Lessons Learned from the Surfside Condo Collapse, Nearly One Year Later

Nearly a year after the Surfside condo collapse, our community and the world at large are still reeling from the tragedy. While we wish it never happened, the devastating event has ignited important conversations among property owners, developers, lawmakers, residents, builders, and engineers about building construction and maintenance.


Structural integrity issues affect us all, and we should be rightfully concerned about the safety of our buildings, especially our aging buildings. As we build out the future of Miami, here are some important takeaways we can learn from events like the Surfside condo collapse.


Deferred Maintenance is Not an Option for Aging Buildings


Our buildings are not meant to last forever, at least not without ongoing attention and care. When we ignore important elements of a building, we are leaving the door open for problems to arise.


Whether the building is 5 years or 50 years old, there are several structural warnings signs developers, property owners, and condo associations need to be looking out for. They include things like:


  • Apparent dilapidation of steel or cracked concrete
  • Delamination – where materials fracture or separate into layers
  • Concrete spalling, which is the breakdown of concrete due to weathering or chemical reactions
  • Rust marks that penetrate the concrete
  • Corrosiveness signs, which are especially common in buildings close to the ocean. Examples include things like when steel starts to oxidize, connecting bolts begin to rust, or wells start to come apart.


40-year Recertifications Need to be Planned Now


If any of the above problems are visible, it is a severe enough situation that you need to contact an engineer immediately.


Our team at Seacoast Construction partners with engineers who create detailed reports highlighting the structural condition of a building. For example, they note if a column is okay and just needs to be reinforced, or if it needs to be removed and replaced altogether. These assessments are made by the engineer and then our team is able to price the work that has to go with it.


In addition to one-off assessments such as these, you’ll also need an engineer during a building’s 40-year recertification process, and this is a process that needs to be planned and budgeted for well in advance of those 40 years. Sometimes the building requires significant structural upgrades, which can take time and money.


If you have questions or concerns about a commercial property in South Florida, our team at Seacoast Construction can help. With more than 20 years of commercial construction experience in coastal areas, you can count on us for honest advice and superior construction. Get in touch to schedule a free consultation.



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