Last Updated on Tuesday, 2 May, 2023 at 1:13 pm by Andre Camilleri
The proposed Construction Industry Licensing Regulations could have been a sorely needed turning point in the regulation of the construction industry, but they fall short of their stated aims, according to NGO Moviment Graffitti.
Moviment Graffitti made this statement in its submission to the public consultation issued by the Building & Construction Authority on the said Regulations, together with a number of important proposals to strengthen the Regulations, and ensure that their coming into force would truly lead to a safer and more regulated industry.
“The licensing of contractors is long overdue. Only a few months ago, Jean Paul Sofia, like Miriam Pace three years ago, was killed in a construction incident. The workplace death of construction workers has also become a monthly occurrence and thousands are injured on construction sites every year. These deaths were preventable had there been serious regulation of the construction industry. The Regulations presented, not only come tragically late, but are also far too timid in their approach,” a spokesperson for Moviment Graffitti explained. “Our communities deserve better.”
Chief among the organisation’s concerns is the lack of clarity and transparency on the way breaches of the Regulations and licence conditions would be handled by the BCA, pointing out that as the Regulations stand, the public has little to no power to participate in proceedings or even be informed about them.
In parallel, it is clear that the soft approach to enforcement and penalisation in the Regulations is not sufficient to shift the current free-for-all attitude ruling the construction industry, the NGO said.
“The public and our quality of life should be at the heart of this reform,” Moviment Graffitti emphasised. “This is why transparency and the right to be informed are crucial, and worryingly, missing from the Regulations.”
Moviment Graffitti also criticised Government’s inability to create a structure free from political involvement, highlighting the fact that the licensing committee is to be appointed by the Minister, with the eligibility criteria being conveniently wide, and with factually perpetual terms of re-appointment.
Emphasising the need to revise the Regulations prior to their coming into force, Moviment Graffitti also called for the immediate publication of National Building and Construction Codes, together with tangible enforcement of existing laws to eliminate the unsafe and illegal practices plaguing the industry, in line with the organisation’s landmark publication, Reforming Planning and Construction in Malta, a document outlining 134 proposals aimed at reforming the planning and construction sector.
“Government is once again being weak with the strong, to the detriment of our safety and quality of life,” Moviment Graffitti reiterated.