SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - The question as to how the Champlain Towers South Condo collapse could have happened remains on the minds of many. The condo association’s president told residents not long ago the tower needed serious repairs.
The condo association’s president is said to have warned residents about the repairs needed back in April citing a 2018 inspection.
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7News spoke with structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer who is on site working to determine what went wrong.
“Based on what I saw, I didn’t see anything that looked to me like it was something that could cause a collapse like this,” he said.
Following a walk-thru view of Champlain Towers’ North and East condos, Kilsheimer said there’s no need to sound the alarm.
“Based on the exposed and visible conditions of what I saw, based on my experiences with buildings and garages, no, I do not think that’s necessary,” he said.
Champlain Towers North was completed one year after the South Tower in 1982 by the same developer, with the same design.
Champlain Towers East, built in 1994, has a different design.
Kilsheimer also took a look at the engineering report that was done after an inspection of the Champlain Towers South building in 2018.
The firm that completed the report, Morabito Consulting, noted abundant cracking and concrete slabs that needed to be replaced because they were showing signs of distress.
“A lot of it was normal wear and tear in any garage and then normal wear and tear certainly in garages where the water table is normally high,” said Kilsheimer.
Kilsheimer is a highly-respected expert.
He assisted after the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and in analyzing the FIU bridge collapse.
Now, he has been called in by the town of Surfside to help figure out what went wrong.
“What you’re looking for is the condition of the materials and the design of the building, and then you’re looking for a trigger because something started this,” he said. “The key is to find the trigger.”
Multiple people have raised concerns about the building.
Back in 2015, a unit owner filed suit against the Champlain Towers South Condo board because she claimed, “Water entered into the property through the cracks in the outside wall of the building.”
She also said the condo board “failed to maintain the common elements and the outside walls of the building.”
That lawsuit was later dismissed.
That unit owner was not the only one who has been vocal about what they’ve noticed.
One resident is joining a class action lawsuit against Champlain Towers South Condo association claiming her complaints were ignored.
“Our client has been raising these red flags for months,” said attorney Adam Moskowitz. “She’s been taking pictures of her garage, she’s been taking pictures of the cement falling, water dripping on her car, and it seems like all of this just landed on deaf ears. Nobody seemed to take any of it seriously, unfortunately.”
The president of the condo association told residents living in the building in April that the building needed major repairs and urged them to pay the $15 million in assessments to fix the issues.
As for Kilsheimer, he said at this point it is way too soon to tell what caused this collapse.
“It’s a process, and it just takes time,” he said.
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