Tyrone council reaches consensus on new Uniform Construction Code

Tyrone Borough Council reached a consensus last night to opt in to the state’s new Uniform Construction Code.
The meeting was presided over by J. R. Watson, the council vice president, due to the absence of Mayor Patricia Stoner.
The options available to the borough regarding the new code were presented to council in the form of a memo by Thomas Lang, the borough’s code enforcement officer.
Watson asked council for a consensus if it wanted to opt in or out of the code after several questions from different council members and input from Lang, Nathan George, borough manager and solicitor Larry Clapper. The consensus was to opt in and direct Lang to formulate how the borough would enforce the code. Clapper explained an ordinance would eventually have to be drafted and approved by council for the new code to be in place.
“I think it was important to show council both sides of the issue,” said George. “By opting in council will be assisting residents by allowing them to submit applications for building permits to the borough.”
In that instance, the process would work similarly to the way things are handled now although Lang pointed out more and different type of inspections will have to be done and there is the possibility fees for the inspection process would increase under the new code.
Tyrone can handle the inspections in any number of ways including using Lang as an inspector, using third party inspectors or some combination of Lang and third party inspectors. The borough can also enter into a council of government or COG agreement with other municipalities in the area to contract with third party inspectors to do the work.
The code has been available to municipalities, builders, inspectors and the general public during a review period which started in January and ends on Thursday. The borough still has some time before finalizing its decision since during the next three months, municipalities will need to inform state officials if they are opting in or out. Those which opt out will have to let residents find their own third party inspectors to complete inspections, while commercial work will be handle by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry.
“(The council’s consensus) allows us to go in the right direction so we know what to look into as far as how to enforce the new code,” Lang told The Daily Herald.
“Municipalities will also have the option of opting out every six months,” said Lang. “In other words when a municipality decides to opt in it must use the code (and the chosen format for administering it) for at least six months.
“Municipalities which chose to use third party agencies are probably going to be locked in for longer than six months since most want you to sign a contract for a least a year,” said Lang.
Lang has been working on the issue for months and has attended a meeting to discuss the possibility of administering a codes program with one or more municipalities through the utilization of an inter-municipal agreement. He also has been receiving additional training and certification regarding the inspection process.
Other municipalities in the area have which have decided to opt in include Antis and Snyder townships.