In the first quarter of 2021, Miami real estate experienced a boom. The question of the boom is how to develop more sustainably. A downtown Miami photo shows a crane at one of the city's many high rises. Photo credit: Nicholas Fuentes

Dirty money, neglected repairs led up to condo collapse in Miami neighborhood

Deeper investigations in Florida condo collapse reveal payoffs and neglected repairs.

As families await to hear about the 152 people still missing at the site of condo collapse in Sunrise, Florida, engineers discover that the building had major structural issues.
Last week, nearly half of a 12-story, 156-unit Champlain Towers caved in, into fiery rubble. For five days, a search-and-rescue team has been picking through the debris for signs of life or remains of the missing.

Reuters reported that Surfside officials released documents from an October 2018 report showing that the site had significant deterioration at its pool deck and in the underground parking. Because the condominium developers had not waterproofed the pool deck and entrance, it caused “major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below.”

In a 9-page report, Morabito consultants wrote about “major structural damage” to half of the balconies that were “experiecing concrete spalling or cracking” which caused “water infiltration and a main cause of the commonly found, sub-surface deterioration.” Additionally, the columns of the building showed significant “abundant cracking and spalling of varying degrees.” As well, the report detailed that the condo had “ significant cracks and breaks in the concrete, which required repairs to ensure the safety of the residents and the public.”

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Morabito Consultants said in their report that “most of the concrete deterioration needs to be reported in a timely fashion.” According to an NPR report, a Champlain Towers resident said that inspire of multi-million dollar repairs that were needed, a Surfside official told attendees at a condo association meeting shortly after the inspection that the building was “in very good shape.”

A report by the Washington Post says that Surfside Champlain Towers South developers donated to two, town-council members campaigns, and were subsequently given preferential treatment for permits.

The agency said in statement that the condominium reached out to them for repairs in June 2020 “to prepare a “40-year Building Repair and Restoration” plan with detailed specifications for completing the necessary repairs and restoration work.” To their knowledge, at the time of the collapse “roof repairs were underway, but concrete restoration had not yet begun,” by the condo association.

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