Codes, Permitting and Zoning Requirements

What Are Building Codes?

Building codes are the rules, regulations and specifications that the City of Knoxville uses to help ensure quality construction and a safe finished structure.

What Is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a license required by city code that grants legal permission to construct, enlarge, alter repair or demolish a structure or equipment (such as heating, plumbing or electrical systems) installed in a building. Permission to change the use of a building, excavate or fill land, or develop in a floodplain also requires a permit.

What Are Zoning Regulations for?

The city of Knoxville’s zoning ordinance helps protect property values by preventing the location of incompatible uses in close proximity to one another. Zoning regulations also help maintain the character of established neighborhoods and prevent inappropriate activities, such as auto repair businesses in residential areas. The ordinance regulates the location, height, bulk, number of stories, percentage of lot coverage, setbacks, open spaces, population density and the uses of all buildings, structures and land within the city limits.

Codes Currently in Effect

The following codes have been adopted by the City of Knoxville Inspections Bureau. These codes will be used to review and approve plans prior to issuance.

  • City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance (with amendments) adopted by City Ordinance 3369 (available online at www.knoxmpc.org)
  • 2003 ANSI A117 as adopted by City Ordinance 0–248-07
  • 2006 International Energy Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–249-07
  • 2006 International Building Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–248-07
  • 2006 Internation Existing Building Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–242-08
  • 2006 International Residential Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–247-07
  • 2005 edition of the National Electrical Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–253-05
  • 2006 edition of the International Fuel Gas Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–79-07
  • 2006 edition of the International Mechanical Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–80-07
  • 2006 edition of the International Plumbing Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–81-07
  • Knoxville Code of Ordinances: Chapter 6 Buildings and Building Regulations, Article I. Section 6–5. Fire district

In addition, the Fire Inspection Bureau reviews plans for compliance with:

  • 2006 edition of NFPA 1Uniform Fire Code & NFPA 101 Life Safety Code as adopted by City Ordinance 0–245-07

More Useful Resources

To install a solar system in a residential or business building, you probably need to apply for the appropriate permit and follow the correct coding and zoning regulations.  To learn more about the City of Knoxville’s regulations on BUILDING CODES, PERMITS, & INSPECTIONS, please click here.

You can also download Permit, License & Board Review applications and forms online. Download the correct forms, print, fill them out and return to the appropriate City department as listed on the forms.

For more information, please contact Jake Tisinger, Knoxville Solar America Cities Program, at 865–215-2065.