Why You Need a PermitWhen a permit is issued, the holder of the permit is then given legal permission to start construction or do modification of a building in accordance with the Massachusetts State Building Code as well as all applicable local ordinances. Decisions of the D.E.P., Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals shall be complied with.
We can trace permit requirements back to ancient times. Today, the construction industry standards have evolved into standards, which are minimum standards designed to protect the general public's health, safety and welfare. The Code Official's job is to enforce the legislatively adopted laws of the Commonwealth for the benefit of the public consumer.
No code can eliminate all risks; reducing risks to acceptable levels helps prevent most potential hazards to the building's occupants and users. "Safe buildings for a safe tomorrow" is the ultimate goal of all codes of the built environment. The development and use of regulatory documents and the acceptance of innovative products and systems are by products of technological advances in our times.
Most individuals overlook the need of a permit until some catastrophic event occurs. We try to assure compliance with local zoning codes, with the State Building Code, with the State Wiring Code, with the State Plumbing and Gas Code and with Board of Health requirements. From zoning issues to code review, from field inspections to structural conformity, from a hole in the ground to completion, the inspector is looking out for your best interest. No matter which area is of concern to you, all construction codes serve the same purpose: to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by requiring safe construction.
Research Your Property - Before Not AfterYou are the homeowner or the business owner. You have or are about to invest time, energy and a substantial sum of money into your investment. You will be relying on the structural safety of the building that surrounds you each day, at home and at work. Research your investment before and not after your purchase.
Find out if there are outstanding code violations or zoning violations on the property. Buyer beware is an old saying, however, it is very much evident when a problem arises later. Has all the work that has been done at the building been permitted and approved by the local officials? Are there records to substantiate this? Has a 21E assessment ever been done of the property? Is asbestos present?
Problems can be avoided if you do your homework first. Engineers, architects and other professional personnel are as easy to find as picking up the phone book or going on line. They have the knowledge you may need for your project. They will be needed if the work was done illegally or in violation of any of the codes to certify the work or propose corrections. Your investment could be in serious jeopardy when the building is not in compliance.
When You Need a Permit
- Permits are required for the following:
- Accessory structures over 200 square feet (floor area) including all garages
- Additions, renovations, alterations, change of use or change of occupancy
- Asbestos removal information and forms
- Demolition or moving of a structure (Health Department notification for hazardous material disposal is required. Be aware of thermostat mercury, oils, lead, asbestos.)
- Electrical systems, telephones, low voltage and burglar alarms
- Fire warning and suppression systems-(AFD permit also required)
- Fireplaces, wood stoves and power vents
- HVAC system (heating, venting and air conditioning)
- Mechanical systems, refrigeration or CNG
- New construction (residential/commercial)
- Plumbing systems (any installation or repair)
- Prefabricated structures or manufactured homes
- Re-siding, re-roofing and replacement of windows
- Swimming pools, fences and decks
- Temporary structures, signs and banners
The Permit ProcessThe process is generally the same for building, wiring, gas, plumbing and mechanical. In addition, fire detection/sprinkler systems and fuel storage will also require inspection approval of the local fire department. The permit process is as follows:
- Step 1: Call our department after reviewing this website information if you have any further questions.
- Step 2: Submission of the application and documentation to the department. You will need to have consulted with other city departments and/or boards and committees for their approval.
- Step 3: Consideration and plan review of all of your applications, documents, and plans against all applicable codes, rules and regulations.
- Step 4: Decision from the inspector. Within 30 days of the application date you will be notified of approval, denial or the need to submit further documentation. There are appeal processes in case of denial.
- Step 5: Inspection of the work in progress. Each phase must be inspected for completeness and for compliance with the construction documents. Read your permit carefully for the scheduled inspections. Rule of thumb: call before you cover.
- Step 6: Final inspections and the issuance of occupancy permit, if required.