New primary school without compliance certificate after two years

A new primary school inaugurated by Prime Minister Robert Abela in Qawra is still without a compliance certificate after nearly two years, despite having been completed three years late and some €13 million over budget.

Developers who do not build according to approved plans are not able to acquire water and electricity services until a compliance certificate has been presented to the PA, but this government school was given the necessary services by Enemalta and the Water Services Corporation.

Asked by The Shift to confirm that the Qawra school is still without a compliance certificate, the Planning Authority did not reply, despite various reminders. Nor did it explain how the government school, built by the Foundation for Tomorrow Schools (FTS), was connected to utility services against current regulations.

Sources at the Education Ministry told The Shift that both Enemalta and the WSC were ordered by the minister to “close an eye” to avoid further embarrassment over the project.

Originally planned to start hosting students in 2017, the project was hit by massive delays and the opening date was postponed four times.

The delays occurred at a time when FTS CEOs were being replaced every few months, and when Edward Caruana, a senior official and canvasser for Minister Evarist Bartolo, was arraigned in court and accused of taking bribes from contractors involved in school building projects.

According to new plans presented to the PA, the contractors and the architect in charge — former Labour minister Charles Buhagiar — departed significantly from the original designs, and a new permit must be issued. The current FTS CEO, Neville Young, has applied to the PA to sanction the school as built in order to regularise the many development illegalities.

Building industry sources blamed mismanagement for the situation. “If you have a good management plan in place,” they said, “deviations from the original designs would be minimal and would only require a minor amendment notice by the PA. Apart from the necessity for a new approval, major changes during construction also mean price variations, so that the contractors involved can get paid much more than the original cost of the tender.”

The building of Qawra’s new primary school was originally estimated to cost some €9 million, but final costs may reach €13 million.

The school is badly needed due to a massive population increase in St Paul’s Bay, which resulted in students being housed in containers at the old school while the new facility was being built.



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2 years ago

How could something like this happen when we have OWEN BONNECI, former Minister of Justice, convicted of breaking the law hundreds of times, all that ‘GOOD GOVERNACE’ could show us?

Did he not understand anything?

2 years ago

They cannot even build a school according to plan. The contractor sub contracted to a whom? At 50% more?

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