Concrete repair or restoration projects are usually performed by structural engineers with safety being the primary goal. After the Surfside building collapse in July 2021, many condo residents, associations, and property managers have become proactive about identifying damaged or deteriorated concrete at their building to avoid a potential disaster. Our goal with this BLOG is to provide you with the ins and outs of concrete repair for buildings in Miami.

Identifying Concrete Damage

Concrete damage or deterioration is usually hard to miss. Cracks along the wall of a concrete structure are obvious signs. Spalling is one of the most common signs. The picture shown here is an actual spall. Spalled concrete will start showing the reinforcing steel (or “rebar“) once the concrete comes loose. As the piece of steel inside the concrete expands, it will only be a matter of time until the concrete breaks. This rupture causes both small and large pieces of concrete to become dislodged. Those detached pieces of concrete are known as spalling. Concrete spalling can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening. This can affect the overall structure and integrity of a building. Spalling concrete needs to be repaired as soon as possible. It will spread and get worse without intervention. Eventually, the rusting rebar will render the structure unsafe.

Need a concrete repair for your building in Miami? Just Ask G. Batista! 30+ years experienced structural engineer.
(954) 434-2053

Concrete Repair Projects in Miami

Concrete repair projects can be unpredictable. Many condo concrete restoration projects exceed the original timeline and estimate which can be frustrating to condo owners and HOA members. For this reason, it is important to choose the right structural engineer that has ample experience, references, and a reputation for excellence, specifically in the area of concrete repair for buildings and high rises. Here at G. Batista Engineering & Construction, we have worked on thousands of projects related to concrete and structural repairs. Our founder and head engineer, Greg Batista is an award-winning engineer and contractor in Florida. During the recent Surfside building collapse, he served as the subject matter expert and for interviews with all the major news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, Univision, Telemundo, and was featured on a variety of national programs including Cuomo Primetime, Morning Joe, CNN with Jake Trapper, and Good Morning America.

Developing Scope of Work

Perhaps the most important phase of any building concrete repair project is developing the scope of work for the project. This dictates the direction the project will go in and sets the budget. This also helps hold the engineer/contractor accountable for the repairs. Every HOA should have a scope of work estimate.

During this phase, it is important that the process not be rushed. There is an understandable amount of pressure and tension that can arise, especially in Miami Dade County after the recent Surfside tragedy. However, it is important that the structural engineer provides a detailed scope of work and they need time to properly assess the condition of the building throughout every floor so they can identify potential pitfalls and provide the most accurate estimate and timeline possible. Also, take the time and ask for and validate specific references from the engineer for recent concrete repair projects similar in scope and size. Speak to the owners, property managers, or HOA board members that worked with the engineer. Ask questions about every aspect of the repair, timeline, communication throughout, and overall satisfaction with the work.

It is also important during this phase that the quantity of repairs not be underestimated. Far too often HOAs will push an engineer to provide the scope of work based on what the association wants, not necessarily what the building needs for everyone’s safety. This should not happen. The estimate and scope of work should not be presented and decided upon based on the best case scenario. Proper expectations should be set. Engineering code compliance and standards require steel reinforcement and concrete to be repaired if there are certain levels of damage or deterioration. Unfortunately, the exact amount of damage is not fully certain until repairs begin, concrete is chipped away, and the full extent of the deterioration is revealed.

Need a concrete repair for your building in Miami? Just Ask G. Batista! 30+ years experienced structural engineer. (954) 434-2053

Check With Your City’s Building Department

Many cities, especially in Miami Dade County, outline the procedures and require an application for concrete restoration or repair. Here are some examples of common requirements you can expect. 

  1. Concrete restoration/repair must be performed by a licensed and registered Structural Engineer. 
  1. The engineer shall perform a detailed condition assessment of the building to include a survey for cracks & spalls throughout every floor. 
  1. A certified laboratory may be required to perform a chloride ion and compressive strength test of the concrete. 
  1. Spalling or cracks in concrete must be categorized based on the size of visible damage (for example, small, medium, large) and they should be mapped on a plan with identifications and a legend describing the type of crack or spall.  
  1. A repair plan must be provided by the engineer with drawings and notes about each crack or spall along with the restoration materials that will be used. 
  1. An inspection plan shall be provided. 
  1. Repairs should be done in accordance with the standards below: 
  • A copy of the ICRI Guidelines for Concrete Restoration shall be included with the specifications.  
  • Florida Building Code (Existing)  Concrete Repair Manual – International Concrete Repair Institute & American Concrete Institute  
  • ACI 437R· Strength Evaluation of Existing Concrete Buildings  
  • ACI 201.1R – Guide for Making a Condition Survey of Concrete in Service  
  • ACT 228.1R – In-Place Methods to Estimate Concrete Strength  
  • ACI 546R – Concrete Repair Guide  
  • ACI 503.4 – Standard Specification for Repairing Concrete with Epoxy Mortars  ACI 506.2 – Specification of Concrete  
  • ICRI Guideline No. 03733 – Guide for Selecting & Specifying Materials for Repair of Concrete Surfaces  
  • ICRI Guideline No. 03731 – Guide for Selecting Application Methods for Repair of Concrete Surfaces  
  • ICRI Guideline No. 03730 – Guide for Surface Preparation for the Repair of Deteriorated Concrete Resulting from Reinforcing Steel Corrosion

Not all cities have these detailed requirements, however after the Surfside tragedy, many are becoming very strict about implementing measures to protect everyone’s safety. It is important that you choose the right engineer for this project so you can avert a disaster at your building.

Need a concrete repair for your building in Miami? Just Ask G. Batista! 30+ years experienced structural engineer. (954) 434-2053

What you need to know about Concrete Repair!

Greg Batista explains how to repair concrete spalls, why it is important, and how to avoid a big problem.

Averting Disaster in your Building

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