Pennsylvania

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The codes applicable to work for which a construction permit is sought on or after October 1, 2018, are the 2015 International Codes issued by the International Code Council (ICC),  and the provisions amended by the UCC Review & Advisory Council (RAC). Only these codes as first published and their errata are applicable in Pennsylvania. For further information about the codes and standards adopted, click on the link to the UCC Codes https://www.dli.pa.gov/ucc/Pages/UCC-Codes.aspx.

Please note the following exceptions to the statement made above about the applicability of the 2015 ICC Codes:

Where a design or construction contract for proposed work was signed prior to October 1, 2018, a permit may be issued utilizing the 2009 International Codes, Chapter 11 and Appendix E of the 2015 International Building Code and the accessibility provisions of the 2015 International Existing Building Code until March 31, 2019.

Current Code:
2015 IECC with Amendments
Amendments / Additional State Code Information:

The RAC voted to adopt the IECC of 2015 in its entirety except: Section C104.2.6 (relating to final inspection); and Section C408.2.4 (relating to preliminary commissioning report).  



Approved Compliance Tools: Can use COMcheck
Approximate Energy Efficiency: Equivalent to 2015 IECC
Effective Date:
Oct. 01, 2018
Adoption Date:
Sep. 28, 2018
Code Enforcement:
Mandatory
DOE Determination: ASHRAE 90.1-2007: Yes
ASHRAE 90.1-2010: No
ASHRAE 90.1-2013: No

Energy cost savings for Pennsylvania resulting from the state updating its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law are significant, estimated to be on the order of nearly $300 million annually by 2030.
Pennsylvania DOE Determination Letter, May 31, 2013

Pennsylvania State Certification of Commercial and Residential Building Energy Codes
Current Code:
2015 IECC with Amendments
Amendments / Additional State Code Information:

The ''International Energy Conservation Code of 2015[.]'' [The following portions of the International Energy Conservation Code of 2015 are adopted] except that:

 [(i) Section R202 only to the extent that this section contains the definition of ''insulated siding.''

 (ii) Section R402.2.4 (relating to access hatches and doors).

 (iii) Section R402.2.8 (relating to floors).

 (iv) Table R402.4.1.1 only to the extent the row for ''floors'' was amended.

 (v) Section 402.1.3 (relating to r-value computation).]

 (i) The following provisions are excluded:

 (A) Section R102.1.1 (relating to above code programs).

 (B) Section C104.2.6 (relating to final inspection).

 (C) Section R403.3.5 (relating to building cavities (mandatory)).

 (D) Section R403.5.2 (relating to demand recirculation systems).

 (E) Table R406.4 (relating to maximum energy rating index).

 (F) Section C408.2.4 (relating to preliminary commissioning report).

 (ii) The following provisions are modified:

 (A) Chapter RE 2 is amended by adding the definition of ''framing factor'' as the fraction of the total building component area that is structural framing.

 (B) Table R402.1.2 (relating to insulation and fenestration requirements by component) is amended by adding ''or 18 + 6.5H'' to climate zone 6 wood frame wall R-value.

 (C) Table R402.1.2 (relating to insulation and fenestration requirements by components) is amended by adding footnote j which permits R-18 insulation to be permitted in place of R-20 requirement provided the wall framing factor is 20% or less or exterior walls with 24" o.c. nominal vertical stud spacing.

(D) Section R402.4.1.2 (relating to testing) is amended as having an air leakage rate not exceeding five air changes per hour for all climate zones.

 (E) Section R405.2 (relating to mandatory requirements) is amended to require compliance with the mandatory provisions of section R402.4.1.2.

 (iii) The following provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code of 2009 are adopted:

 (A) Section 102.1.1 (relating to above code programs).

 (B) Section 104.3 (relating to final inspection).

 (C) Section 403.2.3 (relating to building cavities).

 (iv) The following provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code of 2018 are adopted:

 (A) Section R403.3.6 (relating to ducts buried within ceiling insulation).

 (B) Section R403.3.7 (relating to ducts located in conditioned space).

 (C) Table R406.4 including footnote ''a'' (relating to maximum energy rating index).

 

 The RAC voted to adopt the IEBC in its entirety except that it voted to modify Section 101.2 (relating to scope) to add an exception for detached residential buildings and townhouses not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures to comply with either the IEBC of 2015 or the IRC of 2015. As such, the Department is amending paragraph (a)(10) to incorporate the IEBC of 2015 with the exception regarding detached residential buildings and townhouses no more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress. In addition, the Department is deleting subparagraphs (a)(10)(i) and (ii), which are now redundant because these clauses represented a previous decision to adopt portions of the IEBC of 2015 and are now incorporated in the main body of paragraph (a)(10).

A permit applicant may utilize one of the following prescriptive methods to demonstrate compliance with the energy conservation requirements of the Uniform Construction Code. The standards are those listed for the climatic zone of this Commonwealth where the building or structure is located:

 (1) The prescriptive methods for detached residential buildings contained in the [current version of the] ''International Energy Conservation Code of 2015'' compliance guide containing State maps, prescriptive energy packages and related software published by the United States Department of Energy, Building Standards and Guidelines Program (REScheckTM) or ''Pennsylvania's Alternative Residential Energy Provisions.''

The UCC regulations provide for the use of an alternative to Chapter 11 of the International Residential Code (or Chapter 4 (RE) of the International Energy Conservation Code), to demonstrate compliance with the energy conservation requirements of the UCC. This alternative compliance path, which can be obtained by clicking on the link below, was developed by the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center at Penn State University and is entitled "Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Provisions" .

Pennsylvania Alternative 2009 (if complying with the 2009 International Codes)

Pennsylvania Alternative 2018 (if complying with the 2015 International Codes)Opens In A New Window



Approved Compliance Tools: Can use REScheck
Approximate Energy Efficiency: Equivalent to 2015 IECC
Effective Date:
Oct. 01, 2018
Adoption Date:
Sep. 28, 2018
Code Enforcement:
Mandatory
Jurisdictions:
DOE Determination: 2009 IECC: Yes
2012 IECC: No
2015 IECC: No

Energy cost savings for Pennsylvania resulting from the state updating its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law are significant, estimated to be on the order of nearly $300 million annually by 2030.
Pennsylvania DOE Determination Letter, May 31, 2013

Pennsylvania State Certification of Commercial and Residential Building Energy Codes
Code Change Process:
Regulatory
Code Change Cycle:
Automatic Adoption
Timeline of Cycle:
Every 3 years

State Owned / Funded Buildings

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is responsible for enforcement of energy code requirements (and all other building code requirements) in all State-owned buildings, no matter where they are located. State-funded buildings that are not owned by the State are approved for energy compliance by all municipalities that have elected to administer and enforce the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) or, where municipalities have elected not to enforce the UCC, by the Department (commercial construction) and certified third-party agencies (residential construction) hired by the residential property owner.

Adoption Process

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has the authority and responsibility to promulgate and upgrade commercial and residential energy standards, respectively, every three years, through the state's regulatory process. The code modification process does not involve public meetings, if the regulatory changes proposed only entail the adoption of the latest versions of the ICC International Codes.

Enforcement Process

Municipalities are intended to be the primary enforcement agents of energy and other building code requirements, but they are allowed to opt out of this responsibility.

As of January 1, 2011, 2,396 (94.5%) municipalities have elected to administer and enforce the UCC (are "opt-ins") and 166 (5.5%) have elected not to administer and enforce the UCC (are "opt-outs").

Opt-in municipalities may enforce the UCC in a variety of ways. They may employ their own code officials. They may retain one or more third-party agencies to enforce the UCC on their behalf. They may utilize an inter-municipal agreement that allows multiple municipalities to provide code enforcement services through a single agency. And, they may contract with a neighboring municipality to utilize its code enforcement officers.

In opt-out municipalities, the Department of Labor & Industry performs all commercial code enforcement; certified third-party agencies hired by individual property owners perform residential code enforcement.

Compliance Process

In addition to the compliance paths in the 2015 IECC, REScheck and COMcheck are acceptable methods of compliance. For residential buildings, use of the prescriptive Alternative Residential Energy Provisions published by the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center is allowed.

Background

The Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (Act 45 of 1999) established a State building code, the Uniform Construction Code (UCC), that must be complied with in all Pennsylvania jurisdictions.

The PA UCC first took effect on April 9, 2004 with the adoption and use of the ICC's International Codes 2003.

Effective December 31, 2006, the International Codes 2006 were adopted and enforced throughout Pennsylvania.

Effective December 31, 2009, the International Codes 2009 were adopted and enforced throughout Pennsylvania.

Currently, the UCC allows builders the choice between a number of compliance paths for residential construction. Builders may choose the 2009 IECC, the 2009 IRC (Chapter 11) or the 2009 Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions (PA-Alt). The PA-Alt is intended to be easier to use, an alternative to the 2006 IRC, and equivalent to the 2009 IECC. Previous versions of the PA-Alt were published in 2003 and 2006.

In Act 106 of 2008, the General Assembly established the RAC whose members represent industry sectors that participate in the various aspects relating to building construction including building component design, construction, building code enforcement and local government representation. The RAC is charged to review the periodic changes to the revised ICC codes prior to adoption into the UCC. See 35 P.S. § 7210.107.

Three years ago, for the 2015 review cycle, the RAC decided only to adopt 16 provisions in all the 2015 ICC codes. This was subsequent to the RAC's 2012 decision to not adopt any portion of the 2012 ICC codes. As a result, the legislature amended the adoption procedure. Act 36 of 2017 directed the RAC to conduct a complete review of the 2015 ICC codes, disregarding the RAC's previous action on the 2015 Codes. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(i). For this review, the RAC was required to hold only one public meeting, 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(ii)(B), with a 30-day public comment period. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(ii)(A). The RAC was also permitted to rely on the technical analysis of the 2015 edition of the ICC codes performed during the previous review of the 2015 codes. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(ii)(D). If the 2015 ICC Codes updated the 2012 ICC Code provisions, then the RAC was free to consider those updated provisions. However, the RAC was to review any sections of the 2015 ICC codes that did not update the 2012 ICC sections only if two-thirds of the RAC determined a review to be necessary. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(iii).

For the 2015 code review, the RAC was required to submit a report to the Secretary of Labor and Industry outlining the ICC codes that the RAC was adopting or modifying. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(b). The recommendations of the RAC must be adopted by the Department ''without change,'' 35 P.S. § 7210.304(a)(1), and are to be effective on October 1, 2018. 35 P.S. § 7210.108(a)(1)(i)(B).

 After its review of the 2015 ICC codes was complete, the RAC submitted its report to the Secretary on May 1, 2018, outlining 37 different recommendations. On June 12, 2018, and July 23, 2018, the RAC submitted amended reports. Under section 304(a)(1) of the act the Department is required to promulgate final-omitted regulations adopting, ''without change'' the provisions of the ICC Codes outlined in the RAC's July 23, 2018, amended report. 35 P.S. § 7210.304(a)(1).