Bureau of Codes
The Bureau of Codes is responsible for residential and property maintenance standards enforcement to provide safe habitable housing.
The Bureau processes all permits related to building construction and performs inspections required for building construction.
The Bureau also issues licenses for electrician’s, plumber’s, rooming houses and oversees the Residential Rental property Ordinance.
The Bureau Health Officer enforces all sate and local health code provisions relating to food establishments and also lead-based paint hazards in residential structures. Health licenses are issued for all food establishments.
Important Documents & Links
Effective February 14, 2022 as amended and adopted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the City of Harrisburg follows the codes as set forth by the PA UCC. Any new construction in planning or having a signed contract prior to February 14, 2022 may use the 2015 codes until August 14, 2022.
Codes set forth by the PA UCC are:
2018 IRC, ISPSC, IECC, IFGC, IMC, IPC, IEBC, IBC, IFC only where referenced in IBC Ch. 35, 2017 NEC (NFPA-2017) and the ICC A117.1- 2009
Contact the Deputy Codes Administrator for additional information at 717-255-6553.
Please reference the attachment for a printable list of all current codes
Frequently Asked Questions
Who do I speak with about heating complaints, mold, roof leaks and other violations by my landlord?
For heating complaints, you can contact the Bureau of Codes office; an inspector will be contacted immediately. At which time, the codes inspector will contact the landlord who will be given 24 hours to provide some form of heating. A landlord/tenant complaint form will need to be submitted for all other complaints. Please be advised, we do not take care of any mold issues, but will check for leaks that cause mold.
How long will my permit take to process?
In accordance with the adopted Statewide Building Code, residential permit applications must be approved within 15 business days, 5 days if it is stamped by a licensed design professional. Additional time if Historic Review Board is required. Commercial permit applications must be approved within 30 business days, additional time if Zoning or Historic Board review is required.
Can I mail my permit application to the Bureau of Codes Administration?
Yes, as long as all the pertinent information and permit fees accompany your application. Your permit application will then be processed in the order it was received. Applications should be sent to: The Martin Luther King Government Center, Bureau of Codes, 10 N 2nd Street, Suite 205, Harrisburg, Pa. 17101.
If I have a multi-phase job must I take a permit out for the entire job or can I take out permits as I go?
Yes, it’s called fast tracking. You may secure progressive permits for each phase of construction. As long as each phase has passed progressive inspections you may continue fast tracking until the job’s completion.
What if my project involves street excavation or curb and sidewalk?
You should Visit the City Engineering Office at 1002 N. 7th St. Harrisburg or contact by phone at: 717-255-3091
What if my project involves questions about water charges, water meters or tapping into the water or sewer line?
You must contact the Capital Region Water at 888-510-0606.
What if I change contractors in mid-course of my project?
You must send the current contractor a certified letter stating their removal from the project with a copy of such being sent to the Bureau of Codes Administration. Your new contractor will be required to secure a new permit for the work with the knowledge that they will be assuming full responsibility for all past and future work on the project.
What if my work involves the blocking of a public parking area?
You need to contact Parking Enforcement for more information at 717-255-3040.
What if my project is in a municipal Historic District and I am doing exterior improvements?
Your project may require further review and approval by the City’s Planning Bureau to assure compliance with historic standards. You would have to contact the City’s Planning Bureau at 255-6419.
What if my project exists in the 100-year flood plain?
It will depend on the nature of the work proposed. If it is new construction or extensive rehabilitation you will need to contact the Bureau of Planning for approval. If your work involves either repair of replacement of building components then a standard building permit will suffice.
What if for some reason I cannot complete the work proposed on my building permit application and I delay in finishing the work in a continuous manner?
Your building permit will expire after 6 months if work is not continuous. In this case you will have to reapply for a new building permit.
What activity on my property requires a permit?
Permits are required for:
Demolition of any existing building or structure
Constructing any new building or structure
Additions or alterations to any existing building or structure
Changing the use and occupancy type of any building or tenant space within an existing building
Converting an unfinished space into habitable space
Constructing or renovating swimming pool, hot tub or spa
Constructing a sport court, example: basketball or tennis court
Adding solar panels to a building or erecting freestanding array of solar panels
Replacement windows and doors
Complete renovation of a Residential building
Retaining walls 4 feet or greater in height
Signs – detached and attached to a building
What trades require a license?
A trade license is required for:
Do I need a City of Harrisburg Business privilege license?
All contractors doing work in the city of Harrisburg must have a Business Privilege License