Philadelphia L&I ‘holds’ system flawed


L&I ‘holds’ system flawed
The Department of Licenses and Inspections instituted an idea in July 2013 called “the hold.” According to L&I officials, that meant a builder’s certificate of occupancy – which declares a new building inhabitable – was delayed until his fines were settled and violations corrected. Placing the hold in the L&I computer system had an unforeseen consequence – the inspectors couldn’t schedule inspections because the system precluded further input. And, while inspections were sidelined by the glitch, contractors continued to do their work and completed projects – without inspections. L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams ended the policy of placing holds in December 2014. But by doing so, department officials say, records of projects put on hold were eliminated, having been automatically overwritten by the computer program and wiping clean the accounting of projects that were completed without inspections. Beth Grossman, Williams’ chief of staff, said by e-mail that holds “never prohibited building inspectors from performing their…inspections.” And she wrote, “Commissioner Williams never ordered notations of holds purged” from the computer system. Williams declined to be interviewed.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 5/26/2015


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