Karl Azzopardi faces sustainability challenge in new board role
The Maltese government’s aim to reform and modernise the construction industry on the island took a step forward in spring with the creation of the Building and Construction Authority board and the appointment of Karl Azzopardi, who recently achieved his CIOB fellowship, as its CEO.
Azzopardi began his career in construction during gap year before he was due to go to university to study pharmacy. Working at the Central Bank of Malta while an annexe was being built, he got involved with the project’s management and was hooked. Since then he has managed large-scale projects in public sector, hospitality, industrial and residential.
Speaking to CM about the industry in Malta, he said: “Change is in its infancy but good groundwork has been done. The creation of the new Building and Construction Authority by the government as a regulator to spearhead change is a sign of goodwill towards the upscaling of the sector, with the focus on climate change facets issues as well as the importance of education and addressing skills gaps specifically within developers, contractors and professionals.”
“Change is in its infancy but good groundwork has been done”
What changes does he hope to see in the industry? “First and foremost, more synergy between the stakeholders. The sector is fragmented and priorities and interests are not always aligned. Secondly, the need to make a huge leap within the type of buildings we develop, i.e. we need to look at sustainable buildings, buildings that are near to zero energy performance (aligning with environmental targets), quality of life/comfort.
“Thirdly, education and continuous development within the sectors of contractors as well as professionals. The need to move on from traditional contracting regimes to one that looks at performance specifications and letting the market provide the solution… the need to embrace new technologies and shift from traditional in-situ construction to modularity, productions off site and agility in buildability… take time to design but no time to construct!
Azzopardi says the pandemic highlighted opportunities for the industry. The island was not heavily impacted by covid-19 but with an increased amount of working from home resulting in reduced traffic and increased efficiencies, this contributes to its carbon zero target aims. “However, this means that office design may potentially change as well leading to new design criteria,” adds Azzopardi.
When not tackling his “big challenge ahead”, Azzopardi enjoys his role as a family man.
“Together with my wife we happened to be blessed with a young girl, Valentina, who we adopted and who changed our life completely. She is going to be four in summer and spending time with her gives me a total different dimension to life.”