Certain structures in the city of Philadelphia require specialized inspections to ensure their safety and compliance with regulations. These inspections cover a range of important infrastructure, including private bridges, facades of buildings that are six stories or taller or have appurtenances exceeding 60 ft. in height, fire escapes, fire escape balconies, and waterfront structures extending below the waterline of the Delaware River, Schuykill River, or their estuaries.
To ensure the effectiveness and accuracy of these inspections, the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) audits a random sample of these inspections.
Property owners are required to have their structures inspected within 10 years of completion and then every 5 years thereafter. Additionally, private piers must undergo inspections every 3 years, with immediate inspections necessary if they are damaged by a ship collision or any other incidents. It is important to note that these inspections must be carried out by licensed structural engineers.
When it comes to facade inspections, a licensed registered architect with expertise in facade design, construction, and inspection can perform the necessary assessments. On the other hand, pier inspections require a team comprising licensed engineers with experience in marine structure construction and design, as well as commercial divers trained in structural inspections.
In certain cases, property owners who have recently undergone renovations can request a waiver or extension of the inspection requirements for the current cycle. To do so, they must submit a written request to the Department, accompanied by copies of any construction permits associated with the restoration work.
Click here for more information on this requirement and where to submit the waiver requests.