Honolulu City Councilman to propose bill requiring periodic building inspections
The City's Department of Planning and Permitting says there is no requirement on how often a building should be inspected, and that it's currently up to the owners to do so on their own.
Just days after a Kalihi apartment building's balcony wall gave way, injuring two, Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan told Island News he plans to draft a bill that would require periodic building inspections.
The city says right now there is no requirement on how often a building should be inspected, and that it's up to the owners to do so on their own.
Currently, a portion of the second-floor walkway at the apartment building on Puuhale Road remains blocked off with caution tape and a wooden board, after Edward Samuo and his friend fell 10-12 feet on Monday afternoon.
"I really feel for the families here in this case and we really want to vet the issue and take a look at this seriously," Manahan said."If they were roughhousing and they hit a wall.. it shouldn't have collapsed."
The City and County of Honolulu issued a "Notice of Violation" against the owners of the building, giving them until May 10 to repair the affected area. Still some, including Samuo's family members, say more needs to be done to ensure the safety of all residents.
"I think they should take a look and rebuild it again," Samuo's niece, Jazzy Benito said. "There's a lot a kids around here and the walls are falling apart."
Lance Luke, a construction engineer, took a look at the Kalihi apartment building and says he noticed "unsafe conditions," as well additional areas in building that are desperate need of repair.
"The responsibility falls on the building owner in every single case, not on the city building department. It's either the building owner or the management company that should be responsible for maintaining the property," Luke said. "And it doesn't look like anybody has checked it in years."
According to Manahan, current city inspections are "complaint-driven" and there is also no process in place for mandatory periodic inspections, which is why he plans to propose a bill that would change that.
"I think perhaps after a building reaches a certain age that there be requirement to do periodic inspections or periodic approval of a permit, especially if they're going to be occupied," Manahan said.
As the city goes through the budget process, Manahan says he'd also like to push for more money for additional building inspectors for the Department of Planning and Permitting.
"There are too many buildings across Hawaii that are falling apart and not just apartment buildings.. it could be condominium buildings, office buildings and shopping centers," Luke added.
Luke says a similar bill requiring mandatory inspections was introduced after the 2016 Ala Moana railing incident, but was deferred. He hopes this time the Manahan's proposal moves forward.
The City's Department of Planning and Permitting says the owners of the Kalihi apartment building was also issued a violation notice last year, but for a single unit. They weren't fined because they did make the necessary repairs. Island News tried to reach out to the owners, but had no luck.