Marco Polo fire sprinkler retrofit to cost $5M

The Marco Polo Apartments in Honolulu are seen in this July 17 file photo, three days after a fire caused some $100 million in damage and caused the deaths of four people. Dorvin D. Leis Co. has been selected to install a fire sprinkler system in the 35-story condominium at a cost of approximately $5 million.

Dorvin D. Leis Co. has been selected to install a fire sprinkler system at a cost of approximately $5 million in the Marco Polo Apartments in Honolulu, where four people died as the result of a fire at the 35-story condominium last summer that caused some $100 million in damage.

The selection of the company was announced at the condo’s annual meeting on March 29, after 67 percent of owners approved the retrofit, board member Sam Shenkus said.

“They have been approved, but right now the contract is being reviewed” by attorneys for the association of apartment owners and the company, she said.

The cost of retrofitting the 568 residential units and four ground-floor commercial units in the 1971 building, which works out to less than $8,800 per unit, will be paid out of the building’s reserve funds, Shenkus said.

Jason Blinkhorn, Fire Protection Operations Manager for Dorvin D. Leis Co., told Pacific Business News that once the contract is signed and building permits are issued, the work can be done in about 12 months.

Residents won’t have to move out during the sprinkler retrofit — which they had to do during the asbestos abatement and repairs to the fire damage in the building’s common areas — and that the work will be done during normal business hours, he said. If all goes well, the retrofit may be completed in 12 months, he said.

The retrofit will involve installing pipes of one to two inches in diameter close to the ceiling that will be covered by a product that resembles crown molding or a small soffit, so ceilings won’t have to be ripped out. The sprinkler heads will be exposed from the side of the molding every 15 feet or so, he said.­

Blinkhorn said the Marco Polo is the first high-rise condo building to hire his company to install sprinklers since the July 14 fire, although between six and 12 had inquired about the cost of retrofits.

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