Building Department

Building Inspections
Phone: 480-488-1471


The Hours for the Building Department are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

New Single Family Home Information Packet (PDF)

Commercial Tenant Improvement Standards (PDF)

  • All construction requires a permit.
  • Property owners must submit 2 sets of completed plans that include the legal description, zoning district, contractor's name and license number, engineered site survey, topographic survey and drainage study prepared by a civil engineer or registered land surveyor.
  • All proposed and existing improvements are to be plotted on the topographic survey showing proposed and existing floor elevations.
  • Plans also must show setbacks, utilities, exterior colors, landscaping, disturbance areas, etc. A pre-grading inspection is required after the permit is issued and before any grading work commences. Protected plants should be moved to the designated temporary nursery. Please call the Carefree Building Department to arrange for a pre-grading inspection.
  • A plan review fee is payable at the time building plans are submitted and it equals 65 percent of the building permit fee which is calculated on construction valuation.
  • Complete Residential Building Packets are available for pickup at the Town Hall. Construction noise is limited to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays and holidays.
Building Code
The Carefree Town Council approved the following building codes:
  • 2018 International Building Code and amendments
  • 2018 International Residential Code and amendments
  • 2018 International Plumbing Code and amendments
  • 2017 National Electrical Code and amendments
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code and amendments
  • 2018 International Fire Code and amendments
  • 2018 International Energy Conservation Code and Amendments
  • 2018 International Fuel Gas Code and Amendments
  • 2018 International Property Maintenance Code and Amendments
  • 2018 International Existing Building Code and Amendments
  • Chapter 10 Building as of 10.13.22
  • Town of Carefree Inspection Fees

The adopted codes require all new residential and commercial buildings to have fire sprinkler systems. The codes became effective January 24, 2023.

Building Inspections

All building inspections must be called in 24 hours prior to the needed inspections. Calls must be received prior to 4 PM day of business to be scheduled for next business day. (480) 488-3686 – Ext #1

Provide the following information:

1. Permit Number
2. Job Address/Gate code
3. Contact Name & Phone Number
4. Type of inspection needed.

Inspection requests received after 4:00 PM on weekdays or on the weekend will not be scheduled for the following business day.

After hour inspections:

  • Inspections outside of normal business hours and of an emergency nature are to be called to (480) 488-3686 Extension 111.
    A Minimum charge of 4 hours ($100.00 per hour) will be assessed and is to be collected prior to conducting inspection.

Colors & Materials

Light reflective values should not exceed 40% for for all exterior colors. Exterior materials such as railings, window frames, doors, and fascia may have accent colors with light reflective values no greater than 55%. Metals, including painted metal, are allowed if they are not shiny. Shiny metal must be approved by the Carefree Development Review Board. Weathered copper is acceptable. For more information, see the Carefree Community Design Standards and Guidelines booklet (PDF).

Construction in Right-of-Way

Utility installation requires an excavation permit from the Town. It is illegal to construct anything in the Town rights-of-ways other than installation of utilities with an approved permit. Before commencing any construction such as a wall, fence, or entry gate near the street, please contact the Town Hall to ensure it is not being built in the right-of-way.

Construction Sales Tax

Town of  Carefree Contracting Sales Tax Information 01-01-2016


The historical entrance and exit points and hydraulic properties of all natural drainage channels on a site shall be preserved in their natural conditions. Grading shall not disturb washes that have a 100-year flow of 50 cubic feet per second or greater. See the Carefree Zoning Ordinance Section 9.10 of the Carefree Town Code.


  • Fence Heights

Fences, free-standing walls, and retaining walls may not exceed a height of 4 1/2 feet in any required yard setback, except for pool barriers which shall be 5 feet high. Elsewhere in the buildable area of the lot, fences and free-standing walls shall not exceed a height of 6 feet, and retaining walls shall not exceed a height of 7 feet. All fence and wall construction requires building permits. See sections 9.08 and 9.09 of the Carefree Zoning Ordinance  for complete regulations.

  • Fence Requirements & Construction

All construction sites shall be enclosed by 6-foot chain link construction fences, to be installed prior to excavation.


A permit is required for grading which includes excavation, land clearing, filling and dumping, or any disturbance of natural terrain and vegetation. There shall be no grading on any lot or parcel, other than percolation and test borings required by the County health department, before a building permit has been issued. The Carefree Zoning Ordinance sets forth limitations on the amount of land that can be disturbed on each site. See sections 6.01 and 9.10 of the Carefree Zoning Ordinance , for the complete regulations.

Home Occupations 

A home occupation is any occupation or profession customarily conducted entirely within a dwelling and carried on by one or more members of the housekeeping unit residing therein. The occupation or profession is clearly incidental and subordinate to the use of the dwelling for dwelling purposes and does not change the character of the dwelling.

There are no employees other than members of the housekeeping unit residing in the dwelling. No mechanical equipment is allowed except for that which is customarily used for domestic, hobby, or household purposes. No indication shall be detected from the exterior of the building or property that is being utilized for any purpose other than that of a dwelling, nor shall such use generate pedestrian or vehicular traffic beyond that normal to the district in which it is located. See the Carefree Zoning Ordinance , Section 5.02. (2)(A), for the complete regulations.


Properties in the rural-190 zoning district may be used for the keeping of horses for the use of the family residing on the premises and their guests only. The number of horses shall be limited to 1 horse for each contiguous gross acre under single ownership and shall not exceed 6 horses. See the Carefree Zoning Ordinance , Section 5.02. (11), for the complete regulations.


Landscape provisions are intended to assist in preserving the Sonoran Desert by protecting unique native plants, encouraging the use of indigenous or compatible trees and plants, and to assist in the preservation of water. Native plants protected by the Town are listed in Section 9.13. (1)(D) of the Carefree Zoning Ordinance. For complete landscaping regulations and guidelines, see Section 9.13 plus the Carefree Community Design Standards and Guidelines booklet (PDF).

Motor Homes & Trailers

Any motor home, bus, trailer, travel trailer, boat, camper or related mechanical equipment shall be stored in a garage. Removal from the garage for loading or unloading is limited to 48 hours. At no time shall a motor home, bus, trailer, travel trailer, boat, or camper be occupied or used for sleeping, living, or housekeeping purposes, nor shall it be parked or stored on a vacant lot.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting regulations are intended to help preserve dark night skies and promote the use of lighting systems that will conserve energy while increasing nighttime security and safety. All outdoor light fixtures with a light source greater than 25 watts shall be fully shielded. Any all exterior ground lights shall be a minimum of 25 feet away from other ground lights. See the Carefree Zoning Ordinance, Section 9.12, for complete regulations.

Real Estate Signs

Temporary signs pertaining to the sale, lease, hire, or rental of property may not be larger than 432 square inches (18 by 24 inches, for example). The top of the sign shall not be higher than 3 feet above grade and shall be parallel to the street.

Only 1 for sale sign and 1 open house sign are allowed on each lot. For complete sign regulations, see the Carefree Zoning Ordinance Section 8.02.

Satellite Antennas

Satellite or communications dishes having non-reflective finishes and attached to the principal structure are allowed with a maximum diameter of 1 meter, unless a larger diameter is approved by the Development Review Board.

Short-term/Vacation Rentals

Pursuant to Carefree Town Code Section 6-8-4, a short-term rental compliance inspection is required.  Short-term Rental Inspection Checklist.

Solar Collectors

A permit must be obtained prior to installing a solar collector. For complete regulations, see the Carefree Zoning Ordinance , Section 9.05.

Swimming Pools

All swimming pools and outdoor spas must be enclosed by walls or fences not less than 60 inches or 5 feet in height. Wire mesh and chain link fences are not permitted. All gates must be self-closing, self latching, and open outward from the pool. For complete regulations, see the Carefree Zoning Ordinance , Section 9.09.(5), and Section 5-3 of the Carefree Town Code.

Contact Info

John Gunn
Building Official
[email protected]