COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF HENRICO
DEPARTMENT OF BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND INSPECTIONS
TO: Residential Building Contractors, Architects & Engineers
FROM: Gregory H. Revels, Building Official
RE: Footing Inspections Facts
Originally Issued: July 21, 1999
Revised: June 7, 2010
On August 1, 1999 all residential footing inspections that are performed by private inspection agencies shall be filed using the Residential Footing Inspection Report form provided by the Henrico County Department of Building Construction and Inspections. The following are typical questions and answers that the Department has compiled concerning the policies and procedures that govern the use of the form.
1. The Henrico County building inspector rejected a footing because it was not complete when he/she arrived to perform the inspection. The concrete delivery is already scheduled and the contractor wants an approved inspection agency to perform the footing inspection. Is the approved inspection agency still required to notify the County prior to performing the inspection? If so, how can this be done without interrupting the contractor’s schedule?
Answer: The approved inspection agency is responsible for providing notification prior to performing any residential footing inspection. Failure to provide this notification may result in the disqualificaiton of the approved inspeciton agency. To avoid interruption in construction the RDP must call the inspector and confirm the scheduled time of their inspection.
2. The Certification Block on the reporting form declares that the footing conforms to the requirements of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. Is the approved agency responsible for confirming that the concrete placed in the footing complies with the minimum compressive strength requirements of the USBC?
Answer: The policy does not require the approved agency to verify the strength or quality of the concrete placed in the footing. The policy is limited to confirming footing dimensions and soil conditions.
3. Does the new policy apply to residential additions, decks, porches, detached garages and detached sheds?
Answer: The policy applies to all residential footing inspections that are performed by approved inspection agencies for all dwellings constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code including attached decks, porches and additions. The policy does not apply to detached accessory structures such as garages and sheds.
4. Does the new policy apply to footing inspections that have been rejected by a Henrico building inspector, or to footing repairs designed by a registered design professional?
Answer: The policy does not apply to items that have been specifically rejected by a Henrico County building inspector. The inspection of items previously rejected by Henrico County are subject to the attached 3rd Party Inspections policy. For example, the residential footing inspection policy does not apply to an approved inspection agency report that confirms the adequacy of bearing capacity for soils that were rejected by a previous Henrico County inspection. The policy also does not apply to a footing repair that has been designed and inspected by a registered design professional. Note: Qualified inspectors are not permitted to inspect footing repairs unless Henrico County has approved the modifications prior to performing the repair work.
5. Can the approved agency modify the original approved footing to accommodate revisions to the layout or design of the proposed structure (e.g. relocation of interior walls or beams, addition of porches, sunrooms, or decks, etc.)?
Answer: Footing modifications that result from revisions to the layout of the proposed dwelling must be reviewed and approved prior to construction. The modified footing design and plan revisions must be reviewed and approved by Henrico County prior to conducting the footing inspection.
6. Can the approved inspection agency modify the footing design shown on the approved construction plans, and authorize placement of concrete, without obtaining prior approval from Henrico County?
Answer: The footing can be modified, and concrete placement authorized, under limited conditions. The modification of the footing cannot involve a revised layout for the proposed dwelling (e.g. relocation of walls or beams; porch, deck or sunroom additions, etc.). The modified footing must be designed and inspected by a Virginia registered design professional. The modified footing design and the footing report are subject to review and approval by Henrico County. Qualified inspectors are not permitted to inspect modified footings unless Henrico County has approved the modifications prior to performing the work.
7. What will happen if the approved agency forgets to notify the County prior to performing the footing inspection?
Answer: The approved inspection agency may be disqualified. Henrico County will not accept footing inspection reports from disqualified registered design professionals. Henrico County will conduct a site visit to evaluate the existing site conditions against the footing inspection report and the approved permit application. Borings shall be made adjacent to specified locations along the footing to confirm footing depth and soil conditions as noted on the report. Any identified discrepancies will result in rejection of the footing.
8. Builders frequently call in the late afternoon to schedule a footing inspection to be made after 4:30 p.m. What notification does the County require for late afternoon or early evening footing inspections that are requested on the same day?
Answer: The approved agency must request an inspection via http://henrico.us/bldg/insp/ prior to performing the inspection, and indicate the scheduled time of the inspection. The building inspector will audit these inspections on the following workday. Henrico County will monitor the number of these requests to determine whether further policy requirements must be imposed.
9. Are approved agencies restricted to individual registered design professionals or does approval extend to a company that employs several design professionals?
Answer: The approval is limited to the specific registered design professional that has completed the required orientation session. A registered design professional may schedule an orientation session with Henrico County by calling Administrative Assistant, Linda Brown, at 501-4374. The Department of Building Construction & Inspections will make every attempt to accommodate requests for specific times. The orientation session is approximately one hour in duration.
10. Why must the approved inspection agency notify Henrico County prior to performing a residential footing inspection?
Answer: The department is responsible for confirming the reliability of the approved agencies. Henrico County will fulfill this responsibility by monitoring on-site inspections and reviewing the footing inspection reports filed by the approved agencies. The department must be notified of the date and scheduled time of the footing inspection to allow for on-site monitoring.
11. Has the County established a minimum turnaround time for filing an inspection report?
Answer: A foundation inspection shall not be performed prior to the approval of the inspection report. The restriction from performing a foundation inspection prior to footing approval applies to both the approved agencies and Henrico County building inspectors. There is no minimum turnaround time for filing the inspection report.
12. How will the Henrico County building inspectors monitor the inspections performed by approved inspection agencies?
Answer: Henrico County building inspectors will randomly audit the approved agencies on-site inspections. The inspectors will review footing inspection requests each morning and confirm those that are scheduled to be made by the approved inspection agencies. The inspector will determine whether an on-site visit can be conducted based on the daily inspection workload. The inspector will visit the selected site to verify that the footing inspection is performed in accordance with the published policies and procedures. All approved inspection agencies that file footing inspection reports will be subjected to on-site monitoring.
13. Can the Henrico County inspector reject the footing or the footing inspection report that has been issued by an approved agency?
Answer: Yes. The Henrico building inspector can reject the footing inspection performed by an approved agency. The Henrico County inspector is required to reject the footing if an on-site inspection identifies a violation of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. The Henrico County inspector is also required to reject any footing inspection report that does not comply with the published policies and procedures.
14. Why must registered design professionals attend an orientation session prior to being accepted as an approved inspection agency?
Answer: To assure that they have been notified of the Department’s expectations for conducting footing inspections in accordance with the USBC and the applicable policies and procedures.
15. How can I schedule an orientation session to become an approved inspection agency?
Answer: An orientation session can be scheduled by calling the department at 501-4374. Orientation sessions will be scheduled upon request and are approximately one hour in duration. The registered design professional must provide their Virginia registration number as issued by the Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA).
16. What happens when an approved inspection agency is disqualified by the Henrico County Department of Building Construction & Inspections?
Answer: Henrico County will not accept inspection reports from disqualified agencies. The substance of the policy infraction will determine the conditions of the disqualification. Disqualification may result in the County’s refusal to accept any future inspection reports of any type from the disqualified agency. The basis for any disqualification may also result in Henrico County filing a formal complaint with the APELSCIDLA Board for further review.
17. Can a disqualified inspection agency be reinstated as an approved inspection agency?
Answer: Reinstatement will be considered based on the substance of the disqualification and any remedial actions implemented by the inspection agency.
18. Does the new policy apply to apartments, condominiums and townhouses?
Answer: The policy applies to all dwellings that are constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code.
Please contact Building Official Gregory Revels, Deputy Building Official Bolman Bowles or Residential Building Inspections Supervisor Richard Moore at (804) 501-4360 if you have any questions regarding this memo or Henrico County’s footing inspection policy.
Gregory H. Revels