Philadelphia stakeholders join Build with Strength coalition

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association-aligned Build with Strength coalition has enlisted International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1291 and Mayfair Civic Association as its newest members. The Philadelphia groups join civic organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts who are committed to a) enacting safer and more sustainable building standards; and, b) closely tracking an increase in fires damaging or destroying low- to mid-rise buildings designed with combustible materials.

ILA 1291 has served the Port of Philadelphia for decades, and is teaming with the coalition out of concern for fire safety. “Our dedication to Philadelphia extends beyond our Local, and at the end of the day it is essential for our members and community to live and work in fire-safe buildings,” says President Boise Butler. “Our alliance with Build with Strength has been a natural next step to solidifying our commitment to fire prevention.”

“[The] partnership gives us an opportunity to strengthen our understanding of local needs, work together to develop stronger building codes and educate the community on the importance of building with non-combustible materials,” affirms Build with Strength spokesperson Kevin Lawlor. “The Local, under the leadership of Boise Butler, is unwavering in their dedication to fire safety in the city of Philadelphia.”

The second new member parallels grass roots outreach through which the coalition has gained critical mass in Los Angeles, another major metropolitan area target. “Working alongside Mayfair Civic Association allows us greater access to local residents and community leaders, providing valuable insight into the needs of Philadelphia,” Lawlor observes. “There is undoubtedly a troubling trend of weakened building codes across the United States, and as a coalition we are dedicated to strengthening those standards for the benefit of neighborhoods like Mayfair.”

“The people of Mayfair, and Philadelphia as a whole, deserve to live and work in safe buildings,” affirms Kevin Leonard, vice president of Mayfair Civic Association, whose members support their northeast Philadelphia neighborhood with programs bridging the activities of residents, businesses and institutions. “As an organization, we understand from a programmatic perspective how stronger building codes can drive invest[ment] in a community long term.”

As the population of Philadelphia and other urban centers across the U.S. increases, the demand for housing continues to grow. To safeguard communities, particularly those that are home to low- and moderate-income residents at greatest risk of substandard building practices, Build with Strength members are working to tighten local and state codes to require the use of non-combustible materials.