membership.

 

 

Students who enroll as members of SACES will automatically become KTP student members. SACES will be regularly updating the Kamra on the list of its members so the benefits of KTP student membership can also be extended to them.

For more information on how to join SACES, please contact them here.

 

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