Plans Review and Inspections to Introduce Expedited Permits

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

Plans Review and Inspections to Introduce Expedited Permits

Posted: 09/22/2016
In an effort to reduce wait time for the commercial permit approval of less complicated projects, the City’s Plans Review and Inspections Department has released its expedited permits program. 

The new process will go into effect the first week of October.

“We’re working to simplify the approval processes that are generally required, so that businesses seeking permits for simpler work will have virtually no wait time,” said Peter Ahrens, Director of Plans Review and Inspections. 

In the past, all commercial construction projects have been required to run through the same line of approvals, no matter the scope of work.

The expedited permit process is limited in scope to qualifying structures and occupancy classes:
• Alterations to commercial buildings;
• Business, mercantile, storage, factory and utility occupancy classes 
(no restaurant or grocery/food handling uses); and
• Exterior work where no overlay district review is required (historic zoning, downtown design, etc.).

Qualified work will undergo a review process for fire; plumbing, gas and mechanical, electric; and building permits. This new process reduces extended waits that involve entities outside the City government who need to issue permits on more complicated projects.

Plans Review and Inspections officials have whittled review time of expedited permits down to a two-step process: 

1) First, customers submit the building permit application and a description of the scope of work, including all associated plans; 

2) Once it has been established that the project qualifies for an expedited permit, then customers will be contacted to schedule a meeting for the following Thursday.

At the meeting, Plans Examiners (including the Fire Marshal’s Office) will meet with the customers and the project’s design professional to review the project’s plans. Once approved, the building permit can be promptly issued as soon as the same day. 

Customers must bring the design professional to the Thursday plans review meeting in order to be considered for an expedited permit. The design professional will be able to make changes to the project during the meeting, if necessary.

Meetings are held every Thursday in Room 511 of the City County Building, 400 W. Main St.

“Ultimately, we want to reduce wait time for commercial customers as much as possible,” said Ahrens. “In the end, this will encourage business and development within the City, which bolsters our economy and our community.”

Click here to learn more about Expedited Permits.

For more information on the City’s permitting processes, please call 311 or visit