A condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday morning has left many wondering what caused the massive implosion, which has so far killed one person and left 99 people unaccounted for.
Miami-Dade County authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the Champlain Towers South Condo collapse, though an official cause behind the devastation has yet to be determined.
An area expert has brought forward some ideas as to what could have led the building’s facade to crumble to the ground.
Gary Slossberg, founder of the South Florida construction company National Home Building & Remodeling Corp, said he hasn’t heard any specific leads as to the cause of the building’s fall, but after decades working in the industry, he has his suspicions.
“In a general way, there are many things that could happen. Construction defects or engineering defects,” he said, adding that he’s not suggesting there were any construction or engineering defects but simply pointing out the possibility. “I think there is some value, and it makes some sense to do periodic inspections.”
He added that salt in Miami’s coastal air could potentially facilitate the erosion of steel. Evidence or erosion can appear in rust stains or exposed rebar.
“It’s like a cancer,” Slossberg said. “By the time you see it, it could be too late.”
“It could take down a whole building,” he said.
Slossberg noted that the condominium, which had two-bedroom units on the market asking between $600,000 and $700,000, was built in 1981, when the county had different construction codes.
“With every hurricane, new construction codes come out. New engineering codes,” he said. ” … This is 0 years later [since the building was constructed]. The codes have changed at least a dozen times. I know they have. So, some of these older buildings are not really built to withstand the type of same weather conditions as when they were built originally.”
“There’s a lot of concrete restoration going on, and this is where you see a lot of that rust and rebar coming through the slab between the water sitting there and the salt air — it’s just not a good combination,” he said. “But again, I don’t know if that would take down the whole building. We just don’t know what happened.”
Slossberg said a number of different factors may have led to the condominium’s fall.
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