Crestview Towers, the
condominium tower that the city of North Miami Beach shut
down and evacuated due to structural concerns about the
building’s safety, has amassed 39 code violations, including
failing to have a working fire alarm system.
“Because Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has now deemed the building
unsafe, Crestview Towers must remain closed and unoccupied
until the violations are resolved,” the city said Friday
evening in a press release.
Last Friday, July 9, a
week after the city shuttered the building, Miami-Dade Fire
Rescue reinspected the building and found the 39 code
violations, including the non-working fire alarm system and
a non-working emergency generator, the city said.
Other violations included not having the correct number of
exit signs and missing handrails.
In its report, MDFR requested that, at a minimum, the fire
alarm system, fire pump and emergency generator be restored
to full operation before residents can return to the
building. Fire Rescue also noted the building will need the
sprinkler system to be retrofitted by Jan. 1, 2024.
Based on these fire and safety violations, Miami-Dade County
deemed the condominium unsafe for occupancy, independently
from the city.
Crestview Towers was
constructed in 1972 and is subject to the county’s 40-year
recertification process, which requires older buildings to
be inspected by structural engineers to determine whether
they are still safe to live in. There has been a renewed
focus on the 40-year recertification process since the
Champlain Towers South condominium building partially
collapsed on June 24 in Surfside, killing nearly 100 people.
The city ordered Crestview Towers to close and all residents
be evacuated on July 2 after a building inspection report
from earlier in the year found it not safe for occupancy due
to structural and electrical issues.
On Friday, the city released the electrical and structural
engineering portions of the condominium’s 40/50-years
recertification report, which were submitted to the city
this week. These reports say the building is both
electrically and structurally safe, contradicting what the
county, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the city have found.
In his July 9 electrical inspection report, Marlin Brinson,
a Miami consulting engineer hired by the condo board, wrote
“With the exception of six condominium apartment units
(#214, #217, #401, #410, #917, #1003) AND the entire
swimming pool/ pool deck area, We conclude from our
inspection that the above referenced structure is
electrically safe for its present use and occupancy.”
Brinson also outlined several must-do actions the
condominium association has to take once residents are
allowed back in, including having each condo owner sign an
affidavit within 48 hours of reoccupying the building,
attesting to the the installation of a functional smoke
detector. He also called for making sure stairwell emergency
lights worked and that holes and penetrations in electrical
room walls, ceiling and floor were filled.
Structural Engineer Fernando Azcue, also hired by the
condominium, deemed the building structurally safe after a
visual inspection. He said the condominium is safe for
occupancy as concrete repairs are performed.
City disagrees with engineers hired by condo
North Miami Beach Building Official J. Daniel Ozuna did not
agree with either of the conclusions by the structural or
electrical engineers hired by the condo association.
“Clearly, I cannot concur that the building is safe
structurally when the building is unsafe electrically,”
He said the city’s structural reviewer submitted questions
to the structural engineer, but the city has not received
any answers, preventing the city from completing its review
of the second recertification report.
Along with Miami-Dade County and Fire Rescue, Ozuna also
deemed the condominium structurally and electrically unsafe.
It’s been nearly a week since residents were able to enter
their homes again. Those displaced were allowed a maximum of
15 minutes to retrieve essential items — and with a police
officer as escort.
Residents have been scrambling to find a place to live. Some
have been staying in hotels, while others have been staying
at family members’ or friends’ houses.
The city did not indicate when Crestview Towers will open