Freestanding buildings will need insurance policy under new rules

Ministry launches new rules on freestanding buildings after Jean Paul Sofia inquiry exposes loopholes

The site where Jean Paul Sofia died (Photo: Malta Police Force)
The site where Jean Paul Sofia died (Photo: Malta Police Force)

A new set of regulations on freestanding buildings has been announced by the government, after a public inquiry into the death of Jean Paul Sofia exposed loopholes in the law.

Under the new regulations, freestanding buildings will now be subject to stringent insurance requirements.

Contractors will be mandated to obtain insurance coverage, and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will assume oversight responsibility for these sites.

Addressing concerns raised during the public inquiry into Sofia’s death, justice minister Jonathan Attard highlighted gaps in the previous regulatory framework which allowed for unchecked construction activities.

Indeed, testimony from the public inquiry showed that the BCA was not responsible for the Corradino building where Sofia died because there was no impact on third-party property. Judge Joseph Zammit McKeon, one of the members of the inquiry board, raised concerns on this loophole.

One of the key amendments involves holding employers liable for damages and injuries sustained by workers or bystanders. Employers failing to provide adequate insurance coverage will face civil liability, ensuring that victims receive appropriate compensation for their losses.

However, existing construction sites will not have this requirement. Once the law is published in the government gazette, only new freestanding building sites will need an insurance policy submitted to the BCA.

The reforms aim to instill greater confidence in the construction industry by clarifying responsibilities and providing recourse for those affected by accidents or negligence on construction sites.

Minister Attard also announced plans for further reforms in the near future.

The amendments were presented alongside Jesmond Muscat, CEO of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).