After building collapse, signs required on work sites

Posted: July 18, 2014

FOLLOWING through on regulations passed after last year's deadly building collapse on Market Street, Mayor Nutter yesterday unveiled new signage requirements for demolition and construction sites to make it easier for residents to alert the city about unsafe projects.

For buildings three stories or higher, contractors must pay for a 3-by-5-foot sign showing a copy of the permit, a rendering of the project, its expected completion date, contact information for the owner and contractor, and instructions for reaching the city.

For smaller projects, contractors must fill out and post a city-issued yellow poster that shows much of the same information.

The regulations went into effect yesterday.

In June 2013, an unsupported wall from a demolition site on Market Street near 22nd fell onto a Salvation Army store next door, killing six people and injuring more than a dozen. Citizens had previously called the city to complain about the site's safety.

Ronald Wagenhoffer, the city inspector who approved the project and followed up on a complaint, committed suicide a week after the collapse.

At a media event yesterday, Nutter thanked, among others, Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky, who suggested in a column four days after the tragedy that the city step up its signage requirements.

Nutter also said that, after the collapse, "a series of executive orders were issued and a process was started with regard to signage requirements." His executive orders, however, did not set new rules for signs.

Nutter's comments did not sit well with City Councilman Jim Kenney, who said the administration actually fought his inclusion of the signage requirements in a bill last year.

"It's very frustrating to have to deal with a government that continually obstructs, obstructs, obstructs, then finally agrees with you and says, 'Well, look what we did,' " said Kenney, a frequent Nutter antagonist.

Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said the mayor was referring to informal orders, not official executive orders, and that he never opposed new sign rules.

"That's just simply not true," McDonald said of the councilman's comments. "That's just another example of Kenney-speak."


On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout

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