Stafford County Uses Building Codes to Keep Residents Safe

According to the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia has more than 24,000 home fires per year. These fires cause more than $8.3 million per week in property loss. Residents of Stafford County can rest more peacefully knowing Stafford’s development services and code compliance personnel are using every tool they can to ensure the safety of both new and existing builds. Permits and inspections can seem demanding, but they serve the purpose of requiring industry standards for safety. Safety is the number one priority for Stafford County’s Department of Development Services.

Virginia is a Dillon rule state, meaning the County derives its authority from the state. Stafford abides by the Virginia Residential Building Code, updated on a three-year cycle along with the International Building Code. Stafford’s Development Services administer this building code.

A building code is a set of rules that specify the minimum requirements to ensure the safety of structures. These codes reduce casualties, costs, and damages to homes by creating structures designed to withstand disasters. The primary purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.

According to FEMA, building codes help improve your community:


Building codes protect you from a wide range of hazards – whether by implementing safe wiring, fire prevention, or stronger structural integrity. When a community has up-to-date building codes in place, they are more protected against these hazards.


In the FEMA study Building Codes Save, an analysis shows that over 20 years, cities and counties in the United States with modern building codes have avoided at least $132 billion in losses from natural disasters. This statistic is based on a comparison of jurisdictions without modern building codes. In addition, to the money saved, property damage is reduced. This data shows that immeasurable losses are also avoided, such as the stress of temporary relocation, lost income, and community disruption.


You can trust that a building built to the latest codes is keeping up with the latest findings and technological advances. Built on a solid foundation of decades of construction knowledge and experience, model building codes are updated every three years and incorporate new information such as results of post-disaster research. When a community adopts code updates, it involves a range of stakeholders who prioritize public health and safety with affordability in mind.  In addition, there is an increased desire for sustainability and climate adaptation.


Building codes set common minimum design and construction requirements across communities, resulting in improved construction quality, consistent permitting, and vigorous code enforcement. When neighboring communities follow and enforce the same rules, it makes it easier for smaller communities to work together through mutual aid agreements to implement the code.

Find out more about Development Services at Stafford County by visiting: