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Springfield eyes revisions to building code


Springfield Township is planning to update its construction standards ̶ and clear up any confusion among residents.
Supervisors voted to authorize advertising the Uniform Construction Code draft ordinance, which would bring the code to 2015 standards.
Mike Italia of Barry Isett Associates, a contractor for the township, explained the problem. “When Jason (Wager) or us do these inspections, we’re seeing alterations that are done without permits. Alterations should be inspected. A lot of it is to protect the residents from bad workmanship. We’ve had some sunrooms get built, and they’re not to the best quality.”
“We’re just looking for some consistency when residents are doing alterations that really should be inspected,” Italia added.
Italia said the current township ordinance, which relies on 2009 standards, doesn’t compel residents to get a permit for electrical work, forcing them to go to a third-party because a provider such as PPL requires a permit.
Supervisor Chairman Jim Nilsen agreed change was needed. “An electrician would want it inspected after his work so when the job is done liability is off his shoulders. That is one example we need to correct.” Nilsen said the township needed to consider regulations for pole barns. “There’s no followup inspection or inspection of how it’s being built.”

The contractor also advised the township it has the right under the code to condemn and raze unsafe structures. “I pass through the township a couple of times a week. I notice them. One barn’s entire front porch has collapsed off of 412. We should be looking at that because that’s inviting problems.”
Supervisor Tony Matzura expressed concern about the cost of bringing a building up to code on township businesses. “It’s more than you think it is.”
“It’s not automatic; it’s on a case-by-case basis,” replied Italia.
The state plans to introduce the 2018 code cycle in January; however, supervisors agreed to wait a year before considering any updates.
The board also scheduled the shooting range ordinance hearing for June 14 at the fire hall. The last meeting in 2019 drew more than 100 people, many of whom expressed concern about an infringement of their Second Amendment rights. The hearing has been repeatedly postponed due to pandemic restrictions and the ongoing quarry hearings, which are set to wrap up early next year.