Home Repair (alt.home.repair) For all homeowners and DIYers with many experienced tradesmen. Solve your toughest home fix-it problems.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1   Report Post  
TOM KAN PA
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

Bottom line is, if you wish to replace your bathroom faucet, you need a permit
and have the finished job inspected! Give me a break!!!!

State's new construction code criticized

By Craig Smith
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 26, 2004

Homeowners who have been putting off replacing that water heater might want to
get it done soon.

The state's new comprehensive building code puts even relatively minor projects
like installing a new bathtub or building certain backyard sheds and decks
under the scrutiny of building inspectors and code enforcement officers.

Opponents say the Uniform Construction Code, or UCC, will only increase costs
and could stifle development. Proponents argue the code will protect consumers
from unethical builders and set a statewide standard for construction.

Most lawmakers, builders and local municipal officials agree that a statewide
building code is a good idea, but they say the one that took effect April 8 in
Pennsylvania goes over the top. Communities have until July 8 to decide how to
enforce the code.

The UCC sets uniform standards for construction of new residential and
commercial structures and renovations to existing buildings. Until this month,
Pennsylvania was one of only three states that had no such standardized
building code.

Municipalities that "opt in" can choose to control enforcement and the series
of inspections mandated under the new regulations themselves, or they can join
with other municipalities through a council of government or similar group.

Those that "opt out" will rely on third-party inspectors or the state
Department of Labor and Industry to make inspections and enforce the code.

"People are not going to take kindly to this," state Rep. Joe Petrarca said.

Petrarca, a Democrat from Vandergrift, said a building code makes sense, but
this one is "government going too far."

"Most of my colleagues think we have a major problem on our hands," he said.

South Greensburg zoning officer Paul Fennell agrees that the new rules are
excessive.

"Some things they want inspected are totally ridiculous. If you replace a
bathtub in your home, you have to have it inspected," he said. A deck more than
3 feet high also will have to be inspected.

"There's just too much government intervention anymore. It's scary," Fennell
said.

An individual, firm or corporation convicted of code violations could face
fines of as much as $1,000 per day, plus court costs, for each violation.

Communities are coming to terms with the code in various ways. South Greensburg
Council adopted it last month but ruled that contractors must hire their own
inspectors.

Youngwood Council is holding a public forum at 7 p.m. today to explain the new
regulations.

Youngwood borough Secretary Diane Hague, a member of the board of directors of
the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said the water heater provision
of the code is one of its most controversial. The basic home repair now comes
under the auspices of inspectors who would check gas, water and electrical
connections.

Some furnace repairs that might be considered routine maintenance also would
need to be inspected.

The cost of inspections remains a point of contention. The Pennsylvania
Builders Association says that based on rates in other states, each individual
inspection will cost between $50 and $100. Under the code, some projects would
require a minimum of five inspections.

State Rep. Dan. A. Surra, a Democrat from Fox Township, Clearfield County, has
sponsored a bill to repeal the new code. This "mother of all mandates" will put
some small contractors out of business, he said.

"What we should have done is license contractors," Surra said. "When this
starts to kick in, there's going to be some unhappy campers."

Some lawmakers are suggesting the new code will have to undergo a major
revision, at least.

South Huntingdon Township was hoping to use its own inspectors for the program,
but it got few takers.

"We advertised about two years ago for someone to take the test. A couple of
people went; most dropped out," supervisor Melvin Cornell said.

The new requirements will put a strain on the township, Cornell said.
Communities that "opt in" must establish an appeals board to handle objections
to an inspector's decision, and members may be hard to find in some locales.

Finding "qualified individuals" to serve on an appeals board may be especially
difficult for smaller communities.

Irwin borough manager Mary Benko said it's difficult, at best, to fill
vacancies on some boards and commissions. Finding an electrician, a plumber and
a contractor to serve on a code appeals board likely will prove equally tough.

"They say you can use other municipalities' (boards) because the code is the
same, but that won't happen," she said.

The Department of Labor and Industry. which has overall oversight for the code,
estimates it will need 6,000 inspectors to cover the state, Surra said.

James E. Zimmerman Sr., of Ligonier Borough, is an electrical inspector for
Accredited Services, based in Philadelphia. He's been conducting electrical
inspections for 33 years.

Zimmerman, 74, said he's concerned that municipalities will join together and
handle inspection services through a council of governments or some other
alignment, putting him out of business.

"It's really been a pressure on me," he said.

Ligonier Township, for instance, has agreed to share a building inspector
through the Indiana-Westmoreland Council of Governments. Zimmerman's hometown
likely will join with Ligonier Township and other municipalities to get the
best rates on inspections, Ligonier borough Secretary Jack Berger said.

In July, Hempfield Township supervisors expect to "opt in," township manager
Rob Ritson said.

Part of Hempfield's largest commercial development could fall under the new
code. The restaurants and hotel planned for the former Greengate Mall site
being developed by THF Realty could come under the new regulations, he said.

Hempfield also has a number of subdivisions "in the hopper right now" that
could fall under the new code, he said.

Builders say the Uniform Construction Code and its series of required
inspections could add as much as $5,000 to the cost of each new home. Each
structure must undergo a minimum of five preliminary inspections -- foundation,
often preceded by a footer inspection; plumbing; mechanical and electrical;
frame and masonry; and wallboard -- as well as a final inspection.

In municipalities where residential housing growth is helping to fill tax
coffers, officials fear the new code will put the brakes on development.

"It will be culture shock for a lot people," Ritson said.

Under the new code the cost of building permits in Hempfield will go up, but
the township will see less revenue, he explained. Most of the money will go not
to the township, but to third-party inspectors instead.

Lawmakers generally agree that the uniform construction code is a good idea,
but some say it got swallowed up in Pennsylvania politics. The bill authorizing
the code passed in 1999 and was signed by then-Gov. Tom Ridge -- but it took
four years to write the regulations.

North Huntingdon Township's planning director, Allen Cohen, said the township
will "opt in," probably in May. Zoning officers Keith Evers and David Stitt
will be performing inspections for the township.

North Huntingdon is trying to arrange conformity with neighboring
municipalities so that building permits and other documents look the same, he
said.

Cohen said the new code probably won't slow development in North Huntingdon,
but might in smaller communities that don't have such a formal building
process.

"We really have no other recourse in our developing community but to opt in. We
don't want to defer to third-party (inspections)," he said. "It's going to be a
learning curve for a lot of us."


Craig Smith can be reached at or (724) 850-1217.
************************************************** ********

Pennsylvania's new Uniform Construction Code adopts these codes for use
throughout the commonwealth:
* International Building Code 2003
* ICC Electrical Code 2003
* International Energy Conservation Code 2003
* International Existing Building Code 2003
* International Fire Code 2003
* International Fuel Gas Code 2003
* International Mechanical Code 2003
* International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2003
* International Plumbing Code 2003
* International Residential Code 2003
* International Urban-Wildland Interface Code 2003

Source:Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry




  #2   Report Post  
rck
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

They did this in a county in Kentucky and afterward the homeowner could no
longer do a quality job himself. Instead he had to accept sub-standard work
from protected contractors who had little incentive to do a good job. It is
good to have the pro's in competition with the homeowner, it keeps the pro's
on their toes doing a good job. Many codes are not about quality, they are
about protecting the financial interests of selected groups. I think you
already surmised as much.

Bob

"TOM KAN PA" wrote in message
...
Bottom line is, if you wish to replace your bathroom faucet, you need a

permit
and have the finished job inspected! Give me a break!!!!

State's new construction code criticized

By Craig Smith
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 26, 2004

Homeowners who have been putting off replacing that water heater might

want to
get it done soon.

The state's new comprehensive building code puts even relatively minor

projects
like installing a new bathtub or building certain backyard sheds and decks
under the scrutiny of building inspectors and code enforcement officers.

Opponents say the Uniform Construction Code, or UCC, will only increase

costs
and could stifle development. Proponents argue the code will protect

consumers
from unethical builders and set a statewide standard for construction.

Most lawmakers, builders and local municipal officials agree that a

statewide
building code is a good idea, but they say the one that took effect April

8 in
Pennsylvania goes over the top. Communities have until July 8 to decide

how to
enforce the code.

The UCC sets uniform standards for construction of new residential and
commercial structures and renovations to existing buildings. Until this

month,
Pennsylvania was one of only three states that had no such standardized
building code.

Municipalities that "opt in" can choose to control enforcement and the ser

ies
of inspections mandated under the new regulations themselves, or they can

join
with other municipalities through a council of government or similar

group.

Those that "opt out" will rely on third-party inspectors or the state
Department of Labor and Industry to make inspections and enforce the code.

"People are not going to take kindly to this," state Rep. Joe Petrarca

said.

Petrarca, a Democrat from Vandergrift, said a building code makes sense,

but
this one is "government going too far."

"Most of my colleagues think we have a major problem on our hands," he

said.

South Greensburg zoning officer Paul Fennell agrees that the new rules are
excessive.

"Some things they want inspected are totally ridiculous. If you replace a
bathtub in your home, you have to have it inspected," he said. A deck more

than
3 feet high also will have to be inspected.

"There's just too much government intervention anymore. It's scary,"

Fennell
said.

An individual, firm or corporation convicted of code violations could face
fines of as much as $1,000 per day, plus court costs, for each violation.

Communities are coming to terms with the code in various ways. South

Greensburg
Council adopted it last month but ruled that contractors must hire their

own
inspectors.

Youngwood Council is holding a public forum at 7 p.m. today to explain the

new
regulations.

Youngwood borough Secretary Diane Hague, a member of the board of

directors of
the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said the water heater

provision
of the code is one of its most controversial. The basic home repair now

comes
under the auspices of inspectors who would check gas, water and electrical
connections.

Some furnace repairs that might be considered routine maintenance also

would
need to be inspected.

The cost of inspections remains a point of contention. The Pennsylvania
Builders Association says that based on rates in other states, each

individual
inspection will cost between $50 and $100. Under the code, some projects

would
require a minimum of five inspections.

State Rep. Dan. A. Surra, a Democrat from Fox Township, Clearfield County,

has
sponsored a bill to repeal the new code. This "mother of all mandates"

will put
some small contractors out of business, he said.

"What we should have done is license contractors," Surra said. "When this
starts to kick in, there's going to be some unhappy campers."

Some lawmakers are suggesting the new code will have to undergo a major
revision, at least.

South Huntingdon Township was hoping to use its own inspectors for the

program,
but it got few takers.

"We advertised about two years ago for someone to take the test. A couple

of
people went; most dropped out," supervisor Melvin Cornell said.

The new requirements will put a strain on the township, Cornell said.
Communities that "opt in" must establish an appeals board to handle

objections
to an inspector's decision, and members may be hard to find in some

locales.

Finding "qualified individuals" to serve on an appeals board may be

especially
difficult for smaller communities.

Irwin borough manager Mary Benko said it's difficult, at best, to fill
vacancies on some boards and commissions. Finding an electrician, a

plumber and
a contractor to serve on a code appeals board likely will prove equally

tough.

"They say you can use other municipalities' (boards) because the code is

the
same, but that won't happen," she said.

The Department of Labor and Industry. which has overall oversight for the

code,
estimates it will need 6,000 inspectors to cover the state, Surra said.

James E. Zimmerman Sr., of Ligonier Borough, is an electrical inspector

for
Accredited Services, based in Philadelphia. He's been conducting

electrical
inspections for 33 years.

Zimmerman, 74, said he's concerned that municipalities will join together

and
handle inspection services through a council of governments or some other
alignment, putting him out of business.

"It's really been a pressure on me," he said.

Ligonier Township, for instance, has agreed to share a building inspector
through the Indiana-Westmoreland Council of Governments. Zimmerman's

hometown
likely will join with Ligonier Township and other municipalities to get

the
best rates on inspections, Ligonier borough Secretary Jack Berger said.

In July, Hempfield Township supervisors expect to "opt in," township

manager
Rob Ritson said.

Part of Hempfield's largest commercial development could fall under the

new
code. The restaurants and hotel planned for the former Greengate Mall site
being developed by THF Realty could come under the new regulations, he

said.

Hempfield also has a number of subdivisions "in the hopper right now" that
could fall under the new code, he said.

Builders say the Uniform Construction Code and its series of required
inspections could add as much as $5,000 to the cost of each new home. Each
structure must undergo a minimum of five preliminary inspections --

foundation,
often preceded by a footer inspection; plumbing; mechanical and

electrical;
frame and masonry; and wallboard -- as well as a final inspection.

In municipalities where residential housing growth is helping to fill tax
coffers, officials fear the new code will put the brakes on development.

"It will be culture shock for a lot people," Ritson said.

Under the new code the cost of building permits in Hempfield will go up,

but
the township will see less revenue, he explained. Most of the money will

go not
to the township, but to third-party inspectors instead.

Lawmakers generally agree that the uniform construction code is a good

idea,
but some say it got swallowed up in Pennsylvania politics. The bill

authorizing
the code passed in 1999 and was signed by then-Gov. Tom Ridge -- but it

took
four years to write the regulations.

North Huntingdon Township's planning director, Allen Cohen, said the

township
will "opt in," probably in May. Zoning officers Keith Evers and David

Stitt
will be performing inspections for the township.

North Huntingdon is trying to arrange conformity with neighboring
municipalities so that building permits and other documents look the same,

he
said.

Cohen said the new code probably won't slow development in North

Huntingdon,
but might in smaller communities that don't have such a formal building
process.

"We really have no other recourse in our developing community but to opt

in. We
don't want to defer to third-party (inspections)," he said. "It's going to

be a
learning curve for a lot of us."


Craig Smith can be reached at or (724) 850-1217.
************************************************** ********

Pennsylvania's new Uniform Construction Code adopts these codes for use
throughout the commonwealth:
* International Building Code 2003
* ICC Electrical Code 2003
* International Energy Conservation Code 2003
* International Existing Building Code 2003
* International Fire Code 2003
* International Fuel Gas Code 2003
* International Mechanical Code 2003
* International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2003
* International Plumbing Code 2003
* International Residential Code 2003
* International Urban-Wildland Interface Code 2003

Source:Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry






  #3   Report Post  
Art
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

In Cary NC Toll Brothers built close to 100 houses with floor joists too
close to the fireplace firebox. Code violation discovered when one
fireplace caught the house on fire. Shows the value of inspections....
zero. In this case Toll Brothers did the right thing and fixed all of the
defective houses even though it cost them close to 3 grand each.



"rck" wrote in message
link.net...
They did this in a county in Kentucky and afterward the homeowner could no
longer do a quality job himself. Instead he had to accept sub-standard

work
from protected contractors who had little incentive to do a good job. It

is
good to have the pro's in competition with the homeowner, it keeps the

pro's
on their toes doing a good job. Many codes are not about quality, they are
about protecting the financial interests of selected groups. I think you
already surmised as much.

Bob

"TOM KAN PA" wrote in message
...
Bottom line is, if you wish to replace your bathroom faucet, you need a

permit
and have the finished job inspected! Give me a break!!!!

State's new construction code criticized

By Craig Smith
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 26, 2004

Homeowners who have been putting off replacing that water heater might

want to
get it done soon.

The state's new comprehensive building code puts even relatively minor

projects
like installing a new bathtub or building certain backyard sheds and

decks
under the scrutiny of building inspectors and code enforcement officers.

Opponents say the Uniform Construction Code, or UCC, will only increase

costs
and could stifle development. Proponents argue the code will protect

consumers
from unethical builders and set a statewide standard for construction.

Most lawmakers, builders and local municipal officials agree that a

statewide
building code is a good idea, but they say the one that took effect

April
8 in
Pennsylvania goes over the top. Communities have until July 8 to decide

how to
enforce the code.

The UCC sets uniform standards for construction of new residential and
commercial structures and renovations to existing buildings. Until this

month,
Pennsylvania was one of only three states that had no such standardized
building code.

Municipalities that "opt in" can choose to control enforcement and the

ser
ies
of inspections mandated under the new regulations themselves, or they

can
join
with other municipalities through a council of government or similar

group.

Those that "opt out" will rely on third-party inspectors or the state
Department of Labor and Industry to make inspections and enforce the

code.

"People are not going to take kindly to this," state Rep. Joe Petrarca

said.

Petrarca, a Democrat from Vandergrift, said a building code makes sense,

but
this one is "government going too far."

"Most of my colleagues think we have a major problem on our hands," he

said.

South Greensburg zoning officer Paul Fennell agrees that the new rules

are
excessive.

"Some things they want inspected are totally ridiculous. If you replace

a
bathtub in your home, you have to have it inspected," he said. A deck

more
than
3 feet high also will have to be inspected.

"There's just too much government intervention anymore. It's scary,"

Fennell
said.

An individual, firm or corporation convicted of code violations could

face
fines of as much as $1,000 per day, plus court costs, for each

violation.

Communities are coming to terms with the code in various ways. South

Greensburg
Council adopted it last month but ruled that contractors must hire their

own
inspectors.

Youngwood Council is holding a public forum at 7 p.m. today to explain

the
new
regulations.

Youngwood borough Secretary Diane Hague, a member of the board of

directors of
the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said the water heater

provision
of the code is one of its most controversial. The basic home repair now

comes
under the auspices of inspectors who would check gas, water and

electrical
connections.

Some furnace repairs that might be considered routine maintenance also

would
need to be inspected.

The cost of inspections remains a point of contention. The Pennsylvania
Builders Association says that based on rates in other states, each

individual
inspection will cost between $50 and $100. Under the code, some projects

would
require a minimum of five inspections.

State Rep. Dan. A. Surra, a Democrat from Fox Township, Clearfield

County,
has
sponsored a bill to repeal the new code. This "mother of all mandates"

will put
some small contractors out of business, he said.

"What we should have done is license contractors," Surra said. "When

this
starts to kick in, there's going to be some unhappy campers."

Some lawmakers are suggesting the new code will have to undergo a major
revision, at least.

South Huntingdon Township was hoping to use its own inspectors for the

program,
but it got few takers.

"We advertised about two years ago for someone to take the test. A

couple
of
people went; most dropped out," supervisor Melvin Cornell said.

The new requirements will put a strain on the township, Cornell said.
Communities that "opt in" must establish an appeals board to handle

objections
to an inspector's decision, and members may be hard to find in some

locales.

Finding "qualified individuals" to serve on an appeals board may be

especially
difficult for smaller communities.

Irwin borough manager Mary Benko said it's difficult, at best, to fill
vacancies on some boards and commissions. Finding an electrician, a

plumber and
a contractor to serve on a code appeals board likely will prove equally

tough.

"They say you can use other municipalities' (boards) because the code is

the
same, but that won't happen," she said.

The Department of Labor and Industry. which has overall oversight for

the
code,
estimates it will need 6,000 inspectors to cover the state, Surra said.

James E. Zimmerman Sr., of Ligonier Borough, is an electrical inspector

for
Accredited Services, based in Philadelphia. He's been conducting

electrical
inspections for 33 years.

Zimmerman, 74, said he's concerned that municipalities will join

together
and
handle inspection services through a council of governments or some

other
alignment, putting him out of business.

"It's really been a pressure on me," he said.

Ligonier Township, for instance, has agreed to share a building

inspector
through the Indiana-Westmoreland Council of Governments. Zimmerman's

hometown
likely will join with Ligonier Township and other municipalities to get

the
best rates on inspections, Ligonier borough Secretary Jack Berger said.

In July, Hempfield Township supervisors expect to "opt in," township

manager
Rob Ritson said.

Part of Hempfield's largest commercial development could fall under the

new
code. The restaurants and hotel planned for the former Greengate Mall

site
being developed by THF Realty could come under the new regulations, he

said.

Hempfield also has a number of subdivisions "in the hopper right now"

that
could fall under the new code, he said.

Builders say the Uniform Construction Code and its series of required
inspections could add as much as $5,000 to the cost of each new home.

Each
structure must undergo a minimum of five preliminary inspections --

foundation,
often preceded by a footer inspection; plumbing; mechanical and

electrical;
frame and masonry; and wallboard -- as well as a final inspection.

In municipalities where residential housing growth is helping to fill

tax
coffers, officials fear the new code will put the brakes on development.

"It will be culture shock for a lot people," Ritson said.

Under the new code the cost of building permits in Hempfield will go up,

but
the township will see less revenue, he explained. Most of the money will

go not
to the township, but to third-party inspectors instead.

Lawmakers generally agree that the uniform construction code is a good

idea,
but some say it got swallowed up in Pennsylvania politics. The bill

authorizing
the code passed in 1999 and was signed by then-Gov. Tom Ridge -- but it

took
four years to write the regulations.

North Huntingdon Township's planning director, Allen Cohen, said the

township
will "opt in," probably in May. Zoning officers Keith Evers and David

Stitt
will be performing inspections for the township.

North Huntingdon is trying to arrange conformity with neighboring
municipalities so that building permits and other documents look the

same,
he
said.

Cohen said the new code probably won't slow development in North

Huntingdon,
but might in smaller communities that don't have such a formal building
process.

"We really have no other recourse in our developing community but to opt

in. We
don't want to defer to third-party (inspections)," he said. "It's going

to
be a
learning curve for a lot of us."


Craig Smith can be reached at or (724) 850-1217.
************************************************** ********

Pennsylvania's new Uniform Construction Code adopts these codes for use
throughout the commonwealth:
* International Building Code 2003
* ICC Electrical Code 2003
* International Energy Conservation Code 2003
* International Existing Building Code 2003
* International Fire Code 2003
* International Fuel Gas Code 2003
* International Mechanical Code 2003
* International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2003
* International Plumbing Code 2003
* International Residential Code 2003
* International Urban-Wildland Interface Code 2003

Source:Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry








  #4   Report Post  
George
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!


"rck" wrote in message
link.net...
They did this in a county in Kentucky and afterward the homeowner could no
longer do a quality job himself. Instead he had to accept sub-standard

work
from protected contractors who had little incentive to do a good job. It

is
good to have the pro's in competition with the homeowner, it keeps the

pro's
on their toes doing a good job. Many codes are not about quality, they are
about protecting the financial interests of selected groups. I think you
already surmised as much.

I am not a contractor and it will affect me because I own/maintain a few
apartments in PA. I think it is too much government interfearence. But I
don't agree that all homeowners know their limitations and are capable of
doing a quality job. There were 2 serious deck failures in my area last
year. One created a quadraplegic. Both were because the ledger board was not
correctly attached. They how about the guy who set a complex on fire (with
fatalities) because he didn't understand combustible clearance requirements
when installing a wood stove. How do you address this?


  #5   Report Post  
Art
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

In Cary NC we've had deck failures of INSPECTED contractor built decks.


"George" wrote in message
...

"rck" wrote in message
link.net...
They did this in a county in Kentucky and afterward the homeowner could

no
longer do a quality job himself. Instead he had to accept sub-standard

work
from protected contractors who had little incentive to do a good job. It

is
good to have the pro's in competition with the homeowner, it keeps the

pro's
on their toes doing a good job. Many codes are not about quality, they

are
about protecting the financial interests of selected groups. I think you
already surmised as much.

I am not a contractor and it will affect me because I own/maintain a few
apartments in PA. I think it is too much government interfearence. But I
don't agree that all homeowners know their limitations and are capable of
doing a quality job. There were 2 serious deck failures in my area last
year. One created a quadraplegic. Both were because the ledger board was

not
correctly attached. They how about the guy who set a complex on fire (with
fatalities) because he didn't understand combustible clearance

requirements
when installing a wood stove. How do you address this?






  #6   Report Post  
Patscga
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

Bottom line is, if you wish to replace your bathroom faucet, you need a
permit
and have the finished job inspected! Give me a break!!!


Get a grip, pal. You can still replace your bathroom faucet without having it
inspected.
Pat
  #7   Report Post  
HeatMan
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

Do you have a link to this?


"TOM KAN PA" wrote in message
...
Bottom line is, if you wish to replace your bathroom faucet, you need a

permit
and have the finished job inspected! Give me a break!!!!

State's new construction code criticized

By Craig Smith
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 26, 2004

Homeowners who have been putting off replacing that water heater might

want to
get it done soon.

The state's new comprehensive building code puts even relatively minor

projects
like installing a new bathtub or building certain backyard sheds and decks
under the scrutiny of building inspectors and code enforcement officers.

Opponents say the Uniform Construction Code, or UCC, will only increase

costs
and could stifle development. Proponents argue the code will protect

consumers
from unethical builders and set a statewide standard for construction.

Most lawmakers, builders and local municipal officials agree that a

statewide
building code is a good idea, but they say the one that took effect April

8 in
Pennsylvania goes over the top. Communities have until July 8 to decide

how to
enforce the code.

The UCC sets uniform standards for construction of new residential and
commercial structures and renovations to existing buildings. Until this

month,
Pennsylvania was one of only three states that had no such standardized
building code.

Municipalities that "opt in" can choose to control enforcement and the

series
of inspections mandated under the new regulations themselves, or they can

join
with other municipalities through a council of government or similar

group.

Those that "opt out" will rely on third-party inspectors or the state
Department of Labor and Industry to make inspections and enforce the code.

"People are not going to take kindly to this," state Rep. Joe Petrarca

said.

Petrarca, a Democrat from Vandergrift, said a building code makes sense,

but
this one is "government going too far."

"Most of my colleagues think we have a major problem on our hands," he

said.

South Greensburg zoning officer Paul Fennell agrees that the new rules are
excessive.

"Some things they want inspected are totally ridiculous. If you replace a
bathtub in your home, you have to have it inspected," he said. A deck more

than
3 feet high also will have to be inspected.

"There's just too much government intervention anymore. It's scary,"

Fennell
said.

An individual, firm or corporation convicted of code violations could face
fines of as much as $1,000 per day, plus court costs, for each violation.

Communities are coming to terms with the code in various ways. South

Greensburg
Council adopted it last month but ruled that contractors must hire their

own
inspectors.

Youngwood Council is holding a public forum at 7 p.m. today to explain the

new
regulations.

Youngwood borough Secretary Diane Hague, a member of the board of

directors of
the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said the water heater

provision
of the code is one of its most controversial. The basic home repair now

comes
under the auspices of inspectors who would check gas, water and electrical
connections.

Some furnace repairs that might be considered routine maintenance also

would
need to be inspected.

The cost of inspections remains a point of contention. The Pennsylvania
Builders Association says that based on rates in other states, each

individual
inspection will cost between $50 and $100. Under the code, some projects

would
require a minimum of five inspections.

State Rep. Dan. A. Surra, a Democrat from Fox Township, Clearfield County,

has
sponsored a bill to repeal the new code. This "mother of all mandates"

will put
some small contractors out of business, he said.

"What we should have done is license contractors," Surra said. "When this
starts to kick in, there's going to be some unhappy campers."

Some lawmakers are suggesting the new code will have to undergo a major
revision, at least.

South Huntingdon Township was hoping to use its own inspectors for the

program,
but it got few takers.

"We advertised about two years ago for someone to take the test. A couple

of
people went; most dropped out," supervisor Melvin Cornell said.

The new requirements will put a strain on the township, Cornell said.
Communities that "opt in" must establish an appeals board to handle

objections
to an inspector's decision, and members may be hard to find in some

locales.

Finding "qualified individuals" to serve on an appeals board may be

especially
difficult for smaller communities.

Irwin borough manager Mary Benko said it's difficult, at best, to fill
vacancies on some boards and commissions. Finding an electrician, a

plumber and
a contractor to serve on a code appeals board likely will prove equally

tough.

"They say you can use other municipalities' (boards) because the code is

the
same, but that won't happen," she said.

The Department of Labor and Industry. which has overall oversight for the

code,
estimates it will need 6,000 inspectors to cover the state, Surra said.

James E. Zimmerman Sr., of Ligonier Borough, is an electrical inspector

for
Accredited Services, based in Philadelphia. He's been conducting

electrical
inspections for 33 years.

Zimmerman, 74, said he's concerned that municipalities will join together

and
handle inspection services through a council of governments or some other
alignment, putting him out of business.

"It's really been a pressure on me," he said.

Ligonier Township, for instance, has agreed to share a building inspector
through the Indiana-Westmoreland Council of Governments. Zimmerman's

hometown
likely will join with Ligonier Township and other municipalities to get

the
best rates on inspections, Ligonier borough Secretary Jack Berger said.

In July, Hempfield Township supervisors expect to "opt in," township

manager
Rob Ritson said.

Part of Hempfield's largest commercial development could fall under the

new
code. The restaurants and hotel planned for the former Greengate Mall site
being developed by THF Realty could come under the new regulations, he

said.

Hempfield also has a number of subdivisions "in the hopper right now" that
could fall under the new code, he said.

Builders say the Uniform Construction Code and its series of required
inspections could add as much as $5,000 to the cost of each new home. Each
structure must undergo a minimum of five preliminary inspections --

foundation,
often preceded by a footer inspection; plumbing; mechanical and

electrical;
frame and masonry; and wallboard -- as well as a final inspection.

In municipalities where residential housing growth is helping to fill tax
coffers, officials fear the new code will put the brakes on development.

"It will be culture shock for a lot people," Ritson said.

Under the new code the cost of building permits in Hempfield will go up,

but
the township will see less revenue, he explained. Most of the money will

go not
to the township, but to third-party inspectors instead.

Lawmakers generally agree that the uniform construction code is a good

idea,
but some say it got swallowed up in Pennsylvania politics. The bill

authorizing
the code passed in 1999 and was signed by then-Gov. Tom Ridge -- but it

took
four years to write the regulations.

North Huntingdon Township's planning director, Allen Cohen, said the

township
will "opt in," probably in May. Zoning officers Keith Evers and David

Stitt
will be performing inspections for the township.

North Huntingdon is trying to arrange conformity with neighboring
municipalities so that building permits and other documents look the same,

he
said.

Cohen said the new code probably won't slow development in North

Huntingdon,
but might in smaller communities that don't have such a formal building
process.

"We really have no other recourse in our developing community but to opt

in. We
don't want to defer to third-party (inspections)," he said. "It's going to

be a
learning curve for a lot of us."


Craig Smith can be reached at or (724) 850-1217.
************************************************** ********

Pennsylvania's new Uniform Construction Code adopts these codes for use
throughout the commonwealth:
* International Building Code 2003
* ICC Electrical Code 2003
* International Energy Conservation Code 2003
* International Existing Building Code 2003
* International Fire Code 2003
* International Fuel Gas Code 2003
* International Mechanical Code 2003
* International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2003
* International Plumbing Code 2003
* International Residential Code 2003
* International Urban-Wildland Interface Code 2003

Source:Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry






  #8   Report Post  
zxcvbob
 
Posts: n/a
Default Repairing home in Pennsylvania BS!

Art wrote:

In Cary NC Toll Brothers built close to 100 houses with floor joists too
close to the fireplace firebox. Code violation discovered when one
fireplace caught the house on fire. Shows the value of inspections....
zero. In this case Toll Brothers did the right thing and fixed all of the
defective houses even though it cost them close to 3 grand each.


Inspections?

Bob
Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Home Depot Scorns Christian Groups Ben Siders Woodworking 63 August 26th 04 02:52 PM
Home Depot not for Do-It-Yourself'ers? Joseph Home Repair 32 March 24th 04 07:50 PM
New Home - Inspector Found some SERIOUS issues. Speedy Jim Home Repair 36 March 21st 04 04:40 PM
Not really Home repair: Repairing cracked horn (antler) handles Bob Landry Home Repair 2 February 19th 04 03:24 AM
Home humidity - increasing after remediation? Scott Stewart Home Repair 8 July 29th 03 09:54 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:41 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2023 DIYbanter.
The comments are property of their posters.
 

About Us

"It's about DIY & home improvement"