Engineers and officials are still performing a structural review at the Champlain Towers North condominium as Surfside's mayor said there are still "deep concerns" about the building nearly two weeks after the collapse at its sister property.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Charles Burkett said officials are doing a "deep dive" structural review at the Champlain Towers North following the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South.
"[It] is essentially the same building built by the same developer at the same time with the same plans, probably with the same materials and given we do not know why the first building fell down, we have significant concerns about that building and the residents in there," Burkett said.
Although the building wasn't put under a mandatory evacuation, residents of Champlain Towers North were given the option to move to alternative housing after the collapse of the south tower on June 24, and Burkett said several have taken them up on the offer.
The exact cause of the south tower collapse remains under investigation, and Burkett said that uncertainty is part of the reason for looking at the north tower.
"We're going to do everything we can to look at those structural systems, including ground-penetrating radar, the columns, the beams, the slabs and try to get our arms around what may be happening, what did happen," Burkett said. "We have some concerns about, not just some, but deep concerns about that building, especially given we don't know what has happened there."
Burkett's concerns contradict the opinion of an expert structural engineer hired by the town, who inspected the north tower and deemed it safe.
The pool deck at the north tower was recently renovated, the balconies have been rehabbed, and other repairs have been made over the years.
The president of the condo association said it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to maintain a huge condominium complex but it does take man hours, lots of them.
The president added that it’s best to fix problems as they arise rather than wait for the 40-year inspection to start those fixes.
Burkett said officials have been responding to inquiries from other large buildings in Surfside and have been advising them to perform full structural reviews.