Pa. fights suit over stalled building code updates

     Pennsylvania hasn't updated its building codes since 2009.(<a href=Photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_122699044" width="640" height="360"/>

    Pennsylvania hasn't updated its building codes since 2009.(Photo via ShutterStock)

    The state is fighting a lawsuit over building codes in Pennsylvania.

    A 2011 statute made it more cumbersome for the state to adopt regularly updated building codes – the specifications that dictate things such as whether your home needs fire-protection sprinklers or extra insulation to maximize energy efficiency.

    The state board in charge of approving updated codes said the 2011 law required too much review in too little time. As a result, Pennsylvania hasn’t updated its building codes since 2009.

    Now, the Clean Air Council is suing the commonwealth over the law that changed how codes are adopted.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    The group’s lawyer Logan Welde called the current building code review process “unworkable.”

    “Building codes are very important part of the state,” said Welde, “and without new and updated building codes, the Review and Advisory Council and Labor and Industry and the Wolf administration are putting Pennsylvanians at risk for more dangerous dwellings.”

    Builders have said regular code updates are costly. But Welde said out-of-date codes result in higher energy costs and compromised safety.

    The state Department of Labor and Industry has filed a motion to quash the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the agency declined further comment.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal