Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 36. Housing
Subtitle .
Chapter 6. Uniform Statewide Building Code
11/27/2022

Chapter 6. Uniform Statewide Building Code.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 36-97. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter requires otherwise, the following words or terms shall have the meaning herein ascribed to them, respectively:

"Board" means the Board of Housing and Community Development.

"Review Board" means the State Building Code Technical Review Board.

"Building Code" means the Uniform Statewide Building Code and building regulations adopted and promulgated pursuant thereto.

"Code provisions" means the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code as adopted and promulgated by the Board, and the amendments thereof as adopted and promulgated by such Board from time to time.

"Building regulations" means any law, rule, resolution, regulation, ordinance or code, general or special, or compilation thereof, heretofore or hereafter enacted or adopted by the Commonwealth or any county or municipality, including departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, or other agencies thereof, relating to construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, repair, maintenance, or use of structures and buildings and installation of equipment therein. The term does not include zoning ordinances or other land use controls that do not affect the manner of construction or materials to be used in the erection, alteration or repair of a building or structure.

"Municipality" means any city or town in this Commonwealth.

"Local governing body" means the governing body of any city, county or town in this Commonwealth.

"Local building department" means the agency or agencies of any local governing body charged with the administration, supervision, or enforcement of the Building Code and regulations, approval of plans, inspection of buildings, or issuance of permits, licenses, certificates or similar documents.

"State agency" means any state department, board, bureau, commission, or agency of this Commonwealth.

"Building" means a combination of any materials, whether portable or fixed, having a roof to form a structure for the use or occupancy by persons, or property. The word "building" shall be construed as though followed by the words "or part or parts thereof" unless the context clearly requires a different meaning. "Building" shall not include roadway tunnels and bridges owned by the Department of Transportation, which shall be governed by construction and design standards approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

"Equipment" means plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, elevators, dumbwaiters, escalators, and other mechanical additions or installations.

"Farm building or structure" means a building or structure not used for residential purposes, located on property where farming operations take place, and used primarily for any of the following uses or combination thereof:

1. Storage, handling, production, display, sampling or sale of agricultural, horticultural, floricultural or silvicultural products produced in the farm;

2. Sheltering, raising, handling, processing or sale of agricultural animals or agricultural animal products;

3. Business or office uses relating to the farm operations;

4. Use of farm machinery or equipment or maintenance or storage of vehicles, machinery or equipment on the farm;

5. Storage or use of supplies and materials used on the farm; or

6. Implementation of best management practices associated with farm operations.

"Construction" means the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair or conversion of buildings and structures.

"Owner" means the owner or owners of the freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, or lessee in control of a building or structure.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Structure" means an assembly of materials forming a construction for occupancy or use including stadiums, gospel and circus tents, reviewing stands, platforms, stagings, observation towers, radio towers, water tanks, storage tanks (underground and aboveground), trestles, piers, wharves, swimming pools, amusement devices, storage bins, and other structures of this general nature but excluding water wells. The word "structure" shall be construed as though followed by the words "or part or parts thereof" unless the context clearly requires a different meaning. "Structure" shall not include roadway tunnels and bridges owned by the Department of Transportation, which shall be governed by construction and design standards approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

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

1972, c. 829; 1974, cc. 622, 668; 1975, c. 394; 1977, cc. 423, 613; 1978, c. 703; 1986, c. 401; 1993, c. 662; 1994, c. 256; 1998, c. 755; 2005, c. 341.

§ 36-98. Board to promulgate Statewide Code; other codes and regulations superseded; exceptions.

The Board is hereby directed and empowered to adopt and promulgate a Uniform Statewide Building Code. Such building code shall supersede the building codes and regulations of the counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions and state agencies.

However, such Code shall not supersede the regulations of other state agencies which require and govern the functional design and operation of building related activities not covered by the Uniform Statewide Building Code including but not limited to (i) public water supply systems, (ii) waste water treatment and disposal systems, and (iii) solid waste facilities. Nor shall state agencies be prevented from requiring, pursuant to other state law, that buildings and equipment be maintained in accordance with provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

Such Code also shall supersede the provisions of local ordinances applicable to single-family residential construction that (a) regulate dwelling foundations or crawl spaces, (b) require the use of specific building materials or finishes in construction, or (c) require minimum surface area or numbers of windows; however, such Code shall not supersede proffered conditions accepted as a part of a rezoning application, conditions imposed upon the grant of special exceptions, special or conditional use permits or variances, conditions imposed upon a clustering of single-family homes and preservation of open space development through standards, conditions, and criteria established by a locality pursuant to subdivision 8 of § 15.2-2242 or § 15.2-2286.1, or land use requirements in airport or highway overlay districts, or historic districts created pursuant to § 15.2-2306, or local flood plain regulations adopted as a condition of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 613; 1979, c. 718; 1980, c. 104; 1982, c. 267; 2001, c. 525; 2002, c. 703; 2006, c. 903.

§ 36-98.01. Mechanics' lien agent included on building permit for residential property at request of applicant.

In addition to any information required by the Uniform Statewide Building Code, a building permit issued for any one- or two-family residential dwelling unit shall at the time of issuance contain, at the request of the applicant, the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the mechanics' lien agent as defined in § 43-1. If the designation of a mechanics' lien agent is not so requested by the applicant, the building permit shall at the time of issuance state that none has been designated with the words "None Designated."

1992, cc. 779, 787.

§ 36-98.1. State buildings; exception for certain assets owned by the Department of Transportation.

A. The Building Code shall be applicable to all state-owned buildings and structures, and to all buildings and structures built on state-owned property, with the exception that §§ 2.2-1159 through 2.2-1161 shall provide the standards for ready access to and use of state-owned buildings by the physically handicapped.

Any state-owned building or structure, or building or structure built on state-owned property, for which preliminary plans were prepared or on which construction commenced after the initial effective date of the Uniform Statewide Building Code, shall remain subject to the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code that were in effect at the time such plans were completed or such construction commenced. Subsequent reconstruction, renovation or demolition of such building or structure shall be subject to the pertinent provisions of the Building Code.

Acting through the Division of Engineering and Buildings, the Department of General Services shall function as the building official for any state-owned buildings or structures and for all buildings and structures built on state-owned property. The Department shall review and approve plans and specifications, grant modifications, and establish such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this section. It may provide for the (i) inspection of state-owned buildings or structures and for all buildings and structures built on state-owned property and (ii) enforcement of the Building Code and standards for access by the physically handicapped by delegating inspection and Building Code enforcement duties to the State Fire Marshal's Office, to other appropriate state agencies having needed expertise, and to local building departments, all of which shall provide such assistance within a reasonable time and in the manner requested. State agencies and institutions occupying buildings shall pay to the local building department the same fees as would be paid by a private citizen for the services rendered when such services are requested by the Department of General Services. The Department of General Services may alter or overrule any decision of the local building department after having first considered the local building department's report or other rationale given for its decision. When altering or overruling any decision of a local building department, the Department of General Services shall provide the local building department with a written summary of its reasons for doing so.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A and § 27-99, roadway tunnels and bridges owned by the Department of Transportation shall be exempt from the Building Code and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code Act (§ 27-94 et seq.). The Department of General Services shall not have jurisdiction over such roadway tunnels, bridges, and other limited access highways; provided, however, that the Department of General Services shall have jurisdiction over any occupied buildings within any Department of Transportation rights-of-way that are subject to the Building Code.

Roadway tunnels and bridges shall be designed, constructed, and operated to comply with fire safety standards based on nationally recognized model codes and standards to be developed by the Department of Transportation in consultation with the State Fire Marshal. Emergency response planning and activities related to the standards shall be developed by the Department of Transportation and coordinated with the appropriate local officials and emergency services providers. On an annual basis the Department of Transportation shall provide a report on the maintenance and operability of installed fire protection and detection systems in roadway tunnels and bridges to the State Fire Marshal.

C. Except as provided in subsection E of § 23.1-1016, and notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, at the request of a public institution of higher education, the Department, as further set forth in this subsection, shall authorize that institution of higher education to contract with a building official of the locality in which the construction is taking place to perform any inspection and certifications required for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.). The Department shall publish administrative procedures that shall be followed in contracting with a building official of the locality. The authority granted to a public institution of higher education under this subsection to contract with a building official of the locality shall be subject to the institution meeting the conditions prescribed in subsection A of § 23.1-1002.

D. This section shall not apply to the nonhabitable structures, equipment, and wiring owned by a public service company, a certificated provider of telecommunications services, or a franchised cable operator that are built on rights-of-way owned or controlled by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

1981, c. 325; 1982, c. 97; 1986, c. 133; 2005, cc. 341, 933, 945; 2010, c. 105; 2013, cc. 585, 646.

§ 36-98.2. Appeals from decision of Building Official regarding state-owned buildings.

Appeals by the involved state agency from the decision of the Building Official for state-owned buildings shall be made directly to the State Building Code Technical Review Board.

1982, c. 97.

§ 36-98.3. Amusement devices.

A. The Board shall have the power and duty to promulgate regulations pertaining to the construction, maintenance, operation and inspection of amusement devices. "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. A "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 by ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans. Regulations promulgated hereunder shall include provisions for the following:

1. The issuance of certificates of inspection prior to the operation of an amusement device;

2. The demonstration of financial responsibility of the owner or operator of the amusement device prior to the operation of an amusement device;

3. Maintenance inspections of existing amusement devices;

4. Reporting of accidents resulting in serious injury or death;

5. Immediate investigative inspections following accidents involving an amusement device that result in serious injury or death;

6. Certification of amusement device inspectors;

7. Qualifications of amusement device operators;

8. Notification by amusement device owners or operators of an intent to operate at a location within the Commonwealth; and

9. A timely reconsideration of the decision of the local building department when an amusement device owner or operator is aggrieved by such a decision.

B. In promulgating regulations, the Board shall have due regard for generally accepted standards as recommended by nationally recognized organizations. Where appropriate, the Board shall establish separate standards for mobile amusement devices and for amusement devices permanently affixed to a site.

C. To assist the Board in the administration of this section, the Board shall appoint an Amusement Device Technical Advisory Committee, which shall be composed of five members who, by virtue of their education, training or employment, have demonstrated adequate knowledge of amusement devices or the amusement industry. The Board shall determine the terms of the Amusement Device Technical Advisory Committee members. The Amusement Device Technical Advisory Committee shall recommend standards for the construction, maintenance, operation and inspection of amusement devices, including the qualifications of amusement device operators and the certification of inspectors, and otherwise perform advisory functions as the Board may require.

D. Inspections required by this section shall be performed by persons certified by the Board pursuant to subdivision 6 of § 36-137 as competent to inspect amusement devices. The provisions of § 36-105 notwithstanding, the local governing body shall enforce the regulations promulgated by the Board for existing amusement devices. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the local governing body from authorizing inspections to be performed by persons who are not employees of the local governing body, provided those inspectors are certified by the Board as provided herein. The Board is authorized to conduct or cause to be conducted any inspection required by this section, provided that the person performing the inspection on behalf of the Board is certified by the Board as provided herein.

E. To the extent they are not superseded by the provisions of this section and the regulations promulgated hereunder, the provisions of this chapter and the Uniform Statewide Building Code shall apply to amusement devices.

1986, c. 427; 1991, c. 152; 2011, c. 546.

§ 36-98.4. Agritourism event buildings.

The Board shall appoint an Agritourism Event Structure Technical Advisory Committee, consisting of nine members. The nine members shall be appointed one each from the following: Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Wineries Association, the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, a craft beverage manufacturer, the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia Fire Prevention Association, the Virginia Fire Services Board, and the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association.

2022, c. 262.

§ 36-99. Provisions of Code; modifications.

A. The Building Code shall prescribe building regulations to be complied with in the construction and rehabilitation of buildings and structures, and the equipment therein as defined in § 36-97, and shall prescribe regulations to ensure that such buildings and structures are properly maintained, and shall also prescribe procedures for the administration and enforcement of such regulations, including procedures to be used by the local building department in the evaluation and granting of modifications for any provision of the Building Code, provided the spirit and functional intent of the Building Code are observed and public health, welfare and safety are assured. The provisions of the Building Code and modifications thereof shall be such as to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Commonwealth, provided that buildings and structures should be permitted to be constructed, rehabilitated and maintained at the least possible cost consistent with recognized standards of health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation, including provisions necessary to prevent overcrowding, rodent or insect infestation, and garbage accumulation; and barrier-free provisions for the physically handicapped and aged. Such regulations shall be reasonable and appropriate to the objectives of this chapter.

B. In formulating the Code provisions, the Board shall have due regard for generally accepted standards as recommended by nationally recognized organizations, including, but not limited to, the standards of the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, farm buildings and structures shall be exempt from the provisions of the Building Code, except for a building or a portion of a building located on a farm that is operated as a restaurant as defined in § 35.1-1 and licensed as such by the Board of Health pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 35.1-11 et seq.) of Title 35.1. However, farm buildings and structures lying within a flood plain or in a mudslide-prone area shall be subject to flood-proofing regulations or mudslide regulations, as applicable.

C. Where practical, the Code provisions shall be stated in terms of required level of performance, so as to facilitate the prompt acceptance of new building materials and methods. When generally recognized standards of performance are not available, such provisions shall provide for acceptance of materials and methods whose performance has been found by the local building department, on the basis of reliable test and evaluation data, presented by the proponent, to be substantially equal in safety to those specified.

D. The Board, upon a finding that sufficient allegations exist regarding failures noted in several localities of performance standards by either building materials, methods, or design, may conduct hearings on such allegations if it determines that such alleged failures, if proven, would have an adverse impact on the health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth. After at least 21 days' written notice, the Board shall convene a hearing to consider such allegations. Such notice shall be given to the known manufacturers of the subject building material and as many other interested parties, industry representatives, and trade groups as can reasonably be identified. Following the hearing, the Board, upon finding that (i) the current technical or administrative Code provisions allow use of or result in defective or deficient building materials, methods, or designs, and (ii) immediate action is necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth, may issue amended regulations establishing interim performance standards and Code provisions for the installation, application, and use of such building materials, methods or designs in the Commonwealth. Such amended regulations shall become effective upon their publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations. Any amendments to regulations adopted pursuant to this subsection shall become effective upon their publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations and shall be effective for a period of 24 months or until adopted, modified, or repealed by the Board.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 433; 1975, c. 394; 1977, cc. 423, 613; 1978, c. 581; 1981, c. 2; 1982, c. 267; 1998, c. 755; 2000, c. 751; 2002, c. 555; 2003, cc. 436, 650, 901.

§ 36-99.01. Provisions related to rehabilitation of existing buildings.

A. The General Assembly hereby declares that (i) there is an urgent need to improve the housing conditions of low and moderate income individuals and families, many of whom live in substandard housing, particularly in the older cities of the Commonwealth; (ii) there are large numbers of older residential buildings in the Commonwealth, both occupied and vacant, which are in urgent need of rehabilitation and which must be rehabilitated if the State's citizens are to be housed in decent, sound, and sanitary conditions; and (iii) the application of those building code requirements currently in force to housing rehabilitation has sometimes led to the imposition of costly and time-consuming requirements that result in a significant reduction in the amount of rehabilitation activity taking place.

B. The General Assembly further declares that (i) there is an urgent need to improve the existing condition of many of the Commonwealth's stock of commercial properties, particularly in older cities; (ii) there are large numbers of older commercial buildings in the Commonwealth, both occupied and vacant, that are in urgent need of rehabilitation and that must be rehabilitated if the citizens of the Commonwealth are to be provided with decent, sound and sanitary work spaces; and (iii) the application of the existing building code to such rehabilitation has sometimes led to the imposition of costly and time-consuming requirements that result in a significant reduction in the amount of rehabilitation activity taking place.

C. The Board is hereby directed and empowered to make such changes as are necessary to fulfill the intent of the General Assembly as expressed in subsections A and B, including, but not limited to amendments to the Building Code and adequate training of building officials, enforcement personnel, contractors, and design professionals throughout the Commonwealth.

2000, c. 35; 2002, c. 555.

§ 36-99.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 895, effective July 1, 1995.

§ 36-99.2. Standards for replacement glass.

Any replacement glass installed in buildings constructed prior to the effective date of the Uniform Statewide Building Code shall meet the quality and installation standards for glass installed in new buildings as are in effect at the time of installation.

1976, c. 137.

§ 36-99.3. Smoke alarms and automatic sprinkler systems in institutions of higher education.

A. Buildings at institutions of higher education that contain dormitories for sleeping purposes shall be provided with battery operated or AC powered smoke alarm devices installed therein in accordance with the Building Code. All dormitories at public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education shall have installed and use due diligence in maintaining in good working order such alarms regardless of when the building was constructed.

B. The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations pursuant to § 2.2-4011 establishing standards for automatic sprinkler systems throughout all buildings at private institutions of higher education and public institutions of higher education that are (i) more than 75 feet or more than six stories high and (ii) used, in whole or in part, as dormitories to house students. Such buildings shall be equipped with automatic sprinkler systems by September 1, 1999, regardless of when such buildings were constructed.

C. The chief administrative office of the institution of higher education shall obtain a certificate of compliance with the provisions of this section from the building official of the locality in which the institution of higher education is located or, in the case of state-owned buildings, from the Director of the Department of General Services.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any dormitory at a military public institution of higher education that is patrolled 24 hours a day by military guards.

1982, c. 357; 1997, c. 584; 2018, cc. 41, 81.

§ 36-99.4. Smoke alarms in certain juvenile care facilities.

Battery operated or AC powered smoke alarm devices shall be installed in all local and regional detention homes, group homes, and other residential care facilities for children or juveniles that are operated by or under the auspices of the Department of Juvenile Justice, regardless of when the building was constructed, in accordance with the provisions of the Building Code. Administrators of such homes and facilities shall be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the smoke alarm devices.

1984, c. 179; 1989, c. 733; 2018, cc. 41, 81.

§ 36-99.5. Smoke alarms for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Smoke alarms for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be installed only in conformance with the provisions of the current Building Code and maintained in accordance with the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and subdivision C 6 of § 36-105, Part III of the Building Code. Such alarms shall be provided by the landlord or proprietor, upon request by a tenant of a rental unit or a person living with such tenant who is deaf or hard of hearing as referenced by the Virginia Fair Housing Law (§ 36-96.1 et seq.), or upon request by an occupant of any of the following occupancies, regardless of when constructed:

1. All dormitory buildings arranged for the shelter and sleeping accommodations of more than 20 individuals;

2. All boarding and lodging houses arranged for shelter and sleeping accommodations of more than five individuals; or

3. All residential rental dwelling units.

A tenant shall be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the smoke alarm in the tenant's unit in accordance with § 55.1-1227.

A hotel or motel shall have available no fewer than one such smoke alarm for each 70 units or portion thereof, except that this requirement shall not apply to any hotel or motel with fewer than 35 units. The proprietor of the hotel or motel shall post in a conspicuous place at the registration desk or counter a permanent sign stating the availability of smoke alarms for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Visual alarms shall be provided for all meeting rooms for which an advance request has been made.

The proprietor or landlord may require a refundable deposit for a smoke alarm, not to exceed the original cost or replacement cost, whichever is greater, of such smoke alarm. Rental fees shall not be increased as compensation for this requirement.

A landlord of a rental unit shall provide a reasonable accommodation to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing who requests installation of a smoke alarm that is appropriate for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing if such accommodation is appropriate in accordance with the Virginia Fair Housing Law (§ 36-96.1 et seq.).

1984, c. 753; 1988, c. 183; 2011, c. 766; 2018, cc. 41, 81; 2019, c. 288.

§ 36-99.5:1. Smoke alarms and other fire detection and suppression systems in assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and nursing homes and facilities.

A. Battery operated or AC powered smoke alarm devices shall be installed in all assisted living facilities and adult day care centers licensed by the Department of Social Services, regardless of when the building was constructed. The location and installation of the smoke alarms shall be determined by the Building Code.

The licensee shall obtain a certificate of compliance from the building official of the locality in which the facility or center is located, or in the case of state-owned buildings, from the Department of General Services.

The licensee shall maintain the smoke alarm devices in good working order.

B. The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) establishing standards for requiring (i) smoke alarms and (ii) such other fire detection and suppression systems as deemed necessary by the Board to increase the safety of persons in assisted living facilities, residential dwelling units designed or developed and marketed to senior citizens, nursing homes, and nursing facilities. All nursing homes and nursing facilities that are already equipped with sprinkler systems shall comply with regulations relating to smoke alarms.

1988, c. 55; 1990, cc. 448, 703; 1992, c. 356; 1993, cc. 957, 993; 2004, c. 584; 2018, cc. 41, 81.

§ 36-99.6. Underground and aboveground storage tank inspections.

A. The Board of Housing and Community Development shall incorporate, as part of the Building Code, regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Water Control Board governing the installation, repair, upgrade and closure of underground and aboveground storage tanks.

B. Inspections undertaken pursuant to such Building Code regulations shall be done by employees of the local building department or another individual authorized by the local building department.

1987, c. 528; 1992, c. 456; 1994, c. 256.

§ 36-99.6:1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 256.

§ 36-99.6:2. Installation of in-building emergency communication equipment for emergency public safety personnel.

The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations as part of the Building Code requiring such new commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings as determined by the Board be (i) designed and constructed so that emergency public safety personnel may send and receive emergency communications from within those structures or (ii) equipped with emergency communications equipment so that emergency public safety personnel may send and receive emergency communications from within those structures.

For the purposes of this section:

"Emergency communications equipment" includes, but is not limited to, two-way radio communications, signal boosters, bi-directional amplifiers, radiating cable systems or internal multiple antenna, or any combination of the foregoing.

"Emergency public safety personnel" includes firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and other emergency public safety personnel routinely called upon to provide emergency assistance to members of the public in a wide variety of emergency situations, including, but not limited to, fires, medical emergencies, violent crimes, and terrorist attacks.

2003, c. 611.

§ 36-99.6:3. Regulation of HVAC facilities.

The Board shall promulgate regulations in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) establishing standards for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) facilities in new, privately owned residential dwellings.

2004, c. 132.

§ 36-99.7. Asbestos inspection in buildings to be renovated or demolished; exceptions.

A. A local building department shall not issue a building permit allowing a building for which an initial building permit was issued before January 1, 1985, to be renovated or demolished until the local building department receives certification from the owner or his agent that the affected portions of the building have been inspected for the presence of asbestos by an individual licensed to perform such inspections pursuant to § 54.1-503 and that no asbestos-containing materials were found or that appropriate response actions will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act National Emission Standard for the Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAPS) (40 CFR 61, Subpart M), and the asbestos worker protection requirements established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for construction workers ( 29 CFR 1926.1101 ). Local educational agencies that are subject to the requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) shall also certify compliance with 40 CFR 763 and subsequent amendments thereto.

B. To meet the inspection requirements of subsection A except with respect to schools, asbestos inspection of renovation projects consisting only of repair or replacement of roofing, floorcovering, or siding materials may be satisfied by a statement that the materials to be repaired or replaced are assumed to contain friable asbestos and that asbestos installation, removal, or encapsulation will be accomplished by a licensed asbestos contractor.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to single-family dwellings or residential housing with four or fewer units, unless the renovation or demolition of such buildings is for commercial or public development purposes. The provisions of this section shall not apply if the combined amount of regulated asbestos-containing material involved in the renovation or demolition is less than 260 linear feet on pipes or less than 160 square feet on other facility components or less than thirty-five cubic feet off facility components where the length or area could not be measured previously.

D. An abatement area shall not be reoccupied until the building official receives certification from the owner that the response actions have been completed and final clearances have been measured. The final clearance levels for reoccupancy of the abatement area shall be 0.01 or fewer asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter if determined by Phase Contrast Microscopy analysis (PCM) or 70 or fewer structures per square millimeter if determined by Transmission Electron Microscopy analysis (TEM).

1987, c. 656; 1988, c. 723; 1989, c. 398; 1990, c. 823; 1993, c. 660; 1996, c. 742; 1997, c. 166.

§ 36-99.8. Skirting.

Manufactured homes installed or relocated pursuant to the Building Code shall have skirting installed within sixty days of occupancy of the home. Skirting materials shall be durable, suitable for exterior exposures, and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions. Skirting shall be secured as necessary to ensure stability, to minimize vibrations, to minimize susceptibility to wind damage, and to compensate for possible frost heave. Each manufactured home shall have a minimum of one opening in the skirting providing access to any water supply or sewer drain connections under the home. Such openings shall be a minimum of eighteen inches in any dimension and not less than three square feet in area. The access panel or door shall not be fastened in a manner requiring the use of a special tool to open or remove the panel or door. On-site fabrication of the skirting by the owner or installer of the home shall be acceptable, provided that the material meets the requirements of the Building Code.

As used in this section, "skirting" means a weather-resistant material used to enclose the space from the bottom of the manufactured home to grade.

1990, c. 593.

§ 36-99.9. Standards for fire suppression systems in certain facilities.

The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations by October 1, 1990, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act, Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2, establishing standards for fire suppression systems in nursing facilities and nursing homes, regardless of when such facilities or institutions were constructed. In the development of these standards, the Board shall seek input from relevant state agencies.

Units consisting of certified long-term care beds described in this section and § 32.1-126.2 located on the ground floor of general hospitals shall be exempt from the requirements of this section.

1990, c. 804.

§ 36-99.9:1. Standards for fire suppression systems in hospitals.

The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations, to be effective by October 1, 1995, in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), establishing standards for automatic sprinkler systems in hospitals, regardless of when such facilities were constructed. In the development of these standards, the Board shall seek input from relevant state and local agencies as well as affected institutions.

For the purposes of this section and § 32.1-126.3, "automatic sprinkler system" means a device for suppressing fire in patient rooms and other areas of the hospital customarily used for patient care.

1995, c. 631.

§ 36-99.10. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 187.

§ 36-99.10:1. Standards for installation of acoustical treatment measures in certain buildings and structures.

The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations by October 1, 1994, for installation of acoustical treatment measures for construction in areas affected by above average noise levels from aircraft due to their proximity to flight operations at nearby airports. Such regulations shall provide for implementation at the option of a local governing body pursuant to the provisions of § 15.2-2295.

1994, c. 745; 2002, c. 180.

§ 36-99.11. Identification of disabled parking spaces by above grade signage.

A. All parking spaces reserved for the use of persons with disabilities shall be identified by above grade signs, regardless of whether identification of such spaces by above grade signs was required when any particular space was reserved for the use of persons with disabilities. A sign or symbol painted or otherwise displayed on the pavement of a parking space shall not constitute an above grade sign. Any parking space not identified by an above grade sign shall not be a parking space reserved for the disabled within the meaning of this section.

B. All above grade disabled parking space signs shall have the bottom edge of the sign no lower than four feet nor higher than seven feet above the parking surface. Such signs shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

C. Building owners shall install above grade signs identifying all parking spaces reserved for the use of persons with disabilities in accordance with this section and the applicable provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code by January 1, 1993.

D. Effective July 1, 1998, all disabled parking signs shall include the following language: PENALTY, $100-500 Fine, TOW-AWAY ZONE. Such language may be placed on a separate sign and attached below existing above grade disabled parking signs, provided that the bottom edge of the attached sign is no lower than four feet above the parking surface.

1992, cc. 753, 764; 1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 36-100. Notice and hearings on adoption of Code, amendments and repeals.

The adoption, amendment, or repeal of any Code provisions shall be exempt from the Administrative Process Act, Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2, pursuant to subdivision A 12 of § 2.2-4006. Before the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any Code provisions, the Board shall hold at least one public hearing. In addition to the notice requirement contained therein, the Board shall notify in writing the building official or, where none, the local governing body of every city or county in the Commonwealth. At any such hearing all persons desiring to do so shall be afforded an opportunity to present their views.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 613; 1991, c. 49; 2006, c. 719; 2010, c. 65.

§ 36-101. Effective date of Code; when local codes may remain in effect.

No Code provisions shall be made effective prior to January 1, 1973, or later than September 1, 1973; provided that the initial Building Code shall not become effective earlier than 180 days after the publication thereof.

It is further provided that where, in the opinion of the Review Board, local codes are in substantial conformity with the State Code the local code may, with the concurrence of the Review Board remain in effect for two years from the effective day of the State Code for transition to implementation of the State Code.

1972, c. 829.

§ 36-102. Modification, amendment or repeal of Code provisions.

The Board may modify, amend or repeal any Code provisions from time to time as the public interest requires, after notice and hearing as provided in § 36-100 of this chapter. No such modification or amendment shall be made effective earlier than thirty days from the adoption thereof.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 613.

§ 36-103. Buildings, etc., existing or projected before effective date of Code.

Any building or structure, for which a building permit has been issued or on which construction has commenced, or for which working drawings have been prepared in the year prior to the effective date of the Building Code, shall remain subject to the building regulations in effect at the time of such issuance or commencement of construction. However, the Board may adopt and promulgate as part of the Building Code, building regulations that facilitate the maintenance, rehabilitation, development and reuse of existing buildings at the least possible cost to ensure the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. Subsequent reconstruction, renovation, repair or demolition of such buildings or structures shall be subject to the pertinent construction and rehabilitation provisions of the Building Code. The provisions of this section shall be applicable to equipment. However, building owners may elect to install partial or full fire alarms or other safety equipment that was not required by the Building Code in effect at the time a building was constructed without meeting current Building Code requirements, provided the installation does not create a hazardous condition. Permits for installation shall be obtained in accordance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

1972, c. 829; 1976, c. 638; 1982, c. 267; 1986, c. 32; 2002, c. 555; 2003, c. 650.

§ 36-104. Code to be printed and furnished on request; true copy.

The Department shall have printed from time to time and keep available in pamphlet form all Code provisions. Such pamphlets shall be furnished upon request to members of the public. A true copy of all such provisions adopted and in force shall be kept in the office of the Department, accessible to the public. The Department may charge a reasonable fee for distribution of the Building Code based on production and distribution costs.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 298; 1977, c. 613.

§ 36-105. Enforcement of Code; appeals from decisions of local department; inspection of buildings; inspection warrants; inspection of elevators; issuance of permits.

A. Enforcement generally. Enforcement of the provisions of the Building Code for construction and rehabilitation shall be the responsibility of the local building department. There shall be established within each local building department a local board of Building Code appeals whose composition, duties and responsibilities shall be prescribed in the Building Code. Any person aggrieved by the local building department's application of the Building Code or refusal to grant a modification to the provisions of the Building Code may appeal to the local board of Building Code appeals. No appeal to the State Building Code Technical Review Board shall lie prior to a final determination by the local board of Building Code appeals. Whenever a county or a municipality does not have such a building department or board of Building Code appeals, the local governing body shall enter into an agreement with the local governing body of another county or municipality or with some other agency, or a state agency approved by the Department for such enforcement and appeals resulting therefrom.

For the purposes of this section, towns with a population of less than 3,500 may elect to administer and enforce the Building Code; however, where the town does not elect to administer and enforce the Building Code, the county in which the town is situated shall administer and enforce the Building Code for the town. In the event that such town is situated in two or more counties, those counties shall administer and enforce the Building Code for that portion of the town situated within their respective boundaries. Additionally, the local governing body of a county or municipality may enter into an agreement with the governing body of another county or municipality for the provision to such county or municipality's local building department of technical assistance with administration and enforcement of the Building Code.

B. New construction. Any building or structure may be inspected at any time before completion, and shall not be deemed in compliance until approved by the inspecting authority. Where the construction cost is less than $2,500, however, the inspection may, in the discretion of the inspecting authority, be waived. A building official may issue an annual permit for any construction regulated by the Building Code. The building official shall coordinate all reports of inspections for compliance with the Building Code, with inspections of fire and health officials delegated such authority, prior to issuance of an occupancy permit. Fees may be levied by the local governing body in order to defray the cost of such enforcement and appeals. With the exception of the levy imposed pursuant to § 36-137, any fees levied pursuant to this subsection shall be used only to support the functions of the local building department.

C. Existing buildings and structures.

1. Inspections and enforcement of the Building Code. The local governing body may also inspect and enforce the provisions of the Building Code for existing buildings and structures, whether occupied or not. Such inspection and enforcement shall be carried out by an agency or department designated by the local governing body.

2. Complaints by tenants. However, upon a finding by the local building department, following a complaint by a tenant of a residential dwelling unit that is the subject of such complaint, that there may be a violation of the unsafe structures provisions of the Building Code, the local building department shall enforce such provisions.

3. Inspection warrants. If the local building department receives a complaint that a violation of the Building Code exists that is an immediate and imminent threat to the health or safety of the owner, tenant, or occupants of any building or structure, or the owner, occupant, or tenant of any nearby building or structure, and the owner, occupant, or tenant of the building or structure that is the subject of the complaint has refused to allow the local building official or his agent to have access to the subject building or structure, the local building official or his agent may make an affidavit under oath before a magistrate or a court of competent jurisdiction and request that the magistrate or court grant the local building official or his agent an inspection warrant to enable the building official or his agent to enter the subject building or structure for the purpose of determining whether violations of the Building Code exist. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate or judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54. After executing the warrant, the local building official or his agents shall return the warrant to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the inspection was made. The local building official or his agent shall make a reasonable effort to obtain consent from the owner, occupant, or tenant of the subject building or structure prior to seeking the issuance of an inspection warrant under this section.

4. Transfer of ownership. If the local building department has initiated an enforcement action against the owner of a building or structure and such owner subsequently transfers the ownership of the building or structure to an entity in which the owner holds an ownership interest greater than 50 percent, the pending enforcement action shall continue to be enforced against the owner.

5. Elevator, escalator, or related conveyance inspections. The local governing body shall, however, inspect and enforce the Building Code for elevators, escalators, or related conveyances, except for elevators in single- and two-family homes and townhouses. Such inspection shall be carried out by an agency or department designated by the local governing body.

6. A locality may require by ordinance that any landmark, building or structure that contributes to a district delineated pursuant to § 15.2-2306 shall not be razed, demolished or moved until the razing, demolition or moving thereof is approved by the review board, or, on appeal, by the governing body after consultation with the review board unless the local maintenance code official consistent with the Uniform Statewide Building Code, Part III Maintenance, determines that it constitutes such a hazard that it shall be razed, demolished or moved.

For the purpose of this subdivision, a contributing landmark, building or structure is one that adds to or is consistent with the historic or architectural qualities, historic associations, or values for which the district was established pursuant to § 15.2-2306, because it (i) was present during the period of significance, (ii) relates to the documented significance of the district, and (iii) possesses historic integrity or is capable of yielding important information about the period.

7. Fees may be levied by the local governing body in order to defray the cost of such enforcement and appeals. For purposes of this section, "defray the cost" may include the fair and reasonable costs incurred for such enforcement during normal business hours, but shall not include overtime costs unless conducted outside of the normal working hours established by the locality. A schedule of such costs shall be adopted by the local governing body in a local ordinance. A locality shall not charge an overtime rate for inspections conducted during the normal business hours established by the locality. With the exception of the levy imposed pursuant to § 36-137, any fees levied pursuant to this subdivision shall be used only to support the functions of the local building department. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit a private entity from conducting such inspections, provided the private entity has been approved to perform such inspections in accordance with the written policy of the maintenance code official for the locality.

D. Issuance of permits.

1. Fees may be levied by the local governing body to be paid by the applicant for the issuance of a building permit as otherwise provided under this chapter; however, notwithstanding any provision of law, general or special, if the applicant for a building permit is a tenant or the owner of an easement on the owner's property, such applicant shall not be denied a permit under the Building Code solely upon the basis that the property owner has financial obligations to the locality that constitute a lien on such property in favor of the locality. If such applicant is the property owner, in addition to payment of the fees for issuance of a building permit, the locality may require full payment of any and all financial obligations of the property owner to the locality to satisfy such lien prior to issuance of such permit. For purposes of this subdivision, "property owner" means the owner of such property as reflected in the land records of the circuit court clerk where the property is located, the owner's agent, or any entity in which the owner holds an ownership interest greater than 50 percent.

2. In the event that a local building department denies an application for the issuance of a building permit, the local building department shall provide to the applicant a written explanation detailing the reasons for which the application was denied. The applicant may submit a revised application addressing the reasons for which the application was previously denied, and if the applicant does so, the local building department shall be encouraged, but not required, to limit its review of the revised application to only those portions of the application that were previously deemed inadequate and that the applicant has revised.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 433; 1977, cc. 423, 613; 1978, c. 578; 1981, c. 498; 1982, c. 267; 1992, c. 73; 1993, c. 328; 1994, cc. 214, 256, 574; 1995, cc. 95, 523, 702, 827; 1999, cc. 333, 341; 2001, c. 119; 2002, c. 720; 2003, c. 650; 2004, c. 851; 2006, c. 424; 2007, c. 291; 2009, cc. 181, 184, 551, 586; 2010, c. 63; 2012, cc. 494, 607; 2014, c. 354; 2018, c. 222; 2019, c. 698.

§ 36-105.01. Elevator inspections by contract.

The inspection of elevators in existing buildings and the enforcement of the Building Code for elevators shall be in compliance with the regulations adopted by the Board. The building department may also provide for such inspection by an approved agency or through agreement with other local certified elevator inspectors. An approved agency includes any individual, partnership or corporation who has met the certification requirements established by the Board. The Board shall establish such qualifications and procedures as it deems necessary to certify an approved agency. Such qualifications and procedures shall be based upon nationally accepted standards.

1994, c. 574; 1999, cc. 333, 341.

§ 36-105.1. Inspection and review of plans of buildings under construction.

Inspections of buildings other than state-owned buildings under construction and the review and approval of building plans for these structures for enforcement of the Uniform Statewide Building Code shall be the sole responsibility of the appropriate local building inspectors. Upon completion of such structures, responsibility for fire safety protection shall pass to the State Fire Marshal pursuant to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code in those localities which do not enforce the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).

1989, c. 258.

§ 36-105.1:1. Rental inspections; rental inspection districts; exemptions; penalties.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Dwelling unit" means a building or structure or part thereof that is used for a home or residence by one or more persons who maintain a household.

"Owner" means the person shown on the current real estate assessment books or current real estate assessment records.

"Residential rental dwelling unit" means a dwelling unit that is leased or rented to one or more tenants. However, a dwelling unit occupied in part by the owner thereof shall not be construed to be a residential rental dwelling unit unless a tenant occupies a part of the dwelling unit which has its own cooking and sleeping areas, and a bathroom, unless otherwise provided in the zoning ordinance by the local governing body.

B. Localities may inspect residential rental dwelling units. The local governing body may adopt an ordinance to inspect residential rental dwelling units for compliance with the Building Code and to promote safe, decent and sanitary housing for its citizens, in accordance with the following:

1. Except as provided in subdivision B 3, the dwelling units shall be located in a rental inspection district established by the local governing body in accordance with this section, and

2. The rental inspection district is based upon a finding by the local governing body that (i) there is a need to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the occupants of dwelling units inside the designated rental inspection district; (ii) the residential rental dwelling units within the designated rental inspection district are either (a) blighted or in the process of deteriorating, or (b) the residential rental dwelling units are in the need of inspection by the building department to prevent deterioration, taking into account the number, age and condition of residential dwelling rental units inside the proposed rental inspection district; and (iii) the inspection of residential rental dwelling units inside the proposed rental inspection district is necessary to maintain safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for tenants and other residents living in the proposed rental inspection district. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize one or more locality-wide rental inspection districts and a local governing body shall limit the boundaries of the proposed rental inspection districts to such areas of the locality that meet the criteria set out in this subsection, or

3. An individual residential rental dwelling unit outside of a designated rental inspection district is made subject to the rental inspection ordinance based upon a separate finding for each individual dwelling unit by the local governing body that (i) there is a need to protect the public health, welfare and safety of the occupants of that individual dwelling unit; (ii) the individual dwelling unit is either (a) blighted or (b) in the process of deteriorating; or (iii) there is evidence of violations of the Building Code that affect the safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for tenants living in such individual dwelling unit.

For purposes of this section, the local governing body may designate a local government agency other than the building department to perform all or part of the duties contained in the enforcement authority granted to the building department by this section.

C. 1. Notification to owners of dwelling units. Before adopting a rental inspection ordinance and establishing a rental inspection district or an amendment to either, the governing body of the locality shall hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. Notice of the hearing shall be published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published or having general circulation in the locality.

Upon adoption by the local governing body of a rental inspection ordinance, the building department shall make reasonable efforts to notify owners of residential rental dwelling units in the designated rental inspection district, or their designated managing agents, and to any individual dwelling units subject to the rental inspection ordinance, not located in a rental inspection district, of the adoption of such ordinance, and provide information and an explanation of the rental inspection ordinance and the responsibilities of the owner thereunder.

2. Notification by owners of dwelling units to locality. The rental inspection ordinance may include a provision that requires the owners of dwelling units in a rental inspection district to notify the building department in writing if the dwelling unit of the owner is used for residential rental purposes. The building department may develop a form for such purposes. The rental inspection ordinance shall not include a registration requirement or a fee of any kind associated with the written notification pursuant to this subdivision. A rental inspection ordinance may not require that the written notification from the owner of a dwelling unit subject to a rental inspection ordinance be provided to the building department in less than 60 days after the adoption of a rental inspection ordinance. However, there shall be no penalty for the failure of an owner of a residential rental dwelling unit to comply with the provisions of this subsection, unless and until the building department provides personal or written notice to the property owner, as provided in this section. In any event, the sole penalty for the willful failure of an owner of a dwelling unit who is using the dwelling unit for residential rental purposes to comply with the written notification requirement shall be a civil penalty of up to $50. For purposes of this subsection, notice sent by regular first class mail to the last known address of the owner as shown on the current real estate tax assessment books or current real estate tax assessment records shall be deemed compliance with this requirement.

D. Initial inspection of dwelling units when rental inspection district is established. Upon establishment of a rental inspection district in accordance with this section, the building department may, in conjunction with the written notifications as provided for in subsection C, proceed to inspect dwelling units in the designated rental inspection district to determine if the dwelling units are being used as a residential rental property and for compliance with the provisions of the Building Code that affect the safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants of such property.

E. Provisions for initial and periodic inspections of multifamily dwelling units. If a multifamily development has more than 10 dwelling units, in the initial and periodic inspections, the building department shall inspect only a sampling of dwelling units, of not less than two and not more than 10 percent of the dwelling units, of a multifamily development, which includes all of the multifamily buildings which are part of that multifamily development. In no event, however, shall the building department charge a fee authorized by this section for inspection of more than 10 dwelling units. If the building department determines upon inspection of the sampling of dwelling units that there are violations of the Building Code that affect the safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants of such multifamily development, the building department may inspect as many dwelling units as necessary to enforce the Building Code, in which case, the fee shall be based upon a charge per dwelling unit inspected, as otherwise provided in subsection H.

F. 1. Follow-up inspections. Upon the initial or periodic inspection of a residential rental dwelling unit subject to a rental inspection ordinance, the building department has the authority under the Building Code to require the owner of the dwelling unit to submit to such follow-up inspections of the dwelling unit as the building department deems necessary, until such time as the dwelling unit is brought into compliance with the provisions of the Building Code that affect the safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants.

2. Periodic inspections. Except as provided in subdivision F 1, following the initial inspection of a residential rental dwelling unit subject to a rental inspection ordinance, the building department may inspect any residential rental dwelling unit in a rental inspection district, that is not otherwise exempted in accordance with this section, no more than once each calendar year.

G. Exemptions from rental inspection ordinance.

1. Upon the initial or periodic inspection of a residential rental dwelling unit subject to a rental inspection ordinance for compliance with the Building Code, provided that there are no violations of the Building Code that affect the safe, decent and sanitary living conditions for the tenants of such residential rental dwelling unit, the building department shall provide, to the owner of such residential rental dwelling unit, an exemption from the rental inspection ordinance for a minimum of four years. Upon the sale of a residential rental dwelling unit, the building department may perform a periodic inspection as provided in subdivision F 2, subsequent to such sale. If a residential rental dwelling unit has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the last four years, an exemption shall be granted for a minimum period of four years from the date of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy by the building department. If the residential rental dwelling unit becomes in violation of the Building Code during the exemption period, the building department may revoke the exemption previously granted under this section.

2. The local governing body may exempt a residential rental unit otherwise subject to a rental inspection ordinance provided such unit is managed by (i) any person licensed under the provisions of § 54.1-2106.1; (ii) any (a) property manager or (b) managing agent of a landlord as defined in § 551-1200; (iii) any owner of a publicly traded entity that manages its own multifamily residential rental units; or (iv) any owner or managing agent who, in the determination of the local governing body, has achieved a satisfactory designation as a professional property manager.

H. A local governing body may establish a fee schedule for enforcement of the Building Code, which includes a per dwelling unit fee for the initial inspections, follow-up inspections and periodic inspections under this section.

I. The provisions of this section shall not, in any way, alter the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants pursuant to the applicable provisions of Chapter 12 (§ 55.1-1200 et seq.) or Chapter 14 (§ 55.1-1400 et seq.) of Title 55.1.

J. The provisions of this section shall not alter the duties or responsibilities of the local building department under § 36-105 to enforce the Building Code.

K. Unless otherwise provided in this section, penalties for violation of this section shall be the same as the penalties provided in the Building Code.

2004, c. 851; 2009, c. 663; 2016, c. 338.

§ 36-105.2. Expired.

Expired.

§ 36-105.3. Security of certain records.

Building Code officials shall institute procedures to ensure the safe storage and secure handling by local officials having access to or in the possession of engineering and construction drawings and plans containing critical structural components, security equipment and systems, ventilation systems, fire protection equipment, mandatory building emergency equipment or systems, elevators, electrical systems, telecommunications equipment and systems, and other utility equipment and systems submitted for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).

Further, information contained in engineering and construction drawings and plans for any single-family residential dwelling submitted for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) shall not be subject to disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), except to the applicant or the owner of the property upon the applicant's or owner's request.

2003, c. 891; 2017, c. 510; 2018, cc. 42, 92.

§ 36-105.4. Occupancy standards for residential dwelling units.

The owner or managing agent of a residential dwelling unit may develop and implement occupancy standards restricting the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling unit to two persons per bedroom, which is presumed to be reasonable. For purposes of Chapter 5.1 (§ 36-96.1 et seq.), such occupancy standard is subject to the provisions of applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Under the Uniform Statewide Building Code, each bedroom shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and each bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant. Reasonable occupancy standards of an owner or managing agent shall not be enforceable under the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

2013, c. 526.

§ 36-105.5. Enforcement of Building Code on Indian reservations.

A. Recognizing the unique relationship between the Commonwealth and certain of its state-recognized Indian tribes, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Commonwealth nor any locality therein is responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) on any Indian reservation recognized by the Commonwealth whereupon a state-recognized Indian tribe has, by duly enacted tribal ordinance, adopted the Uniform Statewide Building Code and (i) assumed sole responsibility for existing buildings and new construction on the reservation and (ii) for purposes of enforcing the ordinance, retained firms or individuals to function as the building official on such reservation.

B. Nothing in this section shall be construed to confer or infer responsibility or liability on any party for any action undertaken prior to July 1, 2015.

2015, c. 135.

§ 36-106. Violation a misdemeanor; civil penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner or any other person, firm or corporation, on or after the effective date of any Code provisions, to violate any such provisions. Any such violation shall be deemed a misdemeanor and any owner or any other person, firm or corporation convicted of such a violation shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,500. In addition, each day the violation continues after conviction or the court-ordered abatement period has expired shall constitute a separate offense. If the violation remains uncorrected at the time of the conviction, the court shall order the violator to abate or remedy the violation in order to comply with the Code. Except as otherwise provided by the court for good cause shown, any such violator shall abate or remedy the violation within six months of the date of conviction. Each day during which the violation continues after the court-ordered abatement period has ended shall constitute a separate offense. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a first offense under this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,500. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a first offense under this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,500. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense involving the same property committed within 10 years of an offense under this chapter after having been at least twice previously convicted shall be punished by confinement in jail for not more than 10 days and a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, either or both. No portion of the fine imposed for such third or subsequent offense committed within 10 years of an offense under this chapter shall be suspended.

B. Violations of any provision of the Building Code, adopted and promulgated pursuant to § 36-103, that results in a dwelling not being a safe, decent and sanitary dwelling, as defined in § 25.1-400, in a locality where the local governing body has taken official action to enforce such provisions, shall be deemed a misdemeanor and any owner or any other person, firm, or corporation convicted of such a violation shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,500. In addition, each day the violation continues after conviction or the expiration of the court-ordered abatement period shall constitute a separate offense. If the violation remains uncorrected at the time of the conviction, the court shall order the violator to abate or remedy the violation in order to comply with the Code. Except as otherwise provided by the court for good cause shown, any such violator shall abate or remedy the violation within six months of the date of conviction. Each day during which the violation continues after the court-ordered abatement period has ended shall constitute a separate offense. Any person convicted of a second offense, committed within less than five years after a first offense under this chapter shall be punished by confinement in jail for not more than five days and a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,500, either or both. Provided, however, that the provision for confinement in jail shall not be applicable to any person, firm, or corporation, when such violation involves a multiple-family dwelling unit. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a first offense under this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,500. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense involving the same property, committed within 10 years of an offense under this chapter after having been at least twice previously convicted, shall be punished by confinement in jail for not more than 10 days and a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, either or both. No portion of the fine imposed for such third or subsequent offense committed within 10 years of an offense under this chapter shall be suspended.

C. Any locality may adopt an ordinance which establishes a uniform schedule of civil penalties for violations of specified provisions of the Code which are not abated, or otherwise remedied through hazard control, promptly after receipt of notice of violation from the local enforcement officer.

This schedule of civil penalties shall be uniform for each type of specified violation, and the penalty for any one violation shall be a civil penalty of not more than $100 for the initial summons and not more than $350 for each additional summons. Each day during which the violation is found to have existed shall constitute a separate offense. However, specified violations arising from the same operative set of facts shall not be charged more frequently than once in any 10-day period, and a series of specified violations arising from the same operative set of facts shall not result in civil penalties which exceed a total of $4,000. Designation of a particular Code violation for a civil penalty pursuant to this section shall be in lieu of criminal sanctions, and except for any violation resulting in injury to persons, such designation shall preclude the prosecution of a violation as a misdemeanor.

Any person summoned or issued a ticket for a scheduled violation may make an appearance in person or in writing by mail to the department of finance or the treasurer of the locality prior to the date fixed for trial in court. Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability, and pay the civil penalty established for the offense charged. Such persons shall be informed of their right to stand trial and that a signature to an admission of liability will have the same force and effect as a judgment of court. As a condition of waiver of trial, admission of liability, and payment of a civil penalty, the violator and a representative of the locality shall agree in writing to terms of abatement or remediation of the violation within six months after the date of payment of the civil penalty.

If a person charged with a scheduled violation does not elect to enter a waiver of trial and admit liability, the violation shall be tried in the general district court in the same manner and with the same right of appeal as provided for by law. In any trial for a scheduled violation authorized by this section, it shall be the burden of the locality to show the liability of the violator by a preponderance of the evidence. An admission of liability or finding of liability shall not be a criminal conviction for any purpose.

If the violation concerns a residential unit, and if the violation remains uncorrected at the time of assessment of the civil penalty, the court shall order the violator to abate, or otherwise remedy through hazard control, the violation in order to comply with the Code. Except as otherwise provided by the court for good cause shown, any such violator shall abate, or otherwise remedy through hazard control, the violation within six months of the date of the assessment of the civil penalty.

If the violation concerns a nonresidential building or structure, and if the violation remains uncorrected at the time of assessment of the civil penalty, the court may order the violator to abate, or otherwise remedy through hazard control, the violation in order to comply with the Code. Any such violator so ordered shall abate, or otherwise remedy through hazard control, the violation within the time specified by the court.

D. Any owner or any other person, firm or corporation violating any Code provisions relating to lead hazard controls that poses a hazard to the health of pregnant women and children under the age of six years who occupy the premises shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,500. If the court convicts pursuant to this subsection and sets a time by which such hazard must be controlled, each day the hazard remains uncontrolled after the time set for the lead hazard control has expired shall constitute a separate violation of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The landlord shall maintain the painted surfaces of the dwelling unit in compliance with the International Property Maintenance Code of the Uniform Statewide Building Code. The landlord's failure to do so shall be enforceable in accordance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and shall entitle the tenant to terminate the rental agreement.

Termination of the rental agreement or any other action in retaliation against the tenant after written notification of (i) a lead hazard in the dwelling unit or (ii) that a child of the tenant, who is an authorized occupant in the dwelling unit, has an elevated blood lead level, shall constitute retaliatory conduct in violation of § 55.1-1258.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a local enforcement officer from issuing a summons or a ticket for violation of any Code provision to the lessor or sublessor of a residential dwelling unit, provided a copy of the notice is served on the owner.

F. Any prosecution under this section shall be commenced within the period provided for in § 19.2-8.

1972, c. 829; 1975, c. 367; 1991, c. 655; 1992, cc. 435, 650; 1993, c. 788; 1994, c. 342; 1995, c. 494; 1998, c. 664; 1999, cc. 251, 362, 392, 1014; 2000, c. 68; 2006, c. 746; 2007, cc. 290, 760; 2010, cc. 87, 94; 2011, cc. 118, 143; 2013, c. 529.

§ 36-107. Employment of personnel for administration of chapter.

Subject to the provisions of Chapter 29 (§ 2.2-2900 et seq.) of Title 2.2, the Director may employ such permanent and temporary clerical, technical and other assistants as are necessary or advisable for the proper administration of the provision of this chapter.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 668; 1977, c. 613.

§ 36-107.1. Sale of residential structure with lead-based paint levels exceeding Code standards; penalty.

Whenever any property owner has been notified by local building officials or representatives of local health departments that any residential premises has levels of lead-based paint in violation of this chapter, such property owner shall notify prospective purchasers in writing of the presence of unacceptable levels of lead-based paint in such premises and the requirements concerning the removal of the same. Such notification shall include a copy of any notice the property owner received from local building officials or representatives of local health departments advising of the presence of unacceptable levels of lead-based paint in such premises.

The notice required herein shall be provided to prospective purchasers prior to the signing of a purchase or sales agreement or, if there is no purchase or sales agreement, prior to the signing of a deed. The requirements shall not apply to purchase and sales agreements or deeds signed prior to July 1, 1991. Transactions in which sellers have accepted written offers prior to July 1, 1991, but have not signed a purchase or sales agreement or a deed prior to July 1, 1991, shall be subject to the notice requirements.

Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall be liable for all damages caused by his failure to comply and shall, in addition, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.

1991, c. 266.

Article 2. State Building Code Technical Review Board.

§ 36-108. Board continued; members.

There is hereby continued, in the Department, the State Building Code Technical Review Board, consisting of 14 members, appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The members shall include one member who is a registered architect, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects; one member who is a professional engineer in private practice, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers; one member who is a residential builder, selected from a slate presented by the Home Builders Association of Virginia; one member who is a general contractor, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia Branch, Associated General Contractors of America; two members who have had experience in the field of enforcement of building regulations, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association; one member who is employed by a public agency as a fire prevention officer, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association; one member whose primary occupation is commercial or retail construction or operation and maintenance, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia chapters of Building Owners and Managers Association, International; one member whose primary occupation is residential, multifamily housing construction or operation and maintenance, selected from a slate presented by the Virginia chapters of the National Apartment Association; one member who is an electrical contractor who has held a Class A license for at least 10 years; one member who is a plumbing contractor who has held a Class A license for at least 10 years and one member who is a heating and cooling contractor who has held a Class A license for at least 10 years, both of whom are selected from a combined slate presented by the Virginia Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors and the Virginia Chapters of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America; and two members from the Commonwealth at large who may be members of local governing bodies. The members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 668; 1976, c. 484; 1977, cc. 92, 613; 1993, c. 626; 1997, c. 860; 2003, c. 950.

§ 36-109. Officers; secretary.

The Review Board, under rules adopted by itself, shall elect one of its members as chairman, for a term of two years, and may elect one of its members as vice-chairman. The Review Board may also elect a secretary, who may be a nonmember.

1972, c. 829.

§ 36-110. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1980, c. 728.

§ 36-111. Oath and bonds.

Before entering upon the discharge of his duties, each member of the Review Board shall take an oath that he will faithfully and honestly execute the duties of his office during his continuance therein and shall be bonded in accordance with § 2.2-1840, conditioned upon the faithful discharge of his duties.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 668; 1977, c. 613; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 152.

§ 36-112. Meetings.

The Review Board shall meet at the call of the chairman, or at the written request of at least three of its members; provided that it shall act within thirty days following receipt of any appeal made under the provisions of this chapter.

1972, c. 829.

§ 36-113. Offices.

The Review Board shall be furnished adequate space and quarters in the suite of offices of the Department, and such Board's main office shall be therein.

1972, c. 829; 1974, c. 668; 1977, c. 613.

§ 36-114. Board to hear appeals.

The Review Board shall have the power and duty to hear all appeals from decisions arising under application of the Building Code, the Virginia Amusement Device Regulations adopted pursuant to § 36-98.3, the Fire Prevention Code adopted under the Statewide Fire Prevention Code Act (§ 27-94 et seq.), and rules and regulations implementing the Industrialized Building Safety Law (§ 36-70 et seq.), and to render its decision on any such appeal, which decision shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom. Proceedings of the Review Board shall be governed by the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), except that an informal conference pursuant to § 2.2-4019 shall not be required.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 423; 1986, cc. 37, 429; 1994, c. 406; 2003, c. 650; 2010, c. 63.

§ 36-115. Subpoenas; witnesses; designation of subordinates.

In any matter before it on appeal for hearing and determination, the Review Board, or its designated subordinates, may compel the attendance of all needed witnesses in like manner as a circuit court, save the Review Board shall not have the power of imprisonment. In taking evidence, the chairman or any member of the Review Board, or its designated subordinates, shall have the power to administer oaths to witnesses. Where a designated subordinate of the Review Board presides over hearings on appeals, such subordinate shall submit recommended findings and a decision to the Review Board pursuant to § 2.2-4020.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 423; 1996, c. 620.

§ 36-116. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 613.

§ 36-117. Record of decisions.

A record of all decisions of the Review Board, properly indexed, shall be kept in the office of such Board. Such record shall be open to public inspection at all times during business hours.

1972, c. 829.

§ 36-118. Interpretation of Code; recommendation of modifications.

The Review Board shall interpret the provisions of the Building Code, and the Fire Prevention Code, and shall make such recommendations, which it deems appropriate, to the Board for modification, amendment or repeal of any of such provisions. A record of all such recommendations, and of the Board's actions thereon, shall be kept in the office of the Review Board. Such record shall be open to public inspection at all times during business hours.

1972, c. 829; 1977, c. 613; 1986, c. 429.

§ 36-119. Rules and regulations under § 36-73 not superseded.

This chapter shall not amend, supersede, or repeal the rules and regulations prescribing standards to be complied with, in industrialized building units and mobile homes promulgated under § 36-73.

1972, c. 829.

§ 36-119.1. Existing buildings.

This chapter shall not supersede provisions of the Fire Prevention Code promulgated by the Board under § 27-97, that prescribe standards to be complied with in existing buildings or structures, provided that such regulations shall not impose requirements that are more restrictive than those of the Uniform Statewide Building Code under which the buildings or structures were constructed. Subsequent alteration, enlargement, rehabilitation, repair, or conversion of the occupancy classification of such buildings and structures shall be subject to the construction and rehabilitation provisions of the Building Code.

1986, c. 429; 1988, c. 199; 2002, c. 555; 2003, c. 650.