Guam – Three prominent island businessmen are denouncing a new law which will implement a revised version of the International Building Code [IBC] on Guam effective October 1st.
International Group President Peter Sgro, Micronesia Self Help Housing Corp Executive Director Carlos Camacho and Tanota Partners Principal Al Ysrael claim that implementation of the new building code violates a law requiring an economic impact study. And they say it will increase construction costs as well as home and rental prices for all.
The group called a new conference Thursday to detail their criticisms.
They said they were not impressed by the recent round-table hearings held by Senator Tom Ada who’s Committee oversees the Department of Public Works which is tasked with enforcing the Code along with the Guam Fire Department.
This past Tuesday the legislature approved an amendment repealing one of the most objectionable provisions of the IBC whcih had required sprinklers in all homes. The amendment also creates a Board to review implementation of the code. The trio however thought that would be ineffective.
Sgro argued that any new code should be phased in over years, following a thorough review by all effected.
Tanto Partners Al Ysrael estimated that the new building code law will raise the cost of construction by 20%.
Ysrael fears the code could be applied retroactively to buildings already finished and occupied.
However Guam Contractors President James Martinez defends the new building code law saying an updated code is necessary, the Contractors Association supports the new law and Martinez says the new codes will not raise construction costs, but lower them.
Beyond costs, Sgro charges the new codes were passed in violation of Public Law 25-173 which requires an economic impact study be done prior to the adoption of any new rules or regulations that could raise costs for businesses or consumers.
Senator Ada acknowledged that no economic impact study was done at the advice of experts who testified at his hearings saying it was not necessary because the impact would not be great enough to require such a study.
Sgro said that attorneys are already looking into the impact of the law. And when proof of the increased costs can be demonstrated, they make take the issue to court.