Services / Inspections / Pittsburgh Façades

What is the Façade Ordinance?

The International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted by the City of Pittsburgh and amended by City Code, requires that every building façade be inspected by a licensed engineer or architect at 5 year intervals (every fifth year after the date of the original inspection) in order to determine the structural soundness of items covered in sections 304.8, 304.9, and 304.11 (See below).

The code states:

304.1.1 Required Inspections: All buildings and structures except Use Group R-3, shall be inspected by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect to determine the structural soundness of items covered in Sections 304.8, 304.9 and 304.11, and their reports shall bear their signature and seal. All inspections made prior to the adoption of this code shall continue on their previous schedule at five year intervals. All new inspections shall be completed within one year of the adoption of this code and successive inspections shall be made every fifth year after the date of the original inspection.

304.8 Decorative features. All cornices, belt courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings, and similar decorative features shall be maintained in good repair with proper anchorage and in a safe condition.

304.9 Overhang extensions. All overhang extensions including, but not limited to canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, fire escapes, standpipes and exhaust ducts shall be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored so as to be kept in a sound condition. When required, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment. 

304.11 Chimneys and towers. All chimneys, cooling towers, smoke stacks, and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally safe and sound, and in good repair. All exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.

What buildings are affected?

All buildings and structures except Use Group R-3 (single-family residences and daycare or rooming house facilities with 5 or fewer residents) require inspections.

Who can perform these inspections?

Required façade inspections and maintenance must be performed a licensed Pennsylvania architect or professional engineer. Property owners are responsible for contacting their own third party licensed professional and placing a report on file for review by a City of Pittsburgh Fire Inspector or Combined Operations Inspector upon request.

What does the report entail?

Reports prepared by the inspector will include a detailed report outlining the structural soundness of items covered in Sections 304.8, 304.9 and 304.1 and must bear inspector’s signature and seal.

What happens if I receive a notice of Violation from the city?

If you have received a notice a violation from the City of Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections (PLI) regarding façade inspections, immediately contact your inspector and send your current 5-year inspection report. If you do not have a 5-year inspection report, you are responsible for contacting a licensed professional to arrange for inspection.

We Can Help!

PVE has extensive experience assisting clients with all aspects of the building inspection process, helping to assure that owners remain in compliance with the city of Pittsburgh’s façade safety requirements. Our services are comprised of the examination itself, along with all required follow-up work, including preparing contracts for the repairs, assisting in bidding and negotiation with qualified contractors, and performing construction phase services.

To arrange for an examination, or if you have any questions regarding the process, contact our office on 724-444-1100 or email structures@pve-llc.com


Additional Information:

Click here to view the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections website.

Click here to view the façade inspections section on the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections website.

Click here to visit the City of Pittsburgh’s website.