Grade 1 scheduled buildings, historical house of characters, garages… and entire blocks of apartments
Accidents and deaths on construction sites have become commonplace in the midst of a development boom that continues to surge all around Malta, with a public almost becoming desensitised in the face of an industry and government promising reform but seldom delivers.
However, the attention of Maltese residents is starting to turn towards the actual state of our buildings and the effects incessant construction in surrounding areas is having on them, as the homes we live in collapse before our eyes.
The Prime Minister and Development Union (MDA) have yet again promised change, but with collapsing buildings happening regularly, are we all just waiting for someone to die for drastic action to be taken?
Here’s a look at some of the buildings and structures that have collapsed during on near construction works around Malta since the start of 2018.
1. An 18th century house near Ċittadella – 18 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.
2. San Anton Palace’s 17th century wall – 19 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.
3. A warehouse in Mrieħel – 16 November 2018
On Friday 16 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.
4. A garage in Sliema – 13 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.
5. A wall in the heart of Sliema – 28 March 2019
At 12:30 pm, 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.
6. A three-storey block of apartments in Gwardamanġa – 25 April 2019
Three-storeys of apartments in Gwardamanġa came crashing down late in the evening on 25 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.”
Investigations are ongoing as to what exactly caused the collapse. However, construction was taking place right next door.
7. A four-storey apartment block in Mellieħa – 8 June 2019
Last Saturday, 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. No one else was injured.
It is unknown what caused the building to collapse at this stage. However, the flat, which was built some 20 years ago, was right next door to a construction site.