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THE BUILDING PERMIT PROCESS AT UPPER SAUCON TOWNSHIP
Building Permit Applications will NOT be accepted if they are not complete.
A complete application consists of ALL the following:
- Fully completed and signed application form
- Four (4) sets of required plans, including plot plans***
- Workers Compensation Insurance Certificate -OR- signed and notarized exemption form
- Zoning Permit application (if applicable)
*** Plot plans can be simple 8-1/2” x 11” size site plans OR four (4) extra copies of the grading plan
12.22.2011, updated 04.12.2012
***IF YOU'RE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU NEED A PERMIT,
WHO TO CONTACT
- Building Code Official/Plans Examiner/Building Inspector - Keystone Code 610-866-9663
- Zoning Officer - Trent Sear 610-282-1171 ext. 254
- Director of Community Development, Joanna Slagle: 610-282-1171
Effective January 1, 2004, all municipalities in Pennsylvania were required to adopt the state’s Uniform Construction Code (UCC), which is based upon the most current edition of the International Building Codes published by the International Code Council. Each municipality was given a choice to opt-in or opt-out of administering and enforcing the UCC; Upper Saucon Township chose to opt-in. As an opt-in municipality, UST has a designated Building Code Official, certified by the state, to administer and enforce the UCC.
The Building Code Official in the Department of Community Development (CD) at Upper Saucon Township administers the 2009 International Construction Code and the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. You can view a copy of these codes at the CD office or obtain copies at www.iccsafe.org.
The Building Code Official can provide you with:
- Information on whether the type of work you wish to perform requires a permit
- Permit applications
- Requirements for plans and construction documents required for the type of work you wish to perform
- Permit fee schedules
- Inspection requirements
- Occupancy certificate applications and requirements
APPLYING FOR A PERMIT
Permit applications and supporting documents shall be submitted to the Building Code Official at the Township. NOTE: It is no longer necessary to make an appointment to submit an application. Upon submission of a complete application, the permit documents will be reviewed for compliance with the Uniform Construction Code and the International Building Codes, as well as the Township Zoning Ordinance.
Review time depends upon the scope of the project, the thoroughness of the permit application and documents, and volume of work from other building projects. The UCC requires that residential permit applications must be reviewed and either issued or denied within fifteen (15) business days after the permit application is filed; non-residential permit applications must be reviewed within thirty (30) business days.
**Please note if your project requires approval of other permits, such as a grading or geotechnical permit, your building permit will not be issued until all required approvals and permits have been obtained.**
[NOTE: The guidelines listed below apply only to single-family or two-family dwellings (“residential”); any other uses or proposed construction would be considered “non-residential” and must comply with the requirements for non-residential buildings. Please contact the Building Code Official for more information on how to determine the requirements for any proposed non-residential construction.]
By state law, you will need a permit, inspections, and a certificate of occupancy for:
- Any new house (single-family or two-family dwelling)
- Any addition to an existing house
- Constructing one or more new stories on top of an existing house
- Increasing the perimeter of the existing house
- Installing a new manufactured home (HUD Code)
- Installing a new modular home
- Relocating and installing a used manufactured home
- Any garage or carport that is attached to the house
- Any garage, carport, shed or greenhouse that is not attached to a single-family detached dwelling and is 1,000 square feet or larger (measuring the perimeter)
- Any garage, carport, shed or greenhouse that is not attached to a two-family dwelling or townhouse and is 120 square feet or larger (measuring the perimeter)
- Enclosing a porch or patio
- Installing or building a sunroom or “three-seasons” room
- Installing any deck that is more than 30” above ground level at any point around the perimeter of the deck
- Installing any deck less than 30” above ground level if it has a roof or covering above it
- Installing an indoor or outdoor hot tub or spa
- Constructing an in-ground swimming pool (inside or outside)
- Installing any swimming pool (including inflatable type) that has a water depth of 24” or more
- Installing any fence higher than 6 feet (NOTE: A ZONING PERMIT IS REQUIRED FOR ALL FENCES OTHER THAN UNDERGROUND DOG FENCES.)
- Installing any retaining wall higher than 4 feet
- Structural alterations to an existing dwelling unit (the Building Code Official will determine if the work you intend to perform involves structural alterations)
- Changes to an existing means of egress (exit door, stairs, handrails, guard systems, ramps)
- Any portion of a dwelling or residential accessory structure that will be used for non-residential purposes (open to employees or the public); examples include home occupations such as:
- Professional offices
- Business offices
- Beauty shops, nail salons, barber shops
- Car or equipment repair
If you’re not sure that you need a building permit, contact the Township Building Code Official. Please keep in mind that doing work regulated by the UCC without a permit will result in an enforcement action being taken against you by the Township, and upon conviction, you may be subject to fines and penalties up to and including $1,000 per day of each violation.
Also, occupying any structure without a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Building Code Official is a serious violation and will also result in enforcement action. Please do not occupy or begin using any structure without a Certificate of Occupancy!
You should also know that if you fail to obtain permits, inspections and certificates of occupancy, it is very likely that you will have serious difficulties when you eventually try to sell your house or property, as all structures built since April 9, 2004, must have a legal Certificate of Occupancy.
AGAIN, IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU NEED A PERMIT, CALL US!
Permits must be applied for and issued before any work may begin. All work performed on residential buildings and their accessory structures must comply with the most current edition of the International Residential Code. This code is re-published every three years with changes and additions; we are currently utilizing the 2009 International Residential Code in Pennsylvania.
You may ask to inspect a copy of the International Residential Code at the Upper Saucon Township Community Development office during regular business hours.
Keep in mind that Township zoning and land use ordinances may restrict or prohibit structures that are allowed by the UCC. The Township Zoning Officer/Building Code Official can help you determine whether your proposed work requires zoning or other municipal approvals.
There are many other permits and/or approvals that may be required prior to issuance of a Building Permit at Upper Saucon Township. These include but may not be limited to:
- Zoning Permit
- Grading Permit
- Tree Removal Permit
- Geothermal System/Geotechnical Evaluation Permit
- Curb Cut Permit
- On-Lot Sewage Disposal Permit OR
- Sewer Connection Permit
- Water Connection Permit
- PENNDOT Highway Occupancy Permit (if applicable)
Please note that while the Township staff will provide assistance, the applicant is ultimately responsible for learning which permits and approvals are necessary for his or her project, and for obtaining these.
The UCC does not establish fees for permit applications and inspections. All fees regarding building permits and inspections are adopted by the Upper Saucon Township Board of Supervisors and published in a fee schedule. Contact the Building Code Official or go to the Township website to obtain a copy of the fee schedule that has been adopted by the Township.
RIGHT OF ENTRY
Building code officials and inspectors are not permitted to enter your building, accessory structures, or property without your permission, though you should not unreasonably withhold that permission if they have cause to believe that an unsafe condition exists. However, if a permit has been issued to you and you request a required inspection, you are giving building code officials and inspectors the permission to conduct that inspection.
BUILDING CODE BOARD OF APPEALS
If you believe that a building code official or inspector has made an improper decision regarding a permit application, inspection, or certificate of occupancy, you may appeal the decision to the Township Board of Appeals. Contact the Director of Community Development at 610-282-1171 ext 237 for information regarding the filing of an appeal.
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