Broward committee recommends changes after Surfside condo collapse

After days of debating and hours of expert testimony, a list of changes, suggestions, and possibly new laws are headed to legislature following the devastating condominium collapse in Surfside.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After days of debating and hours of expert testimony, a list compiled by a Broward County committee of recommended changes, suggestions, and new laws are headed to state legislature following the devastating condominium collapse in Surfside.

The Broward County Condominium Structural Issues Committee voted on the recommendations they developed on Friday.

The committee, which is made up of local congressmen, senators, mayors, and building experts, is looking for more accountability when it comes to condominium inspections and governance.

During the meeting, they approved their final list of recommendations to send to the Florida Legislature. The move starts a process of making changes to condominium laws and local building codes in response to the Surfside condo collapse, which is still under investigation.

The meeting summary pages detailed “the need for more frequent inspections and more items to be inspected.” It went on to list: “community association manager certification requirements; reserve funding; insurance coverage; increased education for condo board members; better quality concrete in construction; special assessment funding options for low income communities.”

Committee members debated the details for several days after hearing from experts in engineering, law, the environment, real estate, and condominium governance.

Among the big items on their final list is changing the recertification process. A panel of legislators and experts voted 12 to 2 to insist that the recertification process be changed from every 40 years to every 30 years instead.

They also want condominium residents to be informed, and to make sure condominiums have money to make needed and life-saving repairs. They also recommend the fortification of condominium buildings’ reserve funds to include maintenance and structural issues.

The committee also wants to allow condominiums to continue to waive reserves, but only if a reserve study is done every 36 months and that it’s approved by 75% of condo association members.

Other recommendations include:

  • Reserve fund waiver disclosures to be provided for condo sales
  • Engineers be required file a copy of safety inspections with local government
  • Waterfront building inspections to be expanded to include assessment of seawall, material testing of concrete core, and geo-tech analysis
  • Florida statutes to be amended to remove language that condos “use best efforts to obtain insurance” and change to “must have insurance”
  • Increasing education requirements for condo board members and managers

Countless engineers testified, and it’s likely that what happened in Surfside wasn’t just one issue, but numerous problems.

Currently, detectives are still investigating why the Champlain Towers South building fell in Surfside.

For the full list of recommendations by the Broward County Condominium Structural Issues Committee, click here.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.