State Watch

Lawsuit alleges nearby construction work triggered Surfside condo collapse

A new lawsuit alleges nearby construction caused the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., that killed nearly 100 people. 

The 169-page complaint states the construction on Eighty Seven Park tower from 2016 and 2019 caused vibrations that weakened the Surfside condo building, according to The Associated Press.

The building “was an older building in need of routine repairs and maintenance, but it was not until excavation and construction began on the luxury high-rise condominium project next door” that conditions for Champlain Towers South became dangerous, the suit states.

The lawsuit also alleges the building was weakened by developers funneling groundwater from the construction site to the basement of Champlain Towers South. 

The lawsuit targets developers of Eighty Seven Park, an engineering firm, a Miami law firm and the Champlain Towers South condo association, according to the AP.

“As numerous media reports have documented, Champlain Towers South was improperly designed, poorly constructed, significantly underfunded and inadequately maintained and repaired,” said David B. Weinstein, an attorney for 8701 Collins Development LLC. 

“We expect a full review of the facts — and the ongoing investigation by NIST — will affirm our position,” Weinstein added.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology is leading the investigation into the collapse and said it could be two years until a full review is complete, the AP noted.

“We are going into this with an open mind and will examine all hypotheses that might explain what caused this collapse,” Judith Mitrani-Reiser, associate chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division for NIST’s Engineering Laboratory, said when the team was announced.

“Having a team with experience across a variety of disciplines, including structural and geotechnical engineering, materials, evidence collection, modeling and more, will ensure a thorough investigation,” Mitrani-Reiser added. 

The Hill has reached out to Weinstein for comment.

Tags Structural engineering Structural integrity and failure Surfside condominium collapse

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