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Reference Number: MTAS-85
Reviewed Date: 10/20/2022

Certification of Building, Fire, Mechanical, and Plumbing Inspectors
Since June 30, 1995, all existing municipal and county inspectors in Tennessee have had to be certified by the state fire marshal before enforcing building and fire codes. Any inspector hired after July 1, 1994, has 12 months from the date of employment to receive certification, which is valid for three years. Exemptions apply to people who are:

  • 60 years old and have been continuously employed as a building inspector for seven years; or
  • 50 years old and have been employed as a building inspector for one year and were licensed by the state as an electrical, plumbing, or heating/air conditioning contractor before July 1,1993.

The state fire marshal sets the certification standards, but he or she must accept certification from the Southern Building Code Congress International, the International Code Council, and the National Fire Protection Association as satisfying standards. The fire marshal is to provide training courses, issue identification cards, and revoke certification of inspectors who fail to enforce codes properly. T.C.A. § 68-120-113.

Municipal plumbing and mechanical inspectors must also be certified in a manner similar to building and fire inspectors. T.C.A. § 68-120-118.

Shared Inspectors
T.C.A. § 6-54-116 applies to cities with populations of less than 25,000 and provides that two or more municipalities may engage jointly one building inspector and to make an agreement specifying how such inspector shall be paid for his services and how his time or services shall be allocated to the respective municipalities. T.C.A. § 68-102-107 allows certified building and fire safety inspectors to perform inspections for local governments other than the one by which they are employed.

Residential Rental Registration and Inspection
T.C.A. § 66-28-107 requires landlords of one or more dwelling units in Nashville to register with the codes department. T.C.A. § 6-54-511 appears to place restrictions on inspections of residential rental properties in Davidson and Shelby counties and in Oak Ridge and Goodlettsville. T.C.A. §§ 13-21-301, et seq., however, enact residential rental inspection provisions for Nashville, Oak Ridge, East Ridge, and Goodlettsville that are supplemental to other authority these municipalities might have.