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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing and Community Development
Chapter 51. Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
9/24/2020

13VAC5-51-131. Ifc Chapter 3 General Requirements.

A. The following changes shall be made to Section 301, General:

1. Change Section 301.2 to read:

301.2 Permits. Permits shall be required as set forth in Section 107.2 for the activities or uses regulated by Sections 306, 307, 308, and 315.

2. Add Section 301.3 to read:

301.3 Occupancy. The occupancy of a structure shall be continued as originally permitted under and in full compliance with the codes in force at the time of construction or alteration. The occupancy of a structure shall not change to another occupancy that will subject the structure to any special provisions of this code or the applicable building code without the approval of the building official. Where a certificate of occupancy is not available for a building, the owner or owner's agent may request that one be issued by the building official and retained on site for reference.

B. The following changes shall be made to Section 302, Definitions:

Change Section 302.1 to read:

302.1 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chapter 2:

Bonfire.

Explosive manufacturing.

Hi-boy.

High-voltage transmission line.

Mobile food preparation vehicles.

Open burning.

Portable outdoor fireplace.

Powered industrial truck.

Reactive targets.

Recreational fire.

Restricted explosives manufacturing.

Sky lantern.

Unrestricted explosives manufacturing.

C. The following changes shall be made to Section 304, Combustible Waste Material:

1. Change Section 304.1.2 to read:

(N)304.1.2 Vegetation. Weeds, grass, vines, or other growth that is capable of being ignited and endangering property shall be cut down and removed by the owner or occupant of the premises.

2. Change Section 304.1.3 to read:

(N)304.1.3 Space underneath seats. Spaces underneath grandstand and bleacher seats shall be kept free from combustible and flammable materials unless approved by the applicable building code.

3. Change Section 304.3.2 to read:

304.3.2 Capacity exceeding 5.88 cubic feet. Containers with a capacity exceeding 5.88 cubic feet (44 gallons) (0.17 m³) shall be provided with lids. Containers and lids shall be constructed of noncombustible materials or approved combustible materials.

4. Change Section 304.3.3 to read:

304.3.3 Capacity exceeding 1.5 cubic yards. Dumpsters and containers with an individual capacity of 1.5 cubic yards (40.5 cubic feet (1.15 m3)) or more shall not be stored in buildings or placed within 5 feet (1524 mm) of combustible walls, openings or combustible roof eave lines.

Exceptions:

1. Dumpsters or containers in areas protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system installed throughout in accordance with the applicable building code.

2. Storage in a structure shall not be prohibited where the structure is of Type I or IIA construction, located not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from other buildings, and used exclusively for dumpster or container storage.

5. Change Section 304.3.4 to read:

304.3.4 Capacity of 1.0 cubic yard or more. Dumpsters with an individual capacity of 1.0 cubic yard 200 gallons (0.76 m3) or more shall not be stored in buildings or placed within 5 feet (1524 mm) of combustible walls, openings or combustible roof eave lines unless the dumpsters are constructed of noncombustible materials or of combustible materials with a peak rate of heat release not exceeding 300 kW/m2 where tested in accordance with ASTM E 1354 at an incident heat flux of 50 kW/m2 in the horizontal orientation.

Exceptions:

1. Dumpsters in areas protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system installed throughout in accordance with the applicable building code.

2. Storage in a structure shall not be prohibited where the structure is of Type I or IIA construction, located not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from other buildings, and used exclusively for dumpster or container storage.

D. The following change shall be made to Section 306, Motion Picture Projection Rooms and Film:

Change Section 306.1 to read:

306.1 Motion picture projection rooms. Electric arc, xenon, or other light source projection equipment that develops hazardous gases, dust, or radiation and the projection of ribbon-type cellulose nitrate film, regardless of the light source used in projection, shall be operated within a motion picture projection room complying with the applicable building code.

E. The following changes shall be made to Section 307, Open Burning, Recreational Fires and Portable Outdoor Fireplaces:

1. Add an exception to Section 307.1 to read:

Exception: Approved outdoor live fire training using equipment or appliances accessible or available to the general public, and that complies with Section 307.4.

2. Change Section 307.2 to read:

307.2 Permit required. A permit shall be obtained from the fire code official in accordance with Section 107.2 prior to kindling a fire for recognized silvicultural or range or wildlife management practices, prevention or control of disease or pests, or a bonfire. Application for such approval shall only be presented by and permits issued to the owner of the land upon which the fire is to be kindled.

F. The following changes shall be made to Section 308, Open Flames:

1. Change Section 308.2 to read:

308.2 Permits required. Permits shall be obtained from the fire code official in accordance with Section 107.2 prior to engaging in the following activities involving open flame, fire, and burning:

1. Use of a torch or flame-producing device to remove paint from a structure.

2. Use of open flame, fire, or burning in connection with Group A or E occupancies.

3. Use or operation of torches and other devices, machines, or processes liable to start or cause fire in or upon wildfire risk areas.

2. Change Section 308.3 to read:

308.3 Group A occupancies. Open-flame devices shall not be used in a Group A occupancy.

Exceptions:

1. Open-flame devices are allowed to be used in the following situations, provided approved precautions are taken to prevent ignition of a combustible material or injury to occupants:

1.1 Where necessary for ceremonial or religious purposes in accordance with Section 308.1.7.

1.2. On stages and platforms as a necessary part of a performance in accordance with Section 308.3.2.

1.3. Where candles on tables are securely supported on substantial noncombustible bases and the candle flames are protected.

2. Heat-producing equipment complying with Chapter 6 and the applicable building code.

3. Gas lights are allowed to be used provided adequate precautions satisfactory to the fire code official are taken to prevent ignition of combustible materials.

G. The following changes shall be made to Section 311, Vacant Premises:

1. Change Section 311.1 to read:

311.1 General. Temporarily unoccupied buildings, structures, premises, or portions thereof, including tenant spaces, shall be safeguarded and maintained in accordance with Sections 311.1.1 through 311.6.

2. Change Section 311.1.1 to read:

311.1.1 Abandoned premises. Buildings, structures and premises for which an owner cannot be identified or located by dispatch of a certificate of mailing to the last known or registered address, which persistently or repeatedly become unprotected or unsecured, which have been occupied by unauthorized persons or for illegal purposes, or which present a danger of structural collapse or fire spread to adjacent properties shall be considered abandoned and unsafe until declared abated Virginia Maintenance Code or the applicable building code.

3. Change Section 311.2.3 to read:

311.2.3 Fire separation. Fire-resistance-rated partitions, fire barriers, and fire walls separating vacant tenant spaces from the remainder of the building shall be maintained. Protection of openings, joints, and penetrations in fire-resistance-rated assemblies shall be maintained in accordance with Chapter 7.

4. Change Section 311.3 to read:

311.3 Removal of combustibles. Persons owning, or in charge or control of, a vacant building or portion thereof shall remove therefrom all accumulations of combustible materials, flammable or combustible waste, or rubbish and shall securely lock or otherwise secure doors, windows, and other openings to prevent entry by unauthorized persons. The premises shall be maintained clear of waste or hazardous materials.

Exceptions:

1. Buildings or portions of buildings undergoing additions, alterations, repairs, or change of occupancy in accordance with the applicable building code where waste is controlled and removed as required by Section 304.

2. Seasonally occupied buildings.

5. Add Section 311.5.6 to read:

311.5.6 Removal. Removal of placards posted in accordance with this section without the approval of the fire official shall be a violation of this code.

6. Change Section 311.6 to read:

(N)311.6 Unoccupied tenant spaces in mall buildings. Unoccupied tenant spaces in covered and open mall buildings shall be:

1. Kept free from the storage of any materials.

2. Without doors or other access openings other than one door that shall be kept key locked in the closed position except during that time when opened for inspection.

3. Kept free from combustible waste and be broom swept clean.

H. The following changes shall be made to Section 313, Fueled Equipment:

Change Section 313.1 to read:

313.1 General. Fueled equipment including motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment, portable generators, and portable cooking equipment shall not be stored, operated, or repaired within a building.

Exceptions:

1. Buildings or rooms constructed for such use in accordance with the applicable building code.

2. Where allowed by Section 314.

3. Storage of equipment utilized for maintenance purposes is allowed in approved locations where the aggregate fuel capacity of the stored equipment does not exceed 10 gallons (38 L) and the building is protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system in accordance with the applicable NFPA 13 standard.

I. The following changes shall be made to Section 314, Indoor Displays:

1. Change Section 314.1 to read:

314.1 General. Indoor displays constructed within any building or structure shall comply with Sections 314.2 through 314.5.

2. Add Section 314.5 to read:

314.5 Smokeless powder and small arms primers. Venders shall not store, display, or sell smokeless powder or small arms primers during trade shows inside exhibition halls except as follows:

1. The amount of smokeless powder displayed by each vender is limited to the amount established in Section 5606.5.1.1.

2. The amount of smokeless powder each vender may store is limited to the storage arrangements and storage amounts established in Section 5606.5.2.1. Smokeless powder shall remain in the manufacturer's original sealed container, and the container shall remain sealed while inside the building. The repackaging of smokeless powder shall not be performed inside the building. Damaged containers shall not be repackaged inside the building and shall be immediately removed from the building in such manner to avoid spilling any powder.

3. There shall be at least 50 feet separation between venders and 20 feet from any exit.

4. Small arms primers shall be displayed and stored in the manufacturer's original packaging and in accordance with the requirements of Section 5606.5.2.3.

J. The following changes shall be made to Section 315, General Storage:

1. Change Section 315.2 to read:

315.2 Permit required. A permit for miscellaneous combustible storage shall be required as set forth in Section 107.2.

2. Change Section 315.3.4 to read:

(N)315.3.4 Attic, under-floor and concealed spaces. Attic, under-floor and concealed spaces shall not be used for storage of combustible materials unless approved or not prohibited by the applicable building code.

3. Change Section 315.4 to read:

315.4 Outside storage. Outside storage of combustible materials shall not be located within 10 feet (3048 mm) of a property line or other building on the site.

Exceptions:

1. The separation distance is allowed to be reduced to 3 feet (914 mm) for storage not exceeding 6 feet (1829 mm) in height.

2. The separation distance is allowed to be reduced when the fire official determines that no hazard to the adjoining property exists.

4. Change Section 315.4.1 to read:

315.4.1 Storage beneath overhead projections from buildings. To the extent required by the code the building was constructed under, when buildings are required to be protected by automatic sprinklers, the outdoor storage, display, and handling of combustible materials under eaves, canopies, or other projections or overhangs is prohibited except where automatic sprinklers are installed under such eaves, canopies, or other projections or overhangs.

5. Change Section 315.6 to read:

(N)315.6 Storage in plenums. Storage shall not be permitted in plenums unless approved for such use by the applicable building code. Abandoned material in plenums shall be deemed to be storage and shall be removed. Where located in plenums, the accessible portion of abandoned cables that are not identified for future use with a tag shall be deemed storage and shall be removed.

K. The following changes shall be made to Section 316, Hazards to Fire Fighters:

Change Section 316.6.1 to read:

(N)316.6.1 Structures. Structures shall not be constructed within the utility easement beneath high-voltage transmission lines unless approved.

L. The following changes shall be made to Section 317, Rooftop Gardens and Landscaped Roofs:

1. Change Section 317.1 to read:

(N)317.1 General. Rooftop gardens and landscaped roofs shall be maintained in accordance with Sections 317.2 through 317.5.

2. Change Section 317.2 to read:

(N)317.2 Rooftop garden or landscaped roof size. Rooftop garden or landscaped roof areas shall not exceed the size approved in accordance with the applicable building code.

3. Change Section 317.3 to read:

(N)317.3 Rooftop structure and equipment clearance. Required structure and equipment clearances shall be maintained as provided by the applicable building code.

4. Change Section 317.4 to read:

317.4 Vegetation. Vegetation shall be maintained in accordance with Sections 317.4.1 and 317.4.2.

M. The following changes shall be made to Section 318, Laundry Carts:

Change Section 318.1 to read:

318.1 Laundry carts with a capacity of 1 cubic yard or more. Laundry carts with an individual capacity of 1 cubic yard (200 gallons (0.76 m3)) or more used in laundries within Groups B, E, F-1, I, M and R-1 occupancies shall be constructed of noncombustible materials or materials having a peak rate of heat release not exceeding 300 kW/m2 at a flux of 50 kW/m2 where tested in a horizontal orientation in accordance with ASTM E 1354.

Exceptions:

1. Laundry carts in areas protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system throughout in accordance with the applicable NFPA 13 standard.

2. Laundry carts in coin-operated laundries.

N. Add Section 319, Mobile Food Preparation Vehicles.

Add Sections 319.1 through 319.11, including subsections, to read:

319.1 Mobile food preparation vehicles that are equipped with appliances that utilize open flames or produce smoke or grease laden vapors shall comply with this section.

319.2 Permit required. Permits shall be required as set forth in Section 107.2.

319.3 Seating. Seating for the public within any mobile food preparation vehicles is prohibited.

319.4 Exhaust hood. Cooking equipment that produces grease laden vapors shall be provided with a kitchen exhaust hood in accordance with NFPA 96, Annex B.

319.5 Fire protection. Fire protection shall be provided in accordance with Sections 319.5.1 through 319.5.2.

319.5.1 Fire protection for cooking equipment. Cooking equipment shall be protected by automatic fire extinguishing systems in accordance with Section 904.3.

319.5.2 Fire extinguisher. Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided in accordance with Section 904.12.5.

319.6 Appliance connection to fuel supply. Gas cooking appliances shall be secured in place and connected to fuel supply piping with an appliance connector complying with ANSI Z21.69/CSA 6.16. The connector installation shall be configured in accordance with manufacturer's installation instructions. Movement of appliances shall be limited by restraining devices installed in accordance with the connector and appliance manufacturer's instructions.

319.6.1 Construction and modifications. Following initial construction and any modifications of the fuel system, the system, including hoses, shall be proven free of leaks by performing a pressure test in accordance with NFPA 58 at not less than the normal operating pressure.

319.6.2 Leak detection. Gas systems shall be inspected prior to each use and following fuel tank replacement or refill in one of the following methods:

1. A water and soap solution shall be applied to every accessible connection or connection manipulated during the replacement or fueling and observed for evidence of gas leakage.

2. Pressure testing in accordance with Annex L of NFPA 58.

319.6.3 Leaks. When leaks are discovered during inspections and testing, the fuel supply shall be secured in the "off" position or disconnected from the appliance, and the appliance shall not be operated until serviced by a qualified person.

319.7 Cooking oil storage containers. Cooking oil storage containers within mobile food preparation vehicles shall have a minimum aggregate area volume not to exceed 120 gallons (454L) and shall be stored in such a way as to not be toppled or damaged during transport.

319.8 Cooking oil storage tanks. Cooking oil storage tanks within mobile food preparation vehicles shall comply with Sections 319.8.1 through 319.8.5.

319.8.1 Metallic storage tanks. Metallic cooking oil storage tanks shall be listed in accordance with UL 142 or UL 80, and shall be installed in accordance with the tank manufacturer's instructions.

319.8.2 Nonmetallic tanks. Nonmetallic cooking oil storage tanks shall be installed in accordance with the tank manufacturer's instructions and shall also comply with all of the following:

1. Tanks shall be listed for use with cooking oil, including maximum temperature to which the tanks will be exposed to during use.

2. Tank capacity shall not exceed 200 gallons (757 L) per tank.

319.8.3 Cooking oil storage system components. Metallic and nonmetallic cooking oil storage system components shall include piping, connections, fittings, valves, tubing, hose, pumps, vents, and other related components used for the transfer of cooking oil.

319.8.4 Design criteria. The design, fabrication, and assembly of system components shall be suitable for the working pressures, temperatures, and structural stresses to be encountered by the components.

319.8.5 Tank venting. Normal and emergency venting shall be provided for cooking oil storage tanks.

319.8.5.1 Normal vents. Normal vents shall be located above the maximum normal liquid line and shall have a minimum effective area not smaller than the largest filling or withdrawal connection. Normal vents are not required to vent to the exterior.

319.8.5.2 Emergency vents. Emergency relief vents shall be located above the maximum normal liquid line and shall be in the form of a device that will relieve excessive internal pressure caused by an exposure fire. For nonmetallic tanks, the emergency relief vent shall be allowed to be in the form of construction. Emergency vents are not required to discharge to the exterior.

319.9 Liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) systems. Where LP-gas systems provide fuel for cooking appliances, such systems shall comply with NFPA 58, Chapter 61 and Sections 319.9.1 through 319.9.5.

319.9.1 Maximum aggregate volume. The maximum aggregate capacity of LP-gas containers transported on the vehicle and used to fuel cooking appliances only shall not exceed 200 pounds propane capacity.

319.9.2 Protection of container. LP-gas containers installed on the vehicle shall be securely mounted and restrained to prevent movement.

319.9.3 LP-gas container construction. LP-gas containers shall be manufactured in compliance with the requirements of NPFA 58.

319.9.4 Protection of system piping. LP-gas system piping, including valves and fittings, shall be adequately protected to prevent tampering, impact damage, and damage from vibration.

319.9.5 LP-gas alarms. A listed LP-gas alarm shall be installed with the vehicle in the vicinity of LP-gas system components, in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

319.10 Compressed natural gas (CNG) systems. Where CNG systems provide fuel for cooking appliances, such systems shall comply with Sections 319.10.1 through 319.10.4.

319.10.1 CNG containers supplying only cooking fuel. CNG containers installed solely to provide fuel for cooking purposes shall be in accordance with Sections 319.10.1.1 through 319.10.1.3.

319.10.1.1 Maximum aggregate volume. The maximum aggregate capacity of CNG containers transported on the vehicle shall not exceed 1,300 pounds water capacity.

319.10.1.2 Protection of container. CNG containers shall be securely mounted and restrained to prevent movement. Containers shall not be installed in locations subject to direct vehicle impact.

319.10.1.3 CNG container construction. The construction of CNG containers shall be approved.

319.10.2 CNG containers supplying transportation and cooking fuel. Where CNG containers and systems are used to supply fuel for cooking purposes in addition to being used for transportation fuel, the installation shall be in accordance with NFPA 52.

319.10.3 Protection of system piping. CNG system piping, including valves and fittings, shall be adequately protected to prevent tampering, impact damage, and damage from vibration.

319.10.4 Methane alarms. A listed methane gas alarm shall be installed within the vehicle in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

319.11 Maintenance. Maintenance of systems on mobile food preparation vehicles shall be in accordance with Sections 319.11.1 through 319.11.3.

319.11.1 Exhaust system. The exhaust system, including hood, grease-removal devices, fans, ducts and other appurtenances, shall be inspected and cleaned in accordance with Chapter 6.

319.11.2 Fire protection systems and devices. Fire protection systems and devices shall be maintained in accordance with Chapter 9.

319.11.3 Fuel-gas systems. LP-gas containers installed on the vehicle and fuel-gas piping systems shall be inspected annually by an approved inspection agency or a company that is registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation to requalify LP-gas cylinders to ensure that system components are free of damage, suitable for the intended service, and not subject to leaking. CNG containers shall be inspected every three years in a qualified service facility. CNG containers shall not be used past their expiration dates listed on the manufacturer's container label. Upon satisfactory inspection, the approved inspection agency shall affix a tag on the fuel-gas system or within the vehicle indicating the name of the inspection agency and the date of satisfactory inspection.

Statutory Authority

§ 27-97 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 16, Issue 20, eff. September 15, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 03, eff. November 16, 2005; Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 02, eff. March 1, 2011; Change in Effective Date, 27:5 VA.R. 533 November 8, 2010; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 12, eff. March 1, 2011; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Errata, 30:23 VA.R. 2590 July 14, 2014; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. October 16, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 04, eff. October 16, 2018.

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