L&I Newsletter - September 2022

Announcement / Engagement

L&I information sessions

The Department of Licenses and Inspections is offering regular information sessions to assist stakeholders in navigating L&I processes and keeping abreast of code changes. A list of current offerings is provided below. Customers can also sign-up for this and future webinars under the “Events” section of the L&I homepage (www.phila.gov/li).

  • Maintenance and Annual Fire Protection Certifications webinar – L&I will be conducting a 1-hour webinar on the requirements for maintenance and annual fire protection certifications. During this session we will cover recent updates to our maintenance certification program, review eCLIPSE certification upload requirements, help troubleshoot some common issues, and more. We recommend all professionals who provide inspection and maintenance certification services attend this webinar. This session will be held from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2022 via Zoom. Please register if you are interested in attending this webinar.



  • Excavation Permit and Protection of Adjacent Property webinar - L&I representatives will provide a 1-hour webinar on the new requirements relating to the excavation permit and protection of adjacent property. During this session we will review the specific requirements for the excavation permit and plans, as well as the property protection provisions that will apply to all projects that may directly impact an adjacent building. It is recommended that all involved in new construction, demolition, or structural alteration projects join this session to ensure that you are prepared for the changes. This session will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 9, 2022 via Zoom. Please register if you are interested in attending this webinar.

Note: Capacity is limited and, in order to accommodate all stakeholders, we ask that you only register if you plan on attending the session and, if your circumstances change, please cancel your registration.

Focus group summary

The Department held focus groups this month to gather public feedback on the services we provided. Below is a summary of some of the feedback that we received and our plans to address items gathered.


  • eCLIPSE is helpful for remote business and continues to get better - still room for improvements
  • Language barriers continue to exist across L&I materials / eCLIPSE
  • The Chat function is very useful - it would be great to have expanded hours
  • Difficulty finding information on permit submission for unfamiliar customers or for complex/nuanced projects
  • Contacting L&I about additional information requests on permits can be challenging in some cases
  • Pre-approval processes are not always clear – it would be great to have one place to submit for all Departments
  • Would like to be able to schedule more than one concourse appointment at a time
  • Would like more communication from inspectors when inspections need to be rescheduled
  • Difficulty locating / understanding records on Atlas when a property has been subdivided / consolidated.
  • Discrepancies in address records across departments (i.e. L&I, OPA)
  • Informational webinars are great.
  • Newsletter extremely informative, but could include information on legislative zoning code changes

Department Action:

  • Rolling out Permit Wizard pilot to help new users starting a project
  • Continue to review virtual contact options to streamline process
  • Continue improvements to eCLIPSE including:
  • Summarized review letter for additional information requests
  • Permit hold process updates
  • Communication of eCLIPSE changes
  • Improve transparency in the public portal
  • Evaluate options for customers to interact with multiple service counters in one visit.
  • Improvement in language access
  • Evaluate address records to identify improvements
  • Improve communications during permitting process

We will be working on these initiatives over the next several months and look forward to your feedback again next year!

Permit and license wizard pilot coming this fall

The Permit Wizard Pilot Project is coming soon! Several City departments collaborated to test out a new system for homeowners and businesses to easily access the information they need when undertaking a new project.  The goal is to make information about permits and licenses required for smaller residential and commercial projects more accessible, educational and centrally available. This new system will walk users through an adaptive, plain-language questionnaire that creates a custom list of requirements and associated fees for each selected project.  If the pilot project is successful, the system may scale up to include additional project types.

Stay tuned for more information on implementation and opportunities to provide feedback

Philadelphia Gas Work's landlord cooperation program

Join the Philadelphia Gas Work’s (PGW) Landlord Cooperation Program (LCP) and receive protection from liens for unpaid tenant gas bills. Participating landlords also receive benefits such as service notifications including notice of when gas will be shut off to the property as well as when service work is scheduled. In order to be eligible for enrollment in LCP, a property must have an active Housing Inspection License and the gas service must be in the name of someone other than the landlord. To participate in LCP, landlords must agree to allow PGW access to the property upon request. 

To enroll in the program, visit the program website or email LCP@pgworks.com for questions.


Permit and license fees increase effective January 1, 2023

Fee increases for most permits, business licenses, and trade licenses issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) will take effect for new applications filed on or after January 1, 2023.

For more information on permit fee increase, please review the regulation. The upcoming permit and license fees will be posted to the website soon. The current fees will continue to apply to applications filed before January 1, 2023.

Mandatory project scoping meetings for residential developments

The Department offers a project scoping meeting for multi-phase construction projects, which results in the assignment of a single examiner, more streamlined permit processing, and reduction of accelerated fees for expedited projects.

Starting October 1, 2022, we will phase-in a requirement for a mandatory project scoping meeting for residential development with three or more homes on the same or adjacent parcel(s) when the associated zoning permit was issued on or after this date.

You must schedule an appointment to meet with Permit Services plan review staff prior to submitting for your building permit application and you will be prompted for the City-managed project number at application as shown. 

Important Note: This requirement will be phased-in based upon the date that the associated zoning permit was issued. We strongly encourage that the project scoping meeting be utilized on all other eligible projects.

Updates to trees and landscaping provisions in the zoning code 

Updates to sections 14-705(1) and 14-803(5) institute new processes and requirements for trees and landscaping associated with development pursuant to Bill No. 220414.  As before, and except under certain circumstances, all healthy trees of a minimum size that are removed from a lot during development must be replaced, but starting October 3rd, these requirements may be waived in exchange for the payment of an in-lieu fee to the Department of Parks and Recreation. 

In addition, the number, types, and locations of plantings in and around parking lots, required land use buffers, and yards have been changed. As with tree replacement requirements, if an applicant is able to demonstrate that they are unable to meet these requirements, they may be granted a waiver, contingent upon the payment of an in-lieu fee to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Proof of payment must be submitted with the associated building permit application. Regulations defining additional requirements of the Department of Parks and Recreation shall follow. 

Please review the changes to landscaping and tree preservation regulations for complete information on plan submission requirements.  

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission shall provide prerequisite approval of zoning permits regarding the on-site landscape and tree requirements of Sections 14-705(1) with the following exception: 

  • Applications limited to site-clearing only shall be reviewed by Licenses and Inspections for compliance with Section 14-705(1) and associated regulations of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Please visit our website for additional requirements for the new Zoning Site Clearing or Earth Disturbance Permit.  

The bill instituting these changes was signed on September 13, 2022.  More information about these changes is available from the City Planning Commission and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

eCLIPSE enhancement update

Effective October 7, a new option for a plumbing rough-in permit will appear on the eCLIPSE permit menu screen to provide a more direct application process.


Rental license managing agent

As a reminder, all rental license holders who do not reside or maintain a business office within Philadelphia must identify a managing agent located within the City. Effective October 7, fields will be provided in eCLIPSE that will enable a license holder to identify managing agent information on new and renewal rental license applications. 

Audits & Investigations

Enforcement priorities

AIU would like to call your attention to the following enforcement priorities:

  • Subcontracting - Subcontractors must always be licensed. They must carry a valid contractor or trade license (for trade work) whenever they are working. You are responsible for ensuring that construction for which you are responsible is only performed by licensed entities and their wage employees. 

  • Worker Certification - Every worker at a Philadelphia construction site must have OSHA-10 training and carry their card with them when they’re on the job. If a building more than 3 stories or 40 feet tall is being constructed or demolished, an OSHA-30 trained site safety supervisor must be on site whenever the site is active.  


  • Demolition Permits Prohibiting the Use of Mechanical Demolition Equipment - If a demo permit prohibits mechanical demolition or requires “hand”, “hand tool only”, or “hand method” demolition, that means that only handheld tools may be used during demolition, unless the Department has specifically authorized it. Mechanical equipment can only be used to move debris that is no longer attached to the building being demolished.

  • Update Email Address in Eclipse - Please be sure to keep the email address associated with your eCLIPSE account and license up-to-date so that you receive Department communications.  

Violation data report

The Department issued $58,000 in license violation fines in August 2022. Of that total, $38,000 in fines were issued for the use of unlicensed subcontractors and/or failure to adequately disclose subcontractor usage.

License discipline

The following license suspensions or revocations were either issued or affirmed upon appeal in August 2022:

  • Made Construction - The Board of L&I Review unanimously affirmed the City’s permanent revocation of Made Construction’s contractor license after an AIU investigation determined that Made Construction had created falsified Certificates of Occupancy and presented them to the purchasers of new construction residencies that had incomplete permits. This caused purchasers to move into properties that the department had not certified as safe for occupancy. 


  • RLC Contractors - The Department issued a 20-month suspension to demolition contractor RLC Contractors for repeatedly performing machine demolition where hand demolition was required, risking the safety of occupants of attached buildings. 

  • Urban Beautification - The Board of L&I Review unanimously affirmed the City’s 4-month suspension of Urban Beautification for violations at 1730 Wharton Street. AIU determined that Urban Beautification had repeatedly violated a Department Stop Work Order, hired an unlicensed subcontractor, allowed workers without the required OSHA safety training to work at their site, and failed to adequately protect pedestrians while replacing roof shingles at the property. In addition to the suspension, Urban Beautification has been fined $15,000 for these violations. 

Refer to the website for a list of contractors and trade licensees whose licenses are currently revoked or suspended.


New L&I regulation

The Department has promulgated a regulation, which has been advertised and posted to the City website and shall become law after 30 days should no public hearing be requested.

  • Rat Abatement - This joint L&I and Public Health regulation establishes minimum criteria for the rat abatement plan required for certain construction activity and identifies a threshold for building rehabilitation requiring this plan. 


PA Act 537 upload requirements

Beginning October 1, 2022, applicants submitting a Commercial Building Permit application for new construction must include a completed Sewage Facilities Planning Module Application Mailer (Mailer) with their eCLIPSE application.

The Mailer can be found on the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) website at https://www.pwdplanreview.org/upload/pdf/Act_537_Sewage_Facilities_Application_2021.pdf.

Residential Building Permit applications will not be required to include the Mailer but may choose to upload the completed form as an application document with their permit application.

You will not be required to separately mail the form to PWD. Any questions about the Mailer or the PA Act 537 review process should be directed to PWDAct537@phila.gov.

Excavation contractor license now available

The Excavation Contractor License is now available in eCLIPSE. You can view complete license requirements on our websiteThis license requires the identification of at least one site safety manager that has completed the OSHA 3015 Excavation, Trenching, and Soil Mechanics Course or an approved alternate.


The Mid Atlantic OSHA Training Institute Education Center is offering this 3-day OSHA 3015 course at the following locations:

  • Willow Grove, PA: November 28th - 30th
  • Baltimore, MD: October 24th - 26th


You may also call 1-800-875-4770 to arrange a private session for your company or organization.


Keep an eye on our website for approved alternate programs. The Department has begun accepting applications for alternative programs and will post authorized training programs, as they are approved.


As a reminder, this license will be required to perform excavations more than 5’ below adjacent grade (excluding utility trenches and exploratory investigation) under an excavation permit issued on or after January 1, 2023. A licensed excavation contractor must be identified to obtain an excavation permit.   

New special inspection license category established 

A new Special Inspection License category, Structural Stability of Existing Buildings or Structures, has been established. The license category was created to support new special inspection requirements for existing buildings established under Bill No. 220008 that take effect on January 1, 2023.


Review Page 11 of the amended regulations relating to special inspector qualifications to learn more about license criteria.


The new category is available in eCLIPSE. To add this category to an existing license, the following steps must be taken:

  • Step 1: Submit a Trade License Amendment (and supporting documentation) to a Special Inspector License. This step is not required if your Special Inspection Agency License was approved based upon accreditation.

  • Step 2:  After the change to the Special Inspector License has been approved, submit a Trade License Amendment to a Special Inspection Agency License to add this category or an inspector to your license.

Back issues of the L&I Newsletters are available on the L&I website under Resources.