Surfside Condo Plans Reveal Scope Of Concrete Repair Needs Before Collapse

NBC 6 obtained the bid documents and drawings submitted this month to firms invited to bid on a wide-ranging concrete repair and restoration project for the Champlain Towers South condominium.

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Drawings and bid documents obtained by NBC 6 reveal the scope of the concrete restoration and other work the Champlain South condo association was soliciting for the Surfside building, even as a catastrophic structural failure brought nearly half of the building crumbing to the ground.

More than 200 pages of specifications in a bid package and plans detail what was going to be an extensive demolition, repair and replacement project, one that likely would have cost more than $10 million.

But engineers familiar with the project caution that nothing in the documents suggests an impending failure. One who examined the structure said "nobody could've seen this coming," that the garage and plaza area that revealed the first signs of failure Thursday was not in any worse shape than other buildings of this age and type.

Just nine days before the condo collapsed in the Town of Surfside, the condominium association's engineer summoned five general contractors seeking to bid on the major structural repair project.

They gathered on the morning of June 15 on site for a pre-bid conference and had three more weeks to submit their bids, due July 7.

The project included "the repair and/or replacement of defective portions of the existing construction."

Engineers familiar with the project told NBC 6 not to read too much into that language - that is is fairly standard for a oceanfront condo restoration project.

Also included in the scope of work: structural repairs to the garage, where concrete was spalling on existing columns and cracks had formed, according to the project bid form.

Again, it's not unusual, engineers say, for a building of this age and location, exposed to the salty, windy, sandy elements of the oceanfront.

The bidders were to agree to the "removal of unsound and sound concrete … the installation of concrete repair materials, the … sealing of cracks, and the injection of epoxy and chemical grout into cracks."

The engineering firm hired by the condo association to lead the effort -- Morabito Consultants, headquartered near Baltimore -- said it had no comment as its investigation continues.

A lawyer for the association, Donna Berger, said the association "is going to ensure that the professional advisers they relied upon did their job." She described "a community that was functioning well and doing the right things and just struck with a freak tragedy."

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