MDA members obliged to pay for third-party method statements under new scheme

‘Safer Neighbourhood Scheme’ will oblige MDA members to refund all the fees forked out by neighbours on architect report

Malta Developers Association board members
Malta Developers Association board members

Neighbours living adjacent to a construction site will be able to have a report drawn up on a method statement and condition report by an architect of their choice, at the expense of the developer under a new industry-wide scheme.

The Malta Developers Association’s new ‘Safer Neighbourhood Scheme’, will oblige its members to refund all the fees forked out by neighbouring houseowners on architect’s fees upon the presentation of a fiscal receipt or invoice.

The neighbour’s reports will be drawn up by an independent architect, with the developer paying all costs.

Under legal notice 136 of 2019, better known as the ‘Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property Regulations’, the architect in charge of a particular project must submit a method statement by not later than two weeks before the commencement of works.

Interested third parties can also request the government body responsible for building regulation to review the method statement submitted, as long as the third party submits a detailed report indicating the technical reasons which may be of concern.

MDA director-general Marthese Portelli said that while legislation is in place, not everyone is aware of their rights. “We are facilitating what is already legal, because the public doesn’t always know its rights,” she said.

The association will be embarking on a campaign to make developers and the public aware of such an initiative.

Commencing on the 1 September, MDA members will be obliged to abide by such an initiative. Association members who do not abide by such regulation will be first warned to do so, and if the wrongdoing is committed again, they will be kicked out of the MDA.

“The aim is to strengthen the relationship between the industry, stakeholders and community in general,” Portelli said.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti said that the association will be calling on government to turn the initiative into legislation, making it obligatory for all developers to carry out the practice.

This will be the first from a number of initiatives under the MDA’s safe neighbourhood scheme, according to Chetcuti, who insisted the association will be doing its party to limit neighbours’ inconvenience during developments.

“We have two main targets – awareness and the removal of financial obstruction,” he said.

He also insisted the initiative will not lead to an increase in prices, as such costs are insignificant to developers.

Chetcuti also said the initiative received unanimous approval by MDA members.