Real Estate News

When it comes to a building’s structural integrity, most condo owners are on the hook

Tens of thousands live in the mid- and high-rise buildings that dot Boston’s skyline, but there are few regulations to ensure they stay structurally sound.

A view of the Boston skyline, including Harbor Towers at right. Craig F. Walker/Globe staff

Tens of thousands of people live in the mid- and high-rise buildings that dot Boston’s skyline, but the city and state have few regulations in place to ensure they stay structurally sound, leaving that job instead to the owners themselves, the Globe’s Elizabeth Koh reports.

The state, like several others, only lightly regulates taller residences, requiring occasional checks of a building’s façade and exterior walls to make certain buildings don’t crack or crumble to the ground, experts said.

The collapse of a 12-story oceanfront condo in Florida last month has focused fresh attention on regulations around high-rise residences. In Massachusetts and around the country, experts said, many such buildings — often condominiums — have few mandates when it comes to proactive inspections and having reserve funds on hand for repairs.


“We — we meaning society — don’t generally worry about buildings after they’re up, standing, and in use,” said Donald Dusenberry, a forensic expert in structural engineering. “All good — that’s what we assume.”

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