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Township of Unity, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Unity 6-22-2004 by Ord. No. O-7-04. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
The Uniform Construction Code (UCC), contained in 34 Pa. Code, Chapters 401 to 405, as amended from time to time, together with Appendixes B and C of the International Fire Code contained therein, as amended, be and is hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference as the municipal building code of and for Unity Township.
[Amended 3-13-2008 by Ord. No. O-09-08]
B. 
Unity Township hereby elects to administer and enforce the provisions of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, Act 45 of 1999, as amended from time to time, and its regulations, together with Appendixes B and C of the International Fire Code.
[Amended 3-13-2008 by Ord. No. O-09-08]
C. 
All building code ordinances or portions of ordinances which were adopted by Unity Township on or before July 1, 1999, and which equal or exceed the requirements of the UCC shall continue in full force and effect until such time as such provisions fail to equal or exceed the minimum requirements of the UCC, as amended from time to time. Those additional standards relating to the construction of private sewer laterals are set forth in § 41-2 hereof.
D. 
All building code ordinances or portions or ordinances which are in effect as of the effective date of this chapter[1] and whose requirements are less than the minimum requirements of the UCC are hereby amended to conform with the comparable provisions of the UCC.
[1]
Editor's Note: The effective date of this chapter is 7-1-2004.
[Added 3-28-2006 by Ord. No. O-4-06]
A. 
Definitions. As used herein:
UNCERTIFIED BUILDING
Any existing nonresidential building which, prior to April 9, 2004, was not approved for use and occupancy by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry or pursuant to any building code as may have been previously in effect in Unity Township.
B. 
Uncertified buildings under the jurisdiction of Unity Township. Subject to the provisions of Subsection D hereof, all of the following shall apply to a building subject to the jurisdiction of Unity Township:
(1) 
The Township shall issue a certificate of occupancy to an uncertified building if that building meets the requirements of this subsection, unless the Township deems the building to be unsafe because of inadequate means of egress, inadequate light and ventilation, fire hazards or other dangers to human life or to public welfare.
(2) 
An uncertified building shall comply with the following:
(a) 
Maximum story height, minimum allowable construction type based on floor area, vertical opening and shaft protection, means of egress requirements of the International Building Code pertaining to minimum number of exits, maximum travel distances to exits, means of egress illumination, minimum egress widths and heights for exit doors, exit stairs, exit ramps and exit corridors. Waivers shall be as set forth in Subsection B(3) below.
(b) 
Fire safety requirements of the International Building Code with respect to fire alarms, fire extinguishers, heat and smoke detectors, automatic sprinkler systems and occupancy and incidental use separations. If the code requires that a building have automatic sprinkler systems, the only buildings required to install automatic sprinkler systems shall be those buildings classified in use groups E (educational), H (high hazard), I (institutional), R-1 or R-2 (residential) and those buildings which have occupied floors more than 75 feet above lowest level of Fire Department access. Buildings in use groups R-1 and R-2 which do not have occupied floors more than 75 feet above lowest level of Fire Department access may, instead of installing automatic sprinkler systems, install hard-wired interconnected heat and smoke detectors located in all lobbies, corridors, equipment rooms, storage rooms and other spaces that are not normally occupied. If construction began on a building prior to May 19, 1984, there is no requirement for the installation of automatic sprinkler systems under this subsection. If construction of a building began after May 18, 1984, automatic sprinkler installation required under this subsection shall be completed within five years of the effective date of this subsection, or an occupancy permit issued under this subsection shall be invalid. Waivers shall be as set forth in Subsection B(3) below.
(c) 
Accessibility requirements as follows:
[1] 
If construction of a building began before September 1, 1965, no accessibility requirements shall be imposed.
[2] 
If construction of a building began after August 31, 1965, and before February 18, 1989, and if the building was subject to the requirements of the former act of September 1, 1965 (P.L. 459, No. 235), entitled "An act requiring that certain buildings and facilities adhere to certain principles, standards and specifications to make the same accessible to and usable by persons with physical handicaps, and providing for enforcement," it shall have:
[a] 
At least one accessible entrance;
[b] 
An accessible route from the accessible entrance to any public spaces on the same level as the accessible entrance; and
[c] 
If toilet rooms are provided, at least one accessible toilet room for each sex or a unisex toilet room, complying with the accessibility requirements of the International Building Code.
[3] 
If construction of the building began after February 17, 1989, all accessibility requirements of the International Building Code shall be met.
(3) 
Waiver.
(a) 
The Township may waive any requirements under this Subsection B(2)(a) and (b) above if:
[1] 
The Township determines a requirement to be technically infeasible; or
[2] 
The building owner demonstrates that the building met the applicable egress requirements which existed under prior law commonly referred to as the "Fire and Panic Act."
(b) 
A waiver shall be documented on the certificate of occupancy.
(4) 
Structural requirements shall not be imposed, unless the Township determines that the building or a portion of the building has defects which are dangerous as defined in the International Existing Building Code. The Township may impose only those requirements minimally necessary to remove any danger to the building's occupants.
(5) 
A building owner may file an application for a variance from this subsection concerning accessibility with the Board of Appeals pursuant to § 41-4 of the Code of the Township of Unity. A building owner may file an application for a variance from this subsection concerning other standards.
(6) 
A building subject to this subsection shall be permitted to maintain its current occupancy as long as the owner demonstrates reasonable efforts to comply with this subsection.
(7) 
An uncertified building which was built before April 27, 1927, shall be deemed a certified building for purposes of this act.
C. 
Applicability of Uniform Construction Code. Nothing in this section shall be construed in any way as to affect the applicability of the Uniform Construction Code if a building is subject to renovation, additions, alterations or a change in use or occupancy.
The Unity Township Municipal Authority ("UTMA" or "Authority") has previously adopted and enacted certain procedures and design standards for the construction of private sewer laterals that meet or exceed the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code and which are set forth herein for the purpose of codifying the same as controlling standards in Unity Township.
A. 
Procedure. The general procedures required in the installation of private sewer laterals is summarized as follows:
(1) 
Submit application for permit to construct private sewer lateral on form provided and pay the current connection fee. Retain permit to show to Authority's inspector and signed by Authority's inspector after approval of installation. Connection must be made within 60 days of receipt of notice to connect; except on new home construction, tap-in permit is valid for one year.
(2) 
All information requested on said form shall be furnished by the applicant, including the character and use of each structure located upon the property.
(3) 
Examine the as-built sewer plans of the Authority available at the construction field office or the Manager's office to determine the referenced location of the service wye for the property to be served and discuss with the Manager and/or Authority's inspector any particular conditions of the proposed construction requiring special attention. Contact the UTMA Operations Manager at (724) 423-6888.
(4) 
Unless written permission is obtained from the Authority, separate connections and corresponding tap connections and inspection fees will be required for each individual occupied building, whether constructed as a detached unit or as one of a pair or row, but a single connection with payment of the tap-in fees for the appropriate number of actual units serviced will be permitted to serve a school, factory, apartment house, or other permanent multiple-unit structure whose individual apartments or units may be subject to separate ownership.
(5) 
Locate and uncover the end of the Authority's wye or lateral sewer or mainline if no tap-in exists, provide tap-in saddle or insert a tee at mainline. Prior to any further excavation, determine the elevation of and the required grade between the two points, to assure that the minimum allowed grade can be met.
(6) 
Proceed with further excavation between these two points.
(7) 
Lay pipe from lateral or service wye or, if none exists, from an approved saddle, or insert a tee installed in the presence of Authority's inspector, including inspection stack near property line, upgrade to near the point of connection to the building drain, The Authority's inspector shall be notified of the scheduled connection to the Authority's sewer at least 24 hours in advance at (724) 423-6888. Do not connect to the Authority's sewer without the Authority's inspector observing. The inspection stack shall be constructed with watertight joints. A cleanout plug, which shall be removable for visual inspection of the building sewer, shall be installed over the top of the inspection stack. Care shall be taken to keep the stack vertical so that visual inspection may be completed. Top of inspection stack should be a minimum of six inches above the ground surface.
(a) 
For new construction, the basement slab shall be poured prior to inspection unless prior approval has been obtained from the Authority's inspector.
(b) 
For both new and existing buildings, no backfill shall be made on the sewer lateral and it shall be visible for inspection. If the trench has been backfilled, the sewer lateral will be plugged by the Authority until the trench has been re-excavated and the pipe is visible.
(8) 
Request inspection by the Authority of exposed piping, in which particular attention will be given to the following: (twenty-four-hour notice required.)
(a) 
Installation of a trap or traps as shown on the attached drawing[1] on the building facilities. A vented trap must be installed within five feet from the building.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M. Drawings and exhibits referenced in this chapter are on file and available for inspection at the Unity Township offices and the offices of the Municipal Authority.
(b) 
Facilities for conducting roof drainage at least 10 feet away from the building and away from the sanitary sewer and the foundation.
(c) 
Facilities for draining the foundation away from the building and the sanitary sewer.
(d) 
Connection of prohibited facilities to the sanitary sewer. Included in these facilities are depressed driveway drains, outside cellar stairwell drains, outside window wells, downspouts, foundation drains, sump pumps, or any facility conducting stormwater into the sanitary sewer by any means.
(e) 
The slope of the building sewer to the tee at the inspection stack, which shall be a minimum of 1/4 inch per foot, when available. (2%)
(f) 
Conformance of materials used in the construction of sewers with the "Rules and Regulations for the Construction of Sewer Laterals."
(g) 
Tightness of joints in pipes and use of mortar or other prohibited materials in joints.
(h) 
The applicant shall correct any deficiencies noted by the Authority's inspector in accordance with these requirements.
(9) 
Upon completion of a satisfactory inspection, backfill of the sewer lateral may then be completed as per UTMA Specifications.
(10) 
When a new structure has been completed, and before title has been transferred or occupancy permitted, or when the new sewer from an existing building has been backfilled, the applicant shall call for a final inspection, at which time a water test or a smoke test may be made to determine that roof, foundation, or nonsanitary drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer. A plug will be inserted in the sanitary sewer at the inspection stack to conduct the test and will not be removed until any required corrections have been made. Upon correction, the plug will be removed. The sewer lateral may then be used for conveying sanitary waste.
B. 
Type of pipe.
(1) 
The pipe used for connection sewers shall be either:
(a) 
Polyvinyl chloride conforming to ASTM D-3034 (SDR-35), or Schedule 40 PVC.
(b) 
Ductile iron conforming to the requirements of the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute.
(2) 
Latest ASTM Standards apply. Joints shall be:
(a) 
Either compressed gasket or approved glue-type joint for Schedule 40.
(b) 
Rubber ring type for ductile iron pipe.
(c) 
Force main for grinder pumps shall be two-inch SDR-21 compression gasket pipe or approved equal.
C. 
Minimum sizes and grades:
(1) 
Minimum pipe diameter shall be four inches or six inches.
(2) 
Minimum pipe slope, when available, shall be 1/8 inch per foot. (1.0%)
D. 
Strength of pipe. Ductile iron soil pipe and PVC are permitted for all depths with proper bedding. (See attached bedding details.[2])
[2]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M.
E. 
Cleanouts and traps.
(1) 
The use of traps is required. The use of cleanouts on the new service line is required. Cleanouts are permitted for special conditions of alignment, as may be desired by the property owner. It is advised that cleanouts be provided at bends and immediately downstream of traps over four feet deep. Traps and/or cleanouts must be installed as shown in a detail of sewer lateral.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M.
(2) 
All vents must extend to at least six inches above the finished ground surface and must have a commercially manufactured vent cap to keep out leaves, debris, and animals. Cleanouts must have watertight caps and must be at or above finished grade. Cleanouts must remain uncovered permanently. Substitutions from specified fittings must be approved by the Authority Manager.
(3) 
Trap vents and cleanouts must be laterally supported with properly compacted backfill, and must not be installed in driveways where they are subject to damage from vehicular traffic and/or used as an area drain for surface water. Establishments which discharge grease, fat or tar in excess of 100 mg/l by weight, such as restaurants, must install an outside grease trap with a minimum capacity of 500 gallons or as determined by the Authority Manager.
F. 
Pipe laying and backfilling. (See attached detail.[4]).
(1) 
Flexible sewer pipe (PVC) shall have Class I bedding, as described in ASTM D-2321 and modified here:
(a) 
All sewer pipe shall be supported on and embedded in granular bedding material. (See attached details.[5]) The bedding and embedment shall be deposited in four-inch layers, on both sides of, six inches below and to 12 inches above the top of the pipe, and carefully compacted.
[5]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M.
(b) 
Tamping within 12 inches of the pipe shall be by hand tamping. Subsequent compaction shall be performed with mechanical tampers, which have a zone of influence less than the depth from the point of usage to the top of the pipe. In no case shall compactors of the hydro-hammer type be utilized within 48 inches of the pipe surface, and then only if pipe embedment has previously been compacted to at least 85% of standard proctor density.
(c) 
Bell holes in the bedding shall be provided at each joint to permit proper assembly of the joint while providing maximum uniform pipe support. In cold or freezing weather, the maximum size of aggregate in the special material shall be 3/4 inches.
(2) 
Concrete cradle or encasement.
(a) 
Where unstable conditions are encountered, or where required by the Authority Manager or Engineer, the pipe shall be supported on a concrete cradle.
(b) 
Where concrete encasement is required, the trench shall be excavated to a minimum depth of six inches below the bottom of the pipe. The pipe shall be laid and supported so as to receive a six-inch minimum encasement around the entire periphery of the pipe. The excavated space shall then be completely filled with and the entire pipe encased in concrete such that the minimum concrete encasement at any point around the outside barrel of the pipe measures six inches thick or more. The total minimum width of the concrete encasement shall equal the width of trench excavation, which shall be kept to the minimum practicable width such that the six-inch encasement thickness is maintained.
(c) 
All concrete shall be Class D.
(3) 
Backfilling.
(a) 
No backfilling may be done before the Authority's inspector gives permission. After pipes have been checked for alignment and bedding and approved by the Authority's inspector, the backfilling may be started. Backfill material may be deposited in trench either by hand or machine. Spread the backfill in uniform eight-inch loose layers where compaction is required.
(b) 
When the pipe is laid in areas not usually traversed or not improved by man, the owner/contractor may backfill the trench from the top of the pipe embedment of the pipe as shown on the attached detail,[6] with select material excavated from the trench.
[6]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M.
(c) 
If settlement occurs, additional backfill shall be deposited and mechanically compacted to grade elevation.
(d) 
Excavated material shall be so placed as not to unreasonably interfere with travel, either pedestrian or vehicular. All macadam and other street surfacing, surface loam and sod shall be kept separate from the remainder of the excavated material.
[4]
Editor's Note: See Subsection M.
G. 
Connections to existing sewer. Connecting to both the house plumbing and the sewer main or the end of the service connection shall be with a proper fitting, specially manufactured for such use. In the event there is no service connection available at the required point of connection to the public sewer, an approved saddle connection shall be used. Lateral sewer or wye fittings broken by the property owner or his private contractor shall be immediately replaced with the proper wye fitting with the costs of such replacement being borne by the property owner.
H. 
Use of existing building sewer. An existing building sewer from a building to its septic tank or other disposal point can only be used if it can be demonstrated to the Authority inspector that the existing sewer is of proper construction and is watertight.
I. 
Prohibition of surface and groundwater connections. Connection of roof downspouts, exterior foundation drains, areaway drains, or other sources of surface runoff or groundwater to a building sewer or building drain, which in turn is connected directly or indirectly to the public sewer, is strictly prohibited.
J. 
Employee and public safety. All excavation for building sewer installation shall be adequately guarded to protect the public from hazard, in accordance with federal, state and local laws.
K. 
Testing. At any time considered necessary by the Authority inspector, testing of the sewer lateral for leakage shall be performed by the Authority. In such cases, the property owner shall be required to assist in the testing and make corrective repairs as may be required. If a building sewer fails the air test, leakage test, or smoke test, the Authority may plug the sewer until the defective sewer is replaced. The Authority has the right to televise laterals as part of the lateral inspection process.
L. 
Timing. Where a new building is to be constructed and connected to the Authority's system, the sewer lateral must be constructed after the new building is under roof or the lateral needs to be capped to preclude any excavation drainage from entering the Authority's system.
M. 
Design plats. Made a part hereof by reference are design drawings depicting recommended minimum design and construction standards. Originals of these plats shall be on file and available at the Unity Township offices and the offices of the Unity Township Municipal Authority. These plats set forth the following:
(1) 
Exhibit A: service sewer detail;
(2) 
Exhibit B: typical cleanout and inspection tee detail;
(3) 
Exhibit C: sewer service line trench; and
(4) 
Exhibit D: backfill requirements in Township and state roads, state highway berms, and paved driveways.
N. 
Inside plumbing. All inside sanitary plumbing must conform to the provisions of the Uniform Construction Code as adopted and incorporated by the Township of Unity in this chapter.
A. 
The Unity Township Board of Supervisors from time to time shall designate certain employees of the Township to serve as building code officials or code administrators. Each employee so designated shall be qualified, registered or certified with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for enforcement under the UCC.
B. 
The building code officials or code administrators designated by the Unity Township Board of Supervisors shall, in addition to their other duties and responsibilities, be responsible for the certification relating to those exterior municipal sewer lines, exterior sewer laterals and other exterior sanitary sewer or wastewater installations governed by the UCC, provided that said officials or administrators shall not approve any such installations without first having received a written approval of such installation from a UTMA agent, employee or representative who is authorized to issue such approval by UTMA, and which written approval is issued under the direction of the UTMA Operations Manager.
A. 
The Unity Township Construction Code Appeals Board is established hereby for the purpose of hearing and ruling upon appeals from decisions of the designated building code officials.
B. 
The standards and regulations of the Unity Township Construction Code Appeals Board are as follows:
(1) 
Application for appeal. Any person shall have the right to appeal a decision of the Code Official to the Board of Appeals. An application for approval shall be based on a claim that the true intent of the Unity Code and the UCC or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of the Unity Code and/or UCC do not fully apply, or an equivalent form of construction is to be used.
(2) 
Membership of the Appeals Board. The Board of Appeals shall consist of five members appointed by the Board of Supervisors of Unity Township as follows: one for five years, one for four years, one for three years, one for two years, and one for one year. Thereafter, each new member appointed shall serve for a term of five years or until a successor has been appointed.
(a) 
Qualifications of members. The Board of Appeals shall consist of five individuals, each of whom shall be qualified by training and experience to pass on matters pertaining to building construction. Training and experience may consist of licensure as an architect or engineer, experience in the construction industry, and training or experience as an inspector or plan reviewer.
[1] 
Members shall hold office at the pleasure of the Unity Township Board of Supervisors.
[2] 
Elected Supervisors of Unity Township and the Unity Township Code administrators may not serve as members of the Appeals Board.
[3] 
Members may include qualified persons who reside outside of Unity Township if the Board of Supervisors cannot find sufficient qualified applicants who do reside in the Township.
(b) 
Alternate members. The Board of Supervisors may appoint up to two alternate members who shall serve when called by the Chair of the Board of Appeals to hear matters during the absence or disqualification of a member. Alternate members shall possess the qualifications required for Board membership and shall be appointed for terms of five years or until a successor has been named.
(c) 
Chairman. The Board of Appeals shall annually select one member to serve as Chairman.
(d) 
Disqualification. A member shall not hear an appeal in which that member has any personal, professional or financial interest.
(e) 
Secretary. The Board of Supervisors shall provide clerical assistance and services for the Board of Appeals and that secretary shall file a detailed record of all proceedings in the office of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Unity Township.
(f) 
Compensation. Compensation of members of the Board of Appeals shall be as determined by law and as shall be set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
(g) 
Solicitor. The Township shall appoint or designate legal counsel to serve for the benefit of the Board of Appeals. The attorney so appointed shall not be affiliated with the Solicitor for the Township.
(3) 
Notice of meeting. The Board of Appeals shall meet upon notice from the Chairman within 30 days of the filing of an appeal or at stated periodic meetings.
(4) 
Open hearing. All hearings before the Board of Appeals shall be open to the public. The appellant, the appellant's representative, the Township Building Code Officer and any person whose interests are affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
(5) 
Procedure. The Board of Appeals shall adopt and make available to the public procedures under which hearings will be conducted. These procedures shall not require compliance with the strict rules of evidence but shall mandate that only relevant information be received.
(6) 
Postponement. When five members are not present to hear an appeal, the appellant or the appellant's representative shall have the right to request a postponement of the hearing.
(7) 
Board decision. The Board of Appeals shall modify or reverse the decision of a building code official only upon a concurring vote of three members.
(a) 
Resolution. The decision of the Board of Appeals shall be by resolution. Certified copies shall be furnished to the appellant and to the Code Official.
(b) 
Administration. The Code Official shall take immediate action in accordance with the decision of the Board.
(8) 
Court review. Any person, whether or not a previous party to the appeal, shall have the right to apply to the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, for a writ of certiorari to correct errors of law. Application for review shall be made within 30 days following the filing of the decision in the office of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Unity Township and shall follow generally those procedures required for appeals under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
Fees assessable by Unity Township for the administration and enforcement undertaken pursuant to this chapter and the Code shall be established by the governing body by resolution from time to time.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $1,000, recoverable with cost of prosecution before a District Justice, and, in the event that such penalty and costs are not paid, shall be subject to imprisonment in the Westmoreland County Jail for a period of not more than 30 days. Each such person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for every day during any portion of which any violation of any provisions of this chapter is committed, continued or permitted by such person and shall be punishable therefor as provided by this chapter.