High-rise building inspections increase in Panama City Beach following Surfside condo collapse

Bay County

BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — The recent tragic condo collapse in Surfside, Florida is drawing attention to high-rises across the country.

In Panama City Beach, inspections on dozens of buildings are becoming more common.

Lt. Fire Inspector Shawn Legleiter said their department is complaint driven. 

“We have yearly annual inspections, but since surfside, the complaints have definitely increased and we have to act upon those complaints,” Legleiter said.

He said if a tenant sees an issue and calls they check it out with the building owner and structural engineers. He said it is an ongoing process and they are looking for many different things. Bay County officials say they follow a similar inspection process to the beach. 

“Wide range,” Ligleiter said. “Mechanical, electrical, we check for structural sprawling and concrete, exposed rebar, and electrical hazards as well.”

He said they ramped up inspections well before the incident in Surfside.

Panama City Beach Vice Mayor Geoff McConnell said the city is mindful of this matter and aware of the concerns.

“Within the last year when we decided to add another building inspector the city decided to get a little more proactive so we’ve been out there inspecting different places and trying to bring them up to speed,” McConnell said.

McConnell said there are about 20 condos on the beach over 40 years old they have specifically been looking into. 

“They’ve started to dig into a lot more things to keep people safe and make sure that we don’t have any issues that they had down at Surfside,” McConnell said.

Both McConnell and Legleiter assured residents that as of right now there are no condos along our beautiful beaches causing a safety threat to our community. 

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