Homeowner's Guide to Building Permits

permit pictureA construction permit or building permit may be required as part of a residential project for new construction, for renovation or for expansion of an existing residence. 

The following is a summary of when a permit is needed and how to go about obtaining a permit from the City of Mesa.  The goal of the permitting process is to make sure that all buildings are safe and free from hazards.  Mesa has established a special plan review and inspection process for "Do It Yourself Projects."

What is a Building Permit?

A Building Permit is an official document issued by the City of Mesa that authorizes a specific construction activity. Generally, if a permit is required then the construction activities must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance with the City's building codes. Failure to obtain a permit can result in significant fines and penalties, and even demolition of unauthorized construction if it cannot be made to meet the code requirements.

Often the construction plans may be drawn by the home owner, however, for some projects, the plans require preparation by a licensed architect or engineer registered by the State of Arizona.  Contact the Development Services staff at (480) 644-4273 to find out if the design of your project requires a registered professional.


Why do I need a permit?

A permit ensures the construction complies with the City of Mesa codes and regulations.  It is better to discover code discrepancies during the plan preparation process than after your project is under construction.  The inspector may discover faulty materials, deviations from the approved plans or violations of the building codes and zoning codes that may result in an unsafe or hazardous condition for you and your family.  


When do I need a permit?

A building permit is required when any structural change or major alteration is made to a building or when any new construction is undertaken.  Separate permits for mechanical, plumbing and electrical work are required.  A permit may also be required to turn utilities back on after a fire.  When the Fire Department turns off electrical and gas utilities because of a fire, a fire damage report is prepared by a Building Inspector.  This report will state whether a permit is required to rebuild.
All projects, whether they need a permit or not, must comply with the 2006 ICC International Residential CodeBuilding Regulations (Title 4) and the Mesa Zoning Code (Title 11). Copies of the codes are available at the main Mesa Public Library, 64 E. First St., and at the Mesa City Clerk's Office, 20 E. Main St., Suite 150.
If in doubt, contact the Development Services staff at (480) 644-4273 to make an appointment with our residential plans examiner or visit 55 N. Center (Monday -Thursday, 7am to 6pm).  Staff is available to answer questions about residential permits, building and zoning code requirements.


When is a project not required?

These projects do not require a permit:

  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work
  • .

  • Replacement roofing material provided the replacement roof is similar to the existing type of material.  For example replacing asphalt shingles with asphalt shingles does not require a permit.  However, replacing asphalt shingles with tile does require a permit. 

  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall projecting not more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and not requiring additional support in detached 1 and 2 family dwellings.  Check the Zoning Code, Sec 11-30-2,  for the minimum side or rear yard setback (the horizontal distance between a building, structure or wall from the property line) and for the distance an awning can project into the required setbacks.

  • Stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste, or vent pipes.  (Permits are required for projects that involve the removal and replacement of a concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste, or vent pipe.)

  • Clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of toilets. (Permits are required for projects that involve the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.)

  • Temporary decorative lighting that does not require rewiring and will be removed within in 90 days.

The attached table describes additional residential work that generally does not require a permit except in specific situations.


Where Do I Get A Permit?

Permits are relatively simple to obtain.  When you have completed your drawings, simply come to the Development Services office located at 55 N. Center Street and submit a complete permit application.  Office hours are 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday - Thursday (excluding holidays).

The homeowner or contractor can make the application for a permit, but it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure a permit is secured and posted on the job site. Call (480) 644-4273 to learn more about the Do-It-Yourself Program

Remember:  don't start any work before you get the permit.

What will you need to acquire a permit?

1.  Completed Construction Permit Application (including owner information & project valuation)

2.  Completed Contractor Licensure Verification Form (or exemption)

3.  Plan Review Fee

4.  Construction Plans

  a.  New home construction requires 3 sets of 24" x 36" plans drawn to scale.  Plans should include site plan, code data sheet, architectural, structural, electrical, plumbing & mechanical plans, specifications and calculations, as applicable, for the proposed work.   Additional sets may be required based on type of project or location for Fire or Civil plan review disciplines.
   b.  Additions, remodels, accessory structures or other construction require a minimum of 2 sets of 24" x 36" plans drawn to scale.  Plans should include site plan, code data sheet, architectural, structural, electrical, plumbing & mechanical plans, specifications and calculations, as applicable for the proposed work.  Additional sets may be required based on type of project or location for Fire or Civil plan review disciplines.
   c.  Swimming pools require 2 sets of plans.  24" x 36" or smaller.  Plans should include site plan, structural, electrical and plumbing plans, specifications, as applicable for proposed work.


How much does a permit cost?

Building permit fees are based on the International Code Council valuation of the project.  Fees and Charges


What are my responsibilities after obtaining a permit?

Once a permit has been obtained there are certain responsibilities placed on the homeowner/contractor.

  • The homeowner is responsible for posting it on site.

  • The individual doing the work authorized by the permit must call for an inspection prior to covering or concealing the work.  When the permit is issued, a handout will be given to you, listing the common required inspections.  

Permits are valid for 180 days, after the permit is issued.  If necessary, call the permit office at (480) 644-4273 before the permit expires if you need to renew or extend the permit.


Where can I get more information?

Building, Planning & Zoning has information about City Code requirements, fees, permitting and inspections.

Construction Permits has detailed information, checklists and permit applications.

The Development Services office located at 55 N. Center St has additional brochures and handouts on topics of frequent interest such as patio additions, accessory structures, pools & spas, fences, and masonry walls.

Do It Yourself (DYI) Homeowner-Builder Assistance Program:  
The City of Mesa can give you personal assistance for your DIY home improvements design and permit process.  Our specialists can help you quickly discover if your design meets basic code requirements.  Then, as your design takes shape, we can assist you in meeting our building codes so that your project can pass all required inspections. Typical projects covered under the program:

  • Covered Patio
  • Patio Enclosures
  • Carport Enclosures
  • Room Additions
  • Decks
  • Pool Ramadas
  • Bathroom Remodels
  • Kitchen Remodels
  • New Gas Appliances
  • Electrical Upgrades


There is no charge for this service.  Contact the Development Services staff at (480) 644-4273 to make an appointment with our residential plans examiner or visit 55 N. Center (Monday -Thursday, 7am to 6pm). 


We are here to help you successfully build a better Mesa! 



Development & Sustainability home


7:00am to 6:00pm, M-TH


(480) 644-4273


55 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ  85201


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1466
Mesa, AZ  85201