Building Compliance

The Building Compliance Section promotes a safe and sustainable city where neighborhoods thrive.  We investigate reports of unsafe buildings, including those damaged by fire, vehicle impacts, weather events, and through deterioration and neglect.  We also review and investigate other potential violations of the state and city building codes, including working without permits and occupying without certificate of occupancy.   

We are a team of case managers, inspectors, and support staff who work collaboratively with our customers and partner sections and agencies to achieve compliance in our cases resulting in the safe and productive use of buildings throughout the city.  We strive for customer service to our customers, including residents and visitors of the city, building owners, tenants, property managers, architects, engineers, contractors, and attorneys.  We work closely with all other BZS sections, Code Enforcement, the City Attorney's Office, Fire Prevention, Columbus Public Health, and other agencies to achieve these goals.

If you would like to notify the Building Compliance Section of a building that may be structurally unsafe or of work being performed without a permit, please contact us by phone or email, or through the 311 system:

Phone: 614-645-1733
Online: 311 Customer Service Center

Unsafe Buildings

The Columbus Building Code defines unsafe buildings as those which are structurally unsafe, lack adequate egress, constitute a fire hazard or are otherwise dangerous to human life. When the Chief Building Official deems a building unsafe, the building must be vacated and remain vacant until the condition has been abated.

Notify the Building Compliance Section of an Unsafe Building: 


Working without a Permit

The City of Columbus requires permits prior to commencing work as defined in the Columbus Building Code. For questions regarding specific work and permit requirements, please refer to the permitting section.

Notify the Building Compliance Section of work being performed without required permits:


Unlicensed Contractor Performing Work

It is unlawful to undertake or perform work of any Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) licensed specialty contractor, general contractor, demolition contractor, fire alarm and detection equipment contractor, and fire-protection contractor without being duly registered with the Department of Building and Zoning.

A home improvement general contractor's license is required to engage in the business of providing home improvements. Home improvements include the repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement or addition to any land or building, or that portion thereof which is used or designed to be used as a private residence or dwelling place for not more than 3 families.

To Report an Unlicensed Contractor complete the Contractor Complaint Form(PDF, 21KB) and forward to 


Critical Observation Report

Certain structures within the downtown area are subject to reporting requirements meant to enhance the level of protection to pedestrian traffic. A Critical Observation Report (COR) is required every 5 years for downtown buildings that are:

1) 20 years old or older, and

2) Located within 10 feet of a public right-of-way, pedestrian walkway or plaza

Buildings 3 stories or taller require that the observation report be conducted by, or under the direct supervision of, an architect or engineer who specializes in structural engineering.

The COR should document in detail the findings such that a review of successive reports will clearly demonstrate changes in the condition of exterior walls of the building and any adjoining structures. Please refer to Columbus City Code section 4109.073 for more information regarding this requirement.


Critical Observation Representative
Office: 614-645-6910 


Significant Codes


Responsibility of Property Owner

The owner of property located within the City of Columbus is responsible for compliance with the standards set forth in the provisions of the Building Code. They are responsible regardless of the fact that certain responsibilities may also be placed on operators or agents and any agreement between the owner and anyone else as to who shall assume such responsibilities. The owner shall remain responsible for correcting any violation found on the premises, regardless of any agreement between the owner and others.

For more information about the Building Compliance Section, please contact:

Tim Koller (Building Compliance Manager):
Phone: 614-645-2382