Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text

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Action:
Update the Virginia Amusement Device Regulations
Stage: Proposed
13VAC5-31-20

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, but excluding snow tubing parks and rides, ski terrain parks, ski slopes, and ski trails, and (ii) passenger tramways. For the purpose of this definition, the phrase "open to the public" means that the public has full access to a device or structure at an event, irrespective of whether a fee is charged. The use of devices or structures at private events is not considered to be open to the public.

"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.

"Certificate of inspection" means the certificate or sticker for amusement devices distributed by DHCD.

"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.

"Institutional trampoline" means a trampoline intended for use in a commercial or institutional facility.

"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.

"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.

"Small mechanical ride" means an amusement device, other than an inflatable amusement device, where (i) the assembly time for the device is two hours or less, (ii) the revolutions per minute of any rotation of the components of the device is not greater than seven, (iii) the device has a footprint of less than 500 square feet, and (iv) the device does not invert a patron or lift a patron more than three feet in the air, measured from the ground to the bottom of the patron's feet when the device is operating.

"Trampoline court" means a defined area comprising one or more institutional trampolines or a series of institutional trampolines.

"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.

13VAC5-31-30

13VAC5-31-30. Devices covered and exempt.

A. The following devices, identified by name or description, when open to the public shall be considered amusement devices subject to this chapter. The list is intended only to clarify questionable devices, while the definition of an "amusement device" in 13VAC5-31-20 is generally used to determine the applicability of this chapter.

1. Inflatable amusement devices; and

2. Zip lines; and

3. Trampoline courts.

B. The following equipment or devices shall not be considered amusement devices subject to this chapter:

1. Nonmechanized playground or recreational equipment such as swing sets, sliding boards, climbing bars, jungle gyms, skateboard ramps and similar equipment where no admission fee is charged for its use or for admittance to areas where the equipment is located;

2. Coin-operated rides designed to accommodate three or less passengers;

3. Water slides or similar equipment used in community association, community club or community organization swimming pools;

4. Mechanical bulls or similar devices;

5. Devices known as mall trains, shopping mall trains, or electric trackless trains for malls; and

6. Devices known as water walking balls, euro bubbles, or similar devices.

13VAC5-31-40

13VAC5-31-40. Incorporated standards.

A. The following standards are hereby incorporated by reference for use as part of this chapter:

1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard No. B77.1‑2011 B77.1‑2017 for the regulation of passenger tramways; and

2. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Nos. F747‑15, F770‑15 F770‑18, F1159‑15b F1159‑16, F1193‑16 F1193‑18, F1957‑99 (2011) (2017), F2007‑12 F2007‑18, F2137‑16 F2137‑18, F2291‑15 F2291‑18, F2374‑10 F2374‑17, F2375‑09 (2017), F2376‑13 F2376‑17a, F2460‑11, F2461‑18, F2959‑16 F2959‑18, F2970‑17, and F2974‑15 F2974‑19 for the regulation of amusement devices.

The standards referenced above may be procured from:

 

ANSI
25 W 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

ASTM
100 Barr Harbor Dr.
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959

B. The provisions of this chapter govern where they are in conflict with any provisions of the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter.

C. The following requirements supplement the provisions of the ASTM standards incorporated by reference in this chapter:

1. The operator of an amusement device shall be at least 16 years of age, except when the person is under the supervision of a parent or guardian and engaged in activities determined not to be hazardous by the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry;

2. The amusement device shall be attended by an operator at all times during operation except that (i) one operator is permitted to operate two or more amusement devices provided they are within the sight of the operator and operated by a common control panel or station and (ii) one operator is permitted to operate two small mechanical rides with separate controls provided the distance between controls is no more than 35 feet and the controls are equipped with a positive pressure switch; and

3. The operator of an amusement device shall not be (i) under the influence of any drugs which may affect the operator's judgment or ability to assure the safety of the public or (ii) under the influence of alcohol.

D. Where an amusement device was manufactured under previous editions of the standards incorporated by reference in this chapter, the previous editions shall apply to the extent that they are different from the current standards.

13VAC5-31-75

 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 by the owner or operator of the device, the fees shall be reduced by 75%:

1. $35 for each small mechanical ride or inflatable amusement device covered by the permit;

2. $55 for each circular ride, institutional trampoline, or flat-ride less than 20 feet in height covered by the permit;

3. $75 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;

4. $200 for each coaster covered by the permit that exceeds 30 feet in height; and

5. The local building department may charge an additional fee for permits and inspections of generators and associated wiring for amusement device events. Generators subject to these fees are those used exclusively with amusement devices and that are inspected by the local building department. The fee per event shall not exceed $165 and shall not exceed the actual cost to perform the inspection or inspections.

Exception: Small portable generators serving only cord and plug connected equipment loads are not subject to the fee.

Notwithstanding the fee limitations established in this section, the local building department shall be permitted to increase the fees up to 50% when requested to perform weekend or after-hour inspections.

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, a general description of the device including any serial or identification numbers available, the location of the property on which the device will be operated, and the length of time of operation. The permit application shall indicate whether a private inspector will be used. If a private inspector is not used, 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 $1 million 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 small mechanical ride or an inflatable amusement device that has a certificate of inspection issued by any local building department in this Commonwealth either for (i) a six-month period for a small mechanical rides ride or (ii) within a one-year period for an inflatable amusement devices device prior to the dates the small mechanical ride or inflatable amusement device is to be used, regardless of whether the device has been disassembled and moved to a new site. In such cases, the local building department shall be notified at least three days prior to the operation of the small mechanical ride or the inflatable amusement device and the and provided with the information required on a permit application as listed in subsection C of this section shall be provided to the local building department at least three days prior to operation. In addition, and notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, the local building department shall be permitted to charge a $50 inspection fee per event to the person notifying the local building department of an event where an inflatable amusement device is operating if the local building department chooses to inspect any or all of the inflatable amusement devices operating at that event. An inspection report shall be provided to the person notifying the local building department of the event if such an inspection is conducted.

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. Local building department personnel shall post or affix such certificates or permit the certificates to be posted or affixed by the private inspector. 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, except that permits for small mechanical rides shall not be valid for longer than six months.

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 small mechanical 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 10.1 through 10.6 of ASTM F1193 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 F770 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.

I. In accordance with subdivision 7 of § 36-137 of the Code of Virginia, the local building department shall collect a 2.0% levy of fees charged for permits under this chapter and transmit it quarterly to DHCD to support training programs of the Virginia Building Code Academy. Localities that maintain individual or regional training academies accredited by DHCD shall retain such levy.

J. In accordance with § 36-98.3 of the Code of Virginia and 13VAC5-31-10 B, the procedures for violations of this chapter shall be as prescribed in the USBC.

K. In accordance with § 36-98.1 of the Code of Virginia, the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) shall function as the local building department for the application of this chapter to amusement devices located on state-owned property. In accordance with §§ 36-98.2 and 36-114 of the Code of Virginia, appeals of the application of this chapter by the DGS shall be made directly to the State Building Code Technical Review Board. Further, as a condition of this chapter, such appeals shall be filed within 14 calendar days after receipt of the decision of DGS.

13VAC5-31-300

Part XI
Trampoline Courts

13VAC5-31-300. Trampoline courts.

In addition to other applicable requirements of this chapter, trampoline courts shall be operated, maintained, and inspected in accordance with ASTM F2970.

13VAC5-31-9999

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (13VAC5-31)

ANSI B77.1‑2011 B77.1‑2017, Passenger Ropeways – Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors – Safety Requirements Standard, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), 25 West 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036 (http://www.ansi.org/)

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428‑2959; (http://www.astm.org/):

ASTM F747‑15, Standard Terminology Relating to Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F770‑15 F770‑18, Standard Practice for Ownership, Operation, Maintenance, and Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F1159‑15b F1159‑16, Standard Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices that are Outside the Purview of Other F24 Design Standards

ASTM F1193‑16 F1193‑18, Standard Practice for Quality, Manufacture, and Construction of Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F1957‑99 (2011) (2017), Standard Test Method for Composite Foam Hardness-Durometer Hardness

ASTM F2007‑12 F2007‑18, Standard Practice for Classification, Design, Manufacture, and Operation of Concession Go-Karts and Facilities

ASTM F2137‑16 F2137‑18, Standard Practice for Measuring the Dynamic Characteristics of Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F2291‑15 F2291‑18, Standard Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F2374‑10 F2374‑17, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Operation, and Maintenance of Inflatable Amusement Devices

ASTM F2375‑09 (2017), Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation and Testing of Climbing Nets and Netting/Mesh used in Amusement Rides, Devices, Play Areas and Attractions

ASTM F2376‑13 F2376‑17a, Standard Practice for Classification, Design, Manufacture, Construction, and Operation of Water Slide Systems

ASTM F2460‑11, Standard Practice for Special Requirements for Bumper Boats

ASTM F2461‑18, Standard Practice for Manufacture, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Aquatic Play Equipment

ASTM F2959‑16 F2959‑18, Standard Practice for Aerial Adventure Courses

ASTM F2974‑15 F2974‑19, Standard Guide for Auditing Amusement Rides and Devices

ASTM F2970‑17, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation, Operation, Maintenance, Inspection and Major Modification of Trampoline Courts