Vol. 26 Iss. 2 - September 28, 2009

Chapter 31
Proposed Regulation

Title of Regulation: 13VAC5-31. Virginia Amusement Device Regulations (amending 13VAC5-31-20, 13VAC5-31-50, 13VAC5-31-75).

Statutory Authority: § 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Public Hearing Information:

January 25, 2010 - 10 a.m. - Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Housing Center, 4224 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA

Public Comment Deadline: January 25, 2010.

Agency Contact: Stephen W. Calhoun, Regulatory Coordinator, Department of Housing and Community Development, Main Street Center, 600 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 371-7000, FAX (804) 371-7090, TTY (804) 371-7089, or email


The proposed amendments:

1. Move the definition of the term "kiddie ride" to the definitions section;

2. Clarify existing continuing education requirements in conjunction with correlating changes to the Uniform Statewide Building Code;

3. Conform liability insurance requirements for amusement devices with industry standards and for consistency with language used in prior provisions in the regulation;

4. To correct an error made in a previous regulatory action, reinstate language that specifies that 13VAC5-31-75 F applies only to amusement devices permanently affixed to a site and the requirement for midseason inspection of rides; and

5. Correct an erroneous standard designation from ASTM F628 to ASTM F698.

13VAC5-31-20. Definitions.

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Amusement device" means (i) a device or structure open to the public by which persons are conveyed or moved in an unusual manner for diversion and (ii) passenger tramways.

"Bungee cord" means the elastic rope to which the jumper is attached which lengthens and shortens to produce a bouncing action.

"Carabineer" means a shaped metal device with a gate used to connect sections of a bungee cord, jump rigging, equipment, or safety gear.

"DHCD" means the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Gravity ride" means a ride that is installed on an inclined surface, which depends on gravity for its operation to convey a passenger from the top of the incline to the bottom, and which conveys a passenger in or on a carrier tube, bag, bathing suit, or clothes.

"Ground operator" means a person who assists the jump master to prepare a jumper for jumping.

"Harness" means an assembly to be worn by a bungee jumper to be attached to a bungee cord. It is designed to prevent the wearer from becoming detached from the bungee system.

"Jump master" means a person who has responsibility for the bungee jumper and who takes the jumper through the final stages to the actual jump.

"Jump zone" means the space bounded by the maximum designed movements of the bungee jumper.

"Jumper" means the person who departs from a height attached to a bungee system.

"Kiddie ride" means an amusement device where the passenger or patron height is limited to 54 inches or less, the design capacity of passengers or patrons is 12 or less, and the assembly time for the device is two hours or less.

"Landing area" means the surface area of ground or water directly under the jump zone, the area where the lowering device moves the bungee jumper to be landed away from the jump space and the area covered by the movement of the lowering device.

"Local building department" means the agency or agencies of the governing body of any city, county or town in this Commonwealth charged with the enforcement of the USBC.

"Operating manual" means the document that contains the procedures and forms for the operation of bungee jumping equipment and activity at a site.

"Passenger tramway" means a device used to transport passengers uphill, and suspended in the air by the use of steel cables, chains or belts, or ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans.

"Platform" means the equipment attached to the structure from which the bungee jumper departs.

"Private inspector" means a person performing inspections who is independent of the company, individual or organization owning, operating or having any vested interest in an amusement device being inspected.

"Ultimate tensile strength" means the greatest amount of load applied to a bungee cord prior to failure.

"USBC" means the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (13VAC5-63).

B. Words and terms used in this chapter which are defined in the USBC shall have the meaning ascribed to them in that regulation unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

C. Words and terms used in this chapter which are defined in the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in those standards unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

13VAC5-31-50. Certification of amusement device inspectors.

A. Any person, including local building department personnel, inspecting an amusement device relative to a certificate of inspection shall possess a valid certificate of competence certification as an amusement device inspector from the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development in accordance with the Virginia Certification Standards (13VAC5-21).

B. Local building department personnel enforcing this chapter and private inspectors shall attend 16 hours every two years of continuing education and periodic maintenance training courses approved or required as designated by DHCD. Additional In addition to the periodic maintenance training required above, local building department personnel and private inspectors shall attend 16 hours of continuing education hours shall not be required if more than one every two years as approved by DHCD. If local building department personnel or private inspectors possess more than one BHCD certificate is held, the 16 hours shall satisfy the continuing education requirement for all BHCD certificates.

Part II
Enforcement, Permits and Certificates of Inspection

13VAC5-31-75. Local building department.

A. In accordance with §§ 36-98.3 and 36-105 of the Code of Virginia, the local building department shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and may charge fees for such enforcement activity. The total amount charged for any one permit to operate an amusement device or devices or the renewal of such permit shall not exceed the following, except that when a private inspector is used, the fees shall be reduced by 50%:

1. $25 for each kiddie ride covered by the permit;

2. $35 for each circular ride or flat-ride less than 20 feet in height covered by the permit;

3. $55 for each spectacular ride covered by the permit that cannot be inspected as a circular ride or flat-ride in subdivision 2 of this subsection due to complexity or height; and

4. $150 for each coaster covered by the permit that exceeds 30 feet in height.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, when an amusement device is constructed in whole or in part at a site for permanent operation at that site and is not intended to be disassembled and moved to another site, then the local building department may utilize permit and inspection fees established pursuant to the USBC to defray the cost of enforcement. This authorization does not apply to an amusement device that is only being reassembled, undergoing a major modification at a site or being moved to a site for operation.

C. A permit application shall be made to the local building department at least five days before the date in which the applicant intends to operate an amusement device. The application shall include the name of the owner, operator or other person assuming responsibility for the device or devices, a general description of the device or devices including any serial or identification numbers available, the location of the property on which the device or devices will be operated and the length of time of operation. The permit application shall indicate whether a private inspector will be utilized. If a private inspector is not utilized, the applicant shall give reasonable notice when an inspection is sought and may stipulate the day such inspection is requested provided it is during the normal operating hours of the local building department. In addition to the information required on the permit application, the applicant shall provide proof of liability insurance of an amount not less than $100,000 per person and $1,000,000 in the aggregate for each amusement device insuring the owner or operator against liability for injury suffered by persons riding the amusement device or by persons in, on, under or near the amusement device; per occurrence or proof of equivalent financial responsibility. The local building department shall be notified of any change in the liability insurance or financial responsibility during the period covered by the permit.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C of this section, a permit application is not required for a kiddie ride in which the passenger height is 54 inches or less, the design capacity is for 12 passengers or less and that can be assembled in two hours or less, provided the kiddie ride that has an unexpired certificate of inspection issued by any local building department in this Commonwealth. In such cases, the local building department shall be notified prior to the operation of the kiddie ride and the information required on a permit application as listed in subsection C of this section shall be provided to the local building department.

E. Local building department personnel shall examine the permit application within five days and issue the permit if all requirements are met. A certificate of inspection for each amusement device shall be issued when the device has been found to comply with this chapter by a private inspector or by an inspector from the local building department. It shall be the responsibility of the local building department to verify that the private inspector possesses a valid certificate of competence as an amusement device inspector from the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. In addition, local building department personnel shall be responsible for assuring that the certificate of inspection is posted or affixed on or in the vicinity of the device in a location visible to the public. Permits shall indicate the length of time the device or devices will be operated at the site, clearly identify the device or devices to which it applies and the date of expiration of the permit. Permits shall not be valid for longer than one year.

F. In addition to obtaining a certificate of inspection in conjunction with a permit application for amusement devices permanently fixed to a site, a new certificate of inspection shall also be obtained prior to the operation of an amusement device following a major modification, prior to each seasonal operation of a device, at least once during the operating season and prior to resuming the operation of a device following an order from a local building department to cease operation. This requirement shall not apply to kiddie rides meeting the conditions outlined in subsection D of this section.

G. For amusement devices manufactured prior to 1978, the owner or operator shall have the information required by §§ 2.1 through 2.6 of ASTM F628 F698 available at the time of inspection. In addition, the operator of any amusement device shall be responsible for obtaining all manufacturer's notifications, service bulletins and safety alerts issued pursuant to ASTM F853 and the operator shall comply with all recommendations and requirements set out in those documents. A copy of all such documents shall be made available during an inspection.

H. In the enforcement of this chapter, local building department personnel shall have authority to conduct inspections at any time an amusement device would normally be open for operation or at any other time if permission is granted by the owner or operator, to issue an order to temporarily cease operation of an amusement device upon the determination that the device may be unsafe or may otherwise endanger the public and to accept and approve or deny requests for modifications of the rules of this chapter in accordance with the modification provisions of the USBC.

VA.R. Doc. No. R09-1892; Filed August 27, 2009, 10:00 a.m.