MDA developer members to refund architect fees of third-party neighbours as of September

Denise Micallef Xuereb, Sandro Chetcuti and Marhese portelli

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The Malta Developers Association (MDA) have proposed that MDA developer members be obliged to refund all the architect fees of property owners who own adjacent property to their construction site.

The initiative is aimed at raising awareness on one’s rights and duties, offer support and establish a better neighbourhood practices between the construction industry and those living adjacent to construction sites.

The initiative is one of the first under MDA’s ‘Safer Neighbourhood Scheme’, a scheme which is aimed to raise the bar of the construction industry, and putting neighbour’s minds at peace.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti said that whilst the construction industry is an important sector for the Maltese islands, the association is concerned about the number of accidents happening on construction sites.

“We wish to respect both our members and the community, and to have a good lasting relationship with all neighbours surrounding the site being developed.” He said that whilst the scheme falls under the limits of MDA developers, he urged that the government and non-MDA developer members follow suit and adopt the initiatives too.

The MDA Scheme will come into effect as from 1 September 2020 and will be applicable for all those projects which are issued a PA permit.

MDA Director General Matrthese Portelli

Third Parties keep their full rights and ensure their safety

Explaining the initiative, MDA Director General Marthese Portelli explained that according to current law, L.N. 136 of 2019, Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property Regulations, the architect (Perit) in charge of a particular project must submit a method statement in terms of the law, not later than two weeks before the commencement of any works as well as a report on the condition of adjacent properties.

“This scheme is to help put our neighbour’s minds more at rest, and therefore any adjacent property owners who are concerned about a development can hire an architect of their choice to review the method statement/conditions report, and that the MDA members are obliged to fork out the expenses of the architect.”

The third party can chose the architect of their choice and MDA developer members will refund the architect’s fee incurred by the third party in the drawing up of the technical report, upon presentation of a fiscal receipt by the third-party neighbour.

In the case that the third party is unable to fork out the necessary fees to pay the architect, the MDA scheme also provides a solution. The MDA developer member will issue a necessary payment directly to the neighbour. Payments will be done upon the presentation of a fiscal invoice.

If the third party is a block of flats, the owners of the flats should coordinate with one another to appoint and agree on an architect who will be tasked with the drawing up of a technical report of the whole block.

Every MDA member has an MDA membership card with a unique number, and the members will be given a sticker to stick on their site, so that neighbours are aware. Any MDA members or their companies who do not make payment upon the presentation of receipts or invoices by third parties will be inserted on a public blacklist by the MDA.

“While the scheme will also alleviate any financial burdens on the part of the third party neighbours, we hope that this will establish a better relationship between the developers and the neighbours at an early stage and prior to the start of a project,” said MDA Vice President Denise Micallef Xuereb.

She said that MDA will push for members to work in line with ethics and respect.