Category: Uncategorized

QP has been appointed to design and supervise the structural strengthening works for the Binja Buqana Project

The Housing Authority appointed QP to design and supervise the structural strengthening works for the Binja Buqana residential complex in Mtarfa. This complex, housing a total of 80 apartments, was in a dangerous state due to shortcomings in both the original structural design and workmanship when originally constructed.

The design follows the analysis of structural defects by international firm Arup. QP subsequently assumed this analysis and carried out the structural design and supervision of the required remedial works to render this residential complex in a safe condition.

Throughout the execution of the project, the QP team faced several complex challenges intrinsic with retrofitting projects, the solution for which had to be approached with a sound knowledge of structural load paths and construction methodologies. For example, the basement columns supporting the transfer structure, including the transfer structure itself, were operating at a high level of stress with a safety factor less than unity. The distress level was evident in most of these structural elements at basement level. Laboratory tests had shown that concrete was of inferior quality with the inherent strength of concrete being approximately half the required design strength.

To address this issue, we designed strengthening works for the entire basement floor as well as the common areas. We also implemented cosmetic interventions on elements showing extensive deterioration and reinstated the structure to an acceptable level of durability.

Another challenge our team faced was that of significant degradation of the existing structure as a result of prolonged water infiltration. After removing the tiles on most terraces and common areas, it was noted that the screed was soaked through. Over time, structural deficiencies had developed in these areas. This required the complete reconfiguration of the drainage system on all terraces, replacing the stone cladding of all balconies and re-applying a new waterproofing system. The façade was also cleaned and re-pointed to avoid further water penetration through the bedding joints and improve the overall aesthetics of the buildings.

The total cost of the work was 2.3 million Euros.

To strengthen QPs expanding operations locally and overseas, we are seeking to recruit a proactive CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER to join our team in MALTA.

Working at QP

Our teams consist of highly proficient experts working effectively, professionally and in a coordinated manner to execute projects within established timeframes and to highest standards. The chosen candidate will get the opportunity to work in a fast-moving, dynamic and challenging environment, enabling them to develop their career to the next level of their profession, being exposed to numerous projects, clientele and developmental experiences.

QP Values

Passionate and Pro-active, Optimal integration of clients’ objectives, Innovative Design and Management, Excellence in Reputation, Trustworthy, Teamwork

Responsibilities

Working on a full-time basis and reporting to the Senior Partner, the chosen candidate will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Concept design and feasibility, structural and civil engineering design, limited architectural design, design coordination, supervision of works and certification of contractor bills;
  • Ensuring compliance with current legislation, professional Standards and Codes of Practice;
  • Proactively and efficiently managing changes in project scope, identifying potential crises, and assisting with devising contingency plans when and as necessary;
  • Abiding by the procedures for communication and coordination between the members of the project team, as well as monitoring the distribution of information and documentation in relation to Civil and Structural Engineering matters;
  • Ensuring that all Civil and Structural Engineering aspects of the project are properly managed and controlled;
  • Preparing recommendations for Clients’ approval;
  • Preparing and communicating technical and commercial progress reports to internal and external stakeholders;
  • Ensuring that senior staff are kept informed of important and relevant service/design decisions and pointing out to the senior staff any misalignments noted during the design and site supervision process to ensure that the objectives of the company and the Client are achieved;
  • Analyzing and preparing reports with the necessary calculations about loads, stresses and strains regarding structural components, element sizing and detailing of structural elements;
  • Selecting and utilizing the right materials, while considering their strength and how their inclusion may necessitate a change of structural design;
  • Examining structures and assessing their condition and advising how to improve their structural integrity;
  • Monitoring planning, scope, budgets and schedules, ensuring that services and project work are carried out within the stipulated deadlines and budgets, to the company’s standards and to contractual agreements;
  • Monitoring and optimizing safety designs, procedures, production processes, and regulatory compliance;
  • Inspecting project sites to ensure compliance with contract documents;
  • Keeping abreast of latest trends and technologies in the Industry;

Requirements

  • A recognized professional qualification in this field preferably in Civil and Structural Engineering,  Engineering or a related field;
  • Professional experience demonstrating a proven track record of successful delivery of complex and/or large scale projects, with multi-disciplinary teams from inception to completion;
  • Perit Warrant;
  • Highly cognizant and abreast with all applicable standards, legislations and practices applicable to the Construction industry in Malta;
  • Knowledge of hotel, commercial and residential developments would be considered an asset;
  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office, AutoCad, and Autodesk Revit, and/or related programs. Knowledge and skills related to BIM will be considered an asset;
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills in both English;
  • Ability to work under pressure, to prioritise and adapt, and to work closely with others in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Attention to detail, analytical, influencing and negotiation skills, and the ability to understand and express technical concepts accurately with confidence and clarity;
  • Collaborative approach with the ability to maximize short-term requirements and output whilst building long-term productive relationships;
  • A measured approach to decision-making, being able to take decisions as and when needed in the interest of efficiency;

Candidates are invited to send in their detailed CV to hr@qpml.com

All applications will be treated in strictest confidence.  

New draft guidelines address issues of light pollution

The Planning Authority in collaboration with the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has launched draft guidelines which primarily seek to provide advice on how light pollution can be reduced or even avoided, particularly in cases of existing bad lighting installations.

Artificial light offers valuable benefits to society. It provides for the possibility to continue with educational, leisure, recreational, travel and economic activities well beyond the daylight hours. However, if used inappropriately, artificial light can be a nuisance and is harmful to human health and wildlife.
Anthony Borg who is the Chairperson of the committee tasked with drawing up these guidelines pointed out that “we must not underestimate the health hazard that light pollution brings with it. Today, we are more familiar with speaking about air, waste and noise pollution but studies related to the effects of unnecessary man-made light have only started to emerge over the
past years. Although we must not be alarmists, we must address the negative impacts and look at ways how we can improve our quality of life. Us humans, like most life on Earth, adhere to a day-night cycle. Studies show that exposure to artificial light at night-time suppresses the production of melatonin in our body which is an important antioxidant which reduces the risk of cancer”.

One of the major causes of light nuisance results from the spill-over of light. Simpler put, it is external artificial light which goes beyond the area that is meant to be illuminated. While today external energy-efficient LED luminaires are one of the top lighting solutions on the market, few
speak about the high blue-rich light they emit, particularly those with a colour temperature of more than 3000K. Blue-rich light is considered to be amongst one of the greatest sources to light pollution.

The guidelines provide a number of measures on how to reduce many of the negative effects of lighting through careful design and planning.

A measure which the guidelines propose is that well-designed external lighting installations should only be used when required. In residential areas, where outdoor lighting for safety and security reasons is necessary, one should strongly consider the installation of motion sensors to operate the light fittings during periods of activity. This is not only economically sustainable but also more effective in terms of security.

The introduction of fully-shielded fixtures is another measure at mitigating light nuisance. This fixture will ensure that no light is emitted above the horizontal plane. The guidelines discourage the use of ‘cool white’ light sources with high colour temperature. Instead ‘warmer white’ sources which have a correlated colour temperature not higher than 3000K and which reach the same efficacy levels as the blue-rich sources, should be used.

High-intensity searchlights or lasers pointing into the sky, as a means of publicity or entertainment are to be avoided.

Given that most development is likely to include some sort of outdoor lightings, such as in backyards, internal yards, terraces and/or on the façade, the guidelines are proposing that all development permits shall be accompanied by a standard condition which addresses light pollution.

The guidelines are also proposing that a lighting scheme report endorsed by an independent the warranted engineer will be required whenever a development permit is issued for projects of an industrial and commercial nature, the construction development of new roads or their upgrading, sports facilities, public gardens and playing areas, architectural illumination including church domes and building facades or projects in an ODZ area.

While all illuminated billboards and signage give rise to some degree of light pollution, the most damaging are the LED billboards. These not only give rise to glare but are also a safety hazard to motorists and pedestrians due to their sudden change in content and intensity of light. For these reasons, the guidelines are proposing that the brightness of all LED billboards should be reduced considerably after sunset, not exceed 100 cd/m2.

Anthony Borg points out that the scope of these guidelines is to also set a framework for the adoption of Dark Sky Areas in mainland Malta, similar to areas already designated on Gozo and Comino. Unfortunately, due to the urban growth which in itself has brought excessive, misaimed and unshielded night lighting, we have lost the mystery and wonder of the dark night sky. Today, the Milky Way cannot be seen from 89 % of the Maltese territory. With the introduction of dark sky heritage areas, together with the efforts of every individual to conform with these guidelines, not only can we rediscover the splendour of the stars but also protect our ecology and wildlife from the negative effects of light pollution.

Source: https://www.pa.org.mt/en/blog-details/new-draft-guidelines-address-issues-of-light-pollution

The classical tomb was discovered by one of QP archaeologists, Central Link Project

During the ongoing works on the Central Link Project, a Classical tomb was discovered and documented by one of our archaeologists within the Cultural Heritage and Geomatics department. 

This operation was carried out in the presence of the Hon. Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Dr José A. Herrera, the Hon. Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Capital Projects, Dr Ian Borg, the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, Mr Joseph Magro Conti and the CEO of Infrastructure Malta, Ing. Fredrick Azzopardi.

The preservation in situ of this Classical tomb was not possible. Therefore, in an attempt to preserve its context, our team, together with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and engineers and contractors from Infrastructure Malta, embarked on a delicate operation to safeguard national heritage. It was decided to extract the rock mass containing the tomb and to relocate the remains within the immediate vicinity, which was the first attempt of its kind in the Maltese Islands. 

Other archaeological findings were discovered and documented during the project. This consist of ancient rock-cut agricultural trenches, post holes, irrigation channels and rock-cut cistern which also included large size ashlar masonry. The masonry blocks were recorded and will be displayed next to the tomb for public enjoyment. 

These archaeological discoveries made in this area indicate that during the Classical period, this part of Ħ’Attard was used for habitation, agricultural activity, and burial purposes. 

Maltese Globigerina Limestone awarded Global Heritage Stone Status

Maltese Globigerina Limestone

One of the most recognised local architectural building material, the Maltese Globigerina Limestone, now joins the exclusive family of 15 other worldwide national rocks and stones which have been used historically and for centuries.  This iconic Maltese stone also referred to as ‘gebla tal-franka’, has been designated as a Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR).  The soft limestone has been widely used over the millennia for elaborate and intricate sculptural motifs and continues to be quarried today and used for new construction and restoration of architectural heritage.

The Department of Conservation and Built Heritage and the Department of Architecture and Urban Design within the Faculty for the Built Environment and the Department of Geosciences University of Malta were the drive behind promoting this stone on an international level.  The process for designation is a painstaking and detailed review procedure by selected experts in the field under the geological IUGS EC standard. 

Although independent of World Heritage status, GHSR complements the efforts of UNESCO World Heritage in helping to safeguard stone resources that are needed for the preservation of historic stone constructions at certain World Heritage sites.  Read more.

Source: globalheritagestone.com

Maltese Globigerina Limestone

White Paper on Building & Construction Authority

White Paper

A White Paper for the setting up of a Building and Construction Authority was issued for consultation by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects. The Authority is to take over the statutory responsibilities currently entrusted with various individual entities responsible for regulation at post permit stage. It is further aimed at simultaneously revisiting the current building laws and regulations with a view to eliminate outdated sections, address conflicting provisions and update current legislation in line with current technical and legal exigencies.  The consolidation of these various entities would ensure higher standards in the Building and Construction industry.

Source: Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects