SURFSIDE, Fla. – The building collapse in Surfside concerned residents at Maison Grande Condominium who said they are worried about “unsafe structure” warnings. As the search for survivors at Champlain Towers South continued, the president of the Maison Grande Condominium Association blamed the delays in repairs on the city’s “slow” turnaround on permits.
According to Melissa Berthier, a spokeswoman for the city, The Maison Grande Condominium applied for a 40-year permit on May 13 and there was a 90-day window to provide an inspection report to the city. Lilly Ann Sanchez, the president of the Maison Grande Condominium Association, said Berthier was wrong and added that the accepted 40-year certification letter from the city was issued in April 2015.
On Thursday, Berthier confirmed “a clerical error was identified and a permit was issued on May 26, 2021″ for the building.
“We use a red placard when a building violation is posted, which provides the language ‘unsafe structure’ per the County Code. This does not necessarily mean the building is unsafe or in imminent danger,” Berthier wrote in an e-mail on Tuesday.
A violation was first issued in November 2020, and the city was not pursuing compliance on non-life-threatening complaints due to the complications that arose during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Berthier.
Maison Grande at 6039 Collins Ave. is far from Champlain Towers South. On Tuesday, the condo association president said the violations are already being corrected. The association has been waiting on city permits for concrete restoration in the garage and pool since Feb. 16. There is also a 3-month delay on permits to repair a 72-square-foot area in the ceiling of the penthouse level.
Maison Grande’s condo association also plans to install a new sprinkler system and smoke detectors by November. Records show Maison Grande was built in 1971 and passed its 40-year recertification process in 2013. An engineer deemed the building “structurally sound” and determined the deterioration of concrete was minor and cosmetic and the rebar corrosion in some balcony slab edges was minor.
The association hired Hollywood-based Coast To Coast General Building Contractors to make the repairs on the exterior envelope of the building during the recertification process in 2013. Yanieve Levi, the president of Coast To Coast, said the repairs were not as significant as he had anticipated before the work about eight years ago.
“The building seemed to be in pretty good shape,” Levi said on Tuesday.
City officials believe that has changed. The outstanding violations on the building in Miami Beach are linked to alleged evidence of spalling concrete.
Levi said property owners need to be in communication with their board associations and be proactive and ask questions such as, “When was the last improvement? What is budgeted? How are we going to pay for it? Do we plan on reserves?”
Meanwhile, in Surfside, search-and-rescue teams faced sporadic rain and spontaneous fires at 8777 Collins Ave. The death toll was rising slowly. President Joe Biden will be visiting the area on Thursday.
Related documents: Maison Grande Condominium
Notice of violation
Existing conditions assessment
2013 structural certification
2015 recertification letter
Coverage on Tuesday
Coverage on Monday
Coverage on Sunday
Coverage on Saturday
Coverage on Friday
Coverage on Thursday
Editorial note: This story was updated on June 30 to reflect the city’s response to a Local 10 News’ request for information and the response from Lilly Ann Sanchez, the president of the Maison Grande Condominium Association.