Springfield Building Dev. Services explains inspections and building codes in wake of Florida condo collapse
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As new details come forward on the tragic condo building collapse in Florida, you may wonder about buildings right here at home.
The City of Springfield has a building development services department at the Busch Municipal Building. If a building has concerns, they are the ones to take a look at it.
In Springfield, it is the responsibility of building development services to ensure that new construction meets current building codes. The department reviews designs and inspects a project throughout the construction process.
They also do inspections whenever a building faces new occupancy, such as a new type of business moving in to an old building. The department also responds to nuisance and dangerous buildings, reported by citizens, city staff, or the fire department in their regular safety inspections.
“Citizens are part of the key to keeping the community safe, and as a citizen, if we just overlook things, sometimes things can get a lot worse than we realize,” said Brock Rowe, Springfield Building Development Services assistant director. “That’s the key, I think of any building, it’s just to be observant and to let the authorities know.”
At Miller Engineering, forensic engineers inspect about 10 to 15 buildings a week, usually at the owner’s request.
“Buildings are a lot like people, and so through their lifespan, they have issues,” says Travis Miller, Miller Engineering president and senior forensic engineer. “And so if you had an issue with your body, you would call a doctor, if you have an issue with your building you call a forensic engineer.”
In Surfside, Florida, an engineer’s concern about major structural damage was apparently never communicated to residents, and they were told three years ago that the building was in very good shape.
“Buildings tell a story,” Miller says. “And you have to listen to the story. And I think with what happened in Florida, the building told the story to a lot of people for a long time, but nobody was listening.”
Springfield has a property maintenance code that requires upkeep on buildings. If you have a concern about a building’s structural integrity, you can report it.
“Just be aware of your building,” said Rowe. “If you have issues, report it to us. Allow us to take a look at it. We have structural engineers we can contact to take a look at it and do the numbers and make sure it’s safe.”
Miller says the most common signs of structural problems are water leaks and new cracks in foundations or walls. He says you shouldn’t ignore those signs or especially anything worse.
“You should not be feeling anything like shimmying or shaking, and that would be a definite sign of a problem,” Miller says.
To report concerns, contact the city of Springfield Citizen Resource Center at the Busch Municipal Building at 417-864-1010.
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