Ohio Building Energy Codes

Code Level


The Ohio Building Code (OBC) is the primary construction code for all new buildings except detached 1-, 2-, and 3-family dwellings. Buildings within the scope of the OBC have two options for demonstrating compliance:

  1. 2021 IECC Commercial Provisions (including Ohio amendments), or
  2. ASHRAE 90.1-2019 (including Ohio amendments)

The OBC also includes residential provisions of the 2021 IECC that apply to low-rise multifamily residential buildings (i.e., those that are typically classified in the International Building Code as Group R-2, R-3, or R-4 buildings, with three stories or less).   


The Residential Code of Ohio(RCO) is the primary construction code for new detached 1-, 2-, and 3-family dwellings. While the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) serves as the basis for the RCO’s energy provisions, there are additional pathways to choose from, including the 2018 IECC.


Authorized by – Statute. The building codes in Ohio are authorized under Ohio Code 3781. The rules in the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 4101:1 require that non-residential buildings in the state be built to meet the standards of the IECC or ASHRAE 90.1.  Specific energy efficiency provisions are found in OAC 4101:1-13.  Residential buildings are covered under OAC 4101:8, with energy efficiency provisions found in OAC 4101:8-11.  

Oversight – Oversight of the building codes in Ohio is through the Board of Building Standards (BBS). The Residential Code Advisory Committee (RCAC), a subcommittee of the BBS, further oversees residential codes.

Code change process – Regulatory and Legislative. The BBS (or the RCAC and then the BBS) recommends code changes, which are then approved or disapproved by the legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).  

Code change cycle – There is no set schedule for reviewing or updating the energy codes. The OBC and RCO are changed separately. 


Enforcement – Codes are enforced by the jurisdiction having authority over the buildings. If no local jurisdiction has authority, then the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Industrial Compliance reviews commercial building plans and construction. Residential buildings are enforced only at the local level. 

Implementation/Compliance Studies – The Building Codes Assistance Project has analyzed the status of compliance in Ohio and made recommendations on reaching 90% code compliance. 

Primary Contacts