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News: 8 people unaccounted for, 97 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (Update on NIST’s Investigation)


Arcadia
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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

It depends. The engineer (and the company he works for) might have been summoned to aid in the investigation.  Kind of like whenever there is a plane crash, the plane manufacturer would have to send their representatives to aid in the investigation. 

Yes, but wouldn't the more appropriate analogy here be if a mechanic who had just signed off on an aircraft's maintenance/safety inspection was put on the crash investigation team? If there's a plane crash and Boeing sends a representative I don't think it would be a person who had just inspected that particular plane.

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4 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Yes, but wouldn't the more appropriate analogy here be if a mechanic who had just signed off on an aircraft's maintenance/safety inspection was put on the crash investigation team? If there's a plane crash and Boeing sends a representative I don't think it would be a person who had just inspected that particular plane.

It wasn’t stated in the news what role the engineer would be in for the investigation, just that he would be involved. I have been to building collapse sites as a civil engineering intern. My internship company was appointed by the prosecutor to do the fault analysis. The engineering firm being prosecuted also have a few representatives on site (1) for us to ask questions, (2) so that they can’t say we tamper evidence. 

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@Seasider too@Lady Florida.@Pawz4me

4 min ago

Feds sending scientists and engineers to Florida to study potential structural failures

From CNN's Pete Muntean

The federal government is sending a team of experts to Surfside, Florida, to see if Thursday’s condo building collapse should trigger a larger investigation that could impact building codes everywhere.

Six scientists and engineers are being sent from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the little-known government agency was empowered to study building structural failures and suggest over-arching changes to building codes, fire response and emergency communications.

NIST spokesperson Jennifer Huergo stressed while this team is only looking to determine if an investigation will be recommended and not the cause of the collapse, it does have subpoena power and will gather building materials that could be helpful if a full federal investigation is deemed necessary. “

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16 hours ago, Plum said:

 

I heard it was raining? Absolutely horrific. 

 

 

15 hours ago, YaelAldrich said:

There was a steady rain all morning long. I'm sure it didn't help the rescuers but I hope the rain perhaps gave any survivors water to drink in the rubble.

It's the rainy season. You can count on thunderstorms almost every day until October. It doesn't usually rain long though - it clears up and is fine the rest of the day. It's unfortunate that lately it's been raining for longer periods of time each day lately.

4 hours ago, pinball said:

Does anyone remember the Hyatt walkway collapse in KC, MO in 1981?

IIRC, that was purely an engineering fault and well over 100 people died with double that number injured.

the stories and pictures are horrific.

I remember. That was horrible.

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5 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

Much of Miami-Dade and Broward counties were built on drained swamps. The Everglades was much bigger before the land boom of the 1920s drained a good bit of the marsh.

My heart goes out to the families of the missing and injured, as well as to those who now have no home. I'm so glad to hear you're okay. Your husband must have been frantic until he heard from you. ((hugs))

It's the reverse of a situation we had in college where he called me at 3 in the morning to tell me not to worry and he was fine. I  asked what was he talking about and he said look at the news. There had been a hijacking in Japan on the plane he was supposed to be on. Unlike him completely, he missed the plane and missed the hijacking. This in addition to the too many phone calls while we lived in Israel....

 

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The NY Times is reporting this morning --

Quote

Three years before the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex near Miami, a consultant found alarming evidence of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “abundant” cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage under the 13-story building.

The engineer’s report helped shape plans for a multimillion-dollar repair project that was set to get underway soon — more than two and a half years after the building managers were warned

Quote

The complex’s management association had disclosed some of the problems in the wake of the collapse, but it was not until city officials released the 2018 report late Friday that the full nature of the concrete and rebar damage — most of it probably caused by years of exposure to the corrosive salt air along the South Florida coast — became chillingly apparent.

“Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the consultant, Frank Morabito, wrote about damage near the base of the structure as part of his October 2018 report on the 40-year-old building in Surfside, Fla. He gave no indication that the structure was at risk of collapse, though he noted that the needed repairs would be aimed at “maintaining the structural integrity” of the building and its 136 units.

Quote

Mr. Morabito, who declined to comment this week, wrote in the 2018 report that the goal of his study was to understand and document the extent of structural issues that would require repair or remediation.

“These documents will enable the Condominium Board to adequately assess the overall condition of the building, notify tenants on how they may be affected, and provide a safe and functional infrastructure for the future,” he wrote.

At the ground level of the complex, vehicles can drive in next to a pool deck where residents would lounge in the sun. Mr. Morabito in 2018 said that the waterproofing below the pool deck and entrance drive was failing, “causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas.”

The report added that “failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.” The problem, he said, was that the waterproofing was laid flat, not sloped in a way that would allow water to run off, an issue he called a “major error” in the original design. The replacement would be “extremely expensive,” he warned, and cause a major disturbance to residents.

In the parking garage, which largely sits at the bottom level of the building, part of it under the pool deck, Mr. Morabito said that there were signs of distress and fatigue.

“Abundant cracking and spalling of varying degrees was observed in the concrete columns, beams, and walls,” Mr. Morabito wrote. He included photos of cracks in the columns of the parking garage as well as concrete crumbling — a process engineers refer to as “spalling” — that exposed steel reinforcements on the garage deck.
 

Quote

Mr. Morabito noted that previous attempts to patch the concrete with epoxy were failing, resulting in more cracking and spalling. In one such spot, he said, “new cracks were radiating from the originally repaired cracks.”

The report also identified a host of other problems: Residents were complaining of water coming through their windows and balcony doors, and the concrete on many balconies also was deteriorating.

After watching a surveillance video showing the collapse of the building, Evan Bentz, a professor at the University of Toronto and an expert in structural concrete, said that whatever had caused the collapse would have to have been somewhere near the bottom of the building, perhaps around the parking level. Though he had not seen the 2018 report at the time, he said such a collapse could have several possible explanations, including a design mistake, a materials problem, a construction error or a maintenance error.

“I’d be surprised if there was just one cause,” Mr. Bentz said. “There would have to be multiple causes for it to have fallen like that.”

 

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

The NY Times is reporting this morning --

 

Horrible.  I don't even have words.   How were they allowing anyone to live in that for 3 years??  I hope that the families are able to sue and that this changes the way inspectors do work in the future.  Nobody should be living in a building that has major structural damage.  I have so much anger about this right now.

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

The NY Times is reporting this morning --

 

Reuters quoted NYTimes in full in case anyone needs a non-paywall link to forward to  friends. The engineer (Morabito) would have professional liability where I am from. “Timely fashion” is such an ambiguous choice of words to use. 

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/engineer-had-warned-structural-damage-before-florida-building-collapse-nyt-2021-06-26/
 

Morabito gave no indication in his report that the structure was at risk of collapse, but noted that the needed repairs would be aimed at “maintaining the structural integrity” of the building and its 136 units, the Times said.

"Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the Times quoted Morabito as writing about damage near the base of the 40-year-old building.”

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1 hour ago, Fritz said:

There is some discussion of evacuating the sister building (built at the same time by the same builders) down the street.  I'm gonna go with yes, evacuate until fully investigated!

Built the same year, same plans, same builder, and just up the road.  It seems like a no brainer until they figure out what happened.  If the error is in the original plan, as this report suggests, there is nothing to say that the same error isn't repeated in that building.  You can view it on their website and it certainly looks the same with the exception of the exterior paint choice. https://www.miamicondoinvestments.com/champlain-towers-north-condos

Edited by melmichigan
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I was thinking how much we rely on people doing the right thing.  I mean we don't hire structural engineers before going to stay at a hotel.  But it is more than just buildings we have to trust-----lots and lots of things.  That the food company made the food correctly.  THat the pharmaceutical company made your medications correctly.  Etc, etc, etc.

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7 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

I was thinking how much we rely on people doing the right thing.  I mean we don't hire structural engineers before going to stay at a hotel.  But it is more than just buildings we have to trust-----lots and lots of things.  That the food company made the food correctly.  THat the pharmaceutical company made your medications correctly.  Etc, etc, etc.

Very true and very scary because we see time and again how many companies are entirely untrustworthy, but yet some many times they skate by on ethics and safety or our lives wouldn't keep spinning. It is is difficult truth to face.

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41 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

It also makes me think about the sales angle. As a home buyer, I’ve hired an engineer for a structural inspection as a condition of sale. I don’t think it would ever have crossed my mind to ask about a structural inspection if purchasing a condo unit.

 

32 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

I was thinking how much we rely on people doing the right thing. 

I have live in multistory buildings all my life. My childhood home was on the 24th floor, just below the roof/water tank. There is always conflict of interest in inspections. If the company had advised following up with a more thorough investigation into structural damage, the condo management might have understood the urgency.

My current condo complex has sued the developer for liability damages and won a settlement to pay for all remediation work deem responsible by the court. The lawyers representing my condo’s association had engineers going round for weeks documenting all the faults in every condo unit and common areas.

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5 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Page 5 was also interesting with the statements about cracked stucco. On page 8 I was struck by the condition of the concrete garage columns. When I first heard of the accident I pictured those columns failing and causing the pancake collapse. Of course I'm not a structural engineer (or any kind of engineer) and have no experience in that area but I could see that being at least a contributing cause to the collapse.

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49 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Were you, as an individual unit purchaser, given any info about the structural integrity of the entire, multi unit building at the time of sale/lease? Was it something you thought to ask about (rather than just the details regarding your personal unit)? I’m honestly curious, I don’t think I would have thought of it unless there were obvious outward signs of deterioration. 
 

I know a condo handles this after the fact, as a management issue, I’m just looking at it as an item at point of purchase. 

When I bought my first condo (with my husband) when we were 28, the foundation for the underground garage was just being done. 
When we bought our second condo, it was a close out unit. We did ask a lot of questions about structure because this was our first home purchase in earthquake territory. 
I did pick developers that have a decent track record and deep pockets to sue. 
 

My 6 months engineering internship was spent entirely on litigation and court cases for land and sea structures (ships, barges, oil rigs). After my internship, it was hard to go into any structure or ships without thinking about structural integrity.

Another factor was a six storey hotel near my childhood home collapsed when I was 13 and 33 people died. I saw the rubble and the rescue operations. 

21 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

On page 8 I was struck by the condition of the concrete garage columns. When I first heard of the accident I pictured those columns failing and causing the pancake collapse.

Temporary bracing could have been put in place after the engineering report was issued and cars told to not park near those columns.

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@Lady Florida.

This makes me think the foundation has issues. It is on reclaimed land and shocks from nearby construction can be felt. Makes me think buildings build near the coastline should be designed to earthquake engineering standards or higher. 

”18 min ago

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Magaly "Maggie" Ramsey told CNN's Wolf Blitzer her mother Magaly Delgado, who is among the missing in the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, had raised concerns about work being done on other buildings having possible impacts on her building.

Ramsey said her mother didn't really complain about her building but had raised concerns about ongoing assessments as well as tremors from the construction of a new building nearby.

"I will say that when the other building beside it, which is relatively new, was being built she did complain of a lot of tremors and things that were being done to the other building that she sometimes was concerned what may be happening to her building that might be putting it at risk as a result," Ramsey explained.”

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

 

I have live in multistory buildings all my life. My childhood home was on the 24th floor, just below the roof/water tank. There is always conflict of interest in inspections. If the company had advised following up with a more thorough investigation into structural damage, the condo management might have understood the urgency.

My current condo complex has sued the developer for liability damages and won a settlement to pay for all remediation work deem responsible by the court. The lawyers representing my condo’s association had engineers going round for weeks documenting all the faults in every condo unit and common areas.

I keep thinking of the millennium tower. Scary stuff.

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The pool sunk first which a resident on the 4th floor watched in horror as she relayed it to someone she was speaking with on the phone at around 1:30 am. The resident was sitting on her balcony at the time. (She is presumed dead. :( )

From what I have read, the pool’s concrete slab extended to at least part of the underground garage. So imagine the slab as a rug. Just speculation but as the pool sunk, it may have pulled some of the slab from the garage destabilizing the base and columns. Other supports/redundancies should have prevented such a catastrophic failure but didn’t for some reason(s).

The rebar shown in some photos is also fairly clean with no to little concrete sticking to it which might suggest that the rebar was not embedded deeply enough and did not bond with the concrete. This is all speculation, and it is likely a number of factors were at play.

Multi-story buildings usually hire property management firms that will deal with, among other issues, hiring a structural engineer to do an annual inspection as well as firms or tradespeople to keep the building safe and functioning. Condos or co-op boards will have elected residents who work with the building engineer and maintenance and property management firm and ideally relay information to residents. IME, the condo and co-op boards are too often not assertive enough while dealing with building issues. Too many take the positions as a way to socialize and have no clue or interest as to determining what needs to be done themselves. The window washer scaffolding that fell from the John Hancock Building years ago and killed several people below is an example of this. It was a matter of individuals in charge who did not heed the warnings that were there for months. 

Such a terrible situation, especially if it could have been remedied.

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5 hours ago, sassenach said:

I keep thinking of the millennium tower. Scary stuff.


https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/philmatier/article/Tilting-Millennium-Tower-fix-will-cost-taxpayers-15662664.php
“The overall settlement includes the $100 million fix for the tilting, 58-story high-rise at 301 Mission Street that opened in 2009, plus millions of dollars in reimbursements to luxury condominium owners whose property values plummeted as a result of the tilting. The repair project calls for 52 piles to be drilled 250 feet down into bedrock to shore up the building — which now sits on 950 reinforced concrete piles driven up to 90 feet deep into bay mud.

….

According to Millennium Partners, the massive excavation to build the transit center and the adjacent structures destabilized the soil under the tower — the claim was that “dewatering” had weakened the soil under the tower — and that by the time that work the adjacent properties was finished, the tower had sunk 17 inches and was leaning 14 inches to the west.

The TJPA maintained that by the time the below-grade work on the transit center began in spring 2011, the tower had already sunk 10 inches and was tilting. The agency is composed of the city and county of San Francisco, AC Transit, Caltrain, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the California High Speed Rail Authority and Caltrans.

And therein lay the public liability.

While the TJPA continues to deny “in the strongest of terms” that the construction of the transit center caused the excessive movement of the Millennium Tower, the authority is nonetheless paying the $30 million into the settlement.“

 

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“8:09 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Evacuation for other Champlain towers is voluntary after buildings were inspected by the city, Surfside mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Evacuations for residents in Champlain Towers North and East are voluntary following the collapse of Champlain Towers South, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said at a Saturday night news conference.

The mayor said a Surfside building official did a cursory review of the structure at Champlain Towers North and East and "didn't find anything that was out of order."

"So that's reassuring, but that is not a deep dive," he added. "We are going to do a very deep dive into why this building fell down. And I imagine that is going to end up being a very sort of comprehensive project."

He said he was made aware Saturday of the 2018 report detailing structural issues.

After speaking with other officials, the decision was made to give residents the information so they can make the decision on whether to relocate. They are working with FEMA on relocation options.”

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14 minutes ago, pinball said:

Thank you!

I thought it wasn’t confirmed yet that Florida would take their help when I read the news earlier.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-sending-idf-team-to-florida-to-assist-with-tower-collapse-rescue-efforts/

“Golan Vach, a senior officer in the IDF’s Homefront Command, will head the delegation, which will be comprised of around ten reservists — experts in search and rescue efforts and in engineering, as well as in social care, the military said in a statement.

The team of soldiers that is part of the “Helping Hand” operation will fly out in the early hours of Sunday, the IDF announced.

“The mission of the delegation is to assist in the life-saving efforts by mapping the challenges at the site of the destruction, assisting the Jewish community and supporting the local rescue forces,” the IDF said.

….

Israel’s United Hatzalah, the largest volunteer emergency service, will also send a delegation of six psychological assistance professionals to assist the affected families and community.

“The purpose of the senior delegation is to provide initial psychological assistance to those who witnessed the incident and to the community, through tools that are used by us here in Israel in difficult events,” Eli Beer, the president of the EMS said in a statement.“

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4 hours ago, BeachGal said:

The pool sunk first which a resident on the 4th floor watched in horror as she relayed it to someone she was speaking with on the phone at around 1:30 am. The resident was sitting on her balcony at the time. (She is presumed dead. 😞 )

From what I have read, the pool’s concrete slab extended to at least part of the underground garage. So imagine the slab as a rug. Just speculation but as the pool sunk, it may have pulled some of the slab from the garage destabilizing the base and columns. Other supports/redundancies should have prevented such a catastrophic failure but didn’t for some reason(s).

The rebar shown in some photos is also fairly clean with no to little concrete sticking to it which might suggest that the rebar was not embedded deeply enough and did not bond with the concrete. This is all speculation, and it is likely a number of factors were at play.

Multi-story buildings usually hire property management firms that will deal with, among other issues, hiring a structural engineer to do an annual inspection as well as firms or tradespeople to keep the building safe and functioning. Condos or co-op boards will have elected residents who work with the building engineer and maintenance and property management firm and ideally relay information to residents. IME, the condo and co-op boards are too often not assertive enough while dealing with building issues. Too many take the positions as a way to socialize and have no clue or interest as to determining what needs to be done themselves. The window washer scaffolding that fell from the John Hancock Building years ago and killed several people below is an example of this. It was a matter of individuals in charge who did not heed the warnings that were there for months. 

Such a terrible situation, especially if it could have been remedied.

My husband was telling me about this earlier—the woman who saw the pool collapse from her balcony. I’m assuming this was an elevated pool. It’s all so horrible. I don’t understand why they haven’t been able to make more progress with the search and rescue. You would think the close proximity to Miami would mean they could get any necessary equipment in there much quicker. Every time I watch a news update, the site looks the same. But maybe the news outlets aren’t getting updated footage. I can’t imagine what the families of the missing are feeling right now. 

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Given all the things that have been reported, just putting the pieces together about how the condo board apparently treated previous issues and the plans to finally get around to fixing the structural issues from the 2018 report and the 40 year inspection coming due... it really sounds to me like the delay was the condo board waiting as long as they possibly could before the inspection. So they commissioned the report a couple of years ahead of the 40 year inspection due date to see what they'd be facing. Discovered unpleasant truths. Delayed as long as possible. Put in a plan to fix them during the inspection process, which was the final time they could realistically do it. And then this happened.

I can't get over how horrifying the whole thing is.

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18 minutes ago, pinball said:

I’m really confused.

is the US going to accept Israel’s help?

The officials in Miami accepted.

“The team of Home Front Command soldiers will head to Florida following a series of talks over the weekend between Israeli defense officials and officials in Miami, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday night.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the move was approved in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.”

ETA: sorry for my earlier post confusing you. 

Edited by Arcadia
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3 minutes ago, popmom said:

I don’t understand why they haven’t been able to make more progress with the search and rescue. You would think the close proximity to Miami would mean they could get any necessary equipment in there much quicker. Every time I watch a news update, the site looks the same. 

The search and rescue team has to go slow because they are still holding out hope for survivors. If they accidentally cause debris to shift and kill any possible survivors, that would be worse. 
 

An imperfect analogy would be the game of Jenga. Put a wrong stick and the stack collapse. It is very emotionally and mentally draining for the search and rescue team.

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6 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

The officials in Miami accepted.

“The team of Home Front Command soldiers will head to Florida following a series of talks over the weekend between Israeli defense officials and officials in Miami, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday night.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the move was approved in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.”

Ok, thanks. I was confused bc you said you thought it wasn’t confirmed but the tweet and article implied they were definitely coming.

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16 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

The search and rescue team has to go slow because they are still holding out hope for survivors. If they accidentally cause debris to shift and kill any possible survivors, that would be worse. 
 

An imperfect analogy would be the game of Jenga. Put a wrong stick and the stack collapse. It is very emotionally and mentally draining for the search and rescue team.

I get that. I thought I had read earlier that they didn’t have some of the equipment they needed. I can’t remember where I saw it. Just struck me as odd and frustrating.

Eta I can’t find that info, so I may have been totally wrong on that.  I did see that they only use the really heavy equipment where they know for certain there could be no survivors which totally makes sense. 

Edited by popmom
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6 hours ago, Plum said:

I hate to say it, but I wonder if the pandemic slowed down or halted progress on getting this fixed. I don't know how it effected construction in FL (since they had their own sets of rules) 

 

31 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Given all the things that have been reported, just putting the pieces together about how the condo board apparently treated previous issues and the plans to finally get around to fixing the structural issues from the 2018 report and the 40 year inspection coming due... it really sounds to me like the delay was the condo board waiting as long as they possibly could before the inspection.

 

5 hours ago, BeachGal said:

 IME, the condo and co-op boards are too often not assertive enough while dealing with building issues. Too many take the positions as a way to socialize and have no clue or interest as to determining what needs to be done themselves.

Cost of repairs is likely an issue

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-approves-florida-emergency-declaration-after-building-collapse-2021-06-25/

“Surfside Commissioner Charles Kesl told Reuters an email from a building resident in April said the engineering firm Morabito Consultants had been hired to do the building's recertification. The recertification application, due this year, had not yet been formally submitted, Kesl said.

Kesl said the email, which he declined to share, mentioned the condominium was borrowing some $15 million for repairs on balcony railings and repairs that were unclear.

"But $15 million isn't crazy extraordinary," he said, noting the condominium may have also been using reserves.”

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Ok, this is a really stupid question, but here goes. What, if any, effect does the practice of having things built by the lowest bidder have in the quality of the work? I know that the building needed repairs, but I can't help but wonder about workmanship and cutting corners. I know that is standard practice, and companies want their work to shine, certainly to not have liability issues. Does anyone else wonder about this? I have thought about this for years.

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11 minutes ago, math teacher said:

Ok, this is a really stupid question, but here goes. What, if any, effect does the practice of having things built by the lowest bidder have in the quality of the work? I know that the building needed repairs, but I can't help but wonder about workmanship and cutting corners. I know that is standard practice, and companies want their work to shine, certainly to not have liability issues. Does anyone else wonder about this? I have thought about this for years.

Unfortunately higher bids doesn’t mean better quality of work. Small firms know they might get bankrupted if they get sued which means that they might take the risk. Big companies have deep pockets to pay as well as technical and legal staff to see if the liability clause is low risk. Bids can be awarded to firms with better track records, not necessarily to the lowest bidder. 

Normal buildings do not have plaques with information about who the construction firms and architects are. To construction companies, residential and office buildings projects are just more of the same work they have been doing for years.

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15 minutes ago, math teacher said:

Ok, this is a really stupid question, but here goes. What, if any, effect does the practice of having things built by the lowest bidder have in the quality of the work? I know that the building needed repairs, but I can't help but wonder about workmanship and cutting corners. I know that is standard practice, and companies want their work to shine, certainly to not have liability issues. Does anyone else wonder about this? I have thought about this for years.

In theory it shouldn’t matter. There are building codes and inspections at every step of the building process. So the “bones” of the building ought to be the same quality no matter who won the bid. Typically, the cutting corners happens with the finishes. I realize though that this is complex, and you never know if there’s some corruption going on with the inspections. But I would think it’s not likely in Florida where they have historically had more stringent codes for condominium complexes than other states. 

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2 hours ago, pinball said:

Thank you!

Mexico and Israel

https://www.newsweek.com/mexican-israeli-task-forces-join-search-survivors-surfside-building-collapse-1604365

 

Task forces from Israel and Mexico have joined the search for survivors following the Surfside building collapse in Miami Beach, Florida.

During a public briefing on Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that people from both countries have joined search-and-rescue groups. Workers from both countries rotate in and out as work teams sift through the rubble in two 12-hour shifts covering all 24 hours of each day.

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I'm wondering if structural engineers are trained to see changes in the geology of the area. Are geologists required to sign off on the 40 year inspections? The building could have been structurally sound for what an engineer would know about the underlying rock it was built on (but then had changed since the construction).

I'm also wondering about what will happen to the insurance premiums of all the condos on that beach. Or if they are now even insurable. 

I am also very concerned about the cost of sea level rising in the USA.  Last year NZ laid out a 40 year plan for the 'Managed Retreat from the Coast' which kind of took me by surprise. 

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9 hours ago, Arcadia said:

“8:09 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Evacuation for other Champlain towers is voluntary after buildings were inspected by the city, Surfside mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Evacuations for residents in Champlain Towers North and East are voluntary following the collapse of Champlain Towers South, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said at a Saturday night news conference.

The mayor said a Surfside building official did a cursory review of the structure at Champlain Towers North and East and "didn't find anything that was out of order."

"So that's reassuring, but that is not a deep dive," he added. "We are going to do a very deep dive into why this building fell down. And I imagine that is going to end up being a very sort of comprehensive project."

He said he was made aware Saturday of the 2018 report detailing structural issues.

After speaking with other officials, the decision was made to give residents the information so they can make the decision on whether to relocate. They are working with FEMA on relocation options.”

I think I would be leaving that area after it happened- not even wait for evacuation,  It is could that the structure seems sound but I wouldn't want to be in that area right next door to where the building collapsed and dust and smoke from the fire and the entire horror of it was weighing on my mind all the time.  It would be time for a vacation.

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8 hours ago, popmom said:

My husband was telling me about this earlier—the woman who saw the pool collapse from her balcony. I’m assuming this was an elevated pool. It’s all so horrible. I don’t understand why they haven’t been able to make more progress with the search and rescue. You would think the close proximity to Miami would mean they could get any necessary equipment in there much quicker. Every time I watch a news update, the site looks the same. But maybe the news outlets aren’t getting updated footage. I can’t imagine what the families of the missing are feeling right now. 

Because there are no bodies to recover, most likely.  Adding that there is a fire going on too.

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8 hours ago, Arcadia said:

The search and rescue team has to go slow because they are still holding out hope for survivors. If they accidentally cause debris to shift and kill any possible survivors, that would be worse. 
 

An imperfect analogy would be the game of Jenga. Put a wrong stick and the stack collapse. It is very emotionally and mentally draining for the search and rescue team.

That too.  ANd they also do not want any rescuers to die.

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7 hours ago, math teacher said:

Ok, this is a really stupid question, but here goes. What, if any, effect does the practice of having things built by the lowest bidder have in the quality of the work? I know that the building needed repairs, but I can't help but wonder about workmanship and cutting corners. I know that is standard practice, and companies want their work to shine, certainly to not have liability issues. Does anyone else wonder about this? I have thought about this for years.

As I mentioned above in this thread-corruption in South Florida condiminium buildiong was a very well known problem in the 1970's and probably later to so 1981 may have still been in the problem time.  John D. MacDonald- a hard-boiled mystery/suspense writer wrote a mystery about it -Condominium.    

NOrmally when construction companies are engaged in corruption they may very well not be the lowest bidder-  they just want to be the winning bidder and get the bid and make as much money as possible.  That involves bribes and threats.  And those bribes and threats continue on down the line with corrupting engineers, inspectors etc.  

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On 6/26/2021 at 10:46 PM, math teacher said:

Ok, this is a really stupid question, but here goes. What, if any, effect does the practice of having things built by the lowest bidder have in the quality of the work? I know that the building needed repairs, but I can't help but wonder about workmanship and cutting corners. I know that is standard practice, and companies want their work to shine, certainly to not have liability issues. Does anyone else wonder about this? I have thought about this for years.

This is a huge problem in construction, IMO. Even new places built by reputable companies will cut corners. We built a semi-custom home about 20 years ago and found a number of problems within the first year. Missing exterior flashing, hvac vented into attic instead of outside, a shower drain pipe cut too short that was joined with gobs of silicone, etc. Inspectors don’t necessarily inspect all details in every house in new communities. They choose a few and sign off on others. They do probably check really important details usually (maybe).

And then there are the honest mistakes. One of the lower floors of a new 15-ish story apartment building in my suburb was built too short by a few inches but was okayed; however, that led to a domino effect of problems. Unrelated to that, one young construction worker died because of shoddily placed supports.

In the case of the Miami condo, some structural engineers are discussing the clean rebar they are seeing in the rubble and how it is sometimes not embedded properly into the concrete by crews from Central America. Those crews are hired because they will work for less but they must be properly supervised (and they should be paid well, too).

The lower columns also punched through the slabs above so probably not a sinkhole. Maybe some sinking due to pool leak, possibly the construction next door if they had to pump water out (dewater?).

Building design in the US is actually pretty good because engineers must include redundancies which are other systems, such as supports, that will keep the building intact should something like a slab, a column, or even a row of columns fail. The western part of the condo that remained standing has larger supports with transfer beams (I think) and those beams probably saved that building from falling.

Everything now is just speculation regarding the Miami condo but it appears some minor design flaws, possibly improper construction, and negligent upkeep could all have led to its falling.

Edited by BeachGal
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On 6/27/2021 at 4:22 AM, lewelma said:

I'm wondering if structural engineers are trained to see changes in the geology of the area. Are geologists required to sign off on the 40 year inspections? The building could have been structurally sound for what an engineer would know about the underlying rock it was built on (but then had changed since the construction).

I'm also wondering about what will happen to the insurance premiums of all the condos on that beach. Or if they are now even insurable. 

I am also very concerned about the cost of sea level rising in the USA.  Last year NZ laid out a 40 year plan for the 'Managed Retreat from the Coast' which kind of took me by surprise. 

We have geotechnical engineers. Not sure if that’s the correct term. I don't know who signs off the 40-year inspections, though. Miami Beach area does enforce them.

If it's a design flaw or neglect, insurance will probably fight it.

I think the US should already be planning something similar to NZ.

Edited by BeachGal
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https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/27/us/miami-dade-building-collapse-sunday/index.html

(CNN)  The death toll from the partial condo building collapse in South Florida has reached nine with dozens still missing, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday.

….They've been stymied by a fire and the constant threat of further collapse where 55 of the 136 units of Champlain Towers South crashed to the ground.

…. At least six to eight search crews are digging through the wreckage at any given time, Levine Cava said. 

"We're cutting a deep trench to assist us. It's now 125 feet in length into the pile. It's 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep," the mayor said.
"This trench is very critical to the continuation of the search and rescue process. We continued all night to build that, that trench, and as a result of that, we were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble, as well as additional human remains."

…And while families hold on to hope for the dozens still missing, officials are trying to both support them and prepare them for the worst.
"We've also talked with them about the developments, for example with the body parts -- finding body parts," said the Miami-Dade County mayor, who was meeting with family members until about midnight Sunday morning.
"Obviously that's a very sobering bit of news. And they are understanding that that is a possibility. So we are talking through what that means, how is the DNA evidence taken, what's happening with the medical examiner, how they will be notified.”

Many families have lauded the rescue workers risking their own safety to find the missing loved ones. But some have directed their anger toward those leading the search efforts.”

Edited by Arcadia
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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 8 people unaccounted for, 97 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (Update on NIST’s Investigation)

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