PA House Housing & Community Development Committee hosts residential construction protections hearing

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., today hosted a PA House Housing & Community Development Committee public hearing at Philadelphia City Hall on residential construction protections.

During the hearing, the committee heard from three panels of testifiers. On the first panel was Ralph DiPietro, commissioner of Licenses and Inspection, city of Philadelphia; Jennifer Horn, founding partner, Horn Williamson LLC; and Daryn Edwards, co-chair of the Housing and Community Development Task Force, American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania.

The second panel consisted of Venise Whitaker, founder, Riverwards L+I Coalition; Tamica Tanksley, an impacted resident; Michelle Gaffney, an impacted resident; Dr. Terrie Lewine, an impacted resident; and Drew Miller, paralegal for Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

The final panel was made up of Annette Stevens, financial officer, Code Administrators; Shawn Strausbaugh, director of technical services, Code Administrators; and Mary Collins, co-chair of the Government Affairs Committee, Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.

“It’s vital that we pass legislation that protects what is many families’ most valuable asset and possession -- their homes,” Hohenstein said. “I’ve heard numerous heartbreaking stories of families in Philadelphia who have spent thousands on residential construction only to find out that faulty and defective building materials were used in the process, putting an immense financial strain on the families as they search for remediation. Enough is enough; we must put protections in place to end this practice.”

Hohenstein has introduced a package of legislation that would strengthen residential construction protections for families.

"Today, we received important input on how we can improve this package to meet the needs of homeowners and builders,” state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, majority chair of the committee, said. “We also heard the horror stories of code violations, improper installations and major debt incurred by homeowners because of poor construction and bad actors. This committee will work to ensure that proper standards are met, contractors act as good neighbors and homeowners receive a fair deal for their investment."

A recording of the hearing can be found here.