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The licence regulates whether a contractor may work or not

Talk.mt asks…

On Monday, March 13, 2023, the Ministry of Public Works and Planning launched a public consultation on a legal notice that will provide a framework for contractor licensing. The public consultation will end on April 21. Talk.mt asks:

Why has the need for contractor licensing been identified in the construction industry?

The construction contractor license will regulate who can perform demolition, excavation and construction work. This is to ensure a higher quality of qualifications of contractors and their employees in this sector.

What types of construction activities are covered by the contractor license in the construction sector?

This is the first phase of the process to introduce contractor licensing in the construction sector. The three contractor license categories are demolition, excavation (including pile driving), and construction.

Who needs a construction contractor licence in the construction industry in Malta?

The licence is required for all individuals or companies already engaged in the construction industry, for those intending to engage in the industry, and for all persons from EU member states and third countries who will be carrying out construction work in Malta. This applies to anyone involved in demolition, excavation and construction.

Can I apply for more than one licence?

Yes. An individual or company can have one licence for each category – demolition, excavation and construction.

When will the first applications for contractor licencing be received?

Beginning June 1, 2023, anyone engaged in demolition, excavation and construction may apply for the required license. Those contractors who have applied to the Building Department by the end of October 2023 will be able to proceed beginning November 1, 2023. At that time, a provisional permit or license will be issued, depending on the case.

Which authority is responsible for issuing these licences?

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Contractor Licensing Committee will review applications and issue licences.

What documents do I need to submit to get the contractor licence?

In addition to the basic personal information of the applicant, a valid insurance policy covering the services provided on construction sites is mandatory. This is in addition to the fact that any applicant who employs construction workers must obtain an insurance policy – employers’ liability.

What are the rights and obligations associated with obtaining a contractor’s licence in the construction industry?

Those who obtain the licence may engage in demolition, excavation and construction. The obligations come from the legal notice that governs these licences. It is important that these obligations are respected.

Is there a period of validity for the contractor’s license in construction?

The validity period is three years.

Can a foreign company or individual apply for a construction contractor licence in Malta?

Yes. If the applicant holds or has held a licence or registration issued by the competent authority of another member state or a third country, the board may request information about the applicant from that competent authority.

Any person holding a licence or registration issued by the competent authority of another Member State or a third country may apply. The Committee has the right to request information about the applicant from that competent authority.

Are there any education or training requirements to obtain a contractor’s licence?

In construction, the applicant is required to have a builder’s licence (mason’s licence) and other qualifications as specified in the legal notice. In demolition and excavation, there are also several criteria that are required.

What are the consequences of working in the construction industry in Malta without a builder’s licence?

No one can work without a licence. Depending on how the law is applied, there are enforcement procedures and various fines.

Can I transfer my licence to another person or company?

No, but a licenced person or business can request that the licence be transferred to their name.

Do I need to renew my licence?

Yes, upon expiration, the licence will be renewed.

Are there any exceptions to the issuance of a contractor’s licence in the construction industry?

There are exceptions for the first year in which the new regulation is introduced, as contractors who are already working in the construction industry can continue their work after the new regulation comes into force. They must register with the authority by submitting a licence application, and as long as they meet the stated criteria, they can continue to work. At that time, a contractor in violation can still be suspended or stopped from working as a contractor.

How can I appeal a decision on a contractor licence application?

It is possible to appeal to the Construction Court if the applicant feels aggrieved by the licence conditions or the denial of the licence. By law, the appeal must be filed within 20 days of the Board’s decision.