Rutherford County TN
BUILDING CODES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


When do I need a Building Permit?

Section 22.02 of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution specifies that, “It shall be unlawful to commence the excavation for the construction of any building, including accessory buildings or to commend the moving or alteration of any building, including accessory buildings, until the Building Commission has issued a building permit for such work.”

Section R105.1 of the 2018 International Residential Code adopted by the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners states in part: "Any owner, or owner's authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, remove, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this cod, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application and obtain a building permit."


When is a Building Permit NOT required?
 
The following projects do NOT require a building permit in Rutherford County
  • One-story detached storage building without a concrete foundation, provided that the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
  • Fences not over 7' high (a 'Fence Affidavit' must be filled out, signed and filed with the Rutherford County Planning Department, there is no charge for this)
  • Retaining walls not exceeding 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing, provided it does not connect to, or support a structure
  • Sidewalks, patios and driveways provided they are not intended to be built upon at a future date (a foundation permit will be required if the slab is intended for use as a foundation for a future project/structure
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24" deep 

If you have any questions as to whether the project your are considering requires a building permit, please contact our office at 615-898-7734 for verification prior to commencing.  Failure to obtain approval and a building permit will result in a Double Permit Fee being assessed as adopted by the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners.   


Do I need a building permit for a mobile home, manufactured home or modular home?

Yes - according to Section 22.02 “Permits shall be required for all proposed construction and other developments including the placement of mobile homes.”


Why do I need a building permit?

The purpose of a building permit is to ensure that minimum compliance is achieved to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.


Where do I apply for a building permit?

Apply in person at the Department of Building Codes, One Public Square, Room 101, Murfreesboro, TN 37130, on the corner of South Church Street and the South Side of the Public Square. Also free parking spaces are provided at the Civic Plaza Parking Garage across the street to the rear of our building or two-hour parking is on the square where available.  Excluding major holidays, our office is open Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.  Our office closes promptly at 4:15 p.m. and we cannot accept any payments after that time as we are required to complete our accounting processes before the end of our work day, there are no exceptions to this policy.  So for that reason, when visiting our office to obtain a permit, we ask that you please allow ample time to complete your transaction and also if required, visit the Rutherford County Planning Department and/or the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) where necessary for approval or documentation.

What is the penalty for failing to obtain the proper permit?

Where construction of any work for which a permit is required is commenced before a permit is issued, the permit fees shall be doubled. (Refer to Standard Building Code). Also any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provision of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $50.00.  Each day’s continuance of a violation shall be considered a separate offense. In addition to the party violating this Resolution, any other person who may have knowingly assisted in the commission of any such violation shall be guilty of a separate offence. Section 22.00 of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution.


How long is a building permit valid?

Section 22.03 of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution provides that a building permit “shall become void six (6) months from the date of issuance unless substantial progress has been made by that date of the project described therein.” Provided that for cause, if the work authorized by it is sufficiently under way and is being diligently pursued, one extension of time, for a period of six (6) months may be allowed in writing by the director prior to the six (6) month inactivity on the initial permit which causes the permit to become void.


Am I required to obtain a permit to re-roof my house?

A building permit is not required only if re-roofing or covering does not require the replacement and/or repairs of roof sheathing, rafters or support beams.


How many layers of asphalt shingle roofing can I install, before I have to tear off the old roofs in order to recover my roof?

Two.  When it becomes necessary to replace the second layer of asphalt shingle roofing, both layers of old roofing should be removed prior to installing new roofing.

 

Am I required to obtain a permit to build a concrete or asphalt driveway?

No – but please take care not to encroach upon your neighbor’s property. If your home is served by a septic tank and overflow system, is all means, take care not to encroach over the top of any part of the existing system (or areas reserved for future expansion, or replacement, of the system). If you have questions concerning the location of your septic tank and overflow, contact the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, at 898-7891.


Am I required to obtain a permit to build a fence?

No – but please take care not to encroach upon your neighbor’s property. Also note – if you live on a corner lot screening or fencing shall not exceed more than three feet in height in the vision triangle. Section 13.02.B.3 of the Rutherford County Zoning Resolution. It is recommended that you consult your subdivision covenants or deed restrictions, which may address the type of fencing allowed within your particular subdivision. Rutherford County does not enforce subdivision covenants. These are private contracts agreed to by the owner of the property upon the purchase of the property.


Am I required to obtain a permit for a swimming pool?

Yes – All swimming pools, hot tubs and spas that contain over twenty-four inches (24) of water are required to obtain a building permit. For more details, please visit the section in this website that cover Swimming Pools.  It covers permits, barrier requirements, etc. in detail.  Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to call us to discuss.


Do I have to have a fence around my pool?

Important – all swimming pools require a four (4) barrier around the pool. For more details, please visit the section in this website that cover Swimming Pools.  It covers permits, barrier requirements, etc. in detail.  Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to call us to discuss.


Do I need a permit for a storage building?

Yes – if that storage building is one hundred and twenty square feet (120) or greater on 'blocks' or 'skids' or any size with a permanent foundation, a permit is required.  Even if  the building is pre-built and purchased from a sales lot it still requires a building permit. In any event all accessory structures must be placed five (5) feet from the property line and may not be placed in a drainage or utility easement. Rutherford County Zoning Resolution, Section 13.04.D.1. All accessory structures require a site plan showing all detached structures on the property, the location of septic tank and lines, house and property lines. It is recommended that you consult your subdivision covenants or deed restrictions, which may address the location and exterior finish of detached structures allowed within your particular subdivision. Rutherford County does not enforce subdivision covenants. These are private contracts agreed to by the owner of the property upon the purchase of the property.

 

When can I move in my house after it is finished?

You can move in your house only upon the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Codes Department. The Building Codes Department will not release your electricity for activation until all required documentation has been submitted, all code requirements have been met and a Final Inspection has been completed, passed and a Certificate of Occupancy issued. Under certain conditions it may be possible for the permit holder to apply for a Temporary Electrical Release (this application will be accepted by the permit holder only, no exceptions). An inspection and a deposit will be required for release of electricity prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.  The Temporary will be effective for 90 days to allow noted items to be completed and the building inspection satisfied.  If the Final building inspection is requested and completed before the expiration of the Temporary a portion of the deposit will be refunded to the applicant.


How do I know if I’m dealing with a reputable contractor?

• Are they licensed? Tennessee law requires that a general contractor or home improvement contractor be licensed. Ask to see a copy of their license and also followup to verify that it is still current at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance at https://verify.tn.gov/  

• Do they have insurance? In most cases, State law requires that they carry workers compensation insurance. Ask to see a Certificate of Insurance.

• Ask to see some identification. Be sure you know the correct name of the individual you are dealing with, his/her address, and telephone number(s).

• Ask for at least two references – and check them out!

• Make sure all agreements are in writing! Be sure to reduce all verbal change orders or contract amendments, to writing - no exceptions!

• Do not pay a front-end deposit of more than one third (1/3) of the contract amount.

• Make absolutely sure they obtain the required building permits. A licensed and reputable contractor will not require that you as the homeowner, pull your own building permit(s).  Make sure the building permit is conspicuously posted before the work begins, and be sure you are furnished with a Final Inspection or Certificate of Occupancy Certificate issued by Rutherford County Codes Department, before making final payment of the contract amount.

Where can I buy a code book?

First, determine which code book, or books, you need to purchase. The ICC code series is extensive and covers all aspects of construction, new and existing.  Be sure to note the correct 'edition' that applies to your building project. Software versions of most model codes are now available.  You can purchase a code book directly from ICC www.iccsafe.org.

Building codes is currently operating under ICC 2018 Building Code and Residential Code.

Copies of the currently adopted codes can be viewed (free of charge) at the Rutherford County Clerks Office or at the Building Codes Department during normal business hours.


Where do I get an electrical permit?

State of Tennessee Electrical permits for Rutherford County, Eagleville and LaVergne may be obtained at the Rutherford County Buidlign Codes Department at One Public Square, Room 101, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.  We are strictly an issue agent for the State of Tennessee.  We issue the permit and accept inspection requests which are passed on to a State contracted Electrical Inspector. All permits and inspections are regulated by the State of Tennessee Electrical Division at 615-741-7170.


Who can obtain an electrical permit?

Any electrical contractor licensed with the State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. A homeowner may obtain their own permit but, in doing so, assumes all liability and responsibility for the proper installation and requesting of all inspections.