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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2017 11:33 AM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pennsylvania Construction Code Amendments
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation amending the Pennsylvania Construction Code (PCC-Act 45 of 1999).

Originally, the PCC required the Department of Labor & Industry to adopt the latest model International Code Council (ICC) codes every three years without exception. The act was amended in 2008, and a Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council (RAC) was created to review and approve changes. The RAC required a 2/3 vote to reject a proposed ICC code change.

In 2010 the RAC proceeded to adopt all of the 2009 ICC code changes, including a controversial residential sprinkler provision. As a result, in 2011, the PCC was amended to remove the sprinkler mandate and to change the RAC voting process to require a 2/3 vote to adopt future ICC code changes.

The RAC review process is now generally considered time consuming and ineffective. As proof, none of the 2012 ICC code changes, and only 16 of the 2015 ICC code changes, have been adopted. Efforts to reform the RAC process and to reach a consensus among the various interested parties have been on-going.

Last session, I introduced compromise legislation in the form of an amendment to HB 568. The language was crafted over the course of a year, and was the result of extensive discussions with a number of interested parties. As amended, HB 568 corrected the imbalances of previous modifications, created a process that retained the high bar of a 2/3 approval vote for any code provision that received industry or consumer comments, and created an expedited approval process for those universally embraced by all stakeholders. The revisions were supported by approximately 20 industry groups.

The bill I am introducing will contain the majority of the improvements included in the version passed by the Senate last session. It will also incorporate several of the changes requested by the House, hopefully enabling final passage in both chambers.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB269