Philadelphia Façade Ordinance
Joining a national trend, in February 2010 the City of Philadelphia adopted a building façade inspection ordinance requiring building owners to inspect building façades at least every five years. L&I estimates that the ordinance applies to over 650 buildings. The following is an excerpt from the façade ordinance.
PM-304.10 – “Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings requires all owners of buildings taller than six stories in height, or with any appurtenances greater than 60 feet in height, to have the building façades inspected by a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania licensed professional engineer experienced in the practice of structural engineering or a licensed registered architect knowledgeable in the design, construction, and inspection of building façades.”
Ordinance highlights include:
- Applicable to all buildings six stories or higher and/or buildings with an appurtenance greater than 60 feet in height.
- Inspection must be performed by a licensed professional.
- Reporting deadlines based on building age beginning June 30, 2011.
- Report shall categorize each building façade as "Safe", "Unsafe" or "Safe with Maintenance and Repairs".
Façade inspection and reporting requirements are based upon a building’s age:
|Construction date:||Report to be completed no later than:|
|Prior to and including 1950
Or if building age cannot be determined
|June 30, 2011|
|1951-1970||June 30, 2012|
|1971-1980||June 30, 2013|
|1981-1990||June 30, 2014|
|1991-2005||June 30, 2015|
|2006-present||Within 10 years after the certificate of occupancy is issued|
Following the initial inspection and report, buildings shall be re-inspected and required reports re-filed on a five-year cycle based on the original schedule.
Façade Inspection Expectations
Building owners should expect a compliant façade inspection to include review of all façade inspection reports and repairs conducted in the previous five years, followed by a physical, hands-on inspection. Observations should be made from a scaffold or other observation platform in order to have a clear visual perspective and to obtain photographs of recorded conditions. The inspection should provide a basic overview of the façade condition, categorizing it as safe, safe with a repair and maintenance program, or unsafe. The façade inspection report must include 17 items of specific information as outlined in the ordinance. Unsafe conditions must be reported to the Department of Licenses and Inspections within 12 hours of condition discovery. The full report must be filed with the department within 24 hours of report completion.
Violations for non-compliance with the façade ordinance are considered Class III offenses, subject to a $2000 fine under 1-109 of the Philadelphia Code.
Why Keast & Hood Co.?
Keast & Hood Co. has provided façade condition assessments as part of its comprehensive structural engineering services for over 50 years. The firm is a nationally-recognized leader in building diagnostics and the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of historic structures. Our breadth of experience offers clients the value of accurate assessments and the assurance of economical, efficient methods for repairs.
View representative façade assessment projects.
For more information:
Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code
|Read:||PM-304.10 – Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings Ordinance [PDF]|
|Contact:||Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, 11th Floor
Public Services Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1687