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Permitting FAQs


A building permit is not required for work such as wallpapering, painting, or similar finish work. In addition, walls or fences six feet (6’) or less in height provided they are not within a Regulatory Flood Plain, and they do not obstruct or divert stormwater, retaining walls four feet (4’) or less in height  (unless supporting a surcharge), or platforms, decks and walks thirty inches or less above grade do not require a building permit, but will require a zoning permit. Also, certain minor plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, including the replacement or repair of fixtures does not require a permit.

Other projects, which do not require a building permit, are identified in Chapter 1 of the IBC, IRC, IMC, IPC, IFGC, IPMC. Although a building permit is not required for these projects, zoning approval or other departments may be required.

The Zoning Code, as adopted by the Oro Valley Town Council, establishes zoning districts and standards for the Town of Oro Valley. The Zoning Code outlines various requirements, including the uses of land, buildings and improvements for each zoning district.

During the plan review process, zoning requirements are reviewed by planning and zoning staff.  For zoning requirements related to a specific property, contact a planner in the Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Department at (520) 229-4800 for more information.

If your project happens to not require a building permit, for example a 120 square foot storage shed, the zoning standards must still be met for the specific zoning district.

Permits enable Oro Valley to monitor and regulate construction to ensure public safety. Guaranteeing the safety of the occupants of a building is the primary purpose of construction codes. Oro Valley has adopted the following codes:

  • 2018 International Building Code (IBC)
  • Residential (IRC)
  • Plumbing (IPC)
  • Mechanical (IMC)
  • Fuel Gas (IFGC)
  • Energy (IECC)
  • Property Maintenance Codes (IPMC)
  • 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • 2018 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code Amendments
  •  ICC A117.1-2009/2010 ADA standards for accessible design

In accordance with these codes, Oro Valley issues building permits based on the type of construction project. Most single family home construction and small homeowner projects require a building permit that includes electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits. The construction of a new home, home additions, and pool additions may also require a grading permit when any ground is disturbed.

Time frames for building permit review and issuance may vary depending on the project being permitted. Typically, residential plan review is completed within 20 working days. Commercial plan reviews are typically completed within 20 working days.

The actual length of time required to review plans may vary depending on the complexity of the plans, the total number of plans under review, and the availability of the appropriate plans examiner.

If a required building 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.

In order to obtain a permit, construction plans and a site plan must be prepared and submitted to the Oro Valley Building Safety Department. Construction documents shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed. Additional information may be required based on the specific project. To determine the type of information required for residential construction, please download the Construction Handbook or contact the Oro Valley Building Safety Department at (520) 229-4800.

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 approved plans require approval of Oro Valley Planning and Zoning, Engineering, Building Safety, Fire and Water Departments, if applicable.