Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Foundation of Sand

I haven't been able to devote too much time to coverage of the horrific condominium collapse in Miami, but it does concern a couple of my interests, namely the need for strict regulations on developers, and the foolishness of building on barrier islands... I'm not a big Bible guy, but that bestselling book has something to say about building a house on a foundation of sand.  While I was shocked by footage of the collapse, so reminiscent of the collapse of the Twin Towers visually, the thing which really grabbed my attention was the map of the locality:

The building was built on a barrier island, and with rising sea levels, water infiltrates the foundation, corroding steel supports and degrading concrete. A building doesn't even need to be underwater to be rendered uninhabitable. A 2018 engineering report indicated that the building had major structural damage, it "detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete, which required repairs to ensure the safety of the residents and the public."  Other reports indicate that the building was inexorably subsiding.

Of course, the conspiratorial fever swamps are abuzz with shitty narratives, from the relatively mundane domestic terrorism accusation to the outrĂ© war to save the Mole Children whackaloonery. The simple fact of the matter, so inconvenient to right wingers because it contradicts their worldview, is that the Miami building collapse is the horrific synergy of deregulation, a Republican tenet, and global warming, which Republicans deny... it's so much easier to opine that Q Team and the White Hats demolished the building to save some Tunnel Tots from Hillary Clinton's adrenochrome harvesting scheme. 

Returning to sober, thoughtful mode, I can't place any trust on the government of the state of Florida putting any regulatory burdens on oceanfront developers. Oddly enough, I think the one force which can stop the construction of large buildings on barrier islands is the insurance industry. If it becomes impossible to insure these buildings, and if insurance companies refuse to pay for claims involving improperly sited buildings, the developers will be forced to comply... once they take a bath financially. Of course, that won't bring back the victims of this building collapse, or alleviate the suffering of victims of future collapses.

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