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Attention Members: L&I Announces Enforcement Priorities

L&I's Audits and Investigations Unit (AIU) published the following list of enforcement priorities in its newsletters since September 2022. Members are advised to review the list and make sure you and/or your contractors and subcontractors are in compliance.

Subcontracting. Subcontractors must always be licensed. They must carry a valid contractor or trade license (for trade work) whenever they are working. You are responsible for ensuring that construction for which you are responsible is only performed by licensed entities and their wage employees. A subcontractor is any person or business hired to perform work authorized by a permit, who is not identified on that permit’s application as the prime (or responsible) contractor.

Worker Certification. Every worker at a Philadelphia construction site must have OSHA-10 training and carry their card with them when they’re on the job. If a building more than 3 stories or 40 feet tall is being constructed or demolished, an OSHA-30-trained site safety supervisor must be on site whenever the site is active.

Insurance Requirements. In accordance with Title 9-1004, all licensed contractors must maintain, at minimum, the following insurances: workers' compensation insurance, comprehensive general liability, and motor vehicle liability. Failure to maintain proper insurance, and to provide proof of continued coverage by submitting renewal certificates to the Department, will result in the contractor being cited with a violation of 9-1004(5). That citation is accompanied by a $1,000 fine.

Contractors and Subcontractors Information. In accordance with Title 9-1004, contractors who hire a subcontractor to perform work authorized by their permit, must list the subcontractor on the permit in eCLIPSE within 3 days of the commencement of any work authorized by that permit, unless that permit is for a residential building of two dwelling units or less. If the Department establishes that a contractor has failed to do this, the contractor will be cited with a violation of 9-1004(8). That citation is accompanied by a $2,000 fine. See "Avoid L&I AIU Violations for Failing to Provide Contractor and Subcontractor Information."

Excavating. Please review our “Excavations and the Protection of Adjacent Property” Code Bulletin. All permit applications filed after January 1 for excavation work must comply with the Philadelphia Building code. Be sure to educate yourself on the new excavation requirements that took effect on January 1, 2023. Visit the website for more information on obtaining an Excavation Contractor License.

Plumber Licensing and Registration. No person shall perform plumbing work unless that person is either a Master Plumber, Journeyman Plumber or a Registered Apprentice working under the direction of a Licensed Master Plumber. Ordinary unskilled laborers may excavate, drill, clean and move materials under the direction of a licensed plumber. No person shall be prohibited from performing minor repairs such as repairing existing plumbing fixtures, replacing faucets or valves with like material, clearing stoppages, stopping leaks, relieving frozen pipes without replacement of any piping.

Fire Suppression Contracting. To install or work on a Fire Suppression System in the City of Philadelphia, an individual must be either a Fire Suppression systems certificate holder or a registered apprentice supervised by a certificate holder. Violations of these requirements will result in fines, Stop Work Orders, and further investigation.

Property Maintenance and Fire Protection Certifications. Property maintenance certifications (i.e. facade, fire escape, private bridge, and pier) and fire protection certifications (i.e. fire suppression, fire alarm, damper, etc.) must be submitted through eCLIPSE as of April 1, 2023. The Department will begin issuing Code Violation Notices and fines to contractors that fail to upload fire protection system certifications. Review Code Bulletin A-2204: Periodic Inspection Report for submission requirements and the L&I website to review the most recent annual certifications webinar slides.

Demolition Permits Prohibiting the Use of Mechanical Demolition Equipment. If a demo permit prohibits mechanical demolition or requires “hand,” “hand tool only,” or “hand method” demolition, that means that only handheld tools may be used during demolition, unless L&I has specifically authorized it. Mechanical equipment can only be used to move debris that is no longer attached to the building being demolished.

Update Email Address in eCLIPSE. Please be sure to keep the email address associated with your eCLIPSE account and license up to date so that you receive L&I communications.

Stop Work Orders. When L&I issues a “Stop Work Order” at a construction site, it is imperative that work stops. A new ordinance signed into law in 2021 makes the penalty for violating a Stop Work Order a license suspension, in addition to the violation and fines.

Use of Tower Cranes. No contractor, construction manager, or a qualified person designated as a supervisor of an operation shall permit any individual to operate a tower crane or assist crane, provide hand signals / verbal communication to direct the operation of a tower crane, or provide rigging duties associated with the operation of a tower crane unless they are properly certified by NCCCO, the National Commissioner for the Certification of Crane Operators, or acceptable alternatives. Refer to the Philadelphia Code Title 9-3303 for more information on the Use of Tower Cranes.

Violation Data Report

L&I issued $85,000 in license violation fines in March 2024. Of that total, $58,000 in fines were issued for the use of unlicensed subcontractors or failure to adequately disclose subcontractor usage, and $12,000 were issued to contractors for using workers without the required OSHA training.

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