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What Members Need to Know about L&I’s Audits and Investigations Unit

L&I’s Audits and Investigations Unit, or AIU, is responsible for enforcing code compliance among contractors and other trade licensees like plumbers, electrical contractors, demolition contractors, and fire suppression contractors. AIU performs unannounced inspections at active construction sites. Their inspections are focused on verifying that contractors and trade licensees are complying with their license requirements. Contractor license requirements are established by §9-1004 of the Philadelphia Code. The requirements for other trade licenses can be found by browsing §9-1000.

License Violation Notices and Fines

When AIU finds that a contractor has violated their license requirements, they issue a License Violation Notice. This looks like a Notice of Violation, but there are important differences:

License Violations result in fines, even if the responsible party attempts to immediately correct their behavior. Most license violations carry a fine of $1,000.

License Violations don’t remain ‘open’ until a reinspection shows that the violation has been corrected—and so reinspections won’t always occur. However, AIU may choose to reinspect the site and repeated violations will result in additional fines and possible license suspension.

License Violations will be disclosed through L&I’s contractor look-up tool, not Atlas.

Current Enforcement Priorities

AIU would like to call your attention to the following enforcement priorities:

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. Remember: if you are paying someone with a 1099, they are a subcontractor and must be separately licensed.

Subcontractor Upload for Commercial Permits. If you are named as the responsible contractor on a commercial permit, you are required to disclose all subcontractors that have performed any of the work authorized by that permit by adding them to the permit in eCLIPSE. This requirement kicks in 3 days after the start of any work under that permit. Failure to update your permit with all subcontractors results in a fine of $2,000.00 For step-by-step instructions, refer to the ‘How to add a subcontractor to a permit in eCLIPSE How-to-Guide’.

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.

Underpinning Special Inspections. Do not perform any underpinning unless a registered Special Inspector from the Special Inspection Agency named on the permit is present. Underpinning without continuous Special Inspection is dangerous and unacceptable.

Stop Work Orders. When L&I issues a Stop Work Order at a construction site, its 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.

Violation Data Report

Since January 1, 2022, AIU has issued a total of $682,000 in license violation fines to contractors or trade licensees. This includes $226,000 in fines related to subcontracting violations, and $164,000 in fines related to worker certification violations.

You can protect yourself from fines and from delays in your job getting done—please start by making sure that your subcontractors are licensed and that the workers on your sites have the required safety training certifications.

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