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Land Development News
October 15, 2018
A big improvement to plan review in Fairfax County is on the way: The Department of Land Development Services will soon be able to review certain plans electronically. Paperless plan review promotes better communication and collaboration among all stakeholders, offering real-time status updates and increased transparency. Using the digital tool also ends the time-consuming and costly practice of printing and distributing heavy plans to multiple reviewing agencies – distribution happens simultaneously. That simultaneous distribution also creates potential time-savings because different agencies can review in parallel, instead of consecutively. Customers also have 24/7 access to the plan review process -- plans can be submitted and accessed even when the county is closed. This winter, Fairfax will launch ePlans for the following plan types: Site plans Site plan revisions Minor site plans Minor site plan revisions New commercial structures Interior alterations Stay tuned! To get launch date notification, subscribe to our email listserv. Questions? Email email@example.com.
October 15, 2018
Code Talk is the podcast where we discuss building code and its impacts on residents and business owners in Fairfax County. Today we are discussing Residential Plan Review. Interior renovations, additions, new townhouses and detached single family dwellings – these are just some of the types of residential projects that are constructed all over Fairfax County. Most of these residential projects may require a permit and possibly even plans to be reviewed for code compliance. Here to talk to us about Residential Plan Review is Kyle Kratzer, a Code Specialist II with the Building Division of Land Development Services. To find out more information on Land Development Services, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment. You can reach the Building Division by email or call 703-631-5101, TTY 711.
September 11, 2018
By Keith Ruby Traditionally an anchor building in a covered mall has been an independent single-tenant department store. The advancement of the internet and direct shipping options has reduced the need for the large inventory maintained by traditional multi-level department stores. Building owners are looking for non-traditional methods to lease space in existing anchor buildings as department stores leave or reduce their footprint. These non-traditional leasing configurations present the Building Official and Fire Marshal with the challenge of allowing market evolution while maintaining the code-mandated level of safety. When the mall concourse extends into the anchor building, it may no longer be clear to firefighters where the mall ends and the anchor begins. This may lead firefighters to make decisions based on false expectations; i.e., the presence of protected exit passageways, the availability of fire hose valves at passageways and interconnection of fire protection systems. Additional concerns are present if kiosks are provided or sales and displays are extended into common areas. The anchor building will likely have no smoke control system and the means of egress will be compromised more rapidly in a fire emergency. With these issues in mind, the Building Division and the Office of the Fire Marshal have established the following guidelines for the conversion of anchor buildings into multi-tenant spaces. When the mall concourse is extended into the anchor building footprint, the space will no longer be considered an anchor building and the mall provisions of the Virginia Construction Code (VCC) Section 402 will apply throughout the former anchor building. If kiosks or similar extensions or instances of retail sales are proposed in common areas, the space will no longer be considered an anchor building and the mall provision of VCC Section 402 will apply throughout the former anchor building. When the space is leased in a manner that maintains the independent character of the anchor building with no kiosks or similar extensions or instances of retail sales in the common areas, it may still be considered an anchor building and the mall provisions of VCC Section 402 are not required to be extended. The county has several malls of varying age. Each mall is tied to a unique set of construction and fire safety requirements by virtue of the code in effect at the time it was built, renovated or added onto. This presents challenges to code administration when reconfiguring anchor buildings. Therefore, we encourage scheduling a pre-submission meeting with plan review staff to review the design scope and code requirements. A pre-submission meeting may be scheduled online once the design team has developed a plan and identified code compliance issues.