Buildings

PLEASE NOTE: This is an outline of some significant provisions applicable to Pennsylvania Christian schools. Many details are omitted for brevity. KCEA’s Administrative Handbook and its frequent Special Reports give the necessary details.

Displaying Public Notices — Applicable to All

  • Building Occupancy Permits
  • Underground Tank Notice*
  • Pressure Boiler Notice*
  • Elevator Inspection Notice*
  • Food Handlers and Kitchen Facilities* (These areas are regulated in certain counties and municipalities by local health departments. Permit/regulatory postings may be required.)

* = These postings are required, as applicable.

When Building or Renovating

Occupancy Permits:

  • Every facility theoretically must have an occupancy permit in order for it to be used. (Some older structures [circa pre-1950s which have not been remodeled or changed usage since then] may predate any permit system for their location. An occupancy permit confirms that the facility conformed to the codes when it was constructed. Renovation or additions to buildings without valid occupancy permits may trigger requirements to update the facility to meet current code standards applicable to the activities within the facility.

Pennsylvania Building Codes:

  • Since the implementation of the Uniform Construction Codes (UCC), building permits are almost universally required for most building projects that are more than minor repairs or redecorating. Permits are issued by municipal, township, or county building code offices. In a limited number of areas in the Commonwealth building permits are issued through the Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg. Most areas control their own permit process and inspection process.  However, basically all within Pennsylvania are required to go through the State Department of Labor and Industry for plan approval before the local government will issue final permits to occupy a building.
  • A building permit is required when one modifies egress to or within the building, or changes structural walls, stairs and ramps (because this does affect safety). Before conducting other than minor roof repair (patching a leak) or replacing windows or doors, check with  local Codes officials if the scope of the work will require a permit. Work done without a permit, not up to code specifications, or not properly inspected may be ordered to be completely removed, and fines can be levied for the work. (Recent example: PVC plumbing installed under a valid permit was installed without using the required dyed primer for connecting joints. Upon inspection all glued joints were ordered to be removed and redone using the required primer.)
  • New construction and substantial remodeling projects must meet the ADA handicap requirements.

Adding Ministry Programs in a Facility:

  • Churches are required to meet the codes for “A” [Assembly] structures. This allows for most general church functions including Sunday School, a church nursery, and a variety of youth programs.
  • When programs are added (i.e., a day school, preschool, daycare, or a book store ministry) at a facility which are not within the scope of existing zoning or built to standards required by such usage, application must be made for a change of occupancy permit. Generally, in other than brand new structures, this will require modification of the facility to meet current code requirements for such usage. In some cases modification may not be possible (i.e., low ceilings, narrow halls, wood-joist floor systems) and those programs may be disallowed from being conducted at that facility.

Building, Remodeling, and Maintenance

Federal/State AHERA (Asbestos) Law Compliance – Building Used for School:

  • Designation of a person to handle the school’s asbestos compliance program (appointing and training a “Designated Person” [“DP”]). This applies to ALL schools, if they are “asbestos-free” or if there is asbestos in the facility.
  • A valid management plan must be on hand covering every part of the facility used by the school ministry. A licensed Management Planner must be used to develop a management plan for all new additions or new structure before they can be used for school programs.
  • Annual notification to parents and staff of the availability of the management plan. A dated copy must be on file and available for inspection by the EPA for each year of operation.
  • Notification of planned asbestos-related work or inspection must be given to parents and staff in advance of the activity, and must be on file for inspection by the EPA.
  • Two-hour asbestos awareness training must be given to all housekeeping and maintenance staff in facilities containing asbestos or assumed asbestos-containing building materials. Refresher training is required annually.
  • All “suspect building materials” not tested or documented to be asbestos-free must be assumed to contain asbestos and be treated as asbestos-containing material (ACM).
  • (Required of schools only)

Building Used for Other Public Purposes:

  • Other Federal (asbestos) laws apply AHERA-type mandates to all public buildings, including churches.
  • Federal NESHAP for all remodeling in a public building requires that there be no visible dust from the project.
  • State Asbestos Occupations Accreditation and Certification Act for all persons involved in remodeling, repair, encapsulation, and removal of ACM.

HUD/State Lead Paint Law Compliance:

  • House Bill 1335 (Act 44 of 1995) was signed by Governor Ridge on July 6, 1995. This bill requires individuals who engage in lead-based paint activities to be certified.
  • It requires that repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than 6 square feet or exteriors disturbing less than 20 square feet.
  • It covers the disturbance, removal or repair of any painted surface (in a home) or child-occupied facilitybuilt prior to 1979.

Pennsylvania Food Safety Regulations:

  • New Food Safety regulations are being phased in starting in February, 2011. Watch for KCEA “Special Reports” for more details.