News | Sunday, 03 January 2010

Bookmark and Share

Architect’s name determines success of MEPA applications

MEPA survey reveals 63% think choice of architect influences success of planning applications

A public awareness survey commissioned by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority has revealed that 63% of the Maltese believe that the applicant’s choice of architect has a direct bearing on MEPA’s decisions.
The survey was conducted by MISCO among 500 respondents.
The opinion that the choice of architect influences planning decisions is even more pronounced among respondents who have already used MEPA’s services. Among this category 65% replied ‘yes’ to the question “do you think the applicant’s choice of an architect to submit an application influences?”
Faced by the results of the survey, Vince Cassar, president of the Kamra tal-Periti, insisted this indicates a perception, and not necessarily an actual reality.
“We are here referring to professionals who undoubtedly render a good service and who do their best in order to get the best results for their clients. Unfortunately perceptions, not based on facts, do exist and such perceptions might have lead to the opinions expressed by the respondents.”
He also criticises the survey for failing to ask those who have used MEPA’s services one important and specific question: namely, how their choice of architect was made and whether it was influenced by any perceived or actual knowledge of the MEPA proceedings.
Architect Robert Musumeci, who writes a regular column in MaltaToday on permits issued by MEPA, insists that it is not the name of the architect which counts, but the arguments raised during the evaluation of an application.
“It is a fallacy to say that it is the name and surname of the architect that influences MEPA’s decisions – but it is the technical and legal arguments brought forward by the architect in charge of the application which in reality influences MEPA’s decisions.”
Musumeci was the architect for former PN president Victor Scerri’s controversial application to develop a villa inside Bahrija. The saga saw the revocation of part of a permit issued to Scerri and criticism by NGOs that Musumeci enjoyed a higher than average rate of success in obtaining permit approvals.
Musumeci however said it is the performance of the chosen architect which plays a vital role in the outcome of planning decisions, which are also “determined by well-studied arguments based on a thorough evaluation of planning laws and regulations, and their application in case law.”
The result of the survey comes in the wake of criticism towards architects by MEPA Auditor Joe Falzon, himself a former dean of the university’s Faculty of Architecture.
In a forum organised by environmental NGOs last month, Falzon queried the professional ethics of his profession. “Architects should not be looking for loopholes in the law in order to work around them and accommodate their client’s egoistic requirements. Architects are bound by the oath they take and an architect’s allegiance is not to his clients, but to the state,” he said.

Any comments?
If you wish your comments to be published in our Letters pages please click button below.
Please write a contact number and a postal address where you may be contacted.



Download MaltaToday Sunday issue front page in pdf file format


Strong leadership needed in 2010

Copyright © MediaToday Co. Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 9016, Malta, Europe
Managing editor Saviour Balzan | Tel. ++356 21382741 | Fax: ++356 21385075 | Email