• October 2, 2023

Inspection reports note ‘concrete deterioration’

  • The city of Surfside received a required 40-year inspection report for the Champlain Towers South 16 hours after the beach building’s catastrophic failure.
  • An October 2018 inspection report found “frequent” cracks and chipping of the pillars, beams and walls in the garage under the tower, which collapsed early Thursday.

The town of Surfside posted a Dozen of documents on its website late Friday night regarding the collapsed Champlain Towers South, including a required 40 year inspection report posted as “unverified” and received 16 hours after the condominium’s catastrophic failure in Florida.

“The report was not formally filed or approved by property owner Champlain Towers,” the note read, adding that it was “as required by the Miami-Dade County Code.”

None of the 2018 documents appeared to contain details that would explain the beach building’s collapse but reveal several potentially serious problems.

The reports, some only a few pages long, some more than 300, range from detailed plans to permits for concrete repairs to a courtesy note reminding residents to turn off the outdoor lights so baby turtles aren’t confused when they hatch and it doesn’t create for the safety of the ocean.

A Inspection report from October 8, 2018, in the garage under the tower, which collapsed early Thursday, cracks and flaking of the columns, beams and walls were “frequently” found, kill at least four people and leave 159 more missing others. Spalling refers to the deterioration of concrete, sometimes resulting in spalling and exposure of rebars known as rebars.

“Abundant cracks and chipping to varying degrees have been observed in the concrete supports, beams and walls” of the first floor parking garage, according to a structural field survey report by Morabito Consultants.

Apparently, plans to address these issues did not materialize until April of this year, although the original report was published in October 2018.

“While some of this damage is minor, most concrete damage needs to be repaired in a timely manner,” the report said.

What caused the cracks is unknown, said John Wallace, professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles.

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“It could be slow to break down over time, maybe the concrete was not placed correctly, it could be that the floor has moved a bit. It could be several different things, ”he said.

Wallace, who has participated in several forensic analyzes of building failures, warned there was nothing to suggest that this was the cause of the collapse, only that it warranted an investigation.

The report included photos of parking garage pillars where the concrete had flaked off and rebars were visible.

‘Concrete Deterioration’ at Champlain Towers South

An inspection report by Frank Morabito dated September 6, 2018 found that no bulging or settlement was observed. However, it found that about 8% of the concrete slabs in the garage and on the construction site had “concrete deterioration”. In addition, around 5% of the floor slabs of the balcony construction had hairline cracks.

The report found additional chipping or cracking in a small percentage of concrete columns and exterior walls. One column contained a wide crack, defined as more than 2 millimeters.

Another section of the report pointed out that the waterproofing membranes were “past their useful life” and needed to be replaced. It also found that the pool and hot tub were leaking and needed to be removed, and all of the cracked or flaking concrete needed to be repaired.

Exterior plan of 8777 Collins Avenue, Surfside, Florida.  The Champlain Towers South Condominium was designed in 1979, built in 1981 and collapsed in 2021.

“It appears that the concrete frame slab that supports the square / pool” above the garage has previously been touched up and cracks repaired.

“This work has not been satisfactory and needs to be completed again,” the report said.

A document dated April 26, 2021 was entitled “40 years of building repair and restoration. “It contains 84 pages with apparently tender texts for the repair of the building. The plans were completed by Morabito Consultants and stamped in red with “in progress on April 27th, 2021, not for construction”.

The offer documents also included plans for ceiling reinforcement and for concrete and masonry renovation. This stipulates maximum payloads for the roof, floor and space.

Before and after:A view of Champlain Towers South, the partially collapsed building in Florida

A allow from May 17, 2021, for 1.1 million US dollars roof maintenance including removal of the existing roof system up to the concrete ceiling, priming the ceiling with asphalt primer, demolition of the existing stucco and insulation and sealing of the entire roof area with hot coal tar pitch and embedded gravel

A allow dated April 27, 2021, showed $ 59,400 worth of work being done to repair and refurbish roof fans, air conditioning disconnects, and other “small electrical work”.

Another allow, dated May 5, 2021, cost $ 169,473 to install roof security anchors to facilitate window washing and stucco repairs on the exterior of the building.

Finally, on May 20, 2021, the building received a courtesy notice from the City of Surfside stating that the building’s lighting did not comply with regulations. corresponds to Protection of sea turtles. Lighting near beaches can pull turtle hatches away from the ocean and discourage female turtles from nesting on the beach at night.

To address the problem, the building was instructed to install tinted glass and rearrange lamps away from windows or use blinds and drapes to block indoor lighting from the beach and turn off unnecessary lights.


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