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Pennsylvania’s building codes will be updated for the first time in nearly a decade this year with an amended edition of the International Code Council’s 2015 model code. The new code, which will take effect on October 1st, incorporates changes to standards for fire safety, insulation, and building materials. According to Laura Legere of the Harrisburg Bureau, these changes are expected to make new homes up to 25% more energy-efficient.

Pennsylvania’s building codes have not undergone any significant changes since 2011, when a state law required two-thirds of its advisory board to contribute to each of thousands of recommended changes. No changes were accepted in 2012, and only 16 of 1,902 proposed changes were adopted in 2015.

The Uniform Construction Council Review and Advisory Council made less than 30 changes to the 2015 model code. Most prominently, while airtightness standards will be stricter, they will not be as strict as they are in the full code.

The Pennsylvania Builders Association, which pushed to slow new code adoption, wrote to its members that it had successfully advocated to reject or modify “the most egregious code provisions” up for review, “but all residential builders should be prepared for a major update.”

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