TAMPA, Florida – It’s been four months since a 12-story condominium in Surfside collapsed, killing 98 people.
On June 24, the Champlain South Towers collapsed in seconds. The condo was in need of expensive repairs, but there are no statewide inspection or building code laws that require structural and safety re-inspections for aging high-rise buildings.
A new report from state building professionals calls for mandatory inspections of buildings so that another tragedy does not occur.
“It is our fear if this system is allowed to continue, that we are going to see another building fall and that will happen sooner rather than later,” said Allen Douglas, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida. .
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Days after the Surfside collapse, Allen Douglas helped found the Surfside Working Group, a coalition of seven Florida engineering and construction trade associations.
Their goal was to come up with comprehensive changes that will keep people safe.
“We believe we have found a very cost effective way to examine buildings and identify which ones are causing problems and could result in injury or loss of life,” said Douglas.
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The nine-page report was released late last week.
The recommendation is that all buildings in Florida over 2,000 square feet and with more than 10 occupants undergo mandatory structural inspections. This recertification would take place after 30 years, with follow-ups every 10 years. Or after 20 years with re-inspections every seven years if the building is closer to salt water.
“If the building is unsafe at that time, let it be on the first page of the report to the building manager so they know it. It then becomes the building manager’s responsibility to ensure that repairs are made. performed, “Douglas mentioned.
A man stands next to flowers and photos of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium at the makeshift memorial to the victims of the building collapse in Surfside, Florida, States United, July 2, 20
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The report is now in the hands of state lawmakers. They don’t have to act, but the task force is hopeful.
“We know we have people who live and work in buildings across the state that have been there for decades that haven’t been properly maintained and haven’t been inspected for a long time,” Douglas said. .
The ultimate goal is for the recommendations to be included in the Florida building code when the next version is released in 2023.