Proposals to construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure require a permit prior to starting the project. There are a variety of permit-types that may be required for any residential project. Depending on the scope of the project, more than one permit may be required.
Learn about the different types of permits below and review the various types of projects that require a permit. NOTE: Construction that begins before the requisite permit is approved by the Building Official will result in the permit fee being doubled.
Please be advised that this list is not all inclusive. Prior to undertaking a home improvement project not included on this page, or if for questions about a residential project, please call the Building Department at 901-853-4830, ext. 4.
The following projects require a Building Permit:
1. Building a new house
2. Building an addition onto an existing house or attached garage
3. Converting an existing deck or screened porch to sunroom
4. Building, replacing, adding to and making structural repairs to a deck whether it
is attached to the main structure or not
5. Building or installing an attached or detached garage or carport
6. Converting a garage to a habitable space
7. Building a porch, screened porch, deck, associated steps or ramp
8. Building or installing any storage building
9. Finishing an unfinished attic, basement, or room over a garage
10. Moving, removing, or adding a wall or partition
11. Repairing, altering, enlarging, or modifying any structural element of the house,
- Any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, column piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders
- Enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening
12. Changing the use of the structure (example: change from residential use to a
13. Installing a pool, hot tub, or spa - Pool Permit
14. Building, replacing, or repairing (structurally) a retaining wall that is greater than
48 inches in height or that supports load from a structure
15. Building or installing a fence or retaining wall - Fence Permit
The following types of projects require an Electrical Permit from the State of Tennessee:
1. Providing new electrical service or wiring
2. Upgrading electrical service
3. Adding a permanent generator backup to an existing electrical panel, service equipment, and similar devices
4. Installing or replacing any electrical wiring, panel board, service equipment, or disconnecting means
5. Any wiring that penetrates a fire rated assembly, and any wiring that is installed in a plenum, or both
These types of projects require a Mechanical Permit:
1. Installing new mechanical equipment (e.g. new air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, etc.), whether in a new construction or existing structure
2. Replacing any furnace, or associated ductwork
3. Installing or replacing any flue or new vent associated with mechanical equipment
4. Replacing an existing furnace with one that utilizes a different fuel
NOTE: A chimney reline requires a building permit, not a mechanical permit. If the mechanical work involves gas, a gas permit (recognized as a plumbing permit) will also be required. If the mechanical work involves electrical work, an electrical permit will also be required.
(to include water, drain, and gas)
The following types of projects require a Plumbing Permit:
1. Installing any new piping or fixtures, whether in a new construction or existing structure
2. Replacing any plumbing pipe, such as hot and cold water supply and water and sewer connections
3. Replacing any hydronic piping (hot water piping), associated with furnaces
4. Installing lawn irrigation backflow prevention device
5. Any construction that requires removing, replacing, or installing any gas appliances or equipment, including piping, gas logs, water heaters, furnaces. Appliances that are not required to have a permit for replacement are cook tops, stoves, ranges and dryers.
A Demolition Permit is required any time a structure is being razed and returned to original grade. This includes all demolition on houses, detached buildings, commercial structures, etc.
The demolition permit is not intended for the removal of interior walls (renovation work).
For the Demolition Permit, the homeowner/contractor shall complete a Building Permit Application. The structure may be assessed by the Building Official to determine if any other action is required.
The permit holder is responsible for notifying the Building Department when the demolition is complete. An inspection will be made to confirm that the demolition is complete, all demolition debris is removed, and the grade has been restored to the point where the land will drain.
Work that does NOT require a permit
The building code allows some types of work to be done without obtaining a permit. While a permit is not required, the work must still be performed in compliance with all applicable building codes. The following information pertains to single family dwellings only; it does not pertain to multi-family dwellings, condominiums and townhouses, or any commercial projects. Some examples of work that does not require a permit include:
1. Making ordinary repairs and improvements, including, but not limited to:
- Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures
- Repairing drywall, plaster, siding, etc.; re-roofing
- Installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet, or hardwood
- Installing or refurbishing cabinetry
- Repairing or replacing porch flooring or deck flooring. (Note: A permit is required to repair or replace joists or girders.)
- Repairing or replacing handrails on a porch
- Installing or replacing doors and windows, including storm windows, where no structural change is performed
- Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts
2. Installing driveways or sidewalks
3. Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms,
4. Adding insulation
5. Installing any wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts
6. Installing a security alarm system
7. Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles
8. Retaining walls that retain less than 2' of unbalanced fill
9. Replacing electrical cook top stoves, ranges, and dryers
For questions about whether a permit is required, please call the Building Department office at 901-853-4830, ext. 4.