May was National Building Safety Month and we at the Department of Licenses and Inspections are committed to making Philadelphia the nation’s leader in building safety. But we at L & I can’t do it alone. Residents are the eyes and ears of L & I, and by arming them with the tools they need, the city will be safer place to live and grow.
For most Philadelphians, our homes are our greatest investment and our most valuable asset. It is common for residents to perform home improvement projects on their own, but often they are unaware or unsure of what level of improvement requires a permit or license. It is important for them to protect themselves, their families and their investment by actively involving L& I to ensure that they are receiving and performing the quality work each home project deserves.
These three questions are key to this process:
1. Does your project require a permit?
— Building permits may be required before beginning projects to enlarge, repair, change, add to or demolish a structure. Plumbing and electrical permits, among others, may also be required.
2. Does your project require a licensed contractor?
— Answers to this question are available by contacting L & I or by visiting our new online power tool, which can be found at phila.gov/li.
3. Is your contractor licensed and insured?
— Always ask and verify. Be sure to ask your contractor before signing any formal contract and always verify their credentials online by visiting the new online power tool.
If a project is completed without a permit or by a non-licensed or uninsured contractor, residents run the risk endangering themselves, their families, their investment and our city. Residents also risk the possibility of incurring excessive repair costs.
L & I strives to be an accessible and valuable resource for residents, and through our new online power tool, access to meaningful information is easier than ever before. Building safety is something each and every resident needs to take ownership of. If you see something, say something. We urge all residents to anonymously report any building violations, dangerous and unsafe work sites and abandoned buildings to 311.
As L & I continues to grow and evolve, it is our hope that residents will join us in our effort. Our work as a city and our commitment to each other spans far beyond a single month, as we are truly partners in this effort. ••
Commissioner, Department of Licenses and Inspections