Building Permits - FAQs
The staff at the Building Department is available to assist you in the application of permits, including helping you set up your account and to assist you in using the system. Please see the hours listed below for specific disciplines.
One copy of the plot plan in PDF format and one set of drawings in PDF format will be required. All permit documentation must be scanned into a PDF format and attached to the online permit application. The maximum file size that can be submitted is 10 MB.
Please Note: Once you have filled out a permit application and submitted it electronically it is only in a preliminary stage.
Each permit will require specific Town Department sign offs. The Building Department will send the permit application to the appropriate departments. Permits are not considered officially submitted to the building department until all sign-offs have been approved. You may follow your permit review process on-line by signing into your account (see instructions).
Electrical and Plumbing/Gas Inspections will start at 7:00a.m. and end at 8:30a.m. Inspection times will be set up at the discretion of the Inspectors. Inspections must be requested 24 hours in advance, by calling the Building Department at (781) 834-5555. Guidelines for scheduling inspections are below.
Building Inspections Monday – Thursday will start at 10:00a.m. and go until completed or 3:30p.m. and on Friday Building Inspections start at 9:00a.m. and end at 12:00p.m. Inspection times will be set up at the discretion of the Inspector. Inspections must be requested in advance, by calling the Building Department at (781) 834-5555. Guidelines for scheduling inspections are below.
Electrical and Plumbing/Gas Inspectors are available by phone and at the Building Department window between 8:30a.m. – 9:30a.m., Monday through Friday and on Mondays between 5:00p.m. – 7:00p.m.
Building Inspectors are available at the Building Department window and by phone 8:00a.m. – 10:00a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 4:00p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:00p.m. –7:00p.m. Monday evenings and Friday 8:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.
Inspections are scheduled on a first come-first serve basis. To Schedule an inspection for the next day please call 781-834-5555 Monday – Thursday before 3:30p.m. and Friday before 12:00p.m. during our normal business hours and speak with a staff member, as inspections cannot be scheduled from a voice mail message.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the building requirements and setbacks for a particular zone?
See the Assessor’s Patriot Properties Program to determine in which zone your land/dwelling is located: Assessors Database (click on the drop down menu for street, parcel or owner); see “Zoning” listed under “Current Property Mailing Address”.
Is my lot a buildable lot?
Please refer to the above zoning requirements.
What are the setback requirements for decks?
Setbacks for decks greater than 4’ above average grade are the same as building requirements (see the Table of Dimensional and Density Regulations at TDDR). If the deck is less than 4’ you may go 50% into the required setback (i.e. if your setback is 20’-0” from the side property line and your deck is less than 4’ to grade, you may go to 10’-0” from your setback).
Do I need a permit to erect a fence?
A fence 6’ and under does not require a permit. A fence over 6’ and up to 8’ requires a building permit. Fences over 8' require a Special Permit with approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Building Department strongly suggests and strongly recommends that you erect a fence one foot in from your property line for maintenance purposes.
Do I need a permit to erect a shed?
A shed is considered an accessory building. A shed 64 SF or less does not require a building permit but needs to maintain zoning bylaw setbacks. A shed greater than 64 SF requires a building permit.
What is considered an Accessory Building?
A detached building (i.e. a barn, shed, detached garage).
What are the setbacks for Accessory Buildings?
Setbacks are 20’ in from the front property line, 10’ in from the side and back property lines, 10’ away from the principal building and 10' away from any septic system structure. The home is considered the principal building.
Do I need a permit to install a pool?
You will need a permit to install an in-ground pool or an above ground pool. To see pool requirements go to Pool Regulations.
Can I, as a Homeowner, obtain a building permit for a construction project on my home?
Yes, you may. A word of caution: some simple jobs may not be so simple. Here is an explanation of Why Homeowners Should Not Obtain The Building Permit For Construction Projects On Their Home.
Can I install plumbing, gas or electrical fixtures in my own home?
No. Only a licensed plumber or electrician is required to have an issued permit and call for inspections.
How can I get a copy of a plot plan for my property?
The Building Department may have a copy of a plot plan only if previously submitted with a building permit. If the property operates on a septic waste disposal system, the Board of Health may have a septic plan. If we do not have one on file you will need to hire a professional surveyor.
What is required when submitting a demolition permit?
First, determine if the structure is of historic interest (see below). Because the structure may be over 50 years old it may be of historic interest. In the Residential Building Permit Application check the box for demolition, and describe the demolition in the description of work box. You must then scan into a PDF format and attach PDFs of the letters of service disconnection from the electric and gas companies, as well as the permission to demo letter from the Historical Commission. Second, you will need to contact the Electric, Gas and Telephone companies and request service to be cutoff as well as request the service cutoff letters from each provider. These letters must be scanned and attached in .pdf format into your electronic application.
To request the Verizon service cutoff and letter please follow this procedure:
Verizon requires a demolition permit applicant to contact Verizon to cease and disconnect service and to request a letter of service cutoff when a customer or contractor is going to demolish a business building or home. Please have the customer or contractor call the Verizon Outside plant service center at 866-686-1195 or email. Someone in the center will assign the request to an Engineer to field review. In addition a letter can be email or faxed to a customer advising that Verizon has removed all wire, cable and terminals from the structure that is being demolished.
How do I determine whether the demolition requires Historical Commission Review and how to I proceed if of historic interest?
If the building is over 50 years old it must be approved for demolition by the Historical Commission. You will need to fill out an Application for Historical Commission Demolition Approval. You may download it here: Demolition Permit Information Link.
The Historical Commission meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Submit the completed form via email for submission to the Historic Commission.
If I am remodeling my home and in a Flood Plain will I need to elevate the building?
Yes, if the cost of construction is more than 50% of the value of the building you will also have to meet the current flood zone requirements including a minimum of two (2) elevation certificates: one (1) for the proposed construction and one (1) after the work has been completed.
What is required to submit a building permit online?
For Homes, Additions, Farmer's Porches, Open Decks and Sheds Larger Than 64 Square Feet:
- One (1) certified plot plan in PDF format showing lot lines, proposed building location, measurements to the front, side and rear and lot lines;
- One (1) set of drawings in PDF format for the proposed work drawn to scale showing the foundation, floor plans, elevations, framing plans and structural details for steel and/or LVL beams as well as 110 m.p.h. wind zone and the MA Checklist For Compliance with 780 CMR R301.2.1.1 Design Criteria all in PDF format;
- Locate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as any other life safety systems on floor plans per 780 CMR Section R314, R315 Eighth Edition State Building Code IRC One and Two-Family Dwellings;
- Documentation in PDF format showing compliance with the Energy Code;
- Building permit application online filled out completely; and
- A copy of the Builder’s Construction Supervisor License, Home Improvement License, Worker’s Compensation Insurance and Affidavit to be entered into the applicable areas of the online permit application.
Where can I find out how many and the types of inspections I will need for my project?
For the Inspection Schedule for New Construction, Additions and Alterations please click here, and this handy guide will give you the information you need to schedule the types of inspections your project requires. When we issue your building permit we will attach to it a rough outline of the minimum inspections you will need.
How do I request my Certificate of Use and Occupancy?
After your final approved building inspection (as well as electrical, plumbing, gas, and sheet metal inspections) has been completed please bring the original building permit with all the signatures back to the Building Department. We will pull your file and start the occupancy process. You will need to bring to us the final signed Fire Department inspection (usually the Fire Department forwards that to us), the final Certified As-Built, the final HERS certificate (or duct blast test if that applies), the pink water card from the Water Department, and if your property operates on a septic system we will need the Certified Waste Disposal Certificate from the Board of Health. In cases where you applied using an Elevation Certificate a completed final Elevation Certificate based upon Finished Construction will need to be submitted. All of these documents should be attached in .pdf format into your electronic building permit. Please note that it may take us about 48 hours to prepare this certificate for you. The cost for the residential certificate is $40.00 and the cost for the commercial certificate is $80.00.
Where can I find information on permits that have been issued through the Permit Management System?
To review data on permits that have already been issued go to Review Data Related to Permits. An account is not required to access this data.