Administrative Code

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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

13VAC5-51-85. Section 108 Operational permits.

A. 108.1 General. 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.

B. 108.1.1 Permits required. 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.


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.

C. 108.1.2 Duration of operational permits.

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.

D. 108.1.3 Operational permits for the same location. 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.

E. 108.2 Application. 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.

F. 108.2.1 Refusal to issue permit. 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.

G. 108.2.2 Inspection authorized. 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.

H. 108.2.3 Time limitation of application. 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.

I. 108.2.4 Action on application. 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.

J. 108.3 Conditions of a permit. 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.

K. 108.3.1 Expiration. 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.

L. 108.3.2 Extensions. 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.

M. 108.3.3 Annual. The enforcing agency may issue annual operational permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, or sales of explosives to any state regulated public utility.

N. 108.3.4 Suspension of permit. 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.

O. 108.3.5 Posting. 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.

P. 108.3.6 Compliance with code. 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.

Q. 108.3.7 Information on the 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.

R. 108.4 Revocation. 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.

Statutory Authority

§ 27-97 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; 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; Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. October 16, 2018.

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