Entities and organisations involved in the construction industry will be summoned for talks during the coming week to identify how the sector could be made safer, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Saturday.

Speaking after the collapse of a building in Mellieħa next to a construction site earlier in the day, the Prime Minister said clear responsibilities had to be carried in such cases.

The Mellieħa incident, he said, had to be taken in the context of another seemingly similar incident, a boom in the construction industry, and the fact that people were asking how were human lives and safety to be protected in such cases.

Without going into the merits of the case, Dr Muscat said that responsibilities in similar cases were clear.

There were warranted professionals who had to sign off on projects and contractors who had to follow instructions given by architects. The responsibilities were clear and could not be avoid it through any argument, he said, adding the government was not waiting for tragedies to happen to take action.

It had already announced it was uniting the regulatory authorities into one that would supervise closer similar works being undertaken.

Dr Muscat acknowledged that the sector was currently fragmented. 

Development applications were assessed and approved by the Planning Authority, but the PA was not responsible for a variety of other aspects involved in construction. 

There were a number of entities such as the Building Regulations Office and a number of other boards that were being consolidated into one unit, the Prime Minister said. 

Dr Muscat said he would be pushing to speed up the process to consolidate these responsibilities under a single entity, to ensure there was a clear point of call when it came to enforcement and regulatory matters.

The government did not enter into how individual projects were developed, he said: there were professionals with a warrant for that. The government's job was to ensure enforcement, but a lot still needed to be done, Dr Muscat admitted. 

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