Current Affairs
Some contractors stopped while other contractors had to be stopped from continuing to demolish and excavate

On the first day of the suspension of all contracting work on demolition and excavation, it appears that some contractors observed the suspension while others had to be stopped from working by enforcement officials after inspections in various localities were carried out. TVM is informed that during the last hours the intervention of the Association of Developers brought about arrangements between the contractor and the families affected by Thursday’s incident at G’Mangia. In comments to Television Malta, the Commissioner for Planning and the Environment said that for proper enforcement to be carried out in the construction industry, more funds are needed to enable enforcement in an industry that has a value of half-a-billion euros.

Although some contractors voluntarily accepted the Government’s temporary suspension until new regulations are drawn up, in some areas excavation and demolition works continued to be carried out and TVM is informed that enforcement officials, including officials from LESA, had to intervention for the work to cease at once.

TVM visited several construction sites and observed that while in some places work had ceased entirely, in other areas it was carrying on and only stopped when the television crew was observed to be nearby. The suspension following recent incidents was welcomed by a number of entities concerned. The General Secretary of the Developers’ Association, Michael Stivala, said his Association’s members had all complied with the suspension.

Stivala said the Government’s position had been observed and instructions had been given to all members to comply. He said from information at hand, all had complied although there were reports that some contractors had ignored the suspension order.

The Commissioner for Planning and Environment within the Ombudsman’s Office, the architect Alan Saliba, told TVM that for proper and effective enforcement to be carried out in the construction industry, there is a need for systematic enforcement and not random enforcement.

Regarding fissures caused in buildings adjacent to excavation areas, Commissioner Saliba said that had the laws been observed properly, half the problems would have been avoided, particularly if the cutting of rock retained the distance of 2.5 feet with the adjacent dividing wall.

Architect Saliba said that if an architect draws up a plan which does not stipulate this 2.5 feet division, it is little wonder a contractor does not observe it. He said it must be kept in mind that this is a minimal distance and does not exclude that if an architect or the project deems it should be five feet, then it should be five feet. Why is this not being observed? Architect Saliba said this is happening because money interests are being put in the forefront whereas it should be the safety of people that comes first and the money after. He said this is the root of the problem.

He added that as a Commissioner he is to propose the Authority should carry out inspections where fissures have resulted in buildings where excavation is taking place before any further work can continue.

Also see:

Il-PN jgħid li jaqbel li ġew sospiżi l-permessi ta’ twaqqigħ u skavar

Appell għall-għajnuna mill-mara li lbieraħ spiċċat bla saqaf

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