Building and Construction Authority chairperson Maria Schembri Grima has resigned following outrage over footage showing a dangerous demolition at a project she was leading.

The government announced the architect's resignation from the post in a one-line statement on Tuesday.

No reasons were given in the government's statement, but in a separate statement by Schembri Grima herself, she said that she decided to focus all her energies on her profession as an architect.

Her resignation comes on the same day that an alarming video showed how demolition works carried out in Triq Psaila, Birkirkara caused large stones to fall a height of at least three storeys, crashing down beyond supposedly protective hoarding.

Schembri Grima is the project architect.

Demolition works at the site - the former Go Exchange - were halted by the BCA itself on Monday after residents flagged the significant danger of ongoing works there. 

As the construction sector's regulator, the BCA is responsible for overseeing and enforcing construction standards and safe building practices. 

Schembri Grima was appointed BCA chair in 2021 and confirmed in that post a year later. She was the authority's first-ever chair. 

Despite leading the regulator, she continued her private practice as an architect, with her clients including Joseph Portelli and Malta Developers Association president Michael Stivala. 

Schembri Grima: contractors must follow instructions

Although her statement on Tuesday made no direct reference to the Go Exchange demolition issue, Schembri Grima said that contractors have great responsibilities when engaging in any form of work on a construction site and are duty-bound to follow an architect's instructions in a rigorous manner.

"Failure to follow these instructions can seriously prejudice workers on site as well as third parties," she said. 

"As I have done during my tenure as chairperson of the Building & Construction Authority since its inception, I stand firm with my commitment to see that key players in this sector improve the way of doing things to safeguard workers on site and third parties which I hold very close to my heart," she said.

Schembri Grima added that she had served her post as BCA chair to the best of her abilities and that the regulator "has been a catalyst for change in the construction sector." 

The Birkirkara project is a massive undertaking led by the Joseph Portelli-owned Excel Investments to replace the old Go Exchange building with garages, shops and well over 100 apartments. 

Excel Investments, represented by Portelli's business partner Mark Agius, split the project into two separate planning permits, with demolition of the structure getting under way a few days ago. The project's second permit, required in order to build the proposed structures, remains at a preliminary screening stage. 

Schembri Grima is the named architect for both those permits. 

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