Kamra tal-Periti meets gov’t as discussions start

(source: Unsplash/Daniel McCullough)

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June, 2019 at 2:34 pm by Christian Keszthelyi

Maltese architects’ association Kamra tal-Periti met the government to discuss the new regulations that were brought into force earlier this week. During the three-hour-long meeting, the Kamra outlined its issues with the current regulations, and the positions voted upon in the extraordinary general meeting on 21 June, according to a press statement sent to Business Malta. Further meetings are in the pipeline.

“The Kamra also expressed its deep concern for public safety due to conflicts between the Civil Code and the new regulations, and the confusion surrounding the apportionment of responsibilities,” the press statement says. “The Kamra tal-Periti also insisted on the urgency for the setting up of a system of registration of contractors so members of the public, and periti [Maltese word for ] themselves, can begin to regain confidence in the industry,” the statement added.

The association and the government also agreed to hold further meetings to discuss amendments to the new regulations that will be proposed by the Kamra together with its team of legal consultants for Government’s consideration. “The Kamra tal-Periti reiterates its commitment to assist the government in fulfilling its intention to bring about a positive reform of the industry in the interest of public safety,” the press statement notes.

The Kamra tal-Periti press statement raises concerns over Regulation 26 states that “[w]hen before the start of the works, the perit in charge of the project certifies, after giving clear reasons, that the structural interventions will not affect third party property, the provisions of regulations 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 do not apply”.

According to the association, this regulation “implies that if a perit [architect] certifies that no damage will occur to third-parties during works, the entire set of regulations can be circumvented. If damages do occur, the perit [architect] issuing such certification would carry personal criminal and civil responsibility for anything that happens, even when the contractor is at fault.”

The association says that this has put members of the profession under immense pressure to sign such declarations as contractors and developers are incurring extremely high costs due to the effective suspension of works. “The Kamra has received multiple reports from members of the profession who received personal threats as well as threats of crippling and vexatious lawsuits if they do not sign such declarations,” the press statement adds.

After the walls of three buildings collapsed in the past two months in Malta near construction sites, forcing the government to temporarily halt demolition and excavation works, the Kamra called for an extraordinary general meeting. Prior to the EGM the Kamra published its preliminary position, and after the EGM the Kamra pledged commitment to improving the public safety of citizens and urged the government to enter discussions with the association. The Kamra also welcomed the recent listing of licensed masons published on the website of the Building Regulation Office (BRO). The Kamra sent a letter to the minister, asking to clarify a number of points. At the same time, the Kamra also asked for a meeting prior to the publication of the legal notice.

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