We spend most of our time in and around buildings, but rarely think about everything it takes to make buildings safe places for us to live, work, and play.
To elevate and promote building safety, Building Safety Month campaigns are held across the world each year. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) and the local construction, design, and public safety communities are currently observing the 41st annual Building Safety Month in Philadelphia. L&I’s various units and divisions have different functions and expertise, but they all work together – before, during, and after construction — towards the same goal of building safety that protects all Philadelphians.
Last year, the concept of “building safety” took on new meaning in light of the need to slow the spread of COVID-19. L&I, trade unions, contractors, and industry associations worked together to establish safety practices that allowed construction to restart gradually and safely in Philadelphia beginning May 2020.
The meaning of “building safety” has also expanded to cover the important role modern building codes play in addressing severe weather and climate change.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has concluded that modern building codes like Philadelphia’s are “one of the most cost-effective ways of safeguarding our communities against natural disasters.”
- Requiring and enforcing construction requirements that make structures more resilient may be lowering property casualty insurance premiums for Philadelphia businesses.
- Buildings are among the largest producers of carbon emissions, but under Philadelphia’s current building codes new commercial construction is up to 30 percent more energy efficient than under previous codes.
- Keeping Philadelphia’s building codes up to date is a component of the City’s strategy for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.