Twenty-four residential buildings were placed on a list of unsafe apartment complexes for failing to obtain required recertification after 40 years during an emergency audit that was carried out of the area following the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside last week, the Miami Herald reported on Tuesday.
The Champlain Towers South was in the process of obtaining its mandatory 40-year recertification when the tragedy occurred.
Included on the list of unsafe structures were two apartment complexes that were built in the 1970s and that are owned and operated by Miami-Dade County authorities.
The audit has highlighted the fact that while the rules in the county are among the strictest in the nation on paper, the regulations do not guarantee that, in actuality, building owners can secure the recertification on time, even those structures owned by the county.
Miami-Dade County housing director Michael Liu explained that the county is short some $10 million every year, with a backlog of capital needs that is more than $500 million, due to a lack of federal funding for public housing that forces cost cutting on the repairs of apartment buildings.
The agency “is in the position of having to make difficult choices based on severity and threats to health and safety,” Liu said.
Miami-Dade inspectors have more than 1,000 active cases before the Unsafe Structures Board for overdue recertification, said Edward Rojas, the county administrator who is in charge of the inspection operation.
In addition to the 40-year rule, buildings are required to then once again receive recertification every 10 years after that.
Rojas said county inspectors started inspecting 24 buildings that are at least five stories high and are due for 40-year recertification but haven’t received them. He said the plan is to search for visible structural issues on the exterior of the buildings.
The audit was carried out as one of numerous efforts by local governments following the Champlain Towers South tragedy to reassure concerned residents that other aging buildings remain safe.
“We’re out there doing inspections on what kind of condition these buildings are in,” he said. “If there’s something obvious that catches their attention, we’ll notify the property and they’ll have to get an engineer to conduct a proper inspection.”
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