PA Labor & Industry Rules on Excessive Building Code Ordinance

September 2010Newsletters In the Zone

On August 18, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry ruled on the validity of a Roaring Brook Township, Lackawanna County building code ordinance. The township ordinance, enacted on October 1, 2009, required that plans be sealed by a licensed design professional.

The ordinance stipulated every application for a construction permit for a new residential dwelling or townhouse in the township, including any additions more than 1,000 square feet, include plans signed and sealed by a design professional licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The ordinance was challenged by the Pennsylvania Builders Association and a hearing was held in July 2010 before the Department.

As a result of the successful challenge, the Department of Labor and Industry ruled that the township’s ordinance was null and void because it exceeded the minimum standards set by the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC).

Municipal ordinances can only exceed the UCC if they have been grandfathered or can demonstrate a compelling local interest in exceeding the building code.

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