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Boca Raton approves building recertification inspection program

City commissioners push for change in aftermath of Surfside condo collapse
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Posted at 10:08 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 23:51:12-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Commissioners in Boca Raton passed the city's building recertification inspection program with one quick vote.

Sitting and watching it all Tuesday was Richard Zimmer.

"I think it's a great first step," he said. "It's a proactive item to meet the requirements of what's been happening in South Florida as a result of the Surfside collapse."

City commissioners quickly moved to create such a program after the Surfside condo building collapse.

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"I think the fact this is an interim process, we're going to learn along the way and will afford us the opportunities to make changes that make sense as we learn what works and what doesn't work," Commissioner Monica Mayotte said.

The ordinance is asking owners of condo buildings that are 30 years old or older to submit for recertification.

The ordinance requires buildings that are over 50 feet tall, larger than 5,000 square feet or have more than 500 people to submit a structural and electrical engineering report. If deficiencies are identified, the building owner has 30 days to submit a repair plan. The city will give the owners 180 days to start repairs.

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Not everyone was on board with the plan.

"I think you're rushing into this a little too fast," Steven Wallick said. "I think there are so many questions as to staffing, availability of inspectors and basically working out the rules."

At the moment, there is an initial backlog of 242 buildings. City staff is proposing a four-year schedule to eliminate the backlog beginning with buildings closes to the ocean.

Zimmer said the people have spoken.

"I think there's a great groundswell of people wanting to know what's going on with their building," he said.

Commissioners said now that the program has passed, it will take them a few months to set up everything. From there, they'll begin sending out notices.