Building agency outsources audits to former minister, Corinthia company

The Building and Construction Agency (BCA) is paying a private architectural firm owned by former Labour Minister Charles Buhagiar to conduct audits on its behalf.

These audits involve reviewing construction method statements, which explain the step-by-step process contractors must follow during excavation, demolition or construction.

The same regulator previously tasked Buhagiar’s firm to write the rules underpinning the same method statements his firm is now auditing. Something industry insiders consider to be a conflict of interest.

To add to the situation’s complexity, the former minister, now in his late 60s, also serves as the government’s chairman of the Building Industry Consultative Council.

This council comprises developers and construction industry stakeholders who submit proposals for implementing rules set by the Building and Construction Agency.

Buhagiar’s firm is one of a few companies that won a tender in November 2021 to work on the Building and Construction Agency’s approval of method statements.

Payments made to the various architectural firms so far.

According to information tabled in parliament following questions by PN spokesman Ryan Callus, Buhagiar’s firm, Med Design Associates, has already been paid over €17,000 for auditing method statements.

The BCA’s list of firms that have been awarded this work is topped by QPM – an architectural firm owned by the Corinthia Group. The firm, which counts Alfred Pisani among its directors, has already pocketed €36,000 from the auditing of method statements.

It is also one of the firms awarded several direct orders from the Building and Construction Agency in recent years.

Until a few years ago, David Xuereb ran the Corinthia company and was also on the board of directors of the Building and Construction Agency, but he was forced to resign from the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) following the Jean Paul Sofia public inquiry.

Other companies currently doing this work for the Building and Construction Agency include Carter Genovese, headed by Claire Carter; EMDP of Mosta, owned by former Planning Authority permits board member Mariello Spiteri; and PMA Architecture, owned by former PN MP Philip Mifsud. 

A few years ago, the government established the Building and Construction Agency in response to serious incidents that took place in the construction industry.

Despite introducing several new rules on paper, no effective change has taken place, and many individuals in the industry continue to act with impunity while enforcement remains elusive.

                           

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Mick
Mick
1 month ago

It’s the building trade, wholly and totally controlled by the MAFIA. It’s the easiest way to wash dirty money, so they will write a bible of practices all of which will be binned / ignored as NOTHING can be allowed to interfere with the greatest cash cow they possess. The BCA is just a collection of crooks charged with maintaining the status quo.

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