Administrative Code

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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.

A. Replace Chapter 12 of the IEBC with the following:

B. Change the title of Chapter 12 of the IEBC to "Construction Safeguards."

C. Add Section 1201 General.

D. Add Sections 1201.1 through 1201.4 to the IEBC to read:

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 which prevents injury or damage to persons, adjoining properties, and public rights-of-way.

E. Add Sections 1201.5 through 1201.7, including subsections, to the IEBC to read:

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 Section 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 4 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 8 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 2-inch by 4-inch 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 2 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 4 feet (1219 mm) on center, provided a 2-inch by 4-inch (51 mm by 102 mm) stiffener is placed horizontally at the mid-height where the stud spacing exceeds 2 feet (610 mm) on center.

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

1201.6.5 Covered walkways. Covered walkways shall have a minimum clear height of 8 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 2-inch by 6-inch members.

2. Posts not less than 4-inches by 6-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 4-inches by 12-inches shall be placed on edge upon the posts.

4. Joists resting on the stringers shall be at least 2-inches by 8-inches and shall be spaced not more than 2 feet (610 mm) on center.

5. The deck shall be planks at least 2 inches (51 mm) thick or wood structural panels with an exterior exposure durability classification at least 2-3/32-inch (18.3 mm) thick nailed to the joists.

6. Each post shall be knee-braced to joists and stringers by 2-inch by 4-inch minimum members 4 feet (1219 mm) long.

7. A 2-inch by 4-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 5 feet (1524 mm) or less from the street lot line shall be enclosed with a barrier not less than 6 feet (1829 mm) high. Where located more than 5 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.

1201.7 Facilities required. Sanitary facilities shall be provided during construction or demolition activities in accordance with the International Plumbing Code.

F. Change Section 1202 to Protection of Adjoining Properties.

G. Change Section 1202.1 to the IEBC to read:

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.

H. Delete Sections 1202.2 through 1202.4 of the IEBC.

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

J. Change Sections 1203.1 through 1203.3 to the IEBC to read:

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 obstruct 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.

K. Delete Sections 1203.4 through 1203.12, including subsections, of the IEBC.

L. Add Section 1204 Fire Extinguishers.

M. Change Section 1204.1, deleting subsections, and add Section 1204.2 to the IEBC to read:

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.

N. Change Section 1205 to Means of Egress.

O. Change Sections 1205.1 and 1205.2 to the IEBC to read:

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.

P. Delete Sections 1205.3 through 1205.15 of the IEBC.

Q. Change Section 1206 to Standpipe Systems.

R. Change Sections 1206.1 through 1206.2 and add Section 1206.3 to the IEBC to read:

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 is existing within such a building, such standpipe shall be maintained in an operable condition 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.

S. Add Section 1207 Automatic Sprinkler System.

T. Add Sections 1207.1 and 1207.2 to the IEBC to read:

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 110.3.

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.

U. Add Section 1208 Accessibility.

V. Add Section 1208.1 to the IEBC to read:

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.

W. Add Section 1209 Water Supply for Fire Protection.

X. Add Section 1209.1 to the IEBC to read:

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.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 22, Issue 03, 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.

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