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FL senator looking to create statewide inspection standards

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 23:30:15-04

FLORIDA — State senator Jason Pizzo, whose district includes Surfside, Florida, is no stranger to tragic scenes.

But he says the building collapse that the town suffered, is different.

"People ask me, you know what's the difference between the homicide scenes you've been to and the other tragedies and there's no villain. There's no sort of immediate person to point to. There's no bad guy to say that's the one we've captured him," he said.

And after taking in the devastation of this collapse for days on end, he says it's clear that this incident was extremely rare, but also likely preventable.

To help with that second part, Pizzo is looking to propose a new state law that would change how often certain high-rise condos are inspected in our state.

Right now, only Miami-Dade county and Broward county ask for buildings to be re-inspected after 40 years.

"It would be both, not only the building itself but the age and really the design the architecture and the era it was built in, coupled with and combined with any environmental conditions that might be present," he said.

He says he wants to put a special focus on Florida condos that went up in the 1970s and 1980s and are located in coastal or high flood areas.

But how often should those proposed inspections occur?

Florida Gulf Coast University Engineering Professor Dr. Ashraf Badir says the answer is complicated.

"You know each one of us just goes to the doctor. There is no mandate that says you have to go. You basically have to go for yourself," he said.

Badir says inspection timelines can't be one-size-fits-all and will likely have to depend on the building's age, location, and if people are actually noticing issues.

And he says this can sometimes be a tell-tale sign of trouble.

"If one sees large cracks then we need to has to find out the reason and the reason could be uneven settlement of the foundation," he said.

State senator Pizzo says as far as the timeline for this legislation goes, he's still working on writing it and doing research, but he's hoping to have something on the books by next spring.

He also says he's focusing on condos because the owners often pay association fees that can be used to foot the bill if building repairs are needed after an inspection.