About Construction Projects in Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the few U.S. cities older than the nation itself. William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1682. In the middle of the next century, Benjamin Franklin reorganized and improved the city. He founded a fire department, library, and hospital here.
The City of Brotherly Love features many historic buildings. Working here requires respect for history and some patience with the city codes.
To do new construction, major renovation, demolition, and large repairs, you need a permit. Start the permit process in person at the City Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., or email [email protected].
Below are the top 10 items you want to make sure you do not leave out of your permit application.
- Energy Conservation: Have a Certificate of Design proving your work complies with the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code
- Zoning Permit: Building plans must match with the approved Zoning and Use permit
- Structural Details: A licensed design professional must complete and seal plans
- Exterior Wall Rating: Outer walls must agree with the 2009 International Building Code (IBC)
- Accessible Route: You must have an access route to the main work area of a business and its restrooms
- Shaft Protection: New shafts need to be coveredÊand protected from fire
- Number of Exits: Look at sections 1015 and 1021 of the 2009 IBC to find out the minimum number of exits you need
- Plumbing Fixtures: Use Table P-701 of the 2004 Philadelphia Plumber code to find out the minimum number of plumbing fixtures your building must have
- Wall Bracing: Your construction work must be able to stand up to a lateral wind and seismic loads.
- Structural Design Criteria: Construction documents must explain design loads as noted in the 2009 IBC.
Necessary Building Licenses
Homeowners may do work on single-family homes or duplexes. But, a licensed Philadelphia contractor must do any large-scale construction work. To get a contractor’s license, you need to have an employee in charge who has attended the OSHA 30 Safety Training within the last five years. You also need a tax clearance form and a certificate of insurance. You must prove a minimum of $500,000 in liability coverage.
Contractors must have their license numbers on ads, stationery, proposals, contracts, job sites, places of business, and company vehicles. You must reapply annually for your license.
Be sure to have proof of at least $500,000 of coverage in the following areas: bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, advertising injury, and legal defense. Keep in mind that many contractors have claimed that Pennsylvania is one of the most litigious states in the country. Protect yourself from frivolous lawsuits that could harm your business.
Best Equipment to Use
When you are at work on the job site, you will want to rent aerial lift equipment to prevent serious injuries from falls. Boom lifts, scissor lifts, forklifts, and manlifts are special machines designed to get your workers up off the ground safely.
Philadelphia has done it right for more than three centuries. The city is built on discipline and quality design. When you are doing work in Philadelphia, make sure you have the right licenses and permits.