Grand Jury Suggests Widespread Revisions After Condo Collapse

Grand Jury Suggests Widespread Revisions After Condo Collapse surfside condo collapse site (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 16 December 2021 02:43 PM

A grand jury in Miami-Dade County that investigated the Florida condominium collapse on June 24 proposed a wide range of reforms for the state’s building recertification process, The Hill reports.

The 12-story, 136-unit building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed, killing all inside except for one 14-year-old child who was found among the debris, leaving 98 people dead. The grand jury’s report notes that the cause of the incident is still unknown, but that their investigation determined "there were failings at every level and for all of the participants," and found "many troubling issues and raised several concerns."

The report lists several recommendations, including lowering the initial recertification process from 40 years to 10 to 15 years, and for each additional recertification to take place every 10 years, as well as "require condo boards to provide electronic posting and on-line access to building owners, authorized renters, and sublessees of all inspection reports, permits, and code violations issued against their building."

Florida has 1.5 million condos, according to the grand jury report, with more than 60% of those being more than 30 years old.

"A lot can happen to a building in 40 years," reads the report from the jury, which was filed on Wednesday. "We believe the Surfside tragedy and this report should be a wake-up call for state and local governmental officials throughout our state. For a host of reasons, we believe the 40-year recertification inspection should occur much earlier."

The report adds that "almost every expert and industry representative who testified to our grand jury opined that they thought 40 years was entirely too long to wait for a safety inspection which would determine the structural, electrical and life safety of buildings and residents in our communities."

The grand jury also recommends that building owners conduct regular and routine maintenance of the buildings they own and that local buildings officials in towns, cities, and municipalities give the building owners notice about upcoming recertification further in advance.