The death toll in the Florida condo collapse is now up to 20 with 128 people still unaccounted for, the mayor says

A new letter from Morabito Consultants, the structural engineering firm hired by the Champlain Tower South condominium board to perform structural analysis on the building, to Board President Jean Wodnicki and Property Manager Scott Stewart in October 2020 provides a nine-page summary of the “Phase 11A Work performed at Champlain Towers South (CTS)” and offers additional insight into the repair work being performed on the building in the years leading up to last week’s deadly collapse.

Concrete Protection & Restoration Inc. (CPR), a company that provides commercial and industrial concrete restoration services, performed the work with assistance from Morabito Consultants — who said they reviewed and, in some cases, directed the work — in the letter that was obtained by CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Here are some key things included in the letter:

  • Morabito Consultants noted that full restoration and repair work on the pool corbel and wall repair work in the pool pump room could not be performed, stating in the letter that “areas of deteriorated concrete appeared to penetrate deep into wall/corbel construction” and that “aggressive excavation of concrete at the severely deteriorated pool corbel could affect the stability of the remaining adjacent concrete constructions.”
  • Another reason given for the work not being completed was that “proper ICRI (International Concrete Repair Institute) compliant repairs” required access to the inside of the pool, which, according to the document, “was to remain in service for the duration of this work.”
  • All the loose concrete around the perimeter of the pool pump room that showed signs of cracking, spalling, deterioration and presented a “fall hazard” was removed by the concrete restoration firm, according to the work summary.

In a letter from April of this year to the building residents, Wodnicki discussed the exponential deterioration of concrete that had taken place in the interim years between the initial survey done by Morabito Consultants from 2018 to 2021.

“The concrete deterioration is accelerating,” wrote Wodnicki. “The observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial (2018) inspection,” CNN previously reported.

There is currently no indication that the concrete deterioration was a contributing factor to the collapse of the building last month, but it does highlight some the major repair work needed at the Champlain Tower South condominium complex.

The firms also performed “exploratory demolition” in five areas on the first floor of the property and reported finding “some curious results as it pertained to the structural slab’s depth,” in the summary document. Additional details were not provided to explain what the “curious results” were, but Morabito Consultants did request “that additional core work be performed by CPR to confirm/clear-up said results” in the letter.

Detailed in the summary were several other projects completed by CPR during the Phase 11A work, which included removing a deteriorated stair column base and replacing the bottom with “a new HSS Steel section.”

The company also conducted exploratory demolition on a hung soffit, which Morabito Consultants said requires “removal and reconstruction of soffit itself due to the conditions observed.”

Remedial demolition work was also performed on the balcony soffits of 114 units within the complex. CPR removed “all ‘loose’ cracked, spalled, deteriorated, and delaminated concrete and all deteriorated, debonded, or failing stucco,” from the balconies of residents.

The existence of this letter and details of the work performed were first reported by USA Today.

CNN has reached out to Morabito Consultants and Concrete Protection & Restoration Inc. for comment but have not received a response.

There has also been no response to attempts by CNN to contact Wodnicki, Stewart and other representatives of the Champlain Towers South condo association.

Remember: While this document provides some additional understanding into the nature of the repair work being done prior to the collapse, there are still many unknowns surrounding the work that had yet to be completed on the building as the condo association prepared for its 40-year certification.

The full scope of the concrete work needed by Champlain Towers South remains unclear, as does the specific work contracted to Morabito Consultants and CPR and whether that work had been scheduled or was in the process of being completed.

Watch CNN’s Tom Foreman detail the 2020 letter here:

Author: By Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN
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