Hillsborough County Commissioners explore new building safety rules following Surfside collapse

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – Following the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Hillsborough County Commissioners say they are looking into adopting new safety inspection rules for buildings.

“That kind of tragedy hits home in so many ways,” Commissioner Kimberly Overman said during Wednesday’s meeting.

Overman said the Surfside tragedy highlights the importance of checking the structural integrity of buildings and condos.

“In Hillsborough County, we have risks,” Overman said. “We have buildings that are greater than 40 years. We have buildings that are on waterfront areas along with stormwater flooding areas that can cause structural impacts with buildings.”

Broward and Miami-Dade are the only two Florida counties with a 40-year recertification process,

But now they are conducting an audit of buildings ahead of that deadline.

Overman said if Hillsborough County Commissioners come up with their own new building safety inspection rules, they will need to work with city officials, especially in Tampa.

Another issue raised since the Surfside collapse and during the meeting related to whether condo associations are saving enough money for potential repairs.

“If there’s going to be a problem, it’s gonna be many years in the making,” Commissioner Harry Cohen said. “And by the time they get to it like this one (in Surfside) the numbers are so astronomical that people in the building can’t afford to pay it.”

After a nearly 12 minute discussion, the commissioners voted 7-0 to direct staff to bring back recommendations on a possible building recertification process in Hillsborough County.

“I think its critically important we find a good solution,” Overman said, “so we don’t see this kind of tragedy occur in Hillsborough County.”

This Thursday marks three weeks since the catastrophic collapse in Surfside. 95 bodies have been pulled from the rubble and so far 86 of the victims have been identified.

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