St Julians’ residents were right to complain about works at night

Ombudsman raps the Building Regulation Office

Residents who complained about nighttime construction works on Birkirkara Road in St Julians were right after all: the Building Regulations Office did not have the right to approve the works.

Read: St Julian's council furious over night permits

The Ombudsman said in case notes published on Thursday that the BRO had insisted that the works were covered under Legal Notice 72/2013, and that it had additionally bound the contractor not to do any demolition or excavation works.

Read: Local council lambasts Transport Malta over night time works

The justification for the works continuing through the summer was that the road was considered to be an important alternative, given the Kappara Junction project was underway at the time. In fact, the works were permitted by Transport Malta.

The Ombudsman concluded that the legal notice cited by the BRO – which deals with danger to third party properties – was not the only one applicable, and that the BRO was wrong to allow the works to go ahead on the strength of it.

He said that the BRO should have sought the approval of the Malta Tourism Authority before issuing the permit for works within a designated tourism zone, and added that removal of debris from a site actually fell under the definition of “excavation” and therefore should not have been allowed.

“The BRO should ensure that developers carry out demolition works under strict mitigation measures and that these works are not embarked upon just before the start of the summer,” he concluded, noting that approval should only be granted “in exceptional circumstances and under stricter control”.

The Ombudsman noted drily that no reaction was forthcoming from the BRO – which he took to mean that it was “abiding by these recommendations”.

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