Welcome Page

Welcome to the new City of Knoxville Plans Review and Inspections webpage!

We have been working hard, with both the IT department and the vendors of our new software packages, to create new tools to simplify the development process for both our customers and staff. This has been a very large and time-consuming undertaking that touches on every aspect of what we do. Now, after more than 3-years of development, the first phase of this project is nearly ready to go into service. This page will provide some highlights about the different tools available at this time - much more is planned, some items will become available next year...some will take a little longer. Check back often to see what is available and feel free to provide suggestions on additional content. To learn more about the tools and features available on the website you may begin exploring below.

Are you ready to begin digging into the new features? If so, lets go to PR&I's new homepage.


Citizen Access Account

Setup your Citizen Access Account

One of the primary service points for our customers will be the Citizen Access Account. All permit applications will be filtered through this account during the application process and it will keep all of your records organized in one location. In addition to being an organizational tool, you will also be able to send notifications concerning changes to contact information or professionals associated with your projects and pay invoices for any applications or permits you have in process. Launch features are limited but we are looking at providing additional features in the coming months.

On the Plans Review and Inspections homepage there are several options for accessing your account. The quickest way to get started is to click the Login or Create Online Account button in the upper right-hand corner. From this location you will click the Register for an Account button to begin the registration process. Some things to understand about this account before you go too far:

  1. This account is required to apply for permits, monitor progress on permits, and pay fees. In the future, this account will also allow you to renew your license, schedule inspections, manipulate your ProjectDox reviews, and much more.
  2. This account will be the repository for all of your permits. This will help you keep things organized and manage your permits more efficiently.
    • NOTICE - It is HIGHLY recommended that organizations create a single account and provide their chosen staff with the credentials. Creating individual accounts will silo permit information - you cannot manipulate a permit in someone else's account. You will get the most benefit from the system if all of your permits are located in a single account.
  3. The email address associated with the account will receive all communications for the account - including notification of permit issuance and invoice notifications. Make sure to select an address that is monitored (for companies this will preferably be a general business email address and not the personal account of a staff member).
  4. You will be able to associate license information to this account to help speed up the application process when requesting permits.
  5. Your permit list will show when a permit has an outstanding invoice. Invoice payment in your Citizen Access account works like a shopping cart for an online retailer - you can save items in your cart and pay multiple invoices at once.


Permit Applications

Permit Applications

Permit applications can currently be accessed in two ways - through interaction with the associated portions of the website or in the Permit and Services Catalog.

As you navigate the 'Looking For Information' sections of the website you will learn about the what's and why's of the development process and, generally, these paths will take you to a point where you can begin the process of applying to get a permit. The paths are designed to act as a series of questions to help you narrow down on what permits you actually need and, along the way, provide information on how the process works and what you will need to do to be successful. Most paths could involve navigating through 4-6 pages to get you to the appropriate application.

If you have a good idea about what application you need, the Permit and Service Catalog contains all permits and services that are currently offered. In this section you will find a page for permitting (work-related permits) and a page for general services (meeting requests, licensing, and document requests). This catalog is designed to allow our 'regular' users to quickly access the applications they need without navigating through the what's and why's of permitting. In addition, because applications are now digital webforms (think turbotax) you will be able to create shortcuts on your desktop or mobile device to launch directly in the forms as opposed to starting in the catalog.

Applications are no longer pdf's that you download, fill out, scan, and email. The new applications are digital webforms designed so:

  1. You can complete applications using either a computer or your smartphone,
  2. You only need to answer questions related to the work you indicate you are performing,
  3. You can save your application mid-process and pick it back up anytime within 30 days,
  4. You can review and edit your application details, in your Citizen Access account, prior to final submittal,
  5. You can create shortcuts on your computer or smartphone allowing you to launch directly into your regularly accessed forms.  



New Website

There are going to be a couple different ways to access the new website. The first is through the City of Knoxville webpage. The original landing page for our department is still located in the same place - it will just look a little different. From this page you will be able to access any number of locations on the new website based on your needs. The other option is to start directly from the Inspections Department homepage.

The website is organized in a manner to allow our experienced user to quickly get to where they need to be or, for the less experienced user, it provides the ability to explore different options for permitting and other services. On our new landing page you will new find:

  1. 'Learn More About...' pages specific to different aspects of the development process. At the bottom of most pages you will find some common questions on the topic you are currently exploring. These are a work in progress and will be updated regularly.
  2. A Permit and Service catalog that has direct access to specific applications, either for work or other services. If you know what you need this catalog will get you right to it.
  3. Access to quickly schedule inspections. Access to scheduling for either legacy permits or new system permits is available at this location. Soon you will also be able to schedule from our citizen access account with just a few clicks.
  4. Access to your citizen access account. This is where your keep up with your permits and process invoices. Before long, it will become your primary hub for all things concerning permitting and inspections.
  5. Access to license and registration applications. Anyone holding a permit must have an appropriate license/registration to do so.
  6. Access to records and research requests. We are working to build the database of permitting records to allow our customers to search both active and historical records on development in the city. Until then, you may request a records custodian to retrieve these records for you.
  7. Access to options for review meetings or plans examiner consultations. Availability may be limited until additional system functionality is in place and needed staff are brought on board but we are looking to expand our offerings as quickly as possible.
  8. Access to review and appeals boards. This will take you to City managed webpages for the various review and appeals boards involved in development.
  9. (Top of Page) Contact information for the department, plans examiners, and inspectors. Emails and phone number(s) are available for all of the staff, based on their roles. As always, you are also welcome to email us at bldginspections@knoxvilletn.gov.
  10. (Top of Page) FAQ page which contains Building Official determinations, frequently asked questions, fast fact guides. These cover a range of topics and levels of detail - from quick answers for common questions to lengthy discussions on more complicated or confusing sections of the code. Note: The page specific common questions will also be found on this page.



ProjectDox Plans Review Website

If you have been through a plans review process with the City in the last few years you have already been introduced to the basic plans review website. With the implementation of our new permitting system we will be able to integrate the ProjectDox software directly into the permitting software and take advantage of new tools/features available. These updates will mean things look a little different for our users but the changes will improve communication between the City and our customers, more clearly define where in the process your review is, and who has tasks to complete.

Some key changes associated with the system upgrade:

  1. The applicant can upload into two different locations - drawings (construction sheets) and documents (response letters, engineering specifications, COA, etc)
  2. User rights will be determined by a workflow that is integrated into the permitting software.
  3. Users will be assigned tasks to complete during their phase of the process. These will show up in your task tab.
  4. Tasks can be accessed and completed directly from system emails.
  5. Review results and any corrections required will be stored in the ProjectDox system, in the review comments section.
  6. Users can respond directly to the reviewers in the review comments section - you no longer need to include a response letter.
  7. Reviewers will have the ability to pinpoint the specific sheet/area where a correction is needed. Note: This can be time-consuming for the reviewer to create but it can be used to provide direction when specific corrective action is required.
  8. Changes to an approved plan set will occur in the same project review. This will create a single, complete review set and simplify the inspection process.
  9. In order to take advantage of some new features, for both customers and reviewers, the system has a naming convention that file names will follow. This will also help reduce project delays because of improperly named files during review of revised plans.

Naming Standards for ProjectDox

ProjectDox is a web-review software packaged used around the county and, as such, is designed to accommodate as many jurisdictions as possible. The City was given a handful of naming options to choose from and we chose the standard that most closely follows to sheet naming standards of the majority of our customers. Files must be .pdf's and named as follows:

One or Two characters (per list below) and three digits/ optional: period and two digits/ dash/ sheet name  

Examples of file names:

  • A001.1-Elevations (sheet name was A1.1)
  • C002-GradingPlan (sheet number was C2)
  • G101-PF001.1 Playing Field (sheet number was PF1.1)
Character Option List:
  • A: Architectural Plans, S: Structural Plans, E: Electrical Plans, P: Plumbing Plans, M: Mechanical Plans, C: Civil Plans, AS: Architectural Site Plan, LS: Life Safety Plans, FP: Fire Protection Plans, L: Landscaping Plans, G: General Plans and Cover Sheets


Permits and Inspections

Permits and Inspections

One of the most significant changes associated with this system update has to do with how permits are issued. There are no longer separate plans reviews and building permits - now you have a project. The old system, with lots of distinct plans reviews and permits, led to confusion about what plans were valid when there were multiple change orders and which permits were associated with certain plans. The new system consolidate everything into a single location. Key points concerning projects:

  1. A project will have a unique project number and it is used for both the plans review phase and the inspections phase of a development. The project becomes the 'parent' of your development.
  2. A project is defined by the plans. This will allow you to do more work with fewer permit numbers to keep track of.
    • Note: Be mindful of how you want to occupy buildings or space when preparing your submittals.
    • Example: If you submitted plans showing that you are going to building three apartment buildings on a parcel of land, the project scope and the final CO will be for three apartment buildings.
  3. The scope of a project can expand over time. This allows you to modify your plan set to add new work while in the inspection phase. 
    • Example: You submit plans for site work and a parking lot. Plans are approved, project scope is for site work and parking lot. You then submit a CHAP application to modify the approved plans and add a building. You update your project plans in your existing ProjectDox review and your project goes through another review phase. Plans are approved, project scope is now for site work, parking, and a building.
  4. Sub-trade permits, administrative changes (edits to details, license professionals, contact information), CHAP applications (Change to Approved Plans), etc all become 'children' of the project permit. This keeps all associated records organized.
    • Note: It is important that anyone working on/associated with a project have the project number and include it on their application. Failure to provide this information can result in project delays and administrative penalties.


The changes affecting the inspection process falls mostly in the realm of the inspectors. Scheduling inspections is done through a web application and will be very similar to the current system. From the customer side, the biggest change will come in how you receive inspection results. There will no longer be hand-written records or tags left on the job site; instead the inspector will enter the inspection results while in the field and, after submitting the results, the system will send an email letting you know how things went. The inspectors will even have the ability to upload pictures from their inspection, if needed, and attach them to your inspection record.


Licensing and Registration

In conjunction with your citizen access account, the system requires that a licensed individual be associated with all permits. This doesn't mean that all permits require a State of TN licensed contractor - just that the permit holder have an appropriate license or registration to hold the permit. There are ten different license and registration types available, which allow you to hold different types of permit, and it is possible that you might have more than one. Each license will have different requirements for application - they may require that also hold a comparable license with the state, only do specific work, or only work in a particular location.

License will no longer expire at the end of the year. Instead, expiration will vary depending on the license or registration type. The general rule of thumb for most license types is expiration 365 days after issuance. A State of TN building contractor license will have the same expiration on their City of Knoxville license as they do on their State of TN license. A Homeowner contractor license will expire 2 years from the date of issuance.  

FAQ's and Fast Facts

Policies, FAQ's and Fast Fact Guides

Unless development and construction is something you are involved in daily, you may have a great many questions. The process itself - going from an idea, to development of construction plans, through plans review, to issuance of permits, scheduling inspections, and closing a permit, can be a little different from one project to the next and often results in questions...even from veterans of the process. The codes and ordinances can occasionally be so ambiguous or convoluted that it is difficult to understand what exactly needs to be done. This page contains guidance on topics that tend to create confusion or need additional clarification.

Instead of the general information flyers from the past, you will now find three different levels of guidance depending on topic:

  1. Policy Statements: These are published interpretations from the Director of Plans Review & Inspections. When we encounter areas of the code which seem to cause confusion or lack consistency in application, the Director will provide a policy statement on that topic so everyone understands how the code is to be applied on that point. These may change as additional guidance is provided by the Code Council or new perspectives are presented and evaluated.
  2. FAQ: This is a list of common questions asked of our office with quick answers. The FAQ sections is where all of the common questions dispersed throughout the website will be collected.
  3. Fast Fact Guides: These are the middle-ground between policy statements and FAQ's. These guides are topics will warrant more detail than is provided by an FAQ but, while the topic may be complicated or the code requirements dispersed, the code provides sufficient clarity on the topic that there doesn't need to be a formal determination from the Director.