Building Permit Questions and Concerns

What is included in a building permit application?

It is the gathering of building project information needed to apply for a building permit. It consists of the completed Building Permit Application form, a site plan and may require other documents such as construction drawings, specifications and calculations.
See Brochure # 3- Construction Documents for examples

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What type of work requires a building permit?

Whenever you construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or if you repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, mechanical or plumbing system, a building permit is required.

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What type of building project doesn't require a building permit?

You can do the following without a building permit:
  • Build a one-story storage/tool accessory structure not over 200 square feet of floor area. 
  • Build a retaining wall not over four (4) feet high. The height is measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
  • Install playground equipment.
  • Install driveways and sidewalks.
  • Install window awnings 
  • Re-roof, provided the same roofing materials are used and the roof is not required to be fire-resistive.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, flooring, cabinets counter tops and similar finish work.

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Can windows and doors be changed out to improve the overall energy efficiency of a residence without obtaining a building permit?

Yes, if the existing window and door opening width and corresponding window/door header does not change. If the window and/or door width opening needs to be increased in width to accommodate the new replacement window/door, a building permit is required. 

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What electrical work doesn't require a building permit?

You can do minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.

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What plumbing work doesn't require a building permit?

Clearing of stoppages and/or repair of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement and/or the rearrangement of the valves, pipes or fixtures.

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In addition to the building code requirements, are there other regulations that may affect a building project?

The following regulations and reviews may also affect the design and construction of your building project:
  • Zoning Code regulations that include building setbacks, building lot coverage, building height, and number of stories and floor area of the second story.
  • The City's Design Review Board regulates all alterations to the building's exterior. 
  • Local CC&R's also govern building design. CC&Rs are enforce through your local established homeowner's association (HOA) and not by the City.

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I need a building permit.  How do I apply for it?

You start by filling out a building permit application that can be obtained at the Building Safety Department, 214 West Wigwam Boulevard (between 7 a.m and 4 p.m., M-F) or the Building Permit Application can be downloaded and printed.

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If a building project involves different kinds of construction work (such as electrical, plumbing, mechanical, structural, etc.), can these be combined under one permit?

Yes. Just list all work being done under the permit in the description of work line on the application.

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How long does it take to get a building permit?

From time of receiving the building permit application (after the Design Review Board and/or the Board of Adjustment have concluded their review and approval), the following permit processing timelines can be expected:

Simple permits (no review needed) may be issued over the counter.

Commercial tenant improvement:                                              5 – 10 business days
New commercial building shells:                                                20 – 30 business days
New commercial non-building structures:                                  5 – 10 business days
Commercial remodels and additions:                                         0 – 20 business days
Commercial electrical / mechanical /plumbing improvement:    5 – 10 business days
New Residential buildings:                                                         5 – 15 business days
Residential remodels and additions:                                          5 – 10 business days
Residential electrical / mechanical /plumbing improvement:     2 – 10 business days
New residential accessory buildings/structures:                        2 – 10 business days

    The above timelines may vary due to volume and suspensions for delays caused by the need for public hearings, state or federal licenses or approvals from public utilities. This timeline is within the department only (does not include time waiting for client response).

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How much does a building permit cost?

All building permits have a fee associated with them. For an estimate of the fees associated with your construction project, please contact the Building Safety Department at (623) 935-1066. When calling for an estimate, please provide a detailed description of all work involved in the building project and the total valuation of the project.

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Which building permits require building plan review?

  • Commercial tenant improvements
  • New commercial building shells
  • New commercial non-building structures
  • Commercial remodels and additions
  • Commercial electrical/mechanical/plumbing improvements
  • New residential buildings
  • Residential remodels and additions
  • Residential electrical/mechanical/plumbing improvements
  • New residential accessory buildings/structures
  • Residential pool/spa installations
  • Residential gas piping (interior and exterior)
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Where can I reference and/or purchase building code publications?

The Florence Brinton Litchfield Memorial Library has most of these publications on file for reference purposes. In addition, many local book stores have in stock or can order these technical publications. You may also purchase these publications online.

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Is an Arizona State licensed architect and/or Arizona State licensed engineer needed to prepare construction drawings?

All commercial work in the City requires a current Arizona State licensed architect and/or Arizona State licensed engineer for all portions of the construction design, depending on the project's scope of work. For residential work, if the design exceeds the limits outlined in the Building Codes, a currently licensed architect and/or engineer may be required by the Building Official. In addition, an engineered soils report may be required by the Building Official for certain building sites.

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Does the City have amendments to the current building codes that may affect construction projects?

Yes. Prior to preparing any construction drawings and/or construction documents (as well as any construction work), a review of the City's building code amendments is recommended. Click here for a list of amendments

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How do I arrange for a building inspection and when are inspections conducted?

Upon completion of each phase of the project's construction, the contractor simply calls (623) 935-1066 to schedule a building inspection. Refer to the Residential Inspection Checklist for a sequence of the different construction phases and breakdown of the City's building inspection list at each phase. When calling to schedule a building inspection, always give the type of inspection you're requesting, the project's site address and/or lot number, the permit number and the date/time of day you're requesting the inspection. Effective Monday, March 3, 2014, same day inspections will no longer be done. Inspections must be called in the day prior. Inspections are generally conducted between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.

When a scheduled inspection is completed by the City and building corrections are required, the inspected work under the scheduled inspection is "rejected." After the corrections have been made by the building contractor, a re-inspection must be scheduled. All building re-inspections are scheduled the same way as the initial inspection. ***Please Note: After the second re-inspection, and building corrections are still not properly addressed, a "re-inspection fee" will be accessed and paid by the contractor before any further inspections are made.

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