The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti has been alerted to a legal notice directing periti to produce fictitious values for agricultural land that have no underpinning in the market.
It appears that the purpose of this exercise is to artificially contain the value of farmland, and direct periti away from reporting a fair market value in line with international and national valuation standards.
In view of the above, the Council is advising periti not to file valuation reports in accordance with such legal notice until further notice as such reports may give rise to potential professional negligence, besides exposing periti to litigation by aggrieved parties due to the apparent unconstitutionality of such subsidiary legislation.
Further to Directive DIR 08/2022, the Council met with the Commissioner for Revenue, Mr Joseph Caruana, and the Director of Property Tax, Ms Josette Galdes on 12th August 2022. During this meeting the Council outlined its serious misgivings about the tender, particularly relative to the capping of €25 per valuation report and €25 per Court sitting. The Council also pointed out that there is no mention of remuneration for disbursements, such as acquiring planning permits from the PA, and that such remuneration fees would inevitably affect the quality of the valuations being provided.
During the meeting the CFR stated that it understood the nature of the Kamra’s objection, and expressed its openness to introducing differential rates, distinguishing between the valuation of garages and hotel resorts, which would have otherwise all been compensated for at the capped rate of €25.
It was agreed that the CFR would consult with the Department of Contracts (DoC) to establish whether the tender as published could be amended. However, the CFR was not willing to withdraw and republish the tender should this not be possible.
On 16th August 2022, the CFR informed the Council that the DoC was unable to amend the tender.
Given the above, the Council is notifying members of the profession that the only resolution to the matter is allowing the current tender to run its course without any bids, so it may be republished after appropriate consultation is made with the Kamra in accordance with article 4 of Subsidiary Legislation 390.01.
Moreover, the Council shall retain Directive DIR 08/2022 in place. Members of the profession are reminded that disciplinary action will be taken against periti who do not abide by the Directive.
Following the EGM held on Thursday 26th May 2022, the Minister for Public Works and Planning was informed of the approved motion and has agreed to instruct the BCA to suspend the coming into force of the Guidelines it had circulated at the Informative Session last Monday.
Further to the BCA “Informative Session” (sic) held yesterday, the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti hereby notifies members of the profession that contrary to statements made by BCA management, the Council was never consulted about the Guidelines published and circulated on the day, even less so agreed to their contents.
Indeed, the Council disagrees with the processes contained within this new document, which it read for the first time yesterday evening, on several grounds. In particular, the Council notes the fact that the guideline further exacerbates the BCA’s misinterpretation of the provisions of S.L.623.06 (L.N. 136 of 2019, as amended).
https://www.kamratalperiti.org/wp-content/uploads/CIR-6-22.jpg580773Kamra tal-Peritihttps://kamratalperiti.org/wp-content/uploads/logo-3-300x159.pngKamra tal-Periti2022-05-24 08:30:082022-05-24 08:37:45CIR 06/22 | BCA guidelines for the processing of applications
Following the publication of Circular CIR 02/22, the Council has had a meeting with the Water Services Corporation to discuss to iron out the liability and security issues present in its online portal.
With satisfaction, we wish to inform members of the profession that the portal was redesigned and is now live.
CIR 02/22 is thus hereby repealed.
Periti may wish to proceed with the submission of WSC clearance requests using the newly redesigned portal.
We take this opportunity to thank the WSC management and technical staff for their swift action.
Further to Section 4 of Circular 01/2022 published on 21st March 2022, the Council is herewith publishing guidance on the preparation of risk assessment reports in support of waiver requests, or to be forwarded to the contractor for the preparation of method statements.
This guidance reorganises the contents of the schedules in Subsidiary Legislation 623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended) such that documentation is drawn up in full compliance with current regulations while ensuring the positions of conflict are avoided.
Once discussions on the overhaul of S.L. 623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended) are concluded and brought into force, it has been agreed with the BCA that the Kamra shall be issuing revised guidance on risk assessment which would not be strictly bound by the aforementioned schedules.
Project Risk Assessment
A comprehensive project risk assessment, drawn up by the perit responsible for the design and specification of engineering works, should include:
1. The identification of the risks involved, after taking account of the structural condition of the construction itself and contiguous buildings, including:
1.1 Description of the structure system used for floors (e.g reinforced concrete slabs, stone slabs on timber beams, concrete frame, etc).
1.2 Description of the structure system used for transmitting vertical load (e.g. masonry walls, concrete columns, foundations, etc).
1.3 Sketch plan of each contiguous building.
2. Where additional construction over an existing building or part thereof is to take place:
2.1Checks showing that any existing floors are capable of sustaining the additional load being imposed by the new construction these should include:
a) an estimate of existing and proposed loads in every floor, and a declaration that the structural elements of each individual floor are capable of sustaining the additional loads when checked in accordance with established codes of practice;
b) a description of any additional reinforcement work that may be necessary in each floor.
2.2 Checks showing that the foundations of the building are capable of sustaining any additional loads placed over the existing storeys. These should include:
a) an estimate of the existing and proposed loads at foundation level;
b) information about the nature of the foundations of the building, including type and dimensions, or where this is not available, a statement about the design assumptions in accordance with codes of practice;
c) information on the nature of the ground, supported by the respective ground investigation reports that shall be attached to the works specifications.
3. Where excavation is to take place:
3.1 A description of the loads acting on the ground within the excavation affected zone, including:
a) Clear identification of the structural system of the building, within this zone, describing how load is transmitted to the
b) An estimate of the load reaching foundation level, in kN/m or
c) Identification of the type and dimensions of foundations within this
d) An estimate of the bearing pressure at foundation level in kN/m² in the case of strip footings, pad footings and raft
3.2 A description of the excavation affected zone, explained schematically inclusive of a dimensioned plan that includes the following:
a) the limits of excavation;
b) the depth of each part of the excavation;
c) the affected zone of the excavation, shown shaded and dimensioned;
d) the properties and buildings belonging to third parties that fall within the affected zone of the
3.3 A description of the ground conditions. This should include the following:
a) identification of ground materials through the geological map of the Maltese Islands;
b) (i) information from any ground investigation reports that fall within the immediate surroundings, specifically within the affected zone; OR
(ii) information from other periti who have built or supervised excavation in the immediate surroundings, after having obtained the necessary consent to use this information; OR
(iii) information from a ground investigation that would need to be commissioned for the proposed project. This investigation shall be carried out from within the site that is to be excavated. In the case of excavations not exceeding 2m in depth, such information may be obtained from trial pits, whereas borehole drilling with full recovery shall be required for all other proposed excavation depths. If agreement is reached with the neighbouring third parties within the affected zone, boreholes shall be drilled, inclined, from within the site that is to be excavated, into the ground beneath the neighbouring third party properties.
3.4 Identification of the risks involved in carrying out the excavation, taking into account the expected strength of the ground materials, the presence or otherwise of fissures, and the loads within the affected
4. Additional Recommendations:
Moreover, the perit responsible for the design and specification of engineering works shall also include in the Project Risk Assessment requirements regarding the content of the method statement/s, including:
4.1 Any recommendations the perit deems necessary regarding the sequence of works to be undertaken on the basis of the risk assessment.
Provided that in the case of excavation, this should include:
a) where the excavation is to be started from;
b) any phasing required to achieve the required rock buttressing;
c) the levels that should be attained in each stage of the
d) Subject to the provisions of the Civil Code (Cap. 16.), where underpinning is to be undertaken, full details of how the underpinning works are to be executed, supported by scaled plans, sections and detailed drawings. A description of how the underpinning works are to be phased in relation to other excavation work needs to be
4.2 Any project-specific measures the perit deems necessary to safeguard the stability of the works being undertaken, the stability of contiguous structures or terrain as the case may be;
4.3 The precautions and safeguards to be adopted, including:
a) against instability of the structure;
b) for parts thereof being demolished or altered;
c) for any contiguous structures;
d) any monitoring readings that are required to be undertaken during demolition and excavation, describing where, how and what is to be measured and what results are to be tolerated prior to taking ulterior
The Council has been informed that the Water Services Corporation has launched an online portal to deal with requests for clearance in relation to permit conditions. Such clearances would be used to support requests for compliance certificates from the Planning Authority.
The portal, which makes use of the e-ID login, requests from periti the uploading of a standalone scanned copy of the permit perit’s signature and that of another perit or warranted engineer, where applicable.
This is clearly unacceptable for several reasons which require little to no explaining to those who possess a basic understanding of the liability and security risk implications such a system poses.
Periti are hereby advised not to utilise this portal, until it is redesigned to eliminate such risk implications.
The recent changes in the processing of clearance requests filed by periti on behalf of their clients to the BCA have brought to the fore yet again the serious issues related to the Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property Regulations, S.L.623.06 (LN 136 of 2019, as amended).
Ever since the publication of these regulations in the Government Gazette on 25th June 2019, the Council of the Kamra has never ceased its efforts to have these regulations replaced with a sound suite of regulations that would align our industry with best-practice legislation found in the rest of Europe, in the interest of public safety and quality in the built environment.
Our efforts may not have been visible, and we have been very often restrained in our communication about the extensive discussions happening behind the scenes. This restraint was not because we did not feel the need to keep you updated, but because successful negotiations can only happen when the parties around the table demonstrate good faith and discretion.
Many periti have frequently reached out to the Council privately to express their frustrations or vented their disgruntlement on the Periti Discussion Group on Facebook. We have listened to every word and read every post and comment. We understand what you have been going through because all of us on Council are also in practice and go through the same things you do on a daily basis. We also share your deep concern about how the profession has been abused to make up for the grave shortcomings in the industry and its gross regulatory failures.
These shared concerns motivate the Council to doggedly and incessantly push for regulatory reform, no matter how long it takes or how long-winded the discussions are.
We are now in a position to update you on some of the progress we have made.
1. PROCESSING OF CLEARANCE REQUESTS
On 17th February 2022, when the Council was alerted by members of the profession that significant changes to the processing of commencement/clearance requests had been suddenly brought into force, we requested an urgent meeting with the BCA. After three meetings, lasting approximately 11 hours in total, we have reached an agreement on the new procedures that will be adopted by the BCA on clearance requests going forward.
The new procedures are outlined in the Guidance Note issued by the BCA linked below.
This guidance note reflects several positions the Kamra has been advocating for the past 32 months and 25 days, namely:
The role of STOs as intended in the regulations, albeit questionable, is to supplement the setup of contractors. Exemption requests for the appointment of STOs should thus be made by contractors since it is their responsibility to appoint them. The perit-in-charge should have no involvement whatsoever in any such exemption requests.
The provisions of the regulations do not distinguish among projects of differing scale and risk. The full application of the regulations for projects that do not result in any risk to third-parties, such as the removal of surface top-soil or floor build-ups, is excessive and disproportionate.
Periti should be given the opportunity to exercise their professional judgement in assessing the site-specific risk of each project. Many of the new procedural provisions found in the BCA’s guidance note rely on the risk assessment of the perit-in-charge in determining requests for partial waivers of provisions in the regulations. However, such waiver requests should be filed by the beneficiary of such requests, namely the developer or the contractor, as applicable, and the BCA should make a determination on whether such a waiver request is accepted. Periti should not be compelled to carry liabilities for others.
There should be a distinction between periti forming part of the design team, and those working in the contractor team. STOs and periti drafting method statements should form part of the latter team. This is clearly inferred in the Guidance Note.
The BCA is clamping down on the indiscriminate use of regulation 26 to circumvent the regulations altogether. The BCA has presented Council representatives a number of outrageous regulation 26 requests signed by warrant holders that are grossly irresponsible and negligent, and which are bringing the profession into disrepute among BCA officials as a result. Although the BCA has never filed complaints to the Kamra about individual periti, the Council will not hesitate to open conduct cases should complaints filed by the BCA be substantiated.
It is important to also underscore that the negligent behaviour of some periti resulting in insurance claim settlements, is one of the reasons why PII insurance premia continue to rise. It is the Council’s duty to the entire profession to uphold standards to ensure warrant-holders practise professionally at all times.
The requests for waivers under regulation 25 as outlined in the guidance note may be filed in the form of a letter signed by the developer or contractor, as applicable, and submitted together with the risk assessment by the perit who applied for the permit, who would not carry any professional liability for the request. There are no specific forms issued by the BCA envisaged for the filing of such requests.
The potential implication of regulation 26 declarations, with no review or assessment by the BCA, is that periti signing them may be carrying third-party liability on their own. On the other hand, the fact that regulation 25 waiver requests would necessitate a determination by the BCA and would not bear the signature of the perit-in-charge would ensure that third-party liability would be apportioned in the manner that has long been established by the Civil Code.
Nevertheless, the Kamra has consistently maintained that LN 136 of 2019 (as amended) can only work through exemptions and waivers, making it a deficient piece of legislation that was hastily drafted and must be replaced at the earliest opportunity.
2. AMENDMENTS TO LN 136 OF 2019
The Kamra is engaged in concurrent discussions with the BCA on overhauling the provisions of LN 136 of 2019 to make it work. As you will certainly be aware, the Council had published a redraft in April 2021 which encompassed most of the recommendations found in the Quintano Report. The redraft was circulated among periti and the media for feedback and recommendations.
Securing amendments to LN 136 of 2019 is, of course, an interim solution until a more comprehensive suite of building and construction regulations are published and the licensing of contractors is brought into force. We understand, however, that this process is not envisaged to be completed in the short-term.
Thus, the BCA agreed with the Kamra to undertake immediate discussions on the amendments to the legal notice necessary to address its main deficiencies and eliminate all scenarios that may result in positions of conflict forced upon members of the profession by the regulations themselves.
The objective is to ensure that such amendments are brought into force in the short-term.
3. DIRECTIVE ON PRACTISING ETHICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF LN 136 OF 2019
As many of you will be aware, the Council organised an Extraordinary General Meeting last December to consult with members of the profession on the principles behind a Directive the Council had drafted. The draft directive’s purpose was to reinforce the separation of the design team and contractor team, and consequently the separation of roles and liabilities of periti within the two distinct teams. Such demarcation will ensure that the confusion about professional liabilities that has arisen since these regulations came into force is addressed, and will provide direction to periti on how to comply with the First Code in the Code of Professional Conduct of Periti (S.L.390.01) governing positions of conflict.
This new Directive, whose principles were unanimously approved by the EGM, will be issued in the very near future.
4. GUIDANCE ON RISK ASSESSMENT
In previous sections of this circular, we have made mention of the requirement for periti-in-charge to draw up risk assessment reports as part of the new waiver procedures.
The Council has prepared guidance on how periti are to undertake a Risk Assessment, extracting those elements from the schedules of LN 136 of 2019 that should be prepared by the perit-in-charge, or a perit within the design team.
Communication relayed from the Architects’ Council of Europe
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
A Transition Period was agreed, running from 31 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 – during which time, the UK and the EU are negotiating the terms of a Free Trade Agreement which should cover, amongst other things, provisions for mobility and the provision of professional services.
While Directive 2005/36/EC on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) will no longer apply from 1 January 2021, the arrangements currently set out in this Directive continue to apply until the end of the Transition Period – including provisions for automatic recognition, recognition under the general system and temporary or occasional provision of services.
From 1 January 2021
The UK Government has said that
EEA/Swiss Architects already registered with ARB will continue to be recognised;
EEA/Swiss Architects practising under temporary and occasional status will be able to continue to do so until the expiry of such status, with no option to renew;
EEA/Swiss Architects who have submitted applications to ARB to have their professional qualification recognised before exit day but have not yet received a decision will have their application considered/concluded under the Directive procedure as far as possible (within the deadlines set out in the UK Architects Act 1997).
The EU Commission has also stated that decisions on the recognition of UK qualifications in EU Member States before 1 January 2021 are not affected.
Therefore, UK architects thinking of registering in one of the 27 EU Member States – and EU27 architects thinking of registering in the UK – are advised to initiate the procedure before 31 December and ideally as soon as possible if they wish to benefit from current arrangements. All those seeking to register in the EU27 or the UK are advised to check national application requirements in the host state and ensure that all relevant documents and certificates are available prior to making an application.
Applications submitted after 1 January 2021
The UK has indicated that it will retain a system of recognition for EEA and Swiss qualifications at exit day that is similar to the current system.
ARB, the UK regulator of architects will continue to recognise EEA/Swiss qualifications that are currently automatically recognised and referred to in point 5.7.1 of Annex V to Directive 2005/36/EC as it has effect on the day the UK exits the EU, provided the applicant has access to the profession in their home state. EEA/Swiss citizenship will not be a requirement for this system of recognition.
EEA/Swiss qualifications previously falling in the scope of the General System, and acquired rights nationals, will be required to apply under the third country route to recognition. This includes undertaking ARB’s Prescribed Examinations at Part 1 and Part 2, and the completion of an ARB-prescribed UK Part 3 qualification.
Individuals with UK qualifications seeking recognition to offer services in the EEA or Switzerland should check national policies in the host State.
Implications for the recognition, in the UK, of holders of EEA/Swiss qualifications
For EEA/Swiss professionals (including UK nationals holding EEA/Swiss qualifications) who are already established and have received a recognition decision in the UK, this recognition decision will not be affected and will remain valid.
EEA/Swiss professionals (including UK nationals holding EEA/Swiss qualifications) who have not started an application for a recognition decision in the UK before 1 January 2021 will be subject to future arrangements, as detailed above.
EEA/Swiss professionals (including UK nationals holding EEA/ Swiss qualifications) who have applied for a recognition decision and are awaiting a decision on 1 January 2021 will, as far as possible, be able to conclude their applications in line with the provisions of the MRPQ Directive.
EEA/Swiss Architects practising under temporary and occasional status will be able to continue to do so until the expiry of such status, with no option to renew.
Implications for the recognition, in EU27, of holders of UK qualifications
The European Commission’s “Notice to Stakeholders” of 21 June 2018 states that “the withdrawal of the UK does not affect decisions on the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in the UK taken before the withdrawal date on the basis of Directive 2005/36/EC) by an EU-27 Member State.
The EC’s Notice to Stakeholders also states that as of the withdrawal date, “UK nationals will be third country nationals and hence Directive 2005/36/EC no longer applies to them”. It follows that:
– Recognition of professional qualifications of UK nationals in an EU-27 Member State will be governed by national policies and rules of that Member State irrespective of whether the qualifications of the UK national were obtained in the UK, in another third country or in an EU-27 MS;
– The temporary or occasional provision of services by UK nationals in an EU-27 MS, even if they are already legally established in an EU-27 MS will be governed by the national policies and rules of that MS.
 For recognition procedures that are on-going on withdrawal date, the “Joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU: establishes that, in respect of persons covered in that report, these recognition procedures will be completed under Union law (para. 32).
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Today, the Kamra tal-Periti joins its European and global counterparts in celebrating World Architecture Day, which this year is based on the theme “Towards a Better Urban Future”.
In 1986, the International Union of Architects (UIA) established World Architecture Day to coincide with World Habitat Day, with the aim to draw the attention of professionals and the public to issues concerning cities and housing. This year’s celebration comes amidst the global coronavirus pandemic which has caused us all to make changes to our lifestyles, and has compelled us to question many of our ways, not least our urban environment and the design of our buildings, and how these support and impact our quality of life.
This year’s theme brings to the fore a number of issues that are relevant to our current reality. Most schools will be reopening today, welcoming our younger generations to a new reality which will take some time to adapt to. Many of our elderly are isolated in care homes, while others are left wondering how often they can see and embrace their grandchildren now that these are returning to their school benches. Various offices have resorted to teleworking practices in an effort to contain the spread of the virus and to protect their staff, while other workers who do not have the option to work from home face daily struggles to ensure their own safety and that of their families. All of these activities take place in buildings and urban spaces, designed and created by architects, engineers, and planners, whose responsibility in shaping our future is crucial – for indeed it is a responsibility, and a privilege, to be able to contribute to the future of our country in such a lasting manner.
This Day cannot, therefore, go by without a reflection on how our profession is contributing towards a better urban environment. Are we being of service to society, seeking the common good, or are we serving other masters for more immediate benefits? This brings to mind the seminal Encyclical Laudato Sí, penned by Pope Francis five years ago, where he stated that “If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony. Let us refuse to resign ourselves to this, and continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything. Otherwise we would simply legitimate the present situation and need new forms of escapism to help us endure the emptiness.”
How are we going to rise to the challenge to help our communities recover and rebuild? How are we going to ensure that what we design today is adaptable to future realities, while keeping the persons who inhabit our buildings and use our spaces at the centre of our design ethos? Are we ready to safeguard our common home in an effort to ensure the resilience of our future generations?
This is not just a lofty ideal. This is a duty, and a commitment we must all acknowledge.
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The Kamra tal-Periti is affiliated with the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE), European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE), Union International des Architects (UIA), Union of Mediterranean Architects (UMAR), Commonwealth Architects Association (CAA), and the Malta Federation of Professional Associations (MFPA).
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