When the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Requires Permits & Inspections

(A Zoning Permit may be required even though the project does not require a Building Permit.)

As a general rule, the UCC requires that a property owner or the owner’s authorized agent obtain a UCC construction or building permit before commencing any work and that work be inspected in the following cases:



GENERAL Exclusions from permit requirements include:

Means that the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) does not apply to a particular structure or work that is being proposed unless local ordinance has been adopted per Section 303 (b) (1). Permits and inspections are not required and work performed does not have to comply with the UCC unless local ordinance has been adopted per Section 303 (b) (1).

  • New building or renovations to existing buildings if application for permit was made to the City Code Department prior to the effective date of the regulations promulgated under the Act or June 2004 except as might be required by ordinances in effect pursuant to Section 303 (b) (1) (City of Warren Ordinance #1751). Also, for projects where a contract for design or construction was signed prior to above noted date.
  •  Residential Accessory structure (one family dwellings only) - carports, detached private garages, greenhouses, sheds, >1000SF except as might be required by ordinances in effect pursuant to Section 303 (b) (1) (City of Warren Ordinance #1751). Accessory structures for two-family or townhouses under >200 SF and one story in height with no utilities.
  • Repairs to residential buildings, except as might be required by ordinances in effect pursuant to Section 303 (b) (1) (City of Warren Ordinance #1751) or adopted pursuant to Section 503.
  • Agricultural Buildings: exclusion does not include habitable spaces, spaces containing the processing, treatment and packaging of agricultural products, and spaces to be occupied by the general public.
  •  Installation of aluminum or vinyl siding onto an existing residential or an existing commercial building, except as might be required by ordinances in effect pursuant to Section 301 or adopted pursuant to section 503.
  •  Any recreational cabin if:
    1. The cabin is equipped with at least one smoke detector, one fire extinguisher and one carbon monoxide detector in both the kitchen and sleeping quarters.
    2. The Owner of the cabin files with the municipality either:
      • An affidavit on a form prescribed by the Codes department attesting to the fact that the cabin meets the definition of a “recreational cabin” in Section 103; or
      • A valid proof of insurance for the recreational cabin, written and insured by an insurer authorized to do business in this Commonwealth, stating that the structure meet the definition of a “recreational cabin’ as defined in Section 103.
      • Propane gas: installation of tubing, piping, propane gas burning appliances, equipment or fixtures. (Regulated by Act 61).
      • On-lot septic (pre-empted by 25 PA Code, Chapter 73).
  • Temporary structures which are:
    1. Erected for the purpose of participation in a fair, flea market, arts and crafts festival or other public celebration,
    2. Less than 1,600 square feet in size,
    3. Erected for a period of less than 30 days,
    4. Not a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub,
    5. Subject to Section 503 (a) (2).
  •  Residential Alteration – applies to 1 & 2 family and townhouses. Exclusion applies only if it is Not structural in nature and except as might be required by ordinances in effect pursuant to Section 303 (b) (1) (City of Warren Ordinance #1751). Alteration is defined as any construction or renovation to an existing structure other than repair or addition. Examples: remodeling, renovations, re-wiring, re-plumbing, re-roofing (covering only), new heating, new AC, re-siding, new kitchen, new bath. Structural alterations are subject to the interpretation of the BCO (i.e. bearing wall, window replacement, roofing (sheathing), adding new loads to existing structure, turning attic storage space into inhabitable space.) Non-structural alterations (i.e. gutting a house but leaving the framing intact, installing new drywall or wall finish, new flooring, new siding, new roof coverage, complete kitchen or bath makeover, turning basement storage into habitable space (except bedroom), minor framing changes needed to replace existing windows or doors).  Alterations that change means of egress are NOT excluded under the UCC (if they are part of a new addition or structural alteration).
  •  Residential repairs 1 & 2 family and townhouses and is defined as the reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance.



Residential Construction Exemptions from permit requirements include:

Ordinary repairs, but ordinary repairs do not include:

  • Cutting away a wall, partition or portion of a wall
  • Removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support
  • Removal or change of any required means of egress
  • Rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements
  • Adding to, altering, replacing or relocating piping, sewer, wiring, etc.

Building construction, replacement or repairs for (*Zoning Permit may be required):

  • Fences that are 6' high or less*
  • Retaining walls not over 4’ high measured from the bottom of footing
  • Some water tanks (2,500 gal. or less) supported directly on grade and have less than a 2 to 1 height diameter or width ration
  • Certain sidewalks and driveways that are 30” or less above adjacent grade*
  • The construction, erection or placement of an uncovered deck where the floor of the deck is 30” or less above grade*
  • Exterior or interior painting or papering
  • Exterior or interior tiling, carpeting, flooring, cabinets and counter tops
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24” deep*
  • Swings and playground equipment accessory to 1- or 2- family dwelling
  • Certain window awnings supported by an exterior wall
  • Replacing glass in a window or door (replacement glass must meet Code).
  • Installing or replacing a window, door, garage door with no new opening
  • Installing or replacing a storm window or storm door with no new opening
  • Replacing existing roof material that does not involve structural elements
  • Installing additional roll or BATT insulation
  • Replacing existing siding or rain water gutters or leaders
  • Coal fired boilers installed by design, construction and testing in accordance with the International Residential Codes of 2009

Minor electrical work for

  • Replacing lamps
  • Connecting approved portable equipment to approved receptacle
  • Minor replacement of a receptacle, switch or lighting fixture (check limits)
  • Replacing installed equipment such as doorbells, communication systems
  • Installing, altering or rearranging communication wiring
  • Replacing dishwashers or kitchen range hoods
  • Installing battery-powered smoke detectors

Minor gas work for

  • Portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances
  • Replacing a minor part that does not alter approval of equipment

Mechanical work or equipment for

  • Portable heating or ventilation appliances
  • A portable cooling unit or a portable evaporative cooler
  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within equipment governed by the DCC
  • Replacing any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment
  • Certain smaller self-contained refrigeration systems
  • Portable furl cell appliance not hooked to fixed piping system/power grid

Plumbing work for

  • Replacing bib valves if specified replacement valves are provided
  • Refinishing of existing fixtures
  • Replacing ball cocks
  • Repair of leaks
  • Clearance of stoppages
  • Replacing faucets or working parts of faucets
  • Replacing valves other than shower or combination shower/bath valves
  • Replacing traps
  • Replacing a water closet, lavatory or kitchen sink
  • Replacing a domestic clothes washer or dishwasher

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning work for

  • Replacement of motors, pumps and fans of the same capacity
  • Repair and replacement of heating, supply and return piping and radiation elements which do not require rearrangement of the piping g system
  • Repair and replacement of duct work
  • Repair and replacement of air conditioning equipment and systems
  • Repair and replacement of control devices for heating and air conditioning equipment
  • Replacement of kitchen range hoods
  • Replacement of clothes dryers if there is no change in fuel type, location or electrical requirements
  • Replacement of stoves and ovens if there is no change in fuel type, location or electrical characteristics



Means that a permit and inspection is not required but proposed work must comply with UCC requirements.


(Zoning Permit may be required so check with your Municipality)

  • Building construction for fences less than 6’ high, oil derricks, certain retaining walls, water tanks with a capacity of less than 2,500 gallons, sidewalks and driveways not more than 30” above grade and that are not located over a basement or story below it, painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finishing work, temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery, certain prefabricated swimming pools, shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes that do not include service systems, swings and other playground equipment accessory to 1- 0R 2- family homes, certain window awnings, movable cases, counters and partitions that are less than 5 feet 9 inches in height, window replacement without structural change;
  •  Electrical work for minor repair and maintenance work including replacement of lamps or connection of approved portable equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles, electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions and installation of a temporary system for testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus;
  •  Gas work including a portable heating appliance or replacement of a minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make the equipment unsafe;
  •  Manufactured (certified) shipped from the factory (section 901 and R403.25) to first purchaser. Manufactured or industrialized housing to first time owner.

*Exemption dos not apply to foundation, utility connection, site grading, alteration or repair outside of the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard, and additions to the unit after delivery). Approved manufacturer installation instructions should be supplied to BCO. Questions to ask at application for manufactured housing permit: who will be the responsible installer, foundation type, soil bearing capacity, footing size and depth, anchor type, decks/porches)?   [Relocation of manufactured housing, commercial building, seasonal, man-camps, or surplus FEMA units NOT exempt.]

  •  Industrialized (modular) housing UCC applies to site preparation; foundation construction; utility connection; construction; alteration or repair after delivery; or construction, alteration, repair or change of occupancy if resold or re-located. BCO must get and make part of the application file the current Notice of Approval (145.82 (a), a blank “Site installation Inspection Form”, approved manufacturer installation instructions/design, and permit should identify the home as INDUSTRIALIZED. Plan review by approved industrialized housing evaluation agencies should already be complete and a Stamp by the agency should appear. Local Plan review should include plot plan, details for decks, garages, porches and any work beyond the industrialized home and installation.
  •  Mechanical work involving a portable heating appliance, portable ventilation, portable cooling units, portable evaporative cooler, steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment governed under the UCC, replacement of a part does not alter its approval or make it unsafe and a self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and placed into action by motors that are not more than 1 hp;
  •  Plumbing repairs including stopping leaks in a drain and a water, soil, waste or vent pipe (this not including defective pipe to be removed and replaced with new material) and cleaning stoppages or repairing leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and removal and installation of water closets, faucets, and lavatories if the valves or pipes are not replaced or rearranged;
  •  An ordinary repair (an ordinary repair does not include cutting away a wall, partition or portion of a wall, removal or cutting of any structure affecting the egress requirements and addition to or alteration, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, eater supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical).
  •  Temporary structures which are:
    1. Erected for the purpose of participation in a fair, flea market, arts and crafts festival or other public celebration; and,
    2. Less than 1,000 square feet; and,
    3. Erected for a period of less than 30 days.