Last June, a terrible tragedy in Surfside, Florida left the Condo Association world reeling. The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed, claiming 98 lives and creating new conversations about building inspections in community association living.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) received $22 million from congress to investigate the Champlain Towers collapse and provide legislative recommendations. As of today, their investigation has been inconclusive as to what even caused the disaster. They are reported to submit their findings in 2024, but what should Condo Associations be doing in the meantime? The Community Associations Institute (CAI) continues to push for, at a bare minimum, mandated inspections of buildings and “any major structural element owned or maintained by the association.”
This will cost money, and condo owners may be scared that, once their building is inspected, they might need to pony up even more cash to fix it. Yet CAI recommends inspecting condominiums as soon as possible, maintaining that if the building requires work on its structural integrity, finding out quickly will be cheaper in the long-term. Currently, there is no ubiquitous standard for periodic inspections, but that may change soon. The NIST is expected to recommend that congress require building inspections at a much higher rate than current legislation and may even prompt a federal legislative response. There may also be multiple options for funding plans, allowing condo owners to pay for structural renovations over a few years.
The sad fact is that condo associations have not been prepared for a disaster like Surfside. Few board members have ever seen a preventative maintenance manual or spoken with a building professional. Few even know that safe building practices are in their job description. Put simply, board members and key staff rarely have a plan of action to protect against structural disaster, but don’t worry–we’re here to help.
If your association needs help navigating structural integrity inspections, planning for the future, or setting up preventative maintenance, Ardent Residential has your back. Contact us at www.MyArdent.com to begin your journey to safer, better association living.