Inferior Design and Construction May Have Contributed to the Surfside Condo Collapse in Florida

An investigation by the New York Times revealed that the Surfside condo collapse that left nearly 100 people dead may have been caused by faulty design, last-minute design changes, and shoddy construction and maintenance practices.

NYT Investigation Finds Surfside Condo Suffered from Negligent Design and Construction Practices

The investigation focused on the base of the building, which showed the first signs of failure minutes before the collapse. The foundation, which included piles buried deep to find support, suffered from water intrusion, with water seeping up the piles from storm surge during the tropical storms and hurricanes that have hit South Florida over the years. An engineering report conducted prior to the collapse found “abundant” cracking and crumbling of support columns, beams, and walls in the building’s underground parking garage. In the moments prior to the collapse, witnesses and surveillance video saw debris and gushing water (potentially from broken pipes) in the underground garage below support beams critical to the building’s structural stability.

On the portion of the ground level deck that initially collapsed, builders had placed large planters that were not part of the building’s initial design. The planters had insufficient waterproofing and placed significant additional weight on the deck. The planters were eventually removed as the trees in them had been penetrating down through the deck, causing water damage. 

Engineers working for the building found that the pool deck suffered from poor design, including being laid flat rather than on a slope, which would have allowed water to drain from the deck more effectively. The pool deck was also laid without any waterproofing; waterproofing was later added beneath new pavers, but this had the effect of trapping moisture. Extra support beams underneath the portion of the ground level deck that first collapsed were eventually removed in revisions of the original designs, causing the deck to become overstressed. The beams that were built were constructed with insufficient reinforcing steel. Other beams were built with too much reinforcing steel, which actually weakened those columns.

The side of the building that withstood the collapse was built with thicker columns and steel than the portion of the building that collapsed. The builders are also believed to not have placed reinforcing steel in the way specified in the designs. In particular, steel was placed too shallow, exposing it to the elements and causing corrosion.

Water intrusion from the room is also believed to have contributed to the collapse, including from a penthouse unit that was added to the building late in the design and construction process.

The design and construction flaws have led to audits of other older buildings in South Florida.

Marrone Law Firm Has Extensive Experience Representing Injured Victims of Building Collapses

At the Marrone Law Firm, we have represented clients who were injured due to building collapses caused by negligent construction and maintenance. We represented some of the victims of the 2013 Salvation Army building collapse in Philadelphia, which ultimately resulted in a total recovery of $227 million for all the victims. If you have been hurt in a collapse, our firm can help you.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Collapse Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a collapse accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of collapse accidents in Philadelphia, Center City, University City, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (866) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 S. Broad St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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