Architects’ chamber blames contractor for Birkirkara slab collapse


An investigation into the incident of a site collapse on the former GO Exchange building in Psaila Street by the Chamber of Architects, has laid blame at the feet of the contractor of the site – Polidano Bros Ltd.

The Chamber, whose internal inquiry was to find any potential breaches by any of the architects involved in the project, said the demolition method statement did not instruct the contractor to execute the works as illustrated in the videos widely reported in the media.

The Chamber also said it found no cooperation from the Building and Construction Authority in its fact-finding exercise to establish whether any professional malpractice did indeed occur.

The project is a demolition of the former building and the construction of an apartment complex by Excel Investments.

An alarming video from February 2023 showed how demolition works carried out in Birkirkara’s busy Psaila Street caused large stones to fall a height of at least three storeys, crashing down beyond supposedly protective hoarding. The demolition was carried out by Excel Investments, owned by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli, and the project architect is Maria Schembri Grima.

Schembri Grima resigned from her position as chair of the Building and Construction Agency, which is responsible for safeguarding third parties and safe working practices.

The Chamber said the contractor, Polidano Bros Ltd, had failed to follow the demolition method statement, and adhere with the instruction given on site by the site technical officer (STO) on 9 February 2023, in agreement with the architect-in-charge, to clear the site from demolition debris so that a mobile crane could be set up within the confines of the site, before any further demolition works are carried out.

“This instruction was issued since discussions were underway between the architect-in-charge, the STO and the contractor on modifications to the method statement requiring the use of a mobile crane,” the Chamber said.

It added that the contractor appears to have decided to hastily proceed with the demolition works over the weekend as he sought fit, in defiance of the instructions given by the STO instead of granting the time to the architects involved in the project to finalise the amended method statement.

“The Council has thus determined that its investigation against the periti involved in this project would be closed since no breaches of the Periti Act were established. It is regretted that the Building and Construction Authority did not cooperate with the Kamra’s investigations.”

Sign up to receive the best Underground art & real estate news in your inbox everyday.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

This post was originally published on this site be sure to check out more of their content.