Recently proposed regulations that will introduce a licensing scheme for contractors in the construction industry "lack clarity" green political party ADPD said on Saturday. 

Earlier this week the government announced plans to introduce rules that will effectively regulate the construction industry by introducing three new licenses for contractors who intend to carry out demolition, excavation and building works respectively. 

This comes after a spate of building collapses and construction deaths fuelled repeated calls for tighter regulation in the industry. 

However, the green party has said that without giving any weight to data collected from the Building and Construction Agency about site incidents and complaints, the rules will likely see incidents increase rather than decrease. 

Addressing a press conference near the construction site which claimed the life of Jean Paul Sofia, party chairperson Carmel Cacopardi said that the new rules "seem to not have taken into consideration the wider implication of the actions of those seeking to be licensed".

While the application for a license does require the applicant to provide a police conduct certificate, there is no information about how the contents of that conduct will be taken into consideration when deciding on whether or not to grant a license, he said. 

The regulations also do not have a provision to consider BCA reports that may have been drawn up following an accident or a complaint. Such reports, Cacopardo said, contain information drawn up by officials following an investigation and include any subsequent enforcement action that may have been taken against an individual. 

"This information cannot be ignored at the initial licence processing or renewal stage," he said. 

"It is not acceptable that this is completely ignored. If this is the case then a repetition of the same actions is guaranteed, the message being that it’s as if nothing happened." 

If this issue is not addressed then licensing will make very little difference in reducing incidents. 

Cacopardo also said that the impact of construction on third parties must also be a factor to be considered when issuing and renewing licenses. 

"Too many operators in the construction industry fail to respect residents. Indeed they consider them as a hindrance," he said.

"This is an area which can be addressed in an effective manner through the licensing process and possibly lead to a reduction of the negative impact of construction on residents."

Photo: ADPDPhoto: ADPD

Party supporting call for public inquiry into Sofia death 

ADPD Deputy Chairperson Sandra Gauci said that the party is supporting calls by Sofia's family for a public inquiry because this is not only a step in a mother's quest for justice for her son but will examine in greater detail the circumstances that lead to the incident. 

"It is not acceptable that our Prime Minister not only excludes such a public inquiry but is putting undue pressure on the magistrate to conclude the magisterial inquiry," she said. 

"Inevitably this raises the question: What is being hidden? Is there an attempt to keep certain practices hidden? Why is there such a reluctance for a public inquiry? Why is a mother who has the right to know the whole truth and to seek justice left pleading in this manner with institutions that remain stubborn in front of her pain?"

Increasingly, the government appears to be "defending the bully" and safeguarding private interests while failing to protect victims who lack the financial means to pursue sustained action, Gauci said. 

This is clear, she continued, in the evident disparity in how developers are quickly granted permission to develop any plot of land they set their eyes on with little regard for regulation, while normal citizens need to protest in the streets to lay claim on what is "rightfully theirs". 

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