President Panuelo begins developing an FSM Building Code

FSM Information Services


11522PALIKIR, Pohnpei—In an effort to harmonize the Nation’s development needs with appropriate attention to public safety and utility, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), has instructed the Department of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure (DTC&I) to develop an FSM Building Code. To develop the FSM Building Code, President Panuelo has requested that a Working Group be formed, comprised of the Secretary of DTC&I, the Honorable Carlson D. Apis, the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure, the Program Manager for the Program Management Unit (PMU), and at least one representative each from the States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

The lack of an FSM Building Code, it could be argued, means that both internal and external stakeholders in the Nation’s development must look at each individual infrastructure project in a piecemeal manner. This can result in the duplication of efforts to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of the FSM’s tropical environment, and at times ignores the local environment’s needs in order to accommodate the Building Code for the country, organization, or individual funding or constructing a given piece of infrastructure.

“Too many crucial infrastructure projects are hampered by disagreements among designers and peer reviewers as to which design standards are appropriate for FSM conditions,” President Panuelo said in a statement. “We have faced delays on projects such as the Kosrae State Hospital and the College of Micronesia. We have seen points of difference, both within the National Government and within the State Governments, and between National and State agencies, on appropriate construction techniques. We have seen wildly different construction techniques from U.S. funded infrastructure projects in the FSM, and infrastructure built by the People’s Republic of China. There is an obvious solution to these self-imposed infrastructure problems: the development of our own FSM Building Code, which will apply Nation-wide for all future infrastructure projects.”

In letters sent to the Governors of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, President Panuelo has requested the Governors to nominate representatives for the FSM Building Code Working Group no later than January 29th, 2021. “It would be helpful if your representative has a technical background with responsibilities for the planning, design, and construction of building infrastructure,” President Panuelo wrote in these letters. “If you consider it preferable to nominate two representatives, this will also be fine with us.”

President Panuelo has requested Secretary Apis to ensure that the development of the FSM Building Code be a top priority for DTC&I, particularly in its Division of Infrastructure, with the goal being that a proposed FSM Building Code be available for public review and comment at the nearest feasible opportunity.

“The Department has already begun some initial discussions with the International Code Council (ICC), to explore technical support opportunities to guide us through the process of developing our own FSM Building Code,” Secretary Apis said in a statement. “Per President Panuelo’s request, we are forming a Working Group with the State Governments so that we can undertake the important work of ensuring that our Nation’s infrastructure projects reflect the needs of our citizens and our communities.”

As part of the broader project to develop the FSM Building Code, President Panuelo has also instructed every National Government office and agency to designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities. “We anticipate that the FSM Building Code will require ramps for persons with disabilities,” President Panuelo said, “And if that’s the case, we’ll make it happen so that we have equal access for all citizens. In the meantime, I have instructed that all offices and agencies designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”

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