The Jefferson County Building Department is responsible for review and approval of all building plans to ensure that all construction meets current safety standards and building codes. The Building Department plays an integral role in maintaining the quality of construction in Jefferson County, assisting builders and the general public with the building codes and other regulations to the mutual benefit of both. It is our mission to protect and serve the citizens of Jefferson County through the fair and ethical enforcement of adopted construction codes, zoning regulations, and construction safety standards.
Considering a Tiny Home? Watch the video below and visit our FAQ section to learn more.
What are building codes?
Building codes are the rules, regulations and specifications that Jefferson County uses to help ensure quality construction and a safe, finished structure.
Which building codes did the county adopt?
Jefferson County has adopted the 2012 International Residential Codes.
What is a building permit?
A building permit is a license required by County codes granting legal permission to construct, enlarge, or remodel a building.
When do I need a permit?
A permit is required for garages, new buildings, and additions. You need to purchase a building permit for any new structure or addition to an existing structure that is not portable, other than a structure that is used strictly for agricultural use only. For questions about when a permit is needed, please contact the Building Department at 865-397-0640 or the Zoning Department at 865-397-4414.
What do I need to get a permit?
A building permit for a house: Warranty Deed, Copy of Survey or Plat of the property, Copy of Septic permit approval from the Health Department, and the square footage of the home and garage.
A building permit for a mobile home: Warranty Deed, Copy of the Survey or Plat of the property, Copy of the Septic permit approval from the Health Department, and a Copy of the Bill of Sale for the Home.
How much will the building permit cost?
Zoning Compliance/Building Permit Fee Schedule
= Square Footage X $110.00 (Living Area/ “anything under roof”)
= Square Footage X $56.00
= Square Footage X $42.00
= Square Footage x $56.00
= Square Footage x $121.00
Mobile Homes (New)
= Base Price (Bill of Sale) Not including taxes just base Valuation of Structure
Mobile Homes (Used)
= $300.00 X Linear Feet of Home
(Double-wide = $300.00 X Linear Feet of Home X Two)
Building Permit Fees
Frame Construction and Mobile Homes (Any new Home)
Valuation of Structure X $3.00 per $1,000.00 of Value + $300.00 (Base Fee)
Additions, Garages, Storage Areas, or Sheds
Valuation of Structure X $3.00 per $1,000.00 of Value + $25.00 (Base Fee)
Violations = Permit Fees are Doubled
Any detached structure must be placed behind the house.
*Published in the “Building Safety Journal” (Building Valuation Data)
Example: Building Permit Cost Calculation
1500 sq. foot Home with a 576 sq. foot Garage. The building permit will be as follows:
1500 sq. ft. X $110.00 = $165,000
576 sq. ft. X $56.00 = $32,256
$197,256 (total valuation of home)
*Note: there is a $300.00 (Base Fee) added to any new house in Jefferson Co.
*Note: the total valuation of a home is always rounded to the highest thousand*
($197,256 = $197,000)
$197,000.00 X ($3.00 per thousand) = $591.00
$300.00 (base fee)
$891.00 (total permit fee for this home)
How do I apply for a permit?
1. The Contractor or Homeowner needs to submit 2 copies of plans, blueprints or drawings. (A two-day waiting period for the reviewing of plans is required; however, some plans may require additional time.)
2. If you have a Contract, the requirements are:
a. State License
b. County License
c. Liability Insurance
d. Workers Comp Insurance
e. Driver’s License
Please bring a copy of each item. Thank you.
If you, the Homeowner, obtain the permit, state law requires you to act as the General Contractor and supervise all phases of the job. You must hire and supervise all subcontractors, who shall be licensed.
If you have the permit in your name and hire a General Contractor to do the work, then your permit must be reissued in the name of your General Contractor who must follow state requirements.
What guidelines do I have to follow when building my house?
The County has passed the 2012 International Residential Code and before any residential construction is permitted all plans must be reviewed and approved by the Building Department.
May a homeowner build their own house without a license?
Yes. Homeowners are allowed one permit every two years to build their own house and act as their own contractor. If a homeowner hires a contractor, the contractor is required to be licensed and obtain the permit.
A homeowner should never obtain the permit on behalf of the contractor, as this alleviates the contractor from most liability and insurance requirements. In addition, the contracts should not be split into phases to circumvent the law. Anyone who is paid in excess of $25,000.00 is required to be licensed.
There used to be a single-wide mobile home on my property; can I replace it with another single-wide?
You can replace a nonconforming mobile home with another one as long as you do it within 6 months. You will need to receive health department approval, along with a building permit for the structure.
Is your tiny home legal?
Tenn. Code Ann. 68-126-311(b) states: No ready-removable shall be modified for use as residential, recreational, or emergency housing in this state.
68-126-303(9) defines a ready-removable as: a structure without any foundation, footings, or other support mechanisms that allow a structure to be easily relocated but which may include electrical wiring. Ready removable structures include, but are not limited to, stadium press boxes, guard shelters, or structures that contain only electrical, electronic, or mechanical equipment that are solely occupied for service or maintenance of such equipment.
68-126-311(a) Ready-removables with electrical wiring must still meet applicable state and local electrical permitting requirements, local building permitting requirements, and have hardwired smoke alarms installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
ANY STRUCTURE INTENDED FOR RESIDENTIAL OCCUPANCY MUST MEET THE APPLICABLE RESIDENTIAL CODES ADOPTED IN THAT JURISDICTION.
For questions on ready-removable structures or residential codes in Tennessee, contact Tim Planer, Residential Building Inspection Supervisor at 615-532-8361.