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Before building collapse, $9 million in repairs needed; had 'major structural damage'

Building Collapse Miami
Building Collapse Miami
Building Collapse Miami
Surfside building collapse on June 25, 2021
Building Collapse Miami
Building Collapse Miami
Posted at 10:01 AM, Jun 26, 2021

Nearly three years before an oceanfront building collapsed near Miami, an engineering firm estimated the building needed more than $9 million in major repairs. That is according to emails from the firm of Morabito Consultants that were released by the city of Surfside.

The release of the 2018 cost estimate followed the earlier publication of another document from the firm showing the ground-floor pool deck of the building was resting on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed to be extensively repaired.

That report also uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage. At least nine people were killed in the collapse and more than 150 people remained unaccounted for.

Authorities also announced Saturday they are beginning an audit of buildings nearing their 40-year review — like the fallen Champlain Towers South — to make sure they’re safe.

While the engineering report from the firm of Morabito Consultants did not warn of imminent danger from the damage — and it is unclear if any of the damage observed was responsible for the collapse — it did note the need for extensive and costly repairs to fix the systemic issues with the building, specifically to fix the slab as well as damaged concrete columns beams and walls in the parking garage.

A half-dozen scientists and engineers who specialize in disastrous structure failures are headed to south Florida to collect firsthand information on the cause of the catastrophic collapse of Champlain Towers South.

Their initial work will be used to determine whether to pursue a more thorough study. Jason Averill at the National Institute of Standards and Technology says the first two members of the agency's team arrived in Florida on Friday and four more will be there by Monday.

That agency also investigated disasters such as the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornadoes and Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico.