Imagine you are at home enjoying a movie after a day’s work and all of a sudden you start seeing cracks developing on your walls. Fast-forward a few days and your home is half destructed, leaving you roofless as you are afraid that the entire building will collapse as you are in it. This is in fact the reality of a family residing in Gwardamangia, who are now left to search for accommodation, as their home was destroyed by the development happening just next door.
The turmoil of such a trauma is devastating, especially when seeing the videos uploaded by the afflicted as she communicates a message of urgency, emphasising on the fact that her family is now homeless.
It is true that the increased development in Malta has given rise to a better economy. With all this demand for development, we can see a decline in the quality of buildings and workers, which unfortunately culminates in such tragedies. One cannot dismiss this as a one-off case, as this is not the first time we have heard about buildings collapsing, in a space of just a few weeks!
In this respect, the Prime Minister of Malta deemed it fit to halt all excavation and demolition works until new legislation and standards come into force. One would expect some form of action as the collapse of three buildings in two months is indeed a serious matter. Such action also comes into force, following numerous complaints that the construction industry is now controlling the country and that developers are given too much leeway and power.
Although the Prime Minister made reference to hefty fines for those who do not comply, several news sources report that some works still continue around the island. Considering that the news of such enforcement came in unexpectedly, one would presume that the police force would find it difficult to maintain control due to a lack of preparation.
The Government is expected to prepare draft regulations for public consultation, which will last five days. The proposals would then be sent to parliament for approval.
The new regulations are expected to put further responsibility on architects and site managers. Such responsibilities include architects and site managers being on site when major decisions are taken and when certain excavation works are taking place. These regulations are also expected to cater for third party walls to ensure that these are protected when development is taking place.
Any works which will continue during this pause period, will only be on an exception basis, according to the Prime Minister.