"I'm getting hundreds of those," said structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer, who reviewed photos of the Maison Grande Condo garage at the request of the Miami Herald. Kilsheimer, whose firm KCE has consulted on other disasters like the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the FIU bridge collapse, was hired by the town of Surfside last week to investigate the Champlain Towers South collapse. He has since been contacted by residents and condo boards seeking advice about the condition of their buildings.
Kilsheimer said he could see cracks in the concrete, rusted rebar and water penetration at the Maison Grande but stressed it was impossible to judge a building's integrity based solely on photos or videos. First, an inspector needs building plans to see where a particular crack or piece of exposed rebar is located in relation to columns or other architectural elements. If the exposed steel is rusted, how much rust can be brushed away?
Sometimes, Kilsheimer says, an engineer will find perfectly good steel underneath the rust.
"When reinforcing, or steel, rusts it expands, so when you look at that rust it looks really bad but when you take the surface rust off it might be great bright metal underneath...." he said. "On the other hand, when you go to the wire brush you can sit there and you wire brush the whole bar out."