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The Building Inspection Department is responsible for the enforcement of the County’s adopted building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and gas codes for the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County and also those parts of the County lying within the corporate limits of municipalities which have not adopted and are not enforcing municipal building codes. 

The Department issues permits governing building/construction, sign, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and gas installation, examine plans when required and inspect properties for code and zoning compliance routinely and on a complaint basis. It certifies and issues a Hamilton County license in the fields of electrical, plumbing, mechanical and gas. It conducts public meetings and maintains the files for the following Boards; Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Electrical Examiners, Plumbing Advisory Board, Board of Mechanical and Gas Examiners, County Beer Board, and Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals.  The Department also maintains the records for development within the areas of special flood hazard as identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Specific Responsibilities
  • Issue Building / Development Permits and sub-contractor permits to include electrical, plumbing, gas and mechanical.
  • Inspect properties and maintain files for zoning violations.
  • Issue electrical permits and inspect electrical work for the City of Red Bank.
  • Issue gas permits and inspect gas piping for the City of Lookout Mountain.
  • Issue Septic Tank Permits, Review Lot/Subdivision Plats, Collect Well Water Samples
  • Issue Pumper's/Installer's Permits
  • Plans approval required on all commercial projects.
  • Provide monthly and annual Permit Report Summary to various departments and the public.
  • Provide monthly list of “Building Permits Applied”
  • Issue and maintain files for Hamilton County Licenses – Electrical, Plumbing, Gas & Mechanical
  • Maintain records for development within the areas of special flood hazard.
  • Groundwater Protection


  • When is a building permit required?
    A building permit is required for any new, alteration, addition or repair to a structure.

    Permits are not required for –
    - Storage buildings 10’ x 12’ or smaller
    - Fences not over 7’ in height
    - Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work
    - Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep, and are not greater than 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground
    - Swings and other playground equipment
    - Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route
  • Can the property owner purchase a building permit for their own residence??
    Yes. The property owner cannot make more than one (1) application for a permit to construct a single family residence or shall not construct not more than one (1) single residence within two (2) years. State of TN Contractor’s License Law – 62-6-103 (2) (B). It must be the homeowner’s place of residence and is being built to live in, not for sale or lease.

Building Codes

Building Codes we adopted July 1, 2013:

  • International Building Code - 2012 Edition
  • International Residential Code - 2012 Edition
  • International Plumbing Code - 2012 Edition
  • International Mechanical Code - 2012 Edition
  • International Fuel Gas Code - 2012 Edition
  • International Fire Code - 2012 Edition
  • National Electrical Code - 2011 Edition
  • International Energy Conservation Code - 2009 Edition
  • ANSI (National Standard) Accessibility Code - 2009 Edition
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