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Cincinnati Facade Ordinance

How you can ensure compliance for your buildings in Cincinnati

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CINCINATTI FACADE ORDINANCE OVERVIEW

The city of Cincinnati issued an ordinance requiring regular façade inspections of its buildings.

The requirements apply to all buildings that have:

  • The completed construction date of fifteen years or greater or a portion of which, is at least five stories or at least sixty feet above the established grade, whichever is less.

The requirements don’t apply to those portions of buildings located:

  • I. At or above five stories or sixty feet above-established grade, whichever is less, to the extent, they are set back more than twenty-five feet from the base of the building and the area set back from the base of the building is only made accessible to those performing exterior maintenance to the building.
  • II. Twelve inches or less from the exterior wall of an adjacent building.

FIlING REQUIREMENTS

Each inspection report should include the following:

The name and address of the building.

The name, address, and phone number of the building owner or person in control, and their agents if available.

The name, business address, and phone number of the professional preparing the report.

A site plan of the building showing adjacent streets and alleys, and the relationship of the building to property lines and adjacent buildings.

A description of the building, including the number of stories, height, plan dimensions, age, and type of exterior wall construction, describing cornices, soffits, or similar overhangs or features.

Photographs or drawings of all elevations of the building.

A detailed description of the facade examination in narrative form, including start and completion dates.

A designation of the building façade’s status by the professional as “safe,” “safe with ordinary repair and maintenance,” “unsafe,” or “unsafe and imminently hazardous,” as those terms are defined in subsection 1127-3.10.

Drawings or photographs describing where there is significant distress or deteriorated conditions observed in the facade.

A description of recommended repair work and precautionary measures that should be taken to safeguard the public, emergency responders, and building occupants, if any, and the recommended completion date of such work.

Where appropriate, a comparison of conditions of the building facade with conditions observed during previous examinations of the same facade.

A recommendation for future examination if earlier than the time period specified in subsection 1127-03.8.

The signature and seal of the professional who performed the examination.

The signature of the owner or person in control acknowledges his or her knowledge of the building’s condition and responsibility to maintain the building in a safe condition.

The date of the report.

Other documents, notes, summaries, memoranda, letters, or ancillary reports pertinent to the inspection report prepared by the professional.

INSPECTION SCHEDULE &
FREQUENCY

I. Category I Buildings

  1. If a building has a completed construction date prior to January 1, 1920, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2017, and every twelve years thereafter.
  2. If a building has a completed construction date between January 1, 1920, and December 31, 1950, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2018, and every twelve years thereafter.
  3. If a building has a completed construction date after December 31, 1951, or later and is fifteen years old or older, its facade will be inspected on or before July 1, 2019, and every twelve years thereafter.

II. Category II and III Buildings

  1. If a building has a completed construction date prior to January 1, 1920, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2017, and every eight years thereafter.
  2. If a building has a completed construction date between January 1, 1920, and December 31, 1950, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2018, and every eight years thereafter.
  3. If a building has a completed construction date after December 31, 1951, or later and fifteen years or older, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2019, and every eight years thereafter.

III. Category IV Buildings

  1. If a building has a completed construction date prior to January 1, 1920, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2017, and every twelve years thereafter.
  2. If a building has a completed construction date between January 1, 1920, and December 31, 1950, its facade must be inspected on or before July 1, 2018, and every twelve years thereafter.
  3. If a building has a completed construction date after December 31, 1951, or later and is fifteen years old or older, its facade will be inspected on or before July 1, 2019, and every twelve years thereafter.

Any building not otherwise described in subsections i-iii above must be examined within one year of reaching fifteen years beyond its completed construction date and must be examined consistent with the prescribed schedule for its respective building category.

If a facade inspection report was completed more recently than the prescribed timeframes for the category and age of a building, the report may be submitted to the director for review in lieu of a new report. If the director approves the report finding that it substantially complies with this section, the next report will be due within five, eight, or twelve years of when that report was originally completed, consistent with the prescribed schedule for the respective building categories.

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CONSEQUENCES FOR LATE FILING

Failing to comply with an order of the director pursuant to this Section 1127-03 is liable for a Class D Civil Offense, according to Cincinnati Municipal Code.

For each subsequent offense occurring within one year after having once been notified of an initial offense, every additional day that a person fails to comply will constitute a separate civil offense.

Why it’s important to stay in compliance

Staying in compliance is essential for adhering to the legal requirement enforced by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. 

Additionally, having a building up to code ensures the safety, health, and welfare of all occupants inside the building as well as the general public. Periodic building envelope inspections also empowers building owners to preventatively address facade and roof-related concerns before the conditions lead to much costlier restoration. Without routine inspections, your building poses a risk to surrounding residents and structures while having to deal with fines, potential offenses, and more.

WHY PARTNER WITH SULLIVAN ENGINEERING

Sullivan Engineering recommends partnering with an architecture or engineering firm that specializes in exterior restoration services when you are ready to have your building inspected. A professional firm like Sullivan Engineering will know exactly what to look for and be able to identify conditions such as superficial cracks and deterioration. They will ensure that these conditions will not be mislabeled, and more importantly, that unsafe conditions posing threats to public safety will not go unnoticed and unreported.

Sullivan Engineering’s partnership approach, focusing on proactive communication and fast turnaround times, combined with our budget management expertise and our ability to leverage technology gives our clients an exceptional experience they can’t find anywhere else. To learn more about us and our core values and determine if we are the right partner for you, visit our About Us page.

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