Inspecting high-rise buildings to prevent another tragedy

There’s a push to make sure older buildings in our area are structurally safe after the collapse of a high-rise condo building on the state’s East Coast.

Once a building like the 12-story Champlain South Towers turns 20 years old, it should be inspected every five to 10 years, one expert said. It’s better to be proactive to catch any potential issues.

The video of the building’s collapse stunned viewers, including Yaniv Levi, owner of Coast to Coast General Contractors.

“This really took our industry by surprise; we are in complete shock,” he said.

“This is very odd and I think, in my opinion, a once in a lifetime.”

Levi’s company specialized in 40-year building recertification, exactly the process that was underway for the 40-year-old Surfside building that collapsed.

While we don’t know if a structural problem led to the tragedy, Levi said high-rise building owners need to be proactive and constantly identify areas in need of repair.

“It’s never a good time to do these types of repairs but it needs to be done. And we live in South Florida; you’re constantly exposed to the elements, to the ocean, there’s erosion and, you know, there’s plenty of materials and protocols in place to help, you know, prolong and save your structures.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz points to the possibility of more federal regulation down the road.

“As a result of that investigation, we can have longer-term implications and recommendations for how we change federal oversight, federal law, related to building construction and the kind of code enforcement decisions that will have to be made on the ground.”

WINK News reached out to several of our local agencies to see whether they’re doing any additional building checks along our coast. Of those that answered, so far they aren’t, but Marco Island plans to evaluate the 40-year recertification process and review its own policies and procedures on building safety.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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