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BUILDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION of Philadelphia

News & Resources

City Development Services Update

Information from City agencies and departments related to reviews, permitting, inspections, and other development services changes often. This post was updated on May 23, 2020.

Philadelphia Water Department

The BIA met with representatives from the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) on May 21, 2020 to discuss the status of development services at PWD currently and what to expect moving forward.

See the PWD Spreadsheet for details on PWD activities, whether they are performed, and through what means (email, phone, web-based) and the May 20, 2020 Permit Process Flyer detailing the Water Service, Lateral Repair, and New Connection Permit Process.

All submittals coming in are still being processed; there has been a slowdown due to a recent loss of staff and remote working but not a pause or stoppage.

There is a backlog in Utility Plan Review but they are working it down. Applicants should expect a turnaround of about 3 weeks if submissions are complete. PWD urges applicants and/or their engineers to review the utility plans carefully to avoid having them sent back numerous times. Incomplete applications will increase the turnaround time significantly. Download the current Utility Plan Checklist.

OTIS and PWD expect to start processing plumbing permits for new connections for projects with an approved building or site construction permit issued by L+I after March 20, 2020 by June 5 or 6. Please visit the PWD website regularly for current information.

Street Tree Approvals

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation's Tree Management staff does not have the capability to review plans digitally; however, development review plan services have been started on a limited schedule. Plans can be dropped off on Mondays AND Fridays ONLY between 9 am and 3 pm via a phone call to Robin Klink at 215.683.0213 (also Robin.Klink@phila.gov). Applicants will be met outside of the One Parkway Building at 1515 Arch Street since the building is still closed for public business. You will be notified by the arborist via email once your plan has been inspected and you can make plans to pick up plans based on the above schedule.

L+I

The FAQs for restarting construction were recently updated to clarify work hour restrictions for one and two-family dwellings in multifamily developments and also to expand the scope of "Emergency Work" permitted for permits issued after March 20, 2020. To make sure you are up-to-date on all current requirements and restrictions, see the Requirements for resuming construction activity in Philadelphia and the Restarting Construction FAQs.

For L+I development services, please refer to the Resources to help you navigate L&I processes during the shutdown to find help with issues you may be experiencing. If you are having trouble scheduling an inspection, see IVR Inspection Brochure and the steps below.

  • If a permit starts with an Alpha -prefix It is a “new” permit issued in the eCLIPSE system (follow the prompts)
  • If a permit number is all numerical the permit was issued in the department's legacy system. These permits ceased being issued in the legacy system March 12, 2020. The system will prompt the caller to press #5 and enter the permit number. The system will allow for scheduling using the inspection code # 999 Next Inspection (this is the only option for permits issued March 12th and back).

To help alleviate the City’s budget deficit, L+I has proposed cost of living adjustments to all of its license and permit fees, which are expected to generate $3 million in FY21. L+I has City Council-granted authority to adjust the charges based on a Consumer Price Index multiplier and has not done so since 2017. The CPI was announced this week at 3.5% and would be applied to all fees in A-902 to A-907 of the Philadelphia Administrative Code, specifically all building, fuel gas, mechanical code, fire code, plumbing code, property license, and zoning fees (but not inspection or administrative fees). While L+I may increase the fees without legislation, the Department must promulgate regulations to do so. A formal notice will be posted by June 1. The changes would be effective for all applications filed after July 1, 2020.

Office of Property Assessment

The OPA is not open to the public. They are trying to address their remote computing issues to ensure everyone has a computer and everyone has the ability to access the OPA systems. With the exception below related to filing for an abatement, the office is not currently accepting, confirming or otherwise addressing the public’s needs with respect to new addresses, abatements, etc.

To file an abatement, see the following message from Drew Aldinger, General Counsel to OPA:

"An abatement application can be mailed to the OPA and it will be deemed received on the postmark date. Alternatively, if they prefer, they can email the application to me (Drew.Aldinger@phila.gov) and I will confirm receipt. However, if the deadline to file an abatement application expires while the OPA front desk is closed, it will be accepted and considered as timely filed if received within forty-five (45) days of the reopening of the OPA front desk... Abatement applications are filed using the general building permit. (Note, abatement applications can always be supplemented or amended...but they cannot be filed late. Therefore, applicants should never risk missing a deadline." The mailing address for OPA is: Office of Property Assessment, Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 300W, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Additional Resources

City Department Spreadsheet

BIA Board Member Cornelius Brown with Bohler generously offered to share his department's spreadsheet, which summarizes the status of City agency development services. Click here to download the spreadsheet as of May 15, 2020, keeping in mind that circumstances are changing all the time. Members may also be interested in reading Bohler's blog post, COVID-19: MOVING ENTITLEMENTS FORWARD.

Zoning, Land Use, and Construction

See also Philadelphia Zoning, Land Use, and Construction COVID-19 Update.

Recent News

May 28, 2020
L+I COVID-19 Enforcement
May 23, 2020
City Development Services Update
May 13, 2020
Time Limitations for Construction Activity Revised
May 10, 2020
Member-to-Member Resources for Navigating the Impacts of COVID-19
May 7, 2020
Estimating The Likely Economic Impact Of The Covid-19 Pandemic On Philadelphia
May 6, 2020
Update on Construction Restart: Member Meeting with Commissioner Perri and Councilman Squilla
May 4, 2020
PGW EnergySense Construction Grants
May 1, 2020
COVID-19 Construction Site Safety Information
April 29, 2020
Mayor Signs Executive Order to Restart Construction Under Certain Conditions
April 25, 2020
Governor Releases Guidance to Reopen Construction Industry
April 15, 2020
Construction Safety: PPE Supplies and Services
April 9, 2020
4/9/2020 PWD Update on Private Development Services
April 6, 2020
Guidance for Landlords, Tenants, Developers and Contractors
March 31, 2020
Use & Occupancy Tax guidance during the COVID-19 coronavirus closure of non-essential businesses

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