House Passes Sweeping Construction Code Reform

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

As legislators look to wind down the 2015-2016 biannual session in the coming weeks, the House passed a bill this week that would drastically reform Pennsylvania’s construction code environment.

House Bill 568, introduced by Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland), would revise the triennial building code review process that has been in place since the inception of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (Act 45 of 1999). Under the bill, the new process would streamline the approval process of nearly 2,000 technical modifications to Pennsylvania’s building code, allowing the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Review and Advisory Council (RAC) more time to evaluate substantive changes such as costly energy efficiency requirements and public safety requirements. The bill would also dramatically scale down the compliance burden for construction professionals, establishing a Pennsylvania-specific code manual, rather than requiring professionals to obtain a series of International Code Council manuals. House Bill 568 recently passed the House by a 107-86 margin and heads to the Senate for concurrence.