Maricopa County receives large influx of construction permit requests

Jun 8, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 9:07 am
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Assessor’s Office reported nearly twice as many construction permit requests in the first quarter of 2021 compared to both 2019 and 2020.

By April, the county had received 19,232 permit requests for both residential and commercial purposes.

Maricopa County Assessor Eddie Cook told KTAR News 92.3 FM that while this number is large, the office has been bracing for the increase for a while.

“[We’ve] been seeing this trend now for a number of years, so I think we’re all scaling toward that,” Cook said. “It wasn’t like one day the door got opened and a flood of water just rushed in, this has been just kind of a growing trend that we’ve been monitoring over the last several years.”

Permits need to be requested through the county to be processed by the respective municipalities for both new builds and for renovations that would add more than 15% onto an existing property.

Cook said the request for permits was likely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Valley’s dwindling housing supply.

“The construction permits [are] probably a reflection of the amount of new homes that are being built, as we’re seeing here throughout the Valley that inventory is pretty rough,” he said with a slight laugh.

Justin Pascarella, building inspection manager for Maricopa County Planning and Development, added this market has created the perfect storm for this type of increase.

“There’s a lot of production homes going on, custom homes, remodels and additions,” he said. “Home values are up, interest rates are low, people are moving here. On the other hand, building material prices are up, they’re back-ordered and that presents challenges.”

However, the county has been actively working to get ahead of the curve and modernize the assessor’s office to accommodate the influx of requests through technology.

“One of the things that we’re benefiting from through technology is that ability for municipalities to get us these permits electronically,” Pascarella said.

“We went 100% digital, we started to do some virtual inspections and we’ve brought on additional staff to keep up with [demand] for the most part.”

Both Pascarella and Cook ultimately said it’s imperative to go through the proper channels when preparing for construction.

“Call before you dig,” Pascarella said. “And avoid any major changes after the permits have been issued because then plans have to come back through [permitting processes].”

More information on how to apply for the proper permits can be found online.

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Maricopa County receives large influx of construction permit requests