Further reforms needed after Mellieħa building collapse, says MDA

The Malta Developers Association has proposed mandatory geo-technical surveys as is done in 'several EU member states'

The Malta Developers Association has proposed that geo-technical surveys on potential building sites be made mandatory as part of the development permit process, "as is done in several EU member states."

In a statement on Monday, the MDA said that in light of the recent incident, it noted that architects rarely carry out geo-technical surveys on potential building sites, although it said, in this case, it had been informed that the survey had been conducted.

On Saturday morning a four-story building collapsed in Main Street, Mellieha near the former Shoppers Supermarket. Construction had been taking place next door.

The building fell at around 6am. All emergency forces were called on site, with neighbouring buildings evacuated. An elderly woman had to be subsequently recused from inside the debris of a collapsed apartment building.

The association said that as soon as they were made aware of the news, MDA officials went on site and “observed and discussed what had happened in collaboration with the developer and architect concerned.” It said that the excavations had been completed for some time, and the building on the site was progressing normally.

It said that this was a "very negative" aspect of Malta's construction industry, resulting from the traditional way of building on the island. "MDA will, therefore, be proposing to the authorities and the government that such surveys are to be made mandatory as part of the development permit process, as is done in several EU member states,” the statement said.

However, the MDA said that it was not within its remit to pinpoint the causes of such incidents, “more so in instances where serious scientific investigations must be carried out professionally before one can conclude the cause or causes of the incident.”

The association said while it intended to recommend further initiatives to avoid more incidents, it is determined to contribute positively towards the drawing up of the new building code for Malta in the coming months.

Previously on Sunday, The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said that it was shocked by yet another building collapse and urged the authorities to act swiftly in establishing a unified building authority.

READ MORE: Woman rescued from Mellieha four-storey building collapse