Nashville/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 15, 2024
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Proclaims May as Building Safety Month for Enhanced Community ProtectionSource: Google Street View

Tennessee is beefing up its commitment to safer buildings and electrical systems this May, as Governor Bill Lee declares it Building Safety Month. Joining forces with the International Code Council, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) are spotlighting the importance of building codes for community welfare, according to a statement on the state’s website.

This year's Building Safety Month is tagged “Mission Possible,” a rallying cry for Tennesseans to personalize their commitment to safety on every level—personal, local and global. The SFMO has been active across the board, completing thousands of inspections, issuing boatloads of permits, and keeping a trained eye on public marinas for safe fun in the sun. Just last year, SFMO teams completed 6,246 inspections and operations like the online permitting system launched in 2020, has saved customers $770,770 in fees in 2023 alone, as mentioned on TDCI's announcement.

TDCI Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence is talking up the campaign's goals. "Building Safety Month’s goal is to educate the public about solutions that improve the safety, sustainability, affordability, and resilience of buildings, infrastructure, and communities," he said. Bringing awareness to how modern construction practices shield communities from disasters and fires is high on their agenda.

It's not just about inspections and permitting. The SFMO's Online Permitting System is a real fiscal superhero. Since its inception, the average customer says goodbye to the middleman for 79 percent of all electrical permits, leading to over $2.5 million in savings since 2020. In 2023 alone, Tennesseans pinched pennies as the system saved them close to a million bucks, and those numbers are just for starters.

Meanwhile, Mary Beth Gribble, TDCI Interim Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention, highlights the personal touch. "Building Safety Month is a celebration of the hard work of codes enforcement professionals who are committed to ensuring the safety and prosperity of Tennesseans," she told the state's news outlet. They're rolling up their sleeves to ensure every Tennesseean has a safe space to call their own, whether they're punching in or kicking back.

Training the next generation of code enforcers is also on the SFMO's radar. The Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) doesn't play around with its advanced curriculum for aspiring code officials. With top-notch gear, cutting-edge classrooms, and facilities, they're shaping the best and brightest to meet the evolving demands of construction, fire prevention, and energy efficiency. It's not just about building codes; it's about building futures.