Last Updated on Thursday, 27 July, 2023 at 9:35 am by Andre Camilleri
A public consultation on the licensing of stone masons was launched on Wednesday, Minister of Public Works and Planning Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said.
The current laws on masons are around 140 years and “are in need of an update”, the minister said, adding that the future laws will allow for a “more legally structured licence”.
Following the public consultation for the licensing of contractors, which entered into force via a legal notice last week, the minister said that it only made sense that there is a reform also in the licensing of masons, as the two professions go hand in hand.
Present for the press conference was also Building and Construction Authority CEO Jesmond Muscat.
In giving a breakdown of the proposed license and objectives, Muscat said that these new laws will give a more transparent system on how one should apply for the licence, what qualifications one must have, or what kind of information one must have to appear before the board in order to be granted the licence.
The laws will also provide a better licensing process that reflects the current scenario of building activity which have well evolved since the original masons licence has been in place, and define the criteria and necessary skills required by a person to operate as a mason. It also covers future masons, training obligations to ensure that new licence holders and current licence holders continue to improve their skills and are made aware of best practices and new building technologies.
Furthermore, the laws also shed light on new enforcements to take place when masons do not abide with the licensing regime.
As per consulatation paper responsibilities of the masons wiill be to:
• Abide by the conditions of the licence and any orders, directions or requirements which may be imposed by the Authority;
• Ensure that the execution of any works conforms with the practices, guidelines and regulations pertaining to the trade of mason that may be issued by the Authority;
• Abide and conduct any building works according to the specifications issued by the perit in charge of the project;
• Be present on the construction site throughout the duration of the building when the licensed mason is assigned to supervise the construction works and be responsible for works executed by persons engaged by the licensed builder.
Moreover, transitory measures will also be provided for those who are in possession of a licence under the current regulations which are still valid by the the end of the year 2023 or the year 2024. These licences will remain valid under the new licensing regulations but will be renewed under the new procedures.
These new licences will be issued by a newly established masons licensing committee, whoch will be composed of 5 members, with 2 members shall be architects, one of whom having practiced the profession for at least 10 years.
Other functions of the future committee constitute the implementation of BCA board including the organisation of the examination; and the drawing and presentation of reports to the BCA Board concerning laws and regulations and Licensing process, such as holding consistent refresher courses.
In order to obtain a licence future masons will need to have a basic knowledge in geometry, health and safety on the place of work and in sound knowledge of the local building technology.
Eligibility for applicants is as follows:
• Applicant who has reached the age of eighteen and be in possession of a certificate of competence as follows:
a) Mason’s qualification or an equivalent certification, or;
b) An award authorised by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, or;
c) Proof of any other qualifciations in the relevant field of practice recognised by the MQRIC.
• In case the applicant does not have any of the qualifications or certification mentioned above, the Committee may consider the knowledge, competence or experience of the applicant in stone works (masonry work) as a comparable qualification and this through an examination in theory and practice.
• Applicant may be requested to attend courses when the Authority considers that new practices and competencies and regulations have been introduced.
• Refresher courses will be organized for all masons who will be applying for the Mason’s Licence.