Ohio’s New Approach to Code Adoption – The Worst of Both Worlds

Ohio’s New Approach to Code Adoption – The Worst of Both Worlds

At its November 30, 2011 meeting, the Residential Construction Advisory Committee (RCAC) of the Ohio Board of Building Standards addressed the issue of code adoption cycles.  As has been a growing trend in the states, the Ohio Home Builders have been promoting the extension of the code adoption process from the typical three years to six years. 

But in addition to doubling the time that the state would remain stagnant on a single code, it was also proposed that a code by amendable at any time during the period that it is in effect, making the code, in effect, a living document! 

Both of these proposed changes could have negative impacts on electrical safety and/or availability of new technologies.  For example, lengthening the time that an adopted code is in effect could delay the spread of new, safety enhancements such as tamper resistant receptacles, by delaying the requirement for installation of these devices by three years or more.  Similarly, not adopting the 2011 edition of the NEC could delay the deployment of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment by one full code cycle.

But making a code amendable at any time could have both safety and cost implementations, particularly for contractors, who would have to vigilant in tracking changes, re-calculating cost estimates, and training personnel.  The changes being contemplated could be interpreted as being the worst of both worlds.  Additional details can be found in the minutes of the November 2011 RCAR meeting.


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