Building Department Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some fairly common questions we receive in the Building Department and answers to those questions. Some answers have documents in PDF format connected to them.
To view and/or download the PDF documents you will need the program Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded for free here:

Where can I find information on permits that have been issued through the Permit Management System?
To review the data on permits that have already been issued go to Review Data Related to Permits.. An account is not required to access and search this data.

What are the building requirements and setbacks for a particular zone?
See the Table of Dimensional and Density Regulations (TDDR) or Town of Marshfield Zoning Bylaws.

See the Assessor’s Patriot Properties Program to determine the zone in which your land/dwelling is located and click on the drop down menu for street, parcel or owner looking for the 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 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 place your fence one foot in from your property line to properly maintain your fence and to properly maintain your property.

Do I need a permit to erect a shed?
A shed is considered a one story accessory building. A shed 64SF or less does not require a building permit but needs to maintain zoning bylaw setbacks. A shed greater than 64SF requires a building permit.

What is considered an Accessory Building?
A detached building such as 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 and an accessory building cannot be built without a principal building on that lot.

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. Please read and familiarize yourself with the Town of Marshfield's 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 contained in 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 currently licensed and currently insured plumber/gasfitter or electrician can apply for, have an permit issued to them and call for inspections on their work.

How do I determine what type(s) of work require the contractor(s) that I hire to have certain licences?
This handy chart will guide you to determine the types of work that require the licenses your contractor shall have for your project.
Work Requiring a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) Registration or Construction Supervisor License (CSL) for Existing Owner Occupied 1- to 4- Family Dwellings

How can I get a copy of a plot plan for my property?
The Building Department may have a copy of a plot plan 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. Here is list of Registered Land Surveyors who normally do business in Marshfield.

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 Verizon. 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?
The Town of Marshfield has a Demolition Delay Bylaw that states 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. The Historical Commission meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Submit the completed form by email to the Building Department and we will submit it to the Historical Commission for you. The Historical Commission will contact you directly with the date and time of your hearing.

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 elevation certificates: the initial for the Proposed Construction and the final for Finished Construction after all of the work has been completed.

Where can I find out how many and the types of inspections I will need for my project?
Click on the Inspection Schedule for New Construction, Additions and Alterations to view this handy guide that 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 this same outline of the minimum inspections you will need.

How do I schedule an inspection?
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 3:30pm and Friday before 12:00pm and speak with a staff member, as inspections cannot be scheduled from a voice mail message, email or online within the permit management system.

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 the data on permits that have already been issued go to Review Data Related to Permits. An account is not required to access and search this data.