For years, the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) was concerned that the process for adopting the accessibility regulations under the Pennsylvania Uniform Code (UCC) was unconstitutional. Since no process was available in the UCC for interested parties to comment or suggest changes to these national model codes, PBA filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) on behalf of its members in late 2021, challenging the legality of the 2021 accessibility regulations.
Yesterday, a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel issued a unanimous opinion, enjoining the enforcement of the 2021 accessibility regulations and finding that the section of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act upon which the regulations were promulgated was unconstitutional. Specifically, the Commonwealth Court held that Section 304(a)(3) of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act – i.e., the provision upon which the 2021 accessibility regulations were promulgated – “delegates the General Assembly’s rule-making authority and its authority over execution and administration of the UCC’s to the [International Code Council], a non-government entity, clearly, palpably, and plainly in violation of article II, section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
Upon learning of the decision, PBA Chief Executive Officer Daniel Durden remarked: “While PBA remains fully supportive of accessibility in all buildings and anticipates working closely with the regulated community to find an appropriate pathway for these important code provisions to be adopted legally in the future, we thank the Commonwealth Court for upholding the Pennsylvania Constitution.” L&I has until November 28, 2022, to appeal the decision. In the meantime, the Director of L&I’s Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety sent an email to all Pennsylvania Code officials, stating that, “effective immediately, you must cease all enforcement of the 2021 accessibility standards.”
PBA is a non-profit, statewide trade organization with approximately 4,500 members doing business in Pennsylvania, primarily as builders, remodelers, material suppliers, subcontractors, and consultants. Affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders and a network of 32 local associations throughout the Commonwealth, PBA is the unified voice for the home building industry and the housing consumer. PBA serves its members by providing proactive leadership on state regulatory and legislative issues. The members of the PBA represent tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Pennsylvania workers in the residential and commercial construction industry.
A copy of the Commonwealth Court’s decision in Pennsylvania Builders Association v. Department of Labor and Industry, No. 479 M.D. 2021, is attached. Press inquiries should be directed to Dan Durden at 717-730-4380.