The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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MDA says public inquiry should be ‘cornerstone’ of modern construction industry

Wednesday, 28 February 2024, 18:28 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Developers Association on Wednesday welcomed the publication of the Sofia Public Inquiry and said it considers it an important cornerstone in the modernization of the construction industry.

The MDA notes that one of the main points it has been pushing for a number of years, that is the mandatory insurance policy for all contractors in order for them to be licensed, has been endorsed as one of the Inquiry's main recommendations.

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The implementation of this recommendation will help weed out what the Prime Minister correctly referred to as "amateurs" from the industry, as has been consistently argued by the MDA. The Association also suggests that the Inter-Ministerial Committee announced by the Prime Minister to implement the said recommendations should include stakeholders in order for it to be more effective.

One should also consider having a representative of the Inquiry present. The MDA fully agrees with the quote by Harold Walker which concludes the Inquiry, and states that laws alone do not save lives. Within this spirit, whilst agreeing with most of the recommendations, the MDA would appeal for a number of them to be thoroughly assessed by this Inter-Ministerial Committee, rather than simply transposed.

Among these points that necessitate a much more detailed analysis is the requirement of full planning applications for industrial estates, something that will significantly increase the lead time for any attraction of investment. Similarly, the different roles of Malta Enterprise and INDIS should be fully appreciated while not doubling bureaucracy.

“We are making these points even though they do not impact directly our members but affect the country,” the MDA said. In reassessing the policy that mandates bank guarantees to amount to 20% of construction values, one should consider a wider reform that classifies contractors. It is also crucial to reflect on its broader societal implications, particularly the potential burden on homeowners due to escalating costs. Furthermore, it's imperative to recognize that augmenting bureaucratic processes may inadvertently contribute to rising housing prices. Emphasizing this perspective is essential to foster informed decision-making that prioritizes the well-being of the community and promotes equitable access to affordable housing, the statement concluded.

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