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May 09, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Insight Code Consulting draws on founder’s rich history as a building inspector

James Tente, who moved to the region about eight years ago, was one of five competitors in Maryville's inaugural “Launchpad Pitch Event” organized by the Sky City Entrepreneur Center.

James Tente came to Tennessee in 2015 for a seven-day bicycle ride. During that week, the then-resident of Chicago met his future wife and, as the saying goes, “The rest is history.”

Today, he’s the Chief of Building Inspections and Plans Review for the City of Knoxville during the day and an aspiring entrepreneur at night. His side hustle is named Insight Code Consulting and draws on Tente’s nearly a quarter of a century working in the building inspections area.

He was one of five competitors in the inaugural “Launchpad Pitch Event” organized by the Sky City Entrepreneur Center and held in February in Maryville (see article here.)

Insight Code Consulting offers services in three areas:

  • Expert code interpretations and analysis to ensure the projects of its clients are on the path to success;
  • Review of plans, specifically expert code interpretations and analysis, to ensure a client’s project is on the path to success; and
  • Customized training and webinars.

“I enjoy teaching,” Tente says, adding that the educational component also helps him stay on top of the code changes. He writes on the firm’s website that “our passion is building codes – expert understanding and use of the model building codes combined with helping people maximize their goals.”

Tente explains that the return on investment from his code review services of architectural plan reviews can be significant. “The value of our report versus mistakes can be as much as 50 to 1,” he says, noting that material and labor shortages that are common in construction today can create “real and costly problems.”

Before moving to the region in 2015, Tente says he worked for 13 years in local government. He started his work career as an electrician which he says is hard on the body. “I liked solving electrical problems and building electrical systems but hated the business side.”

At the start of 2000, Tente joined a firm that provided building inspection services for 12 cities in five Illinois counties. It involved traveling 150 to 200 miles a day, so he decided to focus on a single city.

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