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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2020 11:07 AM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Exempting Small Home Improvement Projects from the Building Code
I am re-introducing legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code (Act 45 of 1999) by exempting several types of common home improvement projects. This bill was Senate Bill 446 of 2019-2020.

This legislation would assist homeowners in upgrading their homes by removing overly burdensome regulations and added costs on small improvement projects.

The home projects that would be exempt from the UCC under this legislation include the following:
  1. Decks that are no more than 30 inches above grade at any point which are attached or accessory to a residential building. Title 34, Chapter 403.62 of the PA Code excludes uncovered decks no greater than 30 inches from residential improvements that do not require a permit; however, there is a gray area with respect to application of this exemption and my legislation will put this exemption into statute.
  2. Accessory structures that are attached to a residential building with cover, an entrance way, and are no more than one story high and not more than 200 square feet. For example, small sun rooms, an entrance way, a mud room, etc.
  3. Patio covers as defined in 2009 IRC Appendix H or its successor requirement. This exemption would apply to patio covers no more than 12 feet high as described in Appendix H. Appendix H clearly describes patio covers that are only for outdoor living purposes and not as carports or habitable rooms. Thus, this exemption could not be abused to create additional enclosed habitable spaces in a home.
This legislation was drafted in response to numerous complaints I have received from constituents regarding the over-regulation of relatively small home improvements by the Building Code.

Senate Bill 446 of 2019-2020 was co-sponsored by Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill, Stefano, Vogel, J. Ward, White, and Folmer.

Thank you for your consideration, and for joining me in offering this legislation.

Introduced as SB453