Building Code Modification & Appeals

Administrative Decision and Appeals

The City of Tucson Technical Construction Codes are performance codes that set out the minimum requirements to protect the public health and safety. Unlike the Land Use Code, Construction Code requirements cannot be waived. However, code sections provide authority for the Building Official to exercise professional judgement and flexibility in code enforcement.

Administrative Decisions and Appeal Guidelines

Step 1: Staff Decisions
Plan Reviewers approve issuance of permits when the plans and specifications document that the project will comply with the code, including approval of any alternative methods or materials. Inspectors approve the work and authorize certificates of occupancy when the work matches the approved plans and is otherwise found to be in substantial compliance with the code.  Alternate methods and materials may be approved provided there is no substantial change to the approved plans.  If a substantial change is proposed, a “Plan Revision” review is required.  If a plan or construction is not approved, staff is obligated to cite the applicable code sectionidentify what doesn’t comply and explain why. Staff is NOT authorized to redesign projects.

Step 2Supervisory Review
Any customer dissatisfied with a field inspector’s decision may request a review by that person’s supervisor.  Supervisor’s are responsible for thoroughly investigating and responding to all questions as quickly as possible. If further appeal is requested the inspection supervisor will provide written recommendations on the question.  Plans examiners and permit specialists will provide written recommendations on their decisions that are appealed.

Step 3: Administrative Appeal
The applicant shall file a written appeal through Tucson Development Center Online. The application and supporting documentation shall be submitted on or before Friday of each week, not later than 4:00 p.m. The appeal will be heard by the Building Official within ten days.

  • The Building Official may use a hearing committee consisting of staff or other technical persons on a particular appeal.
  • The applicant shall provide adequate information to fully describe the conditions in question. The applicant may, but is not required to, personally meet with the Building Official. In order to assure proper use of the modification process, the applicant must:

1. Be the architect or engineer of record unless the owner signs the application and the change does not involve a revision to the architect’s or engineer’s plans.
2. Name the Planning & Development Services employee with whom the need for a modification was originally discussed.  The Director’s Secretary will use this information to send a copy of  the appeal to that person’s supervisor.
3. Type or print legibly and must completely fill out the form.
4. Address the code requirement accurately by section number and words. The resulting problem must be clearly described.
5. Clearly word the proposed solution so that the appeal can be acted upon with an  “approved”, “denied” or “approved with stipulations” response.
6. State why the request is a minor modification and how the intent of the code is met.

  • Construction not in accordance with the approved plans will, in most cases, not be considered an appealable item.  Work covered without inspection is not an appealable item.
  • Something that does not meet the code just because it is already drawn or built, or simply because it is not in harmony with an architectural design concept, will be rejected unless it is shown by the applicant to be an obvious minor deviation.
  • The Building Official and the committee do not have the authority to waive Code Requirements.  If you cannot convince the committee that your proposal is a minor modification from the text of the code and is truly in compliance with the Code’s intent, the appeal must be denied.  If an appeal is denied by the Building Official, the appellant must comply with the decision of the Building Official or appeal to the Advisory/Appeals Board.
  • The Director’s Secretary will notify the appellant of the decision after it is ratified by the Director of Planning & Development Services.

 Step 4: Any person who desires a review by the Advisory/Appeals Board may do as follows:

  • File forms provided by the Building Official and a non-refundable fee not less than three  weeks prior to the regular scheduled Advisory/Appeals Board Meeting
  • Provide adequate information to fully describe the conditions in question. At the hearing, the applicant may introduce evidence in support of her/his position.

The Advisory/Appeals Board shall provide notice to the applicant in writing. Decisions of the board shall be made by a majority vote of the members present.
Step 5: Court Appeal
A decision of the Advisory/Appeals Board shall be final. No further appeal is available to City boards or officials.  Persons wishing further review must file their appeals in Superior Court.

Administrative Code / Authority / Court Review of Board Decision

202.11 Administrative Appeal. Whenever a violation of any of the technical codes of this code is determined, whether during construction or at the plan review stage, and the applicant wishes to appeal the decision of staff because of code interpretation, unreasonable hardship or other unacceptable reasons, an appeal may be made to the Building Official in the following manner:

204.3 Authority. The Advisory/Appeals Board shall hear appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the Building Official concerning application and interpretation of the technical codes and may determine the suitability of alternate materials and methods of construction and to recommend modifications to the applicable technical code review committee.

204.4 Advisory/Appeals Board Appeal. Any person who desires a review by the Advisory/Appeals Board may do so as follows:
An application for review shall be filed on forms provided by the Building Official and accompanied by a non-refundable fee not less than three weeks prior to the regular scheduled Advisory/Appeals Board Committee Meeting. The three week advance filing requirement may be reduced at the discretion of the Advisory/Appeals Board.

204.5 Court Review of Board Decision.  A decision of the Advisory/Appeals Board, made at a duly scheduled and publicly noticed meeting, unless otherwise stated by the Advisory/Appeals Board in the body of said decision, shall be final.  No further appeal is available to City or County boards or officials. persons aggrieved by final decisions of the Advisory/Appeals Board must file their appeals in Superior Court

For further information and any questions please contact the Building Code Administrator at (520) 791-5550.