Below are questions and answers to help clarify safety precautions and other guidance for construction activity in Philadelphia. Refer to the City of Philadelphia’s Reopening with Care information for other critical guidance.

L&I keeps these FAQs updated so please check back often.

Work restrictions

1. What type of work is authorized?

All types of work are authorized if the proper permits are in place, contractors are licensed, and there is compliance with the Code and COVID-19 safety precautions.

2. What are the general safety precautions required on all job sites?

Each active job site must be assigned a Pandemic Safety Officer and a written COVID-19 Safety Plan must be kept onsite. The Safety Officer must complete an approved COVID-19 safety training course (see FAQ #3). For additional critical guidance, refer to the City’s Reopening with Care safety information. The City’s safety checklist describes additional requirements including masking, distancing, handwashing, and cleaning.

Refer to FAQ #5 for additional precautions that must be taken when working within an occupied dwelling unit.

3. A Pandemic Safety Officer must obtain a COVID-19 workplace safety training certificate. Where can I take a COVID-19 workplace safety course?

4. I am painting the interior of my home and having the floors refinished. This work does not require a building permit. Do the contractors need a person trained and certified in COVID-19 awareness?

Yes, the contractors will need to have someone pass an approved COVID-19 training course and social distancing and hygiene protocols must be adhered to. COVID-19 safety precautions apply to renovations and repairs that do not require a permit.

5. What additional safety precautions are required when working within an occupied dwelling unit?

In addition to the measures outlined in FAQ #2 the following precautions must be observed when working within an occupied dwelling unit (see FAQ #6):

  • All persons other than the dwelling unit occupants shall wear masks at all times when inside of the building.
  • Occupants should wear masks if they are not separated from the work crew by a floor level or by a closed door.
  • Upon completion of the work for the day, the contractor shall disinfect any light switches, door surfaces, door handles, and handrails that have been touched.

6. What defines a dwelling unit as occupied or unoccupied?

A dwelling unit is considered to be unoccupied if it:

  • is abandoned,
  • has a vacant property license, or
  • has not been inhabited for a minimum of 4 consecutive days.

Managing permits and inspections

7. How do I get a Make Safe Permit for an imminently dangerous or unsafe property?

Make Safe Permits must be obtained in person at L&I’s Permit and License Center on the Concourse level of the Municipal Services Building, behind City Hall. You must make an appointment and comply with certain requirements to visit the Permit and License Center.

Before the appointment, review the requirements for Make Safe Permits.

8. Can I conduct business with L&I in-person?

Currently, L&I is offering limited services at the Permit and License Center in the Concourse of the Municipal Services Building. You must make an appointment and comply with certain requirements to visit the Permit and License Center.

  • Please note, if you are filing an application which requires the prerequisite approval of a different department or agency, that approval must be obtained prior to submitting your application with L&I. Please contact that department or agency directly for information regarding the services that they are currently providing.

You can also make an appointment with L&I’s appeals unit to file an appeal with the Board of License and Inspection Review (BLIR), Board of Building Standards (BBS), or Plumbing Advisory Board (PAB).

9. How do I schedule an inspection?

All inspections should be scheduled through L&I’s automated (IVR) phone system. The number is (215) 255-4040.

You must call at least 24-hours in advance.

10. How do I prepare my construction site for an inspection?

The L&I inspector will call at least 15 minutes before arrival so that workers have time to finish preparing the site. The following arrangements must be made conditions must be in place:

  • All workers who are not needed to help carry out the inspection must clear the area being inspected.
  • Masks and gloves must be worn by anyone accompanying the inspector during the site visit.
  • Approved plans must be on site and arranged such that the portions showing the specific areas being inspected are visible.
  • The L&I inspector must have ready access to all areas subject to inspection.
  • No paper certifications or reports can be submitted, digital copies shall be emailed

Do not hand paper certifications or reports to the inspector during the site visit. Digital copies must be submitted via email.

At the inspector’s discretion, you may need to take video, provide photo documentation, or otherwise participate in alternative or supplementary methods of inspection.

Noncompliant construction

11. How do I report construction sites that are not following masking or other COVID  guidelines?

Call 311 or (215) 686-8686 if you are outside Philadelphia.

12. What happens if a contractor is found violating masking or other COVID guidelines?

Failure to comply with all COVID-19 related requirements issued by the Commonwealth or City could result in penalties being imposed, including but not limited to, notices of violation, fines of up to $2,000 per violation per day, stop-work orders, and suspension or revocation of the contractor’s license.