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Miami Tower Block Collapse

In the early hours of 24th June 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 12-storey block in the Surfside area of Florida partially collapsed.

(Photo credit: AFP)

The condominium building was one of three residential blocks built around the same time in the early 1980s.

As the families of residents desperately await news about their loved ones, theories are beginning to form on how and why the collapse occurred.

Miami resident Pablo Rodriguez spoke to CNN News on 25th June about his mother and grandmother who are residents in the collapsed section of the building. He described a telephone call he had received the day before the disaster from his mother who had told him that she had been woken up the previous night by creaking noises throughout the building.

At the time of writing, at least 11 people are confirmed to have died, with more than 150 still missing as the search continues.

The tragedy in Miami reminds us that although rare, building collapses can and do occur. In 2013 the Rana Plaza garments factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing over 1100 workers, and in the UK - the Ronan Point 22-storey residential tower block collapsed in East London in May 1968, killing 5.

Inherent faults in the original design and construction of tall buildings, and poor maintenance are the most common factors that lead to catastrophic consequences.

A structural survey report on Champlain Towers South by Morabito Consultants dated October 2018 cites numerous issues of concern including ‘significant cracking’ and ‘major structural damage’ to parts of the complex. The report goes on to recommend various repairs including for ‘abundant cracking and spalling’ and states that ‘most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion’.

A thorough investigation will follow in order to conclude the exact reasons for the collapse.

Tower Blocks UK are reiterating our call on the government for a UK-wide safety audit of residential tower blocks.

If you have concerns or questions about the structural safety of your building, please do visit our FixMyBlock website which contains an editable template letter you can send to your landlord, or find out more about issuing a Freedom of Information request to your local authority to obtain documents such as previous structural reports for your building.

Our thoughts remain with those affected by the Champlain Towers collapse and their families, loved ones and community at this very difficult time.


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