Architects’ chamber says construction industry in crisis following Mellieha building collapse

‘The efforts being made are feeble. Delay is not an option. The industry is in crisis’

The building and construction industry is in crisis, the Kamra tal-Periti has warned
The building and construction industry is in crisis, the Kamra tal-Periti has warned

The collapse of an apartment block in Mellieha on Saturday and other similar incident are a direct symptom of the chaos that prevails in the construction industry, the Kamra tal-Periti said.

The architects’ chamber said it was shocked at the news of yet another serious incident related to construction, highlighting that it had been calling for a complete haul of Malta’s regulatory system since 2007, yet nothing had materialised to date.

The chamber noted that, in 2018, the government had proposed the establishment of a Building and Construction Authority, a proposal which the Kamra had supported, however this is still in the early stages of formulation and it is not envisaged to be established before the end of the year.

“The efforts which are being made are feeble,” the chamber said, “The only proposal that was announced since the Guardamangia collapse was the exploration of the setting up of a Considerate Constructors Scheme, an as yet insufficient local interpretation of a similar scheme in the UK.”

“The proposed scheme appears to be merely intended to tie contractors to a code of ethics on a purely voluntary basis rather than strengthening the regulatory system and accountability of industry operators across the board, thus providing further loopholes in the system.”

“Delay is not an option. The industry is in crisis,” the Kamra stressed

It said that there was “a complete lack of regulation of contractors, a complete lack of adequate competencies among the workforce, confusion about the various roles and responsibilities on construction sites, building regulations which date back to the 19th century, as well as a serious lack of enforcement.”

The Kamra warned that unless immediate action was taken, matters would only get worse.

In light of this, the chamber said that it had requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss a way forward. The meeting is expected to take place next week.

Proposals for modern building and construction rules yet to be discussed

The chamber said that, in May, it had issued its detailed proposals for a modern building and construction regulation framework

A preliminary introduction to the proposals was presented to planning parliamentary secretary Chris Agius and to the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), however detailed discussions have yet to commence, it said. 

The proposals were endorsed by the profession last November and presented to various stakeholders in the past weeks, the Kamra said, adding that it had received very positive feedback and looked forward to taking these proposals forward with government.

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