Miami Beach condominium building evacuated near fatal collapse

MIAMI BEACH (AP) — An evacuation order has abruptly evicted residents of a 14-story oceanfront building on the same street where a condo collapses killed nearly 100 people last year.

The city issued a notice Thursday night about unsafe structures in the Port Royale gated community, Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said in an email.

A structural report prompted the evacuation of the 164-unit building, which is currently undergoing required recertification. An engineer discovered that a main beam that was scheduled for repair 10 months ago had shifted and that a crack in the beam had widened and other structural supports may also need repair, the report said.

At least one observer said the damage extended beyond a single support beam.

“There are cracks in the pillar, cracks in the base, I mean in the garage, in the two storage garages, cracks in the joists everywhere,” says Marsh Markaj, a resident of the building, who said he works in construction and noticed the problems. said WPLG TV.

Inspection Engineers Inc. said in a letter to the city that it is working to obtain city approval so that a “major shoring” can be installed within 10 days. This is followed by another inspection of the building erected in 1971.

During an inspection about 10 months ago, engineers found “areas of concern that we have identified as priorities for repair,” Arshad Vioar said in an email sent to the Miami Beach Building Department.

The housing association selected a contractor and repairs began about four weeks ago. The company that inspected the building was asked to oversee the work and noted this week that one of the main beams in the garage had experienced structural deflection of approximately ½ inch and also the existing crack which was marked for repair , had been extended,” Vioar said in the email.

The Port Royale is about 2 kilometers south of the Champlain Towers South residential building in Surfside, Florida, also on Collins Avenue where a collapse in June 2021 killed 98 people.

The disaster at the 12-story oceanfront condominium building in Surfside pulled the largest non-hurricane emergency response in Florida history, including rescue teams from across the US and even Israel to help local teams search for victims.

Other South Florida buildings have been evacuated amid similar safety fears since the Surfside collapse.

The Champlain Towers South collapse focused on the structural integrity of aging condominium towers throughout Florida, particularly along its shores, and the state has since sought to tighten laws requiring inspections and periodic recertification of buildings.

Miami-Dade County had not required the first recertification for 40 years, and the Surfside building was undergoing that recertification process when it collapsed.

New state regulations that went into effect in May require buildings to receive their first recertification after 30 yearsor 25 if within 5 km (3 miles) of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter.

Miami-Dade also now requires building owners to provide up to three months of housing and associated costs if officials determine their building was unsafe due to negligent maintenance.

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