Construction technology to be turned over to CNMI govt

The CNMI government will be a recipient of free pre-stressed beds that are used to mold precast concrete, which is ideal for construction projects.

Once Black Micro Construction is done building the Sandy Beach Homes Affordable Housing Project on Laly 4 Beach in Chalan Kanoa, they will leave the “molders” of precast concrete with the CNMI government.

Black Micro and Sandy Beach Homes officials gave Gov. Benigno R. Fitial a brief tour of the area where the pre-stressed beds are located on Friday afternoon.

“This is magic because it produces slabs in a very short period of time. If it (concrete) is poured today, tomorrow, they will have the slabs,” said Fitial, wearing a yellow hard hat just like anybody else, at the tour of the facility.

Precast concrete is produced by casting concrete in a reusable mold which is then cured in a controlled environment which, in this case, is at the Hawaiian Rock Products quarry near the Saipan International Airport.

The concrete is then brought to the site of the Sandy Beach Homes in Chalan Kanoa, and lifted into place.

Black Micro, which is the contractor building Sandy Beach Homes, is getting its cement products from Hawaiian Rock Products.

Robert H. Jones, founder and president of Triple J Enterprises and Triple J Saipan Inc. which own Sandy Beach Homes, said they will turn over to the CNMI government-free of charge-the pre-stressed beds so it can use it for government-funded construction projects such as for schools and homesteads.

Jones said this is an additional construction asset that the CNMI government can tell investors about.

He said this construction technology's contribution to the island will be much more than the $150,000 to $200,000 spent in having these pre-stressed beds on Saipan.

Jones said this is an amount that the government or a construction company need not spend to have precast concrete for their projects.

Black Micro senior project manager for Sandy Beach Homes, Jack Travers, and Sandy Beach Homes consultant, Juan Carlos Benitez, along with Jones and Fitial, explained the benefits of using precast concrete in construction projects.

Travers said the use of precast concrete as opposed to using site casting of concrete speeds up the completion of any construction project.

The forms used in a precast plant or work area such as the one made by Black Micro at the Hawaiian Rock Products quarry, may be reused hundreds to thousands of times before they have to be replaced.

“It expedites the construction process because we're able to put the components together here in the yard while we're still building on site. It's a real benefit to us during the construction process for schedule and having this facility enables us to maintain some quality control and for future benefit of other projects. Having a facility like this makes it easy to do all kinds of construction whether it's pre stressed planks or precast walls for building schools, for example, and even precast beams and telephone poles,” Travers said.

This is the first time that pre-stressed beds are made in the CNMI. Black Micro said it has been using this construction technology in Guam for years.

Meanwhile, Jones said the construction of the Sandy Beach Homes is about 25 percent complete.

The $28.2-million project, owned by Sandy Beach Homes LLC, aims to build affordable housing units. It involves the construction of 60 three-bedroom, two-bathroom units measuring 1,400 sq. ft. each on the six-floor buildings with above ground level parking. The project will also feature energy-efficient design and materials, including a solar water heater.