Condos line the beach in Highland Beach. An analysis done by The Coastal Star of Palm Beach County property records shows 74 condos or co-ops located in Highland Beach. Of these, 38 were built prior to 1982. Google Maps
By Rich Pollack
Hoping to ensure that aging high-rise buildings in their town are safe, Highland Beach commissioners this month will discuss a recertification process that would require periodic studies to identify and quickly address structural deterioration issues.
Specifics of at what age buildings would be required to be inspected and at what intervals follow-up reports would be needed are undetermined, but Mayor Doug Hillman said those issues will likely be discussed at the commission’s special meeting on July 13.
The conversation and likely requirements — prompted by the collapse of the Champlain Tower South condo in Surfside — will be aimed at ensuring the future safety of residents living in multi-unit buildings on both sides of State Road A1A, which are constantly exposed to sea air.
“Recertification on a timely basis will help to identify potential life safety issues that otherwise might have been overlooked,” Hillman said. “In addition, the sooner a deteriorating condition is identified and corrected, the less costly the repair.”
According to a Coastal Star analysis of Palm Beach County property records, there are 74 condos or co-ops in the town, with 38 of those built before 1982.
Hillman said that it is reasonable to believe there are no records of structural inspections for many of the multi-story buildings in town that are over 40 years old.
“One would think that knowing the age of many of our buildings, we may have some issues that require attention,” he said. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
For new construction Highland Beach requires a thorough inspection process that contains many facets including concrete testing. A comprehensive review of all inspections is necessary before a certificate of occupancy is issued.
Hillman said that should a recertification inspection process be approved, each condo association would be responsible for the study with the town’s building department being responsible for ensuring the studies are done and life safety issues are addressed.