Miami Beach condo evacuated after engineer raises concerns

MIAMI BEACH — Officials in Miami Beach ordered residents of a 164-unit high-rise condo building to evacuate Thursday following safety concerns reported by a structural engineer.

The city posted an unsafe structure notice at the oceanfront Port Royale Condominium, Miami Beach spokesperson Melissa Berthier said in an email.

The 14-story building, built in 1971, is undergoing a recertification required at 50 years old, and an engineer discovered excessive movement of a concrete beam from its original position in the garage level, Berthier said.

Inspection Engineers Inc. said in a letter to the city that it was working with a shoring expert to obtain a permit from the city. The new shoring should be installed within 10 days, and then engineers would inspect the building again.

Other buildings in South Florida have been evacuated in similar safety scares since the June 2021 collapse in Surfside, which killed 98 people just a few miles up the beach from Port Royale.

The Champlain Towers South collapse focused scrutiny on the structural integrity of aging condominium towers throughout Florida, especially along its coastlines, and the state has since moved to strengthen laws requiring inspections and periodic recertification of buildings.

Miami-Dade County had required the first recertification only after 40 years, and the Surfside building was undergoing that recertification process when it collapsed.

New state rules signed into law in May require buildings to have their first recertification after 30 years — or 25 if they are within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the coast, and then every 10 years thereafter.

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