King of Prussia, PA – In August 2010, The Harman Group, consulting engineers, submitted the first façade inspection report received by the City Of Philadelphia, Department of Licenses and Inspections, as required by Bill NO.090568-AAA, the new Façade Inspection Ordinance. The City had not yet developed the final submission form to accompany the façade reports. Subsequently in December 2010, the form was released by the City and the final report submission was completed.
With the advent of the new Façade Inspection Ordinance in the City of Philadelphia, owners and building managers have been preparing to implement the requirements for individual buildings.
The Harman Group works with building management to institute an inspection program to satisfy the requirements of the City. This involves planning and executing the inspections and coordinating the services of qualified contractors to provide access to the building. The Harman Group also produces the report for submission to the City and provides the engineering of facade repairs where problems are discovered. “We were involved in the development of the facade inspection ordinance which gives us excellent insight into the requirements,” says Kirk Harman, President of The Harman Group. “Helping the building management with the entire process makes it easy for them to satisfy the law. Making the process easy for our clients is our primary goal.”
The deadline for the first round of inspections is June of 2011. Building owners and managers may want to schedule inspection work early to avoid a potential shortage of equipment and personnel in the final weeks before the deadline.
Over the past 26 years, The Harman Group has evolved from a small local company to a nationally recognized firm well-known for the design of complex building structures. Services have expanded over the years and include building facade inspection and design of repairs.
Some frequently asked questions regarding Philadelphia’s facade inspection ordinance:
Does the facade on my building have to be inspected?
All buildings in Philadelphia that are six or more stories in height or that have any appurtenance more than 60 feet in height must have their facade inspected every five years.
When do I have to have my inspection done?
The ordinance outlines the following inspection schedule:
Construction date——Due date for inspection report
1950 and earlier——-6/30/11
What if I get my building facade inspected before the due date? Will I be penalized for getting it done early?
No. If your building inspection is performed early, your next inspection won’t be due until five years from the next due date for all buildings within the inspection cycle that includes your building.
Is there any way to get an exemption from having to have my building facade inspected?
If your building’s facade has been substantially restored within five years preceding the inspection due date then you can apply for a five year waiver on the inspection.
Who can I hire to inspect my facade?
The Harman Group can provide the required services for building facade inspections.
How much does a facade inspection cost?
Cost varies depending on the size, age and condition of the building. The Harman Group can provide a cost estimate for performing the inspection. We can also assist building owners in the selection of a qualified contractor to provide access to the building facade so that the inspection can be performed.
What will the inspection report tell me about my facade?
The report will list conditions observed including deficiencies, cracks, building façade movement, water infiltration and other issues related to or affecting the structural integrity of the facade. In addition the report will list recommendations for maintenance and repair. The facade will be classified into one of three categories, “Safe”, “Unsafe” or “Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program”.
What happens if my building is classified as “Unsafe”?
The ordinance requires that owners take action within 24 hours of being notified of an unsafe condition to protect public safety. This could include erection of sidewalk protection, fences or safety netting. Appropriate permit applications must be submitted within three days. Work to correct unsafe conditions must begin within ten days of receiving a report identifying unsafe conditions. The facade must be reinspected after the unsafe condition has been corrected and an amended report shall be prepared stating the condition of the building.
What do I do with my facade inspection report?
A form is completed and submitted to the City of Philadelphia acknowledging that the facade was inspected and summarizing the contents of the report. Building owners are required to maintain copies of all facade inspection reports as well as records pertaining to work performed on building facade.
Can I get a copy of the ordinance?