The Commissioner for the Environment and Planning within the Office of the Ombudsman, architect Alan Saliba, is proposing the stetting up of one Government office which will receive complaints about environment and planning because he feels that the citizen is spending too much time trying to figure out which entity he should refer his complaint too, with possible serious consequences when the case is an urgent one.
As a defender of the citizen when it comes to the environment and planning, Mr Saliba published his proposals for the Bill outlining the new regulations for building and excavation. He suggested that this office should operate on the model of a one stop shop, and have enforcement directorates from each Government entity so that enforcement can be more efficient and effective.
He proposed that when the neighbour of a construction site where excavation or building is being carried out notices deep cracks which are thicker than one millimetre in his property, he should send a report through his architect to the architect of the project, the site manager as well as this Government department which should then immediately stop all ongoing works. He said that if the construction works keep going on anyway, the architect, site manager and contractor will have to answer for this with harsh penalties which apply for every day during which the construction continues.
The Commissioner also wrote at length about the distances which need to be kept during excavation while any private agreement which breaches the law has to be declared null and void.