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Demolition

NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
  City officials, mindful of the June 5 building collapse that claimed six lives, shut down the demolition of a two-story North Philadelphia rowhouse on Saturday after neighbors complained of unsafe conditions and authorities determined that neither the owner nor the contractor had permits. Rebecca Swanson, spokesperson for the Department of Licenses & Inspections, said that the building, at 2352 W. Thompson St., had been mostly demolished by the time the city halted the work.
NEWS
October 5, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA The leader of a City Council probe on demolition practices says he expects Council action by the end of the year on a broad legislative package to promote safety at Philadelphia demolition and construction sites. The proposals, subject to negotiation and change, would establish minimum training requirements for contractors and city building inspectors, require contractors to hire independent site-safety monitors at every construction or demolition site, expand the authority of the Fire Department to shut down dangerous construction jobs, and require demolition contractors to convince the city of their skills and training before they are licensed to work in Philadelphia.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
City Controller Alan Butkovitz and the Department of Licenses and Inspections have apparently resolved their dispute over demolition records by L&I's giving the controller's auditors access to the department's computer system. "We just have to make sure we can run it and do our own queries," said Deputy Controller Harvey Rice, signaling an end to two weeks of rhetorical volleys between Butkovitz and the Nutter administration. "We think this will give us the information we need to do our audit.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
ALTHOUGH BILLS to regulate demolitions following the deadly June 5 building collapse at 22nd and Market streets were introduced just yesterday, fault lines are beginning to emerge over how to shape those policies. Mayor Nutter's administration, which issued its own demolition reforms the week of the collapse, is quietly pushing back on several key provisions of the five-bill package. And within the special Council committee that produced the bills, some members are at odds over what the scope of the legislation ought to be and how it will impact smaller contractors and undocumented workers.
NEWS
September 27, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
A SPECIAL City Council panel that convened in the wake of June's deadly Center City building collapse released a report yesterday calling for a complete revamping of how the city regulates private demolitions. The committee, which held five hearings, produced 71 recommendations, including creating a new licensing category for demolitions, requiring property owners' signatures on permit forms and making more Licenses & Inspections records available online. Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr. led the panel, which emphasized the difference between demolitions managed by the city and those by private contractors.
NEWS
September 26, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Department of Licenses and Inspections delivered three pages of demolition information Tuesday to the Controller's Office, but a deputy controller said the material did not represent much progress in the controller's bid to audit city demolition procedures. "They sent a letter and attached was a three-page document, and that's it," said Harvey Rice, the top deputy to Controller Alan Butkovitz. "I don't know what to call it. . . . It makes reference to a 3,000-page report available on their website, but that's not what we want.
NEWS
September 11, 2013 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Mariya Plekan, the most seriously injured survivor of the June 5 Center City building collapse, will be able to tell her story of being trapped under the rubble for 13 hours and losing her legs, a Philadelphia judge ruled Monday. Common Pleas Court Judge Mark I. Bernstein ruled that Plekan, an immigrant from Ukraine who is suffering from kidney failure but has been weaned from using a ventilator, can give a deposition in her lawsuit against multiple defendants as soon as she is capable of enduring the process.
NEWS
September 9, 2013 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose daughter was among six people killed when a wall collapsed in June atop a Center City Salvation Army thrift store, has started an online petition to create a memorial park at the site. The petition, on Change.org, asks her boss, Mayor Nutter, as well as City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and the Salvation Army to finance a park at 22d and Market Streets. By noon Friday, it had more than 1,500 signatures. Winkler's 24-year-old daughter, Anne Bryan, was shopping June 5 when an unsupported wall at an adjacent demolition site crashed on top of the store.
NEWS
August 17, 2013 | By Bob Warner and Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writers
Griffin Campbell, the contractor in charge of the demolition project that led to the Center City building collapse, will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions in a grand jury appearance this month, his lawyer said in a court document filed Wednesday. William Hobson disclosed in an affidavit that Campbell has been subpoenaed to appear in August before the grand jury investigating the collapse. He said Campbell would decline to answer questions, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
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