The Building and Codes Department held a public hearing on Aug. 11 to explain the new amended International Codes Council (ICC) Codes and Permit Fee Structure that will be adopted for Sumner County.

The new codes are necessary because Sumner County is out of compliance with state requirements as the codes are not within seven years of the latest published codes. Sumner County is currently using the 2006 codes. Research has shown that the 2015 codes are less strict than the 2012 codes.

One of the most important changes is the addition of plumbing and mechanical inspections by Sumner County because the state requires this be done. This change will require the county to employ an inspector, resulting in an increase in the building permit fee.

In explaining why the building permit fee is going to be raised, Erika Porter said, “We’re not allowed to opt out of the plumbing and mechanical portion of the codes any longer, so we have to have a plumbing and mechanical inspector. The budget for that has been approved. He is on staff and will get paid one way or the other. We just thought it would be a little more fair to target the user fee rather than putting the burden on the tax payers in general.

“The building permit fee is a target user fee. The person who is actually using the service is actually paying for it rather than coming out of the county general fund where it is all tax payer dollars.”

The public has 90 days to review the changes and can view them at the Building and Codes Department. The department welcomes comments and concerns from the citizens. Marshall Wright or Erika Porter will be available to talk with those with questions.

The new codes will go to the county commission in Sept. for second reading. If the codes are approved, the new codes and new building permit fee will go into effect Oct. 1, 2015.

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