Major Updates to the Ohio Building Code

The International Building Code (IBC) and Ohio Building Code (OBC) are tools that provide safeguards for buildings and protection for public health and safety with construction methods and materials. The Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) adopted changes to the OBC that became effective November 1, 2017; these changes are based on the 2015 version of IBC collection. The last significant update of the OBC was in 2010-2011, which was based on the 2009 version of the IBC. This means that two updates of the IBC (2012 and 2015) are being integrated into this OBC upgrade. The new code holds some important changes that will affect the MEP construction industry.

HAWA Incorporated has been proactive since these updates were introduced earlier this year, providing in-house review and training sessions with our department managers, project managers and design engineers to ensure our team’s familiarity and expertise with the new requirements. Below is a summary of a few of the changes to the OBC as well as some of the reference standards that were also updated:

International Building Code (IBC)

  • Smoke Control: Smoke control is now required in atriums in Group I-2 occupancies, as well as those in Group I-1 occupancies classified as Condition 2, that connect two stories.
  • Ambulatory Healthcare Facilities: In a multi-tenant or mixed-occupancy building where there are uses present other than an ambulatory care facility, a fire partition is now required between the care facility and those nonrelated spaces.
  • Limited Area Sprinkler Systems: Additional restrictions have been placed on limited area sprinkler systems, including a reduction in the system size to a maximum of six sprinklers within a single fire area (the previous requirement was 20 sprinklers).
  • Basements: Basements provided with walls, partitions or fixtures that can obstruct water from hose streams now require automatic sprinkler protection.
  • Emergency Voice/Alarm Communication Captions: Mass notification fire alarm signals in large stadiums, arenas and grandstands now require captioned messages.

To read the full article, which contains key updates to the IMC, IPC and OBC Reference Standard, please click here.
We look forward to hearing about your engineering challenges and successes and how these revised codes may play a role in the future. To discuss the codes and their implications further, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to talk with you or arrange a meeting to share our in-house presentations.

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