New building demolition rules finally approved in Philadelphia

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Following last year’s fatal building collapse, Philadelphia City Council has approved new regulations for building demolitions.

Councilman Curtis Jones proposed the new regulations. He says they will help make sure those who tear down buildings know what they are doing, by demanding safety plans be filed and proper insurance provided. He likened the old regulations to the “honor system.”

“When you think about the general notion that the honor system wasn’t always honorable many of those factors played into that when the tragedy on Market Street happened,” he said.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez says the regulations are not enough. City officials need to ensure empty buildings are secure so they remain structurally sound until it’s time to demolish them.

“I think it shows if we are out there sooner, if we have a higher standard of what is expected in terms of having vacant structures sealed from the public, I think it gives a bigger return on investment,” she said.

That investment would come in the form of extra enforcement funding for the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Council will look at that as part of the budget process.

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