Section 104 Enforcement, Generally
This section establishes the requirements for enforcement of this code in accordance with Section 36-105 of the Code of Virginia. The local governing body may also inspect and enforce the provisions of the USBC for existing buildings and structures, whether occupied or not. Such inspection and enforcement shall be carried out by an agency or department designated by the local governing body.
If the local building department receives a complaint that a violation of this code exists that is an immediate and imminent threat to the health or safety of the owner, tenant, or occupants of any building or structure, or the owner, occupant, or tenant of any nearby building or structure, and the owner, occupant, or tenant of the building or structure that is the subject of the complaint has refused to allow the code official or his agent to have access to the subject building or structure, the code official or his agent may present sworn testimony to a magistrate or court of competent jurisdiction and request that the magistrate or court grant the code official or his agent an inspection warrant to enable the code official or his agent to enter the subject building or structure for the purpose of determining whether violations of this code exist. The code official or his agent shall make a reasonable effort to obtain consent from the owner, occupant, or tenant of the subject building or structure prior to seeking the issuance of an inspection warrant under this section.
Note: Generally, official action must be taken by the local government to enforce the VMC. Consultation with the legal counsel of the jurisdiction when initiating or changing such action is advised.
In jurisdictions enforcing this code, the local governing body shall designate the agency within the local government responsible for such enforcement and appoint a code official. The local governing body may also utilize technical assistants to assist the code official in the enforcement of this code. A permanently appointed code official shall not be removed from office except for cause after having been afforded a full opportunity to be heard on specific and relevant charges by and before the appointing authority. DHCD shall be notified by the appointing authority within 30 days of the appointment or release of a permanent or acting code official and within 60 days after retaining or terminating a technical assistant.
Note: Code officials and technical assistants are subject to sanctions in accordance with the VCS.
The code official shall have at least five years of building experience as a licensed professional engineer or architect, building, fire or trade inspector, contractor, housing inspector or superintendent of building, fire or trade construction or at least five years of building experience after obtaining a degree in architecture or engineering, with at least three years in responsible charge of work. Any combination of education and experience that would confer equivalent knowledge and ability shall be deemed to satisfy this requirement. The code official shall have general knowledge of sound engineering practice in respect to the design and construction of structures, the basic principles of fire prevention, the accepted requirements for means of egress and the installation of elevators and other service equipment necessary for the health, safety and general welfare of the occupants and the public. The local governing body may establish additional qualification requirements.
A technical assistant shall have at least three years of experience and general knowledge in at least one of the following areas: building construction, building, fire or housing inspections, plumbing, electrical or mechanical trades, fire protection, elevators or property maintenance work. Any combination of education and experience which would confer equivalent knowledge and ability shall be deemed to satisfy this requirement. The locality may establish additional certification requirements.
An acting or permanent code official shall be certified as a code official in accordance with the VCS within one year after being appointed as acting or permanent code official. A technical assistant shall be certified in the appropriate subject area within 18 months after becoming a technical assistant. When required by a locality to have two or more certifications, a technical assistant shall obtain the additional certifications within three years from the date of such requirement.
Exception: A code official or technical assistant in place prior to April 1, 1995, shall not be required to meet the certification requirements in this section while continuing to serve in the same capacity in the same locality.
The code official shall coordinate inspections and administrative orders with any other state or local agencies having related inspection authority and shall coordinate those inspections required by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (13VAC5-51) for maintenance of fire protection devices, equipment and assemblies so that the owners and occupants will not be subjected to numerous inspections or conflicting orders.
Note: The Fire Prevention Code requires the fire official to coordinate such inspections with the code official.