Arizona essentially has a decentralized system of building codes. City or county governments in Arizona select and adopt from a number of available construction and building codes. They then have the option of amending those codes. Professionals in the construction and engineering industries need to find out which codes are used in municipalities or counties where they intend to work. They also need to find sources of these codes for ready access if encountering compliance questions or problems.
The first thing you will need to do is find your local building department. The name of this agency varies based on local rule, but each city or county has an office dedicated to building codes, construction permits and other matters related to regulation of the construction and engineering industries.
The easiest way to do this is to enter the city name and “building codes” or “building department” in Yahoo! or another search engine.
Let’s say I am looking to run a plumbing contractor business or participate in a construction project in Tucson. When entering “Tucson building codes” into Yahoo!, I come up with the Planning and Development Services Department “Building Codes” web page on the official Tucson City website. By looking at that page, you can see that Tucson adopts multiple international building codes. The city has also adopted some other uniform and national building codes and offers a copy of these codes online.
Ask the local building department which building codes are in effect in that jurisdiction. Now, it may be helpful to know how the process of adopting building codes in Arizona and other places work. Organizations like the International Code Council create model building codes. In fact, you can see the latest versions of the main international building codes online at the ICC website (see Resources below). But the problem is that local cities and counties in Arizona can amend these model codes.
To avoid using incorrect code provisions, it is vital that you access the local version of any model codes. This is why you must ask your local building department where to find the building codes as locally amended. The original codes can be used for reasearch and construction planning only if a code is not amended by the local building authority.
Additional Sources of Information on Arizona Building Codes:
- The National Electrical Contractors Association lists various local Arizona building departments, their contact information and which codes are used in that city or county. This will not be the end of your research for local Arizona building codes because you still need to contact the local agency to find the amended versions of the codes used in that jurisdiction.
- The Structural Engineers Association of America also has a similar list. Use that list to find contact information for local building agencies. Contact the agencies to find the proper Arizona building codes.