The Malta Independent 29 May 2024, Wednesday
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Chamber of Geologists says it was refused place on BICC Advisory Board

Wednesday, 9 February 2022, 17:55 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Chamber of Geologists has reacted to a Right of Reply sent by the Building Industry Consultative Council and the Building and Construction Agency, saying that it has been refused a place on the BICC Advisory Board.

Right of Reply by the Malta Chamber of Geologists:

I refer to the reply of the BICC and BCA: Formal consultation period on National Building Code section has not yet commenced.

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The Chamber of Geologists would welcome an overhaul in the construction industry. However, nothing has changed on the matter of the tragic and fatal accidents resulting from rock excavation next to third party property that occurred in the past few years. These accidents happened because those involved were not qualified to assess site geology and the risks of excavation which only Geologists as the experts on rock can evaluate. To aggravate matters, recent legislation removed the previous requirement of geological investigations.

In view of this dire situation, I wrote to the Chairman of the BICC four months ago and suggested that Geologists are included in the deliberations and write up of the Building Codes. Since my suggestion was made, the Chamber of Geologists was set up which repeated the same suggestion.

Sadly, the suggestions to include Geologists at such a critical stage were ignored by the Chairman of the BICC so that the Building Code was drawn up by periti only. A copy of the Building Code was handed to me as President of the Chamber only after the Code was concluded without our essential input on rock excavation.

The Chamber would like to remind the Chairman of the BICC and the CEO of the BCA that they persist in ignoring the  Report of the Building Industry Technical Committee (The Quintano Report of 2020) appointed by the Prime Minister to address the tragic accidents during excavation, which Report compared rock excavation in Malta to a ‘Russian roulette with the lives of third parties’ and concludes that the ‘Perit can no longer be the only expert’.

The Chamber of Geologists recently applied to the Chairman of the BICC so that it becomes a member of the BICC Advisory Board which has about 25 stakeholders of the construction industry, including Chambers representing other professional bodies. The reply of the BICC Chairman was that eventually, only ‘observer status’ may be granted to the Chamber. The Chamber of Geologists finds this reply unacceptable, and once again proves that the Chairman of the BICC wants to exclude or minimise the participation of the Geological profession which has an essential role in rock excavation and other matters requiring geological expertise.

This deplorable pattern of exclusion from Building Codes and legislation has been observed for some time, but the Chamber of Geologists remains undeterred in its mission to offer professional advice on safe rock excavation and the application of European standards in the interests of the public, the environment, and developers.

Dr Peter Gatt

President of the Malta Chamber of Geologists

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