Traffic wardens could end up carrying out construction site inspections under proposed legislative changes, architects said on Monday, raising concerns about their understanding of the industry.  

Addressing a press conference, Andre Pizzuto, who heads the Kamra tal-Periti, the chamber of architects and civil engineers, warned that the proposed new Building and Construction Authority could outsource vital functions.  

He pointed out that during a meeting with a parliamentary committee discussing the proposed authority, the government’s consultant on the matter, Robert Musumeci had explained that functions of the authority could be delegated to other entities. Musumeci told the meeting that this could see wardens agency LESA sent to conduct enforcement.  

Pizzuto said this was of great concern to the KTP as the chamber could not vouch for traffic wardens’ knowledge of the sector.

He also raised concerns that delegation of vital functions to other entities could end up seeing contractors’ licences issued by the Malta Developers’ Association rather than a state entity. This too, he said, had been discussed at the parliamentary committee meeting.

Furthermore, under the current proposals, there were no timeframes for how long the new authority would be able to outsource its functions to other entities. This could extend to functions such as licensing, another area of concern to the chamber. 

“We feel that the way this reform has been presented is worrying, particularly for public safety.  While the reform does present a foundation for the sector, we must ensure it is a solid foundation to avoid any more unnecessary deaths,” he said. 

The way this reform has been presented is worrying, particularly for public safety.- Chamber of Architects

The legislative reform, based on an expert report, was prompted by a fatal building collapse in Hamrun last year, believed to have been caused by neighbouring excavation works. Four people, including two architects, face involuntary homicide charges.  

Since then, the government has announced a new authority will be set up to monitor the construction sector.  

During Moday’s press conference, Pizzuto said the KTP had made three requests for a consultation meeting with Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia and parliamentary secretary for the construction industry Chris Agius, but it had not yet heard back. 

The KTP, he said, was also surprised that the government had not made any reference to the chamber’s proposals for the sector, especially since these had been widely accepted by the government’s own expert committee.  

Meanwhile, Pizzuto also raised a number of other concerns over the proposed reform.  

He said the way the new authority’s board, as proposed, appeared limited. The current proposal is for the BCA to have three warranted professionals - an architect, a lawyer, and an engineer.  Pizzuto said it would be better to split the board into two bodies, one tasked with overseeing the governance of the new authority, and another to offer technical positions.

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