The head of Malta’s Developers’ lobby, Sandro Chetcuti actively fought against the introduction of the registration and licensing of contractors, Vice-President of the Chamber of Architects Andre Pizzuto has revealed.
During an edition of TVM’s Insights, Pizzuto passed on the minutes of a May 2019 meeting of the Building Industry Consultative Council, which is an advisory council made up by all stakeholders involved within the construction sector, including the government.
After the meeting, the BICC was set to submit fresh proposals to the government on the sector. However, Chetcuti insisted that they did not need to include the introduction of a register and proper licensing system, claiming that it could be passed off the Property Malta Foundation.
Property Malta is a public-private initiative which brings the government, property developers, estate agents and property owners together. Its Chairperson is Chetcuti.
“We have to be genuine when we see people trying to lead the register. We had been proposing it since 2007, but on that day [May 2019) it completely stopped there,” Pizzuto said.
The Malta Developers’ Association Secretary-General Michael Stivala, who was present on the programme, insisted that he could not confirm the claim, even though Pizzuto had just presented the meeting’s minutes.
A government-endorsed Malta Developers’ Association register of excavation and demolition contractors following the collapse of three buildings.
The Ombudsman’s Office had even declared that the then-Building Regulations Office (now Building And Construction Agency) broke then law when it made the developers’ lobby responsible for compiling the list.
However, Stivala dismissed the Ombudsman’s declaration as “just an opinion”. BCA Head Ivor Robinich seems to agree with the Ombudsman, telling Insights that he agrees that licensing has to be in the hands of a state authority.
To form part of the register, all one needs to do is submit a form to the MDA. There are no licenses or qualifications required, essentially meaning that anyone could purchase a jigger tomorrow and find themselves on the register within a few weeks.
For example, Ludwig Dimech, the excavation and demolition contractor on the construction site that neighboured Miriam Pace’s home, is on the registered list. He has since been arrested in connection with the death.
The reveal that one of the MDA’s council members was a developer on the site also raises questions whether they are the appropriate lobby group to usher in change.
According to police, Miriam Pace was killed when her house in Ħamrun collapsed as a result of works at the ongoing construction site.
Six people were arrested in connection with the case, including Camilleri, the site technical officer Anthony Mangion, excavation and demolition contractor Ludwig Dimech.
The Ħamrun construction site is owned by a development consortium, MCZMC Developers Limited. The company is made up of Malcolm Mallia, Matthias Mallia, Elton Joseph Caruana, Amanda Muscat, Christopher Zarb, Simon Zarb, and the construction site’s architect Roderick Camilleri.