To enlist the public as auxiliary “eyes and ears” for building inspectors, the city of Philadelphia is now requiring the developers of all construction projects to post new signs.
The signs must list the property’s owner, the contractor and a contact neighbors can call if they see a problem.
Requiring the signs is another response to last summer’s fatal building collapse in Center City.
Mayor Michael Nutter and other officials took the wraps off the first new construction sign at a project on Chestnut Street Thursday. It’s designed to show passers-by what’s happening at every construction or demolition project and who’s in charge.
“By including the property address and 311 contact information on each sign, citizens can report a site and provide all the necessary information so the city can respond as quickly as possible,” Nutter said. “There will also be a smartphone link on each sign that will take users to [the city department of Licenses and Inspections’] website with even more information.”
The goal is to make it easy to report anything that doesn’t look right, said Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams.
“These regulations exceed the regulations in all other cities, the only other major city with similar regulations is New York City and we use their strict standards as a template for ours,” he said. “This fits within our mission to continue to make Philadelphia the nation’s leader in building safety.”
Inspectors who find sites without a sign can issue a $50 fine. Williams is urging fines be increased to a maximum of $500.