Letter to the Editor

printed 07/16/2021


Following news of the collapse of the Champlain Tower condo in Florida, my mind turned to the many high-rise condos we have in Ocean City.

The Champlain Towers were built in 1981 – a few years after many of the high-rises in Ocean City were built. Local authorities there immediately recognized that the suspected reasons for the collapse of Champlain Towers could be generic to all of the high-rises along the water and ordered some inspections.

Anyone who has owned a condo in a large oceanfront building knows there is no such thing as water tight. Wind driven rain can find the smallest fissure in concrete, flashing or caulking.

Because concrete is relatively porous to water, leaks from storms observed in a building suggests that some portion of the rebar within the structure has been exposed to the corrosive salt air spray. The only question is where and how much.

It is high time that the mayor and City Council acts as their counterparts in Florida did and set up a mechanism for mandatory structural inspection of the high-rise buildings in Ocean City.

This is particularly important for those high-rise buildings built in the 1970s that have been exposed to oceanfront storms for over 40 years.

Adding the cost of a thorough structural inspection to the budgets of condo associations is not going to be that popular. But just think about the impact to Ocean City tourism if one of our high rises were to suffer even a partial collapse due to structural failure.

Jim Thomas

Silver Spring, Maryland

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