Pennsylvania Construction Inspection (PCI) is a certified third party inspection agency licensed (license # A224) in Pennsylvania to enforce the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. We are certified to perform work in all applicable categories. We have over 20 years of construction and inspection experience in this field. Members of ICC and NFPA.
The PA UCC time for registered code officials expired on April 9, 2009. All persons performing inspections or plan review are required to be certified for that specific area in which they are working. Many third party agencies are continuing to perform work in areas they are not certified, potentially putting the municipality at risk by exposing them to potential legal action if claims are filed against the third party. These agencies may have the required one million dollars in errors and omissions insurance, but likely would not be covered if they are performing work which they are not lawfully allowed to perform.
Require the agency to provide the certifications to you or check the Department of Labor and Industry website at the bottom of the page and look at Certified Code Officials. If they are not certified on this list they are ineligible to perform the work.
Some agencies will tell you they have fully certified inspectors on staff. What they won’t tell you is that the persons working in your community are not certified. If the person working in your municipality is not certified, it is illegal. Require the inspection agency to provide you with inspection reports with the name and signature of the individual who actually performed the work.
The third party agency may subcontract the tasks they are not certified to perform to a qualified Code Official. Require documentation. Some agencies may simply tell you they are using certified officials when in reality they are performing the tasks themselves assuming you will not check.
Check with the Department of Labor and Industry to see if the company has been cited for violations. Some third party agencies are compiling a long list of violations.
Check fees which are charged by the third party. Some companies have been overcharging the municipality for fees they agreed to in their contract. Be aware of the agency that charges by the inspection or charges for re-inspection. The upfront fee they advertise may seem to be the best, and they will assure you that the re-inspections are not the norm, but it is often times the way they pad their profit.
Make certain the individual not only has the certifications required; ask what experience they have with residential construction, but also commercial construction. There are very few individuals in this field who have experience dealing with large, complex commercial projects. Don’t take their word for it. Require documentation. Big dollar projects come with equally big lawsuits.
Ask what experience they have prosecuting violations. If they have very little, it may be a sign of lackluster enforcement. If they say they have a lot, it could be a problem with the inspector not communicating with the public. The vast majority of code issues can typically be solved by working and listening to the person doing the work. If a code official spends the time with the builder (or especially the homeowner) to answer all questions and potential issues, the process should be a smooth one.