Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Title. These regulations shall be known as the "Existing Structures, Property Maintenance and Fire Prevention Code of the Borough of Columbia," hereinafter referred to as the "Existing Structures Code" or "this code."
[Amended 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726]
B. 
Scopes. This code is to protect the public health, safety and welfare in all existing structures, residential and nonresidential, and on all existing premises as hereinafter provided, by:
(1) 
Establishing minimum maintenance standards for all structures and premises for basic equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space heating and sanitation; for safety from fire; for space, use and location; and for safe and sanitary maintenance of all structures and premises now in existence.
(2) 
Establishing minimum requirements for all existing buildings and structures for means of egress, fire protection systems and other equipment and devices necessary for safety from fire.
(3) 
Providing for rehabilitation and reuse of existing structures and allowing differences between the application of the code requirements to new construction and the application of the code requirements to alterations and repairs.
(4) 
Fixing the responsibilities of owners, operators and occupants of all structures.
(5) 
Providing for administration, enforcement and penalties.
C. 
Intent. This code shall be construed liberally and justly to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued use and maintenance of structures and premises.
D. 
Adoption of codes. There is hereby adopted by the Borough of Columbia the 2018 International Property Maintenance Code and all codes and standards referenced and incorporated therein, all for the purpose of describing specifications and regulations to ensure the structural safety of buildings, structures and housing existing or constructed for use within the Borough, as therein and herein provided, save and except those provisions as are deleted, modified or amended by this or other ordinances of the Borough of Columbia, together with such provisions as may be hereinafter adopted by the Borough of Columbia, except such provisions which are in conflict with state law. The aforesaid 2018 International Property Maintenance Code and the incorporated standards and codes are hereby adopted and are incorporated by reference as if set out at length. Copies of the above-referenced codes and standards are on file in the Office of the Borough Secretary and Borough Code Official where they are available for public examination and use. The provisions set forth in this chapter of the Existing Structures, Property Maintenance and Fire Prevention Code of the Borough of Columbia shall be controlling within the limits of the Borough of Columbia. The Borough of Columbia further adopts and incorporates the Uniform Construction Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and any regulations, standards or requirements promulgated thereunder. To the extent that said code or any of its regulations, rules or requirements are inconsistent with the provisions of any of the codes referenced above, said Uniform Construction Code and its rules, regulations and promulgations shall control. The International Property Maintenance Code of 2018, as adopted hereby, is amended as follows:
[Amended 6-14-1999 by Ord. No. 677; 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681; 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 722; 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726; 3-23-2010 by Ord. No. 801; 12-11-2017 by Ord. No. 894]
(1) 
Section 101.1, Title, be and hereby is revised to read as follows:
101.1 Title. These regulations shall be known as the "International Property Maintenance Code and/or Existing Structures, Property Maintenance and Fire Prevention Code of the Borough of Columbia," herein referred to as "the code."
(2) 
Section 103.5, Fees, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
103.5 Fees. The fees for activities and services performed by the Department in carrying out its responsibilities under the code shall be as set forth on the Borough of Columbia Fee Schedule, adopted from time to time by resolution of Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia.
(3) 
Section 112.4, Failure to comply, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
112.4 Failure to comply. Any person who shall continue any work 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 liable to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
(4) 
Section 302.4, Weeds, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
302.4 Weeds. Premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or growth in excess of 11 inches. Noxious weeds shall be prohibited. "Weeds" shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs; provided, however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
Upon failure of the owner or agent having charge of a property to cut and destroy weeds after service of a notice of violation, they shall be subject to prosecution in accordance with Section 106.3 and as prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction or contractor hired by the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and cut and destroy the weeds growing thereon, and the cost of such removal shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property.
(5) 
Section 304.14, Insect screens, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
304.14 Insect screens. During the period from January 1 to December 31, every door, window and other outside opening required for ventilation of habitable rooms, food preparation areas, food service areas or any areas where products to be included or utilized in food for human consumption are processed, manufactured, packaged or stored shall be supplied with approved tightly fitting screens of minimum 16 mesh per inch (16 mesh per 25 mm), and every screen door used for insect control shall have a self-closing device in good working condition.
Exception: Screens shall not be required where other approved means, such as air curtains or insect repellant fans, are employed.
(6) 
Section 602.3, Heat supply, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
602.3 Heat supply. Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases or lets one or more dwelling units or sleeping units on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall apply heat during the period from October 1 to May 30 to maintain a minimum temperature of 68° F. (20° C.) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms.
Exceptions:
1.
When the outdoor temperature is below the winter outdoor design temperature for the locality, maintenance of the minimum room temperature shall not be required, provided that the heating system is operating at its full designed capacity. The winter outdoor design temperature for the locality shall be as indicated in Appendix D of the International Plumbing Code.
2.
In areas where the average monthly temperature is above 30° F. (-1° C.), a minimum temperature of 65° F. (18° C.) shall be maintained.
(7) 
Section 602.4, Occupiable work spaces, of the code be and hereby is amended to read as follows:
602.4 Occupiable work spaces. Indoor occupiable work spaces shall be supplied with heat during the period from October 1 to May 30 to maintain a minimum temperature of 65° F. (18° C.) during the period the spaces are occupied.
Exceptions:
1.
Processing, storage and operation areas that require cooling or special temperature conditions.
2.
Areas in which persons are primarily engaged in vigorous physical activities.
(8) 
To the extent that Section 111 of the code is inconsistent with § 112-10 of the Code of the Borough of Columbia, § 112-10 of the Code of the Borough of Columbia shall control. Notwithstanding the foregoing, both § 112-10 of the Code of the Borough of Columbia and Section 111 of the code shall be read together and interpreted as each being in force to the extent that they are not inconsistent with one another.
(9) 
Any battery-only smoke alarm that is either (1) inoperable or (2) more than 10 years old must be replaced with a smoke alarm powered by a ten-year sealed-in battery that meets with the approval of the Codes Compliance Department.
[Added 7-23-2019 by Ord. No. 916]
E. 
Application of other codes. Any alterations or repairs to a structure or change of use therein which are caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this code which are undertaken otherwise after passage of this code shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical codes listed and set forth in Chapter 8 of the 2018 International Property Maintenance Code and, or where appropriate, with the Uniform Construction Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted by the Borough of Columbia as set forth in this Chapter 112. Alterations or repairs shall not cause an existing structure to become unsafe or adversely affect the performance of the structure. Alterations or repairs to any structure shall conform to that required of a new structure without requiring the existing structure to comply with all the requirements of the code for the new construction, provided that such work conforms to that required by this code.
[Amended 8-15-1991 by Ord. No. 634; 12-11-2017 by Ord. No. 894]
F. 
Existing remedies. The provisions of this code shall not be construed to abolish or impair existing remedies of the Borough or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or demolition of any buildings which are dangerous, unsafe and unsanitary.
G. 
Workmanship. All repairs, maintenance work, alterations or installations which are required for compliance with this code shall be executed and installed in a workmanlike and acceptable manner so as to secure the results intended by this code.
This code shall not affect violations of any other ordinance, code or regulation existing prior to the effective date hereof, and any such violation shall be governed and shall continue to be punishable to the full extent of the law under the provisions of those ordinances, codes or regulations in effect at the time the violation was committed.
As provided in § 112-1, this code establishes minimum requirements for the initial and continued occupancy and use of all structures and premises and does not replace or modify requirements otherwise established by ordinance which are additional or more stringent for the construction, repair, alteration or use of structures, equipment or facilities.
[Amended 8-15-1991 by Ord. No. 634]
A. 
Approved materials and equipment. At all times through the process of construction, reconstruction, renovation, remodeling and/or repairing, the code official has the right to investigate the materials or equipment being used and the procedures performed toward completion of any project. The code official has the right to prohibit the use of any material, equipment or procedure which is judged, in good faith, to create a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the public.
B. 
Modifications. When there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the structural or mechanical provisions of this code, the owner or his representative is obligated to report the difficulty. The code official shall be permitted to vary or modify such provisions upon application of the owner or of the owner's representative, provided that the spirit or intent of this code shall be observed and public safety and welfare is assured. The code official may render a decision immediately when possible or after appropriate research and/or consultation.
C. 
Records. Applications for modifications and final decision of the code official shall be in writing and shall be officially recorded in the records of the code official. Any modification permitted by the code official shall be in writing with an explanation and copies of any reference material used to assist in that decision. The record of modifications shall be read and signed and dated by the owner or his representative and the code official.
D. 
Alternative materials and equipment.
(1) 
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the use of any material or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such construction shall be approved when the code official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.
(2) 
Research and investigations. The code official may require that sufficient technical data be submitted to substantiate the proposed use of any material or assembly; and, if it is determined that the evidence submitted is satisfactory proof of performance for the use intended, the code official shall approve its use subject to the requirements of this code. The costs of all tests, reports and investigations required under these provisions shall be paid by the applicant.