“Construction works weren’t illegal but shouldn’t have commenced” – PA

A spokesperson for the Planning Authority has confirmed with Newsbook.com.mt that works being carried out at the construction site adjacent to the house that collapsed in Ħamrun on Monday, were not illegal.

In reply to questions sent by Newsbook.com.mt, the PA said that works at the construction site should not have commenced. The PA spokesperson explained that “the execution of the permit was still suspended and so a commencement notice could not have been submitted to the Authority.” 

It was also confirmed that no enforcement action was taken by the Planning Authority prior to the collapse of the building in Ħamrun.

In its replies to this newsroom, the PA said that the execution of the permit was still suspended when the building collapsed and the Authority was not informed that works on site had commenced.

The Authority also said that it did not receive any reports or complaints from neighbours on the construction works. 

On Monday, the body of Miriam Pace was found under the debris of her house that collapsed due to ongoing excavation works on an adjacent site in Ħamrun. The search and rescue operation took more than eight hours.

On Wednesday, the Planning Authority issued a statement saying that the inspections and the checking on whether the building and construction regulations are being adhered to do not fall under the remit of the authority but fall under the responsibility of a separate agency. However, the Planning Authority does not mention which agency has to assume this responsibility.

The authority said that the site adjacent to the house where Miriam Pace tragically lost her life was covered by development permission (PA6459/19).

The PA explained that following the issuing of any development permission, the sole remit of the Planning Authority is to ensure that works are being carried out according to the approved drawings and conditions. However, the method used to excavate a site, the safety of third-party property, and all other issues related to the construction site, fall outside its remit said the Planning Authority.