Surfside Champlain Towers Condominium Building Collapse Leaves Unanswered Questions
Early Thursday morning, June 24, 2021, at around 2:00 a.m., a multistory condominium building in Surfside, Florida partially collapsed. The condo complex, known as The Champlain Towers, consists of 3 multistory residential buildings located on Collins Avenue right along the beach. The South Tower, which was built in 1981, essentially collapsed within itself in the early morning hours. As of July 5, at least 24 people are dead and 121 others remain unaccounted for after the condo collapse. Authorities expect more fatalities to be reported given the significance of this event.
Mayor Burkett commented briefly to the news media that, “there is no reason for a building to come down like that.” An important note to keep in mind is that the building had been under roof construction over the last 30 days and is something that will undoubtedly have to be looked further into. Burkett does believe that he “expect(s) that this building is not salvageable at this point.” A building such as the Champlain Towers consists of reinforced concrete and should not have collapsed in the way it did, for this defies logic. Coincidently, the condominium building was scheduled for its mandated 40-year recertification in 2021. The City of Surfside, where this building was located, has a statute detailing recertification and the requirements that condo buildings have in order to maintain safe and compliant operations.
City of Surfside [The Champlain Towers] 40-year Recertification
According to the Miami Dade County, Florida building code, Section 8-11(f):
“All buildings, except single-family residences, duplexes and minor structures which are forty (4) years or older must be recertified by the Building Official when the structure becomes 41 years old and then every 10 years after the first Recertification.”
Pursuant to County Code, the building must hire a Registered Architect and/or a Professional Engineer to perform the electrical and structural inspections for the building. Following this inspection, the professional contracted party must submit a completed report of the inspection performed to the Governmental Compliance Section in the City of Surfside Building Department for review and approval.
As it relates to the 40-year structural required inspection, the main purpose is to ensure that the structural composition of the building is safe for continued use and occupancy by its residents. In fact, the Town of Surfside makes available a 40-Year Recertification Inspection Guide — electrical and structural. This supplement is encouraged to be utilized by the inspectors and engineers charged with the 40-year recent inspection for the structural integrity of the building. Ultimately, this is not a rubber stamp situation, in that should the Building Official determine that the structure is unsafe, the matter is forwarded to the Miami Dade County Unsafe Structures Board for further review and determination of action moving forward.
With respect to the Champlain Tower condo building collapse, dozens, and quite possibly hundreds, of more injuries and casualties are expected. An event like this is tragic in and of itself, though the fact that this collapse occurred without warning and in the middle of the night increases the likelihood of more injuries and fatalities.
Common Causes for Buildings Collapses
The Champlain Tower condo building collapse is a serious and heartbreaking tragedy that has resulted in injuries and fatalities. Here are a few common causes for building collapses:
- Engineering or construction defects
- Explosions or fires
- Structural damage
- Concrete restoration
- Deterioration due to age
- Erosion of steel – With the condo located beachfront, salt in Miami’s coastal air could possibly cause the erosion of steel
- And more!
Contact Miami [Aventura] Building Collapse Injury and Accident Lawyers
Having a principal office located in Aventura, which is just down the street from Surfside, the SteinLaw Injury Lawyers will ensure that justice is served and a full inspection is undertaken for all of our clients injured in this building collapse. Premises liability and condo safety go hand in hand, so ensuring that proper protocols and inspections were conducted by the Champlain Towers will largely determine the viability of any personal injury or wrongful death case arising from this tragic and unfortunate event.
Helpful Resources for Victims, Families, & Friends of the Surfside Champlain Towers Condo Collapse
American Red Cross is partnering with local authorities to assist people impacted by this tragedy by providing food at the family reception center, mental health support, and helping residents find a safe place to stay. They offer several online and mail donation options.
To donate visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html. If you’re looking to donate by check or to a specific cause, there is a donation form that must be printed and sent to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37839, Boone, IA 50037-0839.
Catholic Charities is ready to see what resources families will need. They are collecting financial contributions for those affected by the building collapse in Surfside, FL. To donate, please click here.
Florida Blue, along with New Directions Behavioral Health, is offering a free 24-hour-a-day grief counseling and bilingual helpline for those in need of support following the Surfside collapse. Anyone in Florida is eligible and insurance is not needed to call 1-833-848-1762.
If you or a loved one have been affected by the building collapse tragedy, call 2-1-1, which is the Jewish Community’s 24/7 hotline that can help with housing, counseling, and other services.
To donate, please visit Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s campaign to help Surfside building collapse victims.
The Shul of Bal Harbour and Skylake Synagogue has created a central fund to be dispersed as needed directly to the victims and families. They have raised more than $160,000 from over 1,300 donors.
Please consider donating the following items:
- Phone chargers
The city of Miami, as well as the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department, has set up a reunification hotline for families to call 305-614-1819.
State Resources Open for Businesses, Displaced Residents Affected By Collapse
Businesses affected by the collapse of the condo complex in Surfside are being asked to complete a damage assessment survey to help the state direct resources to them.
For more on how to help victims and those affected by the Surfside condo collapse, please check out this Miami Herald article.
Surfside Condo Collapse FAQs
Why did the Champlain Towers South Condo Collapse?
Can I file a lawsuit after a building collapse?
Contact our experienced building collapse lawyers today!
I lost a loved one in the Surfside building collapse. Can I file a lawsuit?
Who is responsible for a building collapsing?
Another party’s negligence may be responsible for a building or condo collapse. Parties may include the following:
- Engineer firms
- Property owners
- Construction companies
- Condo associations
- Manufacturers of defective products used to build the residential or business property
Should I contact a lawyer if I lost my property or a loved one due to the Surfside condo collapse?
The short answer is yes. Property damage, injuries, and the death of a loved one is already stressful and devastating. An experienced and compassionate building/condo collapse lawyer will conduct a proper investigation and fight for your rights to get you the compensation you deserve! A party should be held liable for its negligence. Contact SteinLaw today!