Condo Collapse Could Have Been Avoided

condo collapse

Three more bodies were found July 5 after the demolition of the Champlain Towers South multifamily structure in Surfside, FL. As of that day, there were still 118 bodies missing in the rubble of the condo collapse.

Documents released by the town of Surfside revealed a 2018 engineering report warned of major structural damage at the condo. The condominium was built in 1981 atop what had once been marshlands and had been sinking 2 millimeters/year since 1990.

The condo association was planning to address the building’s issues. One construction company CEO told a Construction Dive reporter that “deferred maintenance” among condo associations is a common problem.

Law and Local Government Officials’ Lack of Enforcement Contributed to Condo Collapse

The demolition was initiated at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4 using what engineers called “energetic felling.” The process used small but strategically placed explosives that allowed gravity to bring the building down safely.

Here are the pivotal points cited by The New York Times:

  • Champlain Towers South faced tumultuous years before the collapse.
  • Lax enforcement let South Florida towers skirt inspections for years.
  • One housing unit, Crestview Towers’ inspection was 9 years overdue. It was evacuated and the next day, another Miami-area condominium unit’s residents were told to leave and take valuables with them.
  • The company hired to take down the damaged Surfside building is known for the Seattle Kingdome implosion.
  • The remaining structure at the Surfside condo has been demolished.

Miami Beach had over 500 buildings due for 40-year recertification, and after the June 24 condo collapse, the city completed every inspection within a week. However, “Miami Beach isn’t going to assume…its building inspections and recertification processes are being done in the right way,” said Miami Mayor Dan Gelber.

Safety Can Never Be Compromised

When 6 condo collapse firefighter/rescue workers tested positive for coronavirus, it was not known if the workers had been vaccinated. Vaccination against COVID-19 is another safety precaution we shouldn’t ignore.

The investigation into the condo collapse will likely take years. There’s little doubt that several fails contributed to the disaster. But the families and residents of the Surfside Beach community may never recover from the heartbreak of that day.

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