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Boca Raton Mayor Wants To Add Tougher Building Codes After Partial Condo Collapse In Surfside

Photo of a display that says Boca Raton City Hall outside of the building as flags fly above
(Courtesy/Boca Raton City Hall)
The South Florida Sun Sentinel
Boca Raton City Hall

Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer says the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside is spurring discussion about changes to building inspections in his city.

The city of Boca Raton has more than 100,000 people and many people, especially those who live in older oceanfront properties, are asking about their own living conditions after seeing last week's collapse in Surfside.

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Singer says he wants to propose an ordinance that would have a more “stringent recertification process” than the ones used in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Singer said, city staff has been doing a "comprehensive inventory" of Boca Raton's multi-family residences to determine their age so that city officials can get a better sense of what new time frame they'll use instead of the 40-year guidance from neighboring counties.

The mayor says the city also reached out to the Beach Condo Association of Boca Raton and Highland Beach to touch base on additional long-term safety precautions.

“They’ve already informed their residents about best practices and made them aware of resources from different engineers and consulting companies,” said Singer. “Some condos have been proactive for years. One is near completion on a recent multi-million dollar comprehensive restoration of their building. And I think you're going to see more associations do increase their efforts.”

In the town of Surfside, the condo board warned residents about concrete spalling (cracking) in the 12-story building and that the “concrete damage observed would begin to multiply exponentially over the years.” There were also ongoing disputes about the cost of the repairs.

Most of the homes in Boca Raton are single-family residences. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the median household income just past $83,000. Singer says, as for condo boards in Boca Raton, he can’t say whether any possible infighting would deter improvements.

“I can't say that it does in any particular way, and again, more information is going to unfold about what happened with this one particular building in Surfside,” said Singer. “I think we all can hope that this was an extraordinarily rare occurrence not to be repeated. And I don't think that it reflects the norm. Obviously, we have thousands and thousands of buildings and only one collapse in the last 50 years. Thank goodness.”

The mayor says more information about any proposed building codes will be discussed at the next city council meeting in July.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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