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'Band-Aids On Top Of Deficiencies': General Contractor Says Poorly-Run Condo Associations Wait Too Long For Proper Repairs

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the search continues, the question of what brought down the Champlain Towers South building will not be nailed down for weeks, if not months. And it's likely "what didn't happen" could also be a factor.

"People are just putting Band-Aids on top of deficiencies they have in buildings. They need to be corrected. The longer you wait, the more issues in the long run and more costly to repair," said Yaniv Levi.

Levi's company, Coast To Coast General Contractors, specializes in concrete restoration of existing buildings in South Florida.

"A lot of times the associations don't go through with the work because they can't afford to do the repairs. There is a lot of politics in these buildings. Residents don't want to have the inconvenience, they don't want extra assessments, maintenance fees," Levi explained.

From the 2018 structural field survey conducted at the Champlain Towers South:

"Visual observations revealed that many of the previous garage concrete repairs are failing resulting in additional concrete cracking... new cracks are radiating from the originally repaired cracks… which is evidence of poor workmanship performed by the previous contractor."

"It is very important that the condo association to be proactive. You can avoid the type of costly repairs by a management that are ahead of the game" Levi said. "And when they see repairs, they make sure it gets repaired rapidly." Levi said.

So what should a potential condo buyer look for in the wake of the Surfside condo collapse?

Start with asking the following:

  • When was building last painted?
  • What kind of repairs have been made?
  • Where were the repairs?

After asking those questions, check city repair permits.

Building paint is a major indicator.

"Most people think paint is for aesthetic purposes. Paints a weatherproofing. You need to paint you structure every 7 to 10 years and protect your envelope from the elements," Levine said.

Levi was speaking about condo issues in general. Real estate agents CBS4's Hank Tester has spoken to say they are receiving more questions about the integrity of the buildings where condos are being sold.

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