Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
These provisions shall be known as the Philadelphia Administrative Code, shall be cited as such, and will be referred to herein as "this code".

UpCodes note: Section A-101.1 was amended by Bill No. 030780. This bill was approved on December 31, 2003.
The provisions of this code shall serve as the administrative, enforcement and appeals regulations for the technical codes which regulate the site, construction, alteration, addition, repair, abatement, removal, demolition, location, occupancy and maintenance of all buildings, structures and building service equipment within the City of Philadelphia.
This code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent which is to provide for the clear and consistent administration and enforcement of the technical codes adopted by the City of Philadelphia. The term "technical codes" shall mean the Building Code, Electrical Code, Energy Conservation Code, Existing Building Code, Fire Code, Fuel Gas Code, Mechanical Code, Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities, Plumbing Code, Property Maintenance Code and Residential Code (Subcodes "B", "E", "EC", "EB", "F", "G", "M", "PC", "P", "PM" and "R", respectively of this Title), and the Zoning Code (Title 14).

This code incorporates, and amends where authorized, the administrative provisions of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Act (UCC), adopted by the City of Philadelphia by ordinance on June 21, 2004 for the regulation of construction through the technical codes.

UpCodes note: Section A-101.3 was amended by Bill No. 030780. This bill was approved on December 31, 2003. It was further amended by Bill No. 180175 which was approved on June 6, 2018.
The provisions of this code shall apply to matters of administration common to the technical codes as set forth in Section A-101.0. Administrative provisions which are unique to one of the technical codes will be set forth in the administrative provisions of such code. Terms used in this code shall be as defined by the technical codes unless defined herein. The codes listed in Section A-101.3 (other than the Zoning Code) and referenced elsewhere in this code and the other technical codes comprise the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code and shall be applicable as stated in each of the codes. Provisions in the appendices of the International codes shall not apply unless specifically adopted in the administrative provisions of the adopted code. 7 The Building Construction and Occupancy Code does not apply to: 7.1
  1. The use, construction or alteration of any building owned and operated by the federal government pursuant to the Public Building, Property and Works Law, 40 U.S.C. § 3101.
  2. Pursuant to the UCC, an agricultural building that is a structure used to store farm implements, hay, feed, grain or other agricultural or horticultural products or to house poultry, livestock or other farm animals, which is subject to the Property Maintenance Code, the Zoning Code and the Fire Code. The exemption does not include habitable space or spaces in which agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged, or any place of occupancy by the general public.
  3. Installation of tubing, piping, propane gas burning appliances, equipment or fixtures related to liquefied petroleum gas pursuant to the Propane and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Act, Act 61 of 2002, P.L. 421 (35 P.S. §§ 1329.1 — 1329.19).
  4. Construction of individual sewage disposal systems pursuant to 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 73 (relating to onlot sewage treatment facilities) as regulated by the Department of Public Health.
  5. With respect to electrical provisions of the code only, to a dwelling unit utilized by a member of a recognized religious sect if a code administrator grants an exemption under Section 901(b) of the UCC.
  6. Pursuant to the UCC, the construction of structures which are:
    1. Erected for the purpose of participation in a fair, flea market, arts and crafts festival or other public celebration;
    2. Less than 1,600 square feet in size;
    3. Erected for a period of less than 30 days; and
    4. Not a swimming pool or hot tub.
    Such structures are subject to the Property Maintenance Code, the Zoning Code and the Fire Code.
  7. Pursuant to the UCC, construction of a pole barn that is constructed on agricultural fairgrounds and is used solely for agricultural purposes and animal display. Such structures are subject to the Property Maintenance Code, the Zoning Code and the Fire Code. If an exempted pole barn has electrical service, a permit and inspections to determine compliance with the electrical provisions of the code are required.
  8. Pursuant to the UCC, the installation and maintenance of ski lifts, inclined passenger lifts and related devices, elevators, escalators, conveying systems and related equipment as defined in the Building Code, with the exception of the accessibility requirements of the Building Code. Such devices and systems shall be regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
  9. Pursuant to the UCC, the construction or alteration of structures used for the direct, seasonal sale of agricultural commodities where such structures are:
    1. open on at least 25% of the perimeter of the structure when in operation.
    2. operated by a producer whose products make up not less than 50% of the agricultural commodities being sold;
    3. if not located on the producer's property, erected for less than 180 days of a calendar year;
    4. comprised of an area of not more than 1,000 square feet;
    5. used to load, unload or sort livestock at livestock auction facilities; and
    6. limited to one structure per parcel of land.
    Such structures are subject to the Property Maintenance Code, the Zoning Code and the Fire Code.
Whenever conflicting provisions or requirements occur within or between this code, the technical codes and any other applicable codes or laws, the most restrictive shall govern. Where there is a conflict between a general requirement and a specific requirement, the specific requirement shall be applicable.
The codes and standards referenced in any of the technical codes shall be considered part of the requirements of such code to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where differences occur between provisions of a technical code and the referenced codes and standards, the provisions of the originating code shall apply. The department is authorized by regulation to update the edition of standards referenced by the technical codes as necessary to maintain current technical provisions. Such regulations shall be subject to the local amendment requirements of the UCC.

Exception: Where enforcement of a code provision would violate the conditions of the listing of equipment or an appliance, the conditions of the listing and manufacturer"s instructions shall apply.


UpCodes note: Section A-102.3 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Where this code or the technical codes reference the Administrative Code, International Building Code, ICC Electrical Code, International Energy Conservation Code, International Existing Building Code, International Fire Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Mechanical Code, International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities, International Plumbing Code, International Property Maintenance Code, International Residential Code or Zoning Code, it shall mean the City of Philadelphia Code of such title listed in the "Referenced Standards" Chapter of the referencing code and currently in effect unless specifically stated otherwise.
The standards referenced in this code or the technical codes shall be those that are listed in the "Referenced Standards" Chapter of the referencing code.
Nothing in this code or in any of the technical codes shall be construed as conferring or attempting to confer upon any officer, department, board or commission of the City, the power of eminent domain. All actions by any officer, department, board or commission pursuant to this code or any of the technical codes shall be deemed to be in the exercise of the police power. The provisions of this code and the technical codes shall not be deemed to nullify any applicable provisions of other local, state or federal laws.
Where no applicable standards or requirements are set forth in the technical codes, or are contained within other laws, codes, regulations or ordinances, compliance with applicable nationally recognized standards, as approved, shall be deemed as prima facie evidence of compliance with the intent of the technical code. Nothing herein shall derogate from the authority of the code official to determine compliance with codes or standards for those activities or installations within the code official's jurisdiction or responsibility. Requirements necessary for the strength, stability or proper operation of an existing or proposed building or mechanical system, or for the public safety, health and general welfare, not specifically covered by the technical codes or applicable standards, shall be determined by the code official.
The legal occupancy of any structure existing on the date of adoption of the Building Construction and Occupancy Code, or any subcode thereof, shall be permitted to continue without change, except as is specifically covered in such code, the Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code or Philadelphia Fire Code, or as is deemed necessary by the code official for the general safety and welfare of the occupants and the public. This Section (A-102.6) is subject to the following provisions of the UCC:
  1. A building that was built before April 27, 1927 is deemed to be legally occupied until the owner proposes to renovate, add an addition, alter or change the occupancy of the building. The renovation, addition, alteration or change in occupancy must comply with the UCC.
  2. For all existing structures built on or after April 27, 1927, the code official is authorized to issue a certificate of occupancy if the building meets the requirements of the latest adopted version of the "International Existing Building Code." The code official may deny the issuance of a certificate of occupancy if the official deems that a building is unsafe because of inadequate means of egress, inadequate lighting and ventilation, fire hazards or other dangers to human life or to public welfare.
UpCodes note: Section A-102.6 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Except as otherwise specifically provided for in the technical codes, a provision in the technical codes shall not require the removal, alteration or abandonment of, nor prevent the continued utilization and maintenance of the following systems and equipment lawfully in existence at the time of adoption of this code and the technical codes.
  1. Building envelope
  2. Electrical systems and equipment
  3. Fuel gas installations
  4. Mechanical systems
  5. Plumbing systems
  6. Service water-heating systems
A building or portion of a building that has not been previously occupied or used for its intended purpose in accordance with the laws in existence at the time of its completion shall comply with the Building or Residential Code as applicable for new construction or with any current permit for such occupancy.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.6.2 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Buildings and parts thereof shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition. Fuel gas installations; mechanical systems; plumbing systems and electrical systems, equipment, materials and appurtenances and parts thereof, shall be maintained in proper operating condition in accordance with the original design and in a safe, hazard-free condition. All existing devices and safeguards that are required by the technical codes shall be maintained in existing buildings. The owner or the owner's designated agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of the building. To determine compliance with this subsection, the code official shall have the authority to require a building to be reinspected. Except where specifically permitted by the Building Construction and Occupancy Code, the code shall not provide the basis for removal or abrogation of fire protection and safety systems and devices in existing buildings.

Exception: This Section shall not prohibit the removal of fire protection systems or equipment where such removal is authorized by an approved permit and construction documents for alterations and/or a change in occupancy classification, and the fire protection systems or equipment are not required by the current Building and Fire Codes.


UpCodes note: Section A-102.7 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Additions, alterations and repairs to an existing building or structure, or portion thereof shall conform to the requirements for new construction per the currently adopted technical codes. Additions, alterations and repairs shall not cause an existing building or structure to become unsafe, hazardous or overloaded.

Exception: At the option of the applicant or registered design professional in responsible charge, additions, alterations and repairs shall be permitted to comply with the applicable provisions of the Philadelphia Existing Building Code.


UpCodes note: Section A-102.8 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Additions, alterations, renovations and repairs to the following systems and installations shall conform to the requirements for new systems and installations without requiring any portion of the existing systems and installations to comply with all of the requirements of the applicable technical codes. Additions, alterations and repairs shall not cause an existing system or installation to become unsafe, hazardous or overloaded.
  1. Electrical installations
  2. Fuel gas installations
  3. Mechanical systems
  4. Plumbing systems
  5. Service water-heating systems
Minor additions, alterations, renovations and repairs to existing systems or installations shall meet the provisions for new construction, unless such work is done in the same manner and arrangement as was done in the existing system, is not hazardous and is approved.
It shall be unlawful to make a change of occupancy, as specifically defined in this code and the technical codes, of any building unless such building is made to comply with the requirements of this code and the applicable technical codes for such new occupancy.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.9 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
The Building Construction and Occupancy Code shall be fully applicable to buildings designated as historic pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 or listed in the National Register of Historic Places; provided, however, that variances shall be available pursuant to Section A-802.2.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.10 was amended by Bill No. 120774-A which was approved on January 14, 2013. It was further amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Structures moved into or within the City of Philadelphia shall comply with the requirements of the Building Code for new structures. Electrical systems and equipment, fuel gas installations, and mechanical systems that are a part of buildings or structures moved into or within the City of Philadelphia shall comply with the provisions of the Electrical Code, Fuel Gas Code and Mechanical Code respectively for new installations. This subsection shall not apply to structures regulated under the Industrialized Housing Act, Act 70 of 1972, P.L. 286 (35 P.S. §§ 1651.1 — 1651.12) or the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Authorization Act, Act 192 of 1982, P.L. 676 (35 P.S. §§ 1656.1 — 1656.9).
Manufactured housing pursuant to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Authorization Act (35 P.S. §§ 1656.1 — 1656.9) and industrialized housing and industrialized commercial buildings pursuant to the Industrialized Housing Act (35 P.S. §§ 1651.1 — 1651.12) respectively shall be governed by Sections A-102.12.1 through A-102.12.2.2.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.12 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Manufactured housing shall comply with the provisions of Sections A-102.12.1.1 through A-102.12.1.3.
Except as provided in Section A-102.12.1.2, the Building Construction and Occupancy Code does not apply to manufactured housing assembled by and shipped from the manufacturer and which bears a label which certifies that it conforms to Federal construction and safety standards adopted under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. §§ 5401 — 5426).
Relevant provisions of the Philadelphia Residential Code shall apply to the following:
  1. Site preparation
  2. Foundation construction
  3. Connection to utilities
UpCodes note: Section A-102.12.1.2 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
The Building Construction and Occupancy Code applies to the following:
  1. Alteration or repair to the unit that is not within the scope of 24 C.F.R. 3280.1 — 3280.904 (relating to manufactured home construction and safety standards) and the manufacturer's installation instructions after assembly and shipment by the manufacturer.
  2. Additions to the unit after delivery to the site.
  3. Construction, alteration, repair or change of occupancy if the manufactured housing is resold to a subsequent purchaser.
  4. Construction, alteration, repair or change of occupancy if the original purchaser relocates the manufactured housing.
Industrialized housing and industrialized commercial buildings shall comply with the provisions of Sections A-102.12.2.1 through A-102.12.2.2.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.12.2 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Except as provided in Section A-102.12.2.2, the Building Construction and Occupancy Code does not apply to industrialized housing and industrialized commercial buildings assembled by and shipped from the manufacturer.
The Building Construction and Occupancy Code applies to the following:
  1. Site preparation
  2. Foundation construction
  3. Utilities connection
  4. Installation
  5. Construction, alteration or repair to the industrialized housing unit after installation.
  6. Change of occupancy classification if the industrialized housing or industrialized commercial building is resold to a subsequent purchaser or relocated.
Swimming pools shall be governed by the provisions of Sections A-102.13.1 through A-102.13.3.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.13 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Swimming pools, hot tubs and spas that are accessory to residential buildings shall comply with all of the following:
  1. Philadelphia Residential Code.
  2. Philadelphia Building Code provisions related to glazing in walls and fences enclosing indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs and spas.
Pursuant to the UCC, swimming pools that are not accessory to one- or two-family dwellings shall comply with this Section (A-102.13), the "American National Standards for Public Pools" issued by ANSI and NSPI (ANSI/NSPI-1 2003) and the Public Bathing Law (35 P.S. §§ 672 — 680d).
Pursuant to the UCC, hot tubs and spas that are not accessory to one- or two-family dwellings shall comply with this Section (A-102.13) and the "American National Standard for Public Spas" issued by ANSI and NSPI (ANSI/NSPI-2 1999).
The provisions of this Title 4 shall apply to all State-owned buildings; provided, however, that pursuant to the UCC, the Commonwealth Department of Labor and Industry will conduct plan and specification review of permit applications, issue permits and perform inspections to ensure compliance with the UCC.

UpCodes note: Section A-102.14 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
In the event any part or provision of this code or the technical codes is held to be illegal or void, this shall not have the effect of making void or illegal any of the other parts or provisions thereof, which are determined to be legal; and it shall be presumed that this code and the technical codes would have been passed without such illegal or invalid parts or provisions.
Any invalid part of this code or the technical codes shall be separated from the remainder of such codes by the court holding such part invalid, and the remainder shall remain effective.
The invalidity of any provision in any Section of this code or the technical codes as applied to existing structures shall not be held to affect the validity of such Section in its application to structures hereafter erected.
The enactment of this code and/or any of the technical codes shall not affect violations of any ordinance, code or regulation existing prior to the effective date of this code or the technical codes. 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.

Exception: The code official shall have the authority, upon proper evaluation, to not enforce a violation issued under any ordinance, code or regulation existing prior to the effective date of this code or the technical codes where such violation does not constitute a violation of this code and the current technical codes.
The degree of flood protection sought by the provisions of this code is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on accepted engineering methods of study. Larger floods may occur or flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes, such as ice jams and bridge openings restricted by debris. This code does not imply that areas outside any identified floodplain areas, or that land uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This code shall not create liability on the part of the City of Philadelphia or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that result from reliance on this code or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.

UpCodes note: Section A-103.5 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
All work which is performed either directly or indirectly for compliance with the this code and all other technical codes and the mandates of the Department's bulletins, shall be conducted, installed and completed in a workmanlike and acceptable manner so as to secure the results intended by such codes.

UpCodes note: Section A-104.1 was amended by Bill No. 130698-A. The bill was approved on February 19, 2014.
The owner shall be responsible for the testing, maintenance and repair of structures and systems in accordance with the maintenance provisions of this code and the technical codes.
If an occupant of a structure creates conditions in violation of this code or the technical codes, by virtue of any improper use of the premises or by virtue of storage, handling and use of substances, materials, devices and appliances, the occupant shall be responsible for the abatement of said hazardous conditions.
All contractors, whether licensed by the Department or exempt from licensing under State law, shall be responsible for compliance with this code and the technical codes in the performance of their work.

UpCodes note: Section A-105.3 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
A contract between owner and operator, owner and contractor, operator and occupant, operator and contractor, occupant and contractor, or owner and occupant with regard to compliance with this code and the technical codes shall not relieve any party of direct responsibility under such codes.

UpCodes note: Section A-105.4 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this code and the technical codes, have the meanings shown in this Section.

AGRICULTURAL BUILDING: In accordance with the UCC, a structure utilized to store farm implements, hay, feed, grain or other agricultural or horticultural products or to house poultry, livestock or other farm animals, a milk house or a structure used to grow mushrooms, agricultural or horticultural products. The term includes a carriage house owned and used by members of a recognized religious sect for the purposes of housing horses and storing buggies. The term includes a structure that is less than 1,000 square feet in size which is utilized to process maple sap. The term shall not include habitable space or spaces in which agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged and shall not be construed to mean a place of occupancy by the general public.

CHANGE OF OCCUPANCY: A change in the use of a building or a portion of a building that results in any of the following:
  1. A change of occupancy classification.
  2. A change from one group to another group within an occupancy classification.
  3. Any change in use within a group for which there is a change in application of the requirements of this code and the technical codes.
CODE OFFICIAL (OR BUILDING OFFICIAL): The Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or his or her duly authorized representative charged with the administration and enforcement of such codes.

Exception: In the Fire Code, the term "fire code official" or "code official" shall mean the Fire Commissioner and/or the Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or their duly authorized representatives charged with the administration and enforcement of the code in accordance with practices established by the two departments.

COMPETENT PERSON: An individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards at the job site or is knowledgeable of policies and practices that affect working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

DEPARTMENT: The Department of Licenses and Inspections unless otherwise specified.

Exception: In the Fire Code, the term "Department" shall mean the Fire Department unless otherwise specified.

HEALTH CARE FACILITY: Any of the following, regardless whether the facility is operated for profit, nonprofit or by an agency of the Commonwealth or local government:

a general, chronic disease or other type of hospital,
a home health care agency,
a hospice or long-term care nursing facility,
a cancer treatment center using radiation therapy on an ambulatory basis,
an ambulatory surgical facility,
a birth center, or
any other health care facility licensed by the Commonwealth Department of Health as may be necessary due to emergence of new modes of health care; provided that the term "health care facility" shall not include
an office used primarily for the private practice of a health care practitioner,
a program which renders treatment or care for drug or alcohol abuse or dependence unless located within a health facility,
a facility providing treatment solely on the basis of prayer or spiritual means, or
a facility which is conducted by a religious organization for the purpose of providing health care services exclusively to clergymen or other persons in a religious profession who are members of a religious denomination.

OSHA 10: The 10-hour program designed and approved by the United States Occupational, Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") under its Outreach Training Program for Construction intended to train workers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in general industry.

OSHA 30: The 30-hour program designed and approved by the United States Occupational, Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") under its Outreach Training Program for Construction for additional training of supervisors and workers with some safety responsibilities.

PERMIT HOLDER: The person(s) or business entity who owns the parcel, building or structure and is responsible for such property. While a permit may be obtained by another person or entity, that person or entity must have approval of the owner and the permit must always be subject to the control of the owner. The permit holder may be a person or entity with written documentation of equitable ownership of that real property. The permit holder may designate an agent such as a contractor to be the permit holder.

REGISTERED DESIGN PROFESSIONAL: A licensed architect, licensed engineer or other licensed design professional that holds a currently valid license to practice in Pennsylvania.

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING: Detached one-family and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings, including their accessory structures, which are not more than three stories in height with a separate means of egress.

STATE-OWNED BUILDING: Pursuant to the UCC, a building owned by or to be constructed for Commonwealth entities, including the General Assembly, the Unified Judicial System, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, an executive agency, independent agency, and a State-affiliated entity or State-related institution. A Commonwealth authority or a Commonwealth entity shall be considered a "State-affiliated entity." The term includes the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, the State Public School Building Authority, the Pennsylvania Higher Educational Facilities Authority and the State System of Higher Education. The term does not include any court or other officer or agency of the unified judicial system, the General Assembly and its officers and agencies, any State-related institution, political subdivision or any local, regional or metropolitan transportation authority.

UCC: The Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Act, Act 45 of November 10, 1999, P.L. 491, as amended.


UpCodes note: Section A-106.1 was amended by Bill No. 130698-A which was approved on February 19, 2014. It was further amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
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