Comparing the average number of full development permit applications filed in 2019 with that for first half of this year, she says there are indications of a 20 per cent drop.
The number of applications submitted are in the low 4000s, well below the 10,000 or so listed last December, she notes. If one were to divide the odd 4,000 applications filed by the number of months till June, it would work out at about 670 a month. Doing the same exercise in relation to 2019, the average number of monthly development applications stood at about 835, she added.
Figures provided by the Planning Authority show that the number of planning applications received in May stood at 685, compared to 967 a year earlier. There were 817 in March (999 in March 2019), and 684 in April (966). Such applications are for new structures or extensive extensions, like, say, a new floor. Planning applications validated amounted to 712 in May (855), 840 in April (959) and 758 in March (863).
Applications for development notification orders submitted to make small changes, such as a new door inside a building, numbered 97 in May (144), 93 in April (151), and 109 in March (134). A total of 103 were validated in May (139), 87 in April (118) and 98 in March (145).
The planning watchdog received 114 applications in May (309) for so-called regularisation, that is, to modify the actual structure and bring it in line with the plans originally submitted. A total of 131 were received in April (297) and 153 in March (278). Validations amounted to 141 in May (349), 159 in April (329) and 150 in March (223).
Ms Vella Lenicker admitted it would be difficult saying what will happen in the coming months. “However, it must be noted that, up to now, the construction industry has been moving on the strength of previously contracted projects. There is a clear slowdown in new work, and the impacts of this will be felt in the coming months. The Kamra tal-Periti will continue to keep tabs on the situation in order to be able to react to the situation as it changes, the President asserted.
The chamber of architects and civil engineers believes the current slowdown is the perfect opportunity to review certain practices in the industry that are no longer sustainable. In fact, it has just published its final proposals for a Modern Building and Construction Regulation Framework, which, it noted, is supported by all industry stakeholders. Mr Vella Lenicker said the proposals will address many of the ailments of the industry “in a manner which our country deserves, pulling it out from certain mediocre practices that are also endangering public safety.”