During its March 7 meeting the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) approved new AIA-Ohio endorsed commercial standards under the International Building Code (IBC).  


The long list of regular agenda items passed without comment save for 126 separate rule amendments to adopt new standards proposed under the International Building Code (IBC).


Steve Tugend, director of government relations for Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter and past vice president for government

relations at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, led off testimony on new building standards, which cover everything

from structural elements to plumbing and mechanical codes. He noted the chamber’s work with the Columbus Partnership

Columbus 20/20 in reviewing proposed building changes and zeroed in on Rule 4101-1-10-01, which reduces the overall

size of warehouse space from 800 feet in width to 500 feet. New language restricting the distance of any point in the

warehouse to within 250 feet of the exit would effectively limit a facility’s overall capacity, Tugend explained.

“Since the rule was submitted, we have communicated with the state Board of Building Standards, the governor’s office and

the lieutenant governor’s office,” he told JCARR. “We believe this will make Ohio uncompetitive in the area of distribution

and warehousing.”


Tugend said, however, that the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices had assured him that the rule could be amended

before its effective date of September 2011 to restore Ohio’s current language on an egress distance of 400 feet. “We are

withdrawing our request that the rule be disapproved,” he concluded.


Outside the hearing, he said interested parties are still working on the language of the warehouse amendment for 4101-1-

10-01. “This rule was promulgated under the previous administration, and the current [Kasich] administration wants to work with us to make it more business friendly,” Tugend said adding that proposed changes by the International Code Council (ICC) do not reflect the state of the logistics industry. “The cutting-edge warehouses of today would not be built if it

were to remain unchanged.”


Back in the hearing room, Tugend was followed by Merle McBride of the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating,

Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), who spoke in support of IBC’s energy-efficient building mandates.

Jack Pounds of the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council concluded testimony, addressing the impact of JCARR’s building

code agenda on the issue of global warming.


“While our organization opposes the current efforts by the U.S. EPA to regulate so-called ‘greenhouse gases’ as pollutants

under the Clean Air Act, we believe that Ohio must make use of the so-called ‘Tailoring Rule’ promulgated by the federal

agency to minimize the hardships of major source permitting on thousands of facilities in Ohio, including small businesses,

fast food restaurants, hospitals, colleges and the like,” said Pounds. “The rules before you will do just that.”

Without adoption of U.S. EPA rules, he said, Ohio law would require the state to impose “much more stringent permit

thresholds” in Ohio’s Air Pollution Control Act.


Under that standard, said Pound, the state would be required to regulate “the very smallest sources of greenhouse gases.”

He added that EPA language will eliminate the entire federal rule package should federal courts or Congress remove the

U.S. EPA’s ability to regulate targeted pollutants under the Clean Air Act.


After the hearing, the Sierra Club published a statement on the energy-efficiency requirements of IBC.

“This is a clear victory for Ohio’s environment and economy,” said Jen Miller of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter. “Requiring

commercial buildings to include cost-effective measures like more insulation, more efficient lighting and other efficiency

measures is just common sense. With energy cost on the rise, integrating energy efficiency in all buildings will create jobs

in manufacturing and construction, reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, and provide cost savings for years to come.”

Miller pointed to the many letters of support received by JCARR on new energy standards from environmental

organizations, code officials, trade associations, fire officials, electrical inspectors, consumer advocates, engineers,

architects and businesses.


She also included a statement from ICC:  “The International Code Council is pleased to have the support of a diverse coalition of stakeholders, (including AIA-Ohio) that share a collective interest in the public safety of the citizens of Ohio,” said Corey Roblee of ICC. “The adoption of these codes will provide Ohioans with safer and sustainable buildings, schools and structures where they live, work and play. It is our hope that Ohio follow suit and adopt the remainder of the most up-to-date building and fire safety codes, including the residential and energy codes, in order to provide our citizens with the safest and energy-efficient residential homes.”