Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, says "no one enforces anything" once a permit is handed out.
Gillespie is testifying as part of a City Council investigation into a recent building that collapsed during demolition, killing six people at an adjacent store.
A demolition subcontractor is now charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Council member James Kenney says the building owner picked the cheapest of five demolition bids, ranging from $130,000 to $500,000.
He says you can't do demolition on the cheap, if it means people aren't trained.
Council member Bobby Henon says anyone with $200 can get a Philadelphia construction permit.