CODES

ADOPTS WITH AMENDMENTS:

International Fire Code 2012 (IFC 2012)

Chapter 1 Administration

Chapter 2 Definitions

Part II ‒ General Safety Provisions

Chapter 3 General Requirements

Chapter 4 Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Part III ‒ Building and Equipment Design Features

Chapter 5 Fire Service Features

Chapter 6 Building Services and Systems

Chapter 7 Fire-Resistance-Rated Construction

Chapter 8 Interior Finish, Decorative Materials and Furnishings

Chapter 9 Fire Protection Systems

Chapter 10 Means of Egress

Chapter 11 Construction Requirements for Existing Buildings

Chapter 12 Through 19 Reserved

Part IV ‒ Special Occupancies and Operations

Chapter 20 Aviation Facilities

Chapter 21 Dry Cleaning

Chapter 22 Combustible Dust-Producing Operations

Chapter 23 Motor Fuel-Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages

Chapter 24 Flammable Finishes

Chapter 25 Fruit and Crop Ripening

Chapter 26 Fumigation and Insecticidal Fogging

Chapter 27 Semiconductor Fabrication Facilities

Chapter 28 Lumber Yards and Woodworking Facilities

Chapter 29 Manufacture of Organic Coatings

Chapter 30 Industrial Ovens

Chapter 31 Tents and Other Membrane Structures

Chapter 32 High-Piled Combustible Storage

Chapter 33 Fire Safety During Construction and Demolition

Chapter 34 Tire Rebuilding and Tire Storage

Chapter 35 Welding and Other Hot Work

Chapter 36 Marinas

Chapter 37 Through 49 Reserved

Part V ‒ Hazardous Materials

Chapter 50 Hazardous Materials—General Provisions

Chapter 51 Aerosols

Chapter 52 Combustible Fibers

Chapter 53 Compressed Gases

Chapter 54 Corrosive Materials

Chapter 55 Cryogenic Fluids

Chapter 56 Explosives and Fireworks

Chapter 57 Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Chapter 58 Flammable Gases and Flammable Cryogenic Fluids

Chapter 59 Flammable Solids

Chapter 60 Highly Toxic and Toxic Materials

Chapter 61 Liquefied Petroleum Gases

Chapter 62 Organic Peroxides

Chapter 63 Oxidizers, Oxidizing Gases and Oxidizing Cryogenic Fluids

Chapter 64 Pyrophoric Materials

Chapter 65 Pyroxylin (Cellulose Nitrate) Plastics

Chapter 66 Unstable (Reactive) Materials

Chapter 67 Water-Reactive Solids and Liquids

Chapter 68 Through 79 Reserved

Part VI ‒ Referenced Standards

Chapter 80 Referenced Standards

Appendix B Fire-Flow Requirements for Buildings

Appendix C Fire Hydrant Locations and Distribution

Appendix D Fire Apparatus Access Roads

Appendix E Hazard Categories

Appendix F Hazard Ranking

Appendix G Cryogenic Fluids—weight and Volume Equivalents

Appendix H Hazardous Materials Management Plan (Hmmp) and Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement (Hmis) Instructions

Appendix I Fire Protection Systems—noncompliant Conditions

Appendix J Building Information Sign

These regulations shall be known as the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC), hereinafter referred to as “this code” or “SFPC.” The term “chapter” means a chapter in the SFPC. The SFPC was cooperatively developed by the Virginia Fire Services Board and the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development.

The SFPC prescribes regulations affecting or relating to maintenance of structures, processes and premises and safeguards to be complied with for the protection of life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion and for the handling, storage and use of fireworks, explosives or blasting agents, and provides for the administration and enforcement of such regulations. The SFPC also establishes regulations for obtaining permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, or sales of explosives. Inspections under the SFPC are a governmental responsibility.

The purposes of the SFPC are to provide for statewide standards to safeguard life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion arising from the improper maintenance of life safety and fire prevention and protection materials, devices, systems and structures, and the unsafe storage, handling, and use of substances, materials and devices, including explosives and blasting agents, wherever located.

To the extent that any provisions of the SFPC or the referenced codes or standards are not within the scope of this chapter, those provisions are considered to be invalid. When any provision of the SFPC is found to be in conflict with the USBC, OSHA, or statute, that provision of the SFPC shall become invalid.

Any local governing body may adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or more extensive in scope than the SFPC provided such regulations do not affect the manner of construction or materials to be used in the erection, alteration, repair, or use of a building or structure, as provided in the USBC, including the voluntary installation of smoke alarms and regulation and inspections thereof in commercial buildings where such smoke alarms are not required under the provisions of the SFPC.

Farm structures not used for residential purposes are exempt from the SFPC except when the inspection and enforcement provisions of the code are exercised by a warrant issued under the authority of Sections 27-98.2 through 27-98.5 of the Code of Virginia.

The provisions of the SFPC shall apply to all matters affecting or relating to structures, processes and premises as set forth in Section 101.0. The SFPC shall supersede any fire prevention regulations previously adopted by a local government or other political subdivision.

No change shall be made in the use or occupancy of any structure that would place the structure in a different division of the same group of occupancies, unless such structure is made to comply with the requirements of this code and the USBC.

Buildings and structures constructed prior to the USBC (1973) shall comply with the maintenance requirements of the SFPC to the extent that equipment, systems, devices, and safeguards which were provided and approved when constructed shall be maintained. Such buildings and structures, if subject to the state fire and public building regulations (Virginia Public Building Safety Regulations, VR 394-01-05) in effect prior to March 31, 1986, shall also be maintained in accordance with those regulations.

Buildings and structures constructed under any edition of the USBC shall comply with the maintenance requirements of the SFPC to the extent that equipment, systems, devices, and safeguards which were provided and approved when constructed shall be maintained.

The codes and standards referenced in the IFC shall be those listed in Chapter 80 and considered part of the requirements of the SFPC to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where differences occur between the provisions of this code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.

The SFPC shall be applicable to all state-owned buildings and structures in the manner and extent described in Section 27-99 of the Code of Virginia and the State Fire Marshal shall have the authority to enforce this code in state-owned buildings and structures as is prescribed in Sections 27-98 and 27-99 of the Code of Virginia.

In accordance with Sections 27-34.4, 36-105.1 and 36-119.1 of the Code of Virginia, the USBC does not supersede the provisions of this code that prescribe standards to be complied with in existing buildings and structures, provided that this code shall not impose requirements that are more restrictive than those of the USBC under which the buildings or structures were constructed. Subsequent alteration, enlargement, rehabilitation, repair or conversion of the occupancy classification of such buildings and structures shall be subject to the construction and rehabilitation provisions of the USBC. Inspection of buildings other than state-owned buildings under construction and the review and approval of building plans for these structures for enforcement of the USBC shall be the sole responsibility of the appropriate local building inspectors.

Upon completion of such structures, responsibility for fire safety protection shall pass to the local fire marshal or official designated by the locality to enforce this code in those localities that enforce the SFPC or to the State Fire Marshal in those localities that do not enforce this code.

The fire official shall require that existing structures subject to the requirements of the applicable retrofitting provisions relating to the fire protection equipment and system requirements of the USBC, Part I, Construction, Section 103.7, comply with the provisions located therein.

The following document is adopted and incorporated by reference to be an enforceable part of the SFPC:

The International Fire Code -- 2012 Edition, hereinafter referred to as “IFC,” published by the International Code Council, Inc., 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20001-2070, 1-888 422-7233.

The appendices in the IFC are not considered part of the IFC for the purposes of Section 103.1.

Note: Section 101.5 references authority contained in the Code of Virginia for local fire prevention regulations that may be evaluated by localities to determine whether provisions in the IFC appendices may be considered for local fire prevention regulations.

All requirements of the referenced codes and standards that relate to fees, non-operational permits not specifically required by Section 107.2, unsafe notices, disputes, condemnation, inspections, scope of enforcement and all other procedural, and administrative matters are deleted and replaced by the provisions of Chapter 1 of the SFPC.

Exception: The scope of referenced codes and standards referenced by the SFPC that relate to the maintenance, testing and inspection requirements or limitations shall be enforceable.

The SFPC contains provisions adopted by the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development (BHCD), some of which delete, change or amend provisions of the IFC and referenced standards. Where conflicts occur between such changed provisions and the unchanged provisions of the IFC and referenced standards, the provisions changed by the BHCD shall govern.

Note: The IFC and its referenced standards contain some areas of regulation outside of the scope of the SFPC, as established by the BHCD and under state law. Where conflicts have been readily noted, changes have been made to the IFC and its referenced standards to bring it within the scope of authority; however, in some areas, judgment will have to be made as to whether the provisions of the IFC and its referenced standards are fully applicable.

Retroactive fire protection system requirements contained in the IFC shall not be enforced unless specified by the USBC.

Any local government may enforce the SFPC following official action by such body. The official action shall (i) require compliance with the provisions of the SFPC in its entirety or with respect only to those provisions of the SFPC relating to open burning, fire lanes, fireworks, and hazardous materials and (ii) assign enforcement responsibility to the local agency or agencies of its choice. Any local governing body may establish such procedures or requirements as may be necessary for the administration and enforcement of this code. If a local governing body elects to enforce only those provisions of the SFPC relating to open burning, it may do so in all or in any designated geographic areas of its jurisdiction. The terms “enforcing agency” and “fire official” are intended to apply to the agency or agencies to which responsibility for enforcement of the SFPC has been assigned. The terms “building official” or “building department” are intended to apply only to the local building official or local building department.

In accordance with Section 27-100.1 of the Code of Virginia, law-enforcement officers who are otherwise authorized to enforce certain provisions of this code shall not be subject to the certification requirements of Sections 105.2 or 105.3.2.

In accordance with Section 27-98 of the Code of Virginia, the State Fire Marshal shall also have the authority, in cooperation with any local governing body, to enforce the SFPC. The State Fire Marshal shall also have authority to enforce the SFPC in those jurisdictions in which the local governments do not enforce the SFPC and may establish such procedures or requirements as may be necessary for the administration and enforcement of the SFPC in such jurisdictions.

Every agency, commission or institution of this Commonwealth, including all institutions of higher education, shall permit, at all reasonable hours, the fire official reasonable access to existing structures or a structure under construction or renovation, for the purpose of performing an informational and advisory fire safety inspection. The fire official is permitted to submit, subsequent to performing such inspection, his findings and recommendations, including a list of corrective actions necessary to ensure that such structure is reasonably safe from the hazards of fire, to the appropriate official of such agency, commission, or institution and the State Fire Marshal. Such agency, commission or institution shall notify, within 60 days of receipt of such findings and recommendations, the State Fire Marshal and the fire official of the corrective measures taken to eliminate the hazards reported by the fire official. The State Fire Marshal shall have the same power in the enforcement of this section as is provided for in Section 27-98 of the Code of Virginia. The State Fire Marshal may enter into an agreement as is provided for in Section 9.1-208 of the Code of Virginia with any local enforcement agency that enforces the SFPC to enforce this section and to take immediate enforcement action upon verification of a complaint of an imminent hazard such as a chained or blocked exit door, improper storage of flammable liquids, use of decorative materials, and overcrowding.

Each enforcing agency shall have an executive official in charge, hereinafter referred to as the “fire official.”

Note: Fire officials are subject to sanctions in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

The fire official shall be appointed in a manner selected by the local government having jurisdiction. After permanent appointment, the fire 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.

The appointing authority of the local governing body shall notify the DHCD and the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) within 30 days of the appointment or release of the permanent or acting fire official.

The fire official shall have at least five years of fire-related experience as a firefighter, fire officer, licensed professional engineer or architect, fire or building inspector, contractor or superintendent of fire protection-related or building construction or at least five years of fire-related 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 fire official shall have general knowledge of sound engineering practice with respect to the design and construction of structures, the basic principles of fire prevention and protection, 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.

The permanent or acting fire official shall obtain certification from the BHCD in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21) within one year after permanent or acting appointment.

Exception: A fire official appointed prior to April 1, 1994, continuously employed by the same local governing body as the fire official shall comply with required DHCD training under the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

Except for a fire official exempt from certification under the exception to Section 105.2, any acting or permanent fire official who is not certified as a fire official in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21) shall attend the core module of the Virginia Building Code Academy or an equivalent course in an individual or regional code academy accredited by DHCD within 180 days of appointment. This requirement is in addition to meeting the certification requirement in Section 105.2.

The local governing body or its designee may utilize one or more technical assistants who, in the absence of the fire official, shall have the powers and perform the duties of the fire official.

Note: Technical assistants are subject to sanctions in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

The fire official shall notify the DHCD within 60 days of the employment, contract or termination of all technical assistants for enforcement of the SFPC.

A technical assistant shall have at least three years of experience and general knowledge in at least one of the following areas: fire protection, firefighting, electrical, building, plumbing or mechanical trades. Any combination of education and experience that would confer equivalent knowledge and ability shall be deemed to satisfy this requirement. The locality may establish additional qualification requirements.

All technical assistants employed by or under contract to an enforcing agency for enforcing the SFPC shall be certified in the appropriate subject area in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21) within one and one-half years after permanent or acting appointment. When required by a locality to have two or more certifications, the remaining certifications shall be obtained within three years from the date of such requirement.

Exception: Any technical assistant continuously employed by or continuously under contract to the same enforcing agency for enforcing the SFPC since before April 1, 1994, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section; however, such exempt technical assistant shall comply with required DHCD training under Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

Fire officials and technical assistants enforcing the SFPC shall attend periodic training courses as designated by the DHCD.

The standards of conduct for officials and employees of the enforcing agency shall be in accordance with the provisions of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Chapter 31 (Section 2.2-3100 et seq.) of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia.

The fire official shall enforce the provisions of the SFPC as provided herein and as interpreted by the State Building Code Technical Review Board (TRB) in accordance with Section 36-118 of the Code of Virginia.

The fire official may delegate duties and powers subject to any limitations imposed by the local governing body. The fire official shall be responsible that any powers and duties delegated are carried out in accordance with this code.

The fire official is authorized to conduct such inspections as are deemed necessary to determine the extent of compliance with the provisions of this code and to approve reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals in accordance with the fire official’s written policy. All reports of such inspections by approved agencies or individuals shall be prepared and submitted in writing for review and approval. Inspection reports shall be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible individual. The fire official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report upon unusual, detailed or complex technical issues in accordance with local policies.

When, during an inspection, the fire official or an authorized representative observes an apparent or actual violation of another law, ordinance or code not within the official’s authority to enforce, such official shall report the findings to the official having jurisdiction in order that such official may institute the necessary measures.

The SFPC provisions are not intended to prevent the use of any safeguards used to protect life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion that are not specifically prescribed by the SFPC, provided that such alternative safeguards comply with the intent of the SFPC. The alternative safeguard offered shall be, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.

The fire official may grant modifications to any provision of the SFPC upon application by the owner or the owner’s agent provided the spirit and intent of the SFPC are observed and public health, welfare, and safety are assured.

Note: The current editions of many nationally recognized model codes and standards are referenced by the SFPC. Future amendments to such codes and standards do not automatically become part of the SFPC; however, the fire official should consider such amendments in deciding whether a modification request should be granted.

The fire official shall require that sufficient technical data be submitted to substantiate the proposed use of any alternative. If it is determined that the evidence presented is satisfactory proof of performance for the use intended, the fire official shall approve the use of such alternative subject to the requirements of this code. The fire official may require and consider a statement from a professional engineer, architect or other competent person as to the equivalency of the proposed modification.

The application for modification and the final decision of the fire official shall be in writing and shall be recorded in the permanent records of the local enforcing agency.

The fire official shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure compliance with the SFPC.

The fire official shall keep official records of applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees collected, reports of inspections, and notices and orders issued. Such records shall be retained in the official records or disposed of in accordance with General Schedule Number Ten available from The Library of Virginia.

The fire official may require notification prior to (i) activities involving the handling, storage or use of substances, materials or devices regulated by the SFPC; (ii) conducting processes which produce conditions hazardous to life or property; or (iii) establishing a place of assembly.

Operational permits may be required by the fire official as permitted under the SFPC in accordance with Table 107.2, except that the fire official shall require permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, and sale of explosives. In accordance with Section 5601.2.3.1, an application for a permit to manufacture, store, handle, use, or sell explosives shall only be made by a designated individual.

Exception: Such permits shall not be required for the storage of explosives or blasting agents by the Virginia Department of State Police provided notification to the fire official is made annually by the Chief Arson Investigator listing all storage locations.

TABLE 107.2

OPERATIONAL PERMIT REQUIREMENTS (to be filled in by local jurisdiction)

DESCRIPTIONPERMIT
REQUIRED
(yes or no)
PERMIT
FEE
INSPECTION
FEE
Aerosol products. An operational permit is required to manufacture, store or handle an aggregate quantity of Level 2 or Level 3 aerosol products in excess of 500 pounds (227 kg) net weight.
Amusement buildings. An operational permit is required to operate a special amusement building.
Aviation facilities. An operational permit is required to use a Group H or Group S occupancy for aircraft servicing or repair and aircraft fuel-servicing vehicles. Additional permits required by other sections of this code include, but are not limited to, hot work, hazardous materials and flammable or combustible finishes
Carnivals and fairs. An operational permit is required to conduct a carnival or fair.
Cellulose nitrate film. An operational permit is required to store, handle or use cellulose nitrate film in a Group A occupancy.
Combustible dust-producing operations. An operational permit is required to operate a grain elevator, flour starch mill, feed mill, or a plant pulverizing aluminum, coal, cocoa, magnesium, spices or sugar, or other operations producing combustible dusts as defined in Chapter 2.
Combustible fibers. An operational permit is required for the storage and handling of combustible fibers in quantities greater than 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3).

Exception: An operational permit is not required for agricultural storage.

Compressed gas. An operational permit is required for the storage, use or handling at normal temperature and pressure (NTP) of compressed gases in excess of the amounts listed below.

Exception: Vehicles equipped for and using compressed gas as a fuel for propelling the vehicle.

PERMIT AMOUNTS FOR COMPRESSED GASES

TYPE OF GASAMOUNT (cubic feet at NTP)
Corrosive200
Flammable (except cryogenic fluids and liquefied petroleum gases)200
Highly toxicAny Amount
Inert and simple asphyxiant6,000
Oxidizing (including oxygen)504
ToxicAny Amount

For SI: 1 cubic foot = 0.02832 m3.

Covered mall buildings. An operational permit is required for:
  1. The placement of retail fixtures and displays, concession equipment, displays of highly combustible goods and similar items in the mall.
  2. The display of liquid-fired or gas-fired equipment in the mall.
  3. The use of open-flame or flame-producing equipment in the mall.
Cryogenic fluids. An operational permit is required to produce, store, transport on site, use, handle or dispense cryogenic fluids in excess of the amounts listed below.

Exception: Operational permits are not required for vehicles equipped for and using cryogenic fluids as a fuel for propelling the vehicle or for refrigerating the lading.

PERMIT AMOUNTS FOR CRYOGENIC GASES

TYPE OF CRYOGENIC FLUIDINSIDE BUILDING (gallons)OUTSIDE BUILDING
(gallons)
FlammableMore than 160
Inert60500
Oxidizing (includes oxygen)1050
Physical or health hazard not indicated aboveAny AmountAny Amount

For SI: 1 gallon = 3.785 L.

Cutting and welding. An operational permit is required to conduct cutting or welding operations within the jurisdiction.
Dry cleaning plants. An operational permit is required to engage in the business of dry cleaning or to change to a more hazardous cleaning solvent used in existing dry cleaning equipment.
Exhibits and trade shows. An operational permit is required to operate exhibits and trade shows.
Explosives, fireworks and pyrotechnics. An operational permit is required for the manufacture, storage, handling, sale or use of any quantity of explosive, explosive materials, fireworks, pyrotechnic special effects, or pyrotechnic special effects material within the scope of Chapter 56.

Exception: Storage in Group R-3 or R-5 occupancies of smokeless propellant, black powder and small arms primers for personal use, not for resale and in accordance with the quantity limitations and conditions set forth in Section 5601.1, exception numbers four and twelve.

Fire hydrants and valves. An operational permit is required to use or operate fire hydrants or valves intended for fire suppression purposes that are installed on water systems and accessible to a fire apparatus access road that is open to or generally used by the public.

Exception: An operational permit is not required for authorized employees of the water company that supplies the system or the fire department to use or operate fire hydrants or valves.

Flammable and combustible liquids. An operational permit is required:
  1. To use or operate a pipeline for the transportation within facilities of flammable or combustible liquids. This requirement shall not apply to the offsite transportation in pipelines regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOTn) nor does it apply to piping systems.
  2. To store, handle or use Class I liquids in excess of 5 gallons (19 L) in a building or in excess of 10 gallons (37.9 L) outside of a building, except that a permit is not required for the following:

    1. 2.1. The storage or use of Class I liquids in the fuel tank of a motor vehicle, aircraft, motorboat, mobile power plant or mobile heating plant, unless such storage, in the opinion of the fire official, would cause an unsafe condition.
    2. 2.2. The storage or use of paints, oils, varnishes or similar flammable mixtures when such liquids are stored for maintenance, painting or similar purposes for a period of not more than 30 days.
  3. To store, handle or use Class II or Class IIIA liquids in excess of 25 gallons (95 L) in a building or in excess of 60 gallons (227 L) outside a building, except for fuel oil used in connection with oil-burning equipment.
  4. To remove Class I or Class II liquids from an underground storage tank used for fueling motor vehicles by any means other than the approved, stationary on-site pumps normally used for dispensing purposes.
  5. To operate tank vehicles, equipment, tanks, plants, terminals, wells, fuel-dispensing stations, refineries, distilleries and similar facilities where flammable and combustible liquids are produced, processed, transported, stored, dispensed or used.
  6. To install, alter, remove, abandon, place temporarily out of service (for more than 90 days) or otherwise dispose of an underground, protected above-ground or above-ground flammable or combustible liquid tank.
  7. To change the type of contents stored in a flammable or combustible liquid tank to a material that poses a greater hazard than that for which the tank was designed and constructed.
  8. To manufacture, process, blend or refine flammable or combustible liquids.
Floor finishing. An operational permit is required for floor finishing or surfacing operations exceeding 350 square feet (33 m2) using Class I or Class II liquids.
Fruit and crop ripening. An operational permit is required to operate a fruit- or crop-ripening facility or conduct a fruit-ripening process using ethylene gas.
Fumigation and thermal insecticidal fogging. An operational permit is required to operate a business of fumigation or thermal insecticidal fogging and to maintain a room, vault or chamber in which a toxic or flammable fumigant is used.
Hazardous materials. An operational permit is required to store, transport on site, dispense, use or handle hazardous materials in excess of the amounts listed below.

PERMIT AMOUNTS FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

TYPE OF MATERIAL

AMOUNT

Combustible liquidsSee flammable and combustible liquids
Corrosive materials
GasesSee compressed gases
Liquids55 gallons
Solids1000 pounds
Explosive materialsSee explosives
Flammable materials
GasesSee compressed gases
LiquidsSee flammable and combustible liquids
Solids100 pounds
Highly toxic materials
GasesSee compressed gases
LiquidsAny amount
SolidsAny amount
Oxidizing materials
GasesSee compressed gases
Liquids
Class 4Any amount
Class 31 gallona
Class 210 gallons
Class 155 gallons
Solids
Class 4Any amount
Class 310 gallonsb
Class 2100 gallons
Class 1500 gallons
Organic peroxides
Liquids
Class IAny amount
Class IIAny amount
Class III1 gallon
Class IV2 gallons
Class VNo permit required
Solids
Class IAny amount
Class IIAny amount
Class III10 pounds
Class IV20 pounds
Class VNo permit required
Pyrophoric materials
GasesSee compressed gases
LiquidsAny amount
SolidsAny amount
Toxic materials
GasesSee compressed gases
Liquids10 gallons
Solids100 pounds
Unstable (reactive) materials
Liquids
Class 4Any amount
Class 3Any amount
Class 25 gallons
Class 110 gallons
Solids
Class 4Any amount
Class 3Any amount
Class 250 gallons
Class 1100 gallons
Water reactive materials
Class 3Any amount
Class 25 gallons
Class 155 gallons
Solids
Class 3Any amount
Class 250 pounds
Class 1500 pounds

For SI: 1 gallon = 3.785 L, 1 pound = 0.454 kg.

  1. Twenty gallons when Table 5003.1.1(1) Note k applies and hazard identification signs in accordance with Section 5003.5 are provided for quantities of 20 gallons or less.
  2. Two hundred pounds when Table 5003.1.1(1) Note k applies and hazard identification signs in accordance with Section 5003.5 are provided for quantities of 200 pounds or less
HPM facilities. An operational permit is required to store, handle or use hazardous production materials.
High piled storage. An operational permit is required to use a building or portion thereof as a high-piled storage area exceeding 500 square feet (46 m2).
Hot work operations. An operational permit is required for hot work including, but not limited to:
  1. Public exhibitions and demonstrations where hot work is conducted.
  2. Use of portable hot work equipment inside a structure.

    Exception: Work that is conducted under a construction permit.
  3. Fixed-site hot work equipment such as welding booths.
  4. Hot work conducted within a hazardous fire area.
  5. Application of roof coverings with the use of an open-flame device.
  6. When approved, the fire official shall issue a permit to carry out a Hot Work Program. This program allows approved personnel to regulate their facility’s hot work operations. The approved personnel shall be trained in the fire safety aspects denoted in this chapter and shall be responsible for issuing permits requiring compliance with the requirements found in this chapter. These permits shall be issued only to their employees or hot work operations under their supervision.
Industrial ovens. An operational permit is required for operation of industrial ovens regulated by Chapter 30.
Lumber yards and woodworking plants. An operational permit is required for the storage or processing of lumber exceeding 100,000 board feet (8,333 ft3) (236 m3).
Liquid-fueled or gas-fueled vehicles or equipment in assembly buildings. An operational permit is required to display, operate or demonstrate liquid-fueled or gas-fueled vehicles or equipment in assembly buildings.
LP-gas. An operational permit is required for.
  1. Storage and use of LP-gas.

    Exception: An operational permit is not required for individual containers with a 500-gallon (1893 L) water capacity or less or multiple container systems having an aggregate quantity not exceeding 500 gallons (1893 L), serving occupancies in Group R-3.
  2. Operation of cargo tankers that transport LP-gas.
Magnesium. An operational permit is required to melt, cast, heat treat or grind more than 10 pounds (4.54 kg) of magnesium.
Miscellaneous combustible storage. An operational permit is required to store in any building or upon any premises in excess of 2,500 cubic feet (71 m3) gross volume of combustible empty packing cases, boxes, barrels or similar containers, rubber tires, rubber, cork or similar combustible material.

Open burning. An operational permit is required for the kindling or maintaining of an open fire or a fire on any public street, alley, road, or other public or private ground. Instructions and stipulations of the permit shall be adhered to.

Exception: Recreational fires.
Open flames and candles. An operational permit is required to use open flames or candles in connection with assembly areas, dining areas of restaurants or drinking establishments.
Open flames and torches. An operational permit is required to remove paint with a torch; or to use a torch or open-flame device in a wildfire risk area.
Organic coatings. An operational permit is required for any organic-coating manufacturing operation producing more than 1 gallon (4 L) of an organic coating in one day.
Places of assembly. An operational permit is required to operate a place of assembly.

Private fire hydrants. An operational permit is required for the removal from service, use or operation of private fire hydrants.

Exception: An operational permit is not required for private industry with trained maintenance personnel, private fire brigade or fire departments to maintain, test and use private hydrants.

Pyrotechnic special effects material. An operational permit is required for use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material.
Pyroxylin plastics. An operational permit is required for storage or handling of more than 25 pounds (11 kg) of cellulose nitrate (pyroxylin) plastics and for the assembly or manufacture of articles involving pyroxylin plastics.
Refrigeration equipment. An operational permit is required to operate a mechanical refrigeration unit or system regulated by Chapter 6.
Repair garages and service stations. An operational permit is required for operation of repair garages and automotive, marine and fleet service stations.
Rooftop heliports. An operational permit is required for the operation of a rooftop heliport.
Spraying or dipping. An operational permit is required to conduct a spraying or dipping operation utilizing flammable or combustible liquids or the application of combustible powders regulated by Chapter 24.
Storage of scrap tires and tire byproducts. An operational permit is required to establish, conduct or maintain storage of scrap tires and tire byproducts that exceeds 2,500 cubic feet (71 m3) of total volume of scrap tires and for indoor storage of tires and tire byproducts.
Temporary membrane structures and tents. An operational permit is required to operate an air-supported temporary membrane structure or a tent.

Exceptions:

  1. Tents used exclusively for recreational camping purposes.
  2. Tents and air-supported structures that cover an area of 900 square feet (84 m2) or less, including all connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance and with an occupant load of 50 or less persons.
Tire-rebuilding plants. An operational permit is required for the operation and maintenance of a tire-rebuilding plant.
Waste handling. An operational permit is required for the operation of wrecking yards, junk yards and waste material-handling facilities.
Wood products. An operational permit is required to store chips, hogged material, lumber or plywood in excess of 200 cubic feet (6 m3).

Application for a permit shall be made on forms prescribed by the fire official.

Before a permit is issued, the fire official shall make such inspections or tests as are necessary to assure that the use and activities for which application is made comply with the provisions of this code.

A permit shall constitute permission to store or handle materials or to conduct processes in accordance with the SFPC, and shall not be construed as authority to omit or amend any of the provisions of this code. Permits shall remain in effect until revoked or for such period as specified on the permit. Permits are not transferable.

The enforcing agency may issue annual permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, or sales of explosives to any state regulated public utility.

Plans approved by the fire official are approved with the intent that they comply in all respects to this code. Any omissions or errors on the plans do not relieve the applicant of complying with all applicable requirements of this code.

Issued permits shall be kept on the premises designated therein at all times and shall be readily available for inspection by the fire official.

A permit shall become invalid if the authorized activity is not commenced within six months after issuance of the permit, or if the authorized activity is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months after the time of commencement.

In accordance with Section 27-97 of the Code of Virginia, fees may be levied by the local governing body in order to defray the cost of enforcement and appeals under the SFPC.

Except as modified herein, applications for firework or pyrotechnic displays shall be submitted to and received by the State Fire Marshal’s office not less than 15 days prior to the planned event. State Fire Marshal’s Office permit fees shall be as follows:

  1. $150 per year per magazine to store explosives and blasting agents.
  2. $250 per year per city or county to use explosives and blasting agents.
  3. $200 per year to sell explosives and blasting agents.
  4. $250 per year to manufacture explosives, blasting agents and fireworks.
  5. $350 the first day of fireworks, pyrotechnics or proximate audience displays conducted in any state-owned building and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 15 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $550 the first day and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than seven days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $650 the first day and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events.
  6. $250 the first day of fireworks, pyrotechnics or proximate audience displays conducted out-of-doors on any state-owned property and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 15 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $550 the first day and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than seven days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $650 the first day and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events.
  7. $100 per nonrenewable permit, valid for one week from the date of issuance, for the use of explosives in special operations or emergency conditions.
  8. $300 the first day for flame effects conducted in accordance with Section 308.3.2 indoors of any state-owned building or outdoors on state-owned property and $200 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events, or, if conducted as part of a firework (pyrotechnic) display, $150 the first day and $125 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application for flame effects is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 15 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $550 the first day and $200 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events or, if conducted as part of a firework (pyrotechnic) display, $200 the first day and $100 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events. If an application is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 7 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $650 the first day and $150 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events or, if conducted as part of a firework (pyrotechnic) display, $300 the first day and $125 per day for each consecutive day for identical multi-day events.

Exception: Permits shall not be required for the storage of explosives or blasting agents by the Virginia Department of State Police provided notification to the State Fire Marshal is made annually by the Chief Arson Investigator listing all storage locations within areas where enforcement is provided by the State Fire Marshal’s office.

Fees for compliance inspections performed by the State Fire Marshal’s office shall be as follows:

  1. Nightclubs.
    1. 1.1. $350 for occupant load of 100 or less.
    2. 1.2. $450 for occupant load of 101 to 200.
    3. 1.3. $500 for occupant load of 201 to 300.
    4. 1.4. $500 plus $50 for each 100 occupants where occupant loads exceed 300.
  2. Private college dormitories with or without assembly areas. If containing assembly areas, such assembly areas are not included in the computation of square footage.
    1. 2.1. $150 for 3500 square feet or less.
    2. 2.2. $200 for greater than 3500 square feet up to 7000 square feet.
    3. 2.3. $250 for greater than 7000 square feet up to 10,000 square feet.
    4. 2.4. $250 plus $50 for each additional 3000 square feet where square footage exceeds 10,000.
  3. Assembly areas that are part of private college dormitories.
    1. 3.1. $50 for 10,000 square feet or less provided the assembly area is within or attached to a dormitory building.
    2. 3.2. $100 for greater than 10,000 square feet up to 25,000 square feet provided the assembly area is within or attached to a dormitory building, such as gymnasiums, auditoriums or cafeterias.
    3. 3.3. $100 for up to 25,000 square feet provided the assembly area is in a separate or separate buildings such as gymnasiums, auditoriums or cafeterias.
    4. 3.4. $150 for greater than 25,000 square feet for assembly areas within or attached to a dormitory building or in a separate or separate buildings such as gymnasiums, auditoriums or cafeterias.
  4. Hospitals.
    1. 4.1. $300 for 1 to 50 beds.
    2. 4.2. $400 for 51 to 100 beds.
    3. 4.3. $500 for 101 to 150 beds.
    4. 4.4. $600 for 151 to 200 beds.
    5. 4.5. $600 plus $100 for each additional 100 beds where the number of beds exceeds 200.
  5. Facilities licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services based on licensed capacity as follows:
    1. 5.1. $50 for 1 to 8.
    2. 5.2. $75 for 9 to 20.
    3. 5.3. $100 for 21 to 50.
    4. 5.4. $200 for 51 to 100.
    5. 5.5. $300 for 101 to 150.
    6. 5.6. $400 for 151 to 200.
    7. 5.7. $500 for 201 or more.

    Exception: Annual compliance inspection fees for any building or groups of buildings on the same site may not exceed $2500.

  6. Registered complaints.
    1. 6.1. No charge for first visit (initial complaint), and if violations are found,
    2. 6.2. $51 per hour for each State Fire Marshal’s office staff for all subsequent visits.
  7. Bonfires (small and large) on state-owned property.
    1. 7.1. For a small bonfire pile with a total fuel area more than 3 feet in diameter and more than 2 feet in height, but not more than 9 feet in diameter and not more than 6 feet in height, the permit fee is $50. If an application for a bonfire permit is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 15 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $100. If an application for a bonfire permit is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 7 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $150.
    2. 7.2. For a large bonfire pile with a total fuel area more than 9 feet in diameter and more than 6 feet in height, the permit fee is $150. If an application for a bonfire permit is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 15 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $300. If an application for a bonfire permit is received by the State Fire Marshal’s office less than 7 days prior to the planned event, the permit fee shall be $450.

The local governing body may establish a fee schedule. The schedule shall incorporate unit rates, which may be based on square footage, cubic footage, estimated cost of inspection or other appropriate criteria.

A permit shall not be issued until the designated fees have been paid.

Exception: The fire official may authorize delayed payment of fees.

No refund of any part of the amount paid as a permit or certification fee will be made where the applicant, permit or certification holder, for any reason, discontinued an activity, changed conditions, or changed circumstances for which the permit or certification was issued. However, the permit or certification fee submitted with an application will be refunded if the permit or certification is cancelled, revoked, or suspended subsequent to having been issued through administrative error, or if a permit being applied for is to be obtained from a locally appointed fire official.

Operational permits shall be in accordance with Section 108. The fire official may require notification prior to (i) activities involving the handling, storage or use of substances, materials or devices regulated by the SFPC; (ii) conducting processes which produce conditions hazardous to life or property; or (iii) establishing a place of assembly.

Operational permits may be required by the fire official in accordance with Table 107.2. The fire official shall require operational permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and sale of explosives. Issued permits shall be kept on the premises designated therein at all times and shall be readily available for inspection by the fire official.

Exceptions:

  1. Operational permits will not be required by the State Fire Marshal except for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and sale of explosives in localities not enforcing the SFPC.
  2. Operational permits will not be required for the manufacturing, storage, handling or use of explosives or blasting agents by the Virginia Department of State Police provided notification to the fire official is made annually by the Chief Arson Investigator listing all storage locations.

An operational permit allows the applicant to conduct an operation or a business for which a permit is required by Section 108.1.1 for either:

  1. A prescribed period.
  2. Until renewed, suspended, or revoked.

When more than one operational permit is required for the same location, the fire official is authorized to consolidate such permits into a single permit provided that each provision is listed in the permit.

Application for an operational permit required by this code shall be made to the fire official in such form and detail as prescribed by the fire official. Applications for permits shall be accompanied by such plans as prescribed by the fire official.

If the application for an operational permit describes a use that does not conform to the requirements of this code and other pertinent laws and ordinances, the fire official shall not issue a permit, but shall return the application to the applicant with the refusal to issue such permit. Such refusal shall, when requested, be in writing and shall contain the reasons for refusal.

Before a new operational permit is approved, the fire official is authorized to inspect the receptacles, vehicles, buildings, devices, premises, storage spaces or areas to be used to determine compliance with this code or any operational constraints required.

An application for an operational permit for any proposed work or operation shall be deemed to have been abandoned six months after the date of filing, unless such application has been diligently prosecuted or a permit shall have been issued; except that the fire official is authorized to grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each if there is reasonable cause.

The fire official shall examine or cause to be examined applications for operational permits and amendments thereto within a reasonable time after filing. If the application does not conform to the requirements of pertinent laws, the fire official shall reject such application in writing, stating the reasons. If the fire official is satisfied that the proposed work or operation conforms to the requirements of this code and laws and ordinances applicable thereto, the fire official shall issue a permit as soon as practicable.

An operational permit shall constitute permission to maintain, store or handle materials; or to conduct processes in accordance with the SFPC, and shall not be construed as authority to omit or amend any of the provisions of this code.

Note: The building official issues permits to install equipment utilized in connection with such activities or to install or modify any fire protection system or equipment or any other construction, equipment installation or modification.

An operational permit shall remain in effect until reissued, renewed, or revoked for such a period of time as specified in the permit. Permits are not transferable and any change in occupancy, operation, tenancy or ownership shall require that a new permit be issued.

A permittee holding an unexpired permit shall have the right to apply for an extension of the time within which the permittee will commence work under that permit when work is unable to be commenced within the time required by this section for good and satisfactory reasons. The fire official is authorized to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of the time period of a permit for periods of not more than 90 days each. Such extensions shall be requested by the permit holder in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.

The enforcing agency may issue annual operational permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, or sales of explosives to any state regulated public utility.

An operational permit shall become invalid if the authorized activity is not commenced within six months after issuance of the permit, or if the authorized activity is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months after the time of commencement.

Issued operational permits shall be kept on the premises designated therein at all times and shall be readily available for inspection by the fire official.

The issuance or granting of an operational permit shall not be construed to be a permit for, or an approval of, any violation of any of the provisions of this code or of any other ordinance of the jurisdiction. Operational permits presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid. The issuance of a permit based on other data shall not prevent the fire official from requiring the correction of errors in the provided documents and other data. Any addition to or alteration of approved provided documents shall be approved in advance by the fire official, as evidenced by the issuance of a new or amended permit.

The fire official shall issue all operational permits required by this code on an approved form furnished for that purpose. The operational permit shall contain a general description of the operation or occupancy and its location and any other information required by the fire official. Issued permits shall bear the original or electronic signature of the fire official or other designee approved by the fire official.

The fire official is authorized to revoke an operational permit issued under the provisions of this code when it is found by inspection or otherwise that there has been a false statement or misrepresentation as to the material facts in the application or documents on which the permit or approval was based including, but not limited to, any one of the following:

  1. The permit is used for a location or establishment other than that for which it was issued.
  2. The permit is used for a condition or activity other than that listed in the permit.
  3. Conditions and limitations set forth in the permit have been violated.
  4. Inclusion of any false statements or misrepresentations as to a material fact in the application for permit or plans submitted or a condition of the permit.
  5. The permit is used by a different person or firm than the person or firm for which it was issued.
  6. The permittee failed, refused or neglected to comply with orders or notices duly served in accordance with the provisions of this code within the time provided therein.
  7. The permit was issued in error or in violation of an ordinance, a regulation, or this code.

The fire official may inspect all structures and premises for the purposes of ascertaining and causing to be corrected any conditions liable to cause fire, contribute to the spread of fire, interfere with firefighting operations, endanger life, or any violations of the provisions or intent of the SFPC.

Exception: Single family dwellings and dwelling units in two family and multiple family dwellings and farm structures shall be exempt from routine inspections. This exemption shall not preclude the fire official from conducting routine inspections in Group R-3 or Group R-5 occupancies operating as a commercial bed and breakfast as outlined in Section 310.3 of the USBC or inspecting under Section 27-98.2 of the Code of Virginia for hazardous conditions relating to explosives, flammable and combustible conditions, and hazardous materials.

The fire official may enter any structure or premises at any reasonable time to inspect subject to constitutional restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures. If entry is refused or not obtained, the fire official may pursue recourse as provided by law.

Note: Specific authorization and procedures for inspections and issuing warrants are set out in Sections 27-98.1 through 27-98.5 of the Code of Virginia and shall be taken into consideration.

The fire official and technical assistants shall carry proper credentials of office when inspecting in the performance of their duties under the SFPC.

The fire official shall coordinate inspections and administrative orders with any other state and local agencies having related inspection authority, and shall coordinate those inspections required by the USBC for new construction when involving provisions of the amended IFC, so that the owners and occupants will not be subjected to numerous inspections or conflicting orders.

Note: The USBC requires the building official to coordinate such inspections with the fire official.

In accordance with Section 9.1-207 of the Code of Virginia, the State Fire Marshal, upon presenting proper credentials, shall make annual inspections for hazards incident to fire in all (i) residential care facilities operated by any state agency, (ii) assisted living facilities licensed or subject to licensure pursuant to Chapter 18 (Section 63.2-1800 et seq.) of Title 63.2 of the Code of Virginia which are not inspected by a local fire marshal, (iii) student-residence facilities owned or operated by the public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and (iv) public schools in the Commonwealth which are not inspected by a local fire marshal. In the event that any such facility or residence is found to be nonconforming to the SFPC, the State Fire Marshal or local fire marshal may petition any court of competent jurisdiction for the issuance of an injunction.

The fire official shall order the following dangerous or hazardous conditions or materials to be removed or remedied in accordance with the SFPC:

  1. Dangerous conditions which are liable to cause or contribute to the spread of fire in or on said premises, building or structure, or to endanger the occupants thereof.
  2. Conditions which would interfere with the efficiency and use of any fire protection equipment.
  3. Obstructions to or on fire escapes, stairs, passageways, doors or windows, which are liable to interfere with the egress of occupants or the operation of the fire department in case of fire.
  4. Accumulations of dust or waste material in air conditioning or ventilating systems or grease in kitchen or other exhaust ducts.
  5. Accumulations of grease on kitchen cooking equipment, or oil, grease or dirt upon, under or around any mechanical equipment.
  6. Accumulations of rubbish, waste, paper, boxes, shavings, or other combustible materials, or excessive storage of any combustible material.
  7. Hazardous conditions arising from defective or improperly used or installed electrical wiring, equipment or appliances.
  8. Hazardous conditions arising from defective or improperly used or installed equipment for handling or using combustible, explosive or otherwise hazardous materials.
  9. Dangerous or unlawful amounts of combustible, explosive or otherwise hazardous materials.
  10. All equipment, materials, processes or operations which are in violation of the provisions and intent of this code.

The owner shall be responsible for the safe and proper maintenance of any structure, premises or lot. In all structures, the fire protection equipment, means of egress, alarms, devices and safeguards shall be maintained in a safe and proper operating condition as required by the SFPC and applicable referenced standards.

If a building occupant creates conditions in violation of this code, by virtue of storage, handling and use of substances, materials, devices and appliances, such occupant shall be held responsible for the abatement of said hazardous conditions.

All structures that are or shall hereafter become unsafe or deficient in adequate exit facilities or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life or the public welfare, or by reason of illegal or improper use, occupancy or maintenance or which have sustained structural damage by reason of fire, explosion, or natural disaster shall be deemed unsafe structures. A vacant structure, or portion of a structure, unguarded or open at door or window shall be deemed a fire hazard and unsafe within the meaning of this code. Unsafe structures shall be reported to the building official or building maintenance official who shall take appropriate action under the provisions of the USBC to secure abatement. Subsequently, the fire official may request the legal counsel of the local governing body to institute the appropriate proceedings for an injunction against the continued use and occupancy of the structure until such time as conditions have been remedied.

When, in the fire official’s opinion, there is actual and potential danger to the occupants or those in the proximity of any structure or premises because of unsafe structural conditions, or inadequacy of any means of egress, the presence of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors, or the presence of toxic fumes, gases or materials, the fire official may order the immediate evacuation of the structure or premises. All notified occupants shall immediately leave the structure or premises and no person shall enter until authorized by the fire official.

Any person who refuses to leave, interferes with the evacuation of other occupants or continues any operation after having been given an evacuation order shall be in violation of this code.

Exception: Any person performing work directed by the fire official to be performed to remove an alleged violation or unsafe condition.

When the fire official discovers an alleged violation of a provision of the SFPC or other codes or ordinances under the fire official’s jurisdiction, the fire official shall prepare a written notice citing the section allegedly violated, describing the condition deemed unsafe and specifying time limitations for the required abatements to be made to render the structure or premises safe and secure.

Notices of violation issued under Section 111.1 shall indicate the right of appeal by referencing the appeals section of this code.

Exceptions:

  1. Summons issued in lieu of a notice of violation in accordance with Section 111.5 of this code.
  2. Documents reflecting uncorrected violations in subsequent inspections to verify compliance.

The written notice of violation of this code shall be served upon the owner, a duly authorized agent or upon the occupant or other person responsible for the conditions under violation. Such notice shall be served either by delivering a copy of same to such persons by mail to the last known post office address, by delivering in person or by delivering it to and leaving it in the possession of any person in charge of the premises, or, in the case such person is not found upon the premises, by affixing a copy thereof in a conspicuous place at the entrance door or avenue of access. Such procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice.

If the notice of violation is not complied with within the time specified, the fire official shall request the legal counsel of the local governing body to institute the appropriate legal proceedings to restrain, correct, or abate such alleged violation.

Penalties upon conviction of violating the SFPC shall be as set out in Section 27-100 of the Code of Virginia.

When authorized and certified in accordance with Section 27-34.2 of the Code of Virginia, the fire official may, subject to any limitations imposed by the local governing body, issue a summons in lieu of a notice of violation. Fire officials not certified in accordance with Section 27-34.2 of the Code of Virginia may request the law-enforcement agency of the local governing body to make arrests for any alleged violations of the SFPC or orders affecting the immediate public safety.

Each local governing body which enforces the SFPC shall have a BFPCA to hear appeals as authorized herein or it shall enter into an agreement with the governing body of another county or municipality, with some other agency, or with a state agency approved by the DHCD to act on appeals. An appeal case decided by some other approved agency shall constitute an appeal in accordance with this section and shall be final unless appealed to the State Building Code Technical Review Board (TRB).

The BFPCA shall consist of at least five members appointed by the local governing body and having terms of office established by written policy. Alternate members may be appointed to serve in the absence of any regular members and as such, shall have the full power and authority of the regular members. Regular and alternate members may be reappointed. Written records of current membership, including a record of the current chairman and secretary shall be maintained in the office of the local governing body. In order to provide continuity, the terms of the members may be of different length so that less than half will expire in any one-year period. The BFPCA shall meet at least once annually to assure a duly constituted board, appoint officers as necessary and receive such training on the code as may be appropriate or necessary from staff of the locality.

The BFPCA shall annually select one of its regular members to serve as chairman. In case of the absence of the chairman at a hearing, the members present shall select an acting chairman.

The local governing body shall appoint a secretary to the BFPCA to maintain a detailed record of all proceedings.

BFPCA members shall be selected by the local governing body on the basis of their ability to render fair and competent decisions regarding application of the SFPC and shall, to the extent possible, represent different occupational or professional fields relating to building construction or fire prevention. At least one member should be an experienced builder and one member a licensed professional engineer or architect. Employees or officials of the local governing body shall not serve as members of the BFPCA.

A member shall not hear an appeal in which that member has conflict of interest in accordance with the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Chapter 31 (Section 2.2-3100 et seq.) of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia.

The owner of a structure, the owner’s agent or any other person involved in the design, construction or maintenance of the structure may appeal a decision of the fire official concerning the application of the SFPC or the fire official’s refusal to grant modification under Section 106.5 to the provisions of the SFPC. The appeal shall first lie to the local board of fire prevention code appeals (BFPCA) and then to the TRB except that appeals concerning the application of the SFPC or refusal to grant modifications by the State Fire Marshal shall be made directly to the TRB. The appeal shall be submitted to the BFPCA within 14 calendar days of the application of the SFPC. The application shall contain the name and address of the owner of the structure and the person appealing if not the owner. A copy of the written decision of the fire official shall be submitted along with the application for appeal and maintained as part of the record. The application shall be stamped or otherwise marked by the BFPCA to indicate the date received. Failure to submit an application for appeal within the time limit established by this section shall constitute acceptance of the fire official’s decision.

Note: In accordance with Section 27-98 of the Code of Virginia, any local fire code may provide for an appeal to a local board of appeals. If no local board of appeals exists, the TRB shall hear appeals of any local fire code violation.

The BFPCA shall meet within 30 calendar days after the date of receipt of the application for appeal. Notice indicating the time and place of the hearing shall be sent to the parties in writing to the addresses listed on the application at least 14 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing. Less notice may be given if agreed upon by the applicant.

All hearings before the BFPCA shall be open to the public. The appellant, the appellant’s representative, the local governing body’s representative and any person whose interests are affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The chairman shall have the power and duty to direct the hearing, rule upon the acceptance of evidence and oversee the record of all proceedings.

When a quorum of the BFPCA is not present to hear an appeal, either the appellant or the appellant’s representative shall have the right to request a postponement of the hearing. The BFPCA shall reschedule the appeal within 30 calendar days of the postponement.

The BFPCA shall have the power to uphold, reverse or modify the decision of the fire official by a concurring vote of a majority of those present. Decisions of the BFPCA shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom and the appellant and the fire official shall act accordingly.

The BFPCA’s decision shall be by resolution signed by the chairman and retained as part of the record by the BFPCA. The following wording shall be part of the resolution: “Any person who was a party to the appeal may appeal to the State Building Code Technical Review Board (TRB) by submitting an application to the TRB within 21 calendar days upon receipt by certified mail of this resolution. Application forms are available from the Office of the TRB, 600 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 371-7150.” Copies of the resolution shall be furnished to all parties.

After final determination by the BFPCA, any person who was a party to the local appeal may appeal to the TRB. Application shall be made to the TRB within 21 calendar days of receipt of the decision to be appealed. Application for appeal to the TRB arising from the SFMO’s enforcement of the code or from any local fire code violation if no local board of appeals exists shall be made to the TRB within 14 calendar days of receipt of the decision to be appealed and shall be accompanied by copies of the inspection reports and other relevant information. Failure to submit an application for appeal within the time limit established by this section shall constitute an acceptance of the BFPCA’s resolution or fire official’s decision.

Copies of the fire official’s decision and the resolution of the BFPCA shall be submitted with the application for appeal. Upon request by the office of the TRB, the BFPCA shall submit a copy of all inspection reports and all pertinent information from the record of the BFPCA.

Procedures of the TRB are in accordance with Article 2 (Section 36-108 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 36 of the Code of Virginia. Decisions of the TRB shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom and the appellant and the code official shall act accordingly.

Resources
Help us
keep law free