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BUILDING CODES, PERMITS, & INSPECTIONS
Click here to check out our new Building Permits and Inspections Process guide in PDF format.
Plans Review & Inspections Division
Building Permits & Inspections
Construction Codes Price List [PDF]
Contractor License Fees [PDF]
Current Codes in Effect
Fast Fact Sheets
Fee Schedule [PDF]
Frequently Asked Questions
Interactive Voice Response Info [PDF]
International Codes Online
Plans Review & Inspections Boards
Plans Review and Permits Inquiry
Sign Permits and Inspections
State Licensing Board
Trust Account
Zoning Complaints and Inspections
Zoning Ordinance
Permits/Licenses/Forms/Apps
This office is responsible for the review, permitting, licensing and inspection of all construction projects within the City of Knoxville and consists of Plans Review, Building Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Signs and Zoning Inspections, Mechanical/Gas Inspections and Plumbing Inspections.

What Are Building Codes?

Building codes are the rules, regulations and specifications that the City of Knoxville uses to help ensure quality construction and a safe finished structure.

What Is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a license required by city code that grants legal permission to construct, enlarge, alter repair or demolish a structure or equipment (such as heating, plumbing or electrical systems) installed in a building. Permission to change the use of a building, excavate or fill land, or develop in a floodplain also requires a permit.

Why Are Inspections Needed?

City code requires a permit be issued when work is to be performed on a structure. The inspections that follow the issuance of the permit may uncover unsatisfactory work, faulty materials or violations of the code that could result in unsafe and hazardous conditions for you, your family, your employees or the general public.

When Do I Need a Permit?

A permit is required for any substantial repairs, alterations, new buildings and additions; most excavation and filling of land; signs; and paved parking areas. Minor work (under $100 in value) such as painting, wallpapering and routine maintenance of heating, air conditioning, plumbing or electrical systems typically do not need a permit. Questions about when a permit is needed for minor repair to a residence should be addressed to the Inspections Bureau at 215-2999.

Separate permits are necessary for plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilating and air conditioning work; signs; and excavation, whether the work is done in conjunction with other work performed under a building permit or not. Permits are also required for relocating or replacing plumbing fixtures or plumbing appliances which are built into a structure, such as dishwashers.

Who Can Get a Permit?

Contractors must be licensed in their particular specialty (for example, electrical, gas or plumbing) to obtain a permit. Homeowners do not need a license to obtain a permit. However, they must sign an affidavit stating they own, live in the house on which the work will be performed, and will be performing the work themselves.

Where Do I Apply For a Permit?

Applications for permits, certificates or licenses can be made at the City Inspections Bureau in Room 505, City-County Building, 400 Main St., From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What Is Plans Review?

Applicants for most building permits must submit project plans for the Plans Review process. Check with the Building Inspections office to determine whether your permit(s) require Plans Review. This process ensures compliance with the city's building codes (see below), zoning rules and other regulations. All plans typically are reviewed within 14 working days of their receipt in the Building Inspections Office.

How Can I Check the Status of my Plans Review, Permit or Inspection?

Plans review, permit, and inspection information is now available for you to access through the City of Knoxville’s website at www.cityofknoxville.org. Listed below are the steps to access the information:

  1. Go to the "I WANT TO..." section located on the right-hand side of the City of Knoxville home page at www.cityofknoxville.org.
  2. Place your cursor on the “Plans Review and Permits Inquiry” listing and click once. This will redirect you to the City of Knoxville City Services Portal. In approximately ten seconds, the Services Portal will give you the option to choose several services.
  3. Select the “Plans Review and Permit Inquiry” listing.
  4. A screen will open that will give you the opportunity to enter a plans review or permit number in the box. This will provide you with real time information on reviews, inspections, and status of items within the last two years.
  5. If you have forgotten the permit or plans review number, there is another option to “Switch to License Search.” Enter your City of Knoxville subcontractor’s license number. This option will take longer but will provide a list of all permits within the last two years pulled by you. Select the permit you would like the information on.
How Long Is a Permit Valid?

Permits are valid for the duration of the project, provided construction begins within six months of obtaining the permit. If a project is abandoned for more than six continuous months, the plans must go through Plans Review again and new permits must be issued before work can begin again.

What Types of Inspections Are Required?

Typically, builders are required to call for three types of inspections during the building process, prior to covering up their work: footing/underground; framing/rough-in; and final. The number to call to schedule an inspection is listed on the permit.

Where Should I Call to Schedule an Inspection?

Call the Interactive Voice Response System at 215-4830 to schedule an inspection. Before calling you will need; a touch tone phone, a site specific permit number and an inspection type.

If I Have Questions About My Ongoing Building Project, Who Should I Contact?

First, contact your field inspector. They have cellular phones and will be glad to assist you. If you need further assistance, contact the Chief Inspector of each trade.

What Is a Certificate of Occupancy?

It is a document that certifies all inspections were made and approved by the various Inspections Bureau Offices and that the structure is ready for occupancy.

What Codes Are Enforced in the City of Knoxville?

  • City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance (with amendments) adopted by City Ordinance 3369 (available online at City's Code of Ordinances)
  • 2009 ICC/ANSI A117.1
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-219-2012
  • 2012 Green Construction Code (pending adoption)
  • 2012 International Building Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-221-2012
  • 2012 International Existing Building Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-226-2012
  • 2012 International Residential Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-218-2012
  • 2012 International Performance Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-220-2012
  • 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-38-2010
  • 2012 edition of the International Fuel Gas Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-223-2012
  • 2012 edition of the International Mechanical Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-222-2012
  • 2012 edition of the International Plumbing Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-224-2012
  • 2012 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0-225-2012
  • Knoxville Code of Ordinances: Chapter 6 Buildings and Building Regulations, Article I, Section 6-5. Fire District

    In addition, the Fire Inspection Bureau reviews plans for compliance with:

  • 2012 International Fire Code with Local Amendments as adopted by City Ordinance 0-227-2012

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