On average, Americans spend close to 90 percent of their time inside buildings! That’s why building safety is so important. The Department of Licenses and Inspections and code officials around the world observe Building Safety Month each May to emphasize building safety.

You can participate in Building Safety Month today and every day by taking commonsense actions to protect your home and family. For example:

  1. Only hire licensed contractors. You can search for licensed contractors on the L&I website and take steps to learn more about them. L&I’s licensed contractor search now notifies you if a contractor you’re researching has been sanctioned by L&I for violating contractor licensing requirements. You can also check whether L&I has suspended or revoked a contractor’s license.
  2. Permits are a must. Never work without a permit, make sure your contractor gets required permits, and call 311 to report unpermitted work. Permits aren’t “red tape”. They trigger L&I plan reviews and inspections that make sure that certified professionals are evaluating whether construction projects meet safety standards.
  3. Report basement digging. Digging out basements can be deadly. If done improperly, basement dig outs can undermine shared foundation walls and cause collapses. Call 311 weekdays and 911 nights and weekends if you see digging or buckets of dirt being carried out of a property.
  4. Check for smoke alarms. If you are a property owner and you can’t afford smoke alarms, you can call 311 to request that the Philadelphia Fire Department install them in your home. If you are a renter, your landlord is required to install smoke alarms on every level of the house. You can call 311 to report the lack of smoke alarms and L&I will send out an inspector. Have smoke alarms? Keep them connected to their power source (could be the home’s electrical system or a non-removable battery) and don’t forget to test them.
  5. Prepare for severe weather. The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season is here! Take steps now to reduce flood risks later.
  6. Have vacant and open properties sealed. Unsecured vacant properties pose fire and crime risks. When you report vacant properties that are open to trespass to 311, L&I takes action to have the property sealed by the property owner or L&I’s Clean and Seal Unit.