The Jay Township Supervisors voted to "opt in" to administering and enforcing the state's Uniform Construction Code (UCC) during their monthly meeting on Thursday evening. Each municipality has the option of either "opting in" or "opting out" of administering and enforcing the building code and the township had previously "opted out."
"We're going to opt in to the UCC building code and what we have to do is send a letter telling the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that we're opting in. It takes up to 180 days for them to approve," Supervisor Jeremy Rippey explained following the meeting.
He indicated that doing so will benefit both residents and businesses within the township.
"Residentially, it gives the residents a board of appeals if they have a problem with their inspection. On a commercial level, it allows you do deal with local inspectors rather than the Department of Labor and Industry. They have a backlog of six months, I just found out," Rippey said.
Rippey explained during the meeting that communities that have not opted in are leaving their businesses and residents without both an appeals board and an easy way for individuals to raise concerns if they believe a construction matter was not handled properly.
He also further explained that commercial inspections can still be handled in communities that choose to opt out by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; however, he reiterated that there is a six-month backlog for that department to process those inspections.
"If you're working on something commercially as small as a small addition, you're going to be backlogged six months before you can start that," Rippey said. "[The Pennsylvania Department of] Labor and Industry doesn't really want to deal with it, it's part of the reason of the backlog, they don't have the money to contend with it, obviously. Everybody knows the state's in a money crunch. They're actually entertaining the idea of eliminating the opt out as an option. Only seven percent of municipalities are still 'opted-out' in the entire state."