What codes are enforced in the City of Kingsport?

2012 International Building Code
2012 International Mechanical Code
2012 International Plumbing Code
2012 International Property Maintenance Code
2012 International Residential Code
2011 National Electric Code
2009 International Energy Conservation Code
Accessibility Code: Chapter 11 2012 IBC and 2009 A117.1
City of Kingsport Zoning Ordinance

Do I need a permit?

You will need a permit for any new construction or renovations except cosmetic repairs such new paint, cabinets, and floor coverings. Fences do not require a permit.
Projects requiring permits include:
o Accessory structures: Garages, Carports, Storage Buildings, Swimming Pools (over 2 feet deep), Pool Houses, Pergolas, Outdoor Kitchens
o Enclosing an existing deck, porch, or carport
o Decks, Porches, Sunrooms
o Finishing a basement or attic
o Additions to any existing structures
o Roofs: including reroofing and adding roofs over existing decks or patios
o Demolition of any structure
o Grading
o Electrical: re-wiring, adding or relocating receptacles, service upgrades, resetting electric meters, installing solar panels
o Plumbing: sewer line installations and repairs, adding or relocating fixtures, installing or replacing hot water heaters
o Gas/Mechanical: installing gas piping for any appliance, installing or replacing a furnace or heat pump

What are the guidelines for fences?

No barbed wire may be installed in residential zones. The maximum height is 6 feet in the front yard and 8 feet in any other yard.

You do NOT need a permit for a fence.

What are the guidelines for storage buildings?

Storage buildings do require permits. As a general rule, they must be at least 5 feet behind the house and can be within 3 feet of the rear and side property lines.

Can the homeowner purchase permits?

If you own and occupy the home, you may purchase the permits if you are doing the work. However, if you hire a contractor they are required to purchase the permits.  A Homeowner’s Affidavit must be completed before the homeowner can purchase permits.

What about rental property?

The property owner is allowed to do cosmetic repairs. Any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permits will require a properly licensed contractor.

What is required for a permit to build a new house?

The first step is obtaining an Erosion & Sediment Control permit from the Traffic Department. This will also serve as your driveway permit. Please contact Traffic at 423-229-9487 to schedule a site visit.
Next, determine how your lot is zoned. If you are building on a lot in a Planned Development, you must get plat approval from the Planning Department. For more information, please contact Ken Weems at 423-229-9368.
Finally, complete a permit application and bring your residential plan to 201 W Market St to be approved by a plans reviewer. The sewer tap fee is due when the building permit is issued.
Per state law, homeowners are allowed to build one new house every two years.

What is the process for commercial plans submittal?

Please submit 1 set of stamped plans and a copy on disc along with the permit application. The plans review fee is based on estimated construction cost and MUST be submitted with the plans.

What are the licensing requirements for contractors and trades?

All contractors, whether general or trade, must have a City of Kingsport business license to pull permits. Please contact the Finance at 423-229-9418 for the requirements.
Construction projects valued under $25,000 require only the city Class 4 license. If the project is valued over $25,000, the contractor MUST have a State of TN contractor’s license.
All contractors must provide proof of workman’s compensation insurance.
Electricians, Plumbers, and Gas Installers must also have a city business license and a performance bond. In order to obtain a city trade’s license, the applicant must be a state certified contractor, for example, have a CE for certified electrician, or have previously passed the city’s trades exams. In lieu of state or city certification, the applicant may apply to the Building Division for a trade license if they can provide proof they have passed the trades portion of the state’s certification exam.
We do NOT accept the state’s limited licenses: LLE or LLP.
Testing for state contractor certifications is offered by PSIonline.com in Johnson City.

Can I pay for permits online or over the phone?

No. Permits must be signed in person.  We accept cash, check, debit and credit cards, except American Express.