Updated | Authorities deaf on reports of construction irregularities, AD says

Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that the building industry regulators were mere letterboxes, receiving reports but rarely acting on the contents

AD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo addressing a press conference on Gwardamanga Hill
AD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo addressing a press conference on Gwardamanga Hill

Alternattiva Demokratika said that all authorities surrounding the construction industry, including the Police, were deaf and powerless, allowing the most vulnerable to be exposed to "terrifying situations."

"It is absolutely terrifying that all three residents who have had their apartments collapse due to adjacent construction works had already warned the authorities. This is a stain on all those institutions that the public has faith in. They knew but couldn't help or didn't help. It's terrifying that people approached the police and were told to employ a lawyer," Cacopardo said.

He added that the fortune that no fatalities took place as a result of the cave-ins was not on the merit of the authorities because though aware of the situations, they hadn't acted in time.

"One of the residents in Gwardamanga who had her apartment wall cave in had predicted the situation based on a mere observation. If a non-technical person has said the building will collapse, then what have the experts been doing?" Cacopardo asked.

AD held a press conference on Gwardamanga Hill with the collapsed apartment there as a backdrop on Saturday. The party said in their statement that such accidents do not occur more frequently because of dedicated operators and professionals in the building industry but not of the passive authorities.

"The building industry regulators generally act as simple letterboxes: receiving reports and correspondence and rarely acting on the contents," Cacopardo said.

He criticised the government's decision to suspend all demolitions and excavations until further notice, saying that such a "panic-stricken measure" proved that the authorities did not have the resources to carry out their responsibilities.

"Nine months ago, a public consultation was launched specifically to ensure that the accidents of the past weeks are avoided as much as possible through a consolidation of the existing weak institutions," AD said, adding that in nine months the government had failed to take action.

Kamra tal-Periti calls for Extraordinary General Meeting

The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti has called an Extraordinary General Meeting on Friday 21 June to discuss the state of the construction industry.

The purpose of the meeting, it said in a statement, is to update its members on the developments that have occurred over the past few weeks, the progress made on its public consultation document following its publication in May, closing talks held over recent months with government about the updated Periti Act, and to consult on the draft regulations to be published on Monday by government following the temporary suspension of demolition and excavation works.

Meanwhile, the Kamra tal-Periti is also holding talks with various industry stakeholders about its reform proposals. It will be meeting the Malta Developers Association on 18 June.

"The Kamra tal-Periti and the MDA have reached an understanding that in this critical juncture for the industry, it is important to converge towards a common position for the good of the country. Further meetings are also scheduled to take place with the Chamber of Engineers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the BICC," the statement read.

"The events of the past weeks have thrown a spotlight on the industry as a whole, including on the profession, which most certainly has its own responsibilities to carry with regard to the current state of affairs, as do all the other operators involved. The issues we are facing are complex, and the fast pace of the industry is stretching resources beyond capacity, yet none of this justifies relaxation of standards and lack of diligence," it concluded.