September 19, 2018
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After failing safety inspection, iconic Maine building corrects some safety violations

Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Portland's landmark Time and Temperature Building, at 477 Congress St.
By Jake Bleiberg, BDN Staff
Updated:

PORTLAND, Maine — The manager of Portland’s Time and Temperature Building has begun fixing a battery of code violations that led the iconic tower to fail a safety inspection last year.

In November, fire officials found 19 life safety code violations in the 14-story building, including that six floors lacked required sprinklers and that “multiple floors” did not have smoke detectors in hallways.

The failed inspection was the latest stumble in the once-grand building’s fall into disrepair. It led some tenants to question whether the Maryland-based finance company that owns the Congress Street address cares about their safety.

[Take a quick video tour of Portland’s Time and Temp building … on a bicycle]

But a follow-up inspection last week showed progress. The building’s manager had corrected six of the violations, was nearly done addressing three others and had crews on site working to bring the building up to code when inspectors visited on Friday, a city official said.

The repairs have fallen slightly behind the schedule that property manager NAI Hunneman, a Boston-based real estate company, submitted to the city. And some of the larger code violations will require time-consuming engineering studies to correct. But local officials are so far satisfied.

“Though this property has fallen a little behind on their plan of correction, they continue to work diligently to bring the building into compliance with code,” Division Fire Chief Robert Thompson said in an email, adding that the city will continue to monitor the work.

NAI Hunneman’s completed work includes servicing the building’s fire extinguishers and adding 27 new ones, repairing broken lights in emergency exit signs, closing off some basement stairs and clearing previously blocked exits, among other fixes. Thompson said he expects the buildings’ fire alarms and emergency lighting will be brought up to code this week.

“We are working closely with ownership and the Portland Fire Department to diligently address these issues and are making progress toward resolving the violations that were cited,” David Finnegan, a spokesman for NAI Hunneman, said.

The management company’s corrective action schedule calls for hiring engineering and architecture firms do a full review of the building and develop a plan to bring it into compliance, including installing missing sprinklers.

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