Injunction Sought Against New Building Codes in Pennsylvania

February 2010Newsletters In the Zone

In an e-mail communication circulated to its membership, the Pennsylvania Builders Association discussed its efforts to protect home buyers from the dramatic increase in costs associated with complying with the 2009 International Residential Code, which went into effect in Pennsylvania on January 1, 2010. The largest single new expense will likely be the inclusion of mandated sprinklers for residential homes. While sprinkler prices are a function of home layout, water availability and other issues, the Pennsylvania Builders Association reports that builders are currently paying roughly $3.30 per square foot. For a new home of 2,500 square feet, the new cost would translate into $8,250 per home.

Additional new code provisions related to structural, energy, mechanical, electrical and sprinkler changes predict total new construction costs to exceed over $15,000 per new home.

In response, the Pennsylvania Builders Association plans on filing a complaint in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, as well as petitioning for a motion of a preliminary injunction, to stop the enforcement of those codes across Pennsylvania.

It is important to reiterate that the building codes currently in effect as of January 1, 2010, are the 2009 I-Codes, pending the outcome of the injunction and/or the complaint. And, even if successful, any court actions could be rendered moot by the Pennsylvania General Assembly should it choose to enact legislation that specifically identifies which building code governs the Commonwealth.

For more information, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr. at 215.918.3636 or [email protected].