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The Division of Building Safety office hours are from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC), established criterias for building permits. In addition to permits for new construction, permits are needed for renovation, demolition, plumbing, gas, mechanical, electrical, fire protection and asbestos removal. Section 108 of the VUSBC specifies when a application and building permits are required.
VUSBC Section 110.5 states, "A permit shall be considered authority to proceed with construction in accordance with this Code, the approved construction documents, the permit application and any approved amendments or modifications. The permit shall not be construed to otherwise authorize the omission or amendment of any provision of this Code.
Building permits are required for most construction activity. VUSBC Section 108 requires a permit to be issued by the building code official when:
All building plans are reviewed by the Division of Building Safety subsequent to Planning & Development Services and Stormwater reviewing and approving their respective requirements.
A building permit can be issued when all the reviews have been completed, approved and all applicable fees been paid. Many projects will also require reviews by Public Works Utilities Operations and the Department of Fire and Life Safety. The reviews ensure that the project can be built within the code requirements and will reduce field inspection delays.
The Department of Fire and Life Safety reviews plans with the Division of Building Safety for fire alarms, commercial kitchen range hoods and sprinkler systems. Although building plans are jointly reviewed, the Department of Fire and Life Safety does not issue building permits. All construction plans should be submitted to the Division of Building Safety who in turn will forward them to Fire and Life Safety for review. Fire and Life Safety can be at (757) 890-3600.
In many cases, the above reviews may not be required or may be completed in a shorter time frame. The larger the projects the greater the impact and more reviews and approvals are required. It is always best to plan ahead for any size projects.
Commercial projects require an approved site plan before building permits can be issued. Building plans can be submitted for review before site plan approval and it is recommended that they are submitted simultaneously.
The plan review also includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Before a permit is issued all local and Hampton Roads utility connection fees must be paid. Standard fees may be obtained and can be paid through either the Division of Utility Billing in our Finance Department or the Utilities Operations Division of Public Works.
You do not need a permit for ordinary repairs and specific exceptions to the code.Ordinary repairs and Exceptions are:
Ordinary repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support, change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas or oil, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.
One story detached accessory structures not located in a designated flood zone and used as tool and storage shed, playhouse or similar uses provided the floor area does not exceed 256 square feet in size, the building eave height is 10 feet or less and the maximum height from the finished floor level to grade does not exceed 18 inches.
When a permit is required, it must be obtained before work begins. Only in emergency situations will work be allowed to start before obtaining a permit. These situations would include needs for emergency heat, hot water or replacement safety glass. Permits, notification and inspections must be obtained the next working day.
To view the full VRC, click here.
Habitable rooms shall have a floor area of not less that 70 square feet (6.5 m2).
Habitable space, hallways and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm). Bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, the required floor area of the room shall have a ceiling height of not less than 5 feet (1524 mm) and not less than 50 percent of the required floor area shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
2.The ceiling height above bathroom and toilet room fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above an area of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.
3.Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions in basements containing habitable space shall be permitted to project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.
Portions of basements that do not contain habitable space or hallways shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
Exception: At beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions, the ceiling height shall be not less than 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) from the finished floor.
Glazing adjacent to the landing at the bottom of a stairway where the glazing is less than 36 inches (914 mm) above the landing and within a 60-inch (1524 mm) horizontal arc less than 180 degrees from the bottom tread nosing shall be considered to be a hazardous location.
Exception: The glazing is protected by a guard complying with Section R312 and the plane of the glass is more than 18 inches (457 mm) from the guard.
Required guards at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies or landings, shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height as measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or the line connecting the leading edges of the treads.
1.Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height not less than 34 inches (864 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the leading edges of the treads.
2.Where the top of the guard serves as a handrail on the open sides of stairs, the top of the guard shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm) as measured vertically from a line connecting the leading edges of the treads.
Wood sill plates and wood walls supported directly on continuous foundations shall be anchored to the foundation in accordance with this section.
Cold-formed steel framing shall be anchored directly to the foundation or fastened to wood sill plates anchored to the foundation. Anchorage of cold-formed steel framing and sill plates supporting cold-formed steel framing shall be in accordance with this section and Section R505.3.1 or R603.3.1.
Wood sole plates at all exterior walls on monolithic slabs, wood sole plates of braced wall panels at building interiors on monolithic slabs and all wood sill plates shall be anchored to the foundation with minimum 1/2-inch-diameter (12.7 mm) anchor bolts spaced a maximum of 6 feet (1829 mm) on center or approved anchors or anchor straps spaced as required to provide equivalent anchorage to 1/2-inch-diameter (12.7 mm) anchor bolts. Bolts shall extend a minimum of 7 inches (178 mm) into concrete or grouted cells of concrete masonry units. The bolts shall be located in the middle third of the width of the plate. A nut and washer shall be tightened on each anchor bolt. There shall be a minimum of two bolts per plate section with one bolt located not more than 12 inches (305 mm) or less than seven bolt diameters from each end of the plate section. Interior bearing wall sole plates on monolithic slab foundation that are not part of a braced wall panel shall be positively anchored with approved fasteners. Sill plates and sole plates shall be protected against decay and termites where required by Sections R317 and R318.
1.Walls 24 inches (610 mm) total length or shorter connecting offset braced wall panels shall be anchored to the foundation with a minimum of one anchor bolt located in the center third of the plate section and shall be attached to adjacent braced wall panels at corners as shown in Item 9 of Table R602.3(1).
2.Connection of walls 12 inches (305 mm) total length or shorter connecting offset braced wall panels to the foundation without anchor bolts shall be permitted. The wall shall be attached to adjacent braced wall panels at corners as shown in Item 9 of Table R602.3(1).
Ducts shall be pressure tested to determine air leakage by one of the following methods:
1.Rough-in test: Total leakage shall be measured with a pressure differential of 0.1 inch w.g. (25 Pa) across the system, including the manufacturer’s air handler enclosure if installed at the time of the test. All registers shall be taped or otherwise sealed during the test.
2.Post-construction test: Total leakage shall be measured with a pressure differential of 0.1 inch w.g. (25 Pa) across the entire system, including the manufacturer’s air handler enclosure. Registers shall be taped or otherwise sealed during the test.
Exception: A duct air leakage test shall not be required where the ducts and air handlers are located entirely within the building thermal envelope.
A written report of the results of the test shall be signed by the party conducting the test and provided to the code official. The licensed mechanical contractor installing the mechanical system shall be permitted to perform the duct testing. The contractor shall have been trained on the equipment used to perform the test.
Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting more than 400 cubic feet per minute (0.19 m3/s) shall be provided with makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust air rate in excess of 400 cubic feet per minute (0.19 m3/s). Such makeup air systems shall be equipped with a means of closure and shall be automatically controlled to start and operate simultaneously with the exhaust system.
Exception: Intentional openings for makeup air are not required for kitchen exhaust systems capable of exhausting not greater than 600 cubic feet per minute (0.28 m3/s) provided that one of the following conditions is met:
1.Where the floor area within the air barrier of a dwelling unit is at least 1500 square feet (139.35 m2), and where natural draft or mechanical draft space-heating or water-heating appliances are not located within the air barrier.
2.Where the floor area within the air barrier of a dwelling unit is at least 3000 square feet (278.71 m2), and where natural draft space-heating or water-heating appliances are not located within the air barrier.
Each above-group portion of a gas piping system that is likely to become energized shall be electrically continuous and bonded to an effective groundfault current path. Gas piping shall be considered to be bonded where it is connected to appliances that are connected to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying that appliance. Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) piping systems listed with an arc-resistant jacket or coating system in accordance with ANSI LC 1/CSA 6.26 shall comply with this section. Where any CSST segments of a piping system are not listed with an arc-resistant jacket or coating system in accordance with ANSI LC 1/CSA 6.26, Section G2411.1.1 shall apply.
CSST gas piping systems and piping systems containing one or more segments of CSST not listed with an arc-resistant jacket or coating system in accordance with ANSI LC 1/CSA 6.26 shall be bonded to the electrical service grounding electrode system or, where provided, the lightning protection electrode system and shall comply with Sections G24188.8.131.52 through G24184.108.40.206.
The boding jumper shall connect to a metallic pipe, pipe fitting or CSST fitting.
The bonding jumper shall be not smaller than 6 AWG copper wire of equivalent.
The length of the bonding jumper between the connection to a gas piping system and the connection to a grounding electrode system shall not exceed 75 feet (22 860 mm). Any additional grounding electrodes used shall be bonded to the electrical service grounding electrode system or, where provided, the lightning protection grounding electrode system.
Bonding connections shall be in accordance with NFPA 70.
Devices used for making the bonding connections shall be listed for the application in accordance with UL 467.
MP pressure regulators shall comply with the following:
1.The MP regulator shall be approved and shall be suitable for the inlet and outlet gas pressures for the application.
2.The MP regulator shall maintain a reduced outlet pressure under lock-up (no-flow) conditions.
3.The capacity of the MP regulator, determined by published ratings of its manufacturer, shall be adequate to supply the appliances served.
4.The MP pressure regulator shall be provided with access. Where located indoors, the regulator shall be vented to the outdoors or shall be equipped with a leak-limiting device, in either case complying with Section G2421.3.
5.A tee fitting with one opening capped or plugged shall be installed between the MP regulator and its upstream shutoff valve. Such tee fitting shall be positioned to allow connection of a pressure-measuring instrument and to serve as a sediment trap.
6.A tee fitting with one opening capped or plugged shall be installed not less than 10 pipe diameters downstream of the MP regulator outlet. Such tee fitting shall be positioned to allow connection of a pressure-measuring instrument.
7.Where connected to rigid piping, a union shall be installed within 1 foot (304 mm) of either side of the MP regulator.
Nonmetallic sanitary sewer piping that discharges to public systems shall be locatable. An insulated copper tracer wire, 18 AWG minimum in size and suitable for direct burial or an equivalent product, shall be utilized. The wire shall be installed in the same trench as the sewer within 12 inches (305 mm) of the pipe and shall be installed from within 5 feet (1525 mm) of the building wall to the point where the building sewer intersects with the public system. At a minimum, one end of the wire shall terminate above grade in an accessible location that is resistant to physical damage, such as with a cleanout or at the building wall.
Not less than one receptacle outlet that is readily accessible from grade level and located not more than 6 feet, 6 inches (1981 mm) above grade, shall be installed outdoors at the front and back of each dwelling unit having direct access to grade level. Balconies, decks, and porches that are accessible from inside of the dwelling unit shall have at least one receptacle outlet installed within the perimeter of the balcony, deck, or porch. The receptacle shall be located not more than 6 feet, 6 inches (1981 mm) above the balcony, deck, or porch surface. [210.52(E)]
Not less than one receptacle outlet, in addition to any provided for specific equipment, shall be installed in each separate unfinished portion of a basement, in each attached garage, and in each detached garage or accessory building that is provided with electrical power. The branch circuit supplying the receptacle(s) in a garage shall not supply outlets outside of the garage and not less than one receptacle outlet shall be installed for each motor vehicle space. [210.52(G)(1), (2), and (3)]
125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles that are located within 6 feet (1829 mm) of the outside edge of a sink shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel. Receptacle outlets shall not be installed in a face-up position in the work surfaces or countertops. [210.8(A)(7)]
Where installed in a wet location, 15- and 20-ampere, 125- and 250-volt receptacles shall have an enclosure that is weatherproof whether or not the attachment plug cap is inserted. An outlet box hood installed for this purpose shall be listed and identified as “extra-duty.” Fifteen- and 20-ampere, 125- and 250-volt nonlocking receptacles installed in wet locations shall be a listed weather-resistant type. [406.9(B)(1)]