The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

Beyond the KPMG construction industry report

Carmel Cacopardo Sunday, 6 October 2019, 10:13 Last update: about 14 days ago

As expected, KPMG’s report on the construction industry paints a very rosy picture of it, although its authors concede that “others may arrive at a different conclusion” on the basis of the information contained therein.

I have searched through the report to identify the incidence of a number of important expressions such as ‘over-development’, ‘re-cycling’ (of construction waste), ‘the environment’ and ‘the climate’. The views of the construction industry on these terms (and others) would have been quite interesting, had they been expressed.  According to the authors of the report, however, practically none of them were.

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I am not surprised that the terms ‘over-development’ and ‘recycling’ do not feature in the report. This obviously indicates that the industry does not consider there is any ‘over-development’ and, in addition, that the industry is not bothered about recycling its construction waste. As explained in a recent article of mine (TMIS, 22 September 2019 entitled ‘In cahoots with the polluter’), the construction industry is not interested in recycling its waste, when this is possible; it is only interested in subsidised dumping sites. They pollute, you pay. Does KPMG endorse this?

There are two references to the environment in the KPMG report. The first points fingers at consumers and emphasises that there is a lack of environmentally-friendly materials in properties because there is no demand for them! The second focuses on environmental lobby groups and challenges them to come forward with realistic suggestions! The authors of the report, however, point out that “such suggestions should be grounded in reality, and recognise that halting all construction and development is not a realistic option.”

KPMG is apparently reporting from the moon because otherwise it would have realised long ago that the environmental lobby has put forward a multitude of proposals that have been generally ignored by governments, which have continuously sought to ensure that development is facilitated at the expense of our quality of life. It would suffice for a moment if they were to consider, for example, the rationalisation exercise introduced way back in 2006 but the impacts of which are still being felt up to this very day all around our islands.  The damage done by government in cahoots with the developers is enormous but KPMG is, however, completely silent on the matter.

Climate change does not feature at all in the report, meaning that the construction industry is generally not bothered.

We do not expect the authors of the KPMG report to explain how the construction industry has been a major force in ruining this country through over-development and expecting us to foot their environmental bills.

The concrete jungle developing all around us is suffocating. It is fuelled by a construction industry that has no idea of where to stop and that continuously wants more land for development.

It is about time that the construction industry is cut down to size. We should all realise, before it is too late, that the ongoing building spree is unsustainable and that progress is not measured in terms of buildings, roads or the enormous number of cars on our roads.

Our quality of life is actually measured through the open spaces we can enjoy and through rediscovering our natural roots, which have been obliterated as a result of the ever-expanding urban boundaries.

The construction industry is bent on making ever more hay while the sun shines: on building more and more for as long as their Dubaification vision remains in place.

The sun rises for everyone, not just for those seeking to make hay while it shines. When it sets, we rest – preparing for tomorrow and hoping that, when it comes, there will still be time to repair the extensive damage being done to us all.

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