SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Since the deadly collapse of a condo in Florida, building inspections have become a big topic of conversation around the United States.
There are building codes each building has to follow and Springfield’s Building Development Services makes sure they meet minimum requirements.
“We start out with the foundation with footers, stem wall, even slap on grade,” said Brock Rowe, assistant director at Springfield’s Building Development Services (BDS).
What’s inspected depends on the type of building.
“Depending on what they’re made out of the material pushes different things in the building code. An assembly for instance has different requirements than a business classification.”
Homes on average have around 8 to 10 inspections. Larger buildings such as condos can have hundreds.
In 2018, an engineering report showed cracks in the concrete in the garage of the Miami condo that collapsed last Thursday.
“Something very, very wrong was going on at that building,” said Charles Burkett, mayor of Surfside, Florida. ” And we need to find out. However, that’s not going to be today and that’s not tomorrow. And that’s not the next day.”
In Springfield, the process in place to allow the property owner to fix a dangerous building is roughly 9 months. A dangerous building can have a broken window, a crumbling structure, or even fire damage. During that time, BDS will leave a note on the door of the property stating the building is dangerous. From there, the owner has time to fix the issues. If the owner does not make progress, BDS will post another note on the door. During this time the building is inspected. BDS also has hearings to determine if the building needs to be demolished.
“Buildings in the United States do not fall down,” said Burkett. “This is not a third-world country where that phenomenon is common. It’s a first-world country.”
The International Code Council updates building codes every 3 years.
“It’s going to be basically up to the citizens of the city if they chose to update to a new code cycle,” said Rowe.
Cities can either adopt these codes every 3 years, or wait every 6 years. Springfield adopts new codes every 6 years.
BDS has a form for people to fill out if they notice a dangerous building. The fire department also does annual inspections to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.