IPI: DPW stop work order will be resolved quickly


Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC expects a quick resolution to the Department of Public Works’ order stopping IPI’s construction of its resort/casino in Garapan.

IPI chief executive officer Donald Browne said they are working diligently to resolve the issue with their engineers and resume construction for the Imperial Pacific Resort as they can’t afford construction delays due to clerical issues.

IPI received the stop work order from DPW last Tuesday, Oct. 27.

“The DPW officers are coming again to the jobsite on Friday morning. Hopefully we can resume next Monday [Nov. 2, 2020],” Browne said.

In its notice of violations Tuesday, DPW’s Building Safety Code Division ordered IPI to stop work immediately until it complies with some requirements. DPW suspended all construction work on the hotel’s Level 3 to Sky Level 14 until shop drawings and revised plans are submitted to and approved by DPW’s Building Safety officer. DPW also suspended all welding work until special inspectors are on board and approved by the Building Safety officer. DPW said that failure to comply may result in fees, civil penalties, or fines.

DPW said its order will remain in effect until the Building Safety Division rescinds it.

Browne said IPI has submitted thousands of pages of blueprints, construction documents, and shop drawings prepared by CNMI-certified architects, structural engineers, and MEP engineers. Those submissions reportedly include drawings documenting changes in the original plan.

Browne said DPW advised that a few shop drawings were not submitted as required. He said these drawings and certifications are with their third-party engineers for submission to DPW.

He said their construction team had a meeting at DPW with IPI’s engineers.

“We fully expect the engineers to send the documents at once,” Browne said.

DPW’s Building Safety Code Division representative/inspector Gani Salazar issued the notice of violation last Oct. 9. IPI resident project director Jing Zhou received the notice on that same day.

On Tuesday, Saipan Tribune published Rep. Tina Sablan (D-Saipan) statements in which she asked how long and why IPI has been allowed to proceed with their construction project without approved construction documents.

Sablan said Commonwealth Casino Commission commissioners during their monthly board meeting last Tuesday stated that the Department of Public Works has been “trying” to get permit drawings from IPI for at least a year.

“But it appears that IPI has lacked complete, accurate, and certified drawings for much longer than that,” said the lawmaker when asked for comments about DPW’s issuance of notice of violations to IPI.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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