About Building Codes

The Rutherford County Building Codes Department is a service department providing construction inspections by certified building inspectors to protect the public's life, health and welfare in the built environment. Zoning and Code Enforcement policies encourage preservation and protection of neighborhood values. The protection is provided through the adoption and enforcement, by state and local governments, of the performance-based provisions contained in the International Building Code Series, the Rutherford County Zoning Ordinance and other adopted Ordinances. 

Our History

The original Rutherford County Zoning Resolution adopted in 1962 created the Office of Building Commissioner of Rutherford County, Tennessee. The provisions of the resolution were administered and enforced by the Building Commissioner appointed by the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners, who was awarded the power to make inspection of buildings and premises necessary to carry out the duties in the enforcement of the resolution. (Article XXIII, Section 23.01). Permits were issued for construction in Rutherford County for the purpose of zoning setback and zoning compliance only. There were no construction standards established at that time.

In October of 1987 the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners created the Department of Building Codes Inspections. The 1984 Standard Building Code was adopted simultaneously as the inspection code standard. In March of 1988, the Standard Plumbing and Mechanical Codes were also adopted.

The original staff consisted of the Director, Assistant Director, two clerical permit officers, and three inspectors. The office was located upstairs in 36 North Public Square. Following the county’s purchase of the vacant Goldstein Department Store, One South Public Square, the Building Codes Department moved to office space on the second floor. In 1993, following the renovation of the Goldstein Building first floor, the office moved downstairs to room 101. 

In 1987 the Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals was appointed to hear appeals of decisions and interpretations of the building official and consider variances of the technical codes. The Board consists of five (5) members and two alternates. Appointments take into consideration all technical aspects of the construction trade. The applicable governing body appoints the Board and meets on an as needed basis.

In order to obtain a building permit from Rutherford County Building Codes Department a general contractor must be licensed and bonded with the State of Tennessee General Contractors Licensing Board. A current copy of the State license is kept on file at all times in the department.

An act of the Tennessee General Assembly for the Sate of Tennessee in 1993, provided legislation that created the Home Improvement Licensing Act, which would apply anywhere in the State of Tennessee in a county which adopts it by its own legislative body. Rutherford County adopted the “Home Improvement Act” effective October 1993. This consumer protection bill, specifically Section 102 states: It is the purpose of the general assembly in enacting this chapter to safeguard and protect the homeowner against abuses by home improvement contractors through regulating the home improvement business and by the licensing of person engaged in such business. [Acts 1988, ch. 851. §2.] The law requires home improvement contractors performing home improvement work of the value of three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) to obtain a license. In addition, a surety bond in the amount of $10,000.00 is required. In cases where the consumer incurs damages due to faulty workmanship or lack of performance the consumer may recover against the bond. This licensing is in addition to the General Contractor’s License, which is required for construction work greater than twenty five thousand dollars.

The State of Tennessee, in 1995, mandated that all persons contracting provide the Codes Department with evidence of valid and current coverage of Worker’s Compensation insurance for each permit obtained. It is the responsibility of the Codes Department to maintain these worker’s compensation insurance records.

Also in 1995 the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee enacted Title 68, Chapter 120 relative to building regulation and inspection requiring all building inspection and regulation officers obtain certification from the State of Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office. The certification requires testing and certification in various levels of building codes by the International Code Council. Upon receipt of the ICC certification the inspector is then licensed to perform standard building code inspections. This law mandated all jurisdictions across the State of Tennessee that have adopted building codes inspection programs staff their departments with State Certified Inspectors only. Rutherford County Building Codes Department supplies the City of Eagleville with certified building inspectors as well as the unincorporated areas of the County. All other jurisdictions have their own Building Code Departments and certified inspectors.

July 1, 1996, Rutherford County adopted a private act establishing the collection of fees for new residential development within all of Rutherford County. This was referred to as the “Development Tax” which was established as a flat fee totaling one thousand, five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) per dwelling unit. These fees were paid prior to the issuance of a building permit and collected by the Building Codes Department.  On July 1, 2021, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to establish the School Facilities Tax (SFT) to replace the Development Tax Private Act. The SFT is calculated at $1.00 per square foot of residential development and applies in all areas of the County to include incorporated areas. Additional information on calculation and collection of the Tax can be found on this website by clicking on the tab entitled School Facilities Tax.

The Department of Codes Administration is composed of five principal divisions, including Building Permit Issuance, Plans Examination, Building Inspection, Zoning Enforcement and School Facilities Tax collection.