Upper Darby Seal

Frequently Asked Questions

What residential building code does Upper Darby Township follow?

Upper Darby Township enforces the successive editions of the International Residential Code.

Where can I find a copy of this code?

The codebook is copyrighted material; therefore, it can be purchased online at:

What kind of work requires a permit?

The question better asked is what does not require a permit. The following work does not require permits:


  • One story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses that are l20 square feet or less only require a $40 zoning permit.
  • Replacement of existing windows or doors.
  • Painting, flashing or replacement of downspouts.
  • Fences do not require permits; they must comply with Section 1001 - Fences in the zoning code.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4’ in height, unless they are supporting a surcharge. Please be aware that retaining walls must also comply with the fence ordinance requirements.
  • Replacing private sidewalks, or replacing/repaving private driveways or patios as long as their size in not being increased.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that that are less than 24’’ deep.
  • Swings and other playground equipment.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54’’ from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
  • Repairing less than 50% of a roof, siding, or stucco.


  • Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
  • Residential burglar or fire alarm systems.


  • Portable heating, cooking, or clothes drying appliances
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  • Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.


  • Portable heating appliances.
  • Portable ventilation appliances.
  • Portable cooling units.
  • Steam, hot or chilled piping within any heating or cooling equipment
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  • Self contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant, or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.
  • Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
  • The stopping of leaks, or clearing of drains unless the work requires the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.

What documents do I need to apply for a building permit?

  • A site plan.
  • Floor plans.
  • Elevation view drawings.
  • Sectional drawings providing all construction details.

What is the zoning of my property?

The zoning classification for your property can be found on the zoning map

What setbacks and zoning regulations must I follow?

First, you must find out how your property is classified (see above.) Once you know how your property is zoned, you can than find the applicable regulations in our zoning code.

Do I need an architect or engineer to prepare the drawings?

A design professional will be required for additions that are greater than 1 story, or if the design you are proposing is not in accordance with standard engineering practices.

What is the frost line in our area?

The frost line in this area is 36’’.

Why do I need a footing for a non-bearing exterior wall?

Footings for these walls are required to protect against warping and twisting and framing from frost heave. For a definition of frost heave see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_heaving

How do I provide an exterior wall that is one hour fire resistance rated for exposure from both sides?

The most common design for this wall is 2’’x6’’ studs spaced 16’’ on center with 5/8’’ Type X gypsum wall board (or equivalent) on the interior side, and 5/8’’ Type X gypsum exterior sheathing board (or equivalent) on the exterior side. Each side must have the wall board applied horizontally and secured with 2 1/4’’ #6 Type S drywall screws @ 7’’ O.C.

What is the minimum size of an egress window?

The bottom sill of an egress window must be 44’’ or less above the floor. The minimum height is 24’’, and the minimum width is 20’’ inches; however, one or both of those dimensions will have to be bigger to meet the total minimum opening area of 5.7 square feet. The opening are is measured with only the bottom sash open.

What are the insulation requirements in our area?

The prescriptive requirements are R-19 for floors, R-13 for walls, and R-38 for roofs/ceilings.

What is the ground snow load in our area?

The ground snow load for this area is 30 psf.

Is OSB sheathing allowed to be used in the Township?


Can I use floor and roof trusses?

Yes, as long as the truss drawing bears the seal of a PA registered engineer.

Is an Ice and Water shield required for “A” framed roofs?

Yes, an ice barrier must be provided from the eave to a point 2’ inside the wall line.

How many roof coverings are allowed on one structure?

The existing roof covering(s) must be removed when any of the following occur:

  • Where the existing roof or roof covering is water-soaked or has deteriorated to the point that the existing roof or roof covering is not adequate as a base for additional roofing.
  • Where the existing roof covering is wood shake, slate, clay, and cement or asbestos-cement tile.
  • Where the existing roof has two or more applications of any type of roof covering.

Can any type of exhaust vent terminate in the ceiling?

No. All contaminants must be exhausted directly to the outdoors.

Can I use a vinyl vent for my bathroom or dryer exhaust?

No. These vents do not meet flame spread requirements.

Are pvc, cpvc, pex or similar products allowed in Upper Darby Township?

Yes, as long as they meet the testing standards for these specific products.

Who is responsible for maintaining the building sewer pipe (lateral) when it leaves my house?

The homeowner is responsible for maintenance of their entire sewer lateral pipe, and any curb, sidewalk, or street that must be excavated to make repairs. The Township is only responsible for the sewer mains throughout the Township.

Can I connect my sump pump into the Township Sewer Systems?


Are garbage disposals permitted in Upper Darby Township?


Can I use an air admittance valve (studer vent)?

Yes, as long as it is accessible and at least one stack vent or vent stack extends to the open air.

Can I use Type NM cable (Romex) in an unfinished basement?

Yes, as long as it is run through the floor/ceiling joists. If the cable must be run up or along a wall, then it must be installed in a listed conduit or tubing.

Can I replace a non-grounded type receptacle (two-prong) with a grounded type receptacle (three-prong)?

No, unless you are going to rewire to provide an equipment grounding system; however, there are three options to address this situation:

  • You may replace the receptacle with another non-grounding receptacle.
  • You may install a GFCI type receptacle that is marked “No Equipment Ground.”
  • You may install grounded type receptacles supplied a GFCI protected circuit that is marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.”

What are the barrier requirements for protecting a pool against accidental drowning?

  • The barrier must be a extend from a maximum of 2’’ above grade to a minimum of 48’’ above grade
  • Openings in the barrier may not allow the passage of a 4’’ sphere.
  • The barrier may not be designed in any way that facilitates climbing.
  • A self closing and latching gate that swings outward away from the pool must be provided.
  • If any door(s) from the house provide direct access to the pool, then a UL 2017 listed pool alarm(s) will be required for this door(s).
  • Above ground pools 48’’ or greater in height are allowed to be protected by providing a barrier meeting the above requirements may be provide around the ladder or steps.
  • Above ground pools 48’’ or greater in height may also be protected by providing a self folding and latching ladder or steps.
  • Hot tubs are not required to comply with these barrier requirements, if they are provided with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346.