MIAMI BEACH, Florida. – Good news is coming for the residents of the Port Royale building on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach: they could be back home as early as the beginning of next week.
On Tuesday, Local 10 News got an exclusive look at the damage that led to Thursday’s evacuation of the building of 164 condos.
“It was a tough decision to make, but under the circumstances, I don’t think we had a choice,” said Douglas Mercado, president and CEO of Inspection Engineers, Inc.
Mercado said about 10 months ago his company had been hired to carry out Port Royale’s 50-year recertification. During its inspection at the time, company engineers marked several areas for repair, including some cracks in the parking lot slab and several major support beams.
The building association went through the process of hiring a contractor and obtaining the necessary permits for the work, and began repairs about four weeks ago. But, when Mercado engineers returned last week to check on progress, they spotted some concerning changes.
“On two beams, one to the north and one to the south, we noticed that the cracks had extended and there was a small deflection on the beam,” he said.
Mercado explained that the deflection basically means the beam sags slightly — about half an inch.
Engineers immediately contacted the City of Miami Beach who sent their own staff to check the damage and they agreed that the cracks were of great concern, especially since these beams were meant to hold the entire structure together.
“If that beam and the other beam were supporting the whole building, over 400,000 pounds or so, our engineers were really concerned that we could have a collapse, at least a partial collapse,” Mercado said.
Residents were therefore ordered to evacuate and a company specializing in heavy lifting shoring was brought in to do its own inspection, along with another specialist who worked to investigate the collapse of the Champlain South towers. at Surfside.
“The good news from them is that they think the loads are distributed across the slabs on each floor,” Mercado said. “They don’t think (the beams) support the full load.”
Now, shoring specialists will create a design to stabilize the beams in question, and Mercado hopes that once the plan is approved by the City of Miami Beach, they can get to work putting those supports in place as early as Thursday.
“It will secure the structure and I think by Monday we should be able to tell people they can come back,” he said.
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