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Tennessee to allow third-party inspectors to speed up construction process

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee contractors can now hire third-party inspectors instead of having local governments inspect the project.

The law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, requires fees charged by a local government for third-party plans, examination, inspection, review or permit packaging to be the same charged by the local government to perform the same service.

“As a former contractor, I know that a bureaucratic permitting process is bad for everybody except for the government,” Gov. Bill Lee said this week in Knoxville. “We want to flip that around and make the processes that we have in state government good for the customers who we are serving.”

The third-party inspectors are required to be registered and certified by the appropriate state agency, whether it be the State Fire Marshall, Tennessee State Board of Examiners for Architects and Engineers or certified by the International Code Council or National Fire Protection Association.

“It is reasonably assumed that the majority of third-party inspectors and plans examiners currently have insurance coverage; therefore, requiring them to maintain liability insurance will not have a significant impact on insurance premium tax revenue,” Senate Bill 2100’s fiscal note says.

Lee said that there is more construction in many areas of the state as the population grows and properly moving the process forward faster is key.

“With more building comes more plans reviews, more permitting, more inspections and with more reviews and permits and inspections, traditionally, that means more costs for those who are building these buildings because time is money and time that equates to money that equates to cost equates to dollars out of the back pockets of Tennesseans,” Lee said. “This house costs more if it takes longer to build.”