The Third-Party Inspections Program, authorized through the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, provides for private-sector inspections firms to perform inspections of residential or commercial projects that would otherwise be conducted by the county.
How the Program Works
Step 1: A project owner and developer hires a county-approved third-party inspections firm. Learn about the qualifications to become an approved firm.
- List of county approved third party inspectors
- Application for acceptance into the Third Party Inspection Program
Step 2: The project owner applies to the county to have their entire project, or portions thereof, be inspected by a third-party inspections firm. Learn more about qualifying inspections.
Step 3: The third-party inspections firm conducts inspections and submits their results to the county. Learn more about the inspections process.
Step 4: Assigned for the duration of a project, a county inspector is assigned quality assurance measures and will review and accept inspection reports from third-party inspections firms.
Step 5: At the end of construction, the third-party inspections firm submits a certified completion statement. County-approval of the completion statement is required prior to occupancy.
The terms below have specific meanings for the purposes of this program.
- Building core and shell: The basic configuration and construction of a building or structure, with the “shell” structure and “core” public areas and services.
- Building shell: The overall structure of foundations, exterior walls, columns, floors, and roof including stairways, shafts, elevator hoistways, common area corridors, grade exit passageways and all fire suppression systems throughout the building.
- Building core: Public areas and services including lobbies, required accessible features, restrooms, primary and emergency electrical services, plumbing water and sewer services and HVAC systems.
- Conventional building construction: The components and elements of buildings and structures that are not subject to special inspections as defined by Chapter 17 of the Virginia Construction Code.
- Inspection: The observation of construction and the performance of tests to establish conformance with county-approved documents, the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and this program.
- Building inspection: Inspection of the construction of structural and non-structural components, fire-resistance ratings, accessibility features, means of egress, and architectural elements.
- Mechanical inspection: Inspection of mechanical components, appliances, equipment and systems including energy conservation elements but excluding boilers and elevators.
- Electrical inspection: Inspection of electrical components, appliances, equipment.
- Plumbing inspection: Inspection of plumbing components, appliances, equipment and systems including water supply systems, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems, and fuel gas systems.
- Fire protection system inspections: Inspection of sprinkler systems, underground fire lines, fire alarm systems, smoke detectors, special hazards systems and special locking arrangements. In addition to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, inspections must be in compliance with the relevant NFPA standard.
- Registered Design Professional (RDP): a registered architect or professional engineer licensed in the commonwealth of Virginia.
- Tenant space: Construction within a building shell to produce an occupiable area.