Philly's Real Estate Boom Fuels Major Expansion In This City Agency
One of the crucial bureaucratic elements of development in Philadelphia is beefing up.
The Department of Licensing & Inspections has added 35 new employees this year and is planning to open two new offices in 2018, PlanPhilly reports. Eighteen of the new hires are building inspectors, and the other 17 are additional code enforcement officials. L&I will also be redrawing the map it uses to assign inspectors to be more efficient.
Development has accelerated dramatically in both office and residential real estate since the city recovered from the Great Recession. L&I has been slow to bring its employee ranks back up to pre-recession levels, causing a backlog of inspections necessary for the completion of projects.
“There are many jobs all around the city that have the potential to be held up,” Building Industry Association President Brian Emmons told PlanPhilly. “It’s just because the inspector doesn’t have the ability, based on his workload and the demand right now, to be at certain jobs and to know they’ll be ready for inspection.”
L&I is not done hiring. It is currently training 21 additional code enforcement officials and anticipates bringing on 20 more building inspectors by February. The surge will contribute to filling the new offices, one in North Philadelphia at 1514 Cecil B. Moore Ave. and the other at 3007-09 Grays Ferry Ave. The North Philly location will house 25 employees and the Grays Ferry office will house 30.
L&I's expansion comes thanks to a budget increase due to certain fee hikes in the permitting process, spurred on by the fatal building collapse at 22nd and Market Street in 2013.