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View of the land where Champlain Tower South once stood in Surfside, Fla., on Aug. 10. Photo: Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Florida should require almost all large buildings to be inspected for structural issues, a coalition of the state's leading engineering associations recommended Thursday.

Driving the news: The recommendations come from a task force formed in the wake of the Surfside building collapse. The coalition, called the Surfside Working Group, gave their suggestions to state lawmakers.

Details: The recommendation is for all Florida buildings that "exceed 10 occupants and are greater than 2,000 square feet." If accepted, it would require structural recertification within the building's first 30 years, with follow-ups every 10 years after.

  • Buildings closer to "corrosive saltwater environments," should be inspected 20 years after the first occupancy, according to the report.

What they're saying: "Any time a structure fails, it's a serious issue," Scott Martin, Chair of the Surfside Working Group, said in a statement.

  • "We assembled this group of building professionals to review the current state of Florida's building codes ... and develop a consensus on changes that would make all existing buildings in Florida safer," he added.
  • "Preserving the long-term health of buildings is essential to helping ensure Florida doesn't experience another tragic building collapse," Allen Douglas, executive director of the Florida Engineering Society, told Axios.
  • "While the exact cause of the Surfside building collapse is unknown, the updated requirements would have at least led to the 40-year-old building being inspected ... three times prior to its 2018 examination."

Go deeper

Seminole Tribe starts online sports betting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Seminole Tribe quietly launched online sports betting in Florida this week despite continuing legal challenges to a gambling deal with the state approved in May.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.