City Council holds second building collapse hearing

demolition building collapse
Inspectors at the site of the building collapse. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro)

A City Council committee on Thursday held the second in a series of investigative hearings reviewing city demolition practices in the wake of the June 5 fatal building collapse near 22nd and Market streets.

While the first meeting largely featured testimony from city officials, Council members on Thursday heard from industry leaders who are experts in demolition and construction.

One of the central issues discussed was while there are strict standards in place for demolition on city-owned properties and those undertaken by union firms, the requirements for privately contracted demolition projects are lax.

“The sobering fact is that we do not have ensconced in any kind of ordinance at all, or permitting process, a protocol for demolition,” said Philadelphia Building and Construction Trade Council business manager Pat Gillespie.

“Then you peel back the curtain and we have an awful lot of licensing requirements that have a total lack of enforcement – no one enforces things.”

Representatives urged the city to create a single set of standards to apply to both private and public sector demolitions.

Plan of action

Those testifying recommended all demolition and construction workers at both private and public sector job sites should:

>> Receive training to develop skills and recognize hazards

>> Adhere to OSHA standards.

>> Be required to undergo random drug screenings.

>> Have recourse to bring forth site safety concerns without fear of losing their jobs.


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