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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > Healthcare Facilities > Licensees > Building Safety > Plan Review Requirements

Plan Review Requirements 
 
Schematic, preliminary and final plan reviews are achieved through our electronic plan submission system.  Plans may be reviewed through an appointment with a plan reviewer following prior electronic submission.  Plans without an appointment will be reviewed in order of receipt.  To help us expedite the process for your plan review, a Plan Review Check List must be completed for each project submitted.  Failure to supply this information may cause unnecessary delays.  Further, all letters requesting a “No Plan Review Required” letter must be submitted in the same manner, and be accompanied by the Plan Review Checklist.  
 
CODES AND REGULATIONS
 
All plans will be reviewed for compliance with the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and the Mandatory References listed in Chapter 2 of the Code.  Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Facilities licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health will also be reviewed for compliance with the “Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Health Care Facilities,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s "Rules and Regulations for Hospitals" and/or "Rules and Regulations for Ambulatory Surgical Facilities.”  Nursing homes licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health will also be reviewed for compliance with the "Long Term Care Nursing Facilities Licensure Regulations.”   Please contact the Division of Safety Inspection at 717-787-1911 to verify the latest editions of the applicable codes and regulations.
 
Plan reviews for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) are conducted only under NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.  The ICF/IID program regulations, as required for certification, are administered by the Division of Intermediate Care Facilities.  Licensure requirements are administered by the Department of Human Services.  The Division of Safety Inspection’s plan review is limited to the life safety regulations and does not reflect program or licensure requirements.
 
PLAN SUBMISSIONS
 
Plans must be submitted for all types of construction (new, alterations and/or renovations); drawings must be architectural-type drawings on sheets, drawn to a scale of not less than 1/8” equals 1’0”. 
 
Plans must be transmitted in original formatted colors, at a resolution of no less than 1920 x 1080.
 
Final plan submissions must include site locations; all floor plans; exterior elevations; typical wall, floor, and roof sections; structural drawings; heating; electrical; ventilation; and riser diagrams for emergency lighting, fire alarm, detectors and sprinklers.
 
Plans must contain door, door hardware and room finish schedules.  Room names and numbers must be shown on all floor plans (plumbing, mechanical, electrical, etc.)
 
The mechanical ventilation rates, in cubic feet per minute (CFM), must be shown on HVAC floor plans.
 
All fire proofing and U.L. design numbers must be shown for all required fire rated walls or portions of walls, columns, girders, beams, trusses, floor/ceiling and roof/ceiling assemblies.  These must appear at the appropriate wall section or detail.
 
Plans must clearly show all required smoke barrier walls and doors, fire barrier walls and doors on all architectural, HVAC and electrical drawings.
 
If a sprinkler system is required and is not part of the final approved set of drawings, then sprinkler shop drawings must be submitted and approved before sprinkler construction is started.  These drawings should be approved by ISO Commercial Risk Services, Inc., or an equivalent agency.  IN ADDITION, PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY STAND-ALONE SPRINKLER PROJECT SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL MUST ALSO HAVE AN ACCOMPANYING NARRATIVE, DETAILING THE SCOPE OF THE WORK BEING DONE.
 
Plans for partial areas or small additions must have a complete floor plan of the building showing all exits, smoke and/or fire walls.  A key location plan must be submitted to locate areas of construction.
  
CORRECTIONS MARKED ON APPROVED PLANS
 
Any corrections and/or notations made on the drawings during review by the plan reviewer will be in red.  Do not resubmit plans for all the red marks on the drawings unless requested by the plan reviewer. These notations are considered part of the legal documents and must become part of the completed construction.  Revised floor plans shall indicate the changes circled in a "cloud."
 
FINAL INSPECTIONS
 
Final inspections will not be conducted unless all required plans are submitted and approved prior to occupancy.  This includes plans required to document all changes, revisions, sprinkler installations, electrical components (fire alarm, detectors, emergency lighting, etc.) and/or partial occupancy approvals to an approved set of drawings.  All projects will have 2 years to start construction, and 5 years to finish construction.  Please contact the Division of Safety Inspection at 717-787-1911 to verify what changes must be submitted.
 
FUNCTIONAL PROGRAM NARRATIVE
 
All facilities must provide a narrative on facility letterhead of the project signed by an administrative official for standalone projects.
 
Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
 
A functional program narrative as described under Chapter 1.2 , Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, 2014 Edition, is required for hospital and ambulatory surgical facility construction projects and must be included in triplicate sets with all final plan submissions.
 
The functional program narrative must address provisions that will be implemented during construction/renovation projects to ensure for infection control, life safety and protection of occupants throughout the construction process, as specified under Chapter 1.2 Planning, Design, and Construction.
 
Functional program narrative must contain a statement a Safety Risk Assessment (SRA) has been prepared, and is onsite upon request.
 
SEALS AND FORMS
 
All drawings must be sealed by a Pennsylvania Registered Architect or Engineer.
 
A Pennsylvania Registered Architect or Engineer seal will not be required for renovations not involving structural or egress changes.
 
UNIFORM CONSTRUCTION CODE (UCC); ACT # 45
 
New buildings, additions or renovations to existing buildings, and changes in usage from one occupancy classification to another occupancy classification, are subject to the Uniform Construction Code and the regulations promulgated under Act #45.  The UCC regulations are enforced by the Department of Labor and Industry, or by local municipalities that have opted to enforce these regulations within their jurisdictions.  Final plan approvals and/or final occupancy inspections for health care facilities must be obtained from the Department of Health prior to the UCC plan approvals or occupancy inspections that are required by the Department of Labor and Industry or the local municipality.  Additional information regarding the UCC regulations can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Uniform Construction Code page or by telephone at 717-787-3323.
  
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBILITY, ENERGY CONSERVATION, AND FEES FOR APPROVAL OF PLANS/INSPECTIONS
 
Buildings or construction projects that are subject to the Uniform Construction Code are required to conform to the applicable accessibility and energy conservation requirements under the UCC.  Fees are also charged for building plan approvals, building permits, building inspections and/or occupancy permits by the Department of Labor and Industry or the local municipality.  The Department of Health does not charge fees for the approval of building plans or inspections.  Please note:  We do not issue Certificates of Occupancy for health care facilities.
    
OCCUPANCY INSPECTIONS FOR HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
(See also “Plan Submissions")
 
The appropriate field office of the Division of Safety Inspection must be notified in writing at least four to six weeks prior to any occupancy date requested.  All projects must be 100 percent complete or an occupancy inspection will not be scheduled.  An occupancy inspection cannot be requested to complete a punch list.  Contact the division’s field offices to obtain an occupancy checklist, which can be used as a guide to insure that all required documentation and certifications are available for the safety inspector on the scheduled inspection date.
 
Inspections will be conducted only for projects that have obtained all required plan approvals from this division.  This includes required sprinkler plans, partial occupancy plans, and changes and/or revisions to an approved set of drawings.
 
If a project is to be occupied in phases, each phase must be clearly identified on the approved plans. 
 
Before nonflammable medical gas systems can be accepted for use, documentation listing all the tests that were conducted as required in NFPA-99 and signed and sealed by a Pennsylvania Registered Architect or Engineer, or a notarized statement must be presented to the field inspector for review at the time of the occupancy inspection.
 
Please note that the issuance of a final letter of approval by this division does not authorize utilization or occupation for patient care. Approval for patient care occupancy or utilization must be obtained from one of the following:  Division of Acute and Ambulatory Care Facilities, Division of Nursing Care Facilities, Division of Intermediate Care Facilities, Division of Home Health or the Department of Public Welfare.