"We have to do this now": management of collapsed tower knew structural situation was dire

Originally published at: "We have to do this now": management of collapsed tower knew structural situation was dire | Boing Boing


So, people like being on the board so they can tell people what to do, but don’t like being on the board if they have to do it. :man_shrugging:


I’m curious to know how much influence the management company had with the board, too. Board members are usually owners, with a variety of backgrounds. Management companies are supposed to have the professional expertise. In matters of insurance, financial problems, and legal problems, rules for associations don’t give a lot of leeway for boards to fight. Of course, that varies depending on the association, and I’m sure they’ll be reviewing that in detail for this case.


I’d be curious to know who hired Ross.

It’s also not clear to me who is on the board, and who would be responsible for paying for the renovations? Is the board made up of residents, and ultimately all the residents chip in to pay for the renovations? Are the owners and board completely removed from the residents?

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Boards set budgets. Loud, obnoxious people complain endlessly about spending money, so budgets are cut. Usually the worst outcome is extra rats because the garbage isn’t picked up on a timely basis, or someone gets mold in their unit because the roof isn’t maintained. That’s why the whiners usually get their way.

But, as we know, South Florida is home to the largest collection of reality deniers in the country.

Hmmm…meeting minutes should reveal who voted against spending money. It would be just to hold them accountable for the collapse.


But likely this will let any insurer of this property off the hook (policyholder, with these actions, probably breached many policy terms) and whilst people may be held to account, any compensation or even legitimate reimbursement for losses, is likely to be unfunded and thus not forthcoming from individuals responsible. Let’s hope some companies are held legally responsible, are required to compensate, and have the funds to do so. I fear it may not be the case.

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And the upside is that every condo owner and board across the country will start taking engineering reports more seriously, lest they personally get sued into poverty too.

Inactions should have consequences, too.


I’ve been waiting for someone to dig up the HOA board of directors meeting minutes, because right in them would be some damning evidence, who knew what, when, and what they did or didn’t do regarding the buildings structural issues.


That may literally take a bulldozer and shovel at this point.


Oh, I think we can be sure the faceless smooth suits on these boards never actually met in (or possibly even visited) the place they were responsible for.


Yep, the board was resident-led, and repairs were going to have to be split between all the residents. The idea of paying $100K+ each for repairs was a big stumbling block for the residents - and the board, so it seems like everyone was doing everything they could to avoid dealing with it.


This is why they’ll be reviewing the association agreements. I’ve been in HOA and COA situations where the result of maintenance disputes between owners who don’t want to spend the money, board members, and the management company is, “We have no choice - everyone must pay.” Maybe in FL it’s much different, and if so, I predict a lot of condo owners will be putting their units on the market if they can. An environment where there are no limits to what the board can reject is a recipe for what just happened - a disaster.


That’s not very surprising.

Obviously denying the problem is no way to deal with it, but with those figures, it’s very possible that the residents just plain couldn’t have financed the remedial work.

As Miami sinks beneath the waves, and its cheap speculation-driven buildings have more and more problems like this, you have to wonder how it can possibly be remedied by the private sector. A lot of people are going to end up in unsafe homes they can’t afford to either fix or leave, even if the real estate boom somehow continues. Is there any plausible way this won’t end up like the Bronx fires situation, or worse?


I do believe we are there [worse].


memories are short. having the city or the state create new policy is probably better. ex. residents are required to make payments into a fund set aside for structural repairs to make sure people have the money to fix the problems when they occur


Another board member, Marcelo Pena, who owned Unit 708 as a vacation home, resigned on Oct. 23, 2019. “The building is falling apart,” he wrote to the board the following month, accusing the previous members of prioritizing renovations to common-area bathrooms over structural repairs.
“Somebody can seriously be injured or killed with the state of the concrete,” he wrote.
Ms. Escalante did not last long. She resigned on Dec. 15, 2019, citing health concerns, and sold her condo nine months later.

It’s a three way split between people who think their fees are already too high, people who want their fees spent to maintain “property values”, and people who have the sense to prioritize ,major structural repairs. Where I live, it seems like there are far too many landscapers for my taste.


UK is having a similar issue with the flammable cladding. Owners in privately low rise apartment blocks are expected to pay for the cladding replacement and in many cases their apartment is effectively worthless until it is done.
Australia (Sydney specifically) is having issues with cracking concrete in high rises.
New Zealand and Canda had issues with leaking buildings (basically flat roofs and untreated timber was approved as acceptable building method in a wet countries) which occured in the 90’s and is still being litigated through the courts.

Who would have thought that allowing builders to cut corners and go for the cheap options would come back and bite people on the arse? The distressing point is that the people paying for it are generally not the people who made the decisions in the first place.


Who? Anyone with a two brain cells to rub together. So here we are…


As we build more and more density in cities around the world, these issues of collective accountability will expand exponentially. But it’s hard to impress the real meaning of that word on people, just look at the spread of the Coronavirus for instance.


As a professional who carries indemnity insurance, I’m pretty sure the insurance company began investigating this angle roughly 0.7 microseconds after they got news of the collapse.