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Township of Lower Merion, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Lower Merion 6-16-2004 by Ord. No. 3714. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 62.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 64.
Contractor licensing — See Ch. 69.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 72.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 92.
Plumbing — See Ch. 115.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 135.
Zoning — See Ch. 155.
A. 
The Township of Lower Merion hereby elects to administer and enforce the provisions of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, Act 45 of 1999, 35 P.S. §§ 7210.101-7210.1103, as amended from time to time, together with the regulations promulgated thereunder by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
B. 
The Uniform Construction Code (referred to in this chapter as the "Code"), contained in 34 Pa. Code, Chapters 401-405, as amended from time to time, is hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference as the building code of Lower Merion Township. The series codes included within the Uniform Construction Code are those published by the International Code Council, Inc., as now and as hereafter supplemented, reissued, amended and revised, and with the Appendices noted hereafter and related tables cited therein, and their successor codes, copies of which have been and now are filed in the Township Department of Building and Planning, and the same are hereby adopted and incorporated as fully as if set out at length herein. This series of codes are further initially identified as follows:
(1) 
Chapters 2 through 29 and 31 through 35 of the International Building Code 2003, including Appendices C, E, G, H and I.
(2) 
International Residential Code 2003, including Appendices A. B, C, D, F, G and sections AE501 through AE053 and AE605 through AE605 of Appendix E.
(3) 
ICC Electrical Code 2003.
(4) 
International Existing Building Code 2003, including Appendices A and B.
(5) 
International Energy Conservation Code 2003.
(6) 
International Fire Code 2003.
(7) 
International Fuel Gas Code 2003, including Appendices A, B, C and D.
(8) 
International Mechanical Code 2003.
(9) 
International Plumbing Code 2003.
(10) 
International Urban - Wildland Interface Code 2003.
C. 
The Township elects to enforce the Code as it applies to the alteration and repair of residential buildings, as those terms are defined in the enabling legislation, as amended.
[Added 12-15-2004 by Ord. No. 3727]
A. 
The following section of the International Energy Conservation Code is hereby revised as follows:
In Section 101,1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
B. 
The following sections of the International Existing Building Code are hereby revised as follows:
(1) 
In Section 101.1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
(2) 
In Section 1201.2, Applicability, insert "5-11-1920" in the [date to be inserted by the jurisdiction] blank.
C. 
The following sections of the International Fuel Gas Code are hereby revised as follows:
(1) 
In Section 101.1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
(2) 
In Section 106.5.2, Fee schedule, insert "Fees for all fuel gas work shall be as indicated in Chapter A 167" in the [jurisdiction to insert schedule] blank.
(3) 
In Section 106.5.3, Fee refunds, insert "The Code Official shall authorize the refunding of fees as follows in the [percentage locations]:
(a) 
The full amount of any fee paid hereunder that was erroneously paid or collected.
(b) 
Not more than 80% of the permit fee paid when no work has been done under a permit issued in accordance with this code.
(c) 
Not more than 80% of the plan review fee paid when an application for a permit for which a plan review fee has been paid is withdrawn or canceled before any plan review effort has been expended.
D. 
The following sections of the International Mechanical Code are hereby revised;
(1) 
In Section 101,1. Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
(2) 
In Section 106.5.2, Fee schedule, insert "Fees for all mechanical work shall be as indicated in Chapter A 167" in the [jurisdiction to insert schedule] blank.
(3) 
In Section 106.5.3. Fee refunds, insert "The Code Official shall authorize the refunding of fees as follows in the [percentage locations]:
(a) 
The full amount of any fee paid hereunder that was erroneously paid or collected.
(b) 
Not more than 80% of the permit fee paid when no work has been done under a permit issued in accordance with this code.
(c) 
Not more than 80% of the plan review fee paid when an application for a permit for which a plan review fee has been paid is withdrawn or canceled before any plan review effort has been expended.
E. 
The following sections of the International Residential Code are hereby revised:
(1) 
In Section R101.1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
(2) 
In Table R301.2(1), "Climatic and Geographic Design Criteria," insert the following in the [appropriate design criteria] blank:
Ground Snow Load
Wind Speed
(mph)
Seismic Design Category
Weathering
Frost Line Depth
Termite
Decay
Winter Design Temp
Ice Shield Under-
Layment Required
Flood Hazard
Air Freezing Index
Mean Annual Temp
30
90
C
Severe
36"
M-H
S-M
14
Yes
11/19/197
1,000
54
(3) 
In Section P2603.6.1, Sewer depth, insert "36" in the [number] blanks.
(4) 
In Section P3103.1, Roof extension, insert "12" in the [number] blanks.
F. 
The following sections of the International Urban-Wildland Interface Code are hereby revised:
(1) 
In Section R 101.1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
G. 
The following sections of the International Fire Code are hereby revised:
(1) 
In Section 101.1, Title, insert "Lower Merion Township" in the [name of jurisdiction] blank.
A. 
General. The Director of Building and Planning is hereby designated as the Building Code Official, hereafter referred to in this document as the "Code Official," with authority and direction to enforce the provisions of this code, with the exception of the International Fire Code, the Code Official for which shall be the Fire Marshal. The Code Official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
B. 
Department records. The Code Official shall keep official records of applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees collected, reports of inspections, and notices and orders issued. Such records shall be retained as the official records for the period required for retention of public records. Commercial records shall be retained in accordance with Section 403.85 of the UCC.
C. 
Modifications, Wherever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the Code Official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, upon application of the owner or owner's representative, provided the Code Official shall first find that special individual reason makes the strict letter of this code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code and that such modification does not lessen health, accessibility, life and firesafety, or structural requirements. The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the files of the Department of Building and Planning.
A. 
Public service agencies. A permit shall not be required for the installation, alteration or repair of generation, transmission, distribution or metering or other related equipment that is under the ownership and control of public service agencies by established right.
B. 
Suspension or revocation of permit. The Code Official is authorized to suspend or revoke a permit issued under the provisions of this code wherever the permit is issued in error or on the basis of incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, or in violation of any ordinance or regulation or any of the provisions of this code.
C. 
Placement of permit. The building permit, or copy, shall be posted on the site of the work, in a conspicuous location, until the completion of the project.
D. 
Certificate of rodent exterminator. A permit to demolish or remove a structure shall not be issued until the applicant shall furnish to the Code Official a certificate from a reputable rodent exterminator which shall state that the building or structure to be demolished has been inspected and found to be free of rodents or that the building or structure to be demolished has been properly treated for the eradication of all rodents in and about the premises.
A. 
Amended construction documents. Work shall be installed in accordance with the approved construction documents, and any changes made during construction that are not in compliance with the approved construction documents shall be resubmitted for approval as an amended set of construction documents.
B. 
Retention of construction documents. One set of approved construction documents shall be retained by the Code Official as required by state or local laws.
A. 
Payment of fees. A permit shall not be valid until the fees prescribed by law have been paid, nor shall an amendment to a permit be released until the additional fee, if any, has been paid.
B. 
Schedule of fees. Applicants for permits under this code shall pay to the Township at the time of application the fees set forth in Chapter A167. When a permit fee is based on the cost of construction, the valuation of the subject work shall be the fair market value of all the construction work. The Code Official shall evaluate the accuracy of the estimate both initially and at final completion should changes occur as the work progresses.
C. 
Work commencing before permit issuance. Any person who commences any work on a building, structure, electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system before obtaining the necessary permits shall be subject to a fee established by the Code Official that shall be in addition to the required permit fees.
D. 
Related fees. The payment of the fee for the construction, alteration, removal or demolition for work done in connection to or concurrently with the work authorized by a building permit shall not relieve the applicant or holder of the permit from the payment of other fees that are prescribed by law.
E. 
Refunds. The Code Official is authorized to establish a refund policy.
F. 
Accounting. All fees collected shall be received and accounted for by the Code Official and shall be remitted to the Township Treasurer.
A. 
Connection of service utilities. No person shall make connections from a utility, source of energy, fuel or power to any building or system that is regulated by this code for which a permit is required, until released by the Code Official.
B. 
Authority to disconnect service utilities. The Code Official shall have the authority to authorize disconnection of utility service to the building, structure or system regulated by this code and the codes referenced in case of emergency where necessary to eliminate an immediate hazard to life or property. The Code Official shall notify the serving utility and wherever possible, the owner and occupant of the building, structure or service system of the decision to disconnect prior to taking such action. If not notified prior to disconnecting, the owner or occupant of the building, structure or service system shall be notified in writing, as soon as practical thereafter.
Section 403.102(L) of the Uniform Construction Code allows a municipality to revise certain provisions of the Code regarding the administration and enforcement of the Act. Pursuant to such authority, the Township elects to make the following revisions to the Code:
A. 
Standards.
(1) 
Section 403.26 related to Swimming Pools, shall have added the following subsection (d) which reads: "(d) Completion guaranty. Before any building permit shall be issued for the construction or installation of a swimming pool, the Township shall be assured by means of a proper completion guarantee in the form of a bond or the deposit of funds or securities in escrow, sufficient to cover the cost of the required improvements (i.e., fencing, electrical, grading, walls and drainage structures), as estimated by the Code Official, that the improvements will be installed on or before a date specified in said bond or escrow agreement."
B. 
Commercial permits and inspections:
(1) 
Section 403.42 (b) related to permit exceptions shall read, "The permit application shall be submitted to the Code Official within the next working business day."
(2) 
Section 403.42 [c] (1) (i) related to permit exceptions shall read, "Fences that are not over six feet in height, except when they are located within the front yard zoning setback."
(3) 
Section 403.42 [c] (1) (xiii) related to permit exceptions shall be amended to read, "except for properties located in the Historic Resource Overlay District or found on the Historic Resource Inventory, where the installation and replacement of windows shall require a building permit."
(4) 
Section 403.42 a [c] related to permit application shall delete the last sentence which reads "An unlicensed person may prepare design for the remodeling or alterations of buildings...".
(5) 
Section 403.42a (g) (1) related to permit applications shall be amended to add a second sentence which reads, "Show compliance with the IECC by providing ComCheck worksheet (or recognized, approved equivalent)."
(6) 
Section 403,43 (b) related to the grant of a permit shall add a second sentence which reads, "When a grading permit has been applied for in conjunction with proposed construction, the thirty-day approval/denial time-frame may be required to be extended since the building permit cannot be issued until the grading permit has been approved."
(7) 
Section 403.43 (g) related to permit expiration shall read. "A permit may be valid for no more than three years from its issue date."
(8) 
Section 403.45 (c) related to inspections shall have added a sentence which reads, "The owner or contractor shall provide twenty-four-hour notice to the construction code official for inspection."
(9) 
Section 403.46(h) related to certificate of occupancy shall delete (2) which requires the permit holder's name and address on the certificate.
C. 
Residential permits and inspections:
(1) 
Section 403.62 [b] related to permit exceptions shall read, "The permit application shall be submitted to the Code Official within the next working business day."
(2) 
Section 403.62 [c] (1) (i) related to permit exceptions shall read, "Fences that are not over six feet in height, except when they are located within the front yard zoning setback."
(3) 
Section 403.62 [c] (1) (x) related to permit exceptions shall be amended to read, "except for properties located in the Historic Resource Overlay District or found on the Historic Resource Inventory, where the installation and replacement of windows shall require a building permit."
(4) 
Section 403.62 [c] (1) (xvii) shall be deleted. The Township shall require a building permit for the installation of an uncovered deck regardless of the height of the floor of the deck.
(5) 
Section 403.62 [c] (6) (iv) related to HVAC work shall be amended by deleting the word "replacement" so as to read, "Repair of air conditioning equipment and systems."
(6) 
Section 403.62a (b) related to permit applications shall be amended to add a sentence which reads, "Show compliance with IECC by providing ResCheck worksheet (or recognized, approved equivalent)."
(7) 
Section 403.63 (b) related to the grant of a permit shall have added a second sentence which reads, "When a grading permit has been applied for in conjunction with proposed construction, the fifteen-day approval/denial time-frame may be required to be extended since the building permit cannot be issued until the grading permit has been approved."
(8) 
Section 403.63 (g) related to permit expiration shall read, "A permit may be valid for no more than three years from its issue date."
(9) 
Section 403.64 (b) related to inspections shall have added a sentence which reads, "The owner or contractor shall provide twenty-four-hour notice to the Construction Code Official for inspection."
(10) 
Section 403.65 (b) (2) related to certificate of occupancy shall delete (2) which requires the permit holder's name and address on the certificate.
(11) 
Permits shall be required for all utility and miscellaneous use structures 200 square feet, or larger, in area.
[Added 12-15-2004 by Ord. No. 3727]
A. 
Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate a provision of this code or fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof or use, erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, remove, demolish or occupy any building, structure or equipment regulated by this code, or cause the same to be done, in conflict with or in violation of an approved plan or of a directive of the Code Official or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code.
B. 
Violation penalties. Any person who violates a provision of this code or fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who commits an unlawful act hereunder shall be liable to fines and penalties not exceeding $1,000, which fines and penalties may be collected by suit or summary proceeding brought in the name of the Township of Lower Merion before any district justice in like manner as debts of a like amount are now by law recoverable. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
C. 
Abatement of violation. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the Code Official of the Township of Lower Merion from instituting appropriate action to prevent unlawful construction or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises or to stop an illegal act, conduct, business or use of a building or structure on or about any premises.
D. 
Unlawful continuance. Any person who shall continue any work in or about the structure after having been served with a stop-work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be deemed to have committed a violation of this code and shall be subject to those penalties prescribed hereinabove in additional to such other legal and equitable remedies as the Township may seek.
E. 
Disregard of unsafe notice. Upon refusal or neglect of the person served with an unsafe notice to comply with the requirements of the order to abate the unsafe condition, the Code Official of the Township of Lower Merion shall he advised of all the facts and shall institute the appropriate action to compel compliance.
F. 
Enforcement of special requirements for building permits for historic resources. Any person who demolishes a building, structure or site on the Historic Resource Inventory, Chapter A180 of the Lower Merion Township Code, in violation of the provisions of this chapter, or in violation of any conditions or requirements specified in a permit issued hereunder, shall be required to restore the building, structure or site involved to its appearance prior to the violation, in default of which the Township may perform such restoration and charge the cost thereof together with an administrative fee of 10% as a municipal lien against the property. Such restoration shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any penalty or remedy available under this code or any other applicable law.
A. 
All construction codes or portions thereof which were adopted by Lower Merion Township on or before July 1, 1999, and which equal or exceed the requirements of this code, shall continue in full force and effect until such time as such provisions fail to equal or exceed the minimum requirements of the Code, as amended from time to time.
B. 
All construction codes or portions thereof which are in effect as of the effective date of this chapter and whose requirements are less than the minimum requirements of this code are hereby amended to conform with the comparable provisions of this code.
C. 
All relevant codes, regulations and policies of Lower Merion Township not governed by this code shall remain in full force and effect.
[Added 12-15-2004 by Ord. No. 3727]
A. 
General. To hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the Code Official relative to the application and interpretation of the Code, there shall be and there is hereby created a Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners. Each member shall serve for a term of five years, except that the terms shall be staggered so that one shall expire each year. The Board shall adopt rules of procedure for conducting its business.
B. 
Limitations on authority. An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of the Code or the rules legally adopted thereunder has been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of the Code do not fully apply or an equally good or better form of construction is proposed. The Board shall have no authority to waive requirements of the Code.
C. 
Qualifications. The Board of Appeals shall consist of five members who are qualified by experience and training to pass on matters pertaining to building construction and are not officials or employees of the Township. All members shall be residents of the Township. In addition, the Board of Commissioners may appoint one qualified alternate member of the Board, who shall serve for a term of five years. The alternate shall be seated as a voting alternate member on the Board only when required to create a quorum. In such event the alternate shall serve for the entirety of the proceedings, shall be entitled to participate in all proceedings and discussions of the Board to the same and full extent as provided by law for Board members, including specifically the right to cast a vote as a voting member during the proceedings, and shall have all the powers and duties as provided by law. The alternate may participate in any proceeding or discussion of the Board but shall not be entitled to vote as a member of the Board unless designated as a voting alternate member.
D. 
Appeals. An appeal from any decision of the Code Official pertaining to this chapter shall be taken to the Board of Appeals. Such appeal shall be made in writing within 10 days of such decision and shall be verified by affidavit and filed with the Township Secretary upon payment of a filing fee. The Board shall meet upon notice from the Chairman within 60 days of the filing of an appeal in order to consider the same. The appellant or his representative shall have the right to appear if such right is requested in the written appeal. A prompt decision of such appeal shall be made by the Board of Appeals.