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


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Aside from the obvious notations in the report, the knowledge that that building had been sinking, and the eye-witness testimony that the pool deck collapsed, it may come to be telling that there was rising water in the basement when a family fled there to try to escape minutes after the collapse. They returned upstair and were eventually rescued by a cherry picker.  In the early pictures the water is still in the swimming pool, so where did the rising water come from?  

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7 hours ago, lewelma said:

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).

Looks like not.

https://www.townofsurfsidefl.gov/departments-services/building/40-year-recertification-program

The Owner or Owner's representative must hire a Registered Architect and/or a Professional Engineer to perform electrical and structural inspections for the building and submit a completed report of the inspection performed to the Governmental Compliance Section in the City of Town of Surfside Building Department for review and approval.”

40yrecertguide.pdf?sfvrsn=83594794_5

”EVALUATION: Each report shall include a statement to the effect that the building is structurally safe, unsafe, safe with qualifications, or has been deemed safe by restrictive interpretation of such statements. It is suggested that each report also include the following information indicating the actual scope of the report and limits of liability. This paragraph may be used:
“As a routine matter, in order to avoid possible misunderstanding, nothing in this report should be construed directly or indirectly as a guarantee for any portion of the structure. To the best of my knowledge and ability, this report represents an accurate appraisal of the present condition of the building based upon careful evaluation of observed conditions, to the extent reasonably possible.”


FOUNDATION
If all of the supporting subterranean materials were completely uniform beneath a structure, with no significant variations in grain size, density, moisture content or other mechanical properties; and if dead load pressures were completely uniform, settlements would probably be uniform and of little practical consequence. In the real world, however, neither is likely. Significant deviations from either of these two idealism are likely to result in unequal vertical movements.
Monolithic masonry, generally incapable of accepting such movements will crack. Such cracks are most likely to occur at corners, and large openings. Since, in most cases, differential shears are involved, cracks will typically be diagonal.
Small movements, in themselves, are most likely to be structurally important only if long term leakage through fine cracks may have resulted in deterioration. In the event of large movements, continuous structural elements such as floor and roof systems must be evaluated for possible fracture or loss of bearing.
Pile foundations are, in general, less likely to exhibit such difficulties. Where such does occur, special investigation will be required.

… 

MASONRY BEARING WALLS
Random cracking, or if discernible, definitive patterns of cracking, will of course, be of interest. Bulging, sagging, or other signs of misalignment may also indicate related problems in other structural elements. Masonry walls where commonly constructed of either concrete masonry remits or scored clay tile, may have been constructed with either reinforced concrete columns tie beams, or lintels.
Steel bar joists are, of course, sensitive to corrosion. Most critical locations will be web member welds, especially near supports, where shear stresses are high possible failure may be sudden, and without warning.
Cold formed steel joists, usually of relatively light gage steel, are likely to be critically sensitive to corrosion, and are highly dependent upon at least normal lateral support to carry designed loads. Bridging and the floor or roof system itself, if in good condition, will serve the purpose.
Wood joists and rafters are most often in difficult from “dry rot”, or the presence of termites. The former (a misnomer) is most often prevalent in the presence of sustained moisture or lack of adequate ventilation. A member may usually be deemed in acceptable condition if a sharp pointed tool will penetrate no more than about one eight of an inch under moderate hand pressure. Sagging floors will most often indicate problem areas.
Gypsum roof decks will usually perform satisfactorily except in the presence of moisture. Disintegration of the material and the foam-board may result from sustained leakage. Anchorage of the supporting bulb tees against uplift may also be of importance, with significant deterioration. Floor and roof systems of cast in place concrete with self-centering reinforcing, such as paper backed mesh and rib-lath, may be critical with respect to corrosion of the unprotected reinforcing. Loss of uplift anchorage on roof decks will also be important if significant deterioration has taken place, in the event that dead loads are otherwise inadequate for that purpose.
STEEL FRAMING SYSTEM
Corrosion, obviously enough, will be the determining factor in the deterioration of structural steel. Most likely suspect areas will be fasteners, welds, and the interface area where bearings are embedded in masonry. Column bases may often be suspect in areas where flooding has been experienced, especially if salt water has been involved.
Thin cracks usually indicate only minor corrosion, requiring minor patching. Extensive spalling may indicate a much more serious condition requiring further investigation.
Of most probable importance will be the vertical and horizontal cracks where masonry units abut tie columns, or other frame elements such as floor slabs. Of interest here is the observation that although the raw materials of which these masonry materials are made may have much the same mechanical properties as the reinforced concrete framing, their actual behavior in the structure, however, is likely to differ with respect to volume change resulting from moisture content, and variations in ambient thermal conditions.
Moisture vapor penetration, sometimes abetted by salt laden aggregate and corroding rebar’s, will usually be the most common cause of deterioration. Tie columns are rarely structurally sensitive, and a fair amount of deterioration may be tolerated before structural impairment becomes important. Usually, if rebar loss is such that the remaining steel area is still about 0.0075 of the concrete area, structural repair will not be necessary. Cosmetic type repair involving cleaning and patching to effectively seal the member may often suffice. A similar approach may not be unreasonable for tie beams, provided they are not also serving as lintels. In that event, a rudimentary analysis of load capability using the remaining actual rebar area may be required.

….

CONCRETE FRAMING SYSTEMS
Concrete deterioration will, in most cases similarly related to rebar corrosion possibly abetted by the presence of salt-water aggregate or excessively permeable concrete. In this respect, honeycomb areas may contribute adversely to the rate of deterioration. Columns are frequently most suspected. Extensive honeycomb is most prevalent at the base of columns, where fresh concrete was permitted to segregate, dropping into form boxes. This type of problem has been known to be compounded in areas where flooding has occurred, especially involving salt water.
In spalled areas, chipping away a few small loose samples of concrete may be very revealing. Especially, since loose material will have to be removed even for cosmetic type repairs, anyway. Fairly reliable quantitative conclusions may be drawn with respect to the quality of the concrete. Even though our cement and local aggregate are essentially derived from the same sources, cement will have a characteristically dark grayish brown color in contrast to the almost white aggregate. A typically white, almost alabaster like coloration will usually indicate reasonably good overall strength. The original gradation of aggregate can be seen through a magnifying glass. Depending upon the structural importance of the specific location, this type of examination may obviate the need for further testing if a value of 2000 psi to 2500 psi is sufficient for required strength, in the event that visual inspection indicates good quality for the factors mentioned.”

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@Lady Florida. @Seasider too

https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-06-27-21-intl/index.html

“43 min ago

Miami sends letter urging inspections of buildings taller than six stories and more than 40 years old and for reports back in 45 days

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The City of Miami on Friday sent a letter to condo associations of buildings that are more than six stories tall and more than 40 years old, urging them to get an inspection from a qualified structural engineer following the partial collapse Thursday of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, a city staffer told CNN.

Stephanie Severino, the director of communication for the City of Miami, said the city is asking the condo associations to send back a "status report on the conditions of their structures."

"Effective immediately, you are strongly urged to retain the services of a Licensed Structural Engineer and to undertake a Structural Inspection for Visible signs of Distress," the letter sent to associations on Friday said, emphasizing the term immediately.

The city is reviewing the protocols for building inspections, especially for buildings of that age and size, she said.

Severino said she did not know how many buildings fall into that category.

Building associations will need to hire an engineer "who has designed (or) inspected at least three buildings of the same or greater height to tell us if they see any signs of distress," Severino told CNN. 

If visible signs of distress are identified, they need to be noted in the cover letter report that is sent back to the city within 45 days, she said.

 
1 hr 10 min ago

City of Sunny Isles Beach to begin reviews of buildings starting Monday, vice mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The City of Sunny Isles Beach will begin reviewing buildings starting Monday after announcing this weekend that it would modify the existing process for 40-year recertifications of buildings following the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in nearby Surfside, Vice Mayor Larisa Svechin told CNN.

Svechin said Sunday that the city is about 1.7 square miles large and has more than 20,000 condo units. Of those 20,000 units, a majority are under the age of concern for reinspection, she said.

"Teams have already been established," Svechin said, adding that the city has a hard deadline to review their buildings by July 1.

There are about 20 buildings that are coming up for recertification and those that have already been recertified will be reviewed, she said.

The transparency is something the city wants to give residents so they can feel at ease following the tragedy in Surfside that killed nine people and left more than 150 missing, she said. 

"The more the residents see what we're doing, the better it is for everyone," Svechin said.“

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@popmom@pinball@Lady Florida.

CNN 5min ago

“He said the families were informed that the Israeli search and rescue team had arrived and that a team from Mexico would arrive tomorrow. 

The issue isn't resources, but rather luck, he said.

"We have a full complement of very experienced search and rescue people. We have waves of them going over that rubble pile right now," Burkett told CNN. "We've got every resource that we could ever want."

"We got everything we need and more, we just need some luck and we had it. We were having the rains, we were having the fire. Those have both subsided and now its 100% focus on getting the people out of there," he explained.

Burkett said he's still hopeful as he's seen an article that said people have survived under rubble for up to 17 days.

The mayor added that the families of those still missing just want the search and rescue teams to do more. 

"We're doing exactly that. We have armies ready to go 24 hours a day 7 days a week," Burkett said. "It's not going to stop until we pull everybody out."”

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The information in this article apparently originated in the Washington Post? This is about the developers and issues many years ago.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/developers-of-doomed-fla-tower-were-once-accused-of-paying-off-officials-report

Regarding the story upthread a little from CNN, about requiring inspections of building 6 or more stories that are 40 or more years old, what I have read, not on CNN, is that it will be for buildings 5 or more stories.

I believe that I read that FEMA has 30 Rescue Teams in the USA. The team in Miami is one of the best, if not the best team. Much experience.  If they need any machinery it will be there ASAP.  What they need are prayers and Gods help so they find some survivors.

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 152 people unaccounted for, 9 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated)

3 min ago

From CNN’s Keith Allen

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Sunday evening he will release all city documents related to Champlain Towers condo.

“I've asked our clerk and our city attorney and our city manager to dig out every piece of correspondence related to that building and put it on our website, so that's happening right now. And we're just going to put it out there and let y’all see it, and it's going to be what it’s going to be,” Burkett said during a news conference. 

The mayor added that he hasn’t had a chance to review much of the available information while on-site, but said he reviewed a hard copy of a 2018 report during a break in his car. 

"But beyond that, I haven't seen much," he said. 

14 min ago

Engineering firm to inspect other Champlain Towers buildings Tuesday, mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

An engineering firm will begin inspecting the other Champlain Towers buildings starting Tuesday, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a news conference Sunday night.

The structural engineers will complete a "top to bottom forensic study" on the buildings using X-rays and ground penetrating radar to check on the safety of the structures, Burkett said.

Burkett had said Saturday that inspectors had done a cursory inspection and found no immediate concerns, but a deeper dive is needed.

Evacuation is still voluntary for those buildings, but people that want to be relocated during the inspection process will be able to stay somewhere else, Burkett said. One of the donors has earmarked funding for relocation expenses for those that want to stay somewhere else during the inspections.”

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I have lived in a body corporate for 24 years. When I first moved in, there was no money in the bank for maintenance, and the schedule was weak and maybe with a 10 year time horizon. To get anything done, people had to 1) agree to do it, and 2) raise a levy to do it (like 20k per flat etc).  Nothing got done because no one wanted to pay so voted to delay the repairs. 

About 13 years ago, we moved to a 30 year maintenance plan that is fully funded. Our annual fees now include the prorated costs of all maintenance plus contingency for unknown expenses with a 30 year time horizon. This means that our annual fees are way higher, and that we have money in the bank for the planned maintenance (which includes things like re-roofing, re-surfacing the driveway, painting, rebuilding structures, etc over 30 years).  Because the money is in the bank and we know when the work is to happen, it happens. 

Basically, in my experience, if people have to agree to raise a levy to do repairs, the building will fall into disrepair. The money needs to be in the bank.  I saw in the newspaper that they were going to have to vote to take out a 15 million dollar loan for repairs, so the voted to delay. They should have been paying in annually for the past 40 years.

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https://www.townofsurfsidefl.gov/news-and-events/news-detail/2021/06/24/champlain-towers-partial-collapse-emergency-closings-and-cancellations

“Volunteer Information and Donations



Donations are now being accepted at the Feeding South Florida warehouse (2501 SW 32 Terrace | Pembroke Pines, FL 33023).

SupportSurfside.org – The Surfside Hardship Fund
The Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Miami Foundation, The Knight Foundation, Key Biscayne Community Foundation and others have set up a fund that will directly contribute to victims and the families of those impacted by this tragic event.
www.supportsurfside.org

GoFundMe
Fundraising platform GoFundMe has created a dedicated webpage for all the different funds related to victims and those affected. 
Surfside Condo Collapse: Here’s How to Help on GoFundMe

The Shul 
The Shul in Surfside is accepting donations for those impacted by the collapse. To donate, visit www.theshul.org/8777

News & Updates - June 27, 2021 at 8 p.m.

What is the latest?
First responders are working around the clock in a continued search and rescue mission to save lives. We are not giving up hope. Our prayers are with every single family who are waiting for updates and the brave first responders who are working tirelessly to pull people out of the rubble”

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I saw something (I think it was in a big Miami Herald overview article, but I can't find it right now) that addressed something I've been wondering about. There are different dog search teams there, some for detecting the living & some for detecting the dead. There was a statement early on that the search dogs (for the living) weren't tagging anything. That's what I had kind of guessed looking at the devastation, the fires that have cropped up, & more, but that seems to be a piece I haven't seen in most of the reporting. I haven't seen anything saying if the cadaver/death-sensing dogs are detecting anything/more....

It's a horrifying tragedy.

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 152 people unaccounted for, 9 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)
4 hours ago, lewelma said:

I have lived in a body corporate for 24 years. When I first moved in, there was no money in the bank for maintenance, and the schedule was weak and maybe with a 10 year time horizon. To get anything done, people had to 1) agree to do it, and 2) raise a levy to do it (like 20k per flat etc).  Nothing got done because no one wanted to pay so voted to delay the repairs. 

About 13 years ago, we moved to a 30 year maintenance plan that is fully funded. Our annual fees now include the prorated costs of all maintenance plus contingency for unknown expenses with a 30 year time horizon. This means that our annual fees are way higher, and that we have money in the bank for the planned maintenance (which includes things like re-roofing, re-surfacing the driveway, painting, rebuilding structures, etc over 30 years).  Because the money is in the bank and we know when the work is to happen, it happens. 

Basically, in my experience, if people have to agree to raise a levy to do repairs, the building will fall into disrepair. The money needs to be in the bank.  I saw in the newspaper that they were going to have to vote to take out a 15 million dollar loan for repairs, so the voted to delay. They should have been paying in annually for the past 40 years.

We had this experience in Austin -- when we were thinking about buying a condo, we learned that the reason the HOA fee was so low was that there was no money in the bank. And of course, this meant that they delayed fixing the roof until there was major water damage, at which point there was a huge assessment, much larger than what people would have had to pay via the HOA in the first place! 

So yeah, as you say -- there has to be money in the bank, or people won't fix things. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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5 hours ago, lewelma said:

I have lived in a body corporate for 24 years. When I first moved in, there was no money in the bank for maintenance, and the schedule was weak and maybe with a 10 year time horizon. To get anything done, people had to 1) agree to do it, and 2) raise a levy to do it (like 20k per flat etc).  Nothing got done because no one wanted to pay so voted to delay the repairs. 

About 13 years ago, we moved to a 30 year maintenance plan that is fully funded. Our annual fees now include the prorated costs of all maintenance plus contingency for unknown expenses with a 30 year time horizon. This means that our annual fees are way higher, and that we have money in the bank for the planned maintenance (which includes things like re-roofing, re-surfacing the driveway, painting, rebuilding structures, etc over 30 years).  Because the money is in the bank and we know when the work is to happen, it happens. 

Basically, in my experience, if people have to agree to raise a levy to do repairs, the building will fall into disrepair. The money needs to be in the bank. 

 

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

So yeah, as you say -- there has to be money in the bank, or people won't fix things. 

Isn’t there large sinking funds for condos? Both condos we bought had a large portion of HOA maintenance fee going into the sinking fund until a certain minimum amount is funded.

What I mean by sinking fund (explanation is by Queensland, Australia but similar to what I pay here in California and in my country of origin)

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate/finance-insurance/funds/sinking

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

 

Isn’t there large sinking funds for condos? 

NZ now requires a maintenance schedule, but it does not need to be funded.  

If there is no money in the bank, people don't want to vote to raise a levy or loan. Period.

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On 6/27/2021 at 5:22 AM, lewelma said:

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. 

I keep thinking about how we continue to believe we can beat Mother Nature,  and it just baffles me. I definitely appreciate the aesthetic of a seaside cottage, but I don’t understand how “we” just decide that developing beach cities is workable long-term.

As someone in an area that already absorbs people leaving the NYC islands, I do wonder what the future holds!
 

I did not expect to start seeing such awful tragedies outside of major weather events yet.

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Residents of most home owner association communities, condos and co-ops pay monthly dues which cover common area upkeep and maintenance. Part of those dues usually are invested in a reserve fund for future, expensive projects. Ideally, the reserve will be large enough to cover all projects but if not, then a special assessment can be imposed upon homeowners which is either a one-time fee or paid over a period of time.

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https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-06-28-21-intl/index.html

“11:57 a.m. ET, June 28, 2021

One additional body found in the rubble, bringing number of confirmed dead to 10, official say

From CNN's Elise Hammond

One more body has been discovered in the rubble of the partial collapsed building in Surfside, Florida, bringing the number of people killed 10, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Monday.

She said 151 people are still unaccounted for and 135 have been accounted for.

10:37 a.m. ET, June 28, 2021

Surfside official assured residents building was OK days after receiving "major structural damage" report 

From CNN's Mi Seon Lee and Casey Tolan

A Surfside town official assured residents of Champlain Towers South that their building was “in very good shape” in Nov. 2018, meeting minutes obtained by CNN show – even though the official had received a report warning of “major structural damage” to the tower two days earlier, according to emails released by the town.

Rosendo Prieto, who worked as the town’s building official at the time, made the comments at a meeting of the tower’s condo association more than two years before the building’s collapse, according to minutes from the Nov. 15, 2018 meeting. 

“Structural engineer report was reviewed by Mr. Prieto,” the minutes said, in an apparent reference to a 2018 report from structural engineer Frank Morabito, which detailed cracking and dilapidating concrete in the parking garage underneath the tower, among other significant issues. Although Prieto noted that the report “was not in the format for the 40 year certification he determined the necessary data was collected and it appears the building is in very good shape,” the minutes say.

A resident of the condo, Susana Alvarez, told NPR that she attended the meeting – which took place in the building’s recreation room – and remembered a representative of the town saying, “the building was not in bad shape.”  

Emails released by the town confirm Prieto attended the meeting. 

Two days before the meeting took place, on Nov. 13, 2018, a member of the condo board, Mara Chouela, forwarded Prieto a copy of the structural engineer’s report, according to an email released by the town on Saturday. 

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 151 people unaccounted for, 10 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)

The parking lot under the two towers that fell would often flood with seawater when King Tides occurred. Sump pumps didn't always work. The flooding would be bad enough for cars to float. This is according to a maintenance worker who used to work there.

Also, the pool deck concrete slab did not slope or drain properly so water would pool on the surface and evaporate over a period of time. This is a major flaw. They noticed large areas of spalling on the slab of concrete underneath the pool and pool deck planters as well as columns in the parking lot. In this case, the spalling possibly indicates the embedded rebars were corroding.

The sister building has at least one parking lot column that is missing a chunk of concrete about 6' up and appears to have some corrosion.

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2 minutes ago, BeachGal said:

The sister building has at least one parking lot column that is missing a chunk of concrete about 6' up and appears to have some corrosion.

If I lived in the sister building, I would be out of there very fast... 

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😢 @YaelAldrich

12 min ago

Surfside mayor says seeing 12-year-old girl sitting alone broke his heart

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

The mayor of Surfside, Florida, described a chance meeting with a 12-year-old girl at the Champlain Towers South collapse site Sunday night that “hit me the hardest.” 

“Last night, when I did my late night pass at the building there was little girl. She’s about 12 years old and she was sitting by herself,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday. 

Burkett said he knew the little girl from a previous encounter and understood that either her mother or father was a victim of the Surfside collapse. Burkett said he found her sitting near the rubble pile scrolling through prayers on her cell phone “all by herself.”

"She was reading a Jewish prayer to herself, sitting at the site, by where one of her parents presumably is," the mayor said. 

“And that broke my heart. And I’m going to find that girl today and I’m going to tell her that she just needs to come to me for anything she needs because that’s the face of this problem, of this disaster right here – that little girl,” Burkett said. “By herself, completely lost, sitting there, on the deck, looking at the pile of rubble imaging one of her parents is in there. That should never happen.”

Burkett said 240 men and women are working on the pile right currently, “hand picking that stuff out. We’ve got cranes, we’ve got gigantic cranes lifting off huge slabs,” Burkett said.

The mayor said he still has hope and is “expecting miracles.””

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

If I lived in the sister building, I would be out of there very fast... 

I think the local officials can’t make it mandatory yet but relocation help is being given to anyone who wants to voluntarily evacuate. 

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully the rescuer that fell 25 feet isn’t injured 😞 and seems like Israel is going to send more people to help.

 

“10 min ago

Fire chief describes careful rescue efforts: "Every time there's an action, there's a reaction"

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Search and rescue efforts are complex and will take time, Raide Jadallah, the assistant fire chief of operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said on Monday, describing the dangerous situation crews are faced with as they look for survivors.

"The situation at hand is we're not lifting floor by floor. We're talking about concrete. We're talking about steel. Every time there's an action, there's a reaction," Jadallah said.

He said on Sunday as crews were looking through the rubble, a rescuer fell 25 feet down the pile of collapsed building.

"That's a perfect example of the situation we're dealing with. This was, again, witnessed by the family members themselves at the site," he said. "It's not an issue of we can just attach a couple of cords to a concrete Boulder and lift it and call it a day."

Jadallah described the rubbles of concrete being the size of basketballs and baseballs. He said the rescue efforts are slow-moving because safety for crews and for the victims themselves are at the forefront.

"It's going to take time. It's not going to happen overnight. It's a 12-story building. It's going to take some time," he said.

11 min ago

Search and rescue effort at collapse site will grow in size and intensity, mayor says

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

The mayor of Surfside told reporters Monday the search and rescue effort at the Champlain Towers South collapse will grow in size and intensity in the coming days. 

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he spoke with the commander of the Israel's National Rescue Unit. “The Israeli commander told us that the teams that are out there are working fabulously together. There is a joint effort, there is camaraderie, and everyone has the same goal, which is to pull people out of there. He also added that the intensity and the numbers will continue to increase, which I was very interested to hear,” Burkett said during a news conference Monday.

Israel's National Rescue Unit arrived in Surfside Sunday to assist with the search and rescue efforts. “

Edited by Arcadia
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3 hours ago, BeachGal said:

Residents of most home owner association communities, condos and co-ops pay monthly dues which cover common area upkeep and maintenance. Part of those dues usually are invested in a reserve fund for future, expensive projects. Ideally, the reserve will be large enough to cover all projects but if not, then a special assessment can be imposed upon homeowners which is either a one-time fee or paid over a period of time.

That is the way it is supposed to work, but clearly it didn't given that they were looking at taking out a 15 million dollar loan. There is maintenance and then there is maintenance.  My guess is that they have fees to cover painting and pool repair, but not structural damage due to subsidence. I'm guessing that the insurance companies will be more effective than government regulation in requiring a proper assessment of the basement rock, and then clear sign offs from structural engineers and geologists or they simply won't renew the insurance. 

Edited by lewelma
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Posted (edited)

@lewelma@Not_a_Number@BeachGal
“The building’s condo association approved a $15 million assessment in April to complete repairs required under the county’s 40-year recertification process, according to documents obtained by CNN. The deadline to pay upfront or choose a monthly fee lasting 15 years was July 1, a document sent to the owners of the building’s 136 units said.

Owners would have to pay assessments ranging from $80,190 for one-bedroom units to $336,135 for the owner of the building’s four-bedroom penthouse.” https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-06-28-21-intl/index.html

Edited by Arcadia
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2 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

@lewelma@Not_a_Number@BeachGal
“The building’s condo association approved a $15 million assessment in April to complete repairs required under the county’s 40-year recertification process, according to documents obtained by CNN. The deadline to pay upfront or choose a monthly fee lasting 15 years was July 1, a document sent to the owners of the building’s 136 units said.

Owners would have to pay assessments ranging from $80,190 for one-bedroom units to $336,135 for the owner of the building’s four-bedroom penthouse.” https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-06-28-21-intl/index.html

So they did do it. They just waited too long. 😞 Clearly, there are going to need to be some tightening of the regulations across not just this city, but the entire coastal region of the USA. 

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Just now, lewelma said:

So they did do it. They just waited too long. 😞 Clearly, there are going to need to be some tightening of the regulations across not just this city, but the entire coastal region of the USA. 

Quoting myself, because our body corp is waiting on earthquake strengthening until we get more clarity from the government. We have waited now for 5 years, post 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. We are expecting that we will need a levy of 10-20k per person. Our body corp is only 7 condos, and we only need a majority to raise a levy, so not that difficult. 

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On 6/28/2021 at 2:31 PM, lewelma said:

That is the way it is supposed to work, but clearly it didn't given that they were looking at taking out a 15 million dollar loan. There is maintenance and then there is maintenance.  My guess is that they have fees to cover painting and pool repair, but not structural damage due to subsidence. I'm guessing that the insurance companies will be more effective than government regulation in requiring a proper assessment of the basement rock, and then clear sign offs from structural engineers and geologists or they simply won't renew the insurance. 

 

From what I've been reading on an engineering forum (and it's all just speculation), one column in particular is thought to have failed and redundancies might not have been adequate. The concrete slab was also in seriously bad shape. Can't believe they put this off for so long.

In the photos what looks like the ground caving down is the deck caving into an area of the parking that ran underneath it. That's what I'm gathering. I'll link the forum where this is being discussed.

** Removed link because their website states they do not want other sites to directly link to them. You can search and find the forum using: structural engineer forum Surfside. **

One person mentioned that southern Florida is not an area where they see sinkholes unlike the north and central areas of Florida. The geology is different. However, the new construction next door to the building might have had to pump out water below (dewater) and if that did happen (just speculation), I would think that could possibly destabilize the area that was holding up the fragile column and concrete slab.

$15 million is a lot. My guess is that they would amortize the loan over 30 years? I live in a complex of four buildings built in the 1940s. We have large reserves because slowly everything needs to be replaced. More sooner than later, the elevators are going to have to be replaced. We will probably sell before that because it's going to be pricey despite our good reserves.

Edited by BeachGal
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Just a bit more about my body corp....I was thinking about why we are waiting on earthquake strengthening, and we have 2 reasons that might be relevant to the motivation of this building delaying the repairs. 1) We need to make sure that we do what is *required* because it will be cheaper to do it all at once. If we work too proactively, and do the wrong thing, we will need to do more and it will be at additional cost. 2) We figure that the research and strengthening techniques will only improve if we wait, so we will get more effective strengthening for our dollar if we delay.

But clearly if there is another earthquake before we get this work done, we could be in deep trouble. So we are being logical with assessing our risk, but there is still risk that we are not yet mitigating because we are conscious of cost .

This likely could have been their thinking as well.

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5 minutes ago, lewelma said:

So they did do it. They just waited too long. 😞 Clearly, there are going to need to be some tightening of the regulations across not just this city, but the entire coastal region of the USA. 

I think this will lead to changes that will involve inspections much sooner and more frequently than 40 years, maybe every five or ten years. As the building ages, the inspections should be more detailed. IME, a big part of the problem is a board that downplays or just doesn't understand how important it is to deal with these issues.

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1 minute ago, lewelma said:

Quoting myself, because our body corp is waiting on earthquake strengthening until we get more clarity from the government. We have waited now for 5 years, post 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. We are expecting that we will need a levy of 10-20k per person. Our body corp is only 7 condos, and we only need a majority to raise a levy, so not that difficult. 

Schools in California had to retrofit for earthquake. They do get some government funding. I also quoted the FEMA seismic code below. The PDF is 80 pages.
 

https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210318/fema-awards-la-unified-21m-protect-elementary-school-earthquake-damage

”Release Date:

July 16, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded $2.1 million to the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A. Unified) to earthquake retrofit Garvanza Elementary School, making the buildings safer and less prone to major structural damage during an earthquake.

Three buildings at Garvanza Elementary School, built between 1923 and 1936, will receive extensive upgrades to strengthen their foundations and prevent movement during an earthquake. With the structures up to modern building codes, they will protect the health and safety of students, teachers, and the surrounding community, as L.A. Unified has a mutual agreement with the American Red Cross, allowing use of public schools and their equipment to serve as public shelters and emergency evacuation centers after disasters.

Since 1994, L.A. Unified has secured 30 awards from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to earthquake retrofit county schools – a testament to the district’s long-term disaster preparedness strategy supporting individuals, organizations, and communities in the greater Los Angeles area.

The $2.8 million project will be funded by a $2.1 million HMGP grant from FEMA, with non-federal sources covering the remaining $710,000.” 

https://www.fema.gov/pdf/plan/prevent/rms/424/fema424_ch4.pdf

”4.4.2 Seismic Codes and Schools
Seismic codes are concerned primarily with types of struc-
tures and there are a few provisions that relate to specific occupancies. The IBC categorizes school buildings as Type II: “...buildings and other structures that represent a substantial hazard to human life in the event of failure...” Type II build- ings are assigned an Importance Factor of 1.25. This means that the seismic force calculated by use of the Equivalent Lateral Force procedure would be multiplied by 1.25 so that schools are designed to a higher standard than ordinary buildings.
As previously mentioned, in California, K-12 schools are regulated by the Field Act, which is the only significant legislation that singles out the design and construction of schools to resist earthquakes and is an important model. However, the Field Act is not a code; it requires that schools be designed by a licensed architect or structural engineer, that plans and specifications be checked by a special office of the Department of the State Architect, and that independent testing and inspection be conducted during construction. The Greene/Garrison Act of 1976 made the Field Act provisions retroactive and required that all non-conforming schools be brought up to the current code level.
Implementing the nonstructural provisions of the seismic code will significantly reduce damage to the nonstructural components and reduce the possibility of closing the school because of ceiling and lighting damage, partition failures, and loss of essen- tial utilities. In this instance, the code goes somewhat beyond the structural objective of only reducing the risk of casualties. However, this is an important issue for schools, for recent experience in earthquakes has shown that nonstructural damage to schools is dangerous to the occupants, costly to repair, and operationally disruptive.”

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1 minute ago, BeachGal said:

I think this will lead to changes that will involve inspections much sooner and more frequently than 40 years, maybe every five or ten years. As the building ages, the inspections should be more detailed. IME, a big part of the problem is a board that downplays or just doesn't understand how important it is to deal with these issues.

Here, any building over 3 stories that is older than 1960 automatically gets a failing grade for earthquake risk. We are just at 3 stories but our building was built in 1939, so have passed.  What is interesting, however, is that our insurance is low even with are mediocre earthquake rating because we are sitting on bedrock. The insurance company is more interested in what is under us than what we have built on top. I'm a bit curious as to why this is not also the case on this beach front. And my guess is that it soon will be. The insurance companies will be taking the lead. 

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4 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Here, any building over 3 stories that is older than 1960 automatically gets a failing grade for earthquake risk. We are just at 3 stories but our building was built in 1939, so have passed.  What is interesting, however, is that our insurance is low even with are mediocre earthquake rating because we are sitting on bedrock. The insurance company is more interested in what is under us than what we have built on top. I'm a bit curious as to why this is not also the case on this beach front. And my guess is that it soon will be. The insurance companies will be taking the lead. 

Yes, I'm very curious what they are going to find as well.

Here is a map from Wiki showing south Florida's geological formations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Limestone

Miami Beach area is very close to sea level and just that alone, makes me wonder why they continue building these huge high rises.

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16 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Here, any building over 3 stories that is older than 1960 automatically gets a failing grade for earthquake risk. We are just at 3 stories but our building was built in 1939, so have passed.  What is interesting, however, is that our insurance is low even with are mediocre earthquake rating because we are sitting on bedrock. The insurance company is more interested in what is under us than what we have built on top. I'm a bit curious as to why this is not also the case on this beach front. And my guess is that it soon will be. The insurance companies will be taking the lead. 

Yes, this totally makes sense. Insurance companies have the data on risk and most failures have to do with the ground. I think people could probably use insurance rates to assess risk but they would do well to learn about the geology of their location even if in the most basic form. I watch housing being built on fill and over ground that had major liquifaction during past earthquakes and wonder what things will look like if another big one hits. How is someone from a place with no earthquakes going to know what to look for?

One of the things that has kept me from buying a home in a different state to rent out is my own ignorance even if the market in my son's college town looked fabulous. Recognizing pest issues in the South will be different, geology different, weather, regulations. It was just to much to deal with the learning curve. 

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On 6/26/2021 at 12:49 PM, Plum said:

None of that stuff addresses people who live in apartment buildings. They do not have not a lot of recourse other than moving out; knowing some unfortunate soul is going to move in after them. 

College dormitories too. Mine was a 8th storey building on a cliff side with a fantastic view of the harbor. There was a landslide when I was there but on the university hospital side rather than on the halls of residence side. 

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1 hour ago, Plum said:

Pretty soon the entire west coast and the SE will be considered uninsurable.

This is part of what NZ's Managed Retreat from the Coast Policy is starting to consider. There is some suggestion that the government will buy out the properties and lease them back with a 40year lease, and when that when it expires, the property will be torn down. This would be cheaper for the government to be proactive with payout, so that they don't have to have the larger and more messy expense of upcoming disasters (where the government always has to help because they can't just say 'I told you so' and let people die and suffer). The 40 year lease would also help with the resale price because the true costs will be obviously stated, and if there is only 5 years left, someone would still want to buy it to enjoy the view for 5 years, knowing they only had 5 years. But the price would be more transparent so the value would decline slowly rather than collapsing due to lack of insurance or to actually falling into the sea. The main problem they are trying to sort through is that most people on the coast are wealthy, so we don't want to be funnelling government money to them without considering equity. It is going to be messy, but I'm glad NZ is being proactive. My ds and I are going to do a big project on this next month as it might be something he does for a living here given that he wants to be a geographer and this is going to be both huge and complicated.

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 150 people unaccounted for, 11 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)
13 hours ago, Plum said:

Pretty soon the entire west coast and the SE will be considered uninsurable. They are cancelling homeowners insurance for people in fire zones and flood insurance for people in hurricane zones

There's a documentary called Business of Disaster from PBS Frontline that is about how insurance companies made out like bandits on Hurricane Sandy while shortchanging their customers. It's a brutal look at how the national flood insurance program works. 

I’m going to pull that documentary up. Dh consults for insurance companies (and sometimes gov’t) to prevent contractors from shortchanging the insured and/or insurance company in price and in quality.  He most often sees insurance settling for higher amounts than he sees fit, but he sticks to commercial properties. Single family homeowners and small businesses are primed to be taken advantage of.

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17 hours ago, lewelma said:

That is the way it is supposed to work, but clearly it didn't given that they were looking at taking out a 15 million dollar loan. There is maintenance and then there is maintenance.  My guess is that they have fees to cover painting and pool repair, but not structural damage due to subsidence. I'm guessing that the insurance companies will be more effective than government regulation in requiring a proper assessment of the basement rock, and then clear sign offs from structural engineers and geologists or they simply won't renew the insurance. 

So I was reading about our building codes in the neighboring state of Alabama.  The article was written because our state legislature passed a bill this year changing who is going to inspect schools and colleges and all their structures.  One point made in the article was that in the plans that would be inspected before the construction, there was inevitably at least one change made by the inspectors who were doing the work, (we had some building committee for educational buildings- a state office that reviewed the work and the plans) and that engineers and architects were very much in favor of keeping that committee or inspectors working. 

Another point in that article is that our state building codes change on average every three years and the article pointed out and also after disasters like the Florida condo.

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15 hours ago, frogger said:

Yes, this totally makes sense. Insurance companies have the data on risk and most failures have to do with the ground. I think people could probably use insurance rates to assess risk but they would do well to learn about the geology of their location even if in the most basic form. I watch housing being built on fill and over ground that had major liquifaction during past earthquakes and wonder what things will look like if another big one hits. How is someone from a place with no earthquakes going to know what to look for?

One of the things that has kept me from buying a home in a different state to rent out is my own ignorance even if the market in my son's college town looked fabulous. Recognizing pest issues in the South will be different, geology different, weather, regulations. It was just to much to deal with the learning curve. 

You do your research.  I had never lived in a very tornado prone area before I moved here- I checked out over 50 years of tornado paths and also made sure I bought a house with a place to shelter in case of tornado.

If you are into history, and you read about the early 20th century San Francisco earthquake, you soon learn about liquification.

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30 minutes ago, Plum said:

The leaked pictures of the pool equipment area does not look good. 

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252421658.html
image.jpeg.2058a45ceaf91d034e749ea73ba56d5e.jpeg

“There was standing water all over the parking garage,” the contractor, who asked not to be named, told the Miami Herald. He noted cracking concrete and severely corroded rebar under the pool. 

He also took photos, which he shared with the Herald.

…While he had worked in the industry for decades and had “gone in some scary places,” he said he was struck by the lack of maintenance in the lower level. The amount of water at Champlain Towers seemed so unusual that the contractor mentioned it to a building staff member, Jose, who was showing him around. 

“He thought it was waterproofing issues,” the contractor said of the staff member. “I thought to myself, that’s not normal.” He said Jose told him they pumped the pool equipment room so frequently that the building had to replace pump motors every two years, but he never mentioned anything about structural damage or cracks in the concrete above.

… In the pool equipment room, located on the south side of the underground garage, the contractor saw another problem — exposed and corroding rebar in the concrete slab overhead. He snapped some pictures and sent them to his supervisor along with a note expressing concern that the job might be a bit more complicated than expected. He worried they would have to remove pool pipes to allow concrete restoration experts access to repair the slabs. 

The building caved in two days later, before they had time to complete their bid.

image.png.3fc61c61642e4f9867b146b2bb2efbab.png

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I also wonder how much the pandemic shutdown delayed any actions from 2020 to present. 2020 was a hot mess with resources and politics. All of this would dampen any urgency in spending millions of dollars on repairs that no one really flat out said were imminent. I mean it seems like bids and repairs were started as soon as "life" resumed.

That 1-bedroom $80k assessment over 15 years works out to around $400-500/mo. That's a chunk of money, especially during the pandemic.

I was musing about this because I can't even get my pool repaired or cracked windows replaced from 4 months ago. I've called many contractors. Either man-power or materials are non-existent. The same goes for my business materials (transportation). It's nuts. I've got to stick some tape all over my window now because the crack is growing and I'm not sure if it will just fall out or not. And no one will just SAY that is could. So I'm left playing a game of chicken with my house and Mother Nature.

None of my stuff remotely important in the grand scheme, just used to illustrate, BUT if it is like this for simple stuff, I can imagine that major million-dollar projects would be a nightmare right now.

 

Edited by aggie96
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9 minutes ago, aggie96 said:

I also wonder how much the pandemic shutdown delayed any actions from 2019 to present. Action on this stuff is slow at best, but then a sizable chunk of 2019 was "shut-down" and 2020 was a hot mess with resources and politics. All of this would dampen any urgency in spending millions of dollars on repairs that no one really flat out said were imminent. I mean it seems like bids and repairs were started as soon as "life" resumed.

That 1-bedroom $80k assessment over 15 years works out to around $400-500/mo. That's a chunk of money, especially during the pandemic.

I was musing about this because I can't even get my pool repaired or cracked windows replaced from 4 months ago. I've called many contractors. Either man-power or materials are non-existent. The same goes for my business materials (transportation). It's nuts. I've got to stick some tape all over my window now because the crack is growing and I'm not sure if it will just fall out or not. And no one will just SAY that is could. So I'm left playing a game of chicken with my house and Mother Nature.

None of my stuff remotely important in the grand scheme, just used to illustrate, BUT if it is like this for simple stuff, I can imagine that major million-dollar projects would be a nightmare right now.

 

When I was on our HOA board, I know we had a lot of problems getting people to come out and quote work for us. We had concrete work that needed fixing on a bridge on our walkway. We needed to get quotes before we voted and chose one and then get it fixed. We had the money in our budget so did not need a special assessment but still had people questioning whether it was a good use of the money because it was REALLY expensive.  (And we only ended up able to get 2 quotes after almost 9 months of trying before we chose someone and went with it..)

 

I wonder what the chilling effect of this is going to be getting people to volunteer on the boards. It can be difficult already because they get all the blame no matter what happens.

 

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Also: I'm not sure if our HOA could take out a loan for millions of dollars for work without a community wide vote. We only ever spent money we already had. And worked at looking at what dues needed to be to support work going forward.

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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27 minutes ago, aggie96 said:

 

I also wonder how much the pandemic shutdown delayed any actions from 2019 to present. Action on this stuff is slow at best, but then a sizable chunk of 2019 was "shut-down" and 2020 was a hot mess with resources and politics. All of this would dampen any urgency in spending millions of dollars on repairs that no one really flat out said were imminent. I mean it seems like bids and repairs were started as soon as "life" resumed.

 

Shut downs didn’t start until March of 2020. So, they certainly may have caused delay after that point, but wouldn’t have explained delays in 2018-2019. I don’t know how long construction was shut down in Florida. Seems like in general they didn’t shut down as much as other places, but I also have no idea at what point the bidding process in this had started. 

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2 minutes ago, KSera said:

Shut downs didn’t start until March of 2020. So, they certainly may have caused delay after that point, but wouldn’t have explained delays in 2018-2019. I don’t know how long construction was shut down in Florida. Seems like in general they didn’t shut down as much as other places, but I also have no idea at what point the bidding process in this had started. 

Yikes you are right, I'm a year off. Figures.

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23 minutes ago, KSera said:

Shut downs didn’t start until March of 2020. So, they certainly may have caused delay after that point, but wouldn’t have explained delays in 2018-2019. I don’t know how long construction was shut down in Florida. Seems like in general they didn’t shut down as much as other places, but I also have no idea at what point the bidding process in this had started. 

My brother works in construction plus I moved to a brand new development. You're right. He was working throughout 2020. We signed the contract for this house in Nov. 2019 when it was little more than a concrete slab. The estimated completion was off by only one month. Also, all the other homes in this neighborhood were and are still being constructed. 

I can't speak about South Florida and things might have been different there, but all across Central Florida construction continued. Also, I'm talking about new construction so repair work might be different. Still, from what I saw the construction industry in Florida kept going throughout even the worst of the pandemic. 

Editing to say that things did shut down and were more tightly locked down in Broward and Miami-Dade counties than in the rest of the state. But as it was said, that doesn't explain the hold up in 2018 and 2019.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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22 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

Editing to say that things did shut down and were more tightly locked down in Broward and Miami-Dade counties than in the rest of the state. But as it was said, that doesn't explain the hold up in 2018 and 2019.

When my current HOA decided to sue the developer for damages, they had to get a quorum from owners before hiring consultants to prepare the lawsuit. That took I think half a year with monthly HOA meetings. Then the lawsuit itself took awhile. 

I think money issues cause the hold up. Also the 2018 report while listing potential problematic areas did not rank the issues by severity. So management might have honestly thought the issues would cause problems with passing the 40 year recertification assessment and not that the building is at any risk of collapse. 

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15 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

When my current HOA decided to sue the developer for damages, they had to get a quorum from owners before hiring consultants to prepare the lawsuit. That took I think half a year with monthly HOA meetings. Then the lawsuit itself took awhile. 

I think money issues cause the hold up. Also the 2018 report while listing potential problematic areas did not rank the issues by severity. So management might have honestly thought the issues would cause problems with passing the 40 year recertification assessment and not that the building is at any risk of collapse. 

Ah note: We don't have monthly HOA meetings. I think the board meets quarterly with one annual meeting. The board MIGHT meet every other month. (Its been a couple of years since I was on it)

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The building I live in is made of poured solid concrete with reinforced rebar on the inside. Sounds very similar to what this building was made of. When there is a crack in the concrete, water seeps in, rusts the rebar causing expansion, which then causes more cracking, letting in more water, and the cycle continues. It is called concrete cancer here.  We remediate any concrete cancer we see EVERY YEAR.  They chip it out with a jack, check the rebar, and then make a mold and pour in more concrete, finally covering it with a very special paint that is made with plastic to keep water tight.

You do NOT wait for years to deal with this. It is an ANNUAL maintenance project. Someone has given this body corp some very bad advice. 

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9 minutes ago, lewelma said:

You do NOT wait for years to deal with this. It is an ANNUAL maintenance project. Someone has given this body corp some very bad advice. 

It was in Page 7 & 8 https://www.townofsurfsidefl.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/town-clerk-documents/champlain-towers-south-public-records/8777-collins-ave---structural-field-survey-report.pdf?sfvrsn=882a1194_2

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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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