Residential and Commercial > State Code Status: Pennsylvania

State Code Status: Pennsylvania


Current Commercial Code

Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, based on the 2009 IECC with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2007
Passed 12/10/2009, effective 12/31/2009

✔ Can use COMcheck to show compliance.

Current Residential Code

Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, based on the 2009 IECC, 2009 IRC, and state-specific alternative energy code
Passed 12/10/2009, effective 12/31/2009

✔ Can use REScheck to show compliance.

Although Pennsylvania is still using the 2009 IECC, several residential provisions from the 2015 IECC have been adopted as of January 1, 2016:

  • Section R202 only to the extent that this section contains the definition of “insulated siding”
  • Section R402.2.4 (relating to access hatches and doors)
  • Section R402.2.8 (relating to floors)
  • Table R402.4.1.1 only to the extent the row for “floors” was amended
  • Section 402.1.3 (relating to r-value computation)

Uniform Construction Code regulations allow compliance to be shown through the Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions, developed by the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center at Penn State University.

Read more about:

Pennsylvania climate zones

Climate Zones: 4A, 5A, 6A


Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

Regulatory:The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has the authority to promulgate and upgrade the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC). Legislation requires that by December 31 of the year in which is issued “a new triennial BOCA National Building Code, or its successor building code”, and/or “a new triennial ICC International One and Two Family Dwelling Code, or its successor building code”, the department promulgate regulations adopting the new codes. Modifications to the code are reviewed through a series of public meetings and hearings.

As of 2011, amendments to the Uniform Construction Code Act of 1999 require 2/3 approval for any code update proposals by the DLI Review and Advisory Council (RAC). Among other changes, the RAC is required to submit a report on any proposed changes within 12 months of the official publication of ICC’s triennial code updates.

Code Change Cycle

Generally reviewed every three years with the publication of the new editions of the I-codes.

Next Code Update

Unknown

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History

September 2014

Pennsylvania is selected as one of eight states to participate in DOE’s residential energy code field study. You can read more about Pennsylvania’s portion of that project here.

April 2012

The Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Review and Advisory Council (RAC) meets in Harrisburg to discuss the Council’s upcoming report to the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) on its January 18th decision to decline action reviewing the 2012 ICC Codes, including the 2012 IECC, for potential adoption. This report must be submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) by July 31st. The Council also discusses matters pertaining to the extension of construction code update cycles.

2011

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passes legislation significantly altering the process to update the state’s construction codes, the 2009 I-codes. On January 31, a bill (HB 377) is introduced that would amend the Uniform Construction Code Act of 1999 to require 2/3 approval for any code update proposals by the DLI RAC. Among other changes, the RAC would be required to submit a report on any proposed changes within 12 months of the official publication of ICC’s triennial code updates. HB 377 also repeals the residential sprinkler provisions of the 2009 IRC and reverted to the 2006 wall bracing requirements.

The bill is approved by the House on March 7. The Senate approves amendments on April 12, and the House concurs April 13. Governor Tom Corbett signs the legislation in law as Act 1 on April 25. The UCC has been subject to rollback attempts before in both the legislature and state courts.

August 25, 2010

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dismisses the case in which the Pennsylvania Builders Association challenged the constitutionality of the 2009 Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and its implementation of the 2009 ICC Codes. Enforcement of the 2009 UCC continues.

January 19, 2010

The Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) files a complaint against the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I), challenging the constitutionality of delegating legislative authority to the International Code Council. PBA also requests a preliminary injunction that would suspend the application of the updated UCC. The case is heard on March 1st in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania by Judge Johnny J. Butler. On March 10th, Judge Butler issues a decision denying the PBA’s request. The denial of the injunction allows the updated UCC, which has been in effect since January 1, to continue to be enforced.

December 10, 2009

After holding a public meeting, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approves a regulation adopting the 2009 Uniform Construction Code (UCC) – which incorporates the 2009 IECC with alternative compliance paths through the 2009 IRC (Chapter 11) and the 2009 Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions – as the Commonwealth’s new energy code for residential and commercial construction. It will be effective January 1, 2010.

The RAC reviews the 2009 IECC in April 2009 and informs DLI that no provisions of the 2009 IECC are to be excluded. DLI’s Regulation 12-89 adopting the 2009 I-Codes was submitted to the IRRC and legislative committees on October 23.

February 13, 2009

House Bill 444 is referred to the Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy. HB 444 would have required the design, construction, and renovation of state-owned or state-leased buildings to comply with specified energy and environmental building standards. HB 444 eventually dies in the Senate.

February 10, 2009

Governor Rendell appoints the 19 members of the RAC.

October 10, 2008

Governor Rendell signs into law Act 106 of 2008. The legislation amends the UCC by establishing the UCC Review and Advisory Council (RAC). The council of 19 members, appointed by the Governor from various construction industry trades and professions as well as local government, is charged with making recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly and the DLI regarding proposed changes to Act 45 of 1999 (the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act) and changes that appear in the International Codes enforceable under this act.

November 1999

The Pennsylvania Legislature passes Act 45, the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Act of 1999 (since amended in 2004), mandating a statewide building code across Pennsylvania. The legislation requires the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to promulgate regulations to implement the requirements of the legislation and, in addition, to consider the development of alternative prescriptive methods for energy conservation that account for the various climatic regions within the Commonwealth. In deriving these energy standards, the DLI was to seek to balance energy savings with initial construction costs.

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State Toolkit

This feature allows users to track progress towards goals of adoption, compliance, and implementation in their state. If you have any updates about strides that your state has made in any of the categories below, please contact BCAP.

The Pennsylvania toolkit is currently under construction.

 


Contacts

Joseph Marchioni
UCC Administrator
Department of Labor and Industry
Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety

Email: jmarchioni@pa.gov

Edward Leister
Chief Building Official
Department of Labor and Industry
Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety

Email: eleister@state.pa.us

Mike Turns
Senior Program Manager, Performance Systems
Penn Residential Codes Initiative
Email: mturns@psdconsulting.com

Libby Dodson
Energy Efficiency Programs
Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance (OPPEA)
Department of Environmental Protection
Email: libdodson@pa.gov

Carolyn Sarno Goldthwaite
Senior Program Manager
High Performance Buildings
Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)
Email: cgoldthwaite@neep.org


News and Events

STEP into the Sun:
Solar Training for Design Professionals

February 27th | Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Building Officials Conference (PENNBOC)
September 13-15, 2017
Ramada Inn, State College, PA


BCAP Projects

Compliance Collaboratives
Compliance Planning Assistance


BCAP Resources

Helpful Links

Basic Facts

Population: 12,802,503 (US Census Bureau, 2015)

Construction Activity:
New Privately Owned Housing Units Authorized by Permit Type (US Census Construction Statistics)

Year 2014 2015
Total Units 25,059 22,854
1 unit 16,371 15,420
2 units 420 332
3 or 4 units 664 666
5 or more units 7,604 6,436

CO2 Emissions:

Commercial buildings: 10.1 MMT
Residential buildings: 19.7 MMT
(EIA, 2015)

Energy data:

Commercial building energy consumption:
631 trillion BTU in 2012

Residential building energy consumption:
930 trillion BTU in 2012

Commercial building energy expenditures:
$6.14 billion in 2012

Residential building energy expenditures:
$12.64 billion in 2012

Energy snapshot: According to EIA's 2009 state brief, Pennsylvania households consume an average of 96 million Btu per year, 8% more than the national average. Residents in the state also spend 16% more than the national average on household energy costs.

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This page was last modified on: February 13, 2017