Some hope for stricter structural inspection legislation following Surfside collapse

Suncoast condos
Suncoast condos(WWSB)
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Inspections at high-rise buildings are now in question, following the condo collapse on the other side of the state.

ABC7 has heard from countless local experts and leaders that there is no state requirement to do structural inspections after the construction process is done. Many have said it’s up to the community associations that oversee the buildings.

A community associations attorney tells ABC7 there are two state statutes that cover associations and they detail a lot of uniformity except for when it comes to interval structural inspections. Miami-Dade and Broward County require a 40-year study to determine how exactly a building is doing but locally that’s not the case.

“It (Surfside condo collapse) may be a wake-up call to other counties throughout the state of Florida to implement some type of mandatory inspections,” said attorney Dennis Eisinger.

Eisinger is an attorney whose firm represents hundreds of community associations across Florida. He says homeowners associations and condominium associations have to follow strict state statutes.

“It (routine structural inspections) is not governed by those two statutes so therefore it’s allowed to be governed county by county,” said Eisinger.

He says most counties don’t have a requirement or aren’t as progressive as Miami-Dade and Broward counties. with their 40-year structural inspection studies.

“It’s a situation where we have to be proactive and we have to regulate better,” said Eisinger.

When asked by ABC7 if he believed statewide changes will come to how inspections are regulated at these buildings, he said unquestionably.

“I think it will be both at the state level. Amendments to the condominium act as well as the Homeowners Association Act. As well as various local governments,” said Eisinger.

We reached out to leaders in both Manatee and Sarasota counties on their current inspection process. A spokeswoman for Sarasota County tells ABC7 inspections after constructions are done only when additional permits are requested. A Manatee County spokesperson tells ABC7 most buildings 35 feet and over are within city limits. Representatives there say any repairs and maintenance on aging structures are the responsibility of the property owner.

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