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Demolition

NEWS
November 2, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA A former U.S. attorney and a fire-safety expert were named Thursday by Mayor Nutter to lead an independent review of the Department of Licenses and Inspections, an action spurred by the building collapse that killed six people in Center City in June. Peter F. Vaira, who was U.S. attorney in Philadelphia from 1978 to 1983, will serve as executive director of a 16-member review panel, Nutter said. Glenn P. Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York, will chair the panel, which is charged with completing its work by July.
NEWS
November 1, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
MAYOR NUTTER appointed a special commission yesterday to investigate the Department of Licenses & Inspections in the wake of the deadly Center City building collapse in June. City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose daughter Anne Bryan, 24, was one of six people killed in the collapse, had called for a blue-ribbon commission on the department. L&I was scrutinized after the collapse, in which a wall from a demolition site fell onto a Salvation Army thrift store next door, because the demolition had been approved and inspected.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer
City Controller Alan Butkovitz called in authorities to deal with a hazardous building in North Philadelphia on Saturday after neighbors complained that they had not been able to get action on their own. After Butkovitz's intercession - he called 911 and gave dispatchers his city title, he said - the Fire and Police Departments responded and called in the Department of Licenses and Inspections to knock down what remained of the vacant two-story brick...
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 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
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
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.
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