Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
12/1/2021

Part I. General Provisions

13VAC5-31-10. Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to establish standards for the regulation, design, construction, maintenance, operation, and inspection of amusement devices.

B. The provisions of the USBC, including but not limited to all administrative procedures shall apply in the administration and enforcement of this chapter and to amusement devices to the extent such provisions are not superseded by the provisions of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003.

13VAC5-31-20. Definitions.

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Amusement device" means (i) a device or structure open to the public by which persons are conveyed or moved in an unusual manner for diversion, but excluding snow tubing parks and rides, ski terrain parks, ski slopes, and ski trails, and (ii) passenger tramways. For the purpose of this definition, the phrase "open to the public" means that the public has full access to a device or structure at an event, irrespective of whether a fee is charged. The use of devices or structures at private events is not considered to be open to the public.

"Bungee cord" means the elastic rope to which the jumper is attached which lengthens and shortens to produce a bouncing action.

"Carabineer" means a shaped metal device with a gate used to connect sections of a bungee cord, jump rigging, equipment, or safety gear.

"Certificate of inspection" means the certificate or sticker for amusement devices distributed by DHCD.

"DHCD" means the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Gravity ride" means a ride that is installed on an inclined surface, which depends on gravity for its operation to convey a passenger from the top of the incline to the bottom, and which conveys a passenger in or on a carrier tube, bag, bathing suit, or clothes.

"Ground operator" means a person who assists the jump master to prepare a jumper for jumping.

"Harness" means an assembly to be worn by a bungee jumper to be attached to a bungee cord. It is designed to prevent the wearer from becoming detached from the bungee system.

"Institutional trampoline" means a trampoline intended for use in a commercial or institutional facility.

"Jump master" means a person who has responsibility for the bungee jumper and who takes the jumper through the final stages to the actual jump.

"Jump zone" means the space bounded by the maximum designed movements of the bungee jumper.

"Jumper" means the person who departs from a height attached to a bungee system.

"Landing area" means the surface area of ground or water directly under the jump zone, the area where the lowering device moves the bungee jumper to be landed away from the jump space and the area covered by the movement of the lowering device.

"Local building department" means the agency or agencies of the governing body of any city, county or town in this Commonwealth charged with the enforcement of the USBC.

"Operating manual" means the document that contains the procedures and forms for the operation of bungee jumping equipment and activity at a site.

"Passenger tramway" means a device used to transport passengers uphill, and suspended in the air by the use of steel cables, chains or belts, or ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans.

"Platform" means the equipment attached to the structure from which the bungee jumper departs.

"Private inspector" means a person performing inspections who is independent of the company, individual or organization owning, operating or having any vested interest in an amusement device being inspected.

"Small mechanical ride" means an amusement device, other than an inflatable amusement device, where (i) the assembly time for the device is two hours or less, (ii) the revolutions per minute of any rotation of the components of the device is not greater than seven, (iii) the device has a footprint of less than 500 square feet, and (iv) the device does not invert a patron or lift a patron more than three feet in the air, measured from the ground to the bottom of the patron's feet when the device is operating.

"Trampoline court" means a defined area comprising one or more institutional trampolines or a series of institutional trampolines.

"Ultimate tensile strength" means the greatest amount of load applied to a bungee cord prior to failure.

"USBC" means the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (13VAC5-63).

B. Words and terms used in this chapter which are defined in the USBC shall have the meaning ascribed to them in that regulation unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

C. Words and terms used in this chapter which are defined in the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in those standards unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 3, eff. November 16, 2005; 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 27, Issue 26, eff. September 28, 2011; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

13VAC5-31-30. Devices covered and exempt.

A. The following devices, identified by name or description, when open to the public shall be considered amusement devices subject to this chapter. The list is intended only to clarify questionable devices, while the definition of an "amusement device" in 13VAC5-31-20 is generally used to determine the applicability of this chapter.

1. Inflatable amusement devices;

2. Zip lines; and

3. Trampoline courts.

B. The following equipment or devices shall not be considered amusement devices subject to this chapter:

1. Nonmechanized playground or recreational equipment such as swing sets, sliding boards, climbing bars, jungle gyms, skateboard ramps and similar equipment where no admission fee is charged for its use or for admittance to areas where the equipment is located;

2. Coin-operated rides designed to accommodate three or less passengers;

3. Water slides or similar equipment used in community association, community club or community organization swimming pools;

4. Mechanical bulls or similar devices;

5. Devices known as mall trains, shopping mall trains, or electric trackless trains for malls; and

6. Devices known as water walking balls, euro bubbles, or similar devices.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

13VAC5-31-40. Incorporated standards.

A. The following standards are hereby incorporated by reference for use as part of this chapter:

1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard B77.1-2017 for the regulation of passenger tramways; and

2. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Nos. F747-15, F770-18, F1159-16, F1193-18, F1957-99 (2017), F2007-18, F2137-18, F2291-19, F2374-19, F2375-09 (2017), F2376-17a, F2460-11, F2461-18, F2959-18, F2960-16, F2970-17, F2974-19, and F3054-18 for the regulation of amusement devices.

The standards referenced above may be procured from:

ANSI
25 W 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

ASTM
100 Barr Harbor Dr.
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959

B. The provisions of this chapter govern where they are in conflict with any provisions of the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter.

C. The following requirements supplement the provisions of the ASTM standards incorporated by reference in this chapter:

1. The operator of an amusement device shall be at least 16 years of age, except when the person is under the supervision of a parent or guardian and engaged in activities determined not to be hazardous by the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry;

2. The amusement device shall be attended by an operator at all times during operation except that (i) one operator is permitted to operate two or more amusement devices provided they are within the sight of the operator and operated by a common control panel or station and (ii) one operator is permitted to operate two small mechanical rides with separate controls provided the distance between controls is no more than 35 feet and the controls are equipped with a positive pressure switch; and

3. The operator of an amusement device shall not be (i) under the influence of any drugs which may affect the operator's judgment or ability to assure the safety of the public or (ii) under the influence of alcohol.

D. Where an amusement device was manufactured under previous editions of the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter, the previous editions shall apply to the extent that they are different from the current standards.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 3, eff. November 16, 2005; 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; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

13VAC5-31-50. Certification of amusement device inspectors.

Any person, including local building department personnel, inspecting an amusement device relative to a certificate of inspection shall possess certification as an amusement device inspector in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

Note: Continuing education and periodic training requirements for DHCD certifications are set out in the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 3, eff. November 16, 2005; 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 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018.

13VAC5-31-60. Appeals.

Appeals from the local building department concerning the application of this chapter shall be made to the local board of building code appeals established by the USBC. Application for appeal shall be filed with the local building department within 14 calendar days after receipt of the decision of the local building department. The board of appeals shall hear the appeal within seven calendar days after the application for appeal is filed. After final determination by the board, any person who was a party to the appeal may appeal to the State Building Code Technical Review Board, established under § 36-108 of the Code of Virginia, within 14 calendar days of receipt of the decision to be appealed. Such appeal shall be in accordance with the procedures established in the USBC, under the authority granted by § 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia where the provisions of Chapter 6 (§ 36-97 et seq.) of Title 36 of the Code of Virginia and the USBC apply to amusement devices.

NOTE: Because of the short time frames normally associated with amusement device operations, DHCD staff will be available to assist in finding a timely resolution to disagreements between owners or operators and the local building department upon request by either party.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 25, eff. October 1, 2003; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014.

13VAC5-31-70. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 12, eff. April 15, 1997; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008.

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