‘Developers find creative ways to fill workforce gaps’


House Commerce and Tourism Committee chair Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) said developers have found creative ways with their projects due to the lack of manpower that would supply the island’s growing construction needs.

Guerrero said each hotel facility is a different type of structure that is engineered to fit the developer’s needs. In one case, he said the developer of Saipan Globe Hotel “brought in engineers from the U.S. and China to develop a new type of building hotels using steel.”

“They are fabricating…but these are not actually container homes because, by specifications, they are bigger than ordinary hotel rooms. Most hotel rooms are between 27 to 35 square footage. These exceeded that number, I think by 30 to 40 square footage.”

He added that SGH is using prefabricated materials that are pre-engineered and designed by a U.S. company, which was also used by some developers in the U.S. mainland. “The product itself is beyond expectations. This is forthcoming and I hope [SG] would reveal its hotel project in the coming months as they move further forward.”

The move toward creative construction arose after the CNMI encountered problems with its labor force in the past few months due to the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program numerical cap set at 4,999 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for fiscal year 2019. The recent signing of the NMI Workforce Act that would increase the cap to 13,999 and extend the program to 2029 will supersede that.

The casino portion of Imperial Pacific Resort is now in full operation but its hotel is still being completed after construction was stopped as they were hit with labor issues following the discovery of tourists working at the construction site.

American Sinopan is building the Saipan Garden Resort in Tanapag, New Century Hotel LLC would convert the former Sebastian Building into a 48-room hotel, Bridge Capital plans to redevelop the former Plumeria Resort, Saipan Globe Hotel is constructing its own facility in San Roque while Honest Profit’s project is nearing completion.

Guerrero said that American Sinopan’s 1,200-room Saipan Garden Resort, a six-story building, will be using precast materials with all the cement work pre-assembled in China.

“It will be brought in by units and put together like Lego [blocks]. That’s how it is. Most of these projects are due to the unavailability of construction workers. They have to come up with other ideas on how to build because the absence of construction workers makes it difficult on their part to build here on Saipan.”

“They decided that we could have the building done using precast technology, which has been improved to sustain typhoon and earthquake. They have done this engineering in China,” added Guerrero, who has visited one of the plants of prefabricated materials in Shanghai.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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