Three years before the Surfside building in Miami-Dade County, Florida collapsed in the middle of the night, an engineer issued a report after inspecting the building and cited “major structural damage.”
However, after receiving the report, the chief building official for the town of Surfside told condo owners and residents that the building was “in very good shape.”
In fact, Ross Prieto bragged on the building and the issued report in an email to the town manager, saying “it went very well.”
He added, “This particular building is not due to begin their forty year until 2021 but they have decided to start the process early which I wholeheartedly endorse and wish that this trend would catch on with other properties.”
Additionally, according to emails released by the town, Prieto repeatedly dismissed concerns over damage to the foundation from a construction project nearby.
However, a consultant hired by the building recommended spending millions of dollars to begin repairs on the building.
Owners of the condos were facing an upcoming deadline for payments to begin over $9 million worth of repairs. Owners had until July 1 to pay totals ranging from $80,000 — $330,000, depending on the size of the condo owned.
One of these repairs was marked to be waterproofing the pool deck. According to the same engineering firm, the lack of the pool deck being waterproofed was leading to major structural damage.
“The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” a 2018 report issued by the Morabito Consultants engineering firm said.
However, nothing in the reports explicitly noted that the building was at risk for collapse.
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