Champlain Towers South collapse: request for buildings to be certified after 10 years

Champlain Towers South collapse: request for buildings to be certified after 10 years

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Arielle Biscayart started this petition to Senator Marco Rubio and

The Champlain Towers South, located in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed at around 1:30 am on June 24, 2021. 55 to 70 units of the 12-story residential building became a smoking pile in 11 seconds.

At the time of the writing of this petition, there are 12 dead and 149 unaccounted people.

Various explanations for this tragedy have been found and documented, including :

1 )  A 2018 engineering report of the building specified that a very costly remediation was necessary to correct a “major error” in the building’s original construction that had caused major structural damage. The pool deck was built without a slope, preventing water from draining. It was built flat, which pushed heavy rain water to accumulate over 40 years, seep down and cause structural damage.

2 ) Champlain Towers South was built in front of the beach. There is suspicion of concrete spalling, a process which allows saltwater seeps into concrete and ultimately causes support beams to rust, expand and weaken.

3 ) A study done last year by a professor at Florida International University determined that Champlain Towers, built on reclaimed wetlands, had been sinking steadily since the 1990s.

As published on sciencedirect.com, in April 2020: ” Increasing rate of sea level rise (SLR) along the US Atlantic coast has resulted in increasing flooding hazard in several coastal communities, including Boston (MA), Norfolk (VA), and Miami Beach (FL). Here, we evaluate the contribution of local land subsidence to coastal flooding hazard in two communities, Miami Beach and Norfolk, using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) time series observations.” 

Scientific proof of land subsidence (sinking of the land surface) and rising sea levels has been provided for various regions of the United States and the world, as a direct consequence of climate change.

4 ) As it was built in 1981, Champlain Towers South was going through its 40-year certification process in 2021.

However, this process, which requires that most commercial properties undergo a 40-year certification process, prepared by a registered engineer or architect to certify that each building or structure is structurally and electrically safe for the specified use for continued occupancy, came in far too late.

This petition is asking :

1 ) A mandatory structure, electric and plumbing certification for all commercial properties ( residential buildings, hotels and office buildings ) to be done 10 years after their date of construction when they have been built in front of the beach or the instracoastal /water.

Waiting for 40 years does not make any sense as major structural, electrical or plumbing issues can increase over the years and the cost of the necessary accumulated repairs becomes impossible to carry for the property owners.

2 ) Non-waterfront buildings to have their first certification 20 years after construction, instead of 40.

3 ) Stricter building regulations to limit construction of residential and commercial properties in front of the ocean in Miami-Dade and Broward County and also throughout Florida.

Our coastlines are overbuilt and climate change is not slowing down. It is time for cities and real estate developers to review and adjust their ambitious development plans.

We need to gather the budget, implement the logistics and effective processes as well as the necessary skilled, non-corrupted professionals and officials to diligently  work on this as soon as possible…before another building or hotel collapses, possibly turning your father, your son, your sister or your best friend into dust in a few seconds.

Thank you.

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