Permit Extension Legislation May Help Postpone Need for Mandatory Sprinklers

October 2010Newsletters In the Zone

On January 1, 2011, Pennsylvania’s statewide building code will require the inclusion of sprinklers in new single family homes. Mandatory residential sprinklers are included in the 2009 International Residential Code, which contains a phase-in for single family homes beginning 2011.

However, for those home builders nearing the construction phase, the recently enacted Act 46 of 2010 — also known as the Permits Extension Legislation (see Section 1601-I) — may offer some minimal relief. Act 46 extends the permit conditions for approvals and permits issued during its so-called “extension period,” which covers the time period from January 1, 2009, through July 1, 2013. Any building permits issued during this time period are relieved until July 2013 from the typical building code requirement to begin and maintain construction activities within 180 days of permit issuance.

Therefore, if a building permit is issued prior to the January 1, 2011, phase-in of mandatory sprinklers for single family homes, permit holders are held to the current building code standards until July 2013. This provision translates into an applicant’s ability to potentially receive a building permit under today's no-sprinkler requirement and hold it for several years without risk of the permit lapsing or the incorporation of mandatory sprinklers.

For more information, please contact Kimberly A. Freimuth at 215.918.3627 or kfrei[email protected].