In wake of building collapse, Philadelphia City Council addresses urgent need for state legislature to update building code

Sep 30, 2013, 09:32 ET from PennFuture

Recommendations will help ensure health and safety of citizens and energy efficiency of buildings, says PennFuture

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last Thursday, the Philadelphia City Council Special Investigative Committee looking into the demolition collapse at 22nd and Market Streets released its findings in a comprehensive report. One key recommendation: The state must update its building codes and fix the dysfunctional code adoption process.


The report urged the Governor, legislature, and Uniform Construction Code Review Advisory Committee (RAC) to make changes to the building code adoption process to ensure the safety of all buildings in Pennsylvania.

"Model building codes include the latest building techniques and are updated based on new technology and lessons learned from natural and other disasters," noted the report. "The failure to adopt the model Code creates substandard buildings that could lead to unintended, severe consequences that threaten public safety. The Special Investigating Committee will introduce a Resolution urging the Legislature to make changes to the codes adoption process."

On September 24, the Pennsylvania Senate Labor and Industry Committee heard testimony on Sen. Charles McIlhinney's (R-Bucks) bill that would revamp the state's code adoption process by returning Pennsylvania to a process whereby codes are automatically adopted unless two-thirds of the members of the RAC vote to reject them.

"This report shines a light on the state's dysfunctional and broken building code process and the real-world consequences of substandard buildings," said Andrew Sharp, director of outreach for PennFuture. "One of the best guarantees we have to ensure safe, well-constructed, energy-efficient buildings is updated state building codes. So what are we waiting for?"

This month, PennFuture announced the launch of, a web portal which aims to inform the public about the importance of modern building codes and how Pennsylvania has put building industry profits above the safety, well being, and economic benefit of its citizens.

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with offices in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the "state's leading environmental advocacy organization;" the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization "one of the 10 most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling;" and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture "the commonwealth's main environmental advocate."

Contact: Elaine Labalme,, 412-996-4112

SOURCE PennFuture