This. My condo was built by a builder that had a grift where they would go bankrupt before the property was complete. As a result they were able to shirk almost any liability and deny warranty claims since they no longer had any money. Newer units have different (read: shittier) finishes than the model unit? “Sorry, we ran out of money and had to save costs. Take it or leave it.” Any of the promises they gave to the HOA (such as providing gym equipment, etc.) were conveniently ignored. Any lawsuits were settled for pennies on the dollar or dismissed outright, because they had no more money, see.
Apparently the builder did this all the damn time, and they didn’t even try to hide it. Every time the builder would start a new project they would just reincorporate with the same name and ever increasing number. My condo was built by MyAwesomeCorp VIII, for instance. After declaring bankruptcy they moved on to become MyAwesomeCorp IX and started the grift all over again at a new property.
I am not in FL but I can’t imagine this con is uncommon.
Well that’s the smoking gun. Oversight was in place, warnings were given, Owners allowed deterioration to continue because –– money. Capitalism willfully killing for profit in one more way.
It didn’t collapse without warning - it collapsed after the owners willfully ignored the warning.
Just read informative WashPo article here:
These defects that were identified in 2018 were identified again in the current 40yr check - obviously a prudent process to reinspect these buildings at 40yrs. Work on repairs had begun at the roof, but did not sound like all was in place for repairs needed at the base parking garage level.
The whole real-estate development model just appears inadequate in the wake of this. Developer cuts corners as close to code as permissible. Water proofing details are expedient, and short lived leading to future serious defects. Condominium ownership model leaves management and maintenance of complex high rise structure to amateur unit owners - I mean almost anybody can manage and maintain a two story wood house, not so for a multi-story building. Compound it with development pressure on likely unsuitable land which shows subsidence, and you have a recipe for a disaster. People are killed in the dozens, and hundreds if not thousands just discovered that their buildings may be in similar jeopardy needing high dollar repairs just at the time where their building value and borrowing collateral just plummeted.
Actually this style of scam dates all the way back to the Great Chicago Exposition. The US’ first confirmed serial killer, H. H. Holmes, used this method to build his Murder Castle: hire a contractor to work on part of the building. After the work was substantially done, declare that he was unsatisfied with the work and fire the builder, then hire a new builder, wash, rinse, repeat. As a result, Holmes was able to build the Castle so only he knew all the horrifying details.
" which collapsed Thursday killing some 160 people."
… uh… can you cite that death toll? Because I expect a little bit more from y’all than this.
Only recently watched a YT video on the Algo Centre Mall collapse and this has some shocking similarities
About a year ago I got an engineering report for my house. Seems like the report is intended to be comprehensive and written in a particular order. My place had some especially egregious concerns, and the engineer told me, “I can’t say this in the report, but these two issues are the ones you should fix first.”
I am assuming there are standards – probably to limit potential liability – in what and how concerns are highlighted in an engineering report. If the report officially said “X is the most important, then Y, then Z” and Z happened midway through fixing X, then that could set up the engineers for a pretty catastrophic lawsuit.
That does leave the question of how one prioritizes a report like this. Obviously not every engineer is going to give their client the DL on the side. I imagine, though, that if you’re a firm big enough to get an engineering report on a building like this, you can also afford to have an engineer on staff or on retainer who can advise you.
Around here we stick to mostly wonderful things and this is most definitely not a wonderful thing, so no.
Go watch the news.
Looking at the satellite imagery it appears there are several buildings down the street of nearly identical design. I do hope someone will be taking a careful look at all of them. Also, I can’t imagine the terror of the residents who live there wondering if they are next.
Looks like the roof has peaks.
We had one particular structural fellow, Brian, in our group who sometimes helped out family members and friends in their house buying searches — an experienced second opinion. (I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it.) A visit to a carpeted, single-family home (no basement) prompted him to take off his shoes and walk-slide across the living room floor; his feet picked up a seriously cracked foundation. The two owners and their real estate agent were there when Brian made his find and, according to him, looked as if they had been caught in the middle of murdering someone. Needless to say, B and company walked out of there.
There’s also two other threads about this disaster. This thread is about the inspections and such.
I mean, cool, that’s what this thread is about, but it’s on a post where it outright states “collapsed Thursday killing some 160 people.”
IE this is the right place to ask why this post has death toll that has no current factual basis? I mean, otherwise, thanks for your pointer.
I wasn’t sure what your point was exactly. Seems your issue is with the fairly definitive death toll, rather than the “4 dead, 156 missing” official toll?
The toll may not be official yet, but I’m pretty sure they’re not all hiding in the hay loft.
While it’s easy to point to some abstract late-stage capitalism and corporate greed (which no doubt has a share in the blame), let’s remember that what we are dealing with is an almost universal reaction to the prospect of extremely expensive infrastructure repair to avoid a small chance of catastrophic failure.
Or do you think these failures don’t happen across the world, regardless of government?
Sure, this renovation would have paid for itself a thousand times over in terms of lives saved. But we’re talking tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of buildings that face possible catastrophic failures mostly because of age and the environment that haven’t collapsed but are in the same dire need of critical stability repairs.
People in those units did what people in thousands of units across the country have done - voted to delay very costly infrastructure repairs at the expense of a tiny, but very real risk to life and limb (if the board didn’t toss it as a non-starter immediately). And almost just as many governments have done the same - see catastrophic bridge collapses.
Hell, people make the same decision to ignore small risk with respect to a free vaccine, and we expect them to spends tens of thousands of dollars each to address small tail risk?
Even right now, if we polled the thousands upon thousands who live in buildings with similar recommendations, do you think more than a few will have changed their mind?
There are ways to address this with policy changes - unpopular ones, as you are forcing people to pay heavily (in taxes or by themselves) to avoid risk that they essentially have accepted (mostly by ignoring it until it kills them).
Blaming it on corruption and capitalism is simply side-stepping the issue. Perhaps we need policy changes to condemn buildings a year after they get such a report. Sure, many would lose their homes or have their finances beggared, but we won’t be subject to the hundreds who have died because they followed their very human, but very faulty, instincts.
It’s interesting. In Japan, in buildings like that, the owners of each unit pay 1-200 USD per month in what’s called 修繕積立金 (restoration deposits), which are kept in interest-bearing accounts until needed for necessary repairs. It’s a responsibility that everyone takes on when buying a condo. My building has over 4M USD saved up for repairs that we may not need for decades. I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but there are sensible ways of avoiding the pitfalls of human nature.
Thanks! I had no idea that this sort of policy existed and I quite like it. Sort of “enforced health insurance” for buildings. Sounds like a practical response to the sort of failure we saw here and perhaps less draconian than my suggestion.
That looks to me like a drainage diagram for a flat roof, showing roof penetrations and slope. The aerial photos of the place show a flat roof.
That sounds like an HOA or condo reserve fund, where part of the monthly dues/fees are set aside for repairs and maintenance.
When a serious unexpected problem (e.g. the 2018 inspection result in this case) arises, if the reserve fund can’t cover it a special assessment is usually called for by the board. Special assessments are also usually called for for anticipated long-term maintenance projects (e.g. re-doing the roof every 10 years) when the board doesn’t want to completely drain the reserve fund.