SB 1305 (Hanger) requires farm buildings and structures where the public is invited to enter and that are used for storage, handling, production, display, sampling, or sale of agricultural, horticultural, floricultural, or silvicultural products produced on the farm and that are exempt from the Uniform Statewide Building Code (the building code) to have (i) portable fire extinguishers, (ii) a simple written plan in case of an emergency, and (iii) a sign posted in a conspicuous place upon entry that states that the building is exempt from the provisions of the building code. The bill also directs the Agritourism Event Structure Technical Advisory Committee (which VACo serves on) to meet at least four times between the 2023 and 2024 Regular Sessions of the General Assembly and provides guidance to the Committee for topics on fire safety and the welfare of the public to consider.
While SB 1305 seeks to address safe evacuation of a building in case of emergency, it does not require any minimum construction standards for buildings that are open to the public. The bill passed in Senate General Laws and is on the floor for final consideration.
VACo asks counties to review these proposed minimum requirements and provide any feedback on how this impacts administration of the building code.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP