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Stop order on ASPA building at Tafuna plant scheduled to be lifted next week

With the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approving an incremental funding request for the construction of the new multi million-dollar-building in Tafuna for the American Samoa Power Authority operations center, the stop order for the construction work is scheduled to be lifted early next week.

As reported by Samoa News in early August this year, ASPA issued a Stop Order letter for the construction of the $4.6 million project funded by FEMA, which sought clarification on several issues relating to the building’s cost and construction.

Project architect is Honolulu-based LIVELY, while the major contractor is locally based Paramount Builders.

ASPA executive director Utu Abe Malae told Samoa News at the time that since new grantor representatives took over, there is a need to re-justify decisions that were made by the former group. “Fortunately, we are able to retrieve the cogent reasons for those decisions,” he said.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Utu said yesterday that the stop work order is schedule to be lifted on Monday, Oct. 10th.

Asked about some of the issues that needed to be resolved with the federal grantor, Utu said FEMA was seeking clarification on various elements of the building's design to determine if the costs fell within accepted norms.

“Through correspondence, conference calls and face-to-face meetings, ASPA provided FEMA with detailed explanations and justifications of these items,” Utu explained. “FEMA approved ASPA's incremental funding request on October 4, 2016 thereby enabling ASPA to lift the stop work order.”

As to when the construction project is now expected to be completed, Utu said ASPA is in discussions with Paramount regarding the expected completion date. “A final determination should be reached by the end of this week,” he said.

Utu had told Samoa News in August that under the contract between ASPA and Paramount, the stop order should not exceed 60 days; and once construction resumes, the building is expected to be completed in 2-3 months.”

The new 10,848 square-foot structure replaces the building that was located in Satala and destroyed in the September 2009 tsunami.