Philadelphia, June 11, 2013 – The Department of Licenses and Inspections’ inspectors have proactively inspected all of the approximately 300 sites with open demolition permits. Of these, approximately 97 are active demolition sites. Department inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of each of these active sites, and issued Stop Work Orders at five sites. These orders prohibit all work at the site until all violations are corrected and the Department revisits the site to assess compliance.
“The Department of Licenses and Inspections is committed to building and construction safety and to the safety of all of citizens of the City of Philadelphia,” said Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams. “After the tragic events of last week, it is necessary to implement heightened controls on private demolition activity to ensure that all demolition sites are safe for adjacent properties, pedestrians, and site workers.”
The stopped sites are, with reason for stoppage: 618 N. 11th Street (expired contractor license and lapsed insurance), 622 N. 11th Street (expired contractor license and lapsed insurance), 200 N. 21st Street (lapsed insurance), 4720 Chester Avenue (lapsed workers’ compensation insurance and bracing issues), and 2042 N. Gratz Street (work being done beyond the scope of permit and engineering report required). The Stop Work Order at 200 N. 21st Street was subsequently lifted after the proper insurance certification was received and reviewed by the Department.
Demolition contractors are reminded that it is their responsibility to maintain a safe demolition site and conduct operations in a safe manner. Contractors with questions about inspection procedures should contact the inspector listed on their permit.
Citizens with complaints about demolition activity are reminded to call 311 with the exact address of the site and a description of the problem. All complaints regarding demolition activity will be investigated within 48 hours.
New Requirements for Demolition Permits and Inspections
The Department also announced that it will increase oversight of private demolition contractors through heightened permitting and inspection requirements, which will be in place by the end of this week.
The Department’s new demolition permit application will require details about contractor’s experience and qualifications, a site safety plan for protection of adjacent properties, and a detailed schedule of work. Applicants must have proof of insurance, tax clearances, and no open L&I violations, and are subject to a complete review of their L&I violation and tax compliance history. The Department will also require an engineering report for the demolition of commercial buildings above three stories, and will issue a Code Bulletin prohibiting the use of heavy machinery for attached building demolitions.
All demolition sites will also be subject to heightened safety reviews and oversight prior to the start of work. Department inspectors will conduct a site safety review with the contractor – including protections for adjacent properties and pedestrians – prior to the start of work at every demolition site. The Department will issue Stop Work Orders at sites that do not provide the required notification of the start of work.
The Department is also implementing a Construction Site Task Force to review and audit licensing, permitting, and inspections of major construction and demolition sites. The Task Force will coordinate with other City agencies to enforce site safety and ensure compliance with all City codes and ordinances.