[WATCH] Neighbours fearful of construction site damage can complain to site technical officer, Ian Borg says

The new construction regulations state that the site technical officer has to be a competent person and present at the construction site if a dangerous situation that might risk third-party property or persons is imminent

The Mellieha apartment that collapsed in May of this year
The Mellieha apartment that collapsed in May of this year
Concerned residents will still have to fork our their own money with new construction regulations

Residents can approach the site technical officer of a neighbouring construction site if they sustain damage from ongoing works without the need to immediately appoint an architect of their own, Ian Borg said.

The Infrastructure Minister was reacting to suggestions that new rules regulating the construction industry still put the onus on the complainant to fork out money for an architect to draw up a technical report if they sustained damage to their property.

The situation was the same before the new onerous rules were introduced. But many believed the financial burden on a third party to employ an architect would be shifted onto the developer causing the damage in the context of stricter regime.

Borg said the new regulations placed responsibility for construction site work on the site technical officer, who is legally obliged to be on site whenever important decisions are being taken that influence the risk of damage to third party property or injury to persons.

This new level of responsibility, Borg added, tried to pre-empt problems or stop them the moment they are flagged.

At a press conference inside the Planning Authority (PA) building, Borg said that the method statement and condition report issued by the architect in respect of the construction site were required documents by law.

“Now these documents will be uploaded online on the PA website for the sake of transparency and the public at large will be able to comment on them. The public will be able to write letters to the Building Regulation Office (BRO) if it objects to anything within the write-ups,” Borg said.

He added that while the government could be criticised on the fact that such documents take some time to be drawn up, he confirmed that 60 reports had already been uploaded since the new regulations came into force and that 520 construction sites around the island were operating within the new regulations.

“Something needed to be done. The PA is also assisting the BRO in terms of enforcement because the BRO needs more resources—the intention is that within a few months, the government would set up a new authority that will take the enforcement load but in the meantime, the PA is assisting in any way possible,” Borg said.

Stephen Ferritto, a PA engineer, explained how method statements and condition reports could be accessed via an electronic ID. If a person does not have one, the reports can be accessed through local councils, the BRO or the PA offices.

He also explained how architects could be exempt from supplying these documents if the works planned do not include demolition, excavation or building new storeys over an an existing building.