Surfside condo collapse

Broward Committee on Building Safety Propose Final Recommendations

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The Broward County Condominium Structural Issues Committee has finalized recommendations they hope will help make condo living safer. 

The special committee was formed following the Champlain Towers South Building Collapse in Surfside. 

The 19-member committee includes state and local elected officials, attorneys, and structural building experts. 

The final recommendations include changes to current condo association guidelines and safety inspections and come after more than 20 hours of expert testimony and discussion by committee members. 

Some of the proposed recommendations include: 

  • Lowering the 40-year inspection requirement to a statewide 30-year inspection requirement
  • Requiring condo associations to obtain and maintain adequate property insurance
  • Requiring condo associations to have a reserve study done every 3 years 
  • Requiring condo association budgets to include reserve accounts unless a waiver is approved by at least a 75 percent majority vote of the association 

“The maintenance of buildings is overlooked sometimes and I think the importance of it is overlooked,” attorney Michael Chapnick said. 

Chapnick, who is also a member of the committee, says reserve studies can help condo owners keep track of future expenses. 

“How much longer are these components going to last and what really needs to be done to make sure everything is being taken care of so you don’t end up with huge expenses at the end by way of special assessment,” Chapnick said.

These recommendations could also come with the possibility of higher yearly assessments for some condo owners.

“If our recommendations are followed, they will, over the long run be much much less expensive for condominium owners,” Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said. 

Geller says one of the findings during the committee meetings is that it is cheaper in the long run for owners to spend money on maintenance today instead of paying to fix larger structural issues later. 

“We were very cognizant of the fact that a lot of people live in condos and can’t afford a lot of increases. Unfortunately they are going to be getting a lot of increases based strictly on insurance costs and there is nothing we can really do about that right now,” Geller said. 

The recommendations will now be handed over to state lawmakers with the hope they will be taken up by the state legislature and created into law. 

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