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Philadelphia Facade Ordinance

How you can ensure compliance on your buildings in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA FACADE ORDINANCE OVERVIEW

If your Philadelphia building is six or more stories in height or has an appurtenance greater than 60 feet in height, the city of Philadelphia requires your building receives periodic facade inspections.

These periodic inspections should be performed by a Pennsylvania-licensed PE to conduct a review of exterior walls and any appurtenances, (except for those parts of any exterior wall which are less than twelve inches from the exterior wall of an adjacent building) and to prepare and file a report on such inspection with the owner.

Read below for the filing requirements and inspection schedule for Philadelphia.

FIlING REQUIREMENTS

Forms are to be submitted online using eCLIPSE by a Pennsylvania-licensed PE experienced in structural engineering or RA knowledgeable in the design, construction, and inspection of building facades.

A “Summary Inspection Form” must be submitted and include seventeen specified items of information including the classification of exterior walls and appurtenances as safe, safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP), or unsafe.

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INSPECTION SCHEDULE & FREQUENCY

Philadelphia requires an inspection every 5 years. The city also requires fire escape inspections, private bridge inspections, and waterfront structure inspections. Fire escapes are reinspected every 5 years.

Inspections Schedule:

For buildings built in 2006 or later, the initial inspection and required report must be completed within ten years of the certificate of occupancy being issued. According to the ordinance, a building built in 2012 would be required to have facade inspections performed and reports filed in 2022, 2027, and so on.

An affected building must be reinspected after the initial inspection, and the necessary report must be filed, on a five-year cycle based on the original timetable. If all of a building’s facades have been “significantly restored” in the five years prior to a necessary inspection, a waiver may be requested.

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CONSEQUENCES FOR LATE FILING

As Per Code Section A-601.3.16, fines of $2,000 on any violation with additional fines if those violations go unaddressed.

Why it’s important to stay in compliance

Staying in compliance is essential for adhering to the legal requirement enforced by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. 

Additionally, having a building up to code ensures the safety, health, and welfare of all occupants inside the building as well as the general public. Periodic building envelope inspections also empowers building owners to preventatively address facade and roof-related concerns before the conditions lead to much costlier restoration. Without routine inspections, your building poses a risk to surrounding residents and structures while having to deal with fines, potential offenses, and more.

WHY PARTNER WITH SULLIVAN ENGINEERING

Sullivan Engineering recommends partnering with an architecture or engineering firm that specializes in exterior restoration services when you are ready to have your building inspected. A professional firm like Sullivan Engineering will know exactly what to look for and be able to identify conditions such as superficial cracks and deterioration. They will ensure that these conditions will not be mislabeled, and more importantly, that unsafe conditions posing threats to public safety will not go unnoticed and unreported.

Sullivan Engineering’s partnership approach, focusing on proactive communication and fast turnaround times, combined with our budget management expertise and our ability to leverage technology gives our clients an exceptional experience they can’t find anywhere else. To learn more about us and our core values and determine if we are the right partner for you, visit our About Us page.

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