Residential Construction Preparation
Residential Construction Codes
Chesterfield County, Virginia, enforces the 2015 edition of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC). The USBC is based on the ICC international codes. The USBC prescribes building regulations applicable to the construction, repair, renovation, maintenance and/or change of use of buildings and structures or portions thereof.
Code books are available free on-line and for purchase at the International Code Council website.
The following can apply for residential building permits:
- Property owner
- Licensed contractor
- Owner’s agent with written permission from the owner
The contractor must have a valid business license from a Virginia locality for jobs valued at $25,000 or less. For jobs valued at more than $25,000, the contractor must have a valid Chesterfield County Business License.
Hiring a Contractor
The State of Virginia allows the homeowner to perform all of the construction work without having to hire a licensed contractor. However many homeowners do not have the time or the knowledge to tackle such an undertaking, and therefore hire a contractor to do all or part of the work. Following these few steps can alleviate much anxiety when selecting a contractor:
- Check to see if the contractor is licensed. Ask the contractor for a copy of his/her business license and the state's contractor's license, which are required by each city and county in order to do business in Virginia. If you are unsure of the validity of the license, you can verify it through the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) at 804-367-8500.
- Check to see if the contractor is insured. Ask the contractor for copies of his/her certificate of insurance.
- Check with the local Better Business Bureau and Home Building Association of Richmond to see if there have been any complaints filed against the contractor.
- Check to see if the contractor has a reputable business establishment. Confirm the physical address and local phone number of his/her office.
- Inquire about employees and sub-contractors who will be working on your project. Ask for a list of their names.
- Ask for references. Contact referrals whose projects are similar to yours. Ask specific questions regarding timeliness, response to concerns and requests, clean up and overall job quality. Ask the referral if you can visit the completed job, as your idea of a great job and someone else's idea may be different.
- Have the contractor provide a contract. Read the fine print. Do not assume anything. The contract should include a set of plans, which will help identify the details of your project. The contract should also spell out:
- The name and address of the contractor,
- The contractor's license number, expiration date, license class and any specialty license information,
- A detailed scope of work,
- The price of the job, (preferably broken out into specific tasks or subcomponents of the project (including taxes, and contractor fees), and then tallied into a total price),
- The time frame in which the project will be completed: start date, any milestones which might be important, and completion date,
- Payment schedule, (example: 10% down - due within 7 days after signing contract, 40% to be paid within a week after passing the rough framing inspection, the 50% to be paid before the certificate of occupancy is issued),
- Who will obtain the permit,
- Cancellation rights of both parties,
- Penalties for non-performance (if any),
- The warranty, etc.
- Any special materials or finishes.