Promised reforms in building and construction sector have failed to materialise, architects tell Prime Minister

In an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela the Chamber of Architects points out that one year after committing to widespread reforms of the construction industry, nothing has been done

A spate of building collapses caused by adjacent construction sites last year led to a government commitment to reform and regulate the practices of the industry
A spate of building collapses caused by adjacent construction sites last year led to a government commitment to reform and regulate the practices of the industry

Architects have accused the government of reneging on a commitment last year to reform the building and construction sector.

None of the reforms promised in August last year after a third building collapsed, have materialised, the Chamber of Architects said in an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Government had promised to set up a new Building and Construction Authority by October 2019, release building and construction regulations within 24 months, and present to parliament amendments to the Periti Act by October 2019.

“Exactly one year has gone by, yet none of these commitments have so much as seen the light of day,” the letter penned by chamber president Simone Vella Lenicker reads.

She said that systemic failures “plague the industry”, including the complete lack of regulation of contractors, the vacuum of a proper building and construction regulatory framework, and the fragmentation of regulatory bodies. 

She said that issues of site safety, an unregulated workforce, including the exploitation of foreign nationals, and an under regulated industry, still exist in Malta.

“This situation is incomparable to Malta’s European counterparts,” she added.

Government’s efforts to draft pieces of legislation proved to be weak and sporadic, largely characterised by lack of vision, fragmentation, and incompetence, which according to the chamber is the reason why the industry is still in crisis today.

“No other industry is as neglected and unregulated as the construction industry. Meanwhile, those who operate within it, those who occupy properties adjacent to construction sites, and those who occupy its end-products find themselves in severe danger albeit the industry is presented as one of the economic pillars in Malta,” the letter read.

Vella Lenicker requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss a revised timetable for the implementation of the commitment undertaken last year by the government.
The reminder comes five months after a building next to a construction site collapsed in Hamrun, killing its occupant, Miriam Pace.

Four men linked to the construction site are facing court charges, including that for involuntary homicide.

The Prime Minister had ordered an inquiry into the collapse but the findings have not yet been published.

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