PHRC Events

Preparing for 2022: UCC Training is Key

Date: 10/5/2021

Republished from the Pennsylvania Builders Association's Fall 2021 Building Pennsylvania magazine.  

By Brian Wolfgang, PHRC Associate Director

Author Jack Canfield once stated, “Change is inevitable in life. You can either resist it and potentially get run over by it, or you can choose to cooperate with it, adapt to it, and learn how to benefit from it. When you embrace change you will begin to see it as an opportunity for growth.”

What does change look like in home building? It is safe to say that the past two years have given us plenty of answers to this question. Adapting to skyrocketing material prices? Check. Construction during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check. Fast-tracking methods to virtually engage with clients? Check. Lessons have been learned, some practices will stay, and the homebuilding industry today isn’t the same as the one that existed in the beginning of 2020.

Some changes aren’t quite as abrupt or global in scale, though. As we look ahead to 2022, the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) is scheduled to bring changes, both big and small, to the construction process. In accordance with the requirements of Act 45 of 1999 as amended, the Pennsylvania UCC Review and Advisory Council (RAC) initiated review of the 2018 ICC codes on May 14, 2019. On April 29, 2021, the RAC submitted their report to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, which details the results of this voting process, thus ending this review period. The code provisions that were adopted during this process will take effect in the first quarter of 2022 with the official effective date to be confirmed.

What do these changes mean to PBA members and the home building industry? At the core of these changes is a turn of the page from the 2015 ICC codes to the 2018 codes. For residential construction, the 2018 International Residential Code and the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code will serve as the new baseline for projects in PA. Additionally, there will continue to be a series of legislative amendments along with RAC amendments that will deviate from the published code as well.

Over the course of the next year with a statewide and local focus, PBA will be working with various groups, including the team at the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC), to offer training on these code changes. This partnership is an opportunity to lean into Jack Canfield’s words and recommendation to cooperate with, adapt to, and benefit from change.

Education in a mid- to post-pandemic world will look a bit different at times from previous years’ code update training programs. Over the past two years, groups like the PHRC have been forced to adapt to a fully virtual training environment. Yes, this has led to an overwhelming amount of Zoom time. But this has also enabled us to learn how to engage in an online environment. While training into late 2021 and beyond, including code update training, will not be entirely virtual, there will be remnants of what worked virtually being utilized in the long term. Virtual training allows for lower cost options for hosts and attendees, increased accessibility and reduced travel, and easily enables recording and future viewing. But there will also be a return to in-person training and networking which provides an opportunity to learn from your peers as well as program instructors.

The PHRC team shares a vision of a residential construction industry equipped with the knowledge, skills, and technology to build better homes. Adapting to code changes at the local and state levels is necessary on the road to realizing this vision. As the homebuilding industry forges ahead into late 2021 and beyond, know that you are not alone in this process. Resources are available at every turn. Not sure where to start?

Try one or all the following:

  • Get involved with your local builders association. Attend training and networking events to learn how your peers are adapting to changes in the industry, including code updates.
  • All of those business cards you collected at that networking event? Pull them out of your desk and call one of your contacts when you run into a code issue. Certainly, your network can help you select a new air sealing material, find a third party to provide blower door testing, or navigate the new stucco requirements. 
  • Jump on your computer to attend live or on-demand webinars hosted by the PHRC team. The PHRC webinar series starts in September 2021 and runs through May 2022. These webinars are a low-cost way to hear from industry experts on a range of topics from stucco assemblies to air sealing scopes of work. 
  • Seeking more in-depth training? Save the date for the 30th Annual PHRC Housing Conference. This two-day event is hosted in State College, PA on March 2-3, 2022. Sessions in multiple tracks will address code changes, best practices, and innovation in the home building industry. This conference is also a perfect way to keep networking with your industry peers.

While most industry professionals would agree that education is undoubtedly a good thing for home building, the pursuit and execution of worthwhile educational programming presents its own challenges. Attending a live event or listening in on an online session can simply be too difficult to fit into the schedule. This makes it even more critical to know where to turn for quality, relevant, and worthwhile education. Now is the time to lean on the resources around you, including your network, PBA, and PHRC, among others. Education will need to be a priority into 2022 for these code changes to turn into an opportunity for growth for your business.

Read the full Pennsylvania Builders Association's Fall 2021 Building Pennsylvania magazine for additional articles. 



The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304