A third building collapse in the same number of months spurred the government into action temporarily suspending all excavation and demolition works.
However, the Prime Minister’s move has irked some frustrated professionals in the field who feel they are being made to pay the price for the work of uncontrollable cowboys.
“I’ve always worked according to regulation and made sure I was using the safest practices. Now, my business will suffer all because the government failed to enforce the rules properly,” one person told Lovin Malta.
Another property developer also expressed complete dismay with the decision:
“I got my permits, I followed every single rule. There are neighbouring properties near my project, and I’ve paid a lot of money to make absolutely sure that their buildings’ structural integrity isn’t affected, now I have to stop everything just as we were getting started.
“This isn’t even fair on the neighbours. I had spoken to them all and outlined a time frame for how long the excavation, which can be very annoying, will take. We started for a few weeks. Now we have to stop, only to start back up again.”
However, it’s not only professionals in the field who are feeling hard done by. One homeowner detailed how they had been locked in bureaucracy within the Planning Authority and other bodies to ensure that their property was sensitively restored.
“We did everything by the book for the last few years, we jumped through several hoops, they even asked us for chemical analysis of the bricks, and two weeks after we start this happens.”
“It’s completely unfair that all the people who have followed the regulations properly are made to pay the price,” the person said.
All the people that spoke to Lovin Malta did note that the Prime Minister did say that exemptions will be granted by the Building Regulations Office [BRO] on request of the architect in exceptional circumstances. However, they all also expressed a lack of faith in how this will be put into practice.
“Have you ever dealt with the BRO? It is impossible. They are understaffed, have poor resources, and take a lifetime to visit a site and get things done.”
“How are they even going to enforce the suspension after years of people acting like cowboys?”
To put things into context, complaints filed with the BRO by both Pieta Mayor Keith Tanti and the residents of the building that collapsed yesterday appear to have been completely ignored. While media houses have regularly reported on the inefficiency that plagues, the admittedly severely under-resourced BRO.
All persons remained anonymous out of professional concerns.