FAQ

BUILDING DIVISION
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN INSPECTION FOR MY PROJECT?
Currently all inspection requests must be called in. Please call the Building Division, 423-434-6047, and select option 1 to leave a voice message and include the following information:

  • Permit number
  • Project address
  • Type of inspection needed
  • Name and phone number of primary contact
  • Special instructions for the inspection
  • Requested date for inspection*
 * Open trench project inspections (i.e. water / sewer lines, footers) may be requested for the same day by calling before noon.

Please note that requests for inspections received by 4:30 pm may be scheduled as early as the next business day, while those received after 4:30 pm will be scheduled no earlier than the second business day.

An estimated time of arrival may be obtained on the day of your scheduled inspection by calling 423-434-6051 between 7:30 am - 8 am.
DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A POOL OR A DECK?
A: Per the 2012 International Residential Code, [R105.2], only the following are EXEMPT from permitting:

Pools: “Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610mm) deep.”

 Decks: “Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches (walking surface [R312.11]) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling, and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.”

Please call the Building Division, 423-434-6047, for more information.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CONSTRUCTION PERMIT?
Construction Permits can be obtained by qualified contractors via the City’s Permit Portal or in person at the Permit Counter in City Hall.  The permit process consists of an application, fee (both found under “Permit Application & Fees” on the Building Division web page) and review of construction drawings as required by project.  Once all required documentation is received plan review must be performed to ensure compliance with City adopted Building and Zoning Codes.  Plan review allows the details of proposed work to be adjusted on paper prior to the physical start of work which avoids wasted time and money. 
WHEN IS A DRAWING / SITE DRAWING REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR A CONSTRUCTION PERMIT?
Residential work only requires a site drawing for new homes & additions, including decks and covered porches. Accessory buildings and swimming pools may require a site plan if they meet certain size criteria.  Work that does not change a home’s footprint, such as an interior renovation of existing home, requires permit but does not require a drawing. 

Commercial work requires a drawing for any work relative to a structure’s walls, building systems, or modification of earth/site.  A commercial job scope consisting of the one for one change out of equipment does not require a drawing.

All accessory structures, retaining walls over 4’ tall (measured from adjacent grade), new drive ways and curb cuts, both residential and commercial, all also require drawings.
WHO CAN PURCHASE A CONSTRUCTION PERMIT?
Once the review is completed and the permit is released for purchase, it can only be obtained by a licensed contractor (see “Contractor Requirements &Info” on the Building division web page) or an Owner/ Occupant when related to a single family home.   Business owners and landlords who are not licensed contractors are not qualified to purchase their own permits or perform any work. Please see “Contractor Requirements” for information needed to qualify as a contractor.

 See T.C.A. Title 62, Chapter 6
HOW MUCH DOES A PERMIT FOR CONSTRUCTION COST?
Please see the “Permit Applications and Fees” section of the Building division web page for the fee structure document relevant to type of work proposed.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED SETBACKS FOR MY PROPERTY?
Setbacks are determined by the zoning of the property in question.  This can be determined by visiting “Property Zoning” on the Development Services web page.  Once determined, see the setbacks for that zone in article VI of the zoning code.
WHAT ARE THE DESIGN CRITERIA FOR JOHNSON CITY?
Please see the “Johnson City Design Criteria” document under “Designer & Application Support Information” on the Building division web page.
DOES JOHNSON CITY HAVE ANY COMMUNICATION TOWER PERMIT REGULATIONS OR CRITERIA?
Yes. Please see “Communication Tower Permit Reqs” document found in “Designer & Application Support Info” section of the Building division web page.   Also see Article X of the Johnson City Zoning Code.   
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A CONTRACTOR OR SUB-CONTRACTOR?
Please see the “Contractor Requirements” document found under “Contractor Requirements & Info” found on the Building Division webpage.  This information is also supported by the following link to the TN Dept of Commerce & Insurance Contractors & Home Improvement webpage.

See T.C.A. Title 62, Chapter 6 
WHY DO I NEED A CONTRACTOR?  WHY CAN'T I DO MY OWN WORK?
TN State Law allows the Owner/ Occupant of a single family home to act as their own General Contractor.  In Johnson City, a single family home Owner/Occupant can also complete their own electrical or plumbing work after successfully completely a free competency exam administered in the Building Division Office located in City Hall. 

City Ordinance requires all other work to be performed by licensed contractors. 

Mechanical work can only be performed by a licensed mechanical contractor due to its inclusion of gas fired appliances. 

See City Ordinance 12-102 &T.C.A. Title 62, Chapter 6
WHEN DO I NEED AN ARCHITECT OR ENGINEER?
Architects and Engineers (AKA State Licensed Designers) may be required by the Building Official for any work requiring permit within the Johnson City, City Limits.

State Licensed Designer are not required for single family homes.

Any work to be completed relative to a commercial structure having a fire area greater than 5000sf, 3 stories or greater, or housing an occupancy type of Assembly, Institutional or Educational, must always be accompanied by drawings that have been sealed by a TN State licensed designer. 

Civil Engineers are required in Johnson City when 4000sf or more of ground surface is disturbed.

A State Licensed Designer is also required for all signs over 20’ tall or over 15’ tall if the sign has a surface area of 120sf or more.   

Please see the Consumer’s Guide to the Design Professions published by the TN Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners.

See T.C.A. 62-2-102
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR RESIDENTIAL INSPECTIONS TO FAIL?
Please refer to our Guide to Common Residential Inspection Fails - Codes for great answers to this common question.
PORTAL FAQS
HOW DO I ACCESS THE PORTAL?
https://jc-cityviewweb.johnsoncitytn.org/CityViewPortal/

Using the portal only requires registering an account. Register with existing contractor information, or as a new user representing your company.
I DON'T SEE MY PERMITS OR APPLICATIONS, WHAT DO I DO?
Every permit application will only have the applicant as the initial contact. If more contacts need access to view the permit, they can be added by the applicant or by calling in to the Codes Division, 423-434-5845
I DON'T SEE MY PERMIT FEES DUE ON MY PERMIT, WHAT DO I DO?
Call in to the Codes Division, 423-434-6047, there may be more information required.
CAN I SCHEDULE MY INSPECTIONS ON THE PORTAL?
Not at this time. Currently all inspection requests must be called in. Please call the Building Division, 423-434-6047, and select option 1 to leave a voice message and include the following information:

  • Permit number
  • Project address
  • Type of inspection needed
  • Name and phone number of primary contact
  • Special instructions for the inspection
  • Requested date for inspection*
 * Open trench project inspections (i.e. water / sewer lines, footers) may be requested for the same day by calling before noon.

Please note that requests for inspections received by 4:30 pm may be scheduled as early as the next business day, while those received after 4:30 pm will be scheduled no earlier than the second business day.

An estimated time of arrival may be obtained on the day of your scheduled inspection by calling 423-434-6051 between 7:30 am - 8 am.
WHY SHOULD I SIGN UP?
One of the most valuable aspects of the portal is the accessibility of information for users;

  • The Portal keeps all of a permit’s documents in one place, for future reference.
  • During the plan review process, all of the review comments will be on the portal, and any responses or needed corrections are shown as soon as the review is completed, even if the final review status hasn’t been generated.
  • Once a permit is issued, necessary inspections are listed, and inspection reports can be accessed to be printed. This is useful for