for a better tomorrow.

News and Updates

  • 23 Apr 2020 1:51 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim enforcement guidance to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs). The action marks the department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.

    Due to the impact on workplace conditions caused by limited supplies of N95 FFRs, employers should reassess their engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95 respirators.

    If respiratory protection must be used, employers may consider use of alternative classes of respirators that provide equal or greater protection compared to an N95 FFR, such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved, non-disposable, elastomeric respirators or powered, air-purifying respirators.

    When these alternatives are not available, or where their use creates additional safety or health hazards, employers may consider the extended use or reuse of N95 FFRs, or use of N95 FFRs that were approved but have since passed the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, under specified conditions.

    This interim guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s Coronavirus webpage regularly for updates.

    For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

    OSHA has released two memos to update Guidance for Respiratory Protection in response to limited supplies of masks and PPE on jobsites. 




  • 23 Apr 2020 12:45 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Understanding the COVID-19 Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the Process for Small Business to Apply for Loan
    Monday, April 27
    1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


    The coronavirus pandemic continues to create unprecedented challenges for employers across Pennsylvania and the nation.  Based on the number of significant legislative and policy changes occurring on both the state and federal level, the Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association are presenting a free 1 hour webinar as a public service to review the recently enacted Payroll Protection Program (PPP), and the process banks follow to provide loans to small businesses, as well as tips for small business to apply for the loans.  


    We are pleased to present Clem Rosenberger, President and CEO for NexTier Bank & Federal Policy Committee Chair, PA Bankers to present an update on the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP), explain the requirements for business to qualify, and present best practices for small business to follow when applying for the loans.

    Then PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr, and PA Bankers President and CEO Duncan Campbell will provide a brief coronavirus update and the latest developments for Pennsylvania employers and banks. 

    We will cover:

    • A review of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) elements and what this means for business
    • Who is qualified to receive a loan under the PPP
    • What process most banks follow to determine how the loans are administered
    • The process small businesses or non-profit should follow to apply for the loan
    • The minimal requirements to be eligible
    • How loan forgiveness is defined
    • Best practices for compliance
    • Latest update on COVID-19 for PA employers

    The speakers will open up the last few minutes of the webinar to answer questions from participants.


  • 23 Apr 2020 12:42 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    I would personally like to extend a hearty thank you for all the efforts put forth by our amazing Staff, Volunteer Leadership and the Membership of PBA in helping to get residential construction open again. There are still a lot of details to be worked out related to Guidance associated with job site activities over the next week. PBA is working closely with the Governor’s office on this issue and will provide you with the information as soon as it is available.

    The value of membership in PBA showed best during this time of crisis. Effective 5/1, construction is the only industry allowed to restart operations again and it was even moved forward by a week from the original date announced just a couple of days ago. Once the guidance documents are set, please follow them as a sign of why we were singled out. The long term health of Pennsylvanians remains a top priority for us at PBA. Godspeed.

    Jon Sukonik, President
    Pennsylvania Builders Association

  • 17 Apr 2020 6:22 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    PBA Members:

    As many of you know, the COVID-19 effects on Pennsylvania are expected to peak shortly. When combined with PBA’s efforts to urge Governor Wolf to lift restrictions placed on the building industry, it is going to be vitally important to prepare your business and employees so that we can all effectively go back to work safely.

    Education and preparation are going to be the key. In order to ensure that you are ready and able to reopen businesses when circumstances permit, the following assurances need to be adopted by the residential construction industry. We predicated our phased plan on a start date of 4/20 for the start of theeducational process and demonstrate our industry’s sincere dedication to providing a safe working environment.

    The attached Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) comply with the latest guidance from the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) and incorporate CDC, OSHA and CISA standards for health and safety.

    We are distributing the attached materials and templates so that you can adapt them for your business now andbegin educating your workforce. Additional instructional videos are currently being developed by NAHB. PBA will provide you with direct lines to these videos as soon as they are available. We plan to provide links to other educational safety materials as soon as we have access to them.

    Once these steps are put into the place, the next phase will be to resume construction on projects already started / permitted. This will allow us to complete the projects for our customers whose homes are partially constructed. Any work performed should be in compliance with the SOPs. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate how responsible our industry can be so that the Governor will allow restarting all other residential projects as soon as possible.

    We need ALL members to realize the importance of following these steps and to start immediately. Not only will this prove our perseverance to Governor Wolf, but it is also in the best interests of your workforce to provide a safe working environment.

    Please see the attached SOP templates along with a sample communication tool that Lennar is using for their employees. We have also included a link for a number of videos produced by the CDC to provide answers and resources about COVID-19.

    By working together as a unified industry in Pennsylvania, we can help reopen the residential construction industry.

    Thank you for your commitment and cooperation.

    Stay safe.

    Jon Sukonik, President
    Pennsylvania Builders Association





  • 14 Apr 2020 2:52 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Thursday, April 16
    1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to create unprecedented challenges for employers across Pennsylvania and the nation, state unemployment compensation programs are serving as important systems through which financial support is being driven out to individuals.  To better understand the significant legislative and policy changes being implemented at both the state and federal level, the Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation is presenting a free 1 hour webinar as a public service to review the latest developments, explain the details and to get your questions answered.

    Webinar Highlights

    A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor will provide an overview of the Unemployment Compensation program changes and funding for states as authorized by the federal CARES Act. Then, we are pleased to present the Honorable Jerry Oleksiak, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to provide a UC update for Pennsylvania employers, help to clarify the state response and answer questions to be sure you have the latest information for your business and employees. We will discuss:

    • Details on the recent federal and state laws that have made numerous significant changes to UC that may impact employers and their workforce
    • How UC is intended to work in coordination with other programs to provide relief and stabilize the economy
    • Guidance for employers who may be experiencing UC for the first time from a claimant's perspective, as eligibility has been expanded to include independent contractors, small business owners and others not typically eligible
    • Explanation of these changes and answers to your questions

    The speakers will open up the last few minutes of the webinar to answer questions from participants. 

    About the Speaker 

    W. Gerard "Jerry" Oleksiak is the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. Before joining L&I on Sept. 5, 2017, Oleksiak most recently served as president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) – the largest professional association in the Commonwealth.


  • 14 Apr 2020 10:57 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    PBA Members:

    I can assure PBA membership that the efforts being put forth by PBA Staff and me has been tireless since the beginning of the shutdown on 3/19.  GA leadership and staff have been working behind the scenes to try to push the legislative pathways to allow residential construction to open back up.  The legislative fighting between the parties continues to be the greatest obstacle for now and I believe we are close to bipartisan support on at least one of the efforts.  Remember that despite all of our efforts, the Governor will have the final say on reopening construction. Thus far, he and Secretary Levine have been adamantly opposed to opening up any businesses that were not listed as Life-Sustaining on his current spreadsheet.  We hope that support for the legislature will ease this decision.

    We are continuing to pursue direct lines of communications to the Governor’s office as well as Secretary Levine.  These efforts included direct conversations with ICC which wrote letters to all the other states with some shutdowns on construction, other than PA.  I contacted them directly and convinced them to write to Governor Wolf.  After discussions, ICC wrote to the Governor and DCED to request the reinstatement of the waiver process specifically for residential construction.

    There is no magic wand and no fairy dust.  Hard fought grass root efforts and continued attempts to inject common sense into this injustice is our way.  Our customers and our businesses are the partnership needed to enact change.  I highly encourage real life stories to be told to the legislators and the Governor in our appeal.  Getting our customers into their permanent shelter is our priority.  PBA will continue to support our membership through these channels until relief is granted.

    Stay safe and healthy.

    Jon Sukonik
    PBA President

  • 08 Apr 2020 10:48 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    PBA received a copy of this letter that was sent to legislators. We feel that it really shares the impact that the closure has put on families. Please take a minute to read this and share it so that others will understand how important – and life-sustaining – home construction is to Pennsylvania.

    An Open Letter to Congressional Leaders – Our Son’s Story

    Right now, there are many difficult decisions to be made. It’s important to know the effect that decisions have on a personal level.

    Our family is one of many who are impacted but we are in a unique situation. We are a family of five; mom, dad, son, and two lovable Labrador retrievers.  Our son, is a nine-year-old with multiple disabilities from an underlying and complex chromosome abnormality.  As such he has needs in many areas including speech, occupational and physical therapy, behavior management, ADHD, self-regulation, and sensory processing. He has a very outgoing personality and seeks social interaction and engagement. He is not always able to communicate through normal verbal communication and it takes longer for him to process information. Unfortunately, he often resorts to behavior and emotion to communicate and process.

    For the past 10 years we lived in a single-family home in a very small community.  Due to our son’s developmental needs, we made a life-changing decision to sell our house and move to a larger community with more resources including a larger school district and more access to physician networks and therapists. Plus it cut down on our work commute so we could spend more time as a family. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we knew that it would benefit him and all of us in the long run. 

    We chose to build a new house with a builder who understood our situation and would take the time to provide us with a home that met our unique needs. During the transition, we had to move our family – and very few of our personal belongings – into a small apartment.  Apartment living would present challenges, but it was to be temporary and it provided some stability since he was able to attend his new school and adapt to the community.

    We sold our house in September 2019 and the plan was that we were to live in the apartment until end of May. If there was a need to extend the term, the leasing agency would charge us on a month to month basis at a substantially increased rate. Financially we would have been able to do that for an additional month or two if we had to. More than that would be extremely difficult.  

    Unfortunately, things suddenly changed in March due to COVID-19. At that point, things were out beyond our control – a situation that has become increasingly stressful for our son.

    On March 12, when the schools closed for two weeks, he didn’t understand why he was no longer able to go to school or keep up with his daily routine. Then the next day, I was told that I now needed to work from home until further notice. All of our routines were overlapping in an apartment that was never intended to be our long-term home, nor was it set up to fully function school and workplace.

    We drove by the site of our new home on March 18 to find that our wood was delivered at the foundation. Everyone was excited that our home would be ready within the next couple of months. Unfortunately, the next day, we heard that all non-essential construction was to halt. It was a devastating setback to not only my wife and me, but it was also a blow to our son’s expectations because he had been asking daily about the new house.

    More demands were put on the family when the school began virtual learning on March 26. Now we are also being called on to be teachers, aides, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, and behavioral therapists.

    We ask you to kindly consider our situation as you evaluate new residential construction as a life-sustaining business. In our opinion – as well as others who face similar challenges – we feel that it is absolutely a critical and life-sustaining business.

    All the recent, drastic and sudden changes to normal routines has resulted in severe behavioral regression for our son. After many years of therapy, we had finally managed the challenges. Now I can’t even imagine what he is thinking and can’t communicate to us verbally. Instead of being able to understand why he can’t get close to others and see his friends, family, or teachers; or why he can’t go to the playground; or when he can move into his new house, he resorts to behavior, throwing, hitting, self-injurious activities. The one thing that could bring back some continuity in our son’s life right now would be his new house that we promised him would be his home before school was over – the home with his toys and his yard where he can play with his beloved dogs.

    We know we are not alone with our situation, but we can only share from our perspective that the decision to halt residential construction is truly having a negative impact on the well-being of our nine-year-old son with multiple disabilities.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    Concerned Parents

  • 06 Apr 2020 5:14 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    This is guidance from PABCO to their membership regarding the statewide shutdown of construction. PABCO, the Pennsylvania Association of Building Code Officials, is a statewide organization representing Building Code Officials and their member companies.  Below is an updated Q & A from PABCO as of April 6, 2020. They are sending out to their membership in an attempt to provide uniformity across the Commonwealth.

    Question: No new construction is to begin under the Governor’s order except for health care facilities.  Even waivers for residential construction that were originally granted have been tightened down to prohibit any new construction from taking place and projects already under way are restricted to emergency repairs, making the project weathertight and stabilizing and securing the worksite.

    In light of all these restrictions, and with the Department of Labor and Industry suspending the time frames for approving or denying a permit application, may we (municipal or third party) continue to accept new permit applications?

    Answer: There appears to be nothing in place that would prohibit this from taking place.

    Question: Would we be allowed to review the applications, plans, specs, documents for UCC compliance?

    Answer: Again, there appears to be nothing in place that would prohibit this from taking place, keeping in mind that the usual 5/15/30 day decision timeframe for application review is suspended

    Question: Would we be allowed to send the applicant a plan review/plan correction letter in order to keep the project moving along towards approval?

    Answer Again, there appears to be nothing in place that would prohibit this from taking place, keeping in mind that the usual 5/15/30 day decision timeframe for application review is suspended

    Question: Once the application and plans are ready for approval, can we approve them and notify the applicant of approval?

    Answer Again, there appears to be nothing in place that would prohibit this from taking place.  However, it is recommended that the permit NOT BE ISSUED as that gives the permit holder the right to begin construction.  It is recommended that the applicant could be informed that their application and plans have been approved, but that no permit will be issued and no construction may take place until the eventual lifting of the construction ban imposed by the Governor.

    QuestionA contractor is performing construction that is not emergency in nature and is not part of a health care facility.  They request an inspection for work that had already begun prior to the Governor’s order or they had one of the original waivers that have since been overturned.  Am I required/allowed to perform the inspection?

    Answer: Based on the Governor’s order, the inspection should not be done.  However, if it is performed, all CDC guidance for social distancing and PPE should be adhered to.

    QuestionWork is being performed that is non-emergency In nature and not connected to a health care facility. I choose not to perform a requested inspection.  Am I obligated to inform anyone of the work being done in defiance of the Governor’s order?

    Answer: You are not required to do so, but you may if you choose.  That would involve submitting a report to the State Police Barracks with jurisdiction over the site in question.

    However, if construction is taking place without a permit, you may issue as STOP WORK ORDER and follow that through to the proper conclusion.

    If work is taking place and is beyond the point where a required inspection would have been needed, and you have chosen to not perform the inspection, you may also issue a STOP WORK ORDER and follow that through to the proper conclusion.

    Question: A school district decides that a project is of an emergency or urgent nature and decides to move ahead with construction, as allowed by the Governor’s order.  Am I obligated to perform inspections?

    Answer Yes, based on the Governor’s order.

    QuestionWork is being performed that is emergency in nature or connected to a health care facility.  Am I obligated to perform the inspection?

    Answer: Based on the Governor’s order and BOIS guidance, Yes.

    QuestionHomeowners apply for a permit to begin work connected with their dwelling.  Am I required to approve it and issue it?

    Answer: Based on the Governor’s order and BOIS guidance, no.

    QuestionHomeowners are performing work on their own dwelling and need an inspection.  Am I required to perform it?

    Answer: Based on the Governor’s order and BOIS guidance, No, unless it is of an emergency repair nature.

    Question Emergency repairs must be performed on a commercial or residential structure or equipment or building systems contained therein.  May I issue a permit?

    Answer: If the work would normally require a permit, then yes, a permit should be required but it may be issued after the fact. Remember, even under normal circumstances, the UCC allows emergency repairs or replacement of equipment to take place and then for the permit to be applied for within 3 business days of the work being performed.

    Some links for helpful resources:

    Building safety measures (just issued today)  

    BOIS/UCC FAQs (click on Buildings)  


  • 03 Apr 2020 6:25 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Please read the following important message:

    The following statement has been issued by DuPont Performance Building Solutions leadership:

    “We cannot and should not use Tyvek® Wrap for medical or protective apparel purposes. The reason: while based on Tyvek® technology; each product is fabricated with different processing conditions to achieve the optimal barrier and breathability characteristics for the specific intended use.  Additional post processing steps further differentiate the products to the point that they are completely incompatible for other applications. Chemically they are the same; but they are different physically. 

    And each of these final products have specific code body certifications that are only valid for that specific type of material; so trying to use one style for another would also violate the respective codes and standards for each industry’s safe use.”

    For more information - please click here.

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