Philly L+I: Contractor “did not comply” after failed March inspection of collapsed Point Breeze home

The contractor was directed “to get an engineer’s report analyzing strength and safety of [the] foundation” in the wake of the inspection, but failed to do so, according to the city's licenses and inspections department.

In the aftermath of the Watkins Street collapse on Monday morning, construction workers clear the property. Damage to the neighboring house can be seen in the background. | Photo by Tom Beck.

A house that collapsed on the 2000 block of Watkins Street in Point Breeze early Saturday morning failed its most recent inspection of its foundation in mid-March, according to city Department of Licenses and Inspections spokeswoman Karen Guss. After the failed inspection, the contractor responsible for the collapse, Platinum Construction and Development of Ambler, was directed to obtain an engineer’s report that analyzed the “strength and safety of [the] foundation,” Guss said.

“It appears [the] contractor did not comply and instead proceeded to frame out the building without getting [the] required framing inspections,” said Guss in an email to the Review.

Furthermore, Guss said, the contractor “may have” been working illegally during the shutdown.

The owner of Platinum Construction, Matt Mullen, said the inspection failure “had nothing to do with the collapse.”

Mullen denies having worked illegally during the shutdown and told the Review that the foundation inspection failed because the plans for the foundation “weren’t detailed enough for the field inspector” – not because the foundation was faulty.

“In this situation there were no structural issues,” he claimed. “Everything was built to code.”

Mullen said the inspector wanted additional plans, which were submitted.

Mullen said the house collapsed because of unexpected gale force winds over the weekend.

“It was a freak wind that came through that wasn’t expected,” he said, noting that the house was about “75 to 80 percent done.”

“The house was going to be complete the next day,” he said.

However, a more detailed reason for the collapse is expected to be released in an engineer’s report on Friday, according to Mullen.

Damage was done to a neighboring house on the same side of the street as a result of the incident. According to L&I records, the contractor had a construction permit for the property.

Guss said that L&I is continuing to investigate whether a suspension or revocation of the contractor’s license is warranted.

Because the house was in the middle of being constructed, no one was living inside it at the time. There were no fatalities or injuries.

According to L&I online records, the property was issued a permit in January for the erection of a structure with a cellar, roof deck and pilot house for use as a single family dwelling.

This story was updated to include quotes from the contractor.