The October letter from the engineering firm Morabito Consultants to the chairman of the board of directors of Champlain Towers detailed the concrete problems


Maryland-based Morabito Consultants was also at a standstill because it needed access to the interior of the pool, which “was to remain in service for the duration of this work,” the company said in its letter.

Because the pool could not be closed and Morabito had stability issues, tower management was told that work in the pool area “would be limited to removing loose concrete,” the letter said. .

Morabito also asked Concrete Protection & Restoration Inc. to perform an “exploratory demolition” in five areas of the building’s first floor, and CP found “curious results with respect to the depth of the structural slab,” says the letter, without further details.

The nine-page letter summarizing the work, which was addressed to the chairman of the board of directors of the condominium association Jean Wodnicki and property manager Scott Stewart, is another indication of problems with the concrete in the building. Concrete in the pool and underground garage is becoming a growing concern as engineers and government officials scramble to uncover what caused the June 24 partial collapse in Surfside, Fla. That killed at least 20 people and left 128 others missing.

Still, there is no evidence so far that deterioration of the concrete played a role in the collapse, but several engineers told CNN that this was one of multiple factors to consider in the investigation of the collapse. the catastrophe.

Morabito inspected Champlain Towers South in 2018 as part of the building’s 40-year recertification – a rigorous process for upgrades and improvements enacted after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The company discovered that the poor waterproofing under the pool deck caused “major structural damage to the concrete.” structural slab “and warned of rapid deterioration if it was not replaced quickly, according to its report.

In April, Wodnicki warned residents that “concrete deterioration is accelerating” with some areas having worsened since the 2018 inspection. Wodnicki’s letter described millions of repairs that the condominium association approved later.

The 2018 report did not indicate that the structure was in danger of collapsing, nor did Wodnicki’s letter to residents.

In the October letter, Morabito said the repair work could not be carried out as it “would affect the stability of the remaining adjacent concrete constructions.” The company did not specify which constructions could be destabilized, and it is not clear whether the engineers meant nearby buildings or other structures in the South Champlain towers. But the company noted deterioration of the concrete deep in the pool wall and corbel, a type of support structure, requiring “aggressive excavation of the concrete.”

Morabito and CPR removed loose concrete from the perimeter of the pool’s pump room, which showed signs of cracking and presented “a risk of falling,” the October letter said.

As to the unspecified “curious results” of the excavation work, Morabito requested “that additional groundwork be carried out by the CPR to confirm / clarify said results,” Morabito said in the letter.

Other damage around the building highlighted

Among other work done, according to the letter: CPR replaced the bottom of a deteriorating staircase column base with hollow steel framing sections; exploratory demolition of the underside of an eave which required “removal and reconstruction”; and removed all “cracked, chipped, deteriorated and delaminated concrete” and damaged stucco from the underside of balcony eaves on 114 of the building’s 136 units, according to the letter.

According to the letter, CPR also carried out the exploratory demolition of five 3-square-foot sections of the building and planned to demolish the paver systems by the pool, the concrete in the parking lot and driveway, and the planters up to the existing waterproofing layer. – all of which were cited in the 2018 report and the April letter to condo owners.

Photos accompanying the report included the rusty stairwell column that was replaced, “loose deteriorated concrete, cracked and chipped” and exposed rebar, water damage to balcony eaves and other damage to the eaves and stucco of the building.

Morabito Consultants did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the letter, but has defended his work at the tower in previous statements.

CPR said in a statement Friday that the company had not repaired or restored concrete in 2020 on the Champlain South towers.

He said, “Our company was contacted by the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association in 2020 to assist Morabito Consultants with their investigations into the building’s 40-year recertification project. Concrete Protection & Restoration, LLC has not undertaken any actual work. repair or restoration of concrete on the Champlain South Towers building in 2020.

“Our services on this project were led by Morabito Consultants so that they could assess the building for its 40-year recertification. We also performed exploratory services which involved removing the pavers from the patio deck to allow engineers to see the underlying conditions and removing the false ceiling from the front parking lot to allow engineers to see the underside of the slab. Additional exploratory services included taking core samples from locations identified by Morabito Consultants so that their engineers could analyze the current condition of the concrete.

Attempts to reach Wodnicki and Stewart, the property manager, were unsuccessful.

The condominium association, which has been named in lawsuits accusing it of failing to maintain the building, issued a statement Friday saying: “Answers will take time as part of a full investigation and we will continue to work with city, state, local and federal officials in their rescue efforts, and to understand the causes of this tragedy. ”

The full extent of the concrete work required for the Champlain South towers remains uncertain, as does the specific work entrusted to Morabito Consultants and the CFCP. It is also not known whether the work was scheduled or was in progress.


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