Q: What are the operating hours of the Building Inspectors Department?
A: Office hours are 7:30 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday for the Building Inspectors.
Q: How do I know when I need a permit?
A: If you are doing work that opens or alters walls, ceilings or floors, replacing elements such as windows and doors, renovating or constructing something new, in all probability you will be required to apply for a permit. Additionally, chimney liners, construction of sheds, fences, decks, and pools all require permits. When in doubt just call the Building Department for assistance.
Q: What work is generally exempt from a building permit?
A: Except for activities which may require a permit pursuant to other laws, by-laws, rules and the specialized codes, a building permit is not required for the following activities for residential projects:
- Retaining walls that are not over four feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge, or that retain over four feet of unbalanced fill.
- Sidewalks and driveways.
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
- Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
- Swings and other playground equipment.
- Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
- Decks not exceeding 200 square feet (18.58 m2) in area, which are not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by subsection R311.4.
Q: Where can I find more information about contractors?
A: When you are looking to hire a contractor for your home project, do not assume someone else is looking out for your best interest. Do your homework and be sure to verify that both the license and insurance information you get is correct. Also, you may check:
- the BBRS web site at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dps/dps-license-lookup.html to verify license information,
- the OCABR website at http://services.oca.state.ma.us/hic/licenseelist.aspx for contractor registration, and
- the Better Business Bureau at http://central-westernma.bbb.org/ to ask about any consumer complaints they may have received.
Q: Where can I obtain the City’s permit fee schedule?
A: Please refer to theCity's Permit Fee Schedule section of the Building Inspectors Department’s webpages. The City will calculate the fee, which must be paid only after the permit is issued.
Q: Where can I view the State Building Code?
A: Please refer to 780 CMR, the State Building Code.
Q: Where can I find a searchable version of the City Code?
A: Please refer to the City Code section of the City’s webpages.
Q: How do I fill out a permit application for a building permit?
A: Please refer to the How to Apply for a Building Permit section of the Building Inspectors Department’s webpages.
Q: What type of documentation is required with a building permit application?
A: Please refer to the Information Required on a Permit Application section of the Building Inspectors Department’s webpages.