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Surfside Condo Collapse

The Surfside condo collapse in June 2021 was a wakeup call to many in Florida that exposed the safeguards in place were insufficient to ensure the structural integrity of a building over its lifespan. In order to remedy this and ensure public safety, state legislators passed SB 4 and subsequent bills laying out the requirements which must be met in order to verify aging buildings are still structurally sound.

Florida Milestone Inspections are a state-wide structural inspection program for condominium and cooperative associations with buildings three stories or more in height. Here are a few key points:

  1. Definition of Milestone Inspection:

    • Florida has implemented a structural inspection program called "milestone inspection." It can be found in the Florida Statutes here.

  2. Responsibility for Compliance:

    • Community association managers or contracted management companies must comply as directed by the board.

  3. Requirement for Buildings:

    • Milestone inspections are required for buildings three stories or more.

    • Inspection must occur by December 31 of the year the building reaches 30 years, and every ten years thereafter.

    • Buildings within 3 miles of the coastline have a different timeline.

  4. Commencement of Milestone Inspections:

    • Buildings with a certificate of occupancy issued on or before July 1, 1992, must have the initial milestone inspection by December 31, 2024.

  5. Cost Responsibility:

    • Condominium and cooperative associations are responsible for scheduling and costs.

  6. Type of Inspection:

    • Milestone inspection involves a structural examination by a licensed engineer/architect.

  7. Purpose of Inspection:

    • Determine general structural condition affecting building safety.

    • Identify necessary maintenance, repairs, and replacements.

  8. Phases of Inspection:

    • Two phases: Phase 1 is a visual examination; Phase 2 involves further testing if substantial deterioration is found.

  9. Reporting and Submission:

    • The architect/engineer must submit a sealed copy of the inspection report to the association and local building official.

  10. Notice and Compliance Period:

    • Local enforcement agencies will notify buildings of required inspections.

    • Associations have 180 days to complete Phase 1 upon receiving notice.

  11. Consequences of Non-compliance:

    • Associations failing to complete the mandatory Milestone Inspection may breach fiduciary relationships with unit owners.

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