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Richmond VA > Fire Department > Prevention > Code Enforcement

Last Updated: 2009-10-07

Code Enforcement


  • Inspections and Site Visits
  • Investigation of Complaints
  • Issuance of Violation Notices
  • Issuance of Summons
  • Verification of Compliance & Corrective Actions
  • Issuance of Permits

Through consultation, site visits, and code inspections, division personnel administer and enforce laws related to fire safety, including the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, the Code of Virginia and the Code of Richmond. Inspections are scheduled, as well as conducted as "walk-ins." Inspections may also occur based on a complaint or concern voiced by the public or another City agency. Our inspectors also perform required license inspections of state regulated care facilities, which include child care and adult care centers. Evening inspections are also conducted on a routine basis. The purpose of our Night Duty inspections is to ensure that restaurants, nightclubs and other gathering places are adhering to the law as it applies to occupancy limits. While the vast majority of these businesses comply with the code, there are a few who are less diligent. Locked or blocked exit doors, inadequate signage or lighting, and overcrowding all place the public at risk. The Fire Marshal's Office will cite owners/operators for such violations, as well as take immediate action to have them corrected.

If code violations are noted, a Notice of Violation (N.O.V.) is issued. The N.O.V. explains what violations were found and the date they are to be corrected. A re-inspection is then conducted to verify that the violations have been corrected. If the violations have not been corrected, another N.O.V. is issued or a summons to General District Court may be served. Generally, summons are used in cases where the inspector finds insufficient effort to comply with the law. However, a summons may be issued upon discovery of extreme, blatant, or repeat violations. Violations are Class 1 misdemeanors, and carry a penalty of up to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail per violation.

The Prevention Division issues permits for a number of businesses and activities. Where applicable, a permit application will also be made available. To view some of the permits that are issued by this office.

Other services provided by the Prevention Division include reviews of:

  • Building and Site Plans for Fire Code Compliance
  • Special-Use Permits
  • Inspection/Test Reports for Fire Protection Systems (Detection/Alarm, Sprinkler, Kitchen Hood, Special Hazard, etc.) Corrective action and follow-up is mandated for any noted deficiencies.

Requirements for Code Enforcement Personnel

To become certified a candidate will need: 80 hours classroom, and 20 hours performance skills from the Virginia Fire Marshal Academy; 24 hours classroom training from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Housing and Community Development.

To maintain certification a candidate will need: 16 hours every two years from a designated course curriculum approved by the Virginia Fire Marshal Academy.

Investigates fires per Virginia code:

  • Fire Fatality
  • Fire Injury
  • Multi-Alarm
  • Large Dollar Loss
  • Arson Bomb Threats Post-Bomb Investigation
  • Threat to Burn Investigation
  • Juvenile Involvement
  • Case Documentation
  • Maintains Official Records
  • Responds to Request for Record (FOIA/Subpoena)
  • Initiates Arrests for Fire-Related Crimes
  • Assists Commonwealth in Prosecution of Fire-Related Crimes
  • Juvenile Firesetter Program
  • Identification
  • Screening
  • Intervention
  • Intervention Referral/Recommendation
  • Other Emergency Duties as Requested
  • Follow-Up
  • Accelerant K-9 Program
  • Public Awareness Program and Schools, Senior Groups, Civic Association, etc.

Contact Information:

Fire Department
City of Richmond
201 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-2500

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