Determining fault in a major disaster like the Surfside Towers Condo collapse is a lengthy process, and may take months or even years. That being said, details are emerging every day since the June 24th, 2021 collapse of the condo building that point to how a failure of this magnitude could occur.
Champlain Towers Reports from 2018 Create a Timeline That Lead to Condo Collapse
Ironically, the building was undergoing a “40-year safety certification process” at the time of the collapse. Yet a 2018 report shows there were concerns about the building’s structural integrity even three years ago. It identifies “major structural damage” to the concrete slab the building’s ground-floor pool deck rested on.
The report also highlighted cracked columns and a parking garage that often flooded with corrosive saltwater. Worse, the report goes on to note that many efforts to fix problems like exposed rebar in the parking garage columns also failed.
Under the pool deck, “where the slab had been epoxy-injected, new cracks were radiating from the originally repaired cracks,” the report said. The firm responsible for the report, Morabito Consultants, was later hired in 2020 to complete the 40-year safety certification and catalog repairs that needed to be done.
“At the time of the building collapse, roof repairs were underway, but concrete restoration had not yet begun,” a statement from Morabito Consultants said.
Theoretical Potholes, Shoddy Construction Work, Inadequate Materials All Looming at the Top of Expert’s Best Guesses
It remains to be seen whether these issues were the cause of the collapse. Other theories include a sinkhole, which is not uncommon in Florida, opening under the building, vibrations from nearby construction affecting the condo, and concerns about erosion due to rising sea levels. Investigators are also looking into the possibility of criminal action, although Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on June 25 that so far, there was no evidence of foul play.
Once there is more evidence of what went wrong at Champlain Towers South, the responsible parties will be liable for damages. Survivors of the collapse and the families of those who didn’t survive may all have claims for their losses, including compensation of medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.
Founding Partner Craig Goldenfarb Offers His Best Advice to Victims and Others Living in Condos
Mr. Craig M. Goldenfarb, Esq., founding partner of our law firm, was quoted by local CBS affiliate CBS12 on the morning on June 29th, 2021 as discussing why it was basically impossible for any resident of the ill-fated Champlain Towers condo building to anticipate that a total failure of the building had been a realistic risk. The best thing any condo resident can do, Mr. Goldenfarb said, is to “go to your HOA and demand to review recent inspection reports or structural integrity certification analysis, reviews, or audits.” While most HOAs regularly perform inspections of buildings, they do not necessarily release the results. HOA’s have an incentive to be secretive and less than forthcoming when it comes to these kinds of issues, as repairs are often costly and mean special assessments must be paid for by residents.