Complaints about Municipal and
Third Party Agency Officials
The UCC, at 34 Pa Code §403.104(a), authorizes the Department to investigate all written complaints regarding municipal and third party code officials’ actions (or lack of action) in their administration and enforcement of the Uniform Construction Code.
Before filing a complaint with the Department, please note carefully the following points:
- The Department has no authority to take actions against builders or contractors, nor do we have authority or ability to mandate that sloppy construction work or code violations be corrected.
- The Department has no authority to investigate and take action against zoning officers and their enforcement of locally enacted zoning ordinances.
- The following are examples of the type of matters that we generally will not investigate:
- Poor workmanship.
- Allegations of code violations that cannot be verified without performing a “destructive” inspection.
- Fees charged for code enforcement services. (Fees charged by municipalities or their third party agencies are not regulated by statute or regulation.)
- Allegations pertaining to locally adopted property maintenance code requirements and enforcement of these requirements. (Municipalities may adopt and enforce any property maintenance requirements they desire, and these fall outside the scope of the UCC.)
- Rude or other unprofessional behavior. (This should be addressed with the municipality’s elected officials who have hired or contracted for the services of the code official.)
- Disagreement with a code official’s interpretation of a construction code provision. (This should be appealed by a petition to the municipality’s UCC appeals board.)
- The following are the examples of the matters that we will investigate:
- There is construction work for which no Building Permit was issued, and against which a Building Code Official has failed to take action upon being informed of this.
- A person is performing code-enforcement work without the required UCC credentials.
- A Building Code Official has issued a Certificate of Occupancy, but there are construction code violations that are clearly visible (i.e., Department officials will not have to perform a “destructive” inspection to verify the allegation).
- A Building Code Official has failed to issue a Certificate of Occupancy within five business days of the issuance of a final inspection report indicating compliance with the UCC.
- Complainants must detail their allegations on the Department’s complaint form. It is not acceptable to state “See Attachments,” expecting that Department officials will be able to determine allegations by reviewing any documentation attached to the complaint form. However, if the form does not provide sufficient space to detail all of the allegations, additional narrative may be attached. The narrative must cite specific issues directly related to the allegations and must be submitted in a format that is concise and legible.
Complaint Investigation Process
- Complaint allegations should be detailed on the Department’s UCC Complaint Form (click here to access a copy of this form). If available, and if this will further support allegations made on the complaint form, attach supporting information to the complaint form (e.g., photos of code violations, inspection reports, copies of permit or certificates of occupancy, etc.). Mail this to:
Chief, UCC Inspection Division
Department of Labor & Industry
651 Boas Street, Room 1613
Harrisburg, PA 17121-0750
- Upon receipt of the complaint, it will be reviewed to determine whether the allegations are within the scope of the Department’s investigative authority. Complaints that contain apparent violations of administrative regulations or technical code requirements will be assigned to one of our inspection supervisors. If no apparent violations are detailed in the complaint, the complainant will be so notified.
- The assigned supervisor will contact the complainant and the code official(s) named in the complaint to advise them of the process that he will follow in investigating the allegations, to request additional information or meetings (if necessary), and to inform them of the likely time frame to conduct the investigation.
- Upon completion of the field investigation, the inspection supervisor will submit a report to the Chief of the UCC Inspection Division, indicating whether any or all of the allegations were substantiated.
- Depending on the nature of our findings, the Department may take one of the following actions:
- Issue a report indicating that no deficiencies or violations were found.
- Cite deficiencies and recommend courses of action to preclude a reoccurrence of these deficiencies.
- Cite deficiencies and issue a warning letter to the offending code official.
- Cite deficiencies and seek to impose sanctions such as remedial training or the decertification of the offending code official.
- The Chief of the UCC Inspection Division will inform the complainant, the code official(s) subject to investigation and their employers (the municipality’s chief elected official or head of third party agency) of our findings and any actions to be taken.