Like many people in Boston and across the entire country, we’ve been wondering how it’s possible for part of a building to collapse, what caused the collapse and who’s ultimately responsible.

The partial collapse of the condo building in Surfside, Florida has been on everybody’s mind at Swartz & Swartz P.C. The people still missing from Champlain Towers South and their families have been in our thoughts and prayers in the aftermath of this tragedy.

Like many people in Boston and across the entire country, we’ve been wondering how it’s possible for part of a building to collapse, what caused the collapse and who’s ultimately responsible.

According to recent news reports, most high-rise buildings in Boston are required to undergo an official inspection every five years to assess the structural integrity of their exterior walls by the city’s Inspectional Services Department. In fact, in Boston, in 1995, officials created a rule requiring high-rise owners to submit an inspection report that documents the condition of their building’s exterior walls every five years. The rule applies to buildings that are at least 70 feet high, or about five stories. According to the 1995 rule, the inspection report must be authored by an architect or engineer. Meanwhile, unoccupied high-rise buildings should be inspected annually.

In Florida, experts collecting information at the scene will have to consider a range of possible causes – from structural defects to environmental factors – and if a combination of issues may have caused the collapse of the 40-year-old building. Whatever the cause, one thing is perfectly clear: regular safety engineering inspection reports are incredibly important to the health and safety of anybody living in a condo or a high-rise building.

What is equally important is acting on such reports, especially if significant issues have been raised, which is what a 2018 report on the Champlain Towers South condo found. Chances are, if you live in a condo or high-rise building there will be a person – like the building owner – or a group of people – like a condo board – who receives your building’s inspection reports. If you don’t already have a copy, get one and look through it for any serious issues that the inspectors have raised. And remember that there should be a report on your building every five years – if there hasn’t been, that should be an indication to you that something is amiss.

Finally, you should know that you can always be proactive and request a building inspection Inspection Services Boston allows anyone to make a request for an official building inspection through their website or by calling 311.

Your next job is to find out what, if anything, has been done to address the issues the inspection report found. We all know how much home renovations and building upgrades cost. That’s why you should also inquire about your building contingency fund – money set aside to deal with issues like renovations, pests and other issues that pertain to the health and safety of your building. It will be important to understand how much money is at hand to fix serious issues, not to mention give you the piece of mind that if something serious is identified it can be dealt with as soon as possible.

Finally, you should know that you can always be proactive and request a building inspection Inspection Services Boston allows anyone to make a request for an official building inspection through their website or by calling 311.

The Florida tragedy should never have happened. But as personal injury lawyers, we know that more often than not, things do go wrong, and people can get seriously hurt or even killed. That’s why it’s so important to have the right law firm by your side every step of the way. Whether it is a construction site collapse, faulty structures at a commercial facility or shoddy work done by a contractor at home – all of these things can lead to injury, and you need the best law firm representing you.

At the Boston law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our personal injury attorneys have been representing victims of construction accidents and industrial accidents for more than four decades. We have the background and experience you need to take on large construction companies, realty groups and manufacturers whose negligence can lead to injuries and tragic losses. Call us today.

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Ms. Daly’s practice includes personal injury, premises liability, products liability and sexual assault. She previously worked for a well-known insurance defense firm and brings a unique perspective to Swartz & Swartz regarding the inner workings of the insurance industry.

 

 

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