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State Lawmakers to Scrutinize Building Construction Codes

Building construction codes are coming under scrutiny by state lawmakers in an upcoming hearing.

The state’s approach to adopting updates to the codes has changed under the Corbett administration, leading a state commission to reject all of the most recent internationally-provided model updates.

A proposal by Democratic state Rep. Pat Harkins of Erie County would restore some of the ease of accepting updated codes for commercial buildings.

"The commercial buildings support public use, so naturally I think that the duty is to ensure that all buildings are in the best possible shape and practical for public inhabitants and use day in and day out," Harkins said.

Residential builders are left out of Harkins’ bill.

Such builders have fought past efforts to update building codes that add safety and energy efficiency requirements, saying such measures would hike their costs by tens of thousands of dollars.

Critics say Harkins’ proposal would be tricky to implement and say there’s no reason commercial buildings should be safer than homes.