Uniform Construction Code Update

Since our newsletter last summer, the Legislature has amended the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) or statewide building code. In addition to Act 92, the Department of Labor and Industry, which is responsible for enforcement, continues to issue updates and clarifications. 

The most significant change was the exclusion of UCC coverage to residential alterations when there are no structural or egress changes. Even with this code modification, municipalities still may enact an ordinance requiring permits; and if the municipality had a permit requirement for this type of work in effect as of July 1, 1999, it would remain in effect. 

Act 92 also revised the definitions of agricultural building (§103), which now includes certain structures owned and used by recognized religious sects, and utility and miscellaneous use structure, which now allows these buildings to be excluded from the UCC if they are less than 1,000 square feet. For all those readers in the Christmas tree business, the Act excluded certain restrictions on the use of natural cut tress in various occupancy groups. 

In addition to July’s Act 72 changes, the enactment of December’s Act 203 allowed municipalities to continue to utilize municipal standards for sewer and water laterals that were otherwise repealed upon the adoption of the UCC, so long as the standards were in effect by January 1, 2005. 

In addition to the above legislative refinements, the Department of L&I continues to update its interpretation and enforcement. These can be found on the department’s web site www.dli.state.pa.us. From the home page, perform a key word search for “ucc.” The site also provides a comprehensive listing of which municipalities follow the UCC.

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