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Florida Senate approves bill to ease post-Surfside condo safety inspections process

The $1 billion Brickell City Centre, currently under construction, will house condos, a hotel and a retail and entertainment complex. Condo projects are booming in Miami, financed mostly by foreign buyers.
Joe Raedle
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The $1 billion Brickell City Centre, currently under construction, will house condos, a hotel and a retail and entertainment complex. Condo projects are booming in Miami, financed mostly by foreign buyers.

In an issue stemming from the deadly collapse of a building in Surfside, the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make changes to a condominium-safety law approved last year.

The bill (SB 154) is designed, at least in part, to address concerns that emerged as condominium associations started to carry out the law approved during a May special session. The law and the Senate bill deal with issues such as inspections and condominium-association financial reserves. The bill, for example, would make changes in what are known as “milestone” inspections for condominium buildings three stories or higher.

Under last year’s law, inspections are required for buildings that have been occupied for 30 years — or 25 years if the buildings are within three miles of a coastline. After initial inspections, the buildings have to go through the process every 10 years.

READ MORE: State commission wants to roll back a key part of post-Surfside condo safety law. Lawmakers are not so sure

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, would ease that somewhat, allowing buildings within three miles of the coastline to be inspected after they have been occupied for 30 years. It would allow local officials to require the inspections after 25 years of occupancy depending on “local circumstances, including environmental conditions such as proximity to salt water.”

Also, the bill would allow local officials to extend inspection deadlines if building owners have entered into contracts with architects or engineers but the inspections cannot be finished in time.

A House version of the bill (HB 1395) is ready to go to the House Commerce Committee. The Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved last year’s law after 98 people died in the June 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside.

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