An engineer found ‘major structural damage’ and ‘abundant’ cracking at the collapsed Miami condo complex in 2018

Miami condo complex collapses
Four people are now known to have died in the collapse of an oceanfront apartment building near Miami Beach, officials said Friday, EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Miami condo complex partially collapsed on Thursday, killing at least four people. 159 are still missing.
  • There was evidence of “major structural damage” to the building in 2018, according to an inspection report.
  • An engineering consultant advised that repairs be made in a “timely fashion” almost three years ago.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Miami condo complex that partially collapsed on early Thursday morning, killing at least four people and leaving 159 unaccounted for, showed signs of “major structural damage” in 2018, according to documents released by the town of Surfside in Florida.

An engineering consultant also found evidence of “abundant” cracking and fragmentation of the columns, beams, and walls in the garage under the collapsed Champlain Towers South, an October 2018 inspection report said.

About eight percent of the concrete slabs in the garage and building plaza had experienced “concrete deterioration,” according to the report.

The consultant, Frank Morabito, advised in 2018 that the building’s crumbling concrete be repaired in a “timely fashion” to “maintain the structural integrity” of the complex, The New York Times reported.

The inspection results informed plans for an extensive repair project that was set to take place soon, the paper said.

An aerial view of the Florida condo building that partially collapsed early Thursday.
An aerial view of the Florida condo building that partially collapsed early Thursday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Morabito’s report also noted other signs of damage, including hairline cracking on the balcony structural floor slabs, splintering in the concrete columns and exterior walls, and a leaking pool and Jacuzzi, USA Today reported.

“The report is replete with all sorts of red flags that this building was in a state of disrepair and that there were structural problems,” Gregg Schlesinger, a Florida-based attorney who specializes in construction defects, told Insider.

“There were signs of structural defects that were never further investigated in 2018 should have been investigated,” he added.

Eliana Salzhauer, a Surfside commissioner, told The New York Times that it was “upsetting” to see that the 2018 issues did not lead to speedy repairs. “The condo board was clearly made aware that there were issues,” she said. “And it seems from the documents that the issues were not addressed.”

It is not known what caused the collapse, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause.

But it appears that problems with the structure were well-known to the complex’s residents. In 2015, a resident of the Florida complex filed a lawsuit that alleged that one of the building’s outer walls was not being maintained properly.

Matilde Fainstein filed for damages in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court, saying the building’s owners “failed to repair or negligently repaired the common elements and the outside walls of the building,” Insider’s Mia Jankowicz reported.