Philadelphia Controller says L &I not doing a good job on demolition inspections

Controller Alan Butkovitz

Philadelphia’s City Controller says the oversight of demolitions in the city has not gotten any better since last summer’s deadly building collapse.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections strongly disagrees.

Even though tougher demolition controls were implemented in the wake of the deadly collapse at 22nd and Market Streets, City Controller Alan Butkovitz said too many waivers were issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Butkovitz’s office did a sampling audit of demolition jobs completed after last summer’s incident. 

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“Now they are saying we are going to go out six times during the process to see how the demolition’s occurring so that nobody’s going to get hurt, then they say nevermind,” Butkovitz said. Too often, he said, it was noted in files that some of the inspections were waived.

Licenses and Inspections said since Butkovitz’s report was completed, the department has been implementing new training programs as well as new data management systems to improve inspections of demolition projects. As for the waivers, it said the numbers are inflated because some projects that are not legally required to be inspected are listed as getting a waiver in in the department’s bookkeeping system.


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