Through a recent amendment to its Building Construction and Occupancy Code, the City of Philadelphia has begun forcing building owners to pay closer attention to their facades. On February 17, 2010, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an ordinance, entitled "Periodic Inspection of Exterior Walls and Appurtenances of Buildings", which compels the inspection and repair of building exteriors at regularly scheduled intervals. It also requires the filing of inspection reports with the Department of Licenses and Inspection (the “Department”). The “Affected Buildings” are defined by the ordinance as all buildings that are six stories or higher and all those that have any appurtenances greater than 60 feet in height.
Pursuant to the newly enacted Section PM-304.10 of the Philadelphia Property Maintenance Subcode, the inspections must be conducted by a “Professional,” defined as a Pennsylvania “licensed Professional Engineer experienced in the practice of structural engineering or a licensed Registered Architect knowledgeable in the design, construction and inspection of building facades.”
The first inspections must be completed and reports filed by June 30, 2011 for buildings constructed prior to 1950 and those with an indeterminable date of construction. For buildings constructed between 1951 and 1970, inspections must be completed and reports filed by June 30, 2012; for those built between 1971 and 1980, by June 30, 2013; for those built between 1981 and 1990, by June 30, 2014; and for those constructed between 1991 and 2005, by June 30, 2015. For buildings constructed since 2005, the first inspection and report are due ten years after the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.