The building code contains prescriptive methods for most types of construction. Essentially this means that the International Codes Council publishes a series of method of construction for various types of projects, which a homeowner can follow to be assured that their project is "up to code." As such, if a property owner or contractor supplies plans that follow the relevant prescriptive methods outlined in the current building code, those plans do not need to be designed or stamped by an engineer (or architect - depending on the situation). However, some projects to require "engineered" plans. The following list covers some of those instances; however it is not all-inclusive. Please contact the Permitting Office to determine if your specific project will need engineered plans.
- If you are proposing a construction method that is not covered in the code, then you will need to supply engineered plans.
- If you are building a deck that will support an additional weight (i.e. free-standing roofs/pergolas, hot tubs, built-in kitchens, or storage buildings), these plans must be designed and stamped by a PA certified engineer.
- If you are constructing a retaining wall that is over 4' high, you will need to submit engineered plans for the wall
- If you are using a pre-engineered building material (i.e. an engineered truss), you will need to submit an engineered plan, which is often provided by the manufacturer with the purchase of the material. A stamped manufacturer's spec sheet is acceptable in this case.
- Plans for an entirely new house must be stamped by a PA certified architect or engineer.
- Plans for an entirely new commercial structure must be stamped by a PA certified architect or engineer.
As stated above, this list is not all-inclusive. Please contact the Permitting Office to determine if your specific project will need engineered plans.