Could Florida condo collapse happen in Bay Area?

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The collapse of the condominium complex in Surfside Florida has raised concerns about something similar happening here in the Bay Area.

Possibly to the Millennium Tower, which is now undergoing a structural upgrade due to it sinking and leaning. But structural engineer Ronald Hamburger who has been monitoring the tower’s settlement since 2014 says “settlements experienced by Millennium Tower have not compromised its stability and safety.”

He also says, “Millennium Tower was designed to stringent earthquake resistance standards and is a much tougher form of construction than typical buildings in Florida.”

Structural engineers agree overall California buildings have a leg up on others because they are designed to withstand earthquakes.

“Here in California, we have to design for seismic loads and that they are very large and create a more robust structure from a lateral loading perspective than most in the U.S.,” said Emily Guglielmo with Structural Engineers Association of Northern California.

But building experts say structures built more than 30 or 40 years ago remain of concern.

“We definitely need to be concerned about those, residential homes with a soft story, these are of concern, some old concrete structures that are similar to what collapsed in Florida, when you have an aging infrastructure they deteriorate over time,” said U.C. Berkeley structural engineering professor Khalid Mosalam.

In 2015 the collapse of a balcony in Berkeley killed 6. Since that time new legislation has called for more regular inspections, and better construction.

But most agree homeowners and their associations must stay alert.

“Board of directors for those HOA’s need to be vigilant in terms of whether they can see telltales’ signs of problems with water getting into areas that lead to corrosion and a salty environment combined with the water intrusion can lead to catastrophic failures and general damage to those condo components and buildings,” said Attorney for Homeowners Associations Tom Miller.

Experts say just as we saw greater regulations after the Berkeley collapse, we will likely see the same once it’s determined what caused the collapse in Florida.

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