New changes to Ohio Building Code

Education Opportunities

AIA Cincinnati will co-host an educational update seminar provided by The Preview Group on the 2017 OBC for design professionals in late summer/early fall 2017. Stay tuned to AIA Cincinnati’s Architext newsletter or website here for dates and locations.

The Preview Group, Inc. is an architectural consulting firm specializing in building codes and regulatory issues affecting construction. With offices in Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay area, Preview serves clients nationwide, from small firms to large practices. The Preview staff includes architects and engineers, with experience as designers, code officials, trade organization representatives, and consultants – all having regulatory experience at the local, state, and/or national levels. Preview’s goal is to provide clients with innovative and cost-effective solutions that achieve regulatory compliance in the most straightforward way. Please visit our website at or contact us at 1-513-621-2109.

The following text updates have been provided by The Preview Group:

At its May 26, 2017 public meeting, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) adopted what will be the next edition of the Ohio Building Code (OBC) (hereafter referred to as the 2017 OBC).  The 2017 edition of the OBC will go into effect on November 1st, 2017. All applications for a permit submitted on or after November 1, 2017 will be reviewed for compliance with the new OBC and its referenced standards. THERE IS NO GRACE PERIOD.

The BBS approved select rules of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), identified as Amendments Group XCIII (93) pursuant to Chapters 119, 3781, 3791, and 4104 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). The 2017 OBC is based on the International Building Code 2015 (IBC), first printing, Chapters 2 to 35 – with Ohio Amendments through April 14, 2017. Publication dates for hard and electronic versions from ICC and Thompson-Reuters are not yet available.

Read full text of the approved draft on the Board’s website:

Read Full Draft

While there are numerous changes from the 2011 OBC to the 2017 OBC, some of the specific rules adopted in Chapters 1 through 35 of the 2017 OBC include:

  • Updating the provisions for health care occupancies including revisions to the occupancy classifications based on the levels of care being provided, and new definitions for the levels of care being provided.
  • Revisions throughout the OBC for better alignment with the 2012 edition of NFPA 101, which is required by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Reformatting Table 503 and Chapter 5 provisions for building height and area.
  • Expanding the use of exit access stairs and unenclosed exit stairs, including atriums.
  • Continuing the use of Chapter 34 for existing buildings in lieu of adoption of the ICC International Existing Building Code (IEBC).

Status of the Residential Code of Ohio (RCO) – The Ohio Residential Construction Advisory Committee (RCAC) recently completed review of the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) and will begin review of the 2018 IRC once available for recommendation to the Board. It is expected that the next edition of the RCO will be based on the 2018 IRC and be effective mid to late 2018.

Status of the Ohio Fire Code (OFC) – The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) has recently issued the DRAFT of the 2017 Ohio Fire Code (OFC) and associated SFM rules here.

Further details about OFC rule-related meeting dates, updates regarding procedures for and the status of the OFC update process, and proposed OFC related rule/hearing information can be found on the SFM’s website here. No firm adoption date has been established at this time.


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