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Years Before Collapse of Florida Condo Complex, Engineer Took Photos That Showed 'Major Structural Damage'

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A 2018 report on the Miami-area building that collapsed last week warned of “major structural damage” to the concrete pad the building rested on.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were nine confirmed dead and more than 150 unaccounted for, according to The New York Times.

No official cause has been given for the collapse, which occurred about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

The report cited a “major error” in the initial construction of the building and warned that lack of proper drainage on the pool deck caused “major structural damage,”

The concern was laid out in an October 2018, “Structural Field Survey Report,” produced for the condo association by engineer Frank Morabito of Morabito Consultants. The report included photographic evidence of the damage.

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Morabito wrote that the “main issue” at Champlain Towers was that the pool deck and outdoor planters were “laid on a flat structure” preventing water from draining.

The report cited the lack of drainage as “a systemic issue” Morabito linked to a problem “in the development of the original contract documents” 40 years ago.

“Failure to replace waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” he wrote, noting that the fixes he proposed would be “extremely expensive.”

“[R]emoval of the concrete topping slab to gain access to the waterproofing membrane will take time, be disruptive and create a major disturbance to the occupants of this condominium structure,” the report said.

The parking garage also “revealed signs of distress/fatigue,” the report said.

“Several sizable [cracks in the concrete] were noted in both the topside of the entrance drive ramp and underside of the pool/entrance drive/planter slabs, which included instances with exposed, deteriorating rebar,” according to the report.

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“Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the report said.



In a statement issued Saturday, the company said it had done its job, according to the Miami Herald.

“Among other things, our report detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete, which required repairs to ensure the safety of the residents and the public,” the statement said.

“We are deeply troubled by this building collapse and are working closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed. As we do so, we also continue to pray for all those impacted by this tragic event,” the statement said.

According to The New York Times, the report was shared with the Town of Surfside in November 2018.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he did not know if any action was taken in response to the report.

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“Of course there should have been follow up,” he told The Times. “And I don’t know that there wasn’t. I think we need to understand exactly what happened at that time.”

“It’s upsetting to see these documents because the condo board was clearly made aware that there were issues,” said Eliana Salzhauer, a Surfside city commissioner, according to The Times. “And it seems from the documents that the issues were not addressed.”

The Times reported that the condominium complex had been told it needed to complete the repairs in order to be recertified, something required of buildings 40 years old.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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