Contractors must be up to date on taxes to secure Philly building permit

    Starting Jan. 1, tax deadbeats need not apply for building permits in Philadelphia.

    City contractors will be required to prove that they are insured and up to date on their taxes in order to secure a permit for construction projects, demolitions and other work.

    “It’s just an additional layer of making sure the contractors are responsible and are doing everything that they’re supposed to do,” said Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for the city’s Licenses and Inspections department.

    Mayor Michael Nutter started tightening regulation of contractors this summer after a building on Market Street collapsed, killing six people. 

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    Swanson said the new requirements would not have stopped contractor Griffin Campbell from obtaining a permit to demolish the Market Street property, however. The permit was issued before he stopped paying off back taxes in March, according to city officials.

    “It’s not a fool-proof system because permits last for quite some time,” said Swanson. “They must be straight at the time that they obtain the permit, and we do have compliance inspectors and compliance teams who check on jobs subsequent to the issuance of the permit to make sure that compliance continues.”

    Campbell was charged last month with third-degree murder in connection with his role in the building collapse. He is accused of failing to adhere to proper safety procedures.

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