The structural report prompted the evacuation of the 164-unit building, which is in the process of required recertification.
MIAMI – An evacuation order suddenly displaced residents of a 14-story oceanfront building on the same avenue where collapse of a condominium About 100 people died last year.
The city posted a hazardous structure notice Thursday night at the Port Royal condominium, Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said in an email.
The structural report prompted the evacuation of the 164-unit building, which is in the process of required recertification. An engineer found that a main support beam identified for repair 10 months ago had shifted and that a crack in the beam had widened and other structural supports may also need repair, the report said.
One resident, renovation contractor Marash Markaj, who has lived in the building for more than six years, said the damage extended beyond a single support beam.
“I’ve been seeing problems for years,” Markai told the Associated Press. He said he tried to report the problems — including cracks in the column and weeks of standing water in the garage — to the building directorate and the city’s building department.
“I was never able to get an answer,” he said, adding that he felt “unsafe” living in the building and because of the way it was maintained.
Inspection Engineers Inc. said in a letter to the city authorities that it is working on obtaining a city permit so that the “complex support” can be installed within 10 days. Then another inspection of the building, which was built in 1971, will take place.
During an inspection about 10 months ago, engineers found “areas of concern that we have prioritized for repair,” Arshad Viaar said in an email to the Miami Beach Building Department.
The building association selected a contractor and renovations began about four weeks ago. The building inspection firm was asked to monitor the work and this week “noticed that one of the main beams in the garage had a structural deflection of about ½ inch and an existing crack that was marked for repair had widened,” Viaar said. the email said.
The few apartment residents who returned to the site Friday morning to see what was happening included Felicia Flores, 71, who lived in the building for 15 years and has now gone to live with her daughter nearby. She swung by as she was walking her little dog. She said the building had been under construction for several weeks, but something changed Thursday.
“It seems there was something more serious, so we had to leave suddenly,” Flores said.
Miami Beach officials said apartment owners who rented out their units were required by local law to cover temporary housing for tenants for up to three months or until the building is habitable again.
Sammy Bosch, who has lived in the building for nine years, said residents were given very little time to move out. At 5pm on Thursday they were told they had to be out by 7pm
“We don’t know exactly what’s going on there, but we can’t stay.” That’s it,” Bosch said as he returned on his scooter to survey the scene Friday morning.
Port Royal is about 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) south of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, also on Collins Avenue, where a June 2021 collapse killed 98 people.
The disaster at a 12-story oceanfront apartment building in Surfside drew the largest non-hurricane emergency response in Florida history, including rescuers from across the US and even Israel to help local teams search for victims.
Other buildings in South Florida were evacuated due to similar safety concerns after the Surfside collapse.
The disaster focused attention on structural integrity of aging condominium towers throughout Florida, especially along its coastline, and the state has since tightened laws requiring inspections and periodic recertification of buildings.
Miami-Dade County did not require its first recertification until 40 years later, and the Surfside building was undergoing that recertification process when it collapsed.
New state rules signed in May require the buildings will undergo their first recertification in 30 yearsor 25 if they are within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter.