Government has failed to implement much-needed reforms and address the ever-growing crisis within the construction industry despite committing to do around a year ago, Malta’s Chamber of Architects has warned after a building collapse claimed the life of Miriam Pace.
“It is painfully clear that the crisis that befell the building and construction industry last year has not been resolved through the hastily drafted regulations that were brought into force in July 2019.”
“The Kamra has consistently maintained that the regulations brought into force last year did not adequately address the crisis, but rather made the situation worse by adding further confusion on the roles and responsibilities on construction sites,” the Chamber said.
Pace, a 54-year old mother of two, died after her home on Triq Joseph Abela Scolaro, Santa Venera collapsed. Police have confirmed that the accident was the result of a nearby construction site.
One of the site’s developers is Malta Developers Association council member Malcolm Mallia. Meanwhile, the site’s architect, Roderick Camillieri, is also a shareholder in the development, raising questions over a conflict of interest when certifying the site.
After three apartment blocks collapsed during the first seven months of 2019, the government promised serious reform. However, the Chamber insists that the changes are yet to be implemented.
“Some initial progress has been registered through the setting up of the Building and Construction Agency, which remains however severely under-resourced and incapable of tackling the complexities of the building industry. There has been little progress in all other areas.”
“Various sectors such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and gaming have received Government’s deserved attention over recent years, yet the construction industry, which is one of the main contributors to the country’s GDP, remains the most unregulated one, claiming the lives of innocent persons on an all too regular basis,” they said.
The Building and Construction Agency aims to consolidate the sector and issue a comprehensive set of regulations, and the obligatory registration, licensing, and classification of contractors and skilled labourers. It is yet to be fully implemented, and the MDA has been tasked with overseeing the register.
With a now suspended council member linked to the latest collapse, questions must be asked whether MDA should continue on in this role.