This is what happens when condo associations ignore structural issues
UPDATED, June 28, 6:47 p.m.: Residents of the collapsed Surfside condominium were told in 2018 that their building was in good condition.
The town’s main building official at that time offered them the assurance even though he had received a report raising red flags about the tower’s integrity.
Months later, in 2019, a Champlain Towers South board member expressed concern to that official about the potential effects on the structural integrity of the building, as digging was underway for the new Eighty Seven Park condo tower next door.
Rosendo “Ross” Prieto, who no longer works for the town, told Champlain Towers South residents their oceanfront tower was “in very good shape” during a Nov. 15, 2018, meeting, according to NPR, which first reported Prieto’s comments after obtaining the association’s minutes from the meeting.
Two days prior to the meeting, a condo association board member sent Prieto the October 2018 inspection report by engineer Frank Morabito that failed waterproofing was causing “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and entrance drive, according to records released by the town of Surfside. The inspection was completed as part of the 40-year recertification process, a requirement for residential buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
NPR learned of the condo association meeting from a resident who was in attendance and survived the deadly collapse.
The northeast portion of the 12-story building at 8777 Collins Avenue crumbled in the middle of the night last week, caving into the underground garage and trapping more than 150 people. Eleven people have been confirmed dead, though officials expect to report more fatalities as the search for the missing continues.
Residents and board members of Champlain South had also voiced their concerns over construction of the oceanfront Eighty Seven Park, according to emails released by the town of Surfside. Prieto even replied to condo board members that there was nothing for the town to do. Eighty Seven Park is located in the city of Miami Beach, while Champlain is in Surfside, a different jurisdiction.