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Frequently Asked Questions

The city of Scottsdale Building Inspection Unit receives dozens of calls every week regarding permits, inspections, code questions, etc. Many of these questions are duplications. We have organized these questions into a "Frequently Asked Questions" page. We have grouped these questions into popular categories and created an index for your convenience. Should you not find an answer to your particular question, please contact us by phone or email us at the links provided.


Question Categories

Fences Contacts:

Building Official:
Michael L. Clack, 480-312-7629


Don't know who to call?
Contact Inspection Services at
480-312-5750 or email planninginfo@scottsdaleaz.gov.

Pools & Barriers
Construction Activity - UPDATED
Dust Control
Home Inspection
CC & Rs
Temporary Power
Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
Extending a Building Permit
City of Scottsdale Fire Department
General Questions
Registrar of Contractors
Inspection Types for Building and Civil



Do I need a permit to put up a fence?

Fences 3 feet or less in height do not require a permit. If the fence is acting as a retaining wall, than plans, permits and inspections are required. Fences over 3 feet require a plot plan to be submitted showing location and required setbacks, a permit purchased, and inspections requested. Depending on the type of fence you are building, the city can furnish you with a "standard fence detail sheet" for 4 inch block, 6 inch block and 8 inch block fences not over 6 feet high. Fences over 6 feet require a structural plan to be submitted for plan check, a plot plan showing location and required setbacks , a permit purchased and inspections requested. Fences over 6 feet must be designed by an engineer as a structural wall.

Do I need a permit if I am going to just replace an existing fence?

Replacing a 3-foot fence with a new 3-foot fence has the same requirements as installing a new 3-foot fence. Replacing a fence higher than 3 feet requires a permit and inspections. If you are only repairing an existing fence, this is considered general maintenance and no permit is required.

What does the inspector look for when inspecting the fence?

The building inspector will need to see the city approved plot plan to determine setbacks and construction details. The property owner must identify the property pins so the inspector can determine that there is no encroachment onto another property, a right-of-way or easement. The footing inspect is requested after the footings are dug and the steel is installed, but before the concrete is poured. The inspector must determine if the footing is installed per the city approved plan (width, depth, steel). Once the footing is approved, the only other inspection needed is the final inspection. The inspector must determine that the fence is not higher than allowed by the approved plans or by city ordinance.

What restrictions does the city put on fences?

For all the requirements, contact a Neighborhood Services – 480.312.2500 – and ask to speak with a Code Enforcement Inspector, or link directly to the online Zoning Ordinance. A standard 4 inch, interlocking block fence can be no taller than 6 feet nominal, above the finished grade, as measured on the owners side of the fence. The city Zoning Ordinance allows fences up to 8 feet nominal, above finished grade, as measured on the owner's side of the fence. Any fence over 6 feet must be designed by an architect or structural engineer and built to the same specifications as a structural wall.

I built a fence without permits or inspections and received a Compliance Notice. What do I do now?

You are required to submit plans for review and obtain a building permit. After you have obtained a fence permit, contact Building Inspection at 480-312-5750. Most likely, you will need to submit an original, wet sealed report from an engineer stating that the fence is built to code and meets the city's setback requirements. Should it be determined that the setbacks are incorrect and the fence is found to be encroaching into another property, city right-of-way or dedicated easement, the fence, it's footings and all associated parts must be removed and the area returned to its original condition.

I'd like to put a fence around my front yard. Are there any requirements I must follow?

The city Zoning Ordinance does allow fences in the front. 3 foot is standard. However, taller fence are allowed under certain restrictions and setbacks. For specific requirements contact Code Enforcement at 480-312-2500 .

I have an existing 5 foot high, 4 inch block fence with columns every 13 feet or so. Can I raise the height of the fence and do I need a permit?

The 4-inch block fence is approved when installed no higher than 6 feet nominal as measured on the owner's side of the fence. A 5-foot fence may be raised, but may not exceed 6 feet. If you are planning to do this, a permit is required. Once the fence has been raised, a final inspection would be requested (#39 on the green job card) so the inspector can verify the height of the fence.


I'm going to build a swimming pool. What permits are required?

If you are installing only a pool, than only a pool permit is required. The permit will cover the actual building of the pool and related electrical and plumbing work and pool barriers. To obtain the permit, you will need to submit a construction plan showing how the pool will be constructed as well as a plot plan showing the location of the pool and any required setbacks. Should the pool have a gas heater, a separate plumbing permit is required to install the gas line. A separate mechanical permit is required to install the heater. Once the gas line is installed and before it is covered over it is required to be tested and inspected so the inspector can determine that there are no leaks. The heater location is inspected to determine compliance. The heater vent termination must be located no closer than 4 feet to a common property line. This excludes common areas, streets and alleys.

We have no children. Are we required to install a barrier per city ordinance?

The International Building Code, as amended and adopted by the city of Scottsdale in the Scottsdale Revised City Code Section 31- 32, subsection 3109 does not mention any age limits for compliance. Anyone installing a pool must comply with the barrier ordinance.

We want to sell our home. The pool was installed 20 years ago. Are we required to bring the barrier up to present day codes?

Some cities have ordinances that require all pools, regardless of age, to meet present day barrier requirements before the house can be listed for sale. Scottsdale has no such requirement at this time. Scottsdale has had a pool barrier ordinance of some kind for many years, whatever barrier requirements were in force when the pool was built is still in force today.

The plaster on our pool is flaking off and needs to be redone. Are we required to get a permit and, if so, are we required to comply with the pool barrier ordinance of today's code?

The city contends that nothing has changed on the pool. Re-plastering is general maintenance and requires no permits or inspections. The barrier ordinance under which the pool was constructed is still in effect.

We have a dog door which enters into the area where the new pool will be located. Is this allowed?

If the opening in the dog door is greater than 4 inches in any direction, it is treated as any other door would be that separates the inside of the house from the pool. Removing the dog door or sealing it up using tamper-proof screws will bring the door into compliance with the barrier ordinance.

I've had my pool inspected and approved. My doors have city approved, battery operated alarms installed on them. I've been told that now that the pool has passed inspection, I should remove the batteries so the alarm won’t be an annoyance. What could happen to me if I were to disconnect the alarm?

Obviously, the loss of a human life is the worst thing that could happen. 2 seconds IS too long. The International Building Code Amending Ordinance 3828 of the Scottsdale Revised City Code Section 31-32 states in subsection 3109. "It is the responsibility of the property owner and any other person in responsible charge of the swimming pool to ensure that the required swimming pool barrier, including all gates, doors, locks, alarms, and latches are maintained in safe and good working order at all times. No person shall alter or remove any portion of a swimming pool barrier except to repair, reconstruct, or replace the barrier in compliance with the provisions of this chapter." If the city becomes aware of a pool alarm that has been disconnected, the Building Inspector can issue a Notice to Comply to have the alarm reactivated. If the notice is not complied with, the case is turned over to the City Attorney for action.

We want to build a pool. What are the pool barrier requirements of the City of Scottsdale?

All the requirements can be found in Amending Ordinance 3828, which can be found on-line or in the Scottsdale Revised City Code Section 31-32, subsection 3109. The amending ordinance in subsection 3109.6 states that it is the responsibility of the pool builder to inform the pool owner of all pool barrier requirements. When you purchase your pool, the city of Scottsdale requires the pool builder to make the purchaser aware of all the barrier requirements and to include them in the pool construction.


Is construction activity limited to specific times in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale Revised City Code Section 31-32, subsection 116 - Construction Activity regulates the times construction activity may start and stop, with exceptions.

Summer Hours: Summer hours shall begin April 1st and shall be in effect through October 31st. No work shall commence prior to 6:00 AM nor continue after 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Work on Saturday and Sunday shall be restricted to 7:00 AM through 7:00 PM. Sunday work shall only be conducted when the applicant demonstrates in writing justifiable cause for this work.

The city may establish other times as necessary based on the geographical location of the job site in relation to surrounding occupancies, buildings and structures.

Winter Hours: The remaining portion of the year not designated as summer hours shall be winter hours. No work shall commence prior to 7:00 AM nor continue after 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Work on Saturday and Sunday shall be restricted to 7:00 AM through 5:00 PM. Sunday work shall only be conducted when the applicant demonstrates in writing justifiable cause for this work.

The city may establish other times as necessary based on the geographical location of the job site in relation to surrounding occupancies, buildings and structures.

Variances: The building official may, upon written request, grant a variance from these times if just cause can be demonstrated that work must be done outside the prescribed time period (e.g. pouring concrete during summer hours). A variance shall not be granted based solely on convenience. A variance shall not be granted to any work that can be completed during daytime construction hours. The variance shall state the permit number, address, type of work, time period of the work, and the duration of a variance.

The building official shall receive any requests for variance at least seven days before the work by the variance is started. Variances shall not be granted for more than 30 days at a time. If a longer timeframe is necessary additional applications shall be made for those occurrences.


Scottsdale Revised City Code Section 31-32, subsection 116.2 Dust, Dirt and Debris Control "It shall the responsibility of the property owner, the owner's appointed representative or contractor to control the dust, dirt or debris created by construction in accordance with this section". When the Building Inspector receives a complaint regarding dust, dirt or debris, the property owner, appointed representative or contractor of the construction site in violation will be issued a compliance notice that states the time period in which the dust, dirt or debris must be removed. Should the compliance notice be ignored, the Building Inspector will suspend all inspections until compliance has been made. The city cannot be held responsible for any construction delays caused by noncompliance.


I am selling my house and a Home Inspector says I have several code violations. What should I do?

Private or home inspectors are not code inspectors. Only the jurisdiction having authority (in this case the city of Scottsdale) can inspect and enforce the adopted building codes. Home inspectors typically look for those items that could pose a problem to the perspective home buyer. Should the home inspector specifically state that there are code violations, ask for the exact code version being cited and the code sections numbers for the violations being cited in your home. If you decide to call a city Building Inspector, there will be no second guessing as to what is in violation. The age of the home is very important. Whatever code was in effect when the house was built, is the code that continues to regulate the structure. If you have remodeled your home, and the cost of the remodeling did not exceed 50% of the square footage of the structure, than only those sections of the house you remodeled would be required to meet those codes in effect at the time of remodeling. If the remodeling exceeded 50% of the square footage of the structure, you would have been required to bring the entire structure up to the code in effect at the time of remodeling.

My home was just inspected by a home inspector. A list of items found wrong with the house was created. Am I required to make these repairs in order to sell my house?

Home inspection is an extremely valuable tool for identifying areas of a home that may have been neglected and need some attention. No one wants to sell a house that may cause the new owners grief with numerous repairs that were unknown. The list created by the Home Inspector is not a work list for the seller. The purpose of the inspection is to inform the perspective buyer of areas of the home that need attention. Whatever agreements the seller makes with the buyer concerning the repairs is strictly between those parities. Home Inspectors are not performing code compliance inspections. Any questions regarding the city of Scottsdale's adopted building codes should be directed to the Building Inspection Unit at 480-312-5750.

My home inspector has identified my water heater as being quite old and needing replacement. Am I required to do this if it's not leaking?

There's no reason to replace a water heater that is functioning correctly. The average life of a water heater is about 10 years. Based on the age of the water heater, you should determine if replacing it is necessary or not. However, replacing it because it looks old is not in itself a reason to replace it.

I'm selling my home which is fairly new. The home inspector has given me a list of items found during an inspection. I feel the city should have caught these items when inspections were done during construction. What is my recourse?

It has been the city's experience that many times an item is written up by private inspectors as a code violations. Upon further investigation it is found that no violation exists. If you receive a list from a home inspector that says the items listed are code violations, call your local building inspector and discuss the items. The inspector will ask what code your inquiring about and what specific code section is in question. The home inspector that wrote the list should be able to provide you with this information easily.

The city building inspector will visually inspect the construction for code compliance. In Scottsdale, the building inspector is asked to take as much time as necessary to perform a quality inspection. However, the International Building Code states, "Approval as a result of an inspection shall not be construed to be an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction". The code also says, "It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to construct any building or structure in violation of this code". The inspector may not catch every violation on the site do to the complexity of the construction. However, the contractor who built the house is required to see that it is constructed to code, and take responsibility when it's not.

Lastly, the item being cited by the home inspector as being a violation of the code may have been constructed after the structure was finaled by the city and done without permits or inspections.

The home inspector says there are items included on my neighbors house that aren't on mine. Could they have been missed during construction by the city Building Inspector?

Models have several different elevations and options. The building inspector is there to see the building codes are met, which are the minimum standards of construction. The building inspector does not determine what options were selected. The building inspector will not turn down work that is in excess of the code. If a neighbor has decided to do something more than what is required by code, the inspector can't require it to be done on all homes in the subdivision.
The home inspector say the electric panel is overloaded and must be replaced. What are my alternatives?

If the home inspector has calculated out the total loading on the panel and determined the panel is overloaded, contact your local building inspector and discuss it. Often time the amperage listed on the circuit breakers is added up and totals a number larger than the main breaker's listed amperage. This does not mean the panel is overloaded. Only a calculation done in compliance with the National Electric Code will determine this. You can contact the city of Scottsdale Building Inspection Unit at 480-312-5750.

The home inspector says my house is wired with aluminum wire and very dangerous. Does the city require me to rewire my house?

Aluminum wiring is not a violation of the code. In fact, aluminum wiring is one of the three specific types of wire conductors allowed by the current National Electric Code. Nothing in the code or city ordinances requires any property owner to rewire their house if it's currently wired in aluminum. If it concerns you, contact a bonded, licensed electrician and ask for an inspection of the wiring system. Several companies will install copper "pigtails" on all the aluminum conductors. Doing this is not a violation of the code and will allow the wiring to last year’s longer. A permit and an inspection are required for this work.

The home inspector says the grounding on my house is connected to the water piping system and is in violation of the code. I'm told I must install ground rods. Do I have to do this?

Using the water piping system as the main grounding electrode is still allowed under the most current National Electric Codes. If you live in an older home, whatever electric code was in effect at the time the home was built is still the code that regulates your home. The wiring method you describe isn't commonly used today, but it's not a violation either. However, installing two ground rods and a new main grounding electrode conductor is recommended on older homes that may have replaced the building supply with plastic pipe. Any licensed electrician can do this for you. A permit and an inspection are required for this work.

C C & R’S

My homeowners association just notified me that my construction project doesn’t meet the C C & R’s of the development. The city issued me a permit based on approved plans. If I can’t build this project on my property, why was I issued a permit?

Local governments do not enforce or regulate C C & R’s. The property on which your structure is located has certain zoning restrictions. As long as your proposed construction project is not in violation of those restrictions, a valid permit will be issued based on approved plans. C C & R’s are the rules and regulations set up by the developer which basically determine what kind of lifestyle you’ll be living. If you live in a planned community development, your C C & R’s may require you to submit any construction projects to an architectural board for review before any construction begins. For information on what rules and regulations may be in force in your development, contact a member of the board of your homeowners association. C C & R’s are usually more strict than local zoning requirements.


I have a construction project and I'd like to get my electric meter set for construction purposes. What do I need to do?

You may apply for temporary power in a permanent position. Before you will receive approval from the Building Inspector, a refundable deposit must first be paid. Both residential and commercial or multi-family projects, the deposit is equal to the amount of the entire building permit or $1000.00, whichever is greater. Once the deposit has been paid, a #024 inspection should be requested. The building inspector will perform an inspection of the electric service and all associated parts. A lockout/tagout letter will be required from the responsible party to ensure all trades working on the job are aware the power is on. If approved, the inspector will put a white electrical clearance sticker on the panel and clear the electric with the appropriate power company. If the inspector rejects the inspection, a list of corrections will be provided explaining what must be done in order to pass the inspection. Once the corrections have been made, another inspection must be requested. Deposits can be made at the office of Inspection Services at 9191 E. San Salvador, 2nd floor, Suite 205, or at Development Services permit counter at 7447 E. Indian School Rd, Suite 100

Is temporary power in a permanent position my only alternative for construction power?

No. A temporary power pole can be installed on site. This requires a separate temporary power pole permit, which is usually a minimum fee electrical permit. Permits can be purchased at the Development Services counter at 7447 E. Indian School or at Inspection Services at 9191 E. San Salvador, 2nd floor, Suite 205.

I've had a fire in my house and the fire department turned my power off. What do I need to do to get it turned back on?

Go to either Development Services permit counter at 7447 E. Indian School Rd, Suite 100 or Inspection Services at 9191 E. San Salvador, 2nd floor, Suite 205 and purchase a minimum fee electrical permit for electrical power reconnect. Contact the Building Inspection Supervisor and arrange for an inspection. Regardless of the extent of the fire damage, we will try to restore power as soon as possible. An electrician should be notified as soon as possible. There will probably need to be some work done to the electric service to make it safe to energize.

How long is my Temporary power in a permanent position good for?

365 days. It may be extended by the Building Official for good cause. The request for extension must be in writing.

What happens if my temporary power expires?

Inspection Services will notify the appropriate Power Company and request that the meter removed or locked out.


Is there any way to get into my new home before the final inspection?

Typically, no. In order to receive the certificate of occupancy, everything on the city approved plans, down to the landscaping, needs to be completed and inspected. Basically, to occupy, 100% completion is required. Under extreme cases, the Building Official may allow a temporary certificate of occupancy to be issued. However, justifiable cause will need to be proven in order to receive such an approval. If the Building Official does approve the TCO, all the requirements for cash deposits as described above (Temporary Power) apply.

I don't want to occupy my new house yet. I do need a place to store my furniture for a week or two. Can I move it into the garage?

Moving into the garage, whether your living there or not, constitutes occupancy. A Final Certificate of Occupancy should be issued before moving any furniture into the structure. Contact the Building Inspection Supervisor for assistance.

How long is the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy good for?

If a temporary certificate of occupancy is approved, the maximum amount of time it’s good for is 180 days. It may be extended by the Building Official if good cause can be shown as to why the structure is not complete and a Final Certificate of Occupancy issued. The request must be in writing.

What happens if my Temporary Certificate of Occupancy expires and I'm still occupying the structure?

Typically, a Compliance Notice is issued stating the structure shall either be vacated or finaled. If there is no response to the Compliance Notice the matter is turned over to the City Prosecutor for appropriate action, and the electric meter will be removed.


How long is my building permit good for?

If work has not commenced within 180 days of the issuance of the permit, or if the building or work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work has commenced for a period of 180 days, the permit shall become null and void. Basically, every time an inspector makes an inspection, the permit is extended for 180 days from the inspection.

Can I get my permit extended?

You may request that the permit be extended from the. Building Official. The request must be in writing. The request must state justifiable cause for extending the permit.

Plan Review

What is an “Over-the-counter” (OTC) plan review?

This is when you bring your project into the city and the review is done at the counter while you wait. Scottsdale can do a variety of both commercial and residential plan reviews over the counter. If you think your project qualifies, ask to speak with a counter plans examiner when making your submittal. They’ll be able to tell you if it qualifies or not.

My project did not qualify for an over-the-counter plan review. Now what?

It may qualify for a “counter plan review”, which is done by the counter staff, only with a 5 day turn-around. Or, it my only qualify for a full review, which is done in 20 calendar days or less.

Is there anything that automatically disqualifies a plan from being either an over-the-counter review or just a counter review?

Yes, if your submittal requires any type of structural review, if must be submitted for a full review. Structural reviewers don’t perform OTC or counter plan reviews.

What about simple tenant improvements (TI’S)

Many TI’s qualify for an OTC review. However, if they are required to be checked in, the city will complete the review in 15 calendar days or less.

Does the city have specific submittal requirements for plans not being done OTC?

Yes. Four (4) copies of the submittal are required for plan review. If you don’t have four (4) copies, your submittal will be rejected at the counter and you’ll be asked to come back with a full submittal.

Does the city accept Digital plans for review?

Absolutely. Contact a customer service rep at 480-312-2500. They will instruct you on how to make a digital submittal. DWF is the format typically accepted by the city.

My plans were rejected. Now what?

Make the corrections required by the plans examiners and return with four (4) clean, corrected copies for submittal. Redlines must be returned with the corrected submittal.

I’m in a hurry to get started. Can I break up my submittal?

Residential construction cannot be broken up. Commercial construction can be broken into grading/drainage, foundation, shell, TI. Permit fees will total about 25% more money breaking up the submittal than making one complete submittal. Those who choose to break up the submittal actually end up saving money because of the excellerated building schedule.

How can I find out what the city will be looking for when they do my plan review?

The city offers a “pre-submittal” meeting for medium to large project submittals. The meeting will consist of the applicant and their design team meeting with the city plans examiners. During the meeting, the plans examiners might do a cursory review, depending of the extent of the completeness of the plans, to see if anything “jumps out” as being incomplete or incorrect. The applicant and the design team are able to ask questions of the plans examiners, which helps them make a complete submittal. Scottsdale has discovered that having such meetings will usually get a plan approved by the 2nd review, where not having such a meeting will often require a submittal to go through three (3) or more reviews. If you would like to request such a meeting, please call 480-312-2500 and ask to speak with Mike Clack or Ed Peaser.

What is the most common mistake made on resubmittals that causes the city to reject the submittal again?

Simply put, the design team (architect, engineer, etc.) doesn’t address all the redlines from the first submittal causing the plans examiner to reject the plan again.

What happens when the plans examiner finds only a few minor issues with the plan?

It’s our practice in Scottsdale to call up the design professional, explain the issue , and either ask for a replacement sheet or ask if we can “as-note” the plan so it can be approved. It’s the city’s goal to approve the plans as quickly as possible so construction can begin.


I need to get the fire department out for an inspection. How do I do that?

Call the Fire Department at 480-312-1865 an request an inspection. The Fire Inspector assigned to your area will respond to either request.

The building inspector turned down my frame inspection because I had not had a fire inspection completed. Why?

The fire inspection is required to take place, and be approved, prior to the building inspection. The corrections the Fire Inspector wants could mean sawing or drilling or cutting into the structure. The Building Inspector will want to verify that the structural integrity is maintained after the correction is made.

The building inspector turned down the final inspection because I had not had the fire inspection completed. Why?

Essentially the same reasons as the frame inspection. The Building Inspector will want to see that any corrections required by the Fire Inspector has not impaired the structure in any way and that the building is ready for occupancy.


How do I request a Building Inspection?

When you purchase a building permit, you will be given an orange job card. At the top of that card are three different ways to request and inspection. Speak directly to a person, use the automated phone line, or request an inspection via computer. If you call 480-312-5750, you’ll speak to a customer service rep and make your inspection request. If you call 480-312-5796, you’ll need a phone with a touch pad as this is an automated inspection request line. Just follow the instructions once you are connected. If the system is down, you will be automatically transferred to an answering machine. You'll be asked to provide certain information in a certain order. You will speak into the phone as you would when leaving a message on any other answering machine. Lastly, you can request your inspection over the Internet. Simply link to the web address listed and follow the instructions. Be sure to input all 3 digits of the inspection type when you request your inspection regardless of the method you choose.

My landlord refuses to fix problems at my residence. I've asked several times without success. Will the city send out an inspector to order the landlord to fix these items?

Not usually. Leaky faucets, leaky roof, squeaky doors, broken lights, etc., are not usually code violations. However, as a tenant you have certain rights. You should contact the Secretary of State's office at (602) 542-4285 to obtain a copy of the Arizona Landlord & Tenant Act. You can contact the Attorney General office at (602) 542-5025 for a copy of the Tenants Rights Handbook. Both publications will inform you of your rights as a tenant as well as your landlord's rights.

I'm having a dispute with my landlord. What can I do?

Contact the Secretary of State at 602-542-4285 or the Attorney General at 602-542-5025. They will provide you with documents explaining your rights.

I'm having trouble with some electrical items in my house. Will the city send out an inspector to look at these items?

You’ll need to describe your problems to the inspector. If the inspector feels an inspection is necessary, arrangements will be made for an inspection. However, in most cases no inspection is necessary. This is because what you are describing requires the services of an electrician, not an inspector. If it is recommended you contact an electrician, be sure to choose a licensed, bonded electrician. If the electrician feel the city inspector should be notified, they will do that and the city will arrange for an inspection. Almost all electrical repairs require a permit, and an inspection of the work. Call your local building inspector at 480-312-5750 to find out if your work is required to have a permit.

I'm having problems with my plumbing and/or my mechanical system. Will the city send out an inspector to look at these items?

As described in under electrical above, you’ll need to describe your problems to an inspector. If the inspector feels an inspection is necessary, arrangements will be made for an inspection. However, in most cases no inspection is necessary. This is because what you are describing requires the services of a plumber or mechanical contractor, not an inspector. If it is recommended you contact a plumber or a mechanical contractor, be sure to choose one that is licensed and bonded. If the technician feels the city inspector should be notified, they will do that and the city will arrange for an inspection. Many plumbing or mechanical repairs require a permit, and an inspection of the work. Call your local building inspector at 480-312-5750 to find out if your work is required to have a permit.

I've recently had a fire in my home. I think some of the structure is unsafe. Will the city send out an inspector to determine this?

No. City ordinance requires the property owner to obtain the services of an Architect or Structural Engineer, registered in the State of Arizona, to inspect the site and determine how much of the structure must be replaced and how much can be saved.

I'm selling my house. Will the city come out and inspect it for code compliance?

No. This is considered a home inspection . This is not a service the city currently offers.


I just moved into my new home. I found several instances where the workmanship is poor. The city inspector informed me that city inspections are for building code compliance only. What can I do to get the my concerns addressed?

Quality of workmanship is the hardest part of construction to consider. Where workmanship may be poor in one person's eyes, another may find the work quite satisfactory. This is why quality of work is not part of the Building Codes and extremely difficult to enforce. Inspectors can refuse to approve workmanship that may infringe on the integrity of the structure. Your first call should be to the builder. In Arizona, the Registrar requires the builder to warrantee the home for 2 years. You should ask the builder for an appointment to have the work looked at. Builders realize that even in a building boom, poor reputations don't sell homes. If the builder refuses to set up an appointment or doesn't get back to you, you may want to contact the Registrar of Contractors at (602) 542-1525. They will explain what steps you must take to get compliance. Be sure to document any and all conversations you have with your builder and mail a copy to them, certified. The Registrar will want to see what steps you have taken to get the necessary repairs done.

I just finished a construction project and found a few problems with the work. I've asked the contractor to return and address my concerns. I've paid the bill in full and now the contractor refuses to return. I called to file a complaint with the Registrar. I was informed that my builder is not licensed or bonded. What recourse do I have?

You may want to seek legal council for an opinion. If the contractor was not licensed, the Registrar probably has no control or authority. If the contractor was not bonded, you will probably end up paying for repair work that must be done to correct the situation. Anytime construction is being considered, regardless of how large or small the project, request the contractor’s license number and the name of the bonding company from the person or firm you are considering. Contractors expect this and offer this information freely as part of doing business. Once you have the license number, call the Registrar to determine that it's an active license and that there are no outstanding complaints against the license.

I just found out the contractor I hired is not licensed or bonded.

A construction license is required and regulated by the State of Arizona. However, when the work does not exceed a certain dollar amount (around $750), a license may not be required. Contact the Registrar at (602) 542-1252 to find out when a license is required.

Why do we have Construction Code Regulations?

Construction codes provide minimum standards for public safety, health, and welfare in buildings. Identified as Building, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical codes, they originated in response to urban catastrophes involving structural failures, major fire, and plaques. The fundamental purpose of these codes is to prevent or mitigate disasters by governing building construction to ensure structural integrity, fire safety and proper sanitation. These safeguards not only protects life but helps sustain property values.

Property Maintenance Issues

Can I park a vehicle on the front or side yard of my property?

If the area is an improved and designated parking space.

What is a junk vehicle?

Any vehicle that can't operate under its own power without major repair.

Where can a junk vehicle be stored?

Junk Vehicles must be placed in a completely enclosed area so they cannot be seen from off the property.

Where can a vehicle be parked while being repaired or restored?

All vehicles while being repaired or restored must be in a completely enclosed area.

Can a business be conducted from a residence?

Yes. However, if you have employees working from the house, they must be related and residing on the premises. A carport or garage may not be used, no commodity may be sold off the premises, and no signs are permitted. A business license must be obtained.

If a resident does not take care of his yard, can the city do anything about it?

Yes. A person owning, managing or having control of property in the city must not allow it to become so unsightly as to detract from the appearance of the neighborhood.

What to do when illegal dumping is observed.

The following is the procedure to be used if illegal dumping is observed.

1. Write down:

A) Location ______________________________________________

B) Vehicle License Number___________________________________

C) Description of Vehicle ____________________________________

D) Description of Driver if possible ___________________________________________


E) Date and Time of Day ___________________________________________________

DO NOT try to detain or block the exit of the perpetrator.

2. Call City of Scottsdale Code Enforcement Division @ 480-312-2500 to relay the information listed above.

If a citizen or other caller reports illegal dumping activities to any city staff, take down the information, get the caller's name, address, and telephone number and report the violation to Code Enforcement.

When Code Enforcement receives a complaint of illegal dumping in progress they will send a code inspector to the site, if possible.

If they locate the violator they will do one of two things:

1) Issue a citation on the spot to the driver of the vehicle.

2) Have them clean up the dumped material while they wait.

If a dumping complaint is after the fact, they look up the legal owner of the property and advise them to remove the dumped material.

When Code Enforcement writes a citation after the fact, the citizen/caller will need to be present in court as the City's witness.

Scottsdale Police will issue a citation also for this illegal activity if they are available.

What is a Zoning Ordinance Requirement?

The zoning ordinance deals with your property and its relationship to the neighborhood. Zoning divides the city into "zoned" designations based upon function and use. These "zoning districts" are very exact about the use to which property may be put. For example, only single-family homes can be built in a single-family residential zone. In an attempt to maintain the design and character of your neighborhood, the zoning ordinance impose certain regulations about where you can build on your property values on a community-wide basis.

Current Planning Issues

What is a site posting?

When an applicant requests a public hearing, the applicant or the city has to post the application site with a sign that states the date of the public hearing. This is a way to provide notice to the community.

Who to call with questions about site postings?

Call the site posting hot line at 480-312-7096.

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