6 - 12 June, 2001

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New regulations for building industry on the horizon

By Miriam Dunn

A set of new building regulations for the construction industry are in the pipeline, according to the chairman of the Building Industry Consultative Council, Robert Musumeci.
The regulations update some old laws and also tackle other issues which need covering at a legislative level, such as health, safety and hygiene, energy conservation, structural integrity, site preparation and waste disposal.
Speaking during an interview with The Business Times, Mr Musumeci said that the regulations are being made available as guidelines to operators in the sector, but would also be debated in Parliament, so they could be implemented at a legislative level.
"Once the guidelines are covered at a legal level, obviously the government has the power to monitor and enforce them," he said.
He explained that one of the most common complaints related to the building industry – the mess and dust caused by ongoing works – should be tackled, at least in part, by the new regulations.
"Some of the problems, such as building materials being left in the open, making locations look an eyesore and sometimes becoming very dusty, have been earmarked in the new regulations," he said. "The issue of demolition works and site preparation has specific mention, in particular with reference to safeguarding third parties, by such means as putting up fencing or boarding."
Another step forward that Mr Musumeci regards as significant has been the setting up of a system for the registration of contractors. "This concept was first discussed over 20 years ago, so, although it is only being introduced on a voluntary basis for now, its implementation can still be viewed as a major and important development," he said.
The BICC chairman added that the council is aware that the government plans to make the system of registration obligatory for all contractors in the near future, but for now, the rule is that all those intending to undertake works related to government or public procurement have to be registered.
"This allows committees or others evaluating tenders to make their evaluations on more in-depth information than has previously been available to them, such as details of the workforce, machinery available, health, safety and insurance policies of the company and its past projects," he said. "It should also help us to move away from the idea that tenders are only awarded to the cheapest bidder."
See full interview on page 9

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt