By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia City Council committee today held its second hearing into the center city building collapse earlier this month that killed six people (see related story).

Committee members got an education on best practices and standards from leading local experts in the field.

Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council (at right in photo), says union members must undergo a rigorous amount of training while many non-union workers, like those on the job at 22nd and Market Streets when the wall collapsed, are untrained and uncertified.

Gillespie says the committee would be wise to develop a set of standards for both the public and private sectors.

“The sobering fact is that we do not have ensconced in any kind of ordinance at all, or permitting process, a protocol for demolition,” he said today.  “We have an awful lot of licensing requirements that lack total enforcement.”

Councilman Jim Kenney railed about building owners who go for the lowest demolition bidder at the expense of safety.
The committee plans to hold three more hearings on the disaster — the next is scheduled for July 11th.




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