New Residential Code – RCO 2013 Effective January 1st

The new residential code for Ohio, RCO 2013 has been approved and will be effective January 1st.  It’s based on the 2009 IRC with some language from the new 2012 IRC.  Our previous code was based on the 2003 IRC, meaning we’ve effectively skipped the 2006 edition, and this resulted in a good amount of changes overall from our previous Ohio code to the new code.

Below are a few of the major changes discussed at a recent COCOA seminar that will directly affect new home construction permitted after January 1st:

1. Sprinkler systems will NOT be required for residential construction.  This is Ohio specific language, as they are required in the IRC.  The concession Ohio made to avoid this was that we will now be required to have a fire resistant floor system over the basement.  To achieve this, all basements with engineered floor joists MUST have either OSB or 1/2″ drywall applied to the underside of the first floor joists.

2. The new energy code will be in effect, and minimum R values have been increased.  To meet the prescriptive methods, new homes will be required to have 2×6 exterior walls OR 2X4 walls with R10 continuous foam insulation on the exterior to meet those minimum R value requirements.

3. Wall bracing requirements for wind are much more detailed and complex to calculate.  Hold down connectors will be required near corners if minimum widths are not met.  Tall wall requirements are also more stringent.  If two-story great room walls are required to have wall bracing in them, due to the length or floor plan layout, only an engineered system will be acceptable, such as Simpson Strong Walls or Steel Portal Frames.

Don’t let the new code changes catch you un-prepared.  Prospects you are talking with now may be subject to the new code by the time permits are ready to be pulled, so make sure you budget for any changes that will affect the overall costs of construction.  We will be here to answer any questions you have and help make the transition as painless as possible.

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