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Building safety policies being examined in several Florida cities

Following partial condo collapse in Surfside
Building Collapse Miami photo
Posted at 7:25 AM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 13:15:15-04

FORT MYERS, Fla — Investigators are still working to determine what caused the Champlain Towers in Surfside to partially collapse.

As we wait for answers, some cities in the state are re-examining their building safety procedures, including one in Southwest Florida.

It started with an announcement from the City of Miami, calling for inspections of all buildings six stories or higher and 40-years or older.

Miami sent a letter Friday urging building owners to have a qualified engineer provide status reports on every structure in that category. The licensed structural engineers are supposed to have experience inspecting at least three or more buildings of that age and size. If visible signs of structural damage or distress are identified, the city wants to have the report within 45-days.

This follows a report from 2018 that's come to light for the Surfside condo that partially collapsed. It included concerns about structural damage where a consultant said "failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially."

"It's unclear right now exactly what was going on in that building and what steps the building was taking to address those cracks if any," said Mayor Charles Burkett of Surfside, Florida.

“So we want to make sure that every building has completed their re-certification process and we want to move swiftly to remediate any issues that may have been identified in that process,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County.

In the meantime, the city is reviewing the guidelines for building inspections to make sure they catch any structural issues earlier.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach said it'll start reviewing its building codes Monday. The mayor of Boca Raton said his city will begin working on more stringent standards for buildings. And in Southwest Florida, the City of Marco Island released a statement:

"In reviewing these events city staff will be closely evaluating the 40-year structural recertification procedures required by some jurisdictions in the state of Florida and will conduct a thorough review of our own policies and procedures regarding building safety."
City of Marco Island

Fox 4 has reaching out to all other cities in Southwest Florida to learn how its policies regarding building safety are being examined.