Engineers say it can take just 30 years for condominium buildings to reach a point when owners can no longer delay making critical repairs.
In the Miami region, two out of every three condo buildings are more than 30 years old, according to data compiled by real-estate data firm Zillow for The Wall Street Journal. In at least seven other Florida cities, some three-quarters of condo buildings have hit that age.
Many of the aging towers line the beachfront, where salt corrosion and other forces are speeding their decline. That is leaving thousands of buildings saddled with multimillion-dollar repair costs—and little notion of how to pay for them.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of last month’s collapse of the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South condominium, which left at least 95 dead. The property showed multiple points of strain, including eroded concrete and failed waterproofing at its base, according to a 2018 engineering report.
It often takes as little as 20 years for many building materials, including stucco, windows and shingles, to reach the end of what engineers and building inspectors call their “useful life”—industry jargon for materials that need replacement or significant repair.