The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, Part I, Construction, may be cited as the Virginia Construction Code or as the VCC. The term "USBC" shall mean the VCC unless the context in which the term is used clearly indicates it to be an abbreviation for the entire Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code or for a different part of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.
Note: This code is also known as the 2018 edition of the USBC due to the use of the 2018 editions of the model codes.
Chapters 2—35 of the 2018 International Building Code®, published by the International Code Council, Inc., are adopted and incorporated by reference to be an enforceable part of the USBC. The term "IBC®" means the 2018 International Building Code, published by the International Code Council, Inc. Any codes and standards referenced in the IBC are also considered to be part of the incorporation by reference, except that such codes and standards are used only to the prescribed extent of each such reference. In addition, any provisions of the appendices of the IBC specifically identified to be part of the USBC are also considered to be part of the incorporation by reference.
The provisions of this code shall be used as follows:
The provisions of this code shall be used as follows:
The provisions of Chapter 1 establish administrative requirements, which include provisions relating to the scope of the code, enforcement, fees, permits, inspections and disputes. Any provisions of Chapters 2—35 of the IBC or any provisions of the codes and standards referenced in the IBC that address the same subject matter and impose differing requirements are deleted and replaced by the provisions of Chapter 1. Further, any administrative requirements contained in the state amendments to the IBC shall be given the same precedence as the provisions of Chapter 1. Notwithstanding the above, where administrative requirements of Chapters 2—35 of the IBC or of the codes and standards referenced in the IBC are specifically identified as valid administrative requirements in Chapter 1 of this code or in the state amendments to the IBC, then such requirements are not deleted and replaced.
Note: The purpose of this provision is to eliminate overlap, conflicts and duplication by providing a single standard for administrative, procedural and enforcement requirements of this code.
The definitions of terms used in this code are contained in Chapter 2 along with specific provisions addressing the use of definitions. Terms may be defined in other chapters or provisions of the code and such definitions are also valid.
Note: The order of precedence outlined in Section 101.6 may be determinative in establishing how to apply the definitions in the IBC and in the referenced codes and standards.
This section establishes the scope of the USBC in accordance with § 36-98 of the Code of Virginia. The USBC shall supersede the building codes and regulations of the counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions and state agencies. This code also shall supersede the provisions of local ordinances applicable to single-family residential construction that (i) regulate dwelling foundations or crawl spaces, (ii) require the use of specific building materials or finishes in construction, or (iii) require minimum surface area or numbers of windows; however, this code shall not supersede proffered conditions accepted as a part of a rezoning application, conditions imposed upon the grant of special exceptions, special or conditional use permits or variances, conditions imposed upon a clustering of single-family homes and preservation of open space development through standards, conditions, and criteria established by a locality pursuant to subdivision 8 of § 15.2-2242 of the Code of Virginia or § 15.2-2286.1 of the Code of Virginia, or land use requirements in airport or highway overlay districts, or historic districts created pursuant to § 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia, or local flood plain regulations adopted as a condition of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Note: Requirements relating to functional design are contained in Section 103.5 of this code.
The following are exempt from this code:
The following provisions of the IBC and of other indicated codes or standards are to be considered valid provisions of this code. Where any such provisions have been modified by the state amendments to the IBC, then the modified provisions apply.
The following criteria for functional design is in accordance with § 36-98 of the Code of Virginia. The USBC shall not supersede the regulations of other state agencies that require and govern the functional design and operation of building related activities not covered by the USBC, including (i) public water supply systems, (ii) waste water treatment and disposal systems, and (iii) solid waste facilities. Nor shall state agencies be prohibited from requiring, pursuant to other state law, that buildings and equipment be maintained in accordance with provisions of this code. In addition, as established by this code, the building official may refuse to issue a permit until the applicant has supplied certificates of functional design approval from the appropriate state agency or agencies. For purposes of coordination, the locality may require reports to the building official by other departments or agencies indicating compliance with their regulations applicable to the functional design of a building or structure as a condition for issuance of a building permit or certificate of occupancy. Such reports shall be based upon review of the plans or inspection of the project as determined by the locality. All enforcement of these conditions shall not be the responsibility of the building official, but rather the agency imposing the condition.
Note: Identified state agencies with functional design approval are listed in the "Related Laws Package," which is available from DHCD.
This section establishes the application of the USBC to state-owned buildings and structures in accordance with § 36-98.1 of the Code of Virginia. The USBC shall be applicable to all state-owned buildings and structures, with the exception that §§ 2.2-1159 through 2.2-1161 of the Code of Virginia shall provide the standards for ready access to and use of state-owned buildings by the physically handicapped.
Any state-owned building or structure or building built on state-owned property for which preliminary plans were prepared or on which construction commenced after the initial effective date of the USBC, shall remain subject to the provisions of the USBC that were in effect at the time such plans were completed or such construction commenced. Subsequent reconstruction, renovation or demolition of such building or structure shall be subject to the pertinent provisions of this code.
Acting through the Division of Engineering and Buildings, the Virginia Department of General Services shall function as the building official for state-owned buildings. The department shall review and approve plans and specifications, grant modifications, and establish such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this section. It shall provide for the inspection of state-owned buildings and enforcement of the USBC and standards for access by the physically handicapped by delegating inspection and USBC enforcement duties to the State Fire Marshal's Office, to other appropriate state agencies having needed expertise, and to local building departments, all of which shall provide such assistance within a reasonable time and in the manner requested. State agencies and institutions occupying buildings shall pay to the local building department the same fees as would be paid by a private citizen for the services rendered when such services are requested by the department. The department may alter or overrule any decision of the local building department after having first considered the local building department's report or other rationale given for its decision. When altering or overruling any decision of a local building department, the department shall provide the local building department with a written summary of its reasons for doing so.
Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, roadway tunnels and bridges owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation shall be exempt from this code. The Virginia Department of General Services shall not have jurisdiction over such roadway tunnels, bridges and other limited access highways; provided, however, that the Department of General Services shall have jurisdiction over any occupied buildings within any Department of Transportation rights-of-way that are subject to this code.
Except as provided in subsection E of § 23.1-1016 of the Code of Virginia, and notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, at the request of a public institution of higher education, the Virginia Department of General Services, as further set forth in this provision, shall authorize that institution of higher education to contract with a building official of the locality in which the construction is taking place to perform any inspection and certifications required for the purpose of complying with this code. The department shall publish administrative procedures that shall be followed in contracting with a building official of the locality. The authority granted to a public institution of higher education under this provision to contract with a building official of the locality shall be subject to the institution meeting the conditions prescribed in subsection A of § 23.1-1002 of the Code of Virginia.
Note: In accordance with § 36-98.1 of the Code of Virginia, roadway tunnels and bridges shall be designed, constructed and operated to comply with fire safety standards based on nationally recognized model codes and standards to be developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation in consultation with the State Fire Marshal. Emergency response planning and activities related to the standards shall be developed by the Department of Transportation and coordinated with the appropriate local officials and emergency service providers. On an annual basis, the Department of Transportation shall provide a report on the maintenance and operability of installed fire protection and detection systems in roadway tunnels and bridges to the State Fire Marshal.
This section establishes the requirements for enforcement of the USBC in accordance with § 36-105 of the Code of Virginia. Enforcement of the provisions of the USBC for construction and rehabilitation shall be the responsibility of the local building department. Whenever a county or municipality does not have such a building department, the local governing body shall enter into an agreement with the local governing body of another county or municipality or with some other agency, or a state agency approved by DHCD for such enforcement. For the purposes of this section, towns with a population of less than 3,500 may elect to administer and enforce the USBC; however, where the town does not elect to administer and enforce the code, the county in which the town is situated shall administer and enforce the code for the town. In the event such town is situated in two or more counties, those counties shall administer and enforce the USBC for that portion of the town situated within their respective boundaries.
However, upon a finding by the local building department, following a complaint by a tenant of a residential dwelling unit that is the subject of such complaint, that there may be a violation of the unsafe structures provisions of Part III of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, also known as the "Virginia Maintenance Code" or the "VMC," the local building department shall enforce such provisions.
If the local building department receives a complaint that a violation of the VMC 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 local building official or his agent to have access to the subject building or structure, the local building official or his agent may make an affidavit under oath before a magistrate or a court of competent jurisdiction and request that the magistrate or court grant the local building official or his agent an inspection warrant to enable the building official or his agent to enter the subject building or structure for the purpose of determining whether violations of the VMC exist. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate or judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54 of the Code of Virginia. After executing the warrant, the local building official or his agents shall return the warrant to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the inspection was made. The local building 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.
The local governing body shall, however, inspect and enforce the provisions of the VMC for elevators, escalators, and related conveyances, except for elevators in single-family and two-family homes and townhouses. Such inspection and enforcement shall be carried out by an agency or department designated by the local governing body.
Every local building department shall have a building official as the executive official in charge of the department. The building official shall be appointed in a manner selected by the local governing body. After permanent appointment, the building 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 building official.
Note: Building officials are subject to sanctions in accordance with the VCS.
An acting or permanent building official shall be certified as a building official in accordance with the VCS within 1 year after being appointed as acting or permanent building official.
Exception: A building official in place prior to April 1, 1983, shall not be required to meet the certification requirements in this section while continuing to serve in the same capacity in the same locality.
Except for a building official exempt from certification under the exception to Section 105.1.2, any acting or permanent building official who is not certified as a building official in accordance with the VCS 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 105.1.2.
Note: Continuing education and periodic training requirements for DHCD certifications are set out in the VCS.
The building official, subject to any limitations imposed by the locality, shall be permitted to utilize technical assistants to assist the building official in the enforcement of the USBC. DHCD shall be notified by the building official within 60 days of the employment of, contracting with or termination of all technical assistants.
Note: Technical assistants are subject to sanctions in accordance with the VCS.
A technical assistant shall be certified in the appropriate subject area within 18 months after becoming a technical assistant. When required by local policy to have two or more certifications, a technical assistant shall obtain the additional certifications within 3 years from the date of such requirement.
Note: Continuing education and periodic training requirements for DHCD certifications are set out in the VCS.
Upon written application by an owner or an owner's agent, the building official may approve a modification of any provision of the USBC provided the spirit and functional intent of the code are observed and public health, welfare and safety are assured. The decision of the building official concerning a modification shall be made in writing and the application for a modification and the decision of the building official concerning such modification shall be retained in the permanent records of the local building department.
Note: The USBC references nationally recognized model codes and standards. Future amendments to such codes and standards are not automatically included in the USBC; however the building official should give them due consideration in deciding whether to approve a modification.
In accordance with § 36-105 of the Code of Virginia, fees may be levied by the local governing body in order to defray the cost of enforcement of the USBC.
Note: See subsection D of § 36-105 of the Code of Virginia for rules for permit fees involving property with easements or liens.
Application for a permit shall be made to the building official and a permit shall be obtained prior to the commencement of any of the following activities, except that applications for emergency construction, alterations or equipment replacement shall be submitted by the end of the first working day that follows the day such work commences. In addition, the building official may authorize work to commence pending the receipt of an application or the issuance of a permit.
Notwithstanding the requirements of Section 108.1, application for a permit and any related inspections shall not be required for the following; however, this section shall not be construed to exempt such activities from other applicable requirements of this code. In addition, when an owner or an owner's agent requests that a permit be issued for any of the following, then a permit shall be issued and any related inspections shall be required.
Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the relevant property or the agent of either or by the RDP, contractor or subcontractor associated with the work or any of their agents. The full name and address of the owner, lessee and applicant shall be provided in the application. If the owner or lessee is a corporate body, when and to the extent determined necessary by the building official, the full name and address of the responsible officers shall also be provided.
A permit application may be submitted by mail and such permit applications shall be processed by mail, unless the permit applicant voluntarily chooses otherwise. In no case shall an applicant be required to appear in person.
The building official may accept applications for a permit through electronic submissions provided the information required by this section is obtained.
In accordance with § 36-98.01 of the Code of Virginia, a building permit issued for any one-family or two-family residential dwelling shall at the time of issuance contain, at the request of the applicant, the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the mechanics' lien agent as defined in § 43-1 of the Code of Virginia. If the designation of a mechanics' lien agent is not so requested by the applicant, the building permit shall at the time of issuance state that none has been designated with the words "None Designated."
Note: In accordance with § 43-4.01A of the Code of Virginia, a permit may be amended after it has been initially issued to name a mechanics' lien agent or a new mechanics' lien agent.
Construction documents shall be submitted with the application for a permit. The number of sets of such documents to be submitted shall be determined by the locality. Construction documents for one- and two-family dwellings may have floor plans reversed provided an accompanying site plan is approved.
Exception: Construction documents do not need to be submitted when the building official determines the proposed work is of a minor nature.
Note: Information on the types of construction required to be designed by an RDP is included in the "Related Laws Package" available from DHCD.
When determined necessary by the building official, a site plan shall be submitted with the application for a permit. The site plan shall show to scale the size and location of all proposed construction, including any associated wells, septic tanks or drain fields. The site plan shall also show to scale the size and location of all existing structures on the site, the distances from lot lines to all proposed construction, the established street grades and the proposed finished grades. When determined necessary by the building official, the site plan shall contain the elevation of the lowest floor of any proposed buildings. The site plan shall also be drawn in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey. When the application for a permit is for demolition, the site plan shall show all construction to be demolished and the location and size of all existing structures that are to remain on the site.
In accordance with § 36-99.7 of the Code of Virginia, the local building department shall not issue a building permit allowing a building for which an initial building permit was issued before January 1, 1985, to be renovated or demolished until the local building department receives certification from the owner or his agent that the affected portions of the building have been inspected for the presence of asbestos by an individual licensed to perform such inspections pursuant to § 54.1-503 of the Code of Virginia and that no asbestos-containing materials were found or that appropriate response actions will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act National Emission Standard for the Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAPS) (40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M), and the asbestos worker protection requirements established by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration for construction workers (29 CFR 1926.1101). Local educational agencies that are subject to the requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) shall also certify compliance with 40 CFR Part 763 and subsequent amendments thereto.
To meet the inspection requirements above, except with respect to schools, asbestos inspection of renovation projects consisting only of repair or replacement of roofing, floorcovering, or siding materials may be satisfied by a statement that the materials to be repaired or replaced are assumed to contain friable asbestos and that asbestos installation, removal, or encapsulation will be accomplished by a licensed asbestos contractor.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to single-family dwellings or residential housing with four or fewer units unless the renovation or demolition of such buildings is for commercial or public development purposes. The provisions of this section shall not apply if the combined amount of regulated asbestos-containing material involved in the renovation or demolition is less than 260 linear feet (79.25 lm) on pipes or less than 160 square feet (14.86 m2) on other facility components or less than 35 cubic feet (1 m3) of facility components where the length or area could not be measured previously.
An abatement area shall not be reoccupied until the building official receives certification from the owner that the response actions have been completed and final clearances have been measured. The final clearance levels for reoccupancy of the abatement area shall be 0.01 or fewer asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter if determined by Phase Contrast Microscopy analysis (PCM) or 70 or fewer structures per square millimeter if determined by Transmission Electron Microscopy analysis (TEM).
A copy of the permit shall be posted on the construction site for public inspection until the work is completed. Such posting shall include the street or lot number, if one has been assigned, to be readable from a public way. In addition, each building or structure to which a street number has been assigned shall, upon completion, have the number displayed so as to be readable from the public way.
A permit shall be considered authority to proceed with construction in accordance with this code, the approved construction documents, the permit application and any approved amendments or modifications. The permit shall not be construed to otherwise authorize the omission or amendment of any provision of this code.
In accordance with § 54.1-410 of the Code of Virginia and under the general authority of this code, the local building department shall establish a procedure to ensure that construction documents under Section 109 are prepared by an RDP in any case in which the exemptions contained in § 54.1-401, 54.1-402 or 54.1-402.1 of the Code of Virginia are not applicable or in any case where the building official determines it necessary. When required under § 54.1-402 of the Code of Virginia or when required by the building official, or both, construction documents shall bear the name and address of the author and his occupation.
Note: Information on the types of construction required to be designed by an RDP is included in the "Related Laws Package" available from DHCD.
Where conflicts between this code and conditions of the listing or the manufacturer's installation instructions occur, the provisions of this code shall apply.
Exception: Where a code provision is less restrictive than the conditions of the listing of the equipment or appliance or the manufacturer's installation instructions, the conditions of the listing and the manufacturer's installation instructions shall apply.
Drywall in the building, whether defective or nondefective, shall be removed and discarded, including fasteners that held any defective drywall to prevent small pieces of drywall from remaining under fasteners.
Insulation in walls and ceilings shall be removed and discarded. Carpet and vinyl flooring shall be removed and discarded. Woodwork, trim, cabinets, and tile or wood floors may be left in place or may be reused.
All electrical wiring regulated by this code shall be permitted to be left in place, but removal or cleaning of exposed ends of the wiring to reveal clean or uncorroded surfaces is required. All electrical equipment, devices, and components of the electrical system of the building regulated by this code shall be removed and discarded. This shall include all smoke detectors.
Note: All low-voltage wiring associated with security systems, door bells, elevator controls, and other such components shall be removed and replaced or repaired.
All copper fuel gas piping and all equipment utilizing fuel gas with copper, silver, or aluminum components shall be removed and discarded. All copper plumbing pipes and fittings shall be removed and discarded. Plumbing fixtures with copper, silver, or aluminum components shall be removed and discarded.
Exception: Plumbing or fuel gas piping, fittings, fixtures, equipment, or components in areas not exposed to the corrosive effects of defective drywall shall be permitted to be left in place or reused.
All heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation system components, including ductwork, air-handling units, furnaces, heat pumps, refrigerant lines, and thermostats and associated wiring, shall be removed and discarded.
Exception: Mechanical system components in areas not exposed to the corrosive effects of defective drywall shall be permitted to be left in place or reused.
Following the steps outlined above for removal of all materials and components, cleaning and airing out, a pre-rebuilding clearance test shall be conducted with the use of copper or silver coupons and the methodology outlined in the April 2, 2010, joint report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development "Interim Remediation Guidance for Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall" or with the use of a copper probe and dosimeter. The clearance testing shall confirm that all airborne compounds associated with the defective drywall are at usual environmental background levels. The clearance testing report, certifying compliance, shall be submitted to the building official.
Agencies and personnel performing pre-rebuilding or post-rebuilding clearance testing shall be independent of those responsible for all other remediation work and the agencies and personnel shall be appropriately certified or accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards, the American Indoor Air Quality Council, or the World Safety Organization.
Exception: Testing agencies and personnel shall be accepted if certified by an RDP or if the agency employs an RDP to be in responsible charge of the work.
A post-rebuilding clearance test prior to reoccupancy of the building or structure shall be conducted with the use of copper or silver coupons and the methodology outlined in the April 2, 2010, joint report by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission and by the Department of Housing and Urban Development "Interim Remediation Guidance for Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall" or with the use of a copper probe and dosimeter. The clearance testing shall confirm that all airborne compounds associated with the defective drywall are at usual environmental background levels. The clearance testing report certifying compliance shall be submitted to the building official.
The following minimum inspections shall be conducted by the building official when applicable to the construction or permit:
The building official may accept reports of inspections and tests from individuals or inspection agencies approved in accordance with the building official's written policy required by Section 113.7.1. The individual or inspection agency shall meet the qualifications and reliability requirements established by the written policy. Under circumstances where the building official is unable to make the inspection or test required by Section 113.3 or 113.4 within two working days of a request or an agreed upon date or if authorized for other circumstances in the building official's written policy, the building official shall accept reports for review. The building official shall approve the report from such approved individuals or agencies unless there is cause to reject it. Failure to approve a report shall be in writing within two working days of receiving it stating the reason for the rejection. Reports of inspections conducted by approved third-party inspectors or agencies shall be in writing, shall indicate if compliance with the applicable provisions of the USBC have been met and shall be certified by the individual inspector or by the responsible officer when the report is from an agency. Reports of inspections conducted for the purpose of verifying compliance with the requirements of the USBC for elevators, escalators, and related conveyances shall include the name and certification number of the elevator mechanic performing the tests witnessed by the third-party inspector or agency.
Exception: The licensed mechanical contractor installing the mechanical system shall be permitted to perform duct tests required by Section R403.3.3 of the IECC or Section N1103.3.3 of the IRC. The contractor shall have been trained on the equipment used to perform the test.
Note: Photographs, videotapes or other sources of pertinent data or information may be considered as constituting such reports and tests.
In accordance with § 36-106 of the Code of Virginia, it shall be unlawful for any owner or any other person, firm or corporation, on or after the effective date of any code provisions, to violate any such provisions. Any locality may adopt an ordinance that establishes a uniform schedule of civil penalties for violations of specified provisions of the code that are not abated or remedied promptly after receipt of a notice of violation from the local enforcement officer.
Note: See the full text of § 36-106 of the Code of Virginia for additional requirements and criteria pertaining to legal action relative to violations of the code.
The building official shall issue a written notice of violation to the permit holder if any violations of this code or any directives or orders of the building official have not been corrected or complied with within a reasonable time. The building official may also issue a notice of violation to other persons found to be responsible in addition to the permit holder. If the violations, directives, or orders involve work without a permit, the notice of violation shall be issued to the responsible party. The notice shall reference the code section upon which the notice is based and direct the correction of the violation or the compliance with such directive or order and specify a reasonable time period within which the corrections or compliance must occur. The notice shall be issued by either delivering a copy by mail to the last known address of the permit holder or responsible party, by delivering the notice in person, by leaving it in the possession of any person in charge of the premises, or by posting the notice in a conspicuous place if the person in charge of the premises cannot be found. The notice of violation shall indicate the right of appeal by referencing the appeals section. When the owner of the building or structure or the tenants of such building or structure are not the party to whom the notice of violation is issued, then a copy of the notice shall also be delivered to the owner or tenants.
Note: A notice of unsafe building or structure for structures that become unsafe during the construction process is issued in accordance with Section 118.
Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, the building official may initiate legal proceedings by requesting the legal counsel of the locality to institute the appropriate legal proceedings to restrain, correct or abate the violation or to require the removal or termination of the use of the building or structure involved. In cases where the locality so authorizes, the building official may issue or obtain a summons or warrant. Compliance with a notice of violation notwithstanding, the building official may request legal proceedings be instituted for prosecution when a person, firm or corporation is served with three or more notices of violation within one calendar year for failure to obtain a required construction permit prior to commencement of work subject to this code.
Note: See § 19.2-8 of the Code of Virginia concerning the statute of limitations for building code prosecutions.
Prior to occupancy or change of occupancy of a building or structure, a certificate of occupancy shall be obtained in accordance with this section. The building official shall issue the certificate of occupancy within five working days after approval of the final inspection and when the building or structure or portion thereof is determined to be in compliance with this code and any pertinent laws or ordinances, or when otherwise entitled.
When the local building department does not have a certificate of occupancy for a building or structure, the owner or owner's agent may submit a written request for a certificate to be created. The building official, after receipt of the request, shall issue a certificate provided a determination is made that there are no current violations of the VMC or the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code and the occupancy classification of the building or structure has not changed. Such buildings and structures shall not be prevented from continued use.
When the local building department has records indicating that a certificate did exist but does not have a copy of the certificate itself, then the building official may either verify in writing that a certificate did exist or issue a certificate based upon the records.
This section applies to unsafe buildings or structures.
Note: Existing buildings and structures other than those under construction or subject to this section are subject to the VMC, which also has requirements for unsafe conditions.
When a building or structure is determined by the building official to be an unsafe building or structure, a written notice of unsafe building or structure shall be issued by personal service to the owner, the owner's agent, or the person in control of such building or structure. The notice shall specify the corrections necessary to comply with this code and specify the time period within which the repairs must occur, or if the notice specifies that the unsafe building or structure is required to be demolished, the notice shall specify the time period within which demolition must occur.
Note: Whenever possible, the notice should also be given to any tenants or occupants of the unsafe building or structure.
If the building official determines there is actual and immediate danger to the occupants or public, or when life is endangered by the occupancy of an unsafe building or structure, the building official shall be authorized to order the occupants to immediately vacate the unsafe building or structure. When an unsafe building or structure is ordered to be vacated, the building official shall post a notice at each entrance that reads as follows:
"This Building (or Structure) is Unsafe and its Occupancy (or Use) is Prohibited by the Building Official."
After posting, occupancy or use of the unsafe building or structure shall be prohibited except when authorized to enter to conduct inspections, make required repairs, or as necessary to demolish the building or structure.
In the case of an unsafe building or structure, if the notice is not complied with, a placard with the following wording shall be posted at the entrance to the building or structure:
"This Building (or Structure) is Unfit for Habitation and its Use or Occupancy has been Prohibited by the Building Official."
After an unsafe building or structure is placarded, entering the unsafe building or structure shall be prohibited except as authorized by the building official to make inspections, to perform required repairs, or to demolish the unsafe building or structure. In addition, the placard shall not be removed until the unsafe building or structure is determined by the building official to be safe to occupy. The placard shall not be defaced.
To the extent permitted by the locality, the building official may authorize emergency repairs to unsafe buildings or structures when it is determined that there is an immediate danger of any portion of the unsafe building or structure collapsing or falling and when life is endangered. Emergency repairs may also be authorized when there is a code violation resulting in a serious and imminent threat to the life and safety of the occupants or public. The building official shall be permitted to authorize the necessary work to make the unsafe building or structure temporarily safe whether or not legal action to compel compliance has been instituted.
In addition, whenever an owner of an unsafe building or structure fails to comply with a notice to demolish issued under Section 118.4 in the time period stipulated, the building official shall be permitted to cause the unsafe building or structure to be demolished. In accordance with §§ 15.2-906 and 15.2-1115 of the Code of Virginia, the legal counsel of the locality may be requested to institute appropriate action against the property owner to recover the costs associated with any such emergency repairs or demolition and every such charge that remains unpaid shall constitute a lien against the property on which the emergency repairs or demolition were made and shall be enforceable in the same manner as provided in Articles 3 (§ 58.1-3940 et seq.) and 4 (§ 58.1-3965 et seq.) of Chapter 39 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia.
Note: Building officials and local governing bodies should be aware that other statutes and court decisions may impact on matters relating to demolition, in particular whether newspaper publication is required if the owner cannot be located and whether the demolition order must be delayed until the owner has been given the opportunity for a hearing.
Any person aggrieved by the local building department's application of the USBC or the refusal to grant a modification to the provisions of the USBC may appeal to the LBBCA. The applicant shall submit a written request for appeal to the LBBCA within 30 calendar days of the receipt of the decision being appealed. The application shall contain the name and address of the owner of the building or structure and in addition, the name and address of the person appealing, when the applicant is not the owner. A copy of the building official's decision shall be submitted along with the application for appeal and maintained as part of the record. The application shall be marked by the LBBCA to indicate the date received. Failure to submit an application for appeal within the time limit established by this section shall constitute acceptance of a building official's decision.
Note: To the extent that a decision of a building official pertains to amusement devices there may be a right of appeal under the VADR.
All hearings before the LBBCA shall be open meetings and the appellant, the appellant's representative, the locality's representative and any person whose interests are affected by the building official's decision in question 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. The LBBCA shall have the power to uphold, reverse or modify the decision of the official by a concurring vote of a majority of those present. Decisions of the LBBCA shall be final if no further appeal is made. The decision of the LBBCA shall be explained in writing, signed by the chairman and retained as part of the record of the appeal. Copies of the written decision shall be sent to all parties by certified mail. In addition, the written decision shall contain the following wording:
"Any person who was a party to the appeal may appeal to the State Review Board by submitting an application to such Board within 21 calendar days upon receipt by certified mail of this decision. Application forms are available from the Office of the State Review Board, 600 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 371-7150."