A report into the construction industry commissioned after a fatal building collapse calls for wide-sweeping reform and warns that the sector is plagued by “deep-rooted problems”.
The report was tabled in parliament by Prime Minister Robert Abela on Wednesday evening, ten months after Miriam Pace was killed when her family home collapsed into a neighbouring excavation site.
Abela had said earlier this month that the report would not be published as it was already being implemented. However, he reversed the decision after Pace’s family told Times of Malta last week they were “baffled and disappointed” by the decision to keep it secret.
Abela tabled the report in parliament as MPs discussed a law establishing a new Building and Construction Authority to oversee the sector.
In a brief speech, Abela said the authority heralded a much-needed upgrade to the sector and warned “construction cowboys” that they would not be allowed to put people’s lives at risk any longer.
The report was authored by retired judge Lawrence Quintano, geo-technical engineer Adrian Mifsud, architect Mario Cassar and lawyer Mark Simiana who were unanimous in recommending changes, “so that tragedies of this kind can be averted”.
The construction industry, as it currently operates, is plagued by “several deep-rooted problems that are not straightforward to solve in the short term”, the experts write.
They go on to recommend a series of long-term changes to bring the sector in line with those of “other developed countries”.
Recommendations range from a call to end the “very dangerous” practice of cutting rock flush with party walls using excavation equipment known as a trencher, to calling for significant investment by the government in enforcement to end abuse within the sector.
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