Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) in a statement stressed that it shares the public’s outrage that dangerous construction works reported a month ago have resulted in yet another collapsing wall.
The Prime Minister’s announcement that all permits for demolition and excavation have been suspended and no works will be allowed until the new regulations come into force is too little, too late, the ENGO said.
The FAA welcomed the move to require geological and geo-technical surveys for all excavation works, however until enforcement is immediate and punitive measures made much more severe, the construction industry will continue to undermine residents’ safety, health, and Malta’s heritage.
The FAA also called for the introduction of tests of concrete durability, as many residential buildings currently under construction will face major problems in 30 to 40 years due to defective concrete, as highlighted in 2006 by the NGO Sustainable Built Environment Malta.
The ENGO highlighted the spiralling rate of injuries and even deaths on construction sites, due to a complete lack of regulation of contractors, a complete lack of training of workers including lack of communication skills, and confusion about the different roles and responsibilities on construction sites
The FAA said in a hard-hitting statement, “In addition to excavation risk assessments, cranes, concrete mixers and trucks need to be certified periodically, and the forgotten Environment Management of Construction Sites law needs to be enforced to ensure that neighbours’ lives are no longer ruined by works at all hours, constant noise above 70 decibels, clouds of chocking dust and exhaust fumes, all undermining residents’ physical and mental health.
“Although the authorities are trying to shift the blame onto architects, our governments have ignored strong calls for the reform of building regulations since 2007, including from the Chamber of Architects. In recent years this Government has allowed developers to run rampage, encouraged over-development and subsidising the MDA with NGO grants. In all this Malta’s politicians have shown gross irresponsibility to only take action when three buildings collapse in two months – the fact is that ultimate responsibility lies with Malta’s political class.”
Original article found on The Malta Independent