1 South Side Square
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Phone: (615) 898-7734
Fax: (615) 898-7941
(800) 544-7693 or
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.”
- 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?
- In a word safety - your safety, and that of your family, visitors, and guests.
- When is a building permit not required?
- Normal maintenance repairs of an existing building or structure may be made without a permit, provided such repairs do not violate any provision of the building code.
- What are “normal maintenance repairs”?
- The term, “normal maintenance repairs” is defined as “repairs to an existing building or structure, including but not limited to exterior and interior painting, papering, glazing of windows or doors, floor finishing, minor repairs to chimneys, stairs, porches, underpinning and repairs to an existing roof but does not include replacing rafters or any type of support beams.
- 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 one-hour parking is on the square where available.
- 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?
- No – If roofing or covering does not require the replacement or repairs of rafters or support beams.
- How many layers of roofing can I install, before I have to tear off the old roofs in order to recover my roof?
- Two. The general requirements of the 1992 CABO One & Two Family Dwelling Code provide that roof structures shall be designed to accommodate all loads imposed according to Section R-210. (This includes roof live loads, dead loads, snow loads, wind loads, etc.) The Building Code also provides that the Director of Building Codes may accept a sworn affidavit and certification from a registered architect or engineer that the construction other wise conforms to the requirements of the code as to strength, stresses, strains, loads and stability.
- 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. All pools require a site plan to be approved by the Planning Department. In-ground pools require a twenty-five-- (25) foot setback of the septic tank and field lines. Above ground pools require a ten (10) foot setback of septic tank and field lines. Side property line setback for above and in-ground swimming pools is five (5) feet.
- Do I have to have a fence around my pool?
- Important – all swimming pools require a four (4) barrier around the pool. The sides of an above ground pool may act as the barrier as long as the pool for four (4) feet above ground all the way around the pool on the outside and has a removable ladder. If a deck is installed around the pool, a four- (4) foot gate is required to prevent direct access the pool area. If any portion of the home directly accesses the pool area a door alarm which sounds for thirty (30) seconds is required to sound every time the door is opened to the pool area.
- Do I need a permit for a storage building?
- Yes – if that storage building is over one hundred (100) sq. ft. or greater than a 10’ x 10’ structure. A permit is required even if you purchase the building from a lot and the structure is not on a permanent foundation. In any event all accessory structures must be placed five (5) feet from the property line. 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. The Planning Department and Department of Environment must approve the site plan prior to issuance of the permit. The best time to submit site plans for approval by the Department of Environment is Monday – Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Any time after these hours the inspectors are out of the office on inspections.
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 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 the final inspection and all code requirements have been met and Certificate of Occupancy issued.
- How do I know if I’m dealing with a reputable contractor?
- • Number one – are they licensed? Tennessee law require that a general contractor or home improvement contractor be licensed. Ask to see proof!
• 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 change orders, or contract amendments to writing.
• 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 – can call for and pass the required codes inspections! Make sure the building permit is conspicuously posted before the work begins, and be sure you are furnished with a Certificate of Occupancy Certificate issued by the Codes Department, before making final payment of the contract amount.
- Where can I buy a code book?
- First, determine “which” code book, or books. Be sure to note the correct “edition” that applies to your building project. Software versions of most model codes are now available. Ask about Standard Soft or, 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code. You can purchase a code book directly from ICC www.iccsafe.org.
Building codes is currently operating under ICC 2003
Building Code and Residential Code.
Copies of the currently adopted codes can be viewed (free of charge) at the office of Building Codes or at Linebaugh Public Library resource section in Murfreesboro.
- Where do I get an electrical permit?
- State of Tennessee Electrical permits for Rutherford County, Smyrna and LaVergne may be obtained at One Public Square, Room 110 Monday – Thursday from 8:00 - 12:00 closed Fridays or call (615) 896-6117. The entrance to the electrical office is located at the rear of the building on Vine Street. Free parking is provided in the parking garage under the Civic Plaza.
- Who can obtain an electrical permit?
- Any electrical contractor that is registered with the State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. A homeowner may obtain their own permit but assume all liability and responsibility for the proper installation and requesting of all inspections.