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Contractors conducting hot work

Contractors performing hot work shall maintain a Hot Work Permit Program and employee-training program that meets the OSHA requirements found in 29 CFR 1926.352 and ANSI Z49.1-88 and NFPA 51B. Examples of hot work include, but are not limited to, the use of open flames, compressed gases or supplied fuel burning, brazing, cutting, grinding, soldering, thawing pipe, torch-applied roofing, and welding.

A copy of the canceled permit(s) shall be provided to the project manager, hot work coordinator, or Environmental Health & Safety (upon request) no more than five (5) working days after completion of the work.

Fire prevention and suppression procedures for hot work operations

If not properly controlled, hot work operations present serious fire hazards that can lead to significant property damage, injury, and/or loss of life. To ensure safe hot work activities the following procedures have been established. These procedures apply to all work performed on university property. An example of a Hot Work Permit can be found on page 49.

Policy for work performed outside a designated area and/or temporary operation

A hot work permit must be issued for any temporary operation that may produce high heat, sparks, and/or open flames. These operations include but are not limited to, the use of open flames, compressed gas or supplied fuel burning, brazing, cutting, grinding, torch soldering, thawing pipe, torch-applied roofing, and welding.

Procedure to secure a hot work permit: 

  1. Any university employee performing work requiring a hot work permit must secure the permit BEFORE any work is to begin. This will require advance notice. A hot work permit can be obtained from the designated hot work coordinator(s), fire safety engineer, or fire safety inspector. A listing of hot work coordinators, who will issue hot work permits, can be obtained from the fire safety engineer.
  2. Hot work cannot begin until the worksite has been inspected for safety and the fire safety engineer, fire protection inspector or hot work coordinator issuing the permit has signed the hot work permit. All applicable safety precautions listed on the permit must be followed at all times during the hot work operation. The Fire safety engineer, fire protection Inspector, or hot work coordinator will inform you of the procedures to follow if the worksite is located in a building with a fire detection system.
  3. Persons doing hot work must indicate on the permit a start time and expiration date. The permit must be posted in plain view at the hot work location during the entire operation. After the hot work is completed the permit must be returned to the fire safety engineer, fire protection inspector, or hot work coordinator that issued the permit to indicate the job is completed. The fire safety engineer, fire protection inspector, or hot work coordinator (whoever issued the permit) will assure the worksite is free of any hot spots or potential fire hazards from the work done for up to 1 hour after work completion.
  4. It is important that the permit specifically states the location and start time of the hot work. This will allow the fire safety engineer, fire protection inspector, or hot work coordinator to respond to the permit as quickly as possible so the work process will not be delayed.
  5. Long-term jobs (of more than one workday) may have a permit issued for the entire work schedule but for no more than one month. The fire safety engineer, fire protection inspector, or hot eork coordinator will routinely check the worksite to ensure the safety of the hot work being performed. If the work extends beyond the initial completion date, another permit must be secured for the additional time period.

Policy for work performed in shops and other designated hot work areas

University departments that perform hot work on a routine basis in a permanent shop or other designated work sites will be exempt from the above permit requirements only if the area is inspected, approved and issued a permit by the designated hot work coordinator. These permits must be renewed on a yearly basis (old permits should be kept in file for 5 years) or when changes in the shop warrant a repeat inspection. When approved by the inspector a sign will be posted at the worksite that reads "Hot Work Approved Area." The coordinator will re-inspect these areas during his or her annual fire and/or shop inspection of the approved area. Any deficiencies to the designated hot work area or shop must be corrected to continue the designation of "Hot Work Approved Area."

Bonfires, campfires, candles, incense, etc.

Open burning is defined as any open/exposed flame, whether indoors or outdoors, that could cause a fire. Examples are candles, incense, bonfires, campfires, leaf burning, artwork involving flames, and pyrotechnics of any kind. Pyrotechnics are not covered in this section but can be found in the following section.

Approvals and permit application process

Open burning on any Virginia Tech property must be approved in writing by the fire safety engineer at Environmental Health & Safety and may also require approval by the Virginia State Fire Marshal's office.

Open flames and burning - indoor

Open flames indoors, particularly when such burning will activate any type of fire alarm detection/suppression system, is normally prohibited. Special exceptions may be authorized under the following conditions: 

  1. A written request is sent to Environmental Health & Safety using the "Open Burning Permit Application;" see Appendix D on page 45, at least ten (10) working days in advance of the event or operation.
  2. The proposed burning will not endanger the occupants or facility.
  3. The proposed burn location will not block any emergency equipment or access to any building EXIT.
  4. The host will be responsible for providing a "Fire Watch" of the entire building during the time of the open burning if any fire safety system must be shut down
  5. The host must contact Environmental Health & Safety, Virginia Tech Police Department, and the occupants of the building 24 hours in advance of the event or operation for final coordination.
  6. The host will be responsible for providing portable fire extinguishers and emergency procedures trained personnel in the area of the open burn. Contact Environmental Health & Safety for this training.

Open burning - outdoors

Open burning outdoors may be authorized under the following conditions: 

  1. A written request is sent to Environmental Health & Safety using the "Open Burning Permit Application;" (see Appendix D on page 45, at least ten (10) working days in advance of the event or operation.
  2. The proposed burning will not endanger any adjacent buildings, vehicles, or vegetation.
  3. The burn location will not block access by emergency vehicles to any building, street, or emergency equipment.
  4. Open flame fires will not be within 50 feet of any flammable storage area (the distance may be increased according to the size of the event) or 25 feet of any building, vehicle, or vegetation.
  5. The host will be responsible for providing portable fire extinguishers and emergency procedures trained personnel in the area of the open burn. Contact Environmental Health & Safety for this training.
  6. The host will contact Environmental Health & Safety, Virginia Tech Police, and occupants of adjacent buildings 24 hours in advance of the event or operation for final coordination.
  7. The host of the open burning will be responsible for complete extinguishment and removal of all materials used in the open burning activity.
  8. A fire watch (up to an hour) will be conducted (as determined by Environmental Health & Safety) to ensure there is no residual heat left in the material.

Approval for the display of fireworks on state property, including Virginia Tech property, must be obtained from the State Fire Marshal's Office (SMFO) by obtaining a permit. Information about how to apply for the permit can be found at http://www.vafire.com/state_fire_marshal/fireworks.htm.

It is important to note that the SFMO is not obligated to issue it's approval if they do not receive all the necessary information 30 work days prior to the requested display date.

In addition, the SFMO approval may stipulate certain conditions and approval for a specific date and time that is not transferable to any other date, time or activity.

Coordination with Environmental Health & Safety is also required to assure notification of all emergency services agencies.

University Policy No. 5406 addresses the requirement, policy, and procedures for temporary facilities, tents, and stages. It can be found at http://www.policies.vt.edu/5406.pdf.

All requests for tent permits must go through the University Building Official's Office (UBO).

Tents greater than 900 square feet or having an occupancy over 50 persons are required to apply for a state permit no less than 30 days in advance. Information and applications can be found at the University Building Official's website.

EHS must be notified a minimum of 7 days in advance to schedule the required fire inspection. Fire inspections are conducted for all anchored and staked tents on state property. A sample of the inspection form can be found in Appendix E on page 49. The following list will be used during the inspection to ensure safety as required by the fire code.

Tents under 900 sq feet (except for recreational camping tents and personal pop-up non-anchored tents). At least one multi-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher for each tent with a minimum 4-A rating, or two with a minimum 2-A rating each.

Tent is placed away from all buildings minimum 20 feet.

Tent is not blocking any means of egress from other structures, sidewalks, or emergency fire lanes.

Cooking/open flames directly under the tent are not permitted. State Fire Code Officials prefer electrical devices or move cooking away from tent area a minimum of 20 feet.
Tents over 900 sq feet or more than 50 occupants, approved by the UBO: Tent application has been submitted to and has been approved by the UBO. Miss Utility must have been contacted and the location of utilities must be marked. (University Policy 5406)

Detailed site plan

Certificate of flame resistance

Detailed floor plan, including furniture and equipment arrangement within the tent or structure indicating egress paths and exits.

Virgina Tech map annotating where site is in reference to the campus as a whole.
On-site Inspection Requirements: At least one multi-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher for each tent with a minimum 4-A rating, or two with a minimum 2-A rating each. The tent is placed away from all buildings minimum 20 feet. The UBO can grant exceptions for this distance requirement on a case-by-case basis. If you foresee that minimum distance can be a problem, further explanation may be required (such as structure of building posing the problem, tent not being used for assembly purposes, obstructed means of egress or emergency lanes if proper distances are maintained, or improper distances to cooking surfaces if minimum distances are maintained).

Tent is not blocking any means of egress from other structures, sidewalks or emergency fire lanes.

If the tent is air-supported, all items in the tent must be at least 3 feet away from the walls of the tent.

Cooking with open flames and all other unprotected open flames is not permitted. Statewide Fire Prevention Code requires a minimum of 20 feet distance between the electrical cooking devices or the cooking activity and the tent. Electric warming trays and other warming devices are permitted.

All tents anchors and structural supports are properly secured.
Offensive or objectionable activity that creates an unsafe condition is prohibited. The Fire Code Official reserves the right to order the activity to cease in the event that it creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation.

An example of the fire inspection form used during tent inspections can be found in Appendix I. To obtain more information or to apply online for a tent permit go to http://www.ubo.vt.edu/tent_permit.aspx.

Approval in accordance with the requirements of the Statewide Fire Prevention code is required prior to the use of all special effects equipment on Virginia Tech property. The following is a list of those types of activities requiring a special effects permits:

  • Smoke and haze machines;
  • Fog machines;
  • Indoor and outdoor use of gunpowder or other small amounts of explosives;
  • Special use of temporary electrical installations;
  • Stage sets that are comprised of large amounts of combustible materials; and/or
  • Stage weapons and firearms.

An application must be made in writing at least ten (10) days prior to the event. A copy of the Special Effects Permit Application can be found in Appendix F.


Contact Information

Phone: 540-231-3600
Email: firesafe@vt.edu