Safety and sustainability key in construction, Transport Minister says

Minister of Transport, Communication and Works, Alexis Vafeades, underlined the importance of sustainability, as well as health and safety, in the construction sector, on Thursday, during the 76th General Meeting of the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE), which is held between 24-27 of May in Hilton Park Nicosia. In his address, the Minister said he is happy that health and safety is a big issue for the Council and reassured ETEK (Scientific Technical Chamber of Cyprus) that the government stands by professionals who strive towards this direction. Vafeades spoke of the responsibility of those who venture in projects for creating a better living environment, to do so in a safe manner and make sure that they do not injure people or lose people in the process. 'We have all witnessed what happens when engineering fails,' he said, referring to the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and added that 'we need to be even more aware of what goes wrong and how we lose people.' The Minister noted that 'engineering has always been about sustainability, respecting nature and working in harmony with nature', pointing out that there is 'added responsibility to pursue this further and make sure that engineers around the world are engaged in this effort.' Concluding, he reassured the Assembly that the government of Cyprus stands by ETEK (The Scientific Technical Chamber of Cyprus) and construction professionals, who are all working to take this society forward. At his welcome speech, on behalf of the President of the Cyprus Association of Civil Engineers (CYACE), Kyriakos Tsioupanis noted that, one of the most important priorities of the Association is the health and safety in the construction industry and noted that the ECCE General Meeting will be combined with the 8th International Conference of Construction Safety and Health, entitled 'Respect Human Rights - Everyone has a role to play'. He also congratulated the ECCE and WCCE for joining forces in a common initiative which aims to raise awareness on the need of 'safe, sound, sustainable' buildings. The President of the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK), Constantinos Constanti, spoke of a series of critical points that require collective attention. Among those, he underlined the need to proceed with regulation of regular maintenance of buildings and infrastructures, aiming to improve energy efficiency and ensure seismic safety. Also, he noted that public procurement processes should be improved, by promoting and prioritising quality over price, something which will ensure the delivery of safe and durable infrastructure that meets the needs of citizens. Andreas Brandnen, President of the ECCE, spoke of the challenges of the profession, due to the hit at the supply chain during the pandemic, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as the earthquakes in South Turkey and Syria and developments in the EU with the Green Deal, noting that along with the challenges, there are also great opportunities. 'To this end, it is necessary to reflect on our training, our qualifications for the access to the profession and greater mobility for engineers,' he said. He also underlined the important initiative of a holistic approach to building safety and sustainability, expressing the conviction that it will now be successfully followed through and will have a worldwide dissemination, through the cooperation with WCCE. He concluded that 'politics must hear the voice of the engineers," adding that "after a disaster it is too late.'

Source: Cyprus News Agency