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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing And Community Development
Chapter 31. Virginia Amusement Device Regulations

13VAC5-31-75. Local building department.

A. In accordance with §§ 36-98.3 and 36-105 of the Code of Virginia, the local building department shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and may charge fees for such enforcement activity. The total amount charged for any one permit to operate an amusement device or devices or the renewal of such permit shall not exceed the following, except that when a private inspector is used by the owner or operator of the device, the fees shall be reduced by 75%:

1. $55 for each small mechanical ride or inflatable amusement device covered by the permit;

2. $75 for each circular ride, institutional trampoline, or flat-ride less than 20 feet in height covered by the permit, except concession go-karts.

Concession go-kart fees shall not exceed $300 per track, for tracks with up to 20 karts. An additional fee of up to $10 may be charged for each additional kart in excess of 20;

3. $100 for each spectacular ride covered by the permit that cannot be inspected as a circular ride or flat-ride in subdivision 2 of this subsection due to complexity or height, except zip lines. Zip line fees shall not exceed $150 for each zip line. For the purposes of this section, each portion from launch point to landing point shall be considered a separate zip line and each zip line between a launch point and landing point shall also be considered a separate zip line;

4. $200 for each coaster covered by the permit that exceeds 30 feet in height;

5. $400 for each coaster covered by the permit that exceeds 60 feet in height; and

6. The local building department may charge an additional fee for permits and inspections of generators and associated wiring for amusement device events. Generators subject to these fees are those used exclusively with amusement devices and that are inspected by the local building department. The fee per event shall not exceed $165 and shall not exceed the actual cost to perform the inspection or inspections.

Exception: Small portable generators serving only cord and plug connected equipment loads are not subject to the fee.

Notwithstanding the fee limitations established in this section, the local building department shall be permitted to increase the fees up to 50% when requested to perform weekend or after-hour inspections. The local building department shall also be permitted to increase fees up to 50% when a reinspection is required.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, when an amusement device is constructed in whole or in part at a site for permanent operation at that site and is not intended to be disassembled and moved to another site, then the local building department may utilize permit and inspection fees established pursuant to the USBC to defray the cost of enforcement. This authorization does not apply to an amusement device that is only being reassembled, undergoing a major modification at a site or being moved to a site for operation.

C. A permit application shall be made to the local building department at least five days before the date in which the applicant intends to operate an amusement device. The application shall include the name of the owner, operator or other person assuming responsibility for the device, a general description of the device including any serial or identification numbers available, the location of the property on which the device will be operated, and the length of time of operation. The permit application shall indicate whether a private inspector will be used. If a private inspector is not used, the applicant shall give reasonable notice when an inspection is sought and may stipulate the day such inspection is requested provided it is during the normal operating hours of the local building department. In addition to the information required on the permit application, the applicant shall provide proof of liability insurance of an amount not less than $1 million per occurrence or proof of equivalent financial responsibility. The local building department shall be notified of any change in the liability insurance or financial responsibility during the period covered by the permit.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C of this section, a permit application is not required for a small mechanical ride or an inflatable amusement device that has a certificate of inspection issued by any local building department in this Commonwealth either a six-month period for small mechanical rides or within a one-year period for inflatable amusement devices prior to the dates the small mechanical ride or inflatable amusement device is to be used, regardless of whether the devices has been disassembled and moved to a new site. In such cases, the local building department shall be notified and provided with the information required on a permit application as listed in subsection C of this section at least three days prior to operation. In addition, and notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, the local building department shall be permitted to charge a $50 inspection fee per event to the person notifying the local building department of an event where an inflatable amusement device is operating if the local building department chooses to inspect any or all of the inflatable amusement devices operating at that event. An inspection report shall be provided to the person notifying the local building department of the event if such an inspection is conducted.

E. Local building department personnel shall examine the permit application within five days and issue the permit if all requirements are met. A certificate of inspection for each amusement device shall be issued when the device has been found to comply with this chapter by a private inspector or by an inspector from the local building department. It shall be the responsibility of the local building department to verify that the private inspector possesses a valid certificate of competence as an amusement device inspector from the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. In addition, local building department personnel shall be responsible for assuring that the certificate of inspection is posted or affixed on or in the vicinity of the device in a location visible to the public. Local building department personnel shall post or affix such certificates or permit the certificates to be posted or affixed by the private inspector. Permits shall indicate the length of time the device or devices will be operated at the site, clearly identify the device or devices to which it applies and the date of expiration of the permit. Permits shall not be valid for longer than one year, except that permits for small mechanical rides shall not be valid for longer than six months.

F. In addition to obtaining a certificate of inspection in conjunction with a permit application for amusement devices permanently fixed to a site, a new certificate of inspection shall also be obtained prior to the operation of an amusement device following a major modification, prior to each seasonal operation of a device, at least once during the operating season and prior to resuming the operation of a device following an order from a local building department to cease operation. This requirement shall not apply to small mechanical rides meeting the conditions outlined in subsection D of this section.

G. For amusement devices manufactured prior to 1978, the owner or operator shall have the information required by 10.1 through 10.6 of ASTM F1193 available at the time of inspection. In addition, the operator of any amusement device shall be responsible for obtaining all manufacturer's notifications, service bulletins and safety alerts issued pursuant to ASTM F770 and the operator shall comply with all recommendations and requirements set out in those documents. A copy of all such documents shall be made available during an inspection.

H. In the enforcement of this chapter, local building department personnel shall have authority to conduct inspections at any time an amusement device would normally be open for operation or at any other time if permission is granted by the owner or operator, to issue an order to temporarily cease operation of an amusement device upon the determination that the device may be unsafe or may otherwise endanger the public and to accept and approve or deny requests for modifications of the rules of this chapter in accordance with the modification provisions of the USBC.

I. In accordance with subdivision 7 of § 36-137 of the Code of Virginia, the local building department shall collect a 2.0% levy of fees charged for permits under this chapter and transmit it quarterly to DHCD to support training programs of the Virginia Building Code Academy. Localities that maintain individual or regional training academies accredited by DHCD shall retain such levy.

J. In accordance with § 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia and 13VAC5-31-10 B, the procedures for violations of this chapter shall be as prescribed in the USBC.

K. In accordance with § 36-98.1 of the Code of Virginia, the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) shall function as the local building department for the application of this chapter to amusement devices located on state-owned property. In accordance with §§ 36-98.2 and 36-114 of the Code of Virginia, appeals of the application of this chapter by the DGS shall be made directly to the State Building Code Technical Review Board. Further, as a condition of this chapter, such appeals shall be filed within 14 calendar days after receipt of the decision of DGS.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 2, eff. March 1, 2011; Change in Effective Date, 27:5 VA.R. 533 November 8, 2010; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Errata, 30:18 VA.R. 2362 May 5, 2014; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

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