The tragedy in Surfside, Fla., evoked many emotions for us all: Shock, sadness, compassion, and determination. The resolve to understand how and why something like this happened and offering support to make things better will be necessary. The impact of this disaster will be far-reaching, changing many aspects of the communities we serve as volunteers, managers, and business partners.

Many of these changes we can anticipate, some we might surmise, and others will be unexpected. It will take time for all of this to unfold. I’m confident CAI will be there to help us through each and every change.

Following the Champlain Tower South condo collapse, CAI:

  • Released two statements offering support and resources that homeowners, board members, and community managers could use to ensure their safety and that of their buildings.
  • Convened a meeting with the Government and Public Affairs Committee, the College of Community Association Lawyers, insurance professionals, reserve analysts, developers, and others to discuss preliminary policy issues to consider in the coming weeks and months.
  • Traveled to Surfside, led by Chief Executive Officer Tom Skiba, CAE, and Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Dawn M. Bauman, CAE, to hold a conversation with CAI Southeast Florida Chapter members and support the entire community.
  • Released with downloads and access to research, articles, and more.
  • Created a media package of resources and participated in dozens of media interviews.
  • Formed three working groups, focused on uncovering and identifying the improvements that can and should be made in these focus areas: building inspections and maintenance; reserve study and funding plans; as well as insurance and risk management. The groups presented their initial recommendations in August at the CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW, in Las Vegas.
  • Most recently, CAI took part in two town halls: Hosting one at our annual conference and attending a second one (by CEO Tom Skiba) held by Florida State Representative Daniel Perez earlier this month to discuss the impacts of the tragedy.

There is still much work to do as we continue offering support to the communities we serve. As you seek to prepare your community for the risks associated with aging infrastructures, the first questions boards should address are: Is our building safe? Does our community have a reserve study and a fund for the repair and replacement of major components owned by the community?

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  • James Dodson IV

    James H. Dodson IV, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, executive director at Ewa by Gentry Community Association in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is CAI’s 2021 president. He has more than 40 years of experience in community association management. A former high school and college teacher, he switched careers in 1976 and founded his own management company in 1981, later selling it to focus on managing large-scale communities. A longtime CAI member, Dodson has served on the Board of Trustees since 2015 and chaired the 2019 Community Association Managers Council. He also has volunteered on the Foundation for Community Association Research board, served on numerous task forces and committees, and taught courses as a faculty member.

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