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Permits, violations & licenses

Get an Excavation Contractor License

Service overview

Notice: This license is available, but will not be required until January 1, 2023.

You need an Excavation Contractor License to perform excavation services in Philadelphia. Excavation services include making any cut, cavity, trench, or depression due to earth removal.

You do not need this license to dig utility trenches, perform geotechnical exploration, or do demolition as long as these activities don’t involve additional excavation.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this license.

Who

Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.

Requirements

Other licenses and registrations

Insurance

You must provide a Certificate of Insurance that includes these minimum amounts:

  • General liability: $2,000,000 per occurrence
  • Automobile liability insurance: $300,000
  • Worker’s compensation:
    • $100,000 per accident
    • $100,000 per employee
    • $500,000 policy limit

Site safety manager

You must identify at least one site safety manager who ensures safe practices on excavation projects. A site safety manager can only be employed by one company. They must also show proof of completion of an approved OSHA 30 and OSHA 3015 safety training course taken within five years of the application date.

License bond

You must have a license bond in the amount of $100,000 issued by a surety company. The surety company must hold a certificate of authority to do business in Pennsylvania and a minimum surety underwriting limitation of $1,000,000.

Tax compliance

The contractor must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Operating requirements

The excavation contractor must follow the contractor requirements.

Where and when

Online

You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.

In person

You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

License fee
$103

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied to the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due upon application approval.

Renewal fee
$103

If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info.

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
  2. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
  5. You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
  7. You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.

Late license payment

If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

How

You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

Online

1
Upload all required documents.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

2
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

1
Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

2
L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

To renew your license, you must:

  • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Have proof of an active insurance policy.
  • Have a current licensing bond.
  • Have eligible site safety manager information on file with L&I. The site safety manager must maintain current OSHA 30 and OSHA 3015 safety training certificates.
    • If L&I has already accepted an OSHA 30 Construction Safety and Health certificate, the supervisor can take 30 continuing education hours in construction or demolition safety instead of retaking the OSHA 30 course. They must get the credits from an approved PA Department of Labor and Industry provider.
    • If L&I has already accepted an OSHA 3015 Excavation, Trenching and Soil mechanics certificate, the supervisor can take 20 continuing education hours in excavation, trenching, and soil mechanics instead of retaking the OSHA 3015 course. They must get the credits from an approved PA Department of Labor and Industry provider.

Forms & instructions


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