The anniversary of the collapse of the Surfside condo building in Florida is fast approaching (June 24). I’ve been following the investigation. It was just so shocking that a building could collapse suddenly and with so little warning. Now, we know there were warnings. And it seems that someone noticed something not quite right a few weeks before.
First, a bit of background. In the Miami area, buildings have to undergo inspection at the forty year mark. As the Surfside building, Champlain Towers South, approached that birthday, they hired an engineering firm to come out and do an assessment. Morabito Consultants report was alarming. For various reasons, it wasn’t acted upon immediately. Repairs and shoring were postponed. The condition of the building continued to deteriorate.
The Miami Herald reported this week, that there were new warning signs just a few weeks before the collapse. (I’d link the article, but it’s behind a paywall.). One of the planters on the pool deck had sunk and cracked. This was concerning enough that someone called Morabito again, to look at the development. Whomever it was that Morabito sent out, took some pictures, and decided the cracks were root intrusion. In reality, it was the slow-motion start of the collapse which would end 16 days later.
It’s so agonizing to know that crisis could have been averted even then. But I think the Morabito representative just couldn’t grasp the meaning behind what he/she was seeing. No one wants to think the worst is imminent. I wonder now how that person is coping. It’s really a perfect recipe for guilt.
Most of this information comes from the YouTube channel “Building Integrity”. I’m linking the video on this specific part of the collapse below. The entire series on Surfside is well worth watching. The channel host, Josh, is an amazing teacher who can break down technical concepts and explain them in Layman.