For key Ohio code compliance information and DrJ Engineering’s Professional Roles and Responsibilities in the context of ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation, please review:
- Draft letter template that can be sent to Ohio Building Officials re: Ohio Law
- Ohio HB 231, the “Ohio Seal Law”, which began November 24, 1995
- Analysis of Ohio Law Supporting Building Official Approval of DrJ Technical Evaluation Reports
- Ohio Statutes Related to Professional Engineering and Code Compliance of Innovative Products
- Ohio Board of Building Standards Ohio Building Code Ohio Administrative Code Section 4101:1
- Legal Aspects of Product Approval
- DrJ Engineering’s Mission and Commitment
- Product Evaluation Process and Policies
Ohio Professional Engineering Roles, Responsibilities and Rights Related to Code Compliance and Building Official Approval in Ohio
We are pleased to provide the above reference documents that clearly define sealed engineering in the context of innovative product development and the Ohio code compliance process. Based on Ohio law, the expectation that exists for new and innovative product use is that the use of materials and technical methods, devices, and improvements shall be permitted to be used to the fullest extent feasible and that Ohio law shall be liberally construed in order to promote this purpose. Professional building officials generally find professional engineering is a reasonable interpretation of the provisions of this code and per Ohio lay they approve the given use.
This is not an easy topic to cover concisely, so our summary of the Ohio law follows and is also found in much more detail in the links provided above. These concepts are further confirmed in a July 2014 Board of Building Standards (BBS) Memo entitled OHIO’S “SEAL LAW” (HB 231) 19 YEARS LATER.
The 2014 Ohio Statutes, building standards, professional engineering laws and code compliance cover the use and implementation of sealed engineering for product approval inside the Ohio building design and construction process:
- Ohio law specifically states: “The seal of … an engineer registered [in Ohio] … is required for any plans, drawings, specifications, or data submitted for approval, unless the plans, drawings, specifications, or data are permitted to be prepared by persons other than … registered engineers ….”
- The plans, drawings, specifications, or data submitted for approval are also called construction documents and/or building code defined research reports depending on the context.
- This means all research reports (i.e., drawings, specifications, data, etc.) for any alternative product use should be sealed, unless the building is exempt from the requirement for a registered design professional to undertake the work.
- The BBS memo states the following legal concepts:
- A “building department’s limited role in the law’s enforcement.” In other words, all building officials have a clearly-defined and precise legal role and responsibility.
- Building officials do not have the authority to determine which design professionals can seal plans, drawings, specifications, or data or construction documents.
- The scope of practice of architecture or engineering in Ohio is the jurisdiction of the appropriate registration board, not the building department.
- “Failure to approve or deny construction documents and issue a Certificate of Plans Approval is a denial of a ‘license.’” This means a professional engineer’s license is a license that says the professional engineer accepts responsibility for the generally accepted engineering practice undertaken. Denial of this professional work is denial of a license without due process.
- To be in compliance with Ohio law, drawings, specifications, or data, etc. required to be submitted for an approval must be accepted for review by the building department.
- A thorough and complete plan examination must then be performed.
- In order for the building official to deny the use of plans, drawings, specifications, or data submitted for approval, an adjudication order must be written. This order must specify the provisions of the Ohio Building Code or Residential Code of Ohio with which the submission does not comply.
- Ohio law states – 104.2.1 “All building officials shall conduct themselves in a professional, courteous, impartial, responsive, and cooperative manner” and 101.3 “Permit to the fullest extent feasible, the use of materials and technical methods, devices, and improvements which tend to reduce the cost of construction without affecting minimum requirements for the health, safety, and security of the occupants of buildings without preferential treatment of types or classes of materials or products or methods of construction.”
“The rules of the board and proceedings shall be liberally construed in order to promote its purpose. When the building official finds that the proposed design is a reasonable interpretation of the provisions of this code, it shall be approved ….”
It is our understanding that:
- All regulators want to assure that the proper product with the proper capacity is used via the proper installation techniques. Most litigation stems from poor installation performance, so all of us on this end of the supply chain appreciate installers who have attention to detail, and building inspectors who help everyone meet the code requirements accurately.
- All companies want transparent and fair treatment. DrJ is available 7 days a week at 608-217-3713 to provide the engineering support needed to ensure TER questions can be answered quickly.
- DrJ wants your feedback, so we make our work the best it can be for both installers and building officials. We will make improvements to any of our documents within 5 business days and re-publish with the latest and best information available.
Thank you very much for reviewing this information. We look forward to your teaming up with us, to move innovation and new product use in all built construction forward as responsibly as we collectively can.