SECTION A-802  TECHNICAL BOARDS 201
A-802.1 General: Appeals filed pursuant to Section A-801 shall be submitted to the technical board specified in Table A-802.1. The code official shall transmit to such board all the documents, or photocopies thereof, which constitute the record upon which the action appealed from was taken and the reasons for said action.
 
TABLE A-802.1
TECHNICAL APPEAL BOARDS
Subject Code
Technical Appeal Board
Electrical Code
Energy Conservation Code
Existing Building Code
Fuel Gas Code
Mechanical Code
Performance Code for
Buildings and Facilities
Plumbing Code
Property Maintenance Code
Residential Code
Board of Building Standards
Building and Residential Codes – Accessibility for the physically disabled
Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board
Fire Code
Board of Safety and Fire Prevention
Zoning Code
Zoning Board of Adjustment
 
A-802.2 Variances: Variances from the technical codes shall be granted subject to the provisions of Sections A-802.2.2.1 through A-802.2.2.4, shall be in writing and shall be available for public inspection in the department.
   A-802.2.1 Board of Building Standards: The commissioner of the Department is authorized to grant an extension of time or a variance from the requirements of the Building, Electrical, Energy Conservation, Existing Building, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, Performance, Plumbing, Property Maintenance and Residential Codes upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Building Standards, as established by provisions of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.
      A-802.2.1.1 Board recommendation: Recommendation for an extension of time or a variance from a technical code by the Board of Building Standards shall be made upon written petition by, or on behalf of, the owner where there is a finding that:
         1.   The variance will fulfill the intent of the code; and
         2.   Literal enforcement will result in unique and unnecessary hardship or extraordinary conditions make literal compliance impractical; and
         3.   The variance will not be an unreasonable deviation from the requirements of the code; and
         4.   In the case of a variance in an area prone to flooding, the considerations and conditions for issuance set forth in Appendix G of the Philadelphia Building Code are satisfied; and
         5.   In the case of buildings designated as historic pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 of The Philadelphia Code or listed in the National Register of Historic Places, where strict compliance with a provision of this Title would interfere with the historic character of the property, the variance does not constitute a material life safety hazard; 202
         6.   In the case of the request for an extension of time, efforts are being made to come into compliance as quickly as possible; and
         7.   A reasonable accommodation is requested under the Fair Housing Act for provisions related to the technical codes. 203
      A-802.2.1.2 Flood plain: In such case where the Board of Building Standards shall recommend a variance to construct a structure below the Regulatory Flood Elevation, the owner shall be notified in writing that the variance will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance and an increased risk to property and life. The Board of Building Standards shall maintain a record of all variance actions within the flood plain and justification therefor, and shall report such variances issued in an annual report to the Administrator of the Federal Insurance Administration.
      A-802.2.1.3 Determination of substantial improvement in areas prone to flooding: 204 When the code official provides a finding of substantial improvement to a permit applicant regarding a building or structure regulated by the technical codes as required in Section A-302.1.2, and the applicant disagrees with such finding, the applicant may file an appeal with the Board of Building Standards. The Board shall determine whether the value of the proposed work constitutes a substantial improvement.
      A-802.2.1.4 Advisory input: The Board of Building Standards shall consider advice from the Electrical Advisory Board and Plumbing Advisory Board when hearing appeals from the Electrical Code and Plumbing Code respectively where such advice is submitted.
         A-802.2.1.4.1 Delegation. 205 The Board of Building Standards may delegate its authority to the Plumbing Advisory Board to hear appeals from requirements of the Plumbing Code, and provide recommendations as authorized by Section A-203.3 on alternative material, design or method of construction related to plumbing. Decisions of the Plumbing Advisory Board recommending granting of such appeals shall be submitted directly to the Commissioner for further consideration. Decisions of the Board recommending denial of such appeals shall be reviewed by the Board of Building Standards in accordance with A-802.2.1.
   A-802.2.2 Accessibility Advisory Board: 206 Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (Secretary) has the exclusive power to grant modifications and extensions of time and decide issues of technical infeasibility under Chapter 11 (Accessibility) of the Philadelphia Building Code and other accessibility requirements contained in or referenced by the technical codes for individual projects.
      A-802.2.2.1 Variance requests. Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary will review all applications for modifications or variances of Chapter 11 (Accessibility) of the Philadelphia Building Code and any other accessibility requirements contained in or referenced by the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code. The Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board will advise the Secretary whether modification or variance should be granted or whether compliance is technically infeasible.
      A-802.2.2.2 Code official's decisions. Pursuant to the UCC, the Secretary will hear appeals from decisions of code officials; recommend modifications or variances, or extensions of time. An appeal of a decision of a code official may be based only on a claim that the true intent of the UCC or the Building Construction and Occupancy Code was incorrectly interpreted, the UCC does not apply, or an equivalent form of construction is to be used.
      A-802.2.2.3 Filing of appeal. An owner or owner's agent shall file an appeal regarding accessibility provisions with the Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board on a form provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
      A-802.2.2.4 Stay of enforcement. An appeal to the Pennsylvania Accessibility Advisory Board will automatically suspend an action to enforce an order to correct except where there is an unsafe building, structure or equipment.
   A-802.2.3 Board of Safety and Fire Prevention: The Fire Commissioner is authorized to grant an extension of time or a variance from the requirements of the Fire Code upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention.
      A-802.2.3.1 Board recommendation: Recommendation for an extension of time or a variance from the Fire Code by the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention shall be made upon written petition by, or on behalf of, the owner where there is a finding that:
         1.   The variance will fulfill the intent of the code; and
         2.   Literal enforcement will result in unique and unnecessary hardship or extraordinary conditions make literal compliance impractical; and
         3.   The variance will not be an unreasonable deviation from the requirements of the code; and
         4.   In the case of buildings designated as historic pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 of The Philadelphia Code or listed in the National Register of Historic Places, where strict compliance with a provision of this Title would interfere with the historic character of the property, the variance does not constitute a material life safety hazard; and 207
         5.   In the case of a request for an extension of time, efforts are being made to come into compliance as quickly as possible.
   A-802.2.4 Zoning Board of Adjustment: 208 The Zoning Board of Adjustment is authorized to hear and decide appeals in zoning matters in accordance with provisions of Section 4-607 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, the Zoning Code and regulations pursuant thereto.
A-802.3 Code compliance: Compliance with a variance issued by the Fire Commissioner, Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be considered in compliance with the code from which the variance is granted.
A-802.4 Further appeal: Any person who has had a variance appeal hearing and has been denied a variance shall have the right to appeal that decision to the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the date of the notice of decision.

 

Notes

201
   Amended, Bill No. 030780 (approved December 31, 2003).
202
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
203
   Added, Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
204
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013); amended, Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
205
   Added, Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
206
   Amended, Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).
207
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
208
   Amended, Bill No. 180175 (approved June 6, 2018).