Cedar Rapids elected officials react to lack of building inspections for structural damage

A Cedar Rapids mayoral candidate said she supports a new city ordinance to inspect buildings on a regular basis. While at least one city council member said it’s time to start a conversation if a potential new ordinance is needed.

Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team reported on Tuesday many buildings, regardless of their age, in eastern Iowa are not required to have inspections for structural issues. The cities of Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Iowa City don’t require inspections looking at the structural integrity of a building once it is past the construction phase. These cities do require inspections of rental properties where people live, like apartments and condos.

Amara Andrews, who is running for Mayor in Cedar Rapids, said buildings need to be inspected to ensure a collapse doesn’t happen in Cedar Rapids.

She said the building code used in 1920 when some of Cedar Rapids’ taller buildings were built is different than building standards in 2021.

“As innovation and technologies change our code changes and so requiring structures to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are up to code seems quite logical,” Andrews said. “But right now, the onus is on building owners to do that, and we can’t rely on building owners that buildings stay up to code or some minimum.”

She said structural engineers and licensed craftsmen should perform these inspections. But, Andrews was unsure of some details of a potential new ordinance.

“Either, the city needs to invest in inspections, and that we need to conduct inspections over time,” she said. “Or we need to require building owners to inspect their buildings every few years.”

Read the full article originally published by KCRG

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