Code Enforcement

Building Permits

Building Permits are required for new construction of residential and commercial buildings as well as additions, sunrooms, renovations, garages, decks, porches, roofs, signs and swimming pools.

Zoning Reviews are required for all sheds, fences, retaining walls, driveway expansions, patios and sidewalks.

An application for a Building Permit, or Zoning Review does not grant permission for the job to start. No work may start until the permit is issued.

All permits will be charged a $4.00 service fee in accordance with Act 13 of 2004 passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature.  The Township is required to submit these fees to the Commonwealth on a quarterly basis to fund required training associated with the recently adopted Uniform Construction Code.

All Building Permits must be posted so they are visible from the street.  Building Permits are not finalized until the necessary inspections are completed.

Fire Extinguisher Picture Fire Safety/Fire Marshal Yellow Book Picture Codes of Towamencin
Purple Folder Picture Permits & Application PDF Picture Township Zoning Map
    PDF Picture Starting Your Business
PDF Picture Fee Schedule PDF Picture Stormwater and the Construction Industry

 

Code Enforcement Staff and Consultants
Director of Community Planning / Code Enforcement Officer William Webb
Fire Marshal  
Administrative Assistant Cecilia Kelsch
Asst. to Code Enforcement Officer Carolyn McKelvie
Building Code Official M.T. Kennedy
   
Towamencin Township uses Keystone Municipal Services, Inc. for inspections and plan reviews.
 

Building Code Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I apply for a permit?
  2. Can you recommend a good contractor?
  3. I am selling my home, does the Township require a resale inspection?
  4. I want to change my basement to living space, will I need an additional exit to the outside?
  5. Who Needs Building Codes?

Building Code Answers to FAQs

  1. How do I apply for a permit:
    • Permit applications (all kinds) are available at the Township Building from 8:00 - 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday or on the website.

  2. Can you recommend a good contractor?
    • If you are planning to do any renovation or work at your residence that may require a permit there are a few things you should be aware of. An important part of the permit process is the inspection of work at various phases during construction. The minimum inspections should consist of a footing inspection (if adding an addition), a framing inspection, a rough and final electrical inspection, and a Final/Use & Occupancy inspection.

      The Final/Use & Occupancy Inspection insures that all work is completed in accordance with the Township Building Code. Upon completion of this inspection a Use & Occupancy Certificate will be issued. Final payment should not be made to your contractor until this permit is received, which officially completes the project.

      Steep Driveway Picture
      When choosing a contractor be sure that they are insured and do not be afraid to ask for references. Any contractor that hesitates to produce this information should not be used. Also take the time to check out the references, including looking at previous work they have done.

      Beware of deals that sound too good to be true; they usually are.
      Do not let this happen to you!!!! ------------------------->



  3. I am selling my home, does the Township require a resale inspection?
    • You must first apply for a Certificate of Occupancy by completing the form and submitting the fee. After allowing 10 business days for processing, you may call the Township Building and schedule an inspection (24-hour notice is required). If your home passes the inspection, the Inspector will issue a Certificate of Occupancy. This certificate must be dated within 30 days of settlement.
  1. I want to change my basement to living space, will I need an additional exit to the outside? Yes
    • In Towamencin Township, for any basement renovations after January 1, 2001, under the International Residential Code the following applies:

      R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue. Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the window or door opening from the inside. Escape and rescue window openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2

      R310.1.1 Minimum opening area. All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.530 m²). Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 m²).

      R310.1.2 Minimum opening height. The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches (610mm).

      R310.1.3 Minimum opening width. The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches (508 mm).

      R310.1.4 Operational constraints. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.

      R310.2 Window wells. Window wells required for emergency escape and rescue shall have horizontal dimensions that allow the door or window of the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened. The horizontal dimensions of the window well shall provide a minimum net clear area of 9 square feet (0.84 m²) with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

      R310.2.1 Ladder and steps. Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) below the adjacent ground level shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R314* and R315*. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (304 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

      R310.3 Bulkhead enclosures. Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R314.9*.

      R310.4 Bars, grills, covers and screens. Bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

  2. Who Needs Building Codes?
    • We all do - whether in our homes, offices, schools, stores, factories, or places of entertainment. We rely on the safety of structures that surround us in our everyday living. The public need for protection from disaster due to fire, structural collapse, and general deterioration underscores the need for modern codes and their administration. HOW RELIABLE ARE THEY? Most aspects of building construction, electrical wiring, heating, sanitary facilities- represent a potential hazard to building occupants and users. Building codes provide safeguards. Although no code can eliminate all risks, reducing risks to an acceptable level helps. WHAT IS A BUILDING CODE? Practically, it is the government’s official statement on building safety. Technically, it is a compendium of minimum safety standards arranged in a systematic manner (codified) for easy reference. It embraces all aspects of building construction, fire, structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical. WHY SHOULD MINIMUM SAFETY CODES APPLY TO MY OWN HOUSE? For several reasons: For your personal safety, and that of your family, and the guests invited into your home. To ensure the economic well-being of the community by reducing potential spread of fire and disease. For the conservation of energy. To protect future home purchasers who deserve reasonable assurance that the home they buy will be safe. Local building departments provide a wide range of services beyond the usual plan review and building inspection process. These range from the administration of planning or zoning laws to housing maintenance inspection, nuisance abatement, and a number of other related or ancillary duties.