Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing And Community Development
Chapter 63. Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code

13VAC5-63-438. Chapter 12 Construction safeguards.

Replace Chapter 12 of the IEBC with the following:

1. Section 1201 General.

1201.1 Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall govern safety during construction that is under the jurisdiction of this code and the protection of adjacent public and private properties.

1201.2 Storage and placement. Construction equipment and materials shall be stored and placed so as not to endanger the public, the workers, or adjoining property for the duration of the construction project.

1201.3 Alterations, repairs, and additions. Required exits, existing structural elements, fire protection devices, and sanitary safeguards shall be maintained at all times during alterations, repairs, or additions to any building or structure.


1. When such required elements or devices are being altered or repaired, adequate substitute provisions shall be made.

2. When the existing building is not occupied.

1201.4 Manner of removal. Waste materials shall be removed in a manner that prevents injury or damage to persons, adjoining properties, and public rights-of-way.

1201.5 Fire safety during construction. Fire safety during construction shall comply with the applicable requirements of the International Building Code and the applicable provisions of Chapter 33 of the International Fire Code.

1201.6 Protection of pedestrians. Pedestrians shall be protected during construction and demolition activities as required by Sections 1201.6.1 through 1201.6.7 and Table 1201.6. Signs shall be provided to direct pedestrian traffic.

1201.6.1 Walkways. A walkway shall be provided for pedestrian travel in front of every construction and demolition site unless the applicable governing authority authorizes the sidewalk to be fenced or closed. Walkways shall be of sufficient width to accommodate the pedestrian traffic, but in no case shall they be less than four feet (1219 mm) in width. Walkways shall be provided with a durable walking surface. Walkways shall be accessible in accordance with Chapter 11 of the International Building Code and shall be designed to support all imposed loads and in no case shall the design live load be less than 150 pounds per square foot (psf) (7.2 kN/m2).

1201.6.2 Directional barricades. Pedestrian traffic shall be protected by a directional barricade where the walkway extends into the street. The directional barricade shall be of sufficient size and construction to direct vehicular traffic away from the pedestrian path.

1201.6.3 Construction railings. Construction railings shall be at least 42 inches (1067 mm) in height and shall be sufficient to direct pedestrians around construction areas.

1201.6.4 Barriers. Barriers shall be a minimum of eight feet (2438 mm) in height and shall be placed on the side of the walkway nearest the construction. Barriers shall extend the entire length of the construction site. Openings in such barriers shall be protected by doors which are normally kept closed.

1201.6.4.1 Barrier design. Barriers shall be designed to resist loads required in Chapter 16 of the International Building Code unless constructed as follows:

1. Barriers shall be provided with two-inch by four-inch (51 mm by 102 mm) top and bottom plates.

2. The barrier material shall be a minimum of 3/4-inch (19.1 mm) boards or 1/4-inch (6.4 mm) wood structural use panels.

3. Wood structural use panels shall be bonded with an adhesive identical to that for exterior wood structural use panels.

4. Wood structural use panels 1/4-inch (6.4 mm) or 1/16-inch (1.6 mm) in thickness shall have studs spaced not more than two feet (610 mm) on center.

5. Wood structural use panels 3/8-inch (9.5 mm) or 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) in thickness shall have studs spaced not more than four feet (1219 mm) on center, provided a two-inch by four-inch (51 mm by 102 mm) stiffener is placed horizontally at the mid-height where the stud spacing exceeds two feet (610 mm) on center.

6. Wood structural use panels 5/8-inch (15.9 mm) or thicker shall not span over eight feet (2438 mm).

1201.6.5 Covered walkways. Covered walkways shall have a minimum clear height of eight feet (2438 mm) as measured from the floor surface to the canopy overhead. Adequate lighting shall be provided at all times. Covered walkways shall be designed to support all imposed loads. In no case shall the design live load be less than 150 psf (7.2 kN/m2) for the entire structure.

Exception: Roofs and supporting structures of covered walkways for new, light-frame construction not exceeding two stories above grade plane are permitted to be designed for a live load of 75 psf (3.6 kN/m2) or the loads imposed on them, whichever is greater. In lieu of such designs, the roof and supporting structure of a covered walkway are permitted to be constructed as follows:

1. Footings shall be continuous two-inch by six-inch members.

2. Posts not less than four inches by six inches shall be provided on both sides of the roof and spaced not more than 12 feet (3658 mm) on center.

3. Stringers not less than four inches by 12 inches shall be placed on edge upon the posts.

4. Joists resting on the stringers shall be at least two inches by eight inches and shall be spaced not more than two feet (610 mm) on center.

5. The deck shall be planks at least two inches (51 mm) thick or wood structural panels with an exterior exposure durability classification at least 23/32-inch (18.3 mm) thick nailed to the joists.

6. Each post shall be knee-braced to joists and stringers by two-inch by four-inch minimum members four feet (1219 mm) long.

7. A two-inch by four-inch minimum curb shall be set on edge along the outside edge of the deck.

1201.6.6 Repair, maintenance, and removal. Pedestrian protection required by Section 1201.6 shall be maintained in place and kept in good order for the entire length of time pedestrians may be endangered. The owner or the owner's agent, upon the completion of the construction activity, shall immediately remove walkways, debris, and other obstructions and leave such public property in as good a condition as it was before such work was commenced.

TABLE 1201.6




8 feet or less

Less than 5 feet

Construction railings

5 feet or more


More than 8 feet

Less than 5 feet

Barrier and covered walkway

5 feet or more, but not more than 1/4 the height of construction

Barrier and covered walkway

5 feet or more, but between 1/4 and 1/2 the height of construction


5 feet or more, but exceeding 1/2 the height of construction


1201.6.7 Adjacent to excavations. Every excavation on a site located five feet (1524 mm) or less from the street lot line shall be enclosed with a barrier not less than six feet (1829 mm) high. Where located more than five feet (1524 mm) from the street lot line, a barrier shall be erected when required by the code official. Barriers shall be of adequate strength to resist wind pressure as specified in Chapter 16 of the International Building Code.

1201.8 Separations between construction areas. Separations used in Type I and Type II construction to separate construction areas from occupied portions of the building shall be constructed of materials that comply with one of the following:

1. Noncombustible materials.

2. Materials that exhibit a flame spread index not exceeding 25 when tested in accordance with ASTM E84 or UL 723.

3. Materials exhibiting a peak heat release rate not exceeding 300 kW/m2 when tested in accordance with ASTM E1354 at an incident heat flux of 50 kW/m2 in the horizontal orientation on specimens at the thickness intended for use.

2. Section 1202 Protection of Adjoining Properties.

1202.1 Protection required. Adjoining public and private property shall be protected from damage during construction and demolition work. Protection must be provided for footings, foundations, party walls, chimneys, skylights, and roofs. Provisions shall be made to control water runoff and erosion during construction or demolition activities. The person making or causing an excavation to be made shall provide written notice to the owners of adjoining buildings advising them that the excavation is to be made and that the adjoining buildings should be protected. This notification shall be delivered not less than 10 days prior to the scheduled starting date of the excavation.

3. Section 1203 Temporary Use of Streets, Alleys and Public Property.

1203.1 Storage and handling of materials. The temporary use of streets or public property for the storage or handling of materials or equipment required for construction or demolition and the protection provided to the public shall comply with the provisions of the applicable governing authority and this chapter.

1203.2 Obstructions. Construction materials and equipment shall not be placed or stored so as to interfere with access to fire hydrants, standpipes, fire or police alarm boxes, catch basins, or manholes nor shall such material or equipment be located within 20 feet (6.1 m) of a street intersection or placed so as to obstruct normal observations of traffic signals or to hinder the use of public transit loading platforms.

1203.3 Utility fixtures. Building materials, fences, sheds, or any obstruction of any kind shall not be placed to obstruct free approach to any fire hydrant, fire department connection, utility pole, manhole, fire alarm box, or catch basin or to interfere with the passage of water in the gutter. Protection against damage shall be provided to such utility fixtures during the progress of the work, but sight of them shall not be obstructed.

4. Section 1204 Fire Extinguishers.

1204.1 Where required. All structures under construction, alteration, or demolition shall be provided with not less than one approved portable fire extinguisher in accordance with Section 906 of the International Building Code and sized for not less than ordinary hazard as follows:

1. At each stairway on all floor levels where combustible materials have accumulated.

2. In every storage and construction shed.

3. Additional portable fire extinguishers shall be provided where special hazards exist including the storage and use of flammable and combustible liquids.

1204.2 Fire hazards. The provisions of this code and of the International Fire Code shall be strictly observed to safeguard against all fire hazards attendant upon construction operations.

5. Section 1205 Means of Egress.

1205.1 Stairways required. Where a building has been constructed to a building height of 50 feet (15,240 mm) or four stories or where an existing building exceeding 50 feet (15,240 mm) in building height is altered, at least one temporary lighted stairway shall be provided unless one or more of the permanent stairways are erected as the construction progresses.

1205.2 Maintenance of means of egress. Required means of egress shall be maintained at all times during construction, demolition, remodeling or alterations, and additions to any building.

Exception: Approved temporary means of egress systems and facilities.

6. Section 1206 Standpipe Systems.

1206.1 Where required. In buildings required to have standpipes by Section 905.3.1 of the International Building Code, not less than one standpipe shall be provided for use during construction. Such standpipes shall be installed prior to construction exceeding 40 feet (12,192 mm) in height above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. Such standpipe shall be provided with fire department hose connections at accessible locations adjacent to usable stairways. Such standpipes shall be extended as construction progresses to within one floor of the highest point of construction having secured decking or flooring.

1206.2 Buildings being demolished. Where a building or portion of a building is being demolished and a standpipe exists within such a building, such standpipe shall be maintained in an operable condition so as to be available for use by the fire department. Such standpipe shall be demolished with the building but shall not be demolished more than one floor below the floor being demolished.

1206.3 Detailed requirements. Standpipes shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 9 of the International Building Code.

Exception: Standpipes shall be either temporary or permanent in nature and with or without a water supply, provided that such standpipes conform to the requirements of Section 905 of the International Building Code as to capacity, outlets, and materials.

7. Section 1207 Automatic Sprinkler System.

1207.1 Completion before occupancy. In portions of a building where an automatic sprinkler system is required by this code, it shall be unlawful to occupy those portions of the building until the automatic sprinkler system installation has been tested and approved, except as provided in Section 116.1.1 of the VCC.

1207.2 Operation of valves. Operation of sprinkler control valves shall be permitted only by properly authorized personnel and shall be accompanied by notification of duly designated parties. When the sprinkler protection is being regularly turned off and on to facilitate connection of newly completed segments, the sprinkler control valves shall be checked at the end of each work period to ascertain that protection is in service.

8. Section 1208 Accessibility.

1208.1 Construction sites. Structures, sites, and equipment directly associated with the actual process of construction, including scaffolding, bridging, material hoists, material storage, or construction trailers, are not required to be accessible.

9. Section 1209 Water Supply for Fire Protection.

1209.1 When required. An approved water supply for fire protection, either temporary or permanent, shall be made available as soon as combustible material arrives on the site, on commencement of vertical combustible construction, and on installation of a standpipe system during alterations, repairs, or additions to any building or structure in accordance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

10. Section 1210 Demolition.

1210.1 Construction documents. Construction documents and a schedule for demolition shall be submitted where required by the building official. Where such information is required, no work shall be done until such construction documents, schedule, or both are approved.

1210.2 Pedestrian protection. The work of demolishing any building shall not be commenced until pedestrian protection is in place as required by Chapter 33 of the VCC.

1210.3 Means of egress. A horizontal exit shall not be destroyed unless and until a substitute means of egress has been provided and approved.

1210.4 Vacant lot. Where a structure has been demolished or removed, the vacant lot shall be filled and maintained to the existing grade or in accordance with the ordinances of the jurisdiction having authority.

1210.5 Water accumulation. Provisions shall be made to prevent the accumulation of water or damage to any foundations on the premises or the adjoining property.

1210.6 Utility connections. Service utility connections shall be discontinued and capped in accordance with the approved rules and the requirements of the applicable governing authority.

1210.7 Fire safety during demolition. Fire safety during demolition shall comply with the applicable requirements of the VCC and the applicable provisions of Chapter 33 of the International Fire Code.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 3, eff. November 16, 2005; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021; Volume 40, Issue 9, eff. January 18, 2024.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.