Updated 2.35pm, adds AIB statement

The Malta Chamber of Geologists on Friday said the Jean Paul Sofia public Inquiry flagged "the indispensable role of the geologist in the construction industry".

In a statement, the chamber said the inquiry recommended that every rock excavation should be preceded by a report by a geologist who is asked to assess ground conditions.

"This recommendation implies that the state must now recognise the profession of the geologist so that only warranted geologists will be allowed to make such reports and fill in the description of ground conditions of the Method Statement, which presently is done by other professionals who may not understand or misinterpret the site geology, as revealed in several cases," the chamber said.

Peter Gatt - the president of the Malta Chamber of Geologists - asked for a meeting with Justice Minister Jonathan Attard two months ago in a bid to discuss the issue. However, such a meeting has not yet been held, the chamber said. 

The Chamber added that the inquiry has revealed that the geological map of Malta produced by the Continental Shelf Department within the Ministry of Finance, was "inaccurate".

"The law requires that the geological map is consulted ahead of rock excavation. The Chamber of Geologists has identified serious omissions and tampering of this map especially since its 2022 ‘update’.

"Instead of making the necessary corrections, the Director General at the Continental Shelf Department continues to challenge the professional advice given by the Chamber of Geologists and refuses to make the necessary corrections, effectively undermining public safety, which can cost lives."

In its statement, the chamber also called for the setting up of a national geological service that would update Malta’s geological map, advise the public on geological hazards and assess Malta’s natural resources.

In a separate statement later, the Association of Insurance Brokers noted that a requirement of a Contractors All Risks insurance policy for contractor before the licensing will not only facilitate compliance but also protect third parties.

It also agreed with the conclusion for the introduction of compulsory Employers Liability for all employers, and not just those in the construction sector.

It said it was willing to continue to contribute towards the strengthening of the legal, regulatory and supervisory framework of the construction industry. 

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