Tennessee Observes Building Safety Month in May

Tennessee dedicates May to emphasizing the importance of building safety.

NASHVILLE – The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, has officially proclaimed May as Building Safety Month. This initiative, aimed at increasing public awareness about the significance of building codes for secure communities, sees the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) collaborating with the International Code Council to underscore building safety across the state.

The theme for this year’s campaign is “Mission Possible,” which prompts residents to consider building safety from personal, local, and global perspectives. TDCI Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence emphasized that the objective of Building Safety Month is to inform the public about strategies that enhance the safety, sustainability, affordability, and resilience of buildings, infrastructure, and communities. He highlighted the role of modern planning, building materials, design, and construction in making communities more resilient to disasters, fires, and other incidents.

In Tennessee, the SFMO’s Codes Enforcement Section, along with the Electrical, Residential, and Marina Inspections Section, plays a crucial role in ensuring that buildings are constructed safely and that public marinas operate without hazards. In 2023, the SFMO team conducted 6,246 inspections of residential buildings, issued 195,349 electrical permits, granted 1,506 residential building permits, and performed a total of 320,483 electrical inspections.

To enhance its service to Tennesseans, the SFMO introduced an Online Permitting System in 2020, which revolutionized the process of purchasing electrical and residential permits and scheduling inspections. Since its inception, the system has seen an average of 79% of all electrical permits being issued online, resulting in significant savings for consumers by reducing fees associated with physical selling locations. In 2023 alone, the online system saved customers $770,770 in fees, accumulating over $2.5 million in savings since 2020.

TDCI Interim Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention, Mary Beth Gribble, stated that Building Safety Month celebrates the dedication of codes enforcement professionals who strive to ensure the safety and prosperity of Tennesseans. She reiterated the SFMO’s commitment to providing safe environments for Tennesseans to live, work, learn, and play.

To support the SFMO’s mission in training the next generation of codes officials, the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) offers a comprehensive curriculum for the testing and certification of code enforcement officials. TFACA provides state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for newcomers to the field of codes enforcement as well as for seasoned professionals seeking to stay updated on regulations. Building codes cover various aspects of construction, including fire prevention, structural integrity, and energy efficiency.

For further details about the SFMO’s mission, interested individuals are encouraged to visit their website.

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