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Engineer warned of "major structural damage" of Surfside collapsed building in 2018

An engineering consultant in 2018 cautioned building managers of "major structural damage" to the concrete of a 12-story oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, according to a report released late Friday.

Why it matters: The report intended to encourage building managers to "provide a safe and functional infrastructure for the future." A "multimillion-dollar" repair plan was set to kick off soon in response to the engineer's concerns, but the building collapsed Thursday, which left at least 4 people dead, per the New York Times.


The state of play: The report, completed by Frank Morabito from Morabito Consultants, did not give any specific indications that the building was at risk of collapsing.

  • The report found that "[a]bundant cracking and spalling of various degrees was observed in the concrete columns, beams and walls." Spalling refers to concrete that has "cracked or crumbled," CNN writes.
  • Morabito identified "major structural damage" to the concrete in the pool deck area due to "failed waterproofing." They warned that "[f]ailure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially."
  • Cracks that had been previously fixed had "new cracks ... radiating from the originally repaired cracks. "
  • Residents had also been complaining of water that was coming through their windows and balcony doors. Morabito noted that balcony concrete was deteriorating due to water infiltration, and because of this he said balcony slab edges needed to be "further investigated and repaired."

What they're saying: "Clearly, our buildings need to be structurally sound. We need to have regular reviews, and to the extent that we need to change laws, we will change laws, and we will make sure these things do not happen in the future," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told CNN.

  • She added that "we are going to get to the bottom of what happened at this particular building."
  • Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett recommended that residents remain away from the building "pending a thorough structural investigation," CNN reports.

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