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New building codes for city and county

Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

Hamblen County and the City of Morristown have both adopted the 2006 International Code Council set of construction codes but each have separate building codes enforcement departments and planning commissions that review and regulate construction projects inside and outside Morristown city limits.

Jay Moore, chief building official for the city, said there have been no major changes in the city’s code in the past year. Danny Young, planning director/building commissioner for the county, said the same applies to structures in Hamblen County, although there have been increased efforts made by the county to implement property maintenance code requirements, and to maintain compliance with stricter state mandated storm water runoff rules.

In both the county and city, building permits are required for the construction of new buildings, placement of mobile homes and accessory storage buildings or sheds as well as additions to existing structures.  The county also permits new or replacement decks and porches whether they are covered or not.  All work in the city will have to pass inspections for fire, plumbing, electrical, and other areas, including setbacks from streets or roads.

The county also has certain setback requirements and they conduct inspections involving building, plumbing, mechanical/gas and stormwater, however; state inspectors are responsible for conducting the electrical and septic system installations in the county.

A site development plan must be submitted for any commercial activity or building. In addition to approval of the plans, a commercial building or activity must be within a properly zoned district.

Permits are not required for ordinary repair and maintenance activities or non-structural work such as painting or new carpet. They are necessary for swimming pools, placement of certain storage buildings or sheds and for all mobile homes.

There are some differences inside and outside the city limits. For instance, the county does not require building permits for fences, but the city does.

That is why it is critical to make sure the proper planning commission is contacted first. If there is any doubt about the need for a permit, Moore and Young suggest contacting the appropriate planning commission before beginning any work.

It is also recommended that people who plan to seek permits contact the appropriate planning commission in advance of drawing plans or having blueprints made.  An informal meeting can save time and money.

For people who are unsure of how to proceed with a project, both planning commissions will provide information and guidance on procedures and requirements.

 The Hamblen County Planning Commission can be contacted by calling 423-581-1373. The number for the Morristown Regional Planning Commission is 423-585-4621.

The county planning commission office is on the lower level of the west end of the courthouse at 511 West Second North Street.  

The city planning commission is on the second floor of the Morristown City Center at 100 West First North Street.