Building and Code Enforcement
About the Department of Building & Code Enforcement
The Building & Code Enforcement Office serves to protect residents from structural hazards and provides for a uniform application of property ordinances. Departmental responsibilities including issuing building permits, reviewing construction plans, and performing occupancy inspections upon the transfer of properties. The Building Code Official also actively canvas the municipality to assure strict enforcement of applicable codes. Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board meetings are also conducted under the jurisdiction of this department. This office is additionally responsible for administration of the Borough’s tenant registration and sidewalk improvement programs.
Building Code Official Ralph Costa has an extensive knowledge of the construction trades. Although he spent a portion of his career wearing a suit and tie as he managed a regional sales route for a grocery supplier, Raph never lost his affinity for the satisfication of a home improvement job well done. He subsequently worked for nearly a decade as an independent general contractor. In 2002, he joined the Borough staff as a part time employee, and, after professionalizing the department, he was promoted to full time status in 2005. Ralph holds over 20 seperate certifications from the International Code Council.
Although Assistant Manager Eric Peccon wears multiple hats in his position, he still allocates the largest amount of his time to the Code Department. Eric holds a bachelor's degree in political science from California University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh. While studying community development and municipal management at Pitt, Eric completed an internship with the Borough, during which he designed the municipality's rental property program. In 2013, he returned to Brentwood as a zoning and code enforcement assistant, and he transitioned to his current role in 2015.
About Borough Property Codes
To eliminate the confusion and inconsistent enforcement caused by the application of myriad local building codes, the State of Pennsylvania adopted the Uniform Construction Code as a framework for all municipalities. Brentwood Borough locally enforces UCC regulations through the Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement. The 2009 Uniform Construction Code contains stringent restrictions regarding construction practices, fire safety, plumbing, mechanical equipment, and other critical building systems. For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry page on UCC administration. The International Code Council provides limited viewing access to the text of these codes at their organizational webpage.
New construction in Brentwood Borough is also regulated by Chapter 183 (Subdivision and Land Development) and Chapter 210 (Zoning) of the municipal code. This information is available online at the Borough Code portion of our website.
To supplement its local property ordinances, Brentwood Council has also chosen to adopt the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code. The International Code Council also hosts the text of this booklet online.
Electronic and mechanical amusement devices can provide affordable fun for business and restaurant patrons. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous proprietors use these games to engage in illegal gambling. To prevent unlawful gaming from increasing crime and other social ailments in our community, Brentwood Borough requires strict licensing of all amusement devices. Business owners must complete the form below to register all jukeboxes, pool tables, sporting game tables (foosball, air hockey, mini basketball games, etc.), video games, mechanical and electronic games of skill (claw machines, shooting galleries, skee-ball, etc.), and simulated casino games. The annual license fee is $200 per pool table or sporting game table and $600 for any other amusement device.
Building & Zoning Permits
Through the permitting process, the Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement works to ensure that all building projects are compatible with both the regulations outlined in the Uniform Construction Code and the zoning restrictions presented in our municipal code. Except for minor maintenance jobs (i.e. replacement of siding, windows, or gutters), most construction activity requires a permit prior to the commencement of work, including:
- Additions of new rooms or stories
- Commercial cooking hoods
- Deck construction or repair
- Driveway expansion (no permit is required for resurfacing if the size of the driveway is not altered)
- Electrical wiring installation or repair
- Excavation or grading
- Fence installation (no fence may exceed 4 feet in height; privacy fences are not permitted)
- Garage construction
- HVAC installation
- Porch construction or repair
- Retaining wall construction or repair (no permit is required for retaining walls under 4 feet in height)
- Roof construction or repair (no permit is required for minor patching)
- Sewer taps
- Sidewalk expansion (no permit is required for repair of existing slabs)
- Sign installation (includes temporary commercial banners)
- Stairway construction or repair (no permit is required if the stairway contains 3 or fewer risers)
- Structural interior alterations
- Swimming pool installation
- Utility or storage shed installation
For the convenience of our citizens, our office uses a standardized Application for a Uniform Construction Permit that is valid for any building project except for the installation of commercial signage. Residents can complete a single form and receive a comprehensive permit for even the most complex of projects. Both this document and the Application for a Sign Permit are available below. The standard fee for a building permit is $39 for work that costs less than $1000; a charge of $9 is added for each additional $1000 in cost. The fee for demolition is $50 for a residential project and 1% of the total contract for a commercial project.
Please note that plumbing system replacement or maintenance is regulated by the Allegheny County Health Department. For more information about plumbing permits, please click here.
One of Brentwood’s greatest assets is its attractive and well-maintained housing stock. However, like every older community, our municipality is not immune to the creeping specter of blight. The presence of just one uncut lawn or trash-ridden porch can send an entire block into a downward spiral of decay. Even relatively minor infractions, such as placing trash at the curb before the designated collection time or allowing overgrown hedges to infringe upon the sidewalk, can reflect negatively on our community to visitors. Additionally, some property maintenance issues, such as cracked retaining walls or dilapidated accessory structures, can pose severe hazards to neighboring properties or passersby.
Brentwood Borough takes seriously its duty to provide stringent and uniform enforcement of all property codes. The actions of our office improve the aesthetic appeal of the community, which serves to raise property values for current homeowners while concurrently increasing the attractiveness of the Borough to individuals who are in the market for a new home or storefront. The Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement works to enhance resident quality-of-life by removing eyesores and abating property nuisances. Strict code enforcement also functions as a mechanism by which to hold accountable those landlords who chose to defer basic property maintenance.
For a list of answers to frequently asked questions about our property codes, view the PDF document below. By following our simple rules and responding promptly to violation notices, residents can show pride in their community and can demonstrate their commitment to preserving its charming, neighborly character for future generations.
Commercial Occupancy Permits
Brentwood Borough features desirable commercial space along high-traffic corridors. Prior to opening a business in an existing building, entrepreneurs must complete the Application for Occupancy Permit below. Our department will review the proposal to determine if the business can be established as a permitted use within the relevant zoning district. An inspection will then be performed to verify that the structure meets basic health and safety guidelines. The fee for the occupancy inspection is $100 per commercial unit.
Please note that a building permit is required for any structural renovations, including for the installation of a commercial range hood. Plumbing system replacement or maintenance is regulated by the Allegheny County Health Department. For more information about plumbing permits, visit the county website.
Proprietors or companies who are acquiring ownership of a parcel must follow the property transfer protocol outlined below. Developers who are interested in constructing a new commercial structure must submit a preliminary site plan to the Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement and apply for a Planning Commission meeting here.
Contractor Registration & Insurance
The Home Improvement Consumer Protector Act mandates that any firm that performs renovation or maintenance on an existing residential structure must apply for a license from the State of Pennsylvania. Exceptions are only provided for “handymen” who perform less than $5000 in total work per year and large building supply retailers (i.e. Lowes, Home Depot, Sears) that offer home installation service. Electricians, plumbers, roofers, pavers, HVAC installers, and other general contracting and labor companies must verify their registration prior to obtaining a building permit from the Borough. To register your business or to find out if the contractor that you’ve hired has procured the necessary license, visit the Attorney General's website.
To prevent accidents that impact worker safety and damage the property of Borough residents, all contractors are also required to carry liability insurance. The Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement requests that applicants present proof insurance along with their building permit form.
Dumpsters & Storage PODs
Dumpsters and “bagsters” provide an invaluable service to property owners who are renovating a building or who are engaging in a substantial spring cleaning project. Similarly, the use of storage PODs and other portable containers can alleviate some of the stress of moving. However, when these items are housed on a property for an extended period of time, they can become major eyesores. In Brentwood Borough, homeowners are not required to obtain a permit for the placement of dumpster, “bagster,” or storage POD within the confines of a driveway or parking pad. These receptacles must be removed from the property within ten (10) days of delivery.
A permit is required to store any of the above items on a public thoroughfare. Residents must complete the Application for a Dumpster or Storage POD Permit below and return this form to the Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement prior to delivery. The permit is valid for ten (10) days, is nonrenewable, and is issued at a cost of $35.
Fireworks & Burning
The Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement is tasked with the regulation of fireworks sales on our municipality. Licensed retailers of Pennsylvania-legal fireworks may erect a temporary tent in which to sell their goods on private commercial property at the cost of $100 per day. Interested dealers should complete our standard Application for a Uniform Construction Permit, which can be found above. When submitting this form to our department, please also include the following items: a copy of the lease agreement with the owner of the property on which the tent will be constructed, a copy of your company’s Certificate of Flame Retardace, proof of liability and workman’s compensation insurance, and an inventory of the products that will be sold at your stand.
Brentwood Borough residents are required to follow Allegheny County Health Department guidelines concerning campfires, grills, barbeque pits, outdoor fireplaces, and similar recreational burning activities and devices. These fires may be no greater than three (3) feet in diameter and must be located at least fifteen (15) feet from the nearest building. Only clean, dry wood may be utilized to fuel the fire; the burning of discarded wooden materials or trash of any kind is prohibited. Recreational fires must be attended at all times. Our office will issue notices of violation to residents who fail to prevent smoke from infringing upon neighboring properties or the public street.
Handicapped Parking Spaces
Brentwood Borough is a welcoming and understanding community that strives to provide the highest possible quality-of-life for our senior and disabled citizens. Under certain circumstances, we provide on-street handicapped parking to qualified residents at no cost. The Application for a Handicapped Parking Space can be found in PDF format below.
The municipal code requires that the following conditions be met prior to the designation of a parking stall as for handicapped access:
- The applicant holds a valid “person with a disability” or “disabled veteran” placard.
- The applicant does not have a driveway or parking pad on his or her property.
- There are no other handicapped parking spaces in the same block as the requested space (or, if parking is allowed on both side of the street in said block, there are no other handicapped stalls on the same side of the street as the requested space).
- The requested space does not pose a traffic hazard.
Please note that an applicant is not guaranteed access to an installed spot. Any individual in legal possession of a handicapped parking placard may utilize the space. Although this service is provided free of charge, residents who receive on-street handicapped spaces are required to submit an annual renewal document.
Liquor License Transfers
Pennsylvania law limits the number of liquor licenses that may be issued in any individual municipality. Because Brentwood has reached its quota of one permit per three thousand residents, no new establishment may be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages without Borough endorsement. Prior to receiving final authorization from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, applicants for intermunicipal license transfers must appear at a public hearing before Council. The Department of Code Enforcement serves as the intermediary between our community's governing body and proposed licensees.
Are you interested in purchasing a home in our attractive and welcoming community? Prior to closing, the Department of Building/Code Enforcement will require several pieces of documentation. The transaction process is initiated when our office receives a request from the applicable closing company for an occupancy permit, a dye test certification, a sewer lateral certification, and a municipal lien letter, as well as all applicable fees. The cost for the inspection is $50 per unit for a residential structure or $100 per unit for a commercial building; a $50 processing charge is attached to each of the latter three items. The total fee for the sale of a single family home is $200. The closing company must submit these funds along with a completed application for an occupancy permit.
Brentwood Borough mandates that the current owner of the property commissions a dye test at cost from a registered master plumber. This simple assessment is used to detect illegal stormwater connections to the sanitary sewer system. Plumbers must use the Dye Test Report form found below to record the results of the test. As of May 2014, Brentwood Borough also requires a sewer lateral camera inspection to be performed as a condition of every sale. For questions about this program, consult the FAQ document below. The plumber must submit a DVD copy of the inspection video to our office. All final determinations related to required repairs will be made by Department of Building/Code Enforcement.
The Building Code Official must also conduct a quick-but-thorough examination of the premises to ensure that no critical health or safety violations are present. The inspection checklist can be found below for relator or purchaser reference. If any deficiencies are noted, the prospective buyer will be required to sign the checklist and consent to a re-inspection to verify that all repairs have been completed. Finally, the department will issue a document that outlines any liens that have been filed against the property for delinquent sewage or outstanding property maintenance bills. Please note that all liens must be satisfied before the date of closing.
Rental Property Registration
Many landlords take seriously their duty to keep tenants safe and have a keen interest in the health of our community. Unfortunately, some landlords, especially those who live long distances from the Borough, are concerned only with profit maximization. Brentwood Council has recently enacted a revised rental registration and licensing program, which expands the authority of the Department of Building Inspection/Code Enforcement to crack down on noncompliant rental property owners.
Over a decade ago, Brentwood authorized the establishment of a basic tenant registration program, which increased our capacity to ensure that all residents, including those who do not own real estate, satisfy their local earned income tax levy. Today, as then, landlords are required to annually submit a list of tenants; owners must also inform the Borough each time that a change in occupancy occurs. The yearly registration processing fee is $10 per unit.
Our new and improved rental property ordinance requires all landlords to obtain an operating license and directs the Building Code Official to conduct an inspection of each rental unit in the Borough at least once every five years. This license may be revoked for unpaid real estate taxes, delinquent sewage fees, or failure to abate major code violations. Renting without a license is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $1000.
Please note than any property owner who does not reside in Allegheny County or an adjacent county must designate a person age 21 or older who lives in the aforementioned area as a responsible agent. This individual shall be charged with receiving all notices of violation and shall have responsibility to remedy any code infractions.
To apply for a rental license or to register a new tenant, please complete the Tenant Occupancy Report form below.
Vacant Property Registration
Brentwood is fortunate to that, as the community has aged, its neighborhoods have remained stable and vibrant. Our Borough stridently uses every available tool to ensure that we retain this high quality-of-life for future generations of residents. In the spirit of this value, Brentwood Borough Council has adopted a vacant property registration ordinance to mitigate the negative impact of homes that unoccupied and in which maintenance has been deferred. Structures that are required to be registered under this initative, such as those that are subject to foreclosure action by a lender, are typically sold and rehabilitated after a relatively short period of time. However, despite their rarity within the community, these properties are a significant source of code enforcement complaints. Through this new program, the Borough will work to prevent these negative outcomes by performing a closer evaluation of property conditions while concurrently opening a line of communication with the party that is responsibile for management of the site.
Property registration is required for buildings that have not been occupied for at least 60 days under certain circumstances. If a building is vacant because it is actively being marketed for sale or lease, it is exempted from registration for as long as the site remains free of code violations. Consequently, if you are an owner-occupant who moves out of the Borough or a landlord who is between tenants, there is no mandate to enroll, providing that you do not permit the site to become a nuisance by failing to perform routine maintenance. Exemptions are also available for buildings that are under renovation and for which a building permit has been issued, as well as those homes that are vacated because the owner temporarily resides at an alternative address for a portion of the year (e.g. "snowbirding"). If the structure does not adhere to these criteria, then the property owner must submit a registration statement and a corresponding fee. If the subject property is a single-family home, then a charge of $125 will be assessed; the rate for multi-family and commercial buildings is set at $250. Any property owner who does not reside in Allegheny County must designate an individual who lives within this jurisdiction as its responsible agent. The owner or agent must contact the department within 30 days of registration to conduct an inspection.
To register a vacant property, please complete the form below.