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How to find out if your condo or apartment building has been inspected recently

On June 24, 2021, part of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla. collapsed.
On June 24, 2021, part of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla. collapsed.(Source: Robert Lisman via CNN)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 3:47 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Shortly after the Champlain Towers South condominium complex collapsed Thursday, June 24 in Surfside, Fla., inspection documents reportedly surfaced showing design flaws and structural damage to the 40-year-old building’s foundation.

The 3-year-old report, dating back to October of 2018, recommended $9 million in repairs, but according to local reports, work to solidify the 13-story tower didn’t begin until recently.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, people living in high rise apartments and condo complexes are wondering if there are structural inspections reports for the buildings they live in and if so, how can they get a copy.

KSLA did some research and found out that in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, once construction is complete, there are no state laws requiring periodic structural surveys, inspections, or audits of these types of residential buildings. However, local jurisdiction like the counties, parishes, or cities do have the authority to upgrade building codes and standards and require these types of inspections.

In fact, because of salty sea air, hurricanes, and sandy beachfront development, many South Florida communities, like Broward and Miami Dade counties, require safety and structural inspections when these types of buildings turn 40-years-old, and then every ten years after.

But in the ArkLaTex, no locality has adopted anything like that in their codes. Nonetheless, there still may be inspection reports or structural audits for you to discover. That’s because state fire codes require at least a general inspection if someone complains to authorities about things like deteriorating concrete, building cracks, or foundation problems. Also, insurance companies sometimes require property owners to get periodic structural surveys or audits.

So if you want to learn if any of these reports exist for your building, KSLA suggests sending a public records request to your local fire marshal, code enforcement, or property standards authority asking for any and all building inspections, audits, or surveys conducted on your building.

Then, go to your property manager and ask if the property owner ever hired a firm to inspect or audit the building’s foundation or structural integrity. Then, politely ask for a copy if they say yes. While they may not be required to turn it over, it never hurts to ask.

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