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 6. Criminal Justice and Corrections
Agency 15. Department of Corrections
Chapter 81. Standards for Planning, Design, Construction, and Reimbursement of Local Correctional Facilities
2/25/2020

6VAC15-81-930. Structural Systems - Walls, Floors, Roofs, Ceilings.

A. Wall systems - general. Walls encompassing areas occupied by inmates shall provide a secure barrier for their entire height and length, both horizontally and vertically, to prevent unauthorized ingress or egress. Security walls shall provide continuity at adjacent security walls, horizontal security barriers or the secure perimeter. The joints and voids between secure walls and horizontal security barrier shall be protected with materials of security level equivalent to the remainder of the wall.

1. Security walls.

a. Security perimeter walls shall be of masonry, concrete, steel, or other approved noncombustible building material and shall comply with ASTM F2322 testing method Grade 1 to a minimum of 1,000 blow counts.

b. Interior security walls shall be of masonry, concrete, steel, or other approved noncombustible building material and shall comply with ASTM F2322 Grade 1. Security shall be maintained for the entire height of the wall and integrated with the next horizontal security barrier.

c. Security walls may be of the following materials and construction:

(1) Concrete masonry units with block cores filled solid with 3,000 psi grout in accordance with ASTM C476. All masonry mortar shall be a minimum of 2,500 psi compressive strength and comply with ASTM C270.

(a) Security perimeter walls shall have vertical #4 reinforcing rods in every masonry core spaced eight inches on center maximum. Every masonry core shall be grout filled.

(b) Interior security walls shall have vertical #4 reinforcing rods in every other masonry core spaced 16 inches on center maximum. Every masonry core shall be grout filled.

(2) Concrete walls may be cast in place or precast reinforced high-strength concrete panel. Walls shall be a minimum of 4,000 psi compressive strength (28-day break). Minimum thickness of solid core concrete shall be four inches. Refer to the Prestressed/Precast Concrete Institute to calculate the equivalent thickness of hollow core concrete panels. Hollow core plank shall not be used for security walls.

(3) Steel wall assemblies shall meet ASTM F2322 testing requirements Grade 1 or better and shall be coated with a zinc-iron-alloy (galvanneal) coating meeting ASTM A653, Commercial Steel (CS), coating designation A60 (Z180) designation or better. Walls shall be securely anchored to structural slabs in floor, adjacent security walls, and horizontal security barrier.

(4) Bar grille security walls shall be 2-1/4 inches by 3/8-inch steel flat bar frame with vertical 7/8-inch round double ribbed bars spaced five inches or less on center with 2-1/4 inches by 3/8-inch horizontal steel bars approximately 16 inches on center. Bar grille shall be securely anchored to adjacent security walls and horizontal security barriers.

(5) Woven rod security walls shall be fabricated from 3/8-inch diameter mild steel rods spaced not more than two inches on center in two directions, interwoven, and crimp-locked. Rods shall be anchored securely into a heavy gage (10-gage minimum) tubular steel frame or structural equivalent flat steel bar or channel. Frame shall be securely anchored to adjacent security walls and horizontal security barriers.

(6) Nonload bearing walls in inmate housing units less than 12 feet high shall have 12-gage steel continuous angles between overhead horizontal structural members on both sides. Voids located at the top of the wall shall be sealed with concrete masonry units grouted solid, solid concrete masonry units, or 3/16-inch metal plate. Walls in excess of 12 feet shall be stabilized but may use clip angles in lieu of continuous angles.

2. Wall penetrations.

a. Access doors or panels shall be the same security grade as the wall in which they are installed.

b. Access doors or panels to access building systems and equipment shall be a minimum of two-feet by two-feet.

c. Consideration shall be given to designing mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and security electronics systems to minimize access doors or panels in walls.

d. Ceiling access panels or doors within the secure perimeter shall be provided with panels and locks equivalent to the security level of the ceiling in which it is used.

e. Consideration shall be given to locating balancing dampers close to or integral with diffusers so they can be adjusted and checked without the installation of access panels.

f. Any opening behind a toilet fixture shall be protected in accordance with the requirements of the wall where it is installed.

3. Interior partitions within the secure perimeter.

a. Interior partitions shall be constructed of a minimum of six-inch concrete masonry units or equivalent.

b. Mortar utilized when the wall is of masonry unit construction shall be a minimum of 2000 psi compressive strength.

c. Openings in interior partitions.

(1) Doors and frames shall be a minimum of 1-3/4 inches thick commercial grade hollow metal with a minimum 16-gage door and 14-gage frame.

(2) Door hardware shall be a minimum of commercial grade.

(3) Windows shall have security glazing or tempered glass in accordance with 6VAC15-81-970.

B. Floor systems.

1. Floor systems within and including the secure perimeter shall be one of the following:

a. A poured-in-place concrete slab on grade with a minimum thickness of four inches and not less than continuous six-inch by six-inch by 10-gage embedded welded wire fabric reinforcing or equivalent.

b. Hollow core concrete plank system providing a minimum equivalent concrete thickness of:

(1) Three inches if cores are oval or round; or

(2) Four inches if cores are square or rectangular.

For purposes of calculating equivalent thickness for security, topping is not included.

c. Precast concrete tees providing a minimum equivalent concrete thickness of four inches at the flange. If topping is used, it shall be a normal weight concrete of a minimum of two inches thick and provide adequate cover for #4 rebar eight-inch on center in one direction or W4 welded wire mesh six-inch on center in both directions.

2. Floors in six-sided steel cells and six-sided precast concrete cells shall be tested in accordance with ASTM F2697 testing requirements Grade 1 to a minimum of 1,000 blows for horizontal assemblies.

C. Roof and ceiling systems.

1. Upper secure perimeter shall consist of a roof or ceiling as follows:

a. Roofs. The roof construction or uppermost secure perimeter shall be one of the following:

(1) A minimum of four inch standard weight concrete with a minimum strength of 3000 psi. Reinforcing shall consist of not less than continuous six-inch by six-inch by 10-gage embedded welded wire fabric reinforcing.

(2) Precast concrete plank or panels providing a minimum total concrete thickness of four inches.

(3) Hollow core concrete plank providing a minimum equivalent concrete thickness of:

(a) Three inches if cores are oval or round; or

(b) Four inches if cores are square or rectangular.

For purposes of calculating equivalent thickness for security, topping is not included.

(4) Three-inch standard weight concrete with a minimum strength of 3000 psi on 16 gage steel form (or decking) on concrete or steel support members.

(5) Three-inch standard weight concrete with a minimum strength of 3,000 psi with six-inch by six-inch by 10-gage wire fabric on a 22-gage steel form (or decking) on concrete or steel supporting members.

(6) Precast concrete tees providing a minimum equivalent concrete thickness of four inches. If topping is used, it shall be a normal weight concrete of a minimum of two inches thick and provide adequate cover for #4 rebar eight-inch on center in one direction or W4 welded wire mesh six-inch on center in both directions.

b. Ceilings. A ceiling used for the uppermost horizontal secure perimeter is acceptable if tested in accordance with ASTM F2697 testing requirements to a minimum of 1,000 blows.

2. Interior ceilings. Ceilings within the secure perimeter, but not serving as the secure perimeter, shall have or exceed the level of protection specified in the table in this subdivision.

Ceiling Location (within the secure perimeter):

Minimum ceiling height per min. clear ht.2

Security steel systems as approved by reviewing authority

Security gypsum board6,7

CWFAM with hold-down clips3

Gypsum board - single layer

Lay-in ACT with hold-down clips4

Exposed structure not requiring a ceiling1,2

Corridor in housing unit

10'

X

15'

Corridors in other than housing unit

8'

X

15'

Personnel sally port

8'

X

10'

Vehicular sally port

15'

15'

Inmate toilet

9'

X

Staff toilet

8'

X

Janitorial closet

8'

X

10'

Mechanical/electrical/maintenance rooms

9'

9'

Security electronics room5

9'

9'

Storage room

8'

X

15'

Office areas

8'

X

Tool rooms

8'

8'

Control room5

8'

X

Intake/booking/processing

9'

X

15'

Cells

7'6"

X

GP dayrooms-single level:

10'

X

15'

GP dayrooms-two level:

Perimeter ceiling areas above the tier walkway to a point 6'0" from the edge of tier railing

8'

X

Center part of dayroom ceilings, starting at 6'0" minimum horizontally from edge of tier railing

15'-AFF of dayroom

X

15'

Cells

7'6"

X

Dormitories

10'

X

15'

Inmate toilet areas9

9'

X

Inmate showers9

7'6"

Kitchen9

9'

X

Staff dining room

9'

X

Food storage

10'

X

12'

Laundry

10'

X

12'

Vocational shops

9'

X

12'

Indoor recreation main recreation

18'

18'

Classrooms, library, multipurpose and other similar spaces

10'

X

Visiting:

Contact visiting room

9'

X

Inmate search

9'

X

Noncontact visiting

9'

X

Medical:

Waiting rooms

9'

X

Exam rooms & treatment areas

9'

X

Medical offices, records

9'

X

Pharmacy5

9'

Warehouse

12'

Canteen

9'

X

12'

Property storage

12'

Ceiling Location

(outside the secure perimeter):

Armory5

9'

Community Custody

Corridor - community custody8

8'

X

12'

Community custody housing

10'

X

15'

Community custody entry/processing8

9'

X

12'

Multipurpose spaces

10'

X

12'

1Minimum clear height that does not require a ceiling. Clear height means distance from the floor to the ceiling or roof or lowest hanging or suspended utilities or fixture.

2Minimum clear height to lowest structure, ceiling panel, utility or fixture.

3Hold-down clips on cementitious wood fiber acoustical material (CWFAM) shall be equivalent to hurricane strength clips secured with screws.

4Hold-down clips on lay-in ceiling must not release under upward pressure without breaking or hold dislodging of panels without damage to the panels.

5Walls shall go up to floor or ceiling above or the area has a security cap.

6Security gypsum ceiling shall be constructed in accordance with the following: two layers of 5/8-inch gypsum wall board with 0.66 pounds per square foot, on 1/2-inch by 13-gage or 3/4-inch by nine-gage diamond mesh metal lath, per ASTM F1267, Type I or Type II securely fastened to the structure or structural supports.

7Cement plaster ceilings of not less than three-coat Portland cement plaster installed on approved heavy metal lath may be used in these locations.

8No hold-down clips are required.

9Moisture resistant material appropriate to wet locations shall be used.

3. Secure ceilings shall be provided in other areas where inmates are unsupervised.

4. Consideration shall be given to ensure that adequate space (a minimum of eight inches) is provided between the ceiling (including recessed lighting fixtures) and above ceiling building systems (e.g., duct, conduit, wiring, piping, tubing, structure, etc.) to allow for installation of the ceiling at the specified height.

5. Ceilings over showers and toilets shall be equivalent to security requirements of space in which it is located.

6. Security capping.

a. Any space surrounded by interior security walls that does not extend to a secure floor or roof structure above or uppermost horizontal secure perimeter shall be capped to comply with a material or assembly meeting the requirements of ASTM F2322 testing method to Grade 1 or with four inches of concrete or equivalent. This includes cells, control rooms, sally ports, and armories.

b. Open spaces above areas required to be security capped shall be protected to eliminate blind spots or access for hiding.

7. All penetrations of the uppermost secure perimeter shall be protected by maximum security opening protectives equivalent to types specified in 6VAC15-81-940, 6VAC15-81-950, and 6VAC15-81-960. Where operable, opening protective shall be equipped with maximum security locks in accordance with 6VAC15-81-950.

8. Access openings.

a. Consideration shall be given to designing mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and security electronics systems to minimize access doors or panels in ceilings.

b. Protection of openings shall be the same security grade as the ceiling in which it is installed.

c. All access openings to the space above security ceilings shall be protected by hinged metal access panels or doors equipped with keyed locks.

d. Access doors or panels to access building systems and equipment shall be a minimum of two-feet by two-feet.

e. Ceiling access panels or doors within the secure perimeter shall be independently and securely supported to prevent vertical displacement.

f. Consideration shall be given to locating balancing dampers close to or integral with diffusers so they can be adjusted and checked without the installation of access panels.

Statutory Authority

§§ 53.1-5, 53.1-80, and 53.1-82 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 12, eff. March 8, 2018.

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.