Demolition and excavation reforms enforced tomorrow – Borg

Miguela Xuereb

New changes to demolition and excavation regulations will come into effect from tomorrow, Dr Ian Borg has said.

The reforms will cover all construction sites once the new Legal Notice is published.

The Minister for Infrastructure told reporters that the responsibility for these aspects going to plan, would now rest on the shoulders of architects while new site technical officers would be introduced to replace site managers.

Until now, the persons responsible for ensuring that construction followed an approved plan, was the Site Manager.

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Contention had arisen over the professionalization of site managers to oversee works, despite them not being warranted and that contractors taking responsibility when they themselves lacked experience.

Going into more detail, Borg explained that the new ‘Site Technical Officers’ would be required to be warranted architects but that they would not need to be the same Perit who was responsible for producing the project plans. This role could also be chosen by the contractor and they would be required to be onsite for the carrying out of works.

Borg told the media that the government was taking its role seriously and was thus legislating responsibly.

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‘The word responsibility is at the center of everything we are trying to achieve here and everyone needs to shoulder their own responsibility in this sector.’

Borg added that the reforms would be tough and that they would not meet please everyone, even with the added responsibility they need to carry.

‘If an architect doesn’t want to do this, they can chose not to. But we will not allow a situation where developers are working on a site without the supervision of a warranted professional’

Miguela Xuereb

Ball in their court

When asked about the discussions among Kamra Tal-Periti of possible strike action, Borg explained that the public demanded that professionals would meet their responsibilities but that strike action was up to them.

Making things more transparent

Minister Borg explained that the aim of the legal notice was to make the regulations more transparent. With this, he stressed that the radical changes on the method statement on excavation works would be written clearly and concisely to avoid confusion.

He added that document would be publicly accessible from the Planning Authority website and the Government Gazette tomorrow.

With this, the public would have 15-days to scrutinise method statements on works. This is understood to include an assessment on the site as well the condition of adjacent buildings and properties. A warranted architect would be responsible for producing this document.

Small part of reform

The Minister concluded the conference by explaining that the changes on excavation and demolition were a small aspect of much wider reforms which would we carried out across the construction industry. He added that this was in response to those who perceived the changes to be rushed.

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