Pennsylvania Bill Would Significantly Alter Code Update Process
On February 16, a bill (HB 725, based on a previous memorandum and with the support of the Pennsylvania Builders Association) was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would significantly alter and rollback the state’s energy code update process. On March 23, the House Labor and Industry Committee heard oral testimony from a broad coalition of safety and efficiency advocates in opposition to the bill, including AIA Pennsylvania, American Chemistry Council, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, PA Association of Code Officials, and the PA Fire and Emergency Services Institute. A vote on the bill will be held on a later date.
Specifically, the legislation would amend the Uniform Construction Code Act of 1999 that requires the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to adopt the latest triennial International Codes Council (ICC) family of building codes – including the IECC – by December 31 of the year they are issued (the 2009 ICC codes became effective on December 31, 2009). Expected provisions of this legislation would include:
- Adding several new homebuilder members to the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Review and Advisory Council;
- Eliminating the automatic adoption of new ICC editions every three years; and
- Stripping the Council of its authority to approve new codes, allowing it only to report to the Secretary of Labor and Industry, who then would determine if changes in the UCC should be proposed as a regulation to be adopted after full regulatory review.
The UCC has been subject to rollback attempts before. In 2010, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dismissed a case in which the Pennsylvania Builders Association challenged the constitutionality of the 2009 UCC and its implementation.