House OKs new building code


During a session on Tinian, the House of Representatives adopted a Senate bill that sets a new building code for the CNMI.

The House voted to support Sen. Sixto Igisomar’s (R-Saipan) Senate Bill 20-46 after Rep. Alice Igitol (R-Saipan) amended it to authorize the Department of Public Works to amend the CNMI building code.

Igisomar’s S.B. 20-46 adopts the 2015 International Building Code, replacing the current CNMI building code, which is based on the 1988 edition of the Uniform Building Code as promulgated by the International Conference of Building Officials.

The bill recognizes that the UCB, which was later replaced by the International Building Code in 2000, is one of three model building codes that are collectively known as the International Code Council.

Currently, the ICBO no longer exists, and the UBC has been stopped since 1997.

S.B. 20-46, if enacted, initially adopts the 2015 edition of the IBC; however, according to a previous amendment by Igitol as chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the bill was amended to reflect the 2012 version as well.

The amendment was made in mid-February 2018.

The bill includes notices to the public of the bill’s enactment. It requires the Building Safety Division under DPW to publish the adoption of the IBC as the new building code of the NMI as well as to post a notice of its enactment.

S.B. 20-46 provides that the division would also post any new updates to the IBC.

The bill further specifies that a transitional period would commence after the bill becomes law. The transitional period would be for 90 days, in which either the UBC 1988 or the IBC 2015 may be used for projects. Following the transition, only the IBC 2015 would be used.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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