Exemption of “high tunnel” ag structures from building code regulation:

The Statewide Building Code exempts structures meeting the definition of an “agricultural building” from the Code’s construction standards and subjection to regulation by local building inspectors. However, it is not clear among those interpreting and enforcing the Code that high tunnel structures on farms fall within the scope of the “agricultural building” exemption.
Very recently, Farm Bureau and other farm groups were successful in attaining enactment of legislation to exempt high tunnel structures from real property tax.  And many of the uses of high tunnel structures are consistent with those uses of buildings that would fall within the Code’s “agricultural building” exemption. Express recognition in the Code of high tunnel structures as exempt from building regulation should be a logical and reasonable step.

House Bill 1440 (Prime Sponsor – Karen Boback):
-Would amend the Statewide Building Code to expressly recognize high tunnel structures as exempt from the Code’s construction standards and local building regulation.

Current Status:
-House Bill 1440 was passed by the House, and was reported out of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. It is currently in the Senate Tabled Calendar.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau urges Senate leadership to move the bill off the tabled calendar to the Senate’s active calendar for final vote.