Late in the year 2022, a tragedy involving a construction collapse resulted in the death of a 20-year-old by the name of Mr Jean Paul Sofia. The death led to a public uproar on the current deficiencies found in the construction sector in Malta.

A Public Inquiry into Mr Sofia’s commenced on the 10th day of August 2023, which aimed to look at the incident from a wider lens in order to assess the construction industry in Malta.

The following are some of the recommendations as put forward through The Public Inquiry which are expected to implement several amendments to Maltese law;

  1. Stricter licensing of contractors;
  2. Classification of contractors. The recommended classification system shall attest to the competence and skills possessed by the persons applying for the licence;
  3. A skill card system and a safety card are also being recommended in conjunction with the aforementioned licensing. This card system shall be imposed on all persons working in the construction industry, which includes persons who are employed with a contractor and third-country nationals;
  4. To obtain their license, contractors must have both a contractors’ all risks insurance policy and an insurance policy covering employee liability in the workplace, held under the name of the contracting company;
  5. Method statements with respect to free standing structures, similar to the property affecting third parties or having adjacent properties, are also being recommended to be adopted for vetting by the Building and Construction Authority;
  6. The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority to be involved in the quality control when it comes to product quality control in the construction industry;
  7. Establishing a National Building Code, to harmonize the ideas of architects and the BCA;
  8. The procedure of suspending works due to health and safety be streamlined being that the site safety officer should be given the authority to halt construction until the cause of such halt is dealt with;
  9. Streamlining of procedures between Authorities is being widely recommended, with the mentioning of joint interfaces and artificial intelligence;

The Public Inquiry calls for reform and efficiency in respect to the rules and execution of health and safety (ie. Chapter 424 Laws of Malta). This was already a proposed notion which was initiated by virtue of the ‘A New Health and Safety at Work Act’ white paper back in April 2023 and further process to this motion is expected following such recommendation made by the Public Inquiry.

Based on the content discussed in this article, there is an anticipation of several legal amendments targeting the construction industry in Malta. These changes are expected to impact both contractors and employees within the construction sector. Once these legal amendments are enacted, GTG Limited stands ready to aid applicants in obtaining their skill and safety cards and in ensuring compliance with any amended licensing requirements.

For more information or assistance please contact Dr Robert Tufigno and Dr Delilah Vella.  

Disclaimer This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.
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