July 19, 2021 8:00am

High Rise Condos Need More Frequent Safety Inspections

Inspections are front and center in the wake of the Surfside condo collapse

Photo of Sallie James
By Sallie James
Fort Lauderdale, FL Correspondent

The Surfside condo collapse that killed 94 in June leaving 22 others still missing has changed the way people view condo inspections.

Broward leaders surveyed in the 11th Fort Lauderdale Power Poll agree that more needs to be done to safeguard condos in Broward County and across the state. The majority of people surveyed agree that condos need to be inspected more often and more thoroughly to prevent a similar building collapse from occurring again. Our most recent poll focused on the possible need for more inspections.

In our first question, we asked our survey takers if they thought the State of Florida should take formal action in regard to inspections of aging condos. The answer was overwhelmingly "yes," with 85.7 percent of the respondents strongly agreeing and 14.3 percent of the respondents disagreeing.

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In our second question, we asked Broward leaders to consider the safety of condos across the state. Currently, Broward and Miami-Dade are the only Florida counties that require aging high rises to undergo re-inspections after 40 years. Our survey question asked if mandatory inspections should be extended to all Florida counties in the wake of the Surfside building collapse. Once again, the answer was resoundingly "yes." Of those responding, 85.7 percent said they strongly agree, and 14.7 percent disagreed.

Our third question asked if high-rise coastal buildings should be subjected to much closer scrutiny than inland structures because they might be negatively impacted by sea level rise and corrosive sea salt. All of the respondents said "yes." According to the survey, 71 percent strongly agreed and 28.6 percent agreed.

Our last question focused on the length of time between mandatory building inspections. We asked our survey takers if 40 years was too long to wait for a coastal high-rise to be re-inspected. The majority of the respondents said "yes," but differed on how many years should pass between inspections. Of those who answered, 14.3 percent thought 40 years was fine, 42.9 percent thought inspections should be done every 20 years, and another 42.9 percent thought inspections should take place every 10 years.

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