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Ask CalAttorney2 Your Own Question
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I live in Knox County, TN and have a question about the

Customer Question

I live in Knox County, TN and have a question about the necessity to obtain a building permit. I removed handrails from an existing loft and plan to construct two non-load bearing walls in their place. The space has existing windows, lighting, hvac, etc. I will also be adding a standard interior “bedroom” door. My question is: Is a building permit necessary since no load-bearing structures will be affected, and if a building permit is necessary and I do not obtain one would the repercussions typically be limited to problems counting the space as a bedroom etc. during future resale (barring any issues arising that cause/caused an injury or damage to the house of course) or could the county force me to remove/undo the work?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you for certain (based on a description here) whether or not your project is going to need a building permit - you are best served by contacting the Knox County Building Department directly - ask them specifically whether the proposed construction will require a permit.

- The problem I see is the construction of 2 new interior walls (load bearing or not) can significantly change fire behavior and access inside the building - without knowing what exactly you are working with I couldn't tell you, and the Knox Building Dept. will be able to tell you not only whether it is a "structural improvement" - and whether it requires a permit under their guidelines.

If you do need a permit, and do not get one, you can find yourself fined (either when the improvements are discovered - such as at some subsequent construction that you do get a permit/inspection for); or at the time of sale of the home. These fines are usually in multiples of 2 or 3 times the amount of the permit, plus an inspection of the home (and any remedial construction or deconstructive testing (if necessary).