Permitting FAQ


What is a permit?

A permit is an agreement between the applicant and the City of Tucson. The applicant agrees to follow the land use code (Unified Development Code) and other City regulations. In most cases, the applicant must provide plans that show the proposed work. Some projects may require preparation by a registered architect or engineer.

It is a violation of City ordinance not to have a permit when one is required for the work taking place. Failure to obtain a permit my result in an investigation and violation fees and/or prosecution in City court.

Why do I need a permit?

Plan review and permits assure applicants that their project will meet the adopted regulations and minimum safety requirements. Inspections occur after the permit is issued to verify the construction is consistent with the approved drawings to ensure the building is safe to occupy.

When do I need a permit?

A permit is required for:

  • New construction
  • Building changes (remodels, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical work)
  • Zoning (building use changes)

Building permits are generally either residential or commercial. Residential permits could include new home construction, remodels or additions. Commercial permits apply to most large-scale construction such as multifamily development (apartments), retail, office or industrial development.

View items that do NOT need permits at building permit exemptions.

What are common reasons for a permit?

  • Porches, additions, or garages
  • Air conditioners
  • New water heaters
  • Electric/gas reconnects
  • Remodel
  • Walls and fences

How much does a permit cost?

The plan review and permit fee for the building portion is based on the valuation of the project. See the Building Valuation Data provided by the International Code Council, a national standard used by the City of Tucson. The mechanical, plumbing and electrical fees are based on the number of items installed such as plumbing fixtures, air conditioner units and electrical outlets. Wall permits are based on the height and linear footage of the wall. Exact fees are available after plans are reviewed. For further information please review our fee schedule or contact Development Services Customer Services at (520) 791-5550.

How do Development Impact Fees work?

The City of Tucson assesses development impact fees on new development. Impact fees are invested back into our community for capacity improvements to roads, parks, police, and fire infrastructure. Learn more about Development Impact Fees

Where can I get a permit and who is responsible for obtaining a permit?

Permit applications are submitted to the Planning and Development Services Department. All applications should be submitted. Either the homeowner or contractor can submit the application for a permit, but it is the responsibility of the homeowner/property owner to ensure a permit is secured and posted on the job site.

The granting of a City permit does not exempt the applicant from complying with any HOA's CC&Rs or any other private deed restrictions associated with the property; and the issuance of this permit is not in any way an indication that the work/project complies with any HOA's CC&Rs or any other private deed restrictions associated with the property.

Where can I get a permit for Fireworks?

The Fireworks permit application and TFD review must be obtained from the Tucson Fire Department prior to coming to PDSD. Contact them at 791-4502 for additional information.

What are my responsibilities after obtaining a permit?

Once a permit has been obtained from the Planning and Development Services Department there are certain responsibilities placed on the homeowner and/or contractor. The homeowner is responsible for obtaining the permit for the proposed project and for posting it on the site. The individual doing the work covered by the permit must call for inspection prior to covering or concealing work. When a permit is issued, a Job Card will be given to you listing the common required inspections.

Where can I get more information?

The Planning and Development Services Department, located at 201 N. Stone Ave. in the County-City Public Works building has more information available. There are many handouts including applications, sample forms, code information and submittal requirements. Please call (520) 791-5550.

When is a licensed architect, engineer or contractor needed for a permit?

All work improvements to commercial properties and all residential rental properties require a licensed contractor (per AZROC 32-1121). If buildings plans are required for the scope of work requested, commercial or residential rental property requires sealed drawings from a licensed Architect. An Engineer is required for Grading plans and any time calculations are required. All three must also provide the permit counter with a City of Tucson Business license.

If you did not find what you need please contact us at