The Building Compliance Section investigates reports of unsafe buildings, buildings damaged by fire or vehicle impacts, unlicensed contractors and work without permits that may threaten the general safety of the public.
The Building Compliance Section inspects both residential and commercial properties while working closely with local authorities, contractors, property owners and other city departments to bring these properties into compliance.
If you would like to notify the Building Compliance Section of a building that may be structually unsafe or of work being performed without a permit, please contact us by phone or email, or through the 311 system:
Unsafe Buildings The Columbus Building Code defines unsafe buildings as those which are structurally unsafe, lack adequate egress, constiture 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 by
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 Compliant Form
and forward to
Vacant and abandoned properties initiative (VAP)
On February 23, 2012, Mayor Michael Coleman, various elected officials and community leaders announced the creation of a new initiative that is targeted at addressing the blight and nuisances that are created by vacant structures throughout the city. In previous years, through the Mayor's Home Again program, federal housing funds and other programs, the City of Columbus has addressed approximately 2,000 vacant and abandoned properties. However, given the increasing need, Mayor Coleman declared Columbus must and will do more to combat a crisis that has outpaced the city's efforts to deal with it.
The Building Compliance Section is an active participant in the Mayor's VAP initiative.
To report a nuisance property with the department of development you will need to complete a VAP
The completed form can be emailed to
Please note this email address is for referrals only. Senders should not expect a response.
Critical Observation Report
Certain structures within the downtown area are subject to reporting requirements meant to enhance the level of protection to pedestrian traffic in downtown Columbus. To find our more information
Responsibilies 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
Responsibility of Property Owner - CBC 4103.15
Unlicensed Contractor, CBC 4114
Columbus Building Code - Title 41
State of Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS)
Online Zoning Map
Permits Required, CBC 4113
Permits Required, OBC 105
Unsafe Buildings, CBC 4109
Unsafe Buildings, OBC 109
Critical Observation Report
Certain structures within the downtown area are subject to reporting requirements meant to enhance the level of protection to pedestrian traffic in downtown Columbus.
- learn more