The structural engineer who inspected Champlain Towers South last year said he saw cracks and deterioration but was not alarmed.
“I saw cracks in the stucco facade. I saw deterioration of the concrete balconies. I saw cracks and deterioration of the garage and plaza level but those are all things that we are accustomed to seeing and that’s why our job exists – to maintain and repair the buildings,” Jason Borden told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Borden said nothing he saw during his hour-long inspection alarmed him. Borden said what he observed is typical of buildings this age that are on the coast. He also said what he saw is consistent with the nature of reinforcing steel and concrete over time.
Borden says these factors can become a danger when they are not maintained or repaired.
When asked about a more comprehensive 2018 inspection report which found structural damage, cracks, and possible spalling under the pool and parking garage, Borden said the findings were “typical of what we see in buildings of this age and condition.”
“I thought it was a very well put together report,” Borden said. “They had done the full investigation that we were proposing to do. They went through and detailed very thoroughly exactly what was wrong with the building, again, is very typical of what we see in buildings of this age in this condition.”
When asked about recent speculation the collapse may have begun at the bottom, Borden said the most likely culprit in such a scenario would be the failure of a column.
“The most likely or the most common would be the failure of a column. So, the columns are one of the most robust parts of the building,” Borden said. “They are designed to hold up the entire building so something had to have happened to a column.”
Borden said an adjacent slab being compromised or failing can lead to a column collapsing.
When asked about recent reports that a woman reportedly told her husband just before the collapse that she saw a hole where the pool used to be, Boden said that “definitely” could have been a factor in the sudden and catastrophic collapse.
Borden said if the pool deck or structural slab near the building failed or was compromised, “it could have contributed to the end result.”
Borden expressed confidence in the integrity of Champlain Towers North and East.
“You know they are maintaining their buildings. Personally, I am confident in the stability of those buildings because I’ve been closely involved with Champlain Towers East,” Borden said.
Watch the full interview: