12A — May 15 - 28, 2015 — Pennsylvania — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


PA’ s P rojects /B uilding S ervices Urban Engineers Importance of special inspections increasing in urban development


onstruction and special inspections are under- way on the new Com-

P.E., LEED AP, the project is the realization of a dream, “I always wanted to be part of a team that transforms Philadel- phia’s skyline.” DiValentino, who will be overseeing a team of special inspectors, will carefully monitor the project from its first foundation to its completion in 2017. According to DiValentino, the special inspections team is critical to the development process. “Special inspections have often been considered just a regulatory requirement,” he said. “Now, however, building owners are realizing that a qualified, proactive team can

drive quality construction which helps reduce long-term mainte- nance costs.”

hire accredited special inspec- tion agencies for their projects. The City of Philadelphia’s

structure. “There were no defined qualifications outside of those identified by the IBC and the department assumed little responsibility in ensuring ad- equate communication between the contractor, design profes- sional, and special inspector,” said Elizabeth Baldwin, P.E., the development division direc- tor for the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspection. According to Baldwin, the op- portunity for improvement was highlighted during an evalua- tion for accreditation in 2013 by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), a subsidiary of the International Code Council. “We were reminded that the primary cause of structural fail- ure was inadequate inspection and the critical importance of a cohesive program,” she said. “We immediately took steps to improve the program.” As a result, by September 2015, the Department of Licenses and Inspections will require formal registration for both special inspection businesses, as well as the individual spe- cial inspectors. “Our ultimate goal is the protection of public safety through the enforcement of sound construction practice,” Baldwin said. “Quality assur- ance of critical construction components by individuals with the necessary, special- ized expertise is integral to the achievement of this goal.” Urban Engineers has been ahead of the curve in providing special inspections as these cit- ies adopt stricter requirements. The firm is poised to be one of the first to gain IAS ac- creditation in Philadelphia while its New York City prac- tice has been accredited since 2012. Additionally, the firm is registered with the New York City Department of Buildings as a Class 1 Special Inspec- tion Agency in 40 inspection categories. “Professionals who really know the science behind the built environment are pre- pared to make more accurate decisions that not only lead to a better constructed building, but also directly and positively affect the owner’s bottom line,” DiValentino said. He hopes to bring this message to more building owners. “One day,” he said, “I hope to walk down the Philadelphia’s streets with my children, proudly point to the skyline, and say ‘I had something to do with that”. n

cast Innova- tion and Tech- nology Center at 1800 Arch Street in Cen- ter City Phila- delphia. T h e $ 1 . 2 billion, LEED P l a t i n u m

Urban Engineers has been ahead of the curve in providing special inspections as these cities adopt stricter requirements. The firm is poised to be one of the first to gain IAS accreditation in Philadelphia while its New York City practice has been accredited since 2012.

John DiValentino

In fact, so important are spe- cial inspections to the success and safety of building construc- tion that places like New York City and now Philadelphia are requiring building owners to

Department of Licenses and In- spections has always enforced special inspections since they were incorporated in the Inter- national Building Code (IBC), but the City’s program lacked

glass and stainless steel tower headlines the unprecedented $4.7 billion of development in the works for the city. For Urban Engineers’ John DiValentino,

Providing Special Inspections for: Comcast Innovation and Technology Center Philadelphia, PA



urbanengineers .com


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