Model Code Savings Potential
|Statewide Savings Potential (2010-2030)||Residential||Commercial|
Consumer Cost Savings
|Consumer Cost Savings||Residential
per 1,000 ft2
|Life-cycle (30 year)||$8125||$2750|
|Simple Payback||3.3 years||0.0 years|
|Positive Cash Flow||0.5 years|
|Code Cost-Effectiveness Analysis||2021 IECC, 2018 IECC, 2015 IECC||ASHRAE 90.1-2019, ASHRAE 90.1-2016, ASHRAE 90.1-2013|
|Energy Code Impacts||Energy Code Impacts, State Fact Sheet||Energy Code Impacts, State Fact Sheet|
|EIA State Energy Profile||EIA State Energy Profile||EIA State Energy Profile|
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).
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 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.