After last month’s deadly fall at Ala Moana Center, we continue to raise safety concerns about rusted railings.
Why there are no rules for inspecting railings?
We took that question to a city lawmaker and learned that could now change because of what happened at Ala Moana Center.
Engineer Lance Luke started inspecting other shopping centers across Oahu on his own.
“I want to prevent any kind of injury or death in the future in any of these shopping centers,” he said.
Luke snapped photos of rusted railings at McCully Shopping Center, Dole Cannery, and the parking lot at Don Quijote on Kaheka Street.
“The worst that can happen is more deaths, more accidents, more injuries. Huge lawsuits, huge liabilities, and unsafe property overall,” Luke said.
We brought his concerns to the attention of building managers at other shopping centers. In each case, they said they would check on the railings or were already planning to have them replaced.
Don Quijote said it checked the parking lot after we called, and said a contractor will be coming Tuesday to address the issue.
McCully Shopping Center said, “we appreciate you bringing it to our attention. We will follow up to make sure this is handled.”
Dole Cannery said replacement was already scheduled this month to replace the rusted railing:
“The management of the Shops at Dole Cannery takes very seriously the safety of our tenants, customers, and the public.
We perform regular repair and maintenance of our facilities – including railings and railing posts.
Prior to receiving the picture of this railing post from you, as part of our ongoing property management, we consulted with engineers and contractors to replace the pictured railing post. Replacement was already scheduled for this month.”
Engineer Damien Enright of Structural Systems Inc. said regular railing inspections are not required in Hawaii, even though other states do require them.
We asked if railings are a priority among Hawaii building owners.
“It’s not happening,” Enright replied. “Owners aren’t taking it into consideration. Railings should be thought of just as much as plumbing and painting, but they’re not.”
Councilmember Trevor Ozawa chairs the zoning and planning committee. He’s in Taiwan for business, but sent us a statement saying he’s interested in introducing a law to require periodic review and inspections of buildings:
I am interested in introducing legislation to require periodic review and inspections of buildings in light of the situation.
Periodic inspections, ranging from three to five years, are currently in place for municipalities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco, and seem to be working in ensuring the safety of its citizens.
I am working with my staff and legal team to draft and introduce a bill in the coming months so that we may begin discussions on how our building code can be improved in the interest of public safety.