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Before collapse, Florida building needed $9 million in repairs

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Nearly three years before an oceanfront building collapsed near Miami, an engineering firm estimated that major repairs the building needed would cost more than $9 million, according to newly released emails.

The email from the firm of Morabito Consultants is among a series of documents released by the city of Surfside as rescue efforts continue at the site of the collapsed building, where more than 150 people remain unaccounted for. At least five people were killed in the collapse.

The release of the 2018 cost estimate followed the earlier publication of another document from the firm showing the ground-floor pool deck of the building was resting on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed to be extensively repaired. That report also uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

The report did not warn of imminent danger from the damage, and it is unclear if any of the damage observed was responsible for the collapse of Champlain Towers South.

The cost estimate shows that repairs across the entire building would cost more than $9.1 million dollars, with the cost of work at the garage, entrance and pool deck alone accounting for more than $3.8 million. The work had not been done by the time the building collapsed.

The earlier report says the waterproofing under the pool deck had failed and had been improperly laid flat instead of sloped, preventing water from draining off.

“The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replaced the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” the report says.

The firm recommended that the damaged slabs be replaced in what would be a major repair.

Workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, June 26, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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