Council presents report on making demolitions safer in Philadelphia

Listen

"We hope that these recommendations lead to action. It's not a book that sits up on a shelf," said Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks, file)

Philadelphia City Council says demolition procedures need major changes to avoid a repeat of this summer’s building collapse.  

Spurred by the June collapse at 22nd and Market Streets that killed six, council’s report includes 71 recommendations to make the demolition process in Philadelphia better.

Councilman Curtis Jones was head of the committee that put the report together.  He says tougher controls are needed to reign in unscrupulous contractors.

“We hope that these recommendations lead to action,” Jones said.  “It’s not a book that sits up on a shelf, it’s a book that’s inculcated in our budget and our legislation, which will be introduced next week.”

Jones said if all private demolition contractors followed the protocols used by the city when it teard down a building, things would be a lot safer.

Councilman Jim Kenney says he’s been complaining about problems at the Department of Licenses and Inspections for years.

“We’re going to put the emphasis back on keeping people safe,” Kenney said.  “Licenses and Inspections department is not a commerce department, it is a public safety department, a code enforcer.”

Bills implementing the report’s recommendations will be introduced next week.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.