We’re halfway through 2020 and two people have died in construction-related collapses. The government pledged action in March after Miriam Pace’s death and appointed a committee to handle the issue, but with another fatality and critical injury can the nation wait much longer?
The issue is nothing new and promises for reform are failing to stop collapses from happening. Here are 11 Maltese buildings that collapsed since 2018:
1. Bormla – 23rd July 2020
The latest is a long line of shocking construction-related collapses. A Gambian man, who is as yet unnamed, is dead while a Maltese man is injured.
Police confirmed that the wall collapsed at around 8am at Sqaq L-Erwieħ.
So far, all that is known is that the application for the project, which would have seen the demolishment of disused dwellings to construct a guest house, was submitted by Kenneth Caruana along with architect Duncan Muscat. The contractor is Oscar Debono.
The project’s method statement is already facing major questions, while the responsibility form is missing on the PA’s website.
A migrant worker has died in this morning’s wall collapse in Bormla, which police have confirmed was on a construction and excavation site.
2. Ħarmun – 2nd March 2020
On 2nd March, a fatal collapse in Ħamrun would claim the life of Miriam Pace, after her home, which neighbours an excavation site, came tumbling down.
Four men, including the project’s architect and excavator, have been charged over the incident.
Court sittings have revealed that the architect and developer of the site brushed off the Pace’s concerns in the week leading up to the collapse.
The architect, Roderick Camilleri, who is also a shareholder in the development, had declared that a collapse of nearby buildings was “minimal” in a risk-assessing method statement.
Meanwhile, the excavator, Ludwig Dimech, has had two separate sites, located in Marsaxlokk and Zejtun, sealed off for breaching regulations last year. He also remains on the Malta Developers’ Association contractors registry.
3. Għaxaq – 5th February 2020
Triq il-Merill was covered in Maltese limestone following an accident on a construction site which caused piles of the rock to spill over into the street.
Images sent to Lovin Malta showed the extent of the damage caused by the accident which could have been fatal had a pedestrian or car pass through at the time.
Residents of Triq il-Merill were left without power as a result of the incident.
4. Ħamrun – 13th June 2019
Families living in a block of apartments on Mimosa Street, Ħamrun were left without a home after a part of their wall collapsed into a neighbouring construction site.
The incident forced the government to shut down the entire industry, weeks after saying that collapses were simply one-off incidents. A reform was introduced. However, with two people dying since then, questions remain whether the changes actually solved any issues.
Meanwhile, the families remain without a home.
Three people have been charged with causing involuntary damage to the apartment block.
5. Mellieħa – 8th June 2019
A four-storey apartment block in Mellieħa partially collapsed at 6am.
A 77-year-old woman who was stuck in her room following the collapse was rescued from the rubble and was rushed to the hospital. She recovered, however, she would pass away a few months later. No one else was injured.
6. Gwardamanġa – 25th April 2019
Three-storeys of apartments in Gwardamanġa came crashing down late in the evening on 25th April.
Miraculously, no one was hurt in the incident, with residents rushing out of the building once the building started to shake.
“My brother and his wife are homeless, and all their possessions, including their wedding rings, our parents’ memorable things, precious possessions, even gold and money have been buried,” a sister of one of the residents told Lovin Malta. “They managed to grab the dog, but had to leave other pets inside.”
7. Sliema – 28th March 2019
At 12:30pm, a large part of the wall right across from the busy Plaza shopping mall collapsed.
No one was injured in the accident. It is unknown what caused the collapse.
8. Sliema – 13th March 2019
A 19-year-old teenager was grievously injured after the roof of construction collapsed onto another site on Triq Viani in Sliema.
The teen was working in the garage construction site alongside his 53-year-old father.
While the pair attempted to escape once they saw the roof collapsing, the son was hit by two steel jacks in his back.
9. Mrieħel – 16th November 2018
On Friday 16th November, the ceiling and wall of an Mrieħel warehouse on Triq l-Esportaturi collapsed.
A dozen or so workers were inside the building at the time. All of them managed to escape when they started hearing a loud crashing noise.
The wall that collapsed overlooks an empty plot of land where construction work was taking place.
10. San Anton Palace – 19th October 2018
A 50-metre long 17th Century wall at San Anton Palace was reduced to rubble.
The wall was a Grade 1 scheduled building – the highest degree of protection under planning laws – and had only been restored the summer before.
It was reported that journalists were prevented by security officers at the Palace to take photos of the collapsed wall.
11. Ċittadella – 18th April 2018
The back wall of an 18th-century house of character in Victoria’s It‐Tokk, which touches the historic Ċittadella ditch, collapsed during the development of the site.
NGOs had voiced their concerns over the opening of new windows and doors into the citadel before the development.
The concerns were once again ignored once the wall was reconstructed again over the last few weeks.
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