A Florida city official said the building was safe despite the warning
A month after an engineering report warned of “Major structural damage” which required rapid repair in 2018, an official in Surfside, Florida assured residents of Champlain Towers South that their building was in good repair, US media reported.
The death toll from the partial collapse of a high-rise condominium complex near Miami rose to nine on Sunday, with more than 150 people missing, as rescue teams scooped up the rubble for a fourth day without detecting any signs of life. What caused nearly half of the 12-story, 156-unit building to collapse in the early hours of Thursday while residents slept has not yet been determined, but a 2018 inspection found major structural deterioration in the parking garage under the 40 year old tower, according to an engineer’s report.
But later, a City of Surfside inspector met with residents of the building in 2018 and Assured them that the building was “in very good condition“, according to the minutes of a November 2018 meeting reported first by NPR and then by several other American media.
The inspector’s comments directly conflicted with the technical report from five weeks earlier, who warned that the failing waterproofing of a structural concrete slab had to be replaced “in the near future”.
At the Champlain Tower South Condominium Association board meeting on November 15, 2018, Surfside town building official Ross Prieto appeared to discuss this report, NPR reported. “The structural engineer’s report has been reviewed by Mr. Prieto,” the meeting minutes quoted by NPR said. “It looks like the building is in very good condition.”
Prieto is no longer employed by Surfside, according to NPR. He told the Miami Herald newspaper that he did not recall receiving this report. Reuters was unable to contact Prieto immediately. The recently released 2018 report showed that an engineer found evidence of major structural damage under the pool deck and “deterioration of concrete ” in the underground parking lot of the 12-story beachfront condominium, three years before it collapsed on Thursday. (Reuters)