If your building construction has been disapproved by an inspector, your building design plans have been disapproved by a plan reviewer, or a construction code violation has otherwise been identified, and you cannot practically correct the deficiency, you may formally request a code modification. The modification process is the solution of last resort and approval of requests is not guaranteed. You should always first attempt to work with the code official(s) and/or other professional consultants, to find code conforming alternatives that would provide equivalent safety.
When requesting a code modification, you must submit the following to the Inspections Services Division (ISD).
- Code Modification Request form
- Any construction drawings, plans, details and technical data to support your case
- The code modification request from must be filled out completely
- You must cite the specific code/regulation/standard (Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, IBC, IRC, IMC, IFGC, IPC, IPMC, IECC, NEC, NFPA, etc.) for which you seek the modification and the relevant chapter/section/subsection number.
- Modification requests must be based on practical difficulty in achieving code conformance and should include proposed alternative methods and/or materials that would provide an equivalent level of safety and protection. A self-imposed hardship generally will not be accepted as a basis.
- Explain as clearly and completely as possible the nature of the code violation, the practical difficulty in complying with the requirements, the extent of modification requested, and what compensatory protection or equivalent safety you would provide to offset deficiencies.
- When submitting the request, document your case with plans, details, technical data, etc., to illustrate the nature and extent of the code deficiency; photographs of existing conditions may also be included as exhibits.
- Code Modification requests are to be submitted to ISD offices located on the 10th floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd.
- Depending on caseloads, and unless additional information is needed from the applicant, a written decision signed by the Building Official will be prepared in about one week and mailed to the applicant.
- If your modification request is denied, you may appeal the decision to the Arlington Board of Building Code Appeals (ABBCA) per §119 of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC). See the Appeal Process for additional information.
Fees are required for modification requests regardless of the outcome of the request.
- Residential modification request is $54.00
- Commercial modification request is $217.00
- All fees are subject to the same tax and surcharges as permits, which are currently a cumulative 22%.
- Fees must be paid at the time of submission of the modification request. Requests unaccompanied by the full payment of the associated fees will not be accepted.
For more information about fees, see the ISD Fee Schedule.