Waterproofing faults could have contributed to the Miami Beach condo collapse

We’re all familiar with the tragic story of the Miami Beach condo collapse. But did you know that almost three years before its collapse, a consultant warned there was evidence of major structural damage?

“Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” Frank Morabito said in the October 2018 report.

Here are a collection of excerpts from BBC News and USA Today articles that discuss the structural defects that may have led to the the collapse:

  • The engineer, Frank Morabito, warned that the deck was not sloped to drain, so any water “sits on the waterproofing until it evaporates”.
  • The report said the waterproofing below the pool deck was “beyond its useful life” and causing “major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas”.
    Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future would, it said, cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to “expand exponentially”.
  • Structural engineer, Greg Batista, who has carried out thousands of inspections of buildings in Florida, said damage to the concrete was one possible explanation for the collapse.

“These buildings up and down the coast are susceptible to what we call spalling,” he told the BBC.

“Basically, the reinforcing steel inside the concrete, it basically rusts and it expands up to seven times its volume. The concrete that surrounds it breaks and that causes significant deterioration in the structural integrity of that particular member, whether it’s a beam or a column. All it takes is one beam or one column to fail and it causes a domino effect.”

  • As residents girded themselves for the repair bill, condo board members told them the 40-year-old building had no waterproofing layers over the garage, exposing it to water intrusion from the time construction was completed in 1981.
  • “There is no waterproofing layer over the garage in the driveway,” one slide warned. “This has exposed the garage to water intrusion for 40 years. Where there is waterproofing, it has failed. Water has gotten underneath and caused additional damage to the concrete.”

Waterproofing faults, if left unrectified, can be deadly. The team at Industry Best Construction is committed to educating and informing industry professionals to ensure tragedies like this are avoided and eliminated.

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