Florida Engineer: Condo Garage Photos ‘Do Not Surprise Me’ | MSNBC 1

Florida Engineer: Condo Garage Photos ‘Do Not Surprise Me’ | MSNBC


Greg Batista, President of G Batista Construction and Engineering in Florida who worked on the building years ago, joins Andrea Mitchell to discuss the condo collapse in Surfside, FL. Batista reacts to Miami Herald photos of damage and standing water in the basement-level garage and discusses possible theories behind the causes of the collapse. 

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Florida Engineer: Condo Garage Photos ‘Do Not Surprise Me’ | MSNBC


  1. Saltwater in the basement levels of a building only means one thing
    The waterproofing has been compromised

    1. @TestMeatDollSteak persistent water leaks and years of exposure to the corrosive salt air along the South Florida coast. The water leaks were from the pool, which contains chlorine, and salt air, and like i said salt water has a higher PH than table salt, table salt is neutral.

    2. @Mary Ann M So the concrete is susceptible to moister specially when its sea water. They are supposed to use hydraulic cement below grade and floors. They can spray on a rubber of silicone based sealer after. It is code.

    3. @Manuel Good drainage is necessary, but hard to do in Florida, where the water levels are just a few feet down from the top of the ground.

    4. @Lumby1 Yes – and I think that most dredging would have to be approved by Army Corps of Engineers. Additionally, two major acquifers provide So. FL’s fresh water. All of the development along the I-95 corridor has overtapped those acquifers resulting in salt water incursion.

    5. @Nonameforyoudangit You’ll have a hard time dredging the Atlantic ocean, or even the Gulf of Mexico, which is only a couple feet down from Florida land, and rising constantly as the glaciers melt. Eventually, Florida will be mostly under water, as well as most low lying coastal property. Experts agree, do nothing and it will soon be too late to reverse the warming and resulting chaos.

  2. His description of concrete as being porous is generally correct, however higher grades of concrete will be less porous. Either way, everything structural has to be painted over with a sealant built into the paint to keep moistures and impurities out of the concrete.

    1. The concrete the Germans used back in the 1940’s looked more course looking. I don’t know how true or if it matters but I’ve read comments where they used the finer beach sand to build these condos.

    2. Yes well I’m a mile from the ocean and next to Great Tisbury Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. Almost no one lives there, windows tight etc.
      I have to buy a new toaster oven and coffee maker ever 2 to 3 years

    3. @Lazarus Jones I lived on Cape for 27 years in Eastham and did construction (P/R/HVAC) from P’town to Sippewissett.

    4. Very true !!! Portland cement with little sand being the best. Unfortunately, these were designed with “Flash appeal” and constructed poorly. The reason being, is that the cocaine “Miami Vice” situation was very much prevalent at the time that this and many others were built. The Mafia needed a way of laundering large amounts of money and turned to the construction business. Shady contractors and builders built these “below code” and inspectors were “paid off”… Later renovations ( marble floors, heavy fixtures, appliances ), added more strain to an already precarious situation.. Now, people have paid with their lives !!

  3. My building looks worse and if mine looks worse how many other peoples apartment complexes look like that.

    1. This is an example of regulations being a good thing and having regular inspections why agencies with standards and teeth

  4. That didn’t happen in five minutes, Whoever is in charge of building maintenance obviously ignored serious problems for years.

    1. @Canta Gadelica The Mafia had become heavily involved in the construction business at that time. The cocaine traffic was very significant and vast amounts of money needed to be laundered, so construction was an easy solution. Shady contractors/ builders were hired to design and build lavish appearing buildings that were constructed “below code”. Inspectors were “paid off”.. This, combined with the renovations that were made later ( heavy marble floors, tile, heavy appliances ), all took its toll on a poorly constructed building. Unfortunately, the condo owners were not aware of this ( when you pay 2 million for a condo, you expect solid construction ).. People have now paid with their lives..

    1. @Ralph Boyd After the slew of hurricanes that ran through FL in the mid 2000s, many (most? all?) insurance companies canceled homeowners’ policies and stopped selling new policies. The state of FL had to step in to offer homeowners insurance to state residents. Don’t know how much it costs, but it ain’t cheap. Florida is for visiting, not for living, people.

    2. That was not an accident.On June 24, 2021 a twelve story condominium named Champlain in Surfside, Florida suddenly fell in a burning smoldering ruin. The names and numbers of dead are not fully known now. Soon following came reports that the structural integrity of the construction had for three years been known to be dangerous. The inspectors were there. The engineers were there. They saw the damage. They reported it. The knew the consequences of the exponential increase in damage if left that way. They reported it. The only response to the reports seems to have been ignorance. Ignorance is not good policy. It had its costs and claimed lives in all ages. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. The hellish spectacle now presented to us was preventable. A look at history provides thousands of examples of preventable man-made disasters.

      In fact, there is a history of natural and man-made disasters. One begins with the origin of the universe.There are interesting facts in this history. One fact is many thousands of preventable man-made disasters have happened worldwide and continue to happen. There is no end of them in sight. In most incidents security and safety regulations were ignored. Sure, those in charge knew what to do and how and when to do it. That was all well and good, but the crux of the matter was they neglected to do it. Catastrophic consequences ensued.

      The shuttle explosion in 1986 off east coastal Florida made history after an engineer warned of defective O-rings, and advised them to cancel the launch for further inspection. The Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania happened because they neglected to maintain a dam. In Beirut, Lebanon they stored ammonium nitrate fertilizer in large quantities. It was kept in dangerous conditions inside a major city.The authorities were warned numerously of the precariousness. Indifference and ignorance were the answer to that. And another blood-drenched article for the story of mankind. The attacks of September 11, 2001 came after years of explicit detailed warnings. It was an English teacher in South Korea in 1997 who had extensive intelligence on the who, where, when, how and what would happen in Washington and New York. Again another valuable windfall for prevention was disregarded as meaningless. Law enforcement did not forward information to the FBI. The law required it. It was ignored. Not long ago 78,000 people died in an earthquake in the People’s Republic of China. It was reported a large number were killed in buildings of substandard construction. They had not built to code, and everybody knew it.There was the mass murder of 17 students at a high school in Parkland, Florida about 3 years ago, and the wounding of 17 other students. That horrific misfortune came after 39 warnings to police and sheriffs, and 6 to the FBI. A category 5 hurricane tore its way east to west across the Atlantic ocean in the early 1900s. It headed toward the gulf of Mexico. Cuba had an eye on it for quite a while.They contacted the authorities in Florida and elsewhere. They warned extreme weather would make landfall in gulf coastal Texas or Louisiana. The warnings were disregarded. They did not forward the information. It struck full-tilt in Galveston killing about 2000 people. It went north and killed 6000 more. It made its way to Canada, turned left, crossed Alaska and the Bering Strait. It blew out in Siberia. When asked why they had not heeded the warnings, they said they did not trust the Cubans and communists.

      Many thousands of preventable mass killings are recorded. Many that were not prominent are not commonly known. Whether they were recent and widely broadcast, lesser known or forgotten and lost forever in the sands of time, willful negligence and indifference were the causes, horrific suffering and death were the affects.
      John G. Shaw
      June 27, 2021

  5. May those who lost their lives rest in peace, may their loved ones find solace, and may those found to be at fault be exposed and held accountable.

  6. There are many costal high-rise buildings in NY, CA, HI, etc. Good luck to those condo owners. I can see single family house value going up more.

    1. @LIL THEO BALLER Yeah. It looks like many northern states don’t have the same lax building codes like they do in the south, so you’re probably right.

    2. All infrastructure is in a Constant state of Detoriation. THIS COUNTRY is behind the eight ball…..
      But Biden Administration is worried about Climate change, immigration and encouraging Crime in inner cities

  7. I enjoyed this interview with Mr Batista. His description of the mechanisms at play in these older coastal buildings helped me to understand what may have caused this tragedy.

    1. Just seeing the rubble and knowing the ample neglect helped me to understand. …..

  8. They should immediately inspect all the high structure buildings. If one already fell, let that be a warning. More may come.

    1. county mayor ordered an emergency audit of all buildings over 5 stories to be completed within 30 days

    1. …no doubt will be, and will create more urgency to understand if there is structural instability…

  9. Nothing is done until people die.They always say not enough data to justify cost.well now 160 dead.

  10. Reports of “massive structurural damage” reported years ago.
    Gross negligence leading to loss of property and life.
    Can we finally start holding slum lords responsible?

    1. It came down in free fall. Watch the video. This can only happen in controlled demolitions. Dozens of residents report a tremendous explosion and then the collapse.

  11. one telling fact that surfaced, was a missing woman who called her husband when the pool deck slab collapsed .. her building portion collapsed while she was on the phone. There was a sequence of failure… the pool deck slab went down first.

  12. I feel immensely sorry for the people and their families and friends who perished in this horrific accident. Everyone living or thinking of buying a seaside condo in Florida has been put on notice. However, like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I am certain after a while, people will forget, FL condo prices will rebound, and it will be business as usual until the next collapse. But, I can honestly say when that happens, my empathy will turn to derision. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  13. Isn’t stacking heavy concrete overhead a bad idea? ‘hey let’s take this immensely heavy material and stack it up here so when it fails it will be like a stack of pancakes crushing everyone’

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