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.
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.
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.
In addition to the compliance paths in the 2009 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.
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.
The next code changes will occur by December 31, 2012 (when the 2012 versions of the International Codes are adopted by regulation).
Pennsylvania's current residential code is the 2009 IECC, 2009 IRC, Chapter 11, and/or PA-Alt. Adherence to Pennsylvania's Alternative Residential Energy Provisions 2009 is an acceptable means of demonstrating compliance with the energy conservation code requirements of the Uniform Construction Code.