Ysrael sounds off about Guam building codes - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Ysrael sounds off about Guam building codes

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - A local businessman is outraged at the government for enforcing a law dealing with building codes prior to its effective date. Businessman Al Ysrael says he was taken by surprise when he was denied a permit by the Guam Fire Department for the Bell Tower Building in Anigua, a structure he recently completed to house office space. 

"Now that it was built according to the approved legal plans, one inspector says, 'No, I want a sprinkler system because the new code say it is', but the new code is not yet effective," suggested Ysrael.  Not effective, he says, until July 1 of this year.

The chairman of Tanota Partners - which owns and operates the Outrigger, among other businesses on Guam - says the Legislature acted hastily in adopting the measure.  "The Legislature passed a law without reading what the law they adopted it in blank in Toto in its entirety," he told KUAM News.

But Senator Tom Ada, who chairs the Committee on Utilities, explains the legislative body's action, saying, "The stakeholders that came to the public hearings did not indicate there were any specific provisions; they felt were very onerous or not applicable to Guam, so we felt on that basis we can adopt the code in its entirety."

Ada says the government has been trying to implement the code for the past year because the old codes dating back to 1994 are now obsolete.  "The recent controversy about certain requirements, which certainly do not seem applicable for Guam, those are little nuances that until we actually implement it and get into the weeds and see what the specific provision are.  We are never going uncover those things if we keep delaying, delaying, delaying," he stated.

And a delay is exactly what Ysrael wants.  He says implementation of the code should be at the least postponed.

Senator Adolpho Palacios says while he does not believe implementation of the code in its entirety should be delayed, he does say there may be a delay of some sections of the law.

As for Senator Ada, he says will do his part as the chairman on utilities, promising, "I have asked to meet with directors of DPW and GFD to get a feel for what the problems are and if they have any solutions in a timely matter>"

This is time that Ysrael says is of the essence because while lawmakers and government agencies iron out the details of the code, he is left in limbo unable to profit from his investment.  But if certain provisions of the law are not suspended - such as the requirement for sprinkler systems - according to Ysrael the cost could be even greater.  He told KUAM News, "If they were to implement it I would say for every residential home it would cost from $15,000-$22,000."

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