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State fire marshal exempts Farragut

The town of Farragut became the 34th governing entity in the state of Tennessee to receive exempt jurisdiction status from the state fire marshal office.

This means, according to Farragut Fire Marshal Dan Johnson, the state no longer has to approve building plans and fire safety requirements for certain types of buildings in Farragut.

Johnson said all building codes as well as fire codes are run through the state fire marshal’s office. Prior to the exemption status, an architect, for example, would have to take plans for a development to the state office for approval and then the local municipality for its approval.

“The state requires us to meet the minimum of state requirements for building codes,” Johnson said. “Being granted the exempt jurisdiction status means we not only meet the state’s minimum requirements, but we exceed them.”

Rik Noirris, an architect with Cope Associates, Inc. in Knoxville, said the exempt jurisdiction status is “a good thing” from an architect’s perspective.

“From my experience working on Parkside Plaza Two, I had to go through the process of submitting plans to both the state and the town of Farragut,” he said. “There was a lot of redundancy involved. It [exempt jurisdiction status] should be a time-saver for architects and at the same time same some money for developers by not having to pay state review fees.”

Johnson said the types of structures that will no longer require state approval in terms of meeting building and fire codes include detention and correctional facilities not state owned or leased, places of assembly that will hold 300 or more people, business or residential structures that will have three or more stories, two-story residential occupancies that have 12 or more units, covered malls, high-hazard industrial occupancies and all facilities requiring a state fire marshal’s office inspection for initial


“The state has certain comfort levels with certain jurisdictions,” said John Householder, a building inspector and codes enforcement officer with the town. “The state is very comfortable with the way we do things. Most people take the safety standards for granted. We make sure the standards are observed and done right.”

Johnson said the exempt jurisdiction status will be reviewed every three years, A inspector from the fire marshal office will come in and do a site review.

He said the codes department is currently in the process of arranging meetings with other jurisdictions to discuss the way they handle building safety codes. The goal, Johnson said, is to make sure the jurisdictions have no major variances in the codes to make things easier for a potential developer.


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