TAMPA, Fla. — The search for survivors in South Florida's condominium collapse continues, with rescuers still working shifts around the clock.
The tragedy in Surfside is prompting safety concerns for people who live in similar waterfront properties, wondering if the same could happen to their homes. Investigators will work on figuring out the cause after efforts shift away from rescue, examining foundations, groundwater, column supports and corrosion for evidence of why the collapse happened.
Surfside's building collapse is working as a call to action for many property management teams, prompting inspections before major visible concerns are reported. Engineers support that move.
"These high-rise buildings are generally safe. This is a rare instance but it's a wake-up call if a building is not maintained and inspected and programs are not in place to maintain life and safety," explained Orlando Ballate, a forensic structural engineer with more than 30 years of experience.
Ballate says inspections should be performed regularly by an experienced engineer who understands the toll Florida's weather can take on structures, "I think it's very important you have a very experienced structural engineer who knows the weak points of the building in these types of climate zones."
He suggests requesting the latest inspection reports from your property managers if you're concerned about the safety of your building. Most homeowners associations, property management companies and building maintenance teams will be able to provide copies of the latest inspections to you. If they don't have them, you can search online through county and city government sites to find inspections on recent construction, remodeling or safety updates.
If you receive the reports and don't know what qualifies as a major structural concern, consult an experienced structural engineer.
If you get the reports and feel that they weren't done recently enough, you can always request an inspection either on your own or through your property management teams.
We've pulled together some links so you can either request inspections or request recent reports from your property.
Search state faculties live government buildings, medical facilities and universities for their fire code compliance in Florida.
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