The Malta Independent 11 December 2019, Wednesday

Strictly abide to new construction regulations, Chamber of Architects tells members

Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 17:41 Last update: about 7 months ago

The Chamber of Architects has told its members to strictly abide by the regulations published by the government pertaining to the avoidance of damage to third party properties in the interest of public safety.

“We must bring to the attention of the public the fact that all excavation, demolition and construction works carried out in sites which are contiguous to third parties must follow the regulations”, the Chamber said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This includes the preparation of fresh condition reports of third-party properties, fresh method statements, revised insurance policy premia, and the appointment of an STO (Site Technical Officer) by the contractor, or by each individual contractor present on site”, the statement read.

“Naturally, all these new requirements could not be addressed within 24 hours but require several weeks, which include the minimum two-week period granted to the third-parties to review and possibly contest the reports and method statements”, the Chamber said.

Until all the provisions are adhered to, all works are in effect suspended. Fines for non-compliance with the regulations are €50,000.

The Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property regulations became law on Tuesday after a legal notice was published in the Government Gazette.  However, confusion has since reigned, with architects lashing out at the new regulations and with developers and contractors seemingly somewhat lost about what they are meant to be doing.

In fact, Malta Developers Association President Sandro Chetcuti told the Times of Malta on Wednesday that some 80% of construction sites are at a stand-still owing to confusion over the new rules.

“Unfortunately we have a problem which is emanating from confusion over the new rules,” Chetcuti said.

“Currently the industry is almost at a standstill as there are differences over the interpretation of the new rules issued by the government”, he said.

One of the main proposals of this new law – which came about after two buildings collapsed within the space of a week – is that the role of site manager is replaced by a Site Technical Officer who must be a warranted architect, ostensibly meaning that each construction site on the island must be led by an architect.

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