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Construction site requirements

Builders in Philadelphia must ensure that construction job sites meet certain operational and safety requirements.

Fire watch for combustible buildings

Buildings under construction are often vulnerable to fire. A fire watch must be put in place during off-hours when a building that’s under construction reaches a height of 40 feet.

A fire watch is no longer required once a building’s fire protection systems have been installed and certified.

Fire site safety plan

Developers and building owners for new construction projects must create a fire site safety plan. The plan must describe how the fire watch will be conducted and other fire safety information.

  • If your new construction permit is issued on or after November 1, 2020:
    • Upload your fire site safety plan through eCLIPSE before the initial inspection.
    • See the how-to guide on resolving a permit hold for instructions on how to submit the plan.
    • A review of the fire site safety plan will be part of your initial meeting with a construction inspector at the start of the project.
  • If your new construction permit is issued before November 1, 2020:
    • The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) may notify you that a fire watch is required.
    • By December 1, 2020, you must use eCLIPSE to upload a fire site safety plan or a certification that the height of the building, excluding any rooftop access structure, is less than 40 feet above ground level.

Conducting the fire watch

A fire watch must observe all parts of a property every 30 minutes. In multi-story buildings, there must be at least one person on fire watch for every five floors. The fire watch must be documented in daily fire watch logs. You must make logs available to inspectors on request.

For more information on the fire watch requirement, see the Fire Watch During Construction and Demolition code bulletin and the Construction Site Fire Watch information sheet.

Work site signs

All construction projects that affect the exterior of a building need a project information panel or project information signs.

Project information panel

The owner must make a large project information panel for:

  • New construction or demolition of a building more than three stories tall, or with an average roof height more than 40 ft. above grade.
  • New construction or demolition of a building that covers 10,000 sq. ft. or more.
  • Work performed more than 40 ft. above grade, or above the third story, that affects the exterior of a building.
  • Review the Project information panel: Requirements for major building fact sheet for complete information.

Project information sign

All other construction or demolition projects need a project information sign, except:

  • Work limited to plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or fire suppression installation.
  • Interior work limited to non-structural alterations.

The contractor or owner must complete, print, and post an L&I project sign template. The sign must be printed in color on letter size paper. See the Project information sign fact sheet (non-major projects) for more information.