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Hamilton County, Ohio

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Planning & Development - Inspections

138 East Court Street, Rm 801, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Ph: 513 946-4550   Fx: 513 946-4511   IVR: 513 946-3780

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Building Department


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Department News

Effective May 27, 2007

The Department will begin assessing a 1% State surcharge for the State of Ohio Board of Building Standards on all residential building permits.

Annual Fee Adjustment Effective January 1, 2007

Building Permit fees are adjusted annually to the Cost of Construction Index of Engineering News Record (September report). The 2007 fees increased by 8.1%; the fee schedule is available on the department’s website at www.hamilton-co.org/hcbi or by calling 513-946-4550.

Change in Grounding Inspection Requirement Effective April 1, 2007
Grounding Requirement on Residential Permits

Grounding is required to be inspected before the footer is poured for all new residential buildings, additions, and accessory structures. This inspection is performed by IBI. Beginning April 2, 2007, this IBI inspection shall be approved before the Footer/Foundation Inspection will be approved.

Residential swimming pools shall have the grounding installed and inspected before the Final inspection is scheduled.

To schedule the grounding inspection, contact IBI at (513) 381-6080.

2007 Hamilton County Building Code

May 27, 2007 is the effective date of the new Hamilton County Building Code. The Board of County Commissioners adopted the new code on February 21, 2007 after holding two public hearings in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code. This new edition incorporates the Residential Code of Ohio (RCO) for all one, two, and three family dwellings and their accessory structures. The Hamilton County code contains the administrative requirements for all types of building permits, both residential and commercial. It also contains requirements for existing structures and unsafe structures, site requirements, and residential swimming pools.

Changes to the 2007 Hamilton County Building Code

Following is a summary of the changes to the Hamilton County specific changes:

Administration - Article A has been completely reorganized, because the state administrative chapters (Chapter 1 Administration) use virtually the same format and numbering system. The proposed Hamilton County code format will mirror the state codes.

Application requirement changes:
1. Section HC.A106.8.6 For applications requiring a siteplan, the on-site topographic survey will have to performed within 180 days of the application. The new language clarifies that the surveyor should be visiting the proposed construction site for a survey of the current conditions of the elevations in preparation for the permit application.
In addition, the allowance to use the subdivision improvement plan as the required plot plan has been removed. As a consequence, all new single family dwelling permit applications require a survey performed not more than 180 days before application.

These changes are the result of a committee made up of all of the agencies involved in the approvals and enforcement of the various Hamilton County, state, and local regulations addressing subdivision and construction requirements. There was consensus that this code section change will prevent a large portion of the problems in construction which affect storm drainage.

2. HC.A109.3.7 An additional Fire Resistance Rated Construction Inspection is required by the new state residential code, however, the current required DBI inspections already verify this state inspection requirement.

3. HC.A109.15 An additional Collector Line Inspection is required on new one, two, and three family dwellings built in subdivision where the collector lines are provided.

4. HC.A109.4 This is the description of when the work is ready for inspection. Inserted language in italics:

“Fire-resistance rated construction: Where fire-resistance rated construction is required between dwelling units or due to location on property, the residential building official shall require an inspection of such construction after all lathing and/or wallboard is applied, or before wallboard joints and fasteners are taped and finished.”

“Collector Line Inspection: When collector lines are available, downspouts shall be connected by underground piping. Inspection of the tap to the collector line shall be made after the downspout line and the collector lines are connected. This is an open trench inspection of the pipe connected to the collector line and at the termination of the downspout into the underground line.”

Collector lines have been required in new subdivisions for several years, however, inspections to verify the connections from the downspouts to these collector lines in the right of way have not been required. This is another consensus decision made by the committee of all of the applicable agencies mentioned above that these lines need to be inspected. The building inspectors will be inspecting this work during the construction phase of the building permit.

In the chapter Site Requirements - Article C, two changes were made to the 2005 sections.

5. HC.C103.2 The title of the section has been changed from “Exterior Steps and Stairs” to “Exterior Egress Stairs from Occupied Structures”.
This change has the effect of removing requirements for landscaping stairs. By adding the words egress and occupied structures, all landscaping stairs on residences will not have to meet the more stringent requirements for stair geometry, guards, and handrails.

6. HC.C103.6 Due to the new state residential code, fences over six feet in height require building permits. The state language, in italics, has been inserted in this section.
The zoning jurisdictions of Hamilton County do not allow fences over six feet in height in residential uses, however, if fences were allowed, the Hamilton County Building Code will be in compliance with the state code.

7. HC.C103.5 In the Railings and Guards section, a standard has been added as a reference for the design of automobile guards from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Language has been added to include the protection of vehicle when a guard is necessary for hazardous conditions/heights. The department sees permit applications with driveways and automobile access that are sometimes supported by heights of 7' to 10' retaining walls. While the current language requires guards and rails for pedestrian use, the determination of a hazardous situation for residential driveways and parking lots is by Building Official Opinion only. The code language should be more definitive by adding this reference which uses state accepted standards for vehicular guardrails.

2007 Hamilton County Building Code Available on Website

You may download a pdf version of the Hamilton County Building Code from the department’s website at insert website link . You may also purchase a copy by contacting the department. The Department of Building Inspections will not be selling copies of the ORC, however, you may purchase a copy from the ICC at Insert website link .

Employee News

Two new plans examiners have joined the department: Jack Derr, RA and David Puthoff, PE.

Tim Kranbul, Billy Lattarulo, and Casey McNamara have received their Building Inspector Certificate from the Ohio Board of Building Standards.

Dee Barrett has been promoted to a Business Systems Officer 1.

Home Owner Brochure

The Department of Building Inspections, Public Works, and Soil & Water have collected information for home owners on their rights and responsibilities regarding storm water drainage. This brochure will be mailed to the new home owner a few weeks after the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. This information is also available DBI’s website.

Residential XPlan Process up and running

The Department of Building Inspections, working with the Home Builders Association of Cincinnati, has developed a 24 hour permit process for new single family dwellings called XPlan. Builders may use this expedited process to obtain a building permit if the house plan is an exact replica of a home which has already been built, and the building lot has been pre-approved as available for the XPlan process. The initiative was presented to home builder members in September, 2006 after two pilot permits had been issued and construction had progressed beyond the framing inspection phase. Anyone interested in the XPlan process should contact Cindy Reatherford at 513-946-4550 for the requirements to participate in this expedited process.

Golf Manor

Effective April 6, 2007, Hamilton County will no longer be accepting OBC permit applications for Golf Manor.

Employee of the Year

Tonia F. Edwards, AIA, CBO was recognized as 2006 Hamilton County Employee of the Year. She was recognized along with five other Hamilton County employees and the County Hero at the 18th Annual Greater Cincinnati Public Service Recognition Ceremony on May 3, 2006.

DBI continues to meet its goals

DBI met its goal for first plan examination on 97% permit applications for new work, alterations, or additions in 2006. The department’s goal is to review commercial permit applications within 12 working days of application and to review residential applications withing 4 working days.

2007 OBC, OMC, and OPC Become Effective July 1, 2007

The Ohio Board of Building Standards has adopted new commercial building codes for Ohio. These new codes will be effective July 1, 2007. June 29, 2007 will be the last day that applications can be made for permits meeting the requirements of the 2005 Ohio Building Code, Ohio Mechanical Code, and the Ohio Plumbing Code. Since the Board of Building Standards designated the effective date more than six months in advance of their adoption date in 2007, there will not be a concurrent period where the designer may use either the current effective codes or the subsequent codes. Code books can be ordered from www.iccsafe.org or from Thompson West.

Applying for your building permit over the web

Coming in April of 2007, applicants will be able to apply for all types of residential building permits over the department’s website. Residential replacement mechanical e-permits have been available since 2005. To apply for a new single family dwelling permit, an addition, an alteration, a retaining wall, a deck, a residential swimming pool, or an accessory structure you will need to fill out the application, attach electronic versions of all required permit documents, including the zoning certificate, and pay your upfront fee, either by credit card or debit account. All e-permits have the same document submittal requirements for an application including the drawings, specifications, and zoning certificate. The advantage of the e-permit is you can apply at anytime, from anywhere, and either mail or use a delivery service to transport your application package to the department.

Commercial e-permits will be on-line later in 2007.

Continuing Education Requirements for Ohio Architects and Engineers
Deadline December 31, 2007

By an act of the Ohio State Legislature in 2005, all Registered Architects and Professional Engineers are required to obtain continuing education credits. The rules for each are slightly different. Architects are required to obtain 24 credits on a biennial basis which began on January 1, 2006. The first two year period ends on December 31, 2007. Information for Architects is available at http://arc.oh.gov.

Ohio Professional Engineers are required to obtain 15 CPD hours (continuing professional development) each year and maintain the records for three years starting with 2007 to be reported in 2007. More information is available at http://ohiopeps.org/cpd/index.html.

Some sources for continuing education are http://www.swoboa.org, http://www.aiacincinnati.org, and http://www.seaoo.org/index.html. You do not have to be a member of these organizations to register for these inexpensive locally offered courses.

DBI Now A Manufactured Home Inspection Department

Ohio enacted new rules which places inspection and review of manufactured home installations under the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission (OMHC) beginning January 1, 2007. Hamilton County Department of Building Inspections is certified by OMHC to perform these duties. For the applicant, there are no changes in applying for a building permit or in the inspection requirements at this time.

Survey Results of DBI’s High Volume Repeat Customers

In 2005, DBI surveyed 35 of its high volume repeat customers, and 54% of the surveys were returned, validating the results of the responses.

• 99.5% rated DBI staff favorable to excellent
Our high volume frequent customers are very satisfied specifically, they are satisfied with the service and knowledge of the staff and with the procedures of the permit process.

• 88% rate DBI ‘s permit processes favorable to excellent
• 88% rate DBI staff as knowledgeable

Our high volume frequent customers approve of our service and attention to detail. The building permit process in Hamilton County is complicated due to multiple jurisdictions and to Ohio law. The building department is responsible for coordinating the various department (e.g., Public Works, Engineer) and agency (e.g., MSD, CWW, Fire Depts., etc.) approvals that are required before a building permit can be issued and before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued.
State and local laws require approvals in the areas of zoning, sewers, water, storm, flood, erosion, cut and fill, roadways, fire, and plumbing before building permits can be issued. Depending on the location of the property, additional state and local agencies can be involved in the permit process. During the inspection phase of a permit, all of the agencies represented by these regulations also inspect for compliance and, thus, their approvals are required before occupancy is granted. Along with this coordination responsibility, we review plans and perform inspections for compliance with the building codes. Our customers approve of our processing of their permits; in fact, 61% rated the building department staff more helpful and 39% helpful (totaling 100%) against other departments and agencies which are part of the building permit process.

Public Events from Hamilton County Soil & Water

New Edition of the Rainwater & Land Development Manual!

The 2006 Edition of the Rainwater and Land Development Manual is available for download from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources web site-http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/soilandwater/Rainwater.htm

The District is requesting that all design engineers download this manual and update their standards and specifications to reflect these changes. All erosion prevention and sediment controls plan submittals shall
reflect the new specifications.

Office Hours:
7:30 am to 4:00 pm

Phone Hours:
7:30 am to 4:00 pm


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Copyright 2014. Hamilton County Ohio. 138 E. Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

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