Residential and Commercial > State Code Status: Ohio

State Code Status: Ohio

Current Commercial Code

Ohio Building Code (OBC) Chapter 13, based on the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 with amendments.
Adopted 9/30/2016, effective 1/1/2017

✔ Can use COMcheck to show compliance.

This code is mandatory statewide for the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of buildings under its purview. The OBC is generally applicable to construction that is not detached one-, two-, or three-family dwellings.

Current Residential Code

2013 Residential Code of Ohio, based on the 2009 IRC Chapter 11; includes the 2009 IECC and two state-specific alternatives (RCO Sections 1101 through 1104; RCO Section 1105)
passed 5/28/2012, effective 1/1/2013

✔ Can use REScheck to show compliance.

This code is mandatory statewide for the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal, and demolition of every one-, two-, or three-family dwelling.

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Ohio climate zones

Climate Zones: 4A, 5A

Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

Legislative and Regulatory Process:

Ohio Building Code: Revisions and updates are promulgated by the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS), the primary state agency authorized to protect the public’s safety and welfare in building design and construction. Any BBS recommendations are then submitted by Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and finally go through the state’s administrative review procedures before any updates become effective.

Residential Code of Ohio: An energy subcommittee of the Residential Codes Advisory Council (RCAC) provides recommendations on proposed updates to the residential code, which then must be approved by a vote of the RCAC. Those recommendations then follow the same process as Ohio Building Standards updates.

Code Change Cycle

No set schedule

Next Code Update


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September 30, 2016

The Ohio Board of Building Standards adopts the rule changes identified as Amendments Group 92. These rule amendments include those to OBC Chapter 13, pertaining to energy efficiency. These changes go into effect on January 1, 2017.

January 1, 2013

The 2013 Residential Code of Ohio (RCO) becomes effective for new and renovated residential construction.

May 28, 2012

The BBS updates the RCO to reference the 2009 IECC with two state-developed alternative compliance paths. Prior to this, Ohio has not updated its residential building energy code since 2009, and the previous code was based on the 2006 IECC with substantially weaker alternative compliance paths.

Among the changes, the new code will:

  • Raise the minimum insulation for exterior walls from R-13 to R-20, or R-13 plus a layer of insulating sheathing
  • Raise the minimum R-value of basement walls from R-5 to R-10
  • Require that at least 75 percent of light bulbs in new homes be high-efficiency, such as compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Mandate that homes meet an air-tightness standard, which can be shown using a blower-door test, as required by one of the three compliance paths (not effective until January 2014)
  • Increase the efficiency of windows by reducing the maximum U-value from .40 to .35
April 26, 2012

The BBS convenes for a public hearing to solicit testimony on proposed rules affecting the residential building code. The proposal plans to adopt the 2009 IECC for residential buildings while also offering an alternative compliance path offered by the Ohio Home Builder Association. Additionally, the rules are proposed to comply with the five year rule review and to replace the current Residential Code of Ohio (RCO) with a new residential code that is based upon the 2009 IRC. Should BBS approve the proposals, the recommendations will go before Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

November 1, 2011

Updates to the Ohio Building Code, Ohio Mechanical Code and the Ohio Plumbing Code become effective. BBS updates the Ohio Building Code (OBC) for nonresidential construction to reference the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 as compliance paths.

May 11, 2011

The Residential Codes Advisory Committee (RCAC) gives final approval to the OHBA Residential Alternative Energy Code as an alternative compliance path to the 2009 IECC to be referenced in the next edition of the Ohio Residential Code (ORC). While containing several amendments to the base model code, some advocates believe the proposal will achieve energy savings equivalent to the 2009 IECC and at a cost less than that of the 2006 IECC in some parts of the state. An RCAC energy subcommittee initially approved the proposal on March 22, and the OHBA and MEEA worked to convert the proposal into actual code language.

March 7, 2011

The Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) approves a January 21 BBS recommendation to update the state’s nonresidential energy standards. The Ohio BBS sets a November 1, 2011 effective date for the code updates to the Ohio Building Code, Ohio Mechanical Code and the Ohio Plumbing Code.

January 21, 2011

The Ohio BBS approves a set of amendments to update the state’s construction codes. Part D would update the Ohio Building Code (OBC) to incorporate the 2009 International Building Code (IBC), including its references to the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 as compliance paths for energy efficiency for non-residential buildings. The OBC currently references the 2006 IBC.

February 17, 2009

A bill (HB 7) is introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives that would establish green building labeling and energy use standards for any building or structure constructed using any state capital budget money, including money from the education facilities trust fund. This bill eventually dies in the House.

January 1, 2009

BBS adopts the 2006 IECC for the second time and adds an additional prescriptive option for demonstrating energy code compliance for one-, two-, and three-family dwellings. Compliance can be demonstrated by the requirements of the 2006 IECC, OR meeting the requirements of sections 1101-1103 of Chapter 11 of the Residential Code of Ohio, OR by meeting the state code’s new Prescriptive Energy Requirements (section 1104).

March 28, 2008

The Ohio Board of Building Standards makes a request to the Governor’s Office for an executive order to authorize the filing of emergency rules. On March 31, 2008, the Governor signs Executive Order 2008-06S authorizing the BBS to file the emergency rules. BBS files the emergency rules the same day; after March 31, construction documents for all residential one-, two-, and three-family dwelling projects are required to only meet or exceed the 2003 IECC and the 2005 NEC to comply with the Residential Code of Ohio (RCO). Non-residential construction would continue to use 2008 OBC, referencing the 2006 IECC and the 2008 NEC for compliance throughout this time period.

After a review of the 2006 IECC by a specially appointed Ad-Hoc committee consisting of several home builders, staff from the Ohio Energy Office, an energy rater, and BBS staff, the committee makes a recommendation to propose re-adoption of the 2006 IECC with the addition of a unique Ohio prescriptive path that offers another method of compliance for one-, two-, and three-family dwellings. A public hearing is held on November 7, 2008 to receive public comments.

January 1, 2008

The 2008 Ohio Building Code (OBC) goes into effect. This code is based on the 2006 IBC, referencing the 2006 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2004 as compliance paths. It is mandatory statewide, and COMcheck can be used to show compliance. This code is no longer effective after November 1, 2011.

March 1, 2005

The 2003 IECC goes into effect.

March 1, 1998

The 1995 MEC is adopted and becomes effective.

July 1, 1995

The 1993 MEC and ASHRAE 90.1-1989 go into effect.

October 20, 1978

The Board of Building Standards adopts a rule, effective July 1, 1979, repealing most of the existing Ohio Building Code. The resulting collection of model code sections and superseding Ohio provisions, together with the CABO Model Energy Code (MEC), among others, comprises the OBBC.

Prior to July 1, 1979, the rules of the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) were compiled in a document known as the Ohio Building Code.

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State Toolkit

This feature allows users to track progress towards goals of adoption, compliance, and implementation in their state. If you have any updates about strides that your state has made in any of the categories below, please contact BCAP.

The Ohio toolkit is currently under construction.



Deborah D. Ohler, PE
Staff Engineer
Board of Building and Standards
Ohio Department of Commerce


Steven P. Regoli, AIA
Architect Project Administrator
Board of Building and Standards
Ohio Department of Commerce


Isaac Elnecave
Senior Policy Manager
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)

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Energy Code Ambassadors Program

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Helpful Links

Basic Facts

Population: 11,613,423 (US Census Bureau, 2015)

Construction Activity:
New Privately Owned Housing Units Authorized by Permit Type (US Census Construction Statistics)

Year 2014 2015
Total Units 19,872 20,047
1 unit 12,535 13,529
2 units 290 318
3 or 4 units 679 657
5 or more units 6,368 5,543

CO2 Emissions:

Commercial buildings: 10.9 MMT
Residential buildings: 18 MMT
(EIA, 2015)

Energy data:

Residential building energy consumption:
863.6 trillion BTU in 2012

Commercial building energy consumption:
675.5 trillion BTU in 2012

Energy expenditures: $49.3 billion in 2012

Energy snapshot: According to EIA, Ohio's residential sector uses 24.4% of overall energy, while the commercial sector uses 18.6%.

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This page was last modified on: January 3, 2017