Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg and Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market Chris Agius addressed a press conference about the Building and Construction Reform that came into effect some weeks ago.

Minister Borg explained how this reform ,which is the result of the decision taken by this Government, and which has led to several important discussions with the diverse stakeholders that operate within this industry, is already effecting results.

Minister Borg spoke about the important developments from when the new legal notice came into effect. He explained how the principal ones included clearer procedures, with the inclusion of some new ones which have to be adhered to by the professionals, contractors, builders and all those involved in building and construction sites. In fact, nearly 2,500 declarations which are requested by the new legal notice have already been submitted, a sign that the legislation is being comprehended and that there are people who are ready to adhere to it. Furthermore, 1,100 declarations have been submitted which state that works can proceed on the sites, as such works do not impose any risk to third party properties. This is an important development in light of the fact that such reform has led to more awareness about the safeguarding to the rights of third parties in favour of increased safety, explained the minister. There are also 45 method statements that have been submitted in the case of excavation and demolition works, and 78 method statements for construction works. The minister explained that although these are not large numbers, the fact remains that the new legislation requires the submission of more detailed method statements in order to ascertain that such statements are done with more responsibility and that the works envisaged are studied properly. At the end of the day, it is not about having large numbers � yes, we do want the works to continue but above all we want that works are continued responsibly and with total respect towards third party property rights and safety, said the Minister.

Minister Borg explained how another important development brought about by this reform is that apart from architects, the legislation now includes the possibility for MCAST and university engineering graduates to act in the capacity of Site Technical Officers. A clear sign that we have more professionals who are interested in working with us in favour of the primary objectives of this reform, said the minister.

The contractors’ register and the masons’ register also form part of this reform. In this regard, the minister explained that the register for masons has already seen a substantial increase in the number of masons that have decided to come forward and regularise themselves and in the case of the contractors’ register, and this process has already gained substantial momentum. The minister announced that the next step is that with the setting up of the Malta Construction and Building Authority, the contractors will have to regularise themselves and the system will thus change from a voluntary one to one that ensures that contractors have the required license in order to allow them to operate.

I look forward to more discussions with all the stakeholders that have the primary interests of more safety, more responsibility and more transparency within this industry. Whilst we are satisfied that this reform is now in place, our work will not stop but we are continuing to work tirelessly in order to set up the Malta Construction and Building Authority. This is an important industry and we need to ensure that the industry is a sensitive one and of high quality, concluded Minister Borg.

From his end, Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius reiterated the importance of healthy dialogue between all stakeholders in order to continue working towards a sustainable industry. This government will continue taking the decisions for the common good, difficult as they may be. This reform is neither the first nor the last step for the attainment of more responsibility and more safety within the building and constructions aspect, said the Parliamentary Secretary.

Source: Government of Malta