New building site regulations aim to avoid damages to neighbours

The Resources Minister this afternoon formally launched new building site regulations aimed at reducing risks to third parties.They also introduce faster measures of redress when damages are caused.

Minister George Pullicino said the need for these regulations was borne out by the fact that 60 percent of development applications before Mepa now involved redevelopment, on sites which were inevitably surrounded by other buildings.

Regulations issued two years ago had addressed the environmental impact of building sites, he said, while the accent now was on safety and reducing inconvenience to third parties.
Mr Pullicino said contractors would have to be classified according to the nature of the work they could perform.

Building works would have to be preceded by a method statement which would show how the work would be carried out,the machinery to be used, and the time schedule. The method statement would be publically available and people would be able to file objections.
Contractors would be required to take out insurance to cover damages to third parties.
They would also be required to submit a bank guarantee of up to €40,000 to pay for damages not covered by insurance.

Disputes between the contractors and third parties would be submitted to mandatory arbitration - this method having been chosen so that redress could be given quickly and without burdening the law courts.
Mr Pullicino said the Building Regulation Office would be empowered to stop works not being carried out in line with the method statement.

The regulations establish that noise levels may not exceed 65 decibels and works may only be carried out between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.
There are also provisions to limit vibrations caused by such works.
The regulations are to be tabled in Parliament in October.

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