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Task Force Considers Tougher Standards for Condo Inspections

In light of the building disaster in Surfside, a Fla. Bar-affiliated group is analyzing the possible need to change state standards regarding engineer inspections.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Florida Bar-affiliated task force will consider whether tougher standards for engineer inspections in Florida are warranted in light of the Surfside disaster.

Task force chairman Bill Sklar says the team is mulling legal proposals, and items under consideration include the frequency of communications with condo boards and town officials, and whether engineers in the state should be required to conduct deeper analyses than currently required for an initial inspection.

American Society of Civil Engineers fellow Joel Figueroa-Vallines says that his organization also intends to consider engineers’ communications as part of a larger assessment of the Surfside collapse.

Both reviews follow the delivery of reports by structural engineer Frank Morabito to the local condo board concerning the status of needed repairs that failed to address safety risks. Morabito was overseeing the Champlain Towers South renovations when the building fell. Investigator Allyn Kilsheimer says he’s analyzing Morabito’s correspondence and inspection reports for indications that might yield insights into the collapse.

“At no time did the board receive any indication that there was any risk of imminent collapse of the building or that any evacuation was necessary,” says Surfside condo board spokesman Max Marcucci.

Figueroa-Vallines and Florida-based forensic engineer Gerald Zadikoff note that engineers are not under an obligation to provide a timeline by which condos should make repairs, other than in cases where engineers see an imminent safety threat.

Source: Wall Street Journal (07/19/21) Levy, Rachael; Acosta, Deborah; Calvert, Scott

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