Miami condo – Workers found 'extensive concrete damage' and suspended repairs nine months ago over collapse fears

WORKERS discovered "extensive concrete damage" and suspended repairs last fall as they were worried the Miami condo that collapsed last week would fall.

Officials from Morabito Consultants reported in October that they found “potentially deep deterioration” of concrete near the pool area.

Repair work couldn't take place amid fears that it may have affected the stability of neighboring apartment blocks.

Workers could not access the inside of the pool as it was still being used, USA Today reports.

The Morabito team found a stairwell that had deteriorated and highlighted issues around the wall and swimming pool.

Workers removed loose and deteriorated concrete from the edges of the pool, the wall next to it and the pump room.

It’s reported that the deterioration was caused by corrosion of the steel panels that expanded the rebar in the structure.

Dawn Lehman, a professor of structural engineering at the University of Washington, said: “This would have been one of the multiple problems that should have been addressed in the aging structure.

“It’s expensive to fix, and you can’t simply repair damage that is this extensive – you need to replace the damaged reinforcement and concrete.”

Ms Lehman said the deterioration of the steel beams is unlikely to be the sole cause of the collapse.

John Wallace, a professor of structural engineering at the University of California, said the pool “wouldn’t be expected to influence” the tower that collapsed.

It comes as engineers are reportedly looking into demolishing the rest of the condo after it emerged that vital repair works were delayed.

Rescue crews had detected that concrete slabs had started to move.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky told reporters on Thursday that questions about building stability have led to concerns about the more than 300 people who have been working on the search and rescue mission.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that he is preparing for the possibility that the building may have to be demolished, according to WPLG.

Five members of the Champlain Tower South's board, including the president, quit in 2019 following "infighting" over a $15million repair bill to address the condo's structural concerns, The Washington Post reports.

A 2018 engineer's report found "major structural issues" in the building and residents were told that the condo was "deteriorating".

The April 9 letter, written by the president of the condo association's board of directors Jean Wodnicki and obtained by USA Today, acknowledged the significant price tag of the needed repairs.

In the letter, Wodnicki provided a summary of the major repairs that were needed for the building.

The report found a "major error" in the design of the building and warned about crumbling concrete columns in the garage area beneath the building.

The letter noted that failing to fix the problems in the "near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially."

She said conditions had deteriorated between 2018 and early 2021 as she warned that extensive roof work was also required.

Meanwhile, at least 18 people are reported dead while 145 remain unaccounted after part of the 12-story condo came down on June 24.

President Biden visited the site and praised Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for "coming together" despite their political differences.

Biden said: "This is life and death. We can do it, just the simple act of everyone doing what needs to be done makes a difference."

The president pledged to provide any federal assistance needed to deal with the tragedy.

He said: "There’s gonna be a lot of pain and anxiety and suffering and even the need for psychological help in the days and months that follow. And so, we’re not going anywhere.

"Whatever you need pick up the phone – for real. I’m not joking about it."

During his visit to Miami, Biden also met with first responders and privately with family members.

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