The execution of Milestone Inspection Phases 1 and 2 is a task that Akouri Consulting Engineers (ACE) handle with adeptness and familiarity. Boasting a track record of over a quarter of a century, our firm has been at the forefront of the restoration industry, undertaking significant renovations on high-rise structures long before the implementation of such regulatory phases.
Well ahead of the curve, our extensive experience dates back to times predating the establishment of Phase 1 and Phase 2 requirements, a testament to our firm’s enduring expertise and foresight. Not only have we been complying with the latest regulations, but our restoration initiatives were in place even before the introduction of the stringent 40-year recertification requirements that were mandated by Dade County in 2005.
Through our unwavering dedication to safety and quality, ACE has been instrumental in rehabilitating and enhancing hundreds of buildings previously deemed unsafe. We are well-equipped with the expertise and experience to not only meet but exceed the safety standards of today, always ensuring the stability and longevity of the structures we restore.
Florida has implemented a new regulation, the “milestone inspection” mandate, for condominium associations to guarantee that older buildings remain safe for ongoing occupancy. The objective is to forestall any further building collapses like the one that occurred in Surfside, Florida, through a compulsory, statewide structural examination requirement. The following are five key points that every member of a condominium association board should understand about Florida’s newly established milestone inspection mandate.
- What constitutes a milestone inspection? A “milestone inspection” is a thorough check of a building’s structure, including its load-bearing walls and primary structural components, conducted by a licensed architect or engineer. The inspection’s goal is to validate the safety and adequacy of the building’s structural aspects and assess its overall structural health as it relates to building safety. Ideally, a milestone inspection should include an evaluation of any needed maintenance, repair, or replacement of any of the building’s structural elements.
- When is a milestone inspection necessary? Condominium associations are required to conduct milestone inspections for each building that is at least three stories high by December 31 of the year the building turns 30, and every 10 years thereafter. If the building is situated within three miles of a coastline (directly facing the open sea), a milestone inspection is mandated by December 31 of the year the building turns 25, with further inspections every 10 years. A building’s age is determined based on the issuance date of the certificate of occupancy. Do note that if a milestone inspection is due and the building’s certificate of occupancy was issued on or before July 1, 1992, the inaugural milestone inspection should be completed before December 31, 2024.
- What is entailed in a phase one milestone inspection? A milestone inspection comprises two phases. During the first phase, a licensed architect or engineer carries out a visual examination of the building, including its key structural components, and provides a qualitative appraisal of the building’s structural health. If no major structural deterioration is identified, a phase two inspection is not necessitated. “Substantial structural deterioration” implies significant structural distress that adversely impacts a building’s overall structural health and integrity. This term does not cover surface imperfections such as cracks, sagging, leakage indications, peeling of finishes, etc., unless they signal substantial structural deterioration.
- When is a phase two milestone inspection required? If substantial structural deterioration is discovered during the first phase, a second phase milestone inspection is mandated. The scope of this inspection can range from limited to extensive, depending on the need to thoroughly examine areas showing signs of structural distress. The goal is to ensure the building’s structural integrity and safety for its intended use, and to suggest a strategy for thoroughly assessing and repairing distressed and damaged sections of the building. The phase two inspection may involve destructive testing as directed by the inspector, though priority should be given to least disruptive and most easily repairable areas.
- What follows a milestone inspection? Upon finishing a phase one or two milestone inspection, the architect or engineer must provide a sealed copy of the inspection report to the condominium association, along with a separate summary of significant findings and recommendations. A copy must also be submitted to the relevant local building authority. The inspection report should encompass all the information mandated by the law. Condominium associations are then required to distribute the inspector’s summary to each unit owner and display a copy in a prominent location on the condominium property. Associations that maintain a website are also required to post the complete report and the inspector’s summary online.
This new regulation tasks each condominium association with coordinating milestone inspections and complying with legal requirements. The associations are also accountable for all inspection-related costs. Given that this is a new obligation, it’s highly recommended that condominium associations consult with licensed professionals to avoid unintentional noncompliance.
ACE been performing the study in Miami, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and surrounding cities within Miami-Dade County and Broward County, Florida.