Cost and quality of property

Malta’s economic competitiveness depends on various factors such as the efficiency of our workers, costs of finance, and public sector bureaucracy. One other factor is the market value of property and its related maintenance – the higher the value of property and the higher the cost of maintaining it, the less competitive our economy becomes.

The quality of life of people is also dependent on buildings and, hence, on the way they are constructed

It is therefore imperative that developers give value for money while ensuring that the property is constructed in accordance with international standards.

Furthermore, developers should ensure that properties are designed in a way in which they would require minimum maintenance and minimum running costs in particular in relation to the cost of utilities.

In other words, one has to ensure that buildings are not only functional and well designed but are highly efficient in terms of resource use.

Thus, it is not correct for developers to measure success in buildings solely on the basis of profit. There are other important indicators of whether a building is a success or not.

To what extent are the needs and aspirations of the client and the end user met?

How does the building perform in terms of flexibility of use, operating and maintenance costs and sustainability?

To what extent does the building comply with society’s aspirations? Does the building in question make a positive contribution to the visual and urban design of the area?

The economy, our social infrastructure and our environment are dependent on the success or otherwise of our buildings. The quality of life of people is dependent on buildings and, hence, on the way they are constructed. Hence, the importance of the building industry.

An important consideration in any discussion on the industry is that the livelihood of many thousands depends on it. The last two or three years has seen a decline in construction activity, resulting in fewer jobs and reduced income.

A decline in construction is not good news for the taxpayer because of reduced income for the Government from taxation and potentially higher costs incurred by the State in terms of welfare benefits.

The Building Industry Consultative Council brings together stakeholders involved to varying degrees in the building process. By bringing stakeholders together and creating a forum for discussion, the BICC promotes a better understanding on the many issues relating to the building industry.

In the coming weeks and months, the BICC will take on a more pivotal role in the building industry in Malta.

It will work hard to improve work practices so that better quality can be achieved on construction sites.

It will promote and encourage training of construction workers. It will discuss difficulties and issues so that we can arrive at solutions together.

It will help and support research. It will seek to give construction a higher profile in Maltese society so that all workers engaged in construction, at whatever level and in whatever role, will feel proud to be part of this important industry.

To facilitate its operation, the BICC will subdivide into different working groups dealing with specific themes in relation to building and construction.

Improving the workers’ skills, energy efficiency in buildings, property markets, building regulations, research and innovation, procurement processes and standards of construction products, quality in the built environment and the regeneration of historic areas are those which more readily come to mind.

The BICC is the lead partner in BUILD UP Skills Malta, which also involves the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, Mala Intelligent Energy Management Agency and the Malta Chamber Foundation.

To date, the project has completed the Status Quo Report, which describes the current situation of vocational training on energy efficient buildings and on renewable energy sources.

The main outcome of the project will be the preparation of a road map that is aimed at equipping theconstruction industry workforce with such skills. This road map will propose initiatives on training, certification and related matters.

To achieve 2020 energy targets across Europe, there needs to be a technical workforce possessing the appropriate competences and skills on energy efficient buildings and on renewal energy sources.

The Malta project is part of a wider Europe-wide project involving 30 countries.

Intelligent Energy Europe, the European Union agency that is funding the programme, describes it as “an initiative to boost the energy skills of Europe’s building workforce”.

BICC will promote the improvement of workers’ skills and the use of innovative materials and work practices which conform to EU standards.

BICC will work hard to raise awareness about well-designed and energy efficient buildings, thus ensuring value for competitively priced property.

Ultimately, this would ensure that Malta’s economic competiveness will not be negatively affected by the cost and quality of property.

BUILD UP Skills Malta will be holding a consultation seminar on Friday.

For more information visit

Charles Buhagiar is chairman and CEO of the Building Industry Consultative Council.


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