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Condo Inspection Requirements Bill Passed By Florida House In Wake Of Surfside Collapse

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - The Florida House on Thursday unanimously passed a bill that would lead to new inspection requirements for condominium buildings after the deadly collapse last year of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside.

Bill sponsor Daniel Perez, R-Miami, said the measure (HB 7069) is aimed at making sure such a disaster "never happens again."

The bill, in part, would require condo buildings three stories or higher to receive initial inspections 30 years after occupancy, with the threshold at 25 years for buildings within three miles of coastlines.

If "substantial structural deterioration" is found, buildings would have to undergo more-intensive inspections.

The bill would seek to ensure that repairs are made to address problems found in the more-intensive inspections. Also, buildings would be required to undergo inspections every 10 years after the initial inspections.

The bill also would require what are known as "reserve" studies aimed at determining how much money condominium associations should have in reserve to make needed improvements.

"This legislation is focused on preserving the long-term health of buildings by assessing environmental and other degradation of structures and their systems over the life of the building, and it will help ensure Florida never experiences another Surfside tragedy," Allen Douglas, executive director of the Florida Engineering Society and American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida, said in a prepared statement after the vote.

A Senate version of the bill (SB 1702) was approved Wednesday by the Rules Committee and is ready to go to the full Senate.

The House and Senate ultimately would have to work out differences in the bills.

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