Third Floor Rehab Codes in Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh PA has  alot of grand old houses in need of rehab - I have found many of these have third floors with room to add a bedroom or additional bath - in some cases there is room for a complete apartment or efficiency.

I have found that if adding a third floor apartment, you must have a fire escape.  however, my question today is in regard to adding a third floor bedroom to a single door unit - what codes are in place?  Do you need egress windows?  Escape ladders?  Fire escapes?

Can anyone point me to the right website address to review codes?

Brian, there are three points to understand here:

1. The City of Pittsburgh has its own separate code office that follows different policies and procedures than the near suburbs. The suburbs are independent Pennsylvania townships and boroughs with their own code standard and enforcement policies. You would have to look those up individually. But what's acceptable in the kind of renovation you're talking about in, say, the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh is different from what's acceptable in, say, the independent borough of Wilkinsburg, right next door, and different people trained to different standards will be carrying out either set of inspections.

For City of Pittsburgh information, here's the building codes page: https://pittsburghpa.gov/pli/building-code

2. Allegheny County, the county that Pittsburgh is located in, handles all plumbing permits through Allegheny County's Health Department. Plumbing permit enforcement is uniform, county-wide.

Here's the ACHD's plumbing page: https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Health-Department/Programs/Plumbing/Plumbing-Program.aspx

3. Your profile indicates that your most recent investment was in Cranberry Township. Cranberry as a young, growing community largely exists because it is across the county line in Butler County. This means that neither the City of Pittsburgh's building codes not the Allegheny County Health Department codes matter there. Please consult the following for more information:

https://www.cranberrytownship.org/1630/Residential


Wow Jim, awesome information, and it makes a lot of sense.  Thank you so much for the detailed response!

I will check in to the local municipality as I am evaluating the opportunity.  As I am living in Cranberry Township, I am focusing a lot on the "North of the rivers" areas, such as Brighton Heights, Marshall/Shadeland, Avalon, Emsworth, Ben Avon, etc.  These have "Pittsburgh addresses" but each local region/municipality has its own flavor.

Originally posted by @Brian L Dowler :

Wow Jim, awesome information, and it makes a lot of sense.  Thank you so much for the detailed response!

I will check in to the local municipality as I am evaluating the opportunity.  As I am living in Cranberry Township, I am focusing a lot on the "North of the rivers" areas, such as Brighton Heights, Marshall/Shadeland, Avalon, Emsworth, Ben Avon, etc.  These have "Pittsburgh addresses" but each local region/municipality has its own flavor.

Exactly right. You need to be researching the codes for these places. For instance, Brighton Heights is within the City of Pittsburgh proper, Ben Avon is an independent municipality. They both direct residents to write "Pittsburgh, PA" on their mail. That's just another confusing aspect of this area.

 

I have been here five years, and still can't figure out why so many major roads have to change their names every time they hit a major intersection.  You can drive five miles on the same highway but be on five different roads. :)

Originally posted by @Brian L Dowler :

I have been here five years, and still can't figure out why so many major roads have to change their names every time they hit a major intersection.  You can drive five miles on the same highway but be on five different roads. :)

You are a local real estate investor in one of the most haphazardly organized areas of the United States. In confusion there is profit. Just sit down with someone from the West Coast and try to explain why there are three municipalities in this county named North Versailles Township, South Versailles Township, and Versailles Borough, yet there is not one common border between them.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :
 named North Versailles Township, South Versailles Township, and Versailles Borough, yet there is not one common border between them.

 Just wait until they see you write those words and then have a confused look after you been saying "ver-sales" for the past 10 minutes. 

Originally posted by @David Lee Hall, III :
Originally posted by @Jim K.:
 named North Versailles Township, South Versailles Township, and Versailles Borough, yet there is not one common border between them.

 Just wait until they see you write those words and then have a confused look after you been saying "ver-sales" for the past 10 minutes. 

Saving that pronunciation nugget for a follow-up, but exactly. 

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