Pennsylvania regulates the construction of new and existing buildings by passing and implementing state building codes. All construction professionals require being aware of these codes to confirm compliance when constructing building in the state. Construction contractors and engineers should be aware of the online and offline sources of PA building codes for ready access when the need arises.
Construction in Pennsylvania must comply with the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (35 P.S. Sections 7210.101 et seq.), Act of November 10, 1999 (P.L. 491, No. 45), as implemented by Department of Labor and Industry regulations, 34 Pa. Code Chapters 401, 403, and 405. Since, December 2006, Pennsylvania's statewide building code is referred to as the Uniform Construction Code (UCC).
The codes currently in use under the UCC are the 2009 International Codes issued by the International Code Council. For design and development of public buildings, indoor facilities, and park facilities, the UCC regulations and statues must be followed.
The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; PA Act 235 of 1965, as amended, Universal Accessibility Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended- Construction of any new facilities built, renovated, or acquired by the Municipal Grantee/Non-Profit with DCNR funding should adhere to these regulations. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards) are available at the US Department of Justice website.
Status of 2012 I-Codes Adoption
The UCC Review and Advisory Council (RAC) is responsible for reviewing new and amended provisions contained in triennial revisions of the ICC codes, except for the accessibility provisions, and must inform the Department of any code provisions that should be excluded from the UCC. On April, 19, 2012, the UCC RAC informed the Department that no ICC 2012 triennial code revisions shall be adopted. Therefore, the 2009 edition of the ICC codes will remain in effect.
Administration and Enforcement of the UCC
Over 90% of Pennsylvania's 2,562 municipalities have elected to administer and enforce the UCC locally, and use their own employees or via certified third party agencies or private code enforcement agencies, that they have retained. In these municipalities, the Department has no code enforcement authority, except where the municipality lacks the services of a person certified as an "Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner."
If a municipality has "opted out," the Department is accountable for all commercial code enforcement in that municipality. The Department also has sole jurisdiction for all elevators and all state-owned buildings, irrespective of their location. Certified third party agencies hired by property owners or their contractors enforce the residential requirements of the UCC in all opt-out municipalities.
Codes and Standards Enforced Under the UCC
The codes applicable to work for which a construction permit is sought on or after January 1, 2013, are the 2009 International Codes issued by the International Code Council (ICC) and Chapter 11 and Appendix E of the 2012 International Building Code. Only these codes as first published and their errata are applicable in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania currently uses various building codes followed by the International Code Council. The term "Illinois Uniform Construction Code" is used in this state to mean these set of codes. Hence, as far as code adoption is concerned, the PA building codes are outsourced. Besides, the International Code Council has no regulatory authority as the state of Illinois and its cities are the regulation and enforcement bodies for Illinois construction. In certain municipalities, the Illinois Department of Labor and Industry directly inspects and implements building codes. Though in various places, the municipality does the inspections and enforcement.
Pennsylvania has a statewide building code, UCC, which is updated every few years. Hence, it is important to track the Department of Labor and Industry and see the changes made to PA building codes. PA uses the following international codes:
Some other building codes followed in the state are:
|Code Type||Code Model|
|Building/Dwelling Code||IBC 2009|
|Structural Code||IBC 2009|
|Plumbing Code||IPC 2009|
|Mechanical Code||IMC 2009|
|Electrical Code||IBC 2009, Chapter 27 (Must comply with NEC 2008)|
|Fire/Life Safety Code||IFC 2009|
|Accessibility Code(Applies as a mandatory minimum to all buildings)||IBC 2009, Ch. 11 & ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003|
|Energy Code||IECC 2009|
|Elevator Code||Pennsylvania Elevator Regulation Law and PA Code, Title 34 Pa Code Chapter 405|
|Gas Code||IFGC 2009|
|Boiler Code||ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code (Pennsylvania Boiler Law and Regulations)|