The Virginia building code, like all state building codes, demands that builders follow specific guidelines for new construction and for major renovations.  These include regulations about electricity, plumbing, gas, energy conservation, and other elements. Regulations vary between buildings intended for residential and commercial use. Be sure that your custom home plans keep the Virgina building code in mind. If you are moving to high-growth areas like Fairfax or Loudoun counties, be sure that your architect or developer has built other homes in the area that are compliant with Virginia building code regulations.  These regulations are numerous and complicated, but any experienced builder should know and follow them.  You can obtain your own copy of the Virginia building code if you are curious about specific details.

The codes cover a wide range of elements, including bathroom installation, hot tubs, access for individuals with disabilities, fire safety, and other areas (depending on if the building is residential or commercial.)  Apartment buildings or condos may have different rules as well.

Familiarity with the Virginia building code may demand special training. There are different Virginia building code certifications available. Be sure that any contractor who works on your house’s plumbing or electricity is also familiar with Virginia building code requirements. If your house is not up to code, you may have trouble selling it, so it’s a good idea to have a home inspector check for compliance as well, particularly if you have owned your home for many years, as building code regulations evolve over the years.  Beware of taking any shortcuts with the building code, as it could affect not only your experience in the house or building, but its future resale value.  Remember that it applies to major renovations as well (like putting in a new kitchen or bathroom, or putting on an addition). Virginia building code compliance is both a practical issue and a safety issue.

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