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This article was written by Dorita Cardona and Joshua Chircop

The Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects has published a White Paper proposing the setting up of a Building and Construction Regulator (“the Regulator”), as part of a reorganisation project of the building industry.

The Regulator

It is proposed that the Regulator will be responsible for harmonising and consolidating current work practices, standards, procedures, regulations and laws currently governing the industry under a single piece of legislation, which will consequently be brought before Parliament as a Bill. The Minister responsible for Infrastructure, under whose authority the Regulator shall lie, has appointed a Chief Executive Officer to draw up an operational plan for the Regulator. 

The New Legislation

The White Paper proposes the elimination of outdated sections of the law, addresses conflicting provisions and updates current legislation in line with contemporary technical and legal exigencies. As part of the project, the following laws currently in force will be harmonised:

1. Building Regulations Act (Cap. 513);
2. Parts of the Police Code (Cap. 10);
3. Parts of the Civil Code (Cap. 16);
4. Development Planning Act (Cap. 552);
5. Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property Regulations, 2013 (L.N. 72 of 2013);
6. Environmental Management Construction Site Regulations, 2007 (L.N. 295 of 2007);
7. Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations, 2018 (L.N. 47 of 2018); and
8. OHSA’s Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

The Authority

The proposed legislation will formally establish a Building and Construction Authority (“the Authority”), which will take over from the Regulator once the bill is promulgated into law. The Authority will act as the sole port of call for all building and construction related matters.

Aims of the Authority

The White Paper is further proposing that the Authority will take over the statutory responsibilities currently entrusted to various scattered entities responsible for regulation at post-permit stage. To this end, the following entities will be consolidated into the structures of the Authority:

1. Building Industry Consultative Council;
2. Building Regulation Office;
3. Building Regulation Board; and
4. Masons Board.

The Authority is expected to become the principal consultant for building and construction matters within the Planning Authority, thus taking over the roles in this industry currently carried out by the:
1. Civil Protection Department;
2. Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability;
3. Department of Environmental Health; and
4. Occupational Health and Safety Authority.

Objectives of the Authority

It is also proposed that the Authority will have the following objectives:

1. Acting as an advisor to the Government of Malta on policies related to the industry;
2. Servicing the building industry;
3. Conducting training to enhance skills and trades related to the industry;
4. Becoming the national focal point for the industry, both in terms of operations and research;
5. Bringing together industry stakeholders;
6. Consulting industry stakeholders and the general public;
7. Establishing quality assurance frameworks;
8. Raising industry-related standards;
9. Providing a regulatory framework for the industry in which to operate;
10. Providing accountability through a disciplinary process that is independent, transparent and effective;
11. Providing categorisation for the different providers in the industry;
12. Conducting research in the industry for innovation; and
13. Spearheading any changes to other legislation which could impact the industry.

Structure of the Authority

The White Paper proposes the following operational set-up for the Authority:

1.Board of Directors headed by a non-Executive Chairman;
3.Directorates and Units which will include:
    • Corporate Services Directorate;
    • Administration and Processing of Applications;
    • Enforcement and Compliance;
    • Regulations and Policies;
    • Research, Consultancy and Innovation; and
    • Education, Training and Skills Development;
4.Committees and forums for policy generation, research and innovation.

Consultation period

The Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects has opened a public consultation period to all stakeholders until the 15th October, 2018. Submission may be made here.

This document does not purport to give legal, financial or tax advice. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Joe Borg Bartolo & Dr. Dorita Cardona.