After collapse, Nutter announces new regulations for demolition contractors

L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams listens to Mayor Michael Nutter speak about new legislation proposed regarding the collapse at 22nd and Market Streets, Friday June 7. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

Following the Center City building collapse that killed six people Wednesday, Mayor Nutter announced on Friday a series of new rules and proposals to regulate private contractors doing demolition work in Philadelphia.

"We are all very saddened, hurt, and as a city government apologize to all our citizens for what has happened in these past two days," Nutter said. 

He said it is the role of the city to find out how to make sure tragedies like at 22nd and Market streets do not occur in the future. 

"The Department of Licenses and Inspections is currently inspecting every single site where an open demolition permit is in place," he said. "By next week we will have completed this task."

Nutter also said city Inspector General Amy Kurland will conduct an investigation into the incident. 

The city has been questioned in the wake of the collapse about its procedures for granting permits and inspecting worksites for private demolition projects.

Under new rules that administration will implement on its own, contractors applying for demolition permits must:

- Provide the city with their relevant experience and qualifications 

- Create site-safety plans concerning pedestrians and adjacent properties

- Establish a schedule for phases of the demolition

- Provide a professional engineer's report on adjacent properties when demolishing buildings three stories or taller

The city will also:

- Act on all complaints regarding demolitions within 24-48 hours

- Require an inspection before work begins

- Revoke permits if work does not begin within 45 days of being granted

- Issue Stop Work Order notices until a hearing is held if a contractor begins work before getting a permit

- Require all demolition contractors provide proof of insurance and tax clearances for all employees 

Additionally, the mayor proposed new measures that will need City Council approval. These proposals would:

- Establish a separate licensing category for demolition contractors

- Require background checks and conduct random drug tests for heavy-equipment operators

- Impose a $1,000 fee that must be paid before demolition resumes if a Stop Work Order is issued after a contractor begins work without notifying the city