After a brief moratorium, excavation and demolition works are set to start again once changes in the law regulating the construction industry come into force tomorrow.
“The word ‘responsibility’ is at the centre of this new law and everyone must shoulder his share of it,” Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg told a press conference. “The government is shouldering its part of the responsibility by legislating, even if it may seem harsh, in order to protect people.”
“We won’t please everyone, I’ll worry if that were the case, but we want to ensure that everyone shouldered their responsibility; from developers and contractors to architects, builders and other players.”
“Those who don’t want to shoulder that responsibility know what to do.”
These are the new laws, which were drafted after a number of buildings collapsed due to adjacent construction sites.
-There will be more technical specifications on how architects must carry out method statements, the statements dictating how work will be carried out.
-These method statements will no longer be held at the Building Regulation Office but will be publicly available on the Planning Authority’s website. After a method statement is published online, people will have 15 days to object to it.
-The condition report, specifying the current condition of the building site, will have to be more detailed.
-Site managers, the people currently responsible for overseeing the day to day construction works, will be replaced by site technical officers. While there are no requirements for site managers, site technical officers will have to be warranted architects, either the same architect responsible for the project or another architect altogether. The site technical officer must be nominated by the contractor and approved by the project architect.
-Maximum fines for developers who breach a method statement will increase from €5,000 to €10,000 and will be further increased to maximum of €50,000 in the case of developers who ignore an enforcement notice.
-While this isn’t envisaged in the legal notice, Borg also confirmed that discussions are underway for the establishment of a contractors’ registry, fulfilling a request by the Malta Developers’ Association.