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  • How do I obtain a permit?

    Permit Application & Inspection Process Questions

    1. What is a permit and why do I need one?(Click for more)

    Building permits serve to safeguard public health, safety and general welfare through enforcement of various building, zoning and other related codes and ordinances.

    2. Where can I find a copy of the building codes?

    All the International Building Codes are available for viewing at the offices of Development Services, local libraries, or they can be purchased online from the International Code Council.   The Codes may also be viewable online.

    3. Are there local amendments to the building codes?

    Yes, and they can be found under “Codes & Local Amendments”, at the bottom of the Building Permits Resources page.

    4. Who can apply for a building permit?

    Property owners, Architects, and licensed contractors can apply and obtain permits. Individuals not belonging to one of these categories shall need to provide a Letter of Authorization from the property owner prior to applying for the permit.

    5. Where do I apply for a building permit?

    For structures or uses in unincorporated Pima County, apply for building permits online. 

    For structures or uses in Tucson city limits, Oro Valley, Marana, South Tucson, or Sahuarita, you will need to obtain a building permit from the respective jurisdiction.

    6. How do I obtain a building permit and how do I obtain assistance with this?

    To obtain a permit, construction plans, including a site plan, must be prepared and submitted electronically to the Pima County Building and Site Development Division, preferably online.  At a minimum, these plans must indicate the location of the proposed improvements and the type of construction. Additional information may be required based on the specific project.  Look under our "residential projects, "commercial projects" and other criteria headings within our Building Permits tab.

    Upon submittal, the plans are reviewed for compliance with all applicable code requirements. Once approved, construction must be performed in accordance with the approved plans. Any changes to an approved plan will require a revision application and a plan review approval by Building Safety and Sustainability.

    Should assistance with the application process be needed, permitting staff may be reached at 724-6490 or BuildingPermit@pima.gov.

    7. How do I submit a revision to my existing building permit?

    Revisions to approved plans are submitted to BuildingPermit@pima.gov. Include your permit number and "Revision" in the Email subject line.

    8. What format should my application package conform to?

    Applications packages should be submitted as a PDF file.  Paper applications shall not be accepted.  Please see our posted requirements for electronic building permits.

    9. What items are reviewed during the plan review?

    The permit application will be reviewed to ensure it is in compliance with all zoning, NPPO, grading, HDZ and building requirements per the submittal criteria posted on our web site.

    Note that certain building permits may require associated approvals from other County agencies such as Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, Regional Flood Control District and Department of Environmental Quality.  Such approvals may be granted within the building permit submittal on a courtesy basis in an effort to expedite the permitting process.  However, if unable to grant such approvals, the applicant shall need to submit directly to those agencies in line with their published requirements.

    10. Does the permitting process comply with A.R.S. §§ 11-1605 and 11-1606?

    Yes, as administered by our Standard Operating Procedures on the Regulatory Bill of Rights

    11. How long will the plan review take?

    Building Permit time frame as required per A.R.S. § 11-1605 are as follows:

    • Administrative completeness review: 10 days
    • Substantive review: 10 days
    • Overall time frame: 20 days

    However, operational time frames for building permit turn-around times are also provided.

    12. When will a permit be issued?

    The applicant will receive an e-mail or phone call indicating the permit is ready to be issued. This will occur after all the applicable reviews have been completed and approved. Once the permitting fees have been paid the permit will be issued to the applicant electronically.

    13. How much does a permit cost?

    All permit fees are based on the current fees schedule as adopted by Pima County. Individual project fees will vary depending on the type and size of the project and the scope of work.

    14. What if I do not get a permit?

    If a required permit is not obtained prior to the start of construction, the property owner may be subject to fines, penalties, and/or legal action. The property owner must immediately obtain permits for the work and pass all required inspections. If permits are not acquired, the structure or site must be returned to its original condition.

    15. When is a permit not required?

    Examples of project permitting requirements are available for viewing.

    16. What about inspections?

    It is the permit holders’ responsibility to call for inspections at specific times during the construction phase. Detailed inspection requirements are posted in the Building Inspection Portal.

    17. What if I have a permit, but do not call for inspections?

    A project is not complete until it passes required inspections. Permits expire after one year if a required inspection has not been performed. In order to continue work after the expiration, the permit must be renewed or another permit obtained. For permit re-instatement procedures, please review “Administrative processes”  in the Building permit section of our web site or contact Building & Site Development at 520-724-6490 for assistance.

    18. How do I schedule an inspection?

    Visit our Pima County Building Inspection Portal.

    19. How do I obtain clarification regarding interpretations or application of regulation and what is the appeals process?

    Under A.R.S. §11-1609, you may request that the County clarify its interpretation or application of a statute, ordinance, regulation, delegation agreement or authorized substantive policy statement that affects the issuance of your building permit by providing the County with a written request that states the following.

    1. Your name and address.
    2. The statute, ordinance, regulation, delegation agreement or authorized substantive policy statement or part of the statute, ordinance, regulation, delegation agreement or authorized substantive policy statement that requires clarification.
    3. Any facts relevant to the requested ruling.
    4. Your proposed interpretation of the applicable statute, ordinance, regulation, delegation agreement or authorized substantive policy statement or part of the statute, ordinance, regulation, delegation agreement or authorized substantive policy statement that requires clarification.
    5. Whether, to the best of your knowledge, the issues or related issues are being considered by the County in connection with an existing license or license application.

    You may request clarification or interpretations of the plans examining staff member reviewing your project. Written interpretations are subject to a fee per adopted schedule posted on our web site.  If you disagree with a staff interpretation, you may appeal to the Building Official in accordance with Pima County Code 15.04.060 by submitting the form posted on our web site with payment of appeal fee prior to permit application expiration.  Building Official decisions may be appealed to the Building Code Board of Appeals, and Building Code Board of Appeals decisions may be appealed to Superior Court. Disputes about the interpretation of the Zoning Code may be appealed to a Pima County Board of Adjustment under A.R.S. § 11-816 and P.C.C. § 18.93.060.

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