For immediate release
Contact: Russ Braun, phone: 814- 929-5138
Property Owners Reminded Of Permit Requirements
With the arrival of warmer weather, Jones Township Building Code Official Russ Braun wishes to remind local residents and camp owners of the building and sewage permitting requirements. A few years ago the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted a state-wide Uniform Construction Code (the UCC), which affected all types of construction throughout Pennsylvania. According to Braun when this law took effect in 2004 several municipalities in Elk (Jones, Benezette, Spring Creek, Highland) and all of Cameron County joined together and entered into inter-municipal agreements with Jones Township, in Elk County, to administer and enforce the UCC.
As far as residential construction is concerned, a Building Permit is required whenever a new dwelling, including mobile homes, camps and summer homes, are constructed, altered or demolished. Permits are also required when any size addition is added to an existing home or camp, such as garages and bedrooms, or when the proposed work changes load bearing structural walls or the means of entering or exiting the home.
Detached residential accessory structures, such as garages and small sheds, only require a Permit when the size of the footprint of the building is greater than 1000 square feet. According to Braun, some buildings, both new and existing, may also be exempt from the UCC if they are considered as agricultural buildings.
If the building can be defined as a recreational cabin and is occupied only seasonally, the building does not need to comply with the construction requirements of the UCC. However all other regulatory and permitting provisions of the UCC must be followed for these types of cabins.
Although some residential structures may be exempt from the UCC, almost all new dwelling construction still requires some type of a sewer permit. This applies to both full time residences and recreational cabins. “Even when a new building is replacing an old structure, some type of inspection or testing of the site is usually required” Braun said. A Sewage Permit is also required whenever any type of a repair is done to any existing on-lot septic system.
Braun indicated that there are very few exemptions for non-residential construction. A Building Permit would be required when someone intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of any commercial or industrial building, structure or facility. In addition a Permit is required for any commercial, industrial, or institutional work that involves erecting, installing, enlarging, altering, repairing, converting or replacing any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system.
The paperwork and cost of obtaining a Permit may at first seem like a needless intrusion by the government into your private life. But requiring adherence to accepted and uniform building codes protects your investment and your health and safety. These codes cover structural issues such as the types and size of lumber, span, and spacing of floor, ceiling, roof joists, the types and thickness of floors, walls and roof sheathing, plumbing and electrical installations, and even insulation as well as other energy saving and personal safety requirements.
The paperwork that it takes to pull a building permit includes filling out an Application and submitting a plot survey, several sets of blueprints of the proposed project and a check for the building permit fee. Braun indicated that most small residential projects he reviews are simply well drawn prints done by the homeowner or by the contractor hired to do the work. Most commercial work on the other hand usually requires the services of a professional engineer or architect.
Don’t want to bother doing the paperwork? Well think again. Failing to pull the proper permits may end up being very expensive. The UCC gives the Building Code Official the authority to force you to stop work on the project, tear out what has been done without a permit and pay a fine. Banks and insurance companies will often refuse payments until the proper permits are in place.
Persons considering any construction or improvements to their properties should call 929-5138 for additional information. Permit application’s and other information on the building and sewage requirements is now available on-line at www.jonestownship.com under UCC Permit INFO. The Jones Township Business Office is located in Wilcox.