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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 28, 2018 10:43 AM
From: Representative Clint Owlett
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation to Amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (Former House Bill 1409)
I plan to introduce legislation in the near future to amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (Act 45 of 1999) to require that decisions rendered by a local Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Board of Appeals to be honored by any subsequent code administrators that might take jurisdiction over a construction project. My legislation is being introduced in response to a situation in my district where a building owner obtained several variances on a building project from a local UCC Board of Appeals and has had problems with subsequent code administrators honoring those variances.

Specifically, this building owner has been in process, for several years, of attempting to open a restaurant. The owner had code interpretation disputes with the local Third Party Agency and applied for variances from the local UCC Board of Appeals; several variances were granted by the Board. The municipality decided to “opt out” from UCC enforcement, and the Department of Labor & Industry assumed jurisdiction for commercial buildings in the municipality. The department’s UCC enforcement personnel are not legally required to accept the variance decisions previously rendered; and, as of this writing, there is ongoing discussion with the department about the applicability of the previously granted variances.

The problem my bill seeks to address is that the law is silent on the applicability of previously granted variances to interpretations of the code by a subsequent code administrator. I believe that a building owner who spends the time and money on obtaining a variance should not have that variance simply ignored by a future code administrator. I believe my legislation is reasonable and will ensure that future property owners do not experience the frustration that my constituents have suffered.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Introduced as HB2622