Will Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code stay stuck in 2009?
Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code

Don’t buy your 2012 International Code Council (ICC) books just yet. It seems that the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council recommended that the state not adopt the 2012 I-Codes according to Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) January 30, 2012 edition. You may remember all the uproar concerning the automatic passage of the 2009 code with its residential sprinkler mandate caused some big changes in Pennsylvania. House Bill 377 of 2011 was passed, which requires a 2/3’s vote from the Review and Advisory Council in order to update the statewide building code during each code cycle.

Interestingly, the process of the Review and Advisory Council requires public input, which was taken this past fall. 140 comments were received and they are available for your viewing pleasure at the Department of Labor and Industry’s website.It becomes clear that builders, manufacturer’s and even some code officials recommended against adoption. Those for energy conservation recommended for the adoption, including the environmentally minded advocacy group, PennFuture. The biggest sticking point of the 2012 I-Codes; the updated Energy Code. I spoke with Lawrence Spielvogel, PE, an independent consulting engineer for 30 years and a contributor of the ANSI/ASHRAE Standards. As he stated in the ENR article, the cost is high, enforcement is difficult and the code itself is complicated.

So where does this leave us? Will we forever remain stuck in 2009? I suppose that’s better than some states that still maintain the 2003 code on their books. It means the Building Code Official and Contractor will stay in his or her comfort zone a little longer. I suspect this isn’t the end of the discussion and I’m sure Harrisburg folks will make their way into the pros and cons of this new development.

Interestingly, I had already bought the ICC A117.1-2009 accessibility code book which would go into effect with the 2012 I-codes so I could begin to understand the changes. It turns out it was money well spent, because the accessibility portion of the code was exempted from House Bill 377 of 2011. That means the ICC A117.1-2009 will become the law of the land on January 1, 2013. So for the time being you can save your money and take care of your 2009 code books – they may be on your shelf for a while.

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