UPDATED: All permits for demolition and excavation suspended with immediate effect – PM
The Prime Minister announced that with immediate effect, all permits for demolition or excavation at construction sites are being suspended.
At the end of a meeting with all stakeholders in the building industry, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described the meeting as a productive one which will continue in the coming days, even to discuss new regulations which Government will issue for public consultation on Monday.
Dr Muscat stated that present legislation already shows where responsibility lies, pointing out how an architect has to prepare a method statement, the site manager’s role is to ensure the work is carried out according to the method statement, and the contractor has to follow the method statement. The Prime Minister added, however, that despite this, things are being done to which one cannot turn a blind eye.
The Prime Minister further stated that the public consultation on the new regulations will be carried out in an intensive manner between Monday and Friday with all stakeholders involved in the building industry, with the aim of enabling Government to take the necessary decisons and at the same time understand everyone’s arguments. Dr Muscat added that on the following week, the Cabinet will approve the new regulations, which will come into force that same week.
The new regulations will include the presence on site of an architect or site manager where demolition and excavation are being carried out, as they would have to document their presence on site and assume responsibility. Geological studies will now have to be carried out for every case involving excavation, and not just in instances where excavation will be at a depth of over three metres.
The nw regulations will increase fines from 500 euro to 10,000 euro for contravention of these regulations, and from 1,200 euro to 50,000 euro for owners who carry on with the work despite having been served with a notice.
The Prime Minister declared that major construction projects already operate according to these regulations, and incidents which have occurred related to small projects. Through the new regulations, the standards will now apply for every construction project.
Referring to the temporary measure suspending all demolition and excavation works, Dr Muscat declared that he himself was assuming responsibility, and in regard to projects where suspension of work will create more danger, the architect has to inform the competent authority, the BRO, which will go into each case and issue the necessary permits.