Brian Cates observes…

I’m just looking at a picture and I can smell the decades-worth of grime, soot, bird shit, scum and who knows what else on that roof.  Now look at the building on the RIGHT. That’s what your roof should look like if you are maintaining your building to even modest standards.

What they seem to have “covered up” until now is that this building was a dilapidated shithole.

Engineer found structural damage at collapsed Florida condo

A newly released 2018 report showed that an engineer found evidence of major structural damage and ‘concrete deterioration’ in a 12-story condominium tower, three years before a section of the building collapsed without warning. 



A friend reminded me of this catastrophe that occurred on Cocoa Beach shortly before I arrived in Florida. I had to pass by the site every day on my way to the Canaveral bureau of WESH-TV where I worked.

“I remember when this happened. It scared everyone in Brevard County into checking for cracks and brought needed attention to those issues,” she wrote. Wikipedia:

The Harbor Cay Condominium was a five-story flat plate residential development project in Cocoa Beach (Brevard CountyFlorida,  that collapsed during construction on March 27, 1981. Eleven workers were killed and 27 injured.[1]

The building, being constructed by the Univel Corporation of Cocoa Beach, collapsed as workers were completing its framework by pouring concrete for the roof.[2] The accident led to more rigorous enforcement of engineering and construction codes in Florida and elsewhere.

The collapse was due to numerous errors in design and construction. The concrete slabs were only 8 inches (200 mm) thick and should have been 11 inches (280 mm) thick to satisfy the American Concrete Institute‘s Building Code minimum. The plastic chair spacers used to support the slab steel were 4+14 inches (110 mm) high, which coupled with the thin slabs led to a very small effective depth.[1]

Two engineers, an architect and two contractors were charged with negligence, misconduct and failing to conform to state and local building laws. At least one of the engineers surrendered his license, paid a fine, and said he would never practice again.[3]


An army of rescuers worked from this morning into the night at the ruins of a condominium here trying to uncover at least two construction workers unaccounted for in the collapse of the building yesterday afternoon that killed 10 and hurt 14.

A spokesman for the Univel Corporation of Cocoa Beach, the developer of the Harbor Cay condominium, said that at least two but no more than four persons working for subcontractors on the uncompleted project were still missing.

Other estimates that as many as six persons were still missing were attributed by local officials to uncertainty about which workers from which subcontracting crews were actually in the structure when it fell. They said that there was no way to know for sure until all the rubble from the five-story building was removed, which is expected to take at least a week.

The building fell in on itself as workers were pouring the concrete for the roof to complete the framework. There were electricians, plumbers, and bricklayers on the floors below.