New Jersey's 12th Legislative District

Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson Bill Would Require Inspections of 40-Year-Old Buildings Following South Florida Condo Collapse

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Legislation Exempts Single-Family Homes & Federal Government Buildings

Following the devastating collapse of a 40-year-old condominium building in South Florida in June, Senator Sam Thompson has introduced legislation to ensure that similarly aged structures in New Jersey are inspected and structurally safe.

Following the devastating collapse of a 40-year-old condominium building in South Florida, Sen. Sam Thompson has introduced legislation to ensure that similarly aged structures in New Jersey are inspected and structurally safe. (Wikimedia Commons)

“With New Jersey’s aging building stock and the harsh coastal and winter weather conditions we experience, we need to be sure we’re not at risk of a similar catastrophic collapse,” said Thompson (R-12). “We don’t want to wake up one day to our own Surfside.”

The legislation was introduced in response to the sudden middle-of-the-night collapse of a significant portion of Champlain Tower South, a 12-story beachfront condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, which resulted in 98 deaths.

It was later revealed that engineers and contractors had identified serious structural deterioration prior to the collapse, including water infiltration, crumbling concrete, and exposed rebar that was subject to corrosion.

Subsequent inspections led to emergency evacuations of several other aging buildings in the Miami area after dangerous structural issues were identified.

“We should learn from their experience in Miami,” Thompson said. “We won’t find critical problems that need to be fixed unless we actually look. Families that live in these buildings deserve our vigilance before a tragic collapse happens here in New Jersey.”

Thompson’s new bill, S-4103, requires the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs to establish a building safety inspection program for buildings and structures that have been in existence for more than 40 years to ensure structural soundness, with follow-up inspections every five years.

Building owners would have 150 days to complete any necessary repairs or modifications that are identified through an inspection conducted under the program.

The legislation exempts single-family homes and federal government buildings and allows the commissioner to exempt certain classes of buildings and structures from the program.

“We’re not trying to burden building owners unnecessarily,” added Thompson. “This is a measured response to a legitimate concern. New Jerseyans deserve to know that the buildings they live and work in are safe.”

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