Heads up: There are no suggested sections in this chapter.
Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
Any person who is directly aggrieved by the issuance, transfer, renewal, refusal, suspension, revocation or cancellation of any license issued pursuant to this code and the technical codes (except licenses issued pursuant to the Property Maintenance Code); by a refusal of permit pursuant to this code and the technical codes; or by any notice, order or other action by the code official as a result of any inspection pursuant to this code and the technical codes, shall have the right to appeal to the appropriate technical board as set forth in Section A-802.1.
Appeals shall be filed in writing on forms provided by the department in accordance with procedures established by the department and/or the appeal boards. The appeal shall be accompanied by the required fee and a copy of the violation or permit refusal notice when applicable. The appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the date of the action being appealed.

Exception: Appeals from unsafe or imminently dangerous designations by the department shall be filed within 5 days of the date of such notice.
An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that:
  1. The true intent of the applicable code or regulations adopted thereunder has been incorrectly interpreted;
  2. The provisions of the code do not fully apply; or
  3. An equivalent form of construction or installation is proposed.

UpCodes note: Section A-801.3 was amended, Bill No. 030780 which was approved on December 31, 2003.
All appeals considered by the technical boards shall be heard in public at such times and locations scheduled by the boards. The appellant, the owner or the owner's agent, and the code official shall be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing. The board shall recommend to:
  1. Deny the request in whole or in part;
  2. Grant the request in whole or in part; or
  3. Grant the request upon certain conditions being satisfied.

UpCodes note: Section A-801.4 was amended, Bill No. 030780 which was approved on December 31, 2003.
The board shall provide a written notice of its decision to the appellant, the owner or owner's agent, and the code official.

UpCodes note: Section A-801.5 was amended by Bill No. 110844 (approved December 21, 2011), effective August 22, 2012.
Appeals filed pursuant to Section A-801 shall be submitted to the technical board specified in Table A-802.1. The code official shall transmit to such board all the documents, or photocopies thereof, which constitute the record upon which the action appealed from was taken and the reasons for said action.

TABLE A-802.1
TECHNICAL APPEAL BOARDS
Subject Code Technical Appeal Board
Electrical Code

Energy Conservation Code

Existing Building Code

Fuel Gas Code

Mechanical Code

Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities

Plumbing Code

Property Maintenance Code

Residential Code
Board of Building Standards
Building and Residential Codes — Accessibility for the physically disabled Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board
Fire Code Board of Safety and Fire Prevention
Zoning Code Zoning Board of Adjustment
Variances from the technical codes shall be granted subject to the provisions of Sections A-802.2.2.1 through A-802.2.2.4, shall be in writing and shall be available for public inspection in the department.
The commissioner of the Department is authorized to grant an extension of time or a variance from the requirements of the Building, Electrical, Energy Conservation, Existing Building, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, Performance, Plumbing, Property Maintenance and Residential Codes upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Building Standards, as established by provisions of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.
Recommendation for an extension of time or a variance from a technical code by the Board of Building Standards shall be made upon written petition by, or on behalf of, the owner where there is a finding that:
  1. The variance will fulfill the intent of the code; and
  2. Literal enforcement will result in unique and unnecessary hardship or extraordinary conditions make literal compliance impractical; and
  3. The variance will not be an unreasonable deviation from the requirements of the code; and
  4. In the case of a variance in an area prone to flooding, the considerations and conditions for issuance set forth in Appendix G of the Philadelphia Building Code are satisfied; and
  5. In the case of buildings designated as historic pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 of The Philadelphia Code or listed in the National Register of Historic Places, where strict compliance with a provision of this Title would interfere with the historic character of the property, the variance does not constitute a material life safety hazard;
  6. In the case of the request for an extension of time, efforts are being made to come into compliance as quickly as possible; and
  7. A reasonable accommodation is requested under the Fair Housing Act for provisions related to the technical codes.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.1.1 was amended by Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013) and Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
In such case where the Board of Building Standards shall recommend a variance to construct a structure below the Regulatory Flood Elevation, the owner shall be notified in writing that the variance will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance and an increased risk to property and life. The Board of Building Standards shall maintain a record of all variance actions within the flood plain and justification therefor, and shall report such variances issued in an annual report to the Administrator of the Federal Insurance Administration.
When the code official provides a finding of substantial improvement to a permit applicant regarding a building or structure regulated by the technical codes as required in Section A-302.1.2, and the applicant disagrees with such finding, the applicant may file an appeal with the Board of Building Standards. The Board shall determine whether the value of the proposed work constitutes a substantial improvement.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.1.3 was amended by Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013) and Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
The Board of Building Standards shall consider advice from the Electrical Advisory Board and Plumbing Advisory Board when hearing appeals from the Electrical Code and Plumbing Code respectively where such advice is submitted.
The Board of Building Standards may delegate its authority to the Plumbing Advisory Board to hear appeals from requirements of the Plumbing Code, and provide recommendations as authorized by Section A-203.3 on alternative material, design or method of construction related to plumbing. Decisions of the Plumbing Advisory Board recommending granting of such appeals shall be submitted directly to the Commissioner for further consideration. Decisions of the Board recommending denial of such appeals shall be reviewed by the Board of Building Standards in accordance with A-802.2.1.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.1.4.1 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (Secretary) has the exclusive power to grant modifications and extensions of time and decide issues of technical infeasibility under Chapter 11 (Accessibility) of the Philadelphia Building Code and other accessibility requirements contained in or referenced by the technical codes for individual projects.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.2 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary will review all applications for modifications or variances of Chapter 11 (Accessibility) of the Philadelphia Building Code and any other accessibility requirements contained in or referenced by the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code. The Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board will advise the Secretary whether modification or variance should be granted or whether compliance is technically infeasible.
Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary will hear appeals from decisions of code officials; recommend modifications or variances, or extensions of time. An appeal of a decision of a code official may be based only on a claim that the true intent of the UCC or the Building Construction and Occupancy Code was incorrectly interpreted, the UCC does not apply, or an equivalent form of construction is to be used.
An owner or owner's agent shall file an appeal regarding accessibility provisions with the Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board on a form provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
An appeal to the Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board will automatically suspend an action to enforce an order to correct except where there is an unsafe building, structure or equipment.
The Fire Commissioner is authorized to grant an extension of time or a variance from the requirements of the Fire Code upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention.
Recommendation for an extension of time or a variance from the Fire Code by the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention shall be made upon written petition by, or on behalf of, the owner where there is a finding that:
  1. The variance will fulfill the intent of the code; and
  2. Literal enforcement will result in unique and unnecessary hardship or extraordinary conditions make literal compliance impractical; and
  3. The variance will not be an unreasonable deviation from the requirements of the code; and
  4. In the case of buildings designated as historic pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 of The Philadelphia Code or listed in the National Register of Historic Places, where strict compliance with a provision of this Title would interfere with the historic character of the property, the variance does not constitute a material life safety hazard; and
  5. In the case of a request for an extension of time, efforts are being made to come into compliance as quickly as possible.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.3.1 was amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is authorized to hear and decide appeals in zoning matters in accordance with provisions of Section 4-607of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, the Zoning Code and regulations pursuant thereto.

UpCodes note: Section A-802.2.4 was amended by Bill No. 180175. The bill was approved on June 6, 2018.
Compliance with a variance issued by the Fire Commissioner, Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be considered in compliance with the code from which the variance is granted.
Any person who has had a variance appeal hearing and has been denied a variance shall have the right to appeal that decision to the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the date of the notice of decision.
Any person who has been denied a hearing before a technical board; or who is aggrieved by the issuance, transfer, renewal, refusal, suspension, revocation or cancellation of any City license which is not listed for appeal to a technical board in Section A-801.1; or who is aggrieved by a notice, order or other action of the department relative to this code or the technical codes which is not listed for appeal to a technical board in Section A-801.1, shall have the right to appeal to the Board of License and Inspection Review.

Exception: All zoning matters are appealed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Appeals shall be filed in writing on forms provided by the code official in accordance with procedures established by the code official and/or the board. The appeal shall be accompanied by a copy of the notice, order or other document which is the subject of appeal as applicable. The appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the date of the action being appealed.
All appeals considered by the board shall be heard in public at such times and locations scheduled by the board.
The Board of License and Inspection Review shall, by a majority vote, affirm, modify, reverse, vacate or revoke the notice, order or action from which an appeal is taken; however, the board shall not have the authority to grant variances from the technical provisions of the technical codes.
Each decision of the board shall be in writing and shall be available for public inspection in the department.
Whenever an appeal filed pursuant to Sections A-801.0 or A-803.0 is pending, compliance with the decision, notice of violation, order, or license suspension or revocation which is the subject of appeal shall not be required except as provided in Section A-805.2.
An appeal shall not constitute a stay of proceedings by the department or the Fire Department where either department finds and certifies in writing that the violation is intentional or that there exists a condition of immediate danger or hazard to health, safety or welfare which requires immediate compliance. An appeal shall not constitute grounds for lifting a Stop Work Order or Cease Operations Order.
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