Engineer warned of ‘major structural damage’ years before Florida condo building collapsed

Engineer warned of ‘major structural damage’ years before Florida condo building collapsed

By  Jon Swaine, Joshua Partlow, Antonio Olivo, Aaron Gregg and Beth Reinhard
June 26, 2021 at 6:42 p.m. EDT    The Washington Post


An engineer warned in October 2018 that he had discovered “major structural damage” to a concrete slab below the pool deck in the section of the Champlain Towers South condominium building that collapsed Thursday, killing at least four and leaving scores trapped, according to records released by local authorities late Friday.

The engineer, Frank P. Morabito, said in a structural survey report that waterproofing below the pool deck and entrance drive had failed, allowing damaging leaks.

“Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” Morabito wrote. He said a “major error” had been made in the construction of the building when waterproofing was laid on a flat slab rather than on a sloped surface to allow water to run off.

His firm, Morabito Consultants, said in a statement Saturday that the damage he found “required repairs to ensure the safety of residents and the public” but that the repairs had not been started when the collapse occurred.

Morabito’s firm has offices in Maryland and Florida.

Morabito said in his inspection report that he also found “abundant cracking” and deterioration in the concrete columns, beams and walls supporting the parking garage under the pool deck, along with damaged and exposed rebar.

The report said that the necessary repair work, which would be aimed at “maintaining the structural integrity” of the building, would be “extremely expensive” and would create significant disruption for residents.

According to the consulting firm’s statement, after the firm gave the condominium association an estimate of costs for the repairs, about 18 months elapsed before the association hired the firm to prepare detailed repair plans. An 84-page draft of the plans from April this year also was released by Surfside.

Previous repairs to the slab supporting the pool above the garage, including the patching of cracks, had been done “less than satisfactorily” and needed to be completed again, according to Morabito’s inspection report.

Other problems detailed in the report included “significant cracking” in the stucco facade of the building, flooding in some apartments because of failed seals on doors and windows, and damaged balconies.

The detailed repair plan was aimed at ensuring that the building, which was completed in 1981, passed a mandated 40-year recertification process.

A separate inspection report on the building by Morabito, completed around the same time as the structural survey report, was also released by the town of Surfside, along with a note that said: “This report was not formally submitted or authorized by the property owner Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, Inc., as required by Section 8-11(f)(iv) of the Miami-Dade County Code.”

It is unclear why Morabito did not submit the 2018 report to the city until 5:35 p.m. Thursday, after the collapse. Morabito did not return calls, and his firm’s statement did not directly address the issue. Neither the town nor condo association responded to requests for clarification.

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Also in the New York Times:

Three years before the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex near Miami, a consultant found alarming evidence of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “abundant” cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage under the 13-story building.

The engineer’s report helped shape plans for a multimillion-dollar repair project that was set to get underway soon — more than two and a half years after the building managers were warned — but the building suffered a catastrophic collapse in the middle of the night on Thursday, crushing sleeping residents in a massive heap of debris.

The complex’s management association had disclosed some of the problems in the wake of the collapse, but it was not until city officials released the 2018 report late Friday that the full nature of the concrete and rebar damage — most of it probably caused by persistent water leaks and years of exposure to the corrosive salt air along the South Florida coast — became chillingly apparent.

For the article in its entirety: Collapsed Building Near Miami Had Serious Concrete Damage – The New York Times (


Don’t let the old man in!

Why did Toby Keith wrote Don’t let the old man in?

Out on the green, Eastwood shared that he’d be starting work on The Mule in two days, which also happened to be his 88th birthday. Struck by Eastwood’s relentless energy at an age when many are content to sit and reflect, Keith asked how he keeps going.

“He said, ‘I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,’ ” Keith recounts. “And I thought, I’m writing that.”

When Toby Keith wrote “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” inspired by a conversation with the legendary Clint Eastwood, he probably never dreamed it would go on to be recorded by another hero: country music legend Willie Nelson.


About Cecilio Augusto Berndsen

Information Technology, Management, Project Management and Public Administration are areas I am familiar with. I am also interested in photography, wine, sailing, politics, economics, and economic development.
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