New Governmental Regulations in Philadelphia Dramatically Restrict the Commencement of Excavation and Demolition Work.
Written by: Alan Nochumson
Governmental regulations have tightened in 2023 with regards to excavation and demolition activities in Philadelphia.
These new regulations were pushed forward due to the construction accidents that have spiked during Philadelphia’s rapid increase in real estate development over the past few years.
The city of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) now requires preconstruction surveys as well as licenses and permits to allow contractors to dig more than 5 feet into the ground if the excavation occurs within 10 feet of an adjacent building structure, as excavation has been one of the main causes of construction accidents.
Furthermore, contractors are now obligated to hire site safety managers and obtain a general liability insurance policy of at least $2 million in connection with these construction activities.
In addition to increased regulations regarding excavation work, the new law tightens the regulations on modifications to party walls, requiring preconstruction surveys for the exposure of a party wall, removal of perpendicular walls, floor diaphragms, and the addition of load to the wall.
Under the new law, preconstruction surveys must include documentation of adjoining or adjacent buildings, photographs of such structures, and a statement signed by a representative of the entity performing structural observations, confirming that existing conditions identified in the survey will be monitored throughout the construction or demolition operation.
Prior to the submission of the permit application to L&I for excavation and demolition work, the contractor must now provide the adjoining or adjacent property owner with the following information: a description of the nature of the work, an estimated schedule and duration for the work, a pre-constriction survey and plans or details depicting work that may affect the adjoining or adjacent property, details of monitoring to be performed on the adjoining or adjacent property, and protections proposed to be installed on the adjoining or adjacent property.
At the time the permit application is submitted to L&I, the contractor must then either (i) include the adjoining or adjacent property owner’s signature affirming receipt of notification and statement of the adjoining or adjacent owner’s rights on the form established by L&I, or (ii) if the contractor carrying out the excavation and demolition work is unable to obtain the adjoining or adjacent property owner’s signature of receipt despite the contractor’s reasonable efforts to do so, no permit may be issued less than 60 days after either the permit application submission or the date that the notice was so transmitted, whichever comes later.
In conjunction with excavation and demolition work taking place on the site, adjoining or adjacent property owners are also entitled to receive advance notice of at least 10 days prior to the commencement of any such excavation and demolition work updating the construction schedule and providing any changes to the details required for the initial notification to the adjoining or adjoining property owners.