COVID-19 FAQs, Updates and Resources for local Building Departments

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Division of Building and Fire Regulations

In an effort to provide updates, resources and guidance to building departments, contractors and all stakeholders, DHCD is developing a page for information related to frequently asked questions, contact information for local building departments and best practices, ideas and suggestions as we all try to keep our communities operating as normally as possible during this unprecedented COVID-19 situation.

FAQs

Is the requirement to conduct inspection within 48-hours still in place?

We recommend that any legal questions be directed to your county/city attorney. While an emergency declaration is in effect, the regulations have not been suspended statewide, therefore, localities will have to determine what emergency measures they are able to implement. 

However, you do have options. Remember that if you cannot get out in 48-hours, the contractor can choose to use a private third-party that you have approved (as required by section 113.7 of the USBC).

Additionally, jurisdictions can choose to incorporate technology in order to determine compliance with regulations.  

Some things to consider as you seek options to continue operations as normally as possible:

  • Is it necessary to physically visit the site in order to determine compliance? 

  • Is the site open air or confined where people are living or working? 

  • Would a live video feed be able to convey the same information?

  • Is the contractor willing to do the extra work and put in the extra time necessary to ensure a thorough video?

  • Do you have policies and procedures in place to govern the use of technologically approved inspections?  (i.e. is there a requirement to verify the physical location of the site you are seeing? Is there a policy governing the archiving of video inspections?; etc.).

How can I find out what my local Building Department is doing?

A list of all building officials (by jurisdiction) can be found HERE. This directory contains contact information for the building official for each jurisdiction, links to the jurisdiction's website, building department site, and if applicable, COVID-19 updates from the locality.

Check out the operating status document located on the VBCOA website.

Tips for moving to a virtual Building Department (PowerPoint)

Webinar Recording of Virtual Building Departments A-Z

Webinar Recording of Property Maintenance COVID-19 Reactions and Responses Webinar

Partners for Better Communities Podcast (Interview with Shahriar Amiri on virtual building departments)

What about time limits for appeals?  

The time limit for appeals are set statutorily, and DHCD does not have the authority to waive these requirements. We recommend that you consult with the county/city attorney to discuss emergency operations at this time.  

Can I still obtain Amusement Device stickers if I need them?

Yes, building officials can request amusement device stickers, if needed, by emailing sbco@dhcd.virginia.gov. The stickers will be mailed to the building official.   

Local Building Department Virtual Training Funding Support

Due to the Governor’s orders of social distancing and gathering limits, the Virginia Building Code Academy is now providing certification and continuing education classes online. Recognizing that in order for localities to participate in training through virtual means many localities may be in need of equipment necessary to attend online training. DHCD is making funding available through the Virginia Code Academy for jurisdictional building departments to purchase equipment needed to attend required virtual certification training and continuing education. 

Eligible purchases include laptops, headsets, tablets, webcams, electronic subscriptions for code books or other equipment necessary to participate in remote training for Virginia required certification or continuing education. As a condition of the funding, the locality must adhere to the approved use of the funds and the identified deadlines. If unable to comply, the locality will be required to return the funds to DHCD.

Individual locality awards up to $2,000. Jurisdictions with established building departments who participate in the collection and conveyance of the levy surcharge to DHCD on all buildings permits are eligible to apply for funding. To apply, fill out this application.

Outdoor Dining Building and Fire FAQs

DHCD has developed a guidance document to assist Virginia Department of Health (VDH) inspectors, interested local building departments and other interested stakeholders, by providing unofficial guidance (staff opinions) in applying the Executive Order 61 guidelines related to outdoor dining areas.Click here to view the Outdoor Dining Building and Fire FAQs.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Additional Information

For additional information on COVID-19, visit the Virginia Department of Health or CDC.

ICC COVID-19 Response Center