by Lisa Tome
Inspectors from Cecil County's Department of Permits and Inspections will determine on Thursday if the doors of West Cecil Health Center's new building will open as planned on Friday.
Jeff Thorpe, Plans Reviewer for the Cecil County Department of Permits and Inspections, said that major alterations were made to the plans after they were reviewed.
"It was reviewed and applied for as having sprinklers," said Thorpe. "In mid-April, we were told that was not installed."
Thorpe explained that the lack of a sprinkler system in the two-story, 23,000 square foot building, changes everything. "It is a big deal. Now we have to review the plans again," he said. If a building has a sprinkler system, the design plan changes. Buildings without sprinklers are required to include elements that sprinklered buildings don't need. "It's a whole other ball game," he said.
Buildings without sprinklers have to meet stricter criteria particularly when it comes to corridor lengths, exit controls, and more.
On June 27, the building permit was suspended. Inspections from the department were halted. West Cecil has to move forward in order to comply with grant stipulations. It is a federally-funded project.
When permits are issued, they are stamped that the permit office must be notified if changes are made.
"No inspections will get done. And we've stopped the temporary occupancy," he said. "I'm not putting my name on something I'm not comfortable with."
But on July 11, inspectors will be back on site, to walk through the building and determine whether criteria has been met for buildings without a sprinkler.
"We'll know Thursday for sure if everything complies. If it does, we'll lift the suspension and they can apply for temporary occupancy," Thorpe added.